Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 66

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Village pumps: PolicyTechnicalProposals (persistent)Miscellaneous

Contents

Spanish on English Wikipedia[edit]

This [1] is the change I found myself having to revert yesterday when I added legitimate information. Someone else had done a revert but had not eliminated the offending text.

I don't know what Spanish Wikipedia's policy is on American radio stations. I'm sure there are Spanish speakers who would have enjoyed reading this information. But to those of us who don't speak the language, it's useless. We don't even know if the person was violating other policies. It was an IP that added it so there doesn't seem to be a point in going to the talk page. I wasn't monitoring this article but it had been there a long time.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 18:15, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

Rather odd Spanish: no accents or capitals, when there should certainly be some of both. I don't know enough to tell whether there's anything else wrong. Peter jackson (talk) 10:07, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

But I was correct to remove it, right?Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 13:19, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

You can always ask for translation at WP:PNT, where people who understand foreign languages can assess whether it is worth translating a foreign language addition. Kusma (talk) 13:34, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
Let's be straightforward here. This was a Spanish line in the article body text (i.e. not in a footnote or reference). There should not be any non-english texts in article body texts, unless relevantly contextualised in English (for example being introduced as an example, or identified as a motto or similar). So yes, it is completely fine with me this was removed. Arnoutf (talk) 14:40, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
My Spanish is a little rusty, but this addition was obviously poorly written. It's misspelled (no diacritics) and a huge run-on sentence with no punctuation. A more fluent Spanish-speaker might be able to glean the intent, but I'm not sure it's worth it. Powers T 13:42, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
That paragraph which Vchimpanzee removed was added by an IP on September 2008. It was vandalism pure and simple. IMO what is more important in this case is that the vandalism was allowed to stay in place for 10 months. Nobody is watching the page.
In fact, who is watching the 3 million pages? EconomistBR 15:52, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
Myeh. The page is being seen my a maximum of six people a day, normally about 2 and sometimes none at all. The content was libellous or untrue. When someone came across it, they took it out. That's how Wikipedia works. We can't watch every edit, and stuff slips through. Most prevalently, on the least viewed articles like this one. Someone removed something which shouldn't be on the page. Applause for doing his job as editor. Why was it brought to VP that such actions happened? Greg Tyler (tc) 17:05, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
I believe differently, IMO every page should under constant watch of at least 1 edtior at all times. The reason for that is to ensure that articles do not transmit false information or vandalism, both of which reduce Wikipedia's credibility and quality.
Many other articles aren't being watched either that's why WP:Flagged Revisions must be deployed as soon as possible. EconomistBR 19:32, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
No, that why the "recent unwatched changes" list should be deployed. --Cybercobra (talk) 19:50, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
If you scroll down you will see that I support that proposal as well. There is just one thing: What happens when an article is being watched by an inactive editor?
EconomistBR 20:35, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

What confuses me is that someone reverted some of the Spanish content but not all. I guess it was about where it was.

I should have been watching it since I contributed so much to it. I'm about 2 years behind on Broadcasting & Cable and one thing I do when I look at that is add sales of radio stations to the stations' articles, if they're stations that interest me. I spent most of Tuesday afternoon on articles that were just related to one of the stations sold, because I remembered there was a red link to either that station or one connected with it, in an article I contributed heavily to.

And then of course WCXN was one of the stations sold during the time period I was covering.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 20:02, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

A question concerning policy and exclusive editor groups[edit]

I wanted to bring this up for community discussion. With recent events surrounding the formation of exclusive editor groups within Wikipedia, also the closure of the recent MFD [2] concerning WP:AEE, and it's possible activation as a group, I was wondering about these groups and possible group voting/disruptions? Here is the feasible scenario: The community is discussing and voting to change the rules concerning admins to give them more oversight. An exclusive editor group, with selective membership, has decided they do not like the change and decides to gum up the works, by disrupting both the vote and/or discussion. It can be shown that the group all have been moving in concert per the group to stop the change. Is there a policy that would cover such disruptions by the editor group or should there be an amendment to a policy to cover such a situational.

Another thing to consider that is related to the disruption by an exclusive editor group is that same editor group deciding to block vote in favor or against someone or something. If it can be shown that everyone in the group is block voting (I.E. casting their vote the way the group wants them too.) should we count those votes, discount those votes, or throw them out completely? Just some thoughts for discussion. Brothejr (talk) 23:19, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

IMO the real problem is the Voting bloc (or "block voting), whether the groups are exclusive or open, whether the group is the WP:AEE or a WikiProject is beside the point. Is a Voting bloc legal? That's the point. Bear in mind that groups can mobilize very quickly.
Wikipedia already has a policy against canvassing (see Wikipedia:Canvassing), but a groups's Voting bloc falls outside of the scope of that policy.
Your concerns are relevant and IMO there is no policy or guidelines dealing with this issue. EconomistBR 00:35, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
  • There's nothing in policy against this and IMO there doesn't need to be. The opinion of 99% of our editors (including myself) is that it's absolutely unacceptable and so I'm sure that any future efforts to organize something like this will get squashed just as quickly and decisively as this one did, whether it's in the policy or not. ⟳ausa کui× 16:46, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

Articles with only foreign-language sources or self-published english sources?[edit]

I've been observing a collection of new editors making an article at Nguyen Ngoc Bich Ngan‎, and it seems that all of the sources are primarily Vietnamese-language newspapers. There is an english language source, but that seems to be self published by the subject of the article. I did a search both here and through WP:CITE, and it seems that policy states that while english language sources are preferable if none exist or are of lesser quality than foreign language sources then the foreign language sources can suffice.

I guess I'm trying to get my head around how we can guard against vanity articles or BLP concerns when all the sources are nonenglish. How can the primarily english speaking editors on en.wikipedia apply WP:V to articles sourced in other languages? Syrthiss (talk) 15:17, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

Find a user who speaks the language and ask them. Algebraist 15:21, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
Find a user or learn the language. There is no other solution. It's an enormous privilege of the English Wikipedia the fact that it attracts loads of Editors of other countries in a way that no other Wikipedia can.
Foreign Editors enrich this Wikipedia tremendously since in-depth English sources on most foreign related affairs simply don't exist.
As most Brazilian editors, I use sources in Portuguese all the time and I would be incensed if I were required to translate them or do anything about them.
I do assume good faith, and usually the first person to bring up agf in a discussion is the one not assuming it. Syrthiss (talk) 16:36, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
I deleted that part before you posted your comment, still I am striking it through.EconomistBR 17:20, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
  • You have a valid concern. As Algebraist said these sources are verifiable by anyone who speaks the language. Though your complaint is a reasonable one, I would suggest that it is vastly outweighed by problems with the alternative: if we required articles to rely only on English sources, it would produce an overwhelmingly Anglophone-centric view of the world. Much of the information about non-English speaking countries is not written in English, and therefore Wikipedia would suffer from a heavily biased perspective. We have enough trouble countering systemic bias as it is. As such, we have to grit and admit that not all of us will be able to check every source on Wikipedia, but hope that others will. ⟳ausa کui× 16:39, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

Surely the editors of the Nguyen Ngoc Bich Ngan articles aren't the Wikipedia editors capable of reading Vietnamese. Find someone to help. If something specific is suspicious, first ask the editor in question for a translation (if I remember correctly, there is a guideline that says foreign language sources should be translated to English upon request). It would be overkill and burdensome to ask for everything to be translated so be specific. Then find another editor who can read the language and ask for assistance. At the very least they can tell you if the translation was reasonably accurate. Finding other editors who know the language shouldn't be too hard. Look for articles related to Vietnam, read the discussions, and pick someone who seems to be fair-minded and knowledgeable. Readin (talk) 04:01, 25 July 2009 (UTC)

You can also try running the articles through an automated translator which won't produce good prose but will give you a general idea of what the source says. Google seems to support Vietnamese. Babelfish is also very good in general, but doesn't currently support Vietnamese. --ThaddeusB (talk) 04:17, 25 July 2009 (UTC)

Please participate.[edit]

A discussion about sending email to OTRS and users privacy is taking place in Wikipedia Village pump (miscellaneous), Please participate. Mpics (talk) 05:57, 25 July 2009 (UTC)

Idea[edit]

Has anyone thought of a possible group that would keep users out of the recent changes list? I know that there are many editors who are squeaky clean in their contributions, and the whole autoreviewer group is there, but why not have a whole autochange group? I can see where people would not like this group because an account might get hacked or an editor might snap. What do you guys think? Kevin Rutherford (talk) 00:25, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

I also know that there is a minor changes box, but I also know that not every experienced user knows the benefit of this. Kevin Rutherford (talk) 01:58, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
IMO that idea is not a good one. The notion of "squeaky clean" editors being treated differently is going to cause a lot of controversy. I don't think it's fair. EconomistBR 16:18, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
From time to time, people release software intended to monitor (and filter) the recent changes feed; most of these programs offer ways to "blacklist" or "whitelist" users, making them more or less likely to show up in the filtered feed. I don't think it's exhaustive, but the list of these I can think of is at Wikipedia:Recent changes patrol#Tools. – Luna Santin (talk) 22:17, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
I know that there is another way to describe the users, but that was the best that I could think of at the time. I know that there are tools out there, but my idea was modeled after the autoreviewer group. Kevin Rutherford (talk) 02:56, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

Current example against your proposal: Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard#Possible_highjacked_account. NVO (talk) 15:33, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

  • It's already the case that the anti-vandalism tools like Huggle usually whitelist autoconfirmed users. However, since the recent contributions list is not only used to detect vandalism it would be against the purpose of the tool to do this. Some people use the recent contributions log just to browse articles people are working on. There is no reason to remove anyone from this list. ⟳ausa کui× 16:43, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

Proposal for a thinktank of sorts[edit]

In reading the consensus at Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Advisory Council on Project Development, it seems clear that users are generally in favour of some sort of focus group to examine issues facing Wikipedia and propose solutions, and are generally against this focus group being invite-only and/or appointed by ArbCom. To make any COI I have here clear: I agree such a group is needed (obviously), I do not agree that it shouldn't necessarily be appointed by ArbCom, I had put my name forward to ArbCom as a selfnom after the announcement, and in deference to community consensus I would not now accept such an appointment in the incredibly remote chance it were to be offered.

Accordingly, I have proposed a framework for creating such a group here (WP:DEVCOM), being mindful of concerns about power concentration, scope creep, and so on. Your input would be valuable. → ROUX  02:43, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

Aren't we all members of such a group already? It's called the Wikipedia community. Why do people keep proposing to create artificial subsets of it?--Kotniski (talk) 16:49, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
You lost me as soon as you proposed that the initial members be those who were proposed for the other council. That proposal was poorly thought out. While it may reflect a sentiment that we need a new process for thinking through policy issues (I support that sentiment), the concept of an invitation only council promulgated by a dispute resolution board belongs in WikiParody, not WP itself. An alternative proposal ought to focus on the best aspects of the proposal, and discard the worst aspects.--SPhilbrickT 15:35, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

What kinds of calculations are permitted?[edit]

This is, unfortunately, a vague question, open for various opinions, no really right answer, but I am curious as to everyone's opinion. Obviously (at least to me) certain calculations are permissible, 1+1=2 (at least in base 10). If a complicated calculation is done using sophisticated computer software, designed and published by a respectable notable institution/company then is the resultant calculation "Original Research". By calculation, I dont exclude non-numerical problems, an example could be using software that shows when a solar eclipse in 2045 will occur.Camelbinky (talk) 03:51, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

There is Wikipedia:SYN#Routine_calculations, but it doesn't have a lot of specifics. --Cybercobra (talk) 04:02, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
Isn't 1+1=2 correct in all bases, except binary? Aaadddaaammm (talk) 12:40, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
The essay WP:NOTOR goes into more detail on routine calculations, as well as basic logic and a few other things. For the example given of calculating the 2045 solar eclipses (Feb 16 and Aug 12), it would IMO need a reference to the source of the formula/software, or you could just cite NASA and not worry about it. Anomie 15:01, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
Like many other things on Wikipedia, there's no way to write a hard-and-fast rule. In general, I would say that if there's any question at all how the calculation was done, it should probably be sourced. (There are exceptions, though; in math- and physics-related articles the bar for "what needs explaining" should probably be higher.) Powers T 13:34, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
I've wondered about this myself. For example, I'd like to calculate the record of a team while Player X is at the school. It's pretty simple - as the year by year record is available, add up wins and losses for the appropriate year, but it's a step more complicated than 1+1=2. I would be disappointed, but not shocked, to find that some could make the leap from an annual list to the summary of four year's results. Yet I cannot provide an explicit source if no one has happened to do that calculation in a RS. I think my plan is acceptable, but I can imagine some might challenge it.--SPhilbrickT 16:10, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
Well then you might get into issues of notability -- if no reliable source has mentioned the team's record over that span, then why are we mentioning it in our article? There also might be an issue with NPOV -- what if that player missed a game or three over that four-year span? Do you add up the record for only the games he played in? Or ones in which he was on the bench but never entered the game? Or all the games during the time he was at the school, even if he wasn't in uniform? Powers T 16:33, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
You raised some good questions, some of which have at least partial answers. Consider Diana Taurasi, whose UConn team had a record of 138 and 8 over her career. I have no doubt this has been mentioned, but tracking down a reliable source in some cases might be tricky. In this case a simple Google search produces several answers, but one must be careful the first one listed is WP, and no doubt others are scraped from WP. The statement can be made in a number of ways ((139-8), (139 and 8), (139 wins, and 8 losses), (95% winning percentage) (.946 winning percentage)) it may not be clear how to form the search. As to which games to include, I'd say include all, as that is implied i the claim. If a player spends the entire time on the bench, it is hard to imagine that they qualified for notability anyway, unless the benching was an unusual event, in which case it doesn't need to be excluded. (Career coaching records are not adjusted to exclude games when a coach misses due to illness, I don't believe.) In any event, you are supporting my overall point - what seems to be perfectly acceptable to one editor, may not to another.--SPhilbrickT 18:58, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
You would need to cite the sources of the original data (e.g. the annual results), and cite or explain the calculation that was used. You could probably pull that off reasonably easily with a combination of an explanatory footnote and references. However, you should not rely upon assumptions that, for example, a person spent four years at some school, rather than 3 or 5—a source indicating the place and duration of the person's collegiate athletic career is necessary in order to perform the calculation in the first place. Similarly, you'd need to establish details like whether you're counting periods of time when the player was ineligible, or unavailable, but still enrolled. That's why we would normally leave such calculations and syntheses to reliable sources: they can establish a methodology without having to cram its explanation into a footnote, or work it into the text of a summary article. TheFeds 16:36, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

Citation-needed spam[edit]

I have gone on about this topic before, but after seeing the History of Radar page today I want to bring it up again. Some editor went through the whole article which was written by a bunch of different people and tagged every sentence that did have a citation with a citation-needed tag. It totally defaces an article and makes it annoying to read when there are 100 red-colored editorial tags in it.

My feeling about this is that editorial remarks should be confined to the talk page. Bespattering an article with drive-by editorial comments verges on being vindictive. Remember that most people (90% or more?) are not editors, they are readers. Ruining their experience by filling up an article with editorial tags and banners is not making the Wikipedia better. What's next, sending hate mail to editors that don't source something? Putting huge, blinking red banners on the front page of the Wikipedia screaming "SOURCE YOUR MATERIAL!!!!", "BE CULTURE NEUTRAL !!!!"?

Unfortunately it seems that it is never going to change. Wikipedia is getting to the point where the editing is controlled by a lot of Church Lady micromanagers who seem intent on marking up an article with their banners like tomcats spraying their territory. Instead of discretely putting editorial recommendations on the talk page for the editors to read they want to vandalize the article with their 50-different types of obsessive compulsive graffiti. They are not happy until the maximum number of people get spammed with their complaints whether they care about them or not.

It's ego-centric editing at its worst. I have news for the Church Ladies: "Hello, the reader knows that the fact is unsourced. They don't need your highness to tell them." John Chamberlain (talk) 23:27, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

I completely agree. It's a plague.
A challenge for anyone reading this, and perhaps objecting: instead of slapping tags on articles, whether they be[citation needed] or [weasel words] or one of those ghastly top-of-article blights, please consider doing the hard work of finding cites yourself rather than demanding that someone else do it. Ordering other people to do busywork is tacky. And remember that only controversial statements, quotations, and statistics need to have specific cites anyway.
If someone adds tags without having the rudimentary courtesy to explain why they did so, on the article's talk page, the appropriate response is to remove them. Antandrus (talk) 23:32, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
I disagree that it's necessary to explain every {fact} tag. If an article says, "There are nine red doves", then I don't see what explanation would be needed for a citation request for that fact. I do think that readers should try to check the general references before adding tags, and that if more than a couple are needed in an article that a general article template should be used and the matter shuold be discusse on the talk page.   Will Beback  talk  00:58, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
That article does lack citations and I see no problem with what was done there, although I could agree that there was too many tags.
Also, the authors hold the sole responsibility for what they write, they should have sourced it when they wrote it. Passing that responsibility to someone else is unfair. See WP:BURDEN
The subsection History_of_radar#Soviet_Early_Radar, for example, has no sources. It is is violation of Wikipedia:Verifiability.
Tags and banners help because they show readers that we are aware of the problems. [citation needed] tags are even more important, it tells readers that Wikipedia can't verify the information.
EconomistBR 01:41, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
  • We should note here that there is a Wikipedia "project" devoted to tagging. See Wikipedia:CiterSquad. Please see the recent contributions of the project founder (I believe): https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Special:Contributions/Jeepday. This is the culmination of allowing a type of "edit" that should have been ruled out of existence long ago.
  • Policy needs to happen fast. Does anyone know of any existing guidelines that specify what "meta information" is appropriate for the article page? Is there anyone adept at policy development on Wikipedia that is willing to steer the development of a related guideline? (I hope this isn't seen as instruction creep: the "creep" of bad editing that one can't shoot on sight (like vandalism) is what got us here.) Outriggr (talk) 02:59, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
Tagging is maintenance, in his case it's the recognition of a problem. IMO User:Jeepday is increasing the quality of Wikipedia articles by checking if WP:Verifiability is being observed. I see no problem with his editing pattern. EconomistBR 03:47, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
  • The church-lady characterization is hugely flawed. Given that you (John) are obviously venting, is there any point in explaining why the motivations you cite are strawmen? How about we get past that, and discuss the particulars of tagging for improvements?

    As a result of there being no in-text distinction between a statement found in a general reference and an unsourced statement, the reader cannot be relied upon to know intuitively whether any given fact is verifiable, unless accompanied by a citation. This is a big enough issue to warrant consideration of deprecating general references entirely. (I grant that that might unacceptably disrupt prose.)

    Of course, there are unsourced facts that are plausible, and unsourced facts that are outrageous, and they aren't equivalent; the tags are best used (for example) when a crucial point is being stated, or an editor suspects that a POV may be being subtly advanced, or deliberate vandalism might be present, or a simple but important mistake might have been made. It's a fallacy to pretend that anyone but a few misguided editors would tag every unsourced fact—realistically and correctly, the {{fact}} tag is used for things that (in the opinion of an editor), ought to be verified.

    You can't assume near-native reading comprehension skills, and you can't assume well-developed critical thinking skills—users can be anyone, and we need to be cautions about the quality of articles that we publish, because we don't want to inadvertently lead them to an incorrect conclusion. It's about credibilty, which is due in large part to verifiability: we can say to the readers "we aren't sure about this, so you should do more research". (Which they should do anyway, via the cited sources, if any.)

    Is tagging ugly? Yes; everything to do with citations on en.wikipedia is ugly—the references are ugly and the reference lists are ugly. The tags are just following that style. (And funny enough, that [citation needed] tag has acquired an iconic status...we'd be breaking down an institution if we changed it to something better looking—not that I'd oppose that.) So if you're concerned about the aesthetics, that's a valid discussion to have. Maybe the citation style from fr.wikipedia would be more acceptable.

    But I think the more important point is that this is our best method for indicating to readers that this part or whole article is believed to be bad, for one reason or another. If the tagging doesn't represent consensus, then it can be changed back. And while I realize that building consensus is a time consuming effort, and indeed can be the greatest flaw of the Wikipedia model (because talk and action can be disproportionate), I'd wager that a WP:BRD tag is still an acceptable solution in general, despite being grossly suboptimal for some specific things.

    If you make editorial statements only on the talk page, then you fail to inform the readers (who are often not editors) that you're concerned. I would consider it generally better to offend their sense of taste with a banner or tag, than to lead them to believe something biased without one.

    Basically, tagging articles isn't about ego (except in the case of a select and unwelcome few). It's about informing the readership of the quality and provenance of the statements being made. When they see a source, then they're on their own to determine whether that source is valid—but critically, they're now looking at the source, rather than believing that Wikipedia is in a position to express original opinions about anything. And they're much less likely to be absorbing unsourced material as fact. TheFeds 04:23, 25 July 2009 (UTC)

Wormwood[citation needed] Wuz[citation needed] Here[citation needed]. You too can be a WikiImp! Wormwood Appears (talk) 01:51, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

I agree that an article with a lot of[citation needed] tags is ugly, but frankly, I think an article with a lot of proper footnotes is ugly. I've been mulling a policy proposal, and haven't totally thought it through, but will suggests a bare bones idea now—all articles should have footnotes turned off by default, with a reader option to turn them on if necessary. It is oft said that we serve two communities, readers and editors, and we must remember that the readers are the more important community (when it comes to proposals which might affect them differently). I strongly concur, but want to expand on that thought—our reader community is really two (possibly overlapping) subcommunities - one represented by a reader who is simply interested in some information, accepts that WP is a decent, if imperfect reference, and isn't planning to make a major decision based upon the information found. That reader isn't interested in footnotes—the footnotes are not just useless, they interfere with the reading experience. Want proof? Look at what happens when an article is the featured article for the day. It appears sans footnotes. To make it look better. The second reader is intensely interested in the factual accuracy of the subject. They may be doing formal research, they may be simply trying to settle a bet, or they want to know something and it is of some importance that the answer be right. This second reader is very interested in the footnotes, because those will help the reader assess the verifiability of the claim. I summit that the first community is larger—maybe even much larger—than the second. yet we structure our presentation for the smaller group. We ought to rethink that decision, and my proposal is a step in that direction.--SPhilbrickT 15:55, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

Not to comment on whether or not this is a good idea (I'm personally neutral at this time; I see benefits and drawbacks), but I created a simple script that hides references in articles (it isn't perfect... e.g., still leaves some refs which don't use the <ref> footnote system and it doesn't remove section headers). Just add importScript('User:Drilnoth/hiderefs.js'); to your monobook.js page to test it out. It adds a link to the toolbox named "hide refs" which removes them until you navigate away from the page. –Drilnoth (T • C • L) 03:13, 27 July 2009 (UTC)


I just created this template: {{subst:uw-cite}} to warn users that they are doing this and it is not tolerated. I know that it's a start, but it can help to address some issues here. Kevin Rutherford (talk) 02:23, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

I feel the {{uw-cite}} template is a terrible template. It was created with someone with a particular situation in mind, and is incomprehensible and misleading to someone who has not been involved with this discussion thread. It should be drastically modified or deleted. --Jc3s5h (talk) 02:53, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
Totally agree, it should be deleted immediatelly, that's a direct attack on the WP:Verifiability.
What these Editors are trying to do is weaken or change the WP:Verifiability policy just because it "looks ugly". This is not acceptable.
Millions of readers come here because of accuracy and credibility both ensured by the WP:Verifiability policy. EconomistBR 03:31, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

I agree that Template:Citation needed, Template:Unreferenced, and similar tags and banners are way overused, and detract from the articles. In my view {{Citation needed}} should only be added to alleged facts that an editor thinks are probably not true, or at least are somewhat questionable. As for {{Unreferenced}}, I guess it's okay to add it to an article that has no references at all, although I wouldn't. It should be assumed that lots of good citations, preferably inline, will improve an article. The overuse of the tags and banners is distracting and unattractive, and not particularly helpful to either readers or editors. If you think an article needs more or better references, please add them. Doing so is a lot harder than adding a tag or a banner, but it will actually improve the article. Also, I disagree about footnotes or reference sections being unsightly. I think they look perfectly lovely, and I'm not kidding. This is an encyclopedia, and the footnotes and other references are a key part of any article. Mudwater (Talk) 03:31, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

It's downright impossible to find the source of an information. How could you ever find it? Spend hours on Google researching a single sentence? Go down to the library and research page after page of books in hope that you match a single sentence? It's way easier to just delete everything and start over. EconomistBR 03:44, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
Articles need to shout they are unsourced as loud as possible. They are on the project pages rather than hidden on the talk page for our readers benefit. Articles which are unreferenced, poorly referenced, non-neutral, etc. should not be relied on; people coming to these articles should be told in no uncertain terms—not on the talk page, and not at the bottom—but right up front, that the article has these problems. This is an encyclopedia. Our articles should be tertiary source entries by definition. Unsourced content is a placeholder for third party reliable sourced content and it is a terrible thing when a user relies to their detriment on false information, which is de rigeur in unsourced articles. Every unsourced article should be sourced and until that is done, tagged as unsourced. We should have a banner framed above every article which says THE BETTER THE SOURCING THE MORE RELIABLE THIS ARTICLE IS LIKELY TO BE. NO SOURCES = PROBABLY, MOSTLY, A CROCK OF SHIT; PLEASE FEEL FREE TO READ BUT PLEASE DON'T TRUST. I'm only half kidding. Unreferenced, unverified content (which if written in any detail is always chock full of errors when actually examined to source) should not be foisted on anyone as proper content. It is crucial we keep these flags flying. The underlying problem is the culture that fails to apply the foundational verifiability policy with any pragmatic enforcement such that we have all these thousands upon thousands of unsourced or barely sourced articles sitting around, inevetably, most of the time, full of misinformation. Every proposal for making a pragmatic deletion process based on lack of sources has been shot down though (see, e.g., Wikipedia:Requests for verification and Wikipedia:Speedy deletion criterion for unsourced articles). The culture of applying the verifiability policy with kid gloves has led us down this path where you're proposing with a straight face to remove the only thing telling readers not to trust completely unreliable content. One proviso. I am addressing here the idea of moving maintenance tags to the talk page as a general notion. I do not necessarily agree with redundantly adding {{fact}} tags to 50 separate sentences in one article.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 04:16, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
Great comment, I specially liked the bit that said:"a pragmatic deletion process based on lack of sources". I've used lack of sources as a reason on AfD debates.EconomistBR 15:45, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
I think that things are both better and worse than what you are saying. Better, because many poorly sourced or unsourced articles are largely, or even completely, accurate. (But of course they'd be better articles if they had good source citations.) Worse, because even a well sourced Wikipedia article is not completely reliable. That's because this is a wiki, where the articles can be edited by anyone, and are not pre-verified by experts. This applies even to articles with what seem to be good citations. The reader of Wikipedia needs to be aware of this general situation, and the use, or in my view overuse, of tags and banners on articles is not the best way to deal with it. Mudwater (Talk) 04:36, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
I have sourced many an article and I have never once found one that was mostly accurate in its pre-sourced state (it's tacit that we are speaking here about detailed articles and not stubs with a few lines, yes?) And yes, of course, sourcing does not guarantee reliability but pointing that out in this context is like saying in a conversation on whether to remove "sell by" dates on meat, that they doesn't guarantee the meat's not spoiled, with the idea this somehow supports removing the labeling entirely. The only method we have to foster reliability is requiring rigorous sourcing, and it works to a great extent, i.e., well sourced articles and reliability of content are highly related. Unfortunately, clicking on the random article button a few times and seeing how much of our content is unverified is actually terrifying if you care about this project.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 04:56, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
Mudwater, sourcing is to ensure and guarantee WP:Verifiability. Credibility and reliability come as a result of the WP:Verifiability policy. Also, saying that unsourced articles are largely accurate is witchcraft, you can't verify them. EconomistBR 15:45, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
As you can see from my two previous posts in this section, I'm all for articles having good sources, and I'm all for Notes and/or References sections at the end of articles. Improving the footnotes or references is one of the best ways to improve an article. I also think that tags and banners such as {{Citation needed}} and {{Unreferenced}} should sometimes be used, and that they do have some value for the non-editing reader. I just think that they're way overused, as I described above. As for my statement that "many poorly sourced or unsourced articles are largely, or even completely, accurate," that's been my experience, but it's just my unscientific opinion. Mudwater (Talk) 00:21, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

I think the banners belong on the talk page unless they actually alert the reader to an issue (POV or disputed material particularly) that could be misleading. In that case there should be a talk-page entry. Also [citation needed] loses its impact if overused. Dankarl (talk) 21:37, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

Rewrite of username policy[edit]

The username policy has undergone a major revision.

The main purpose of the revision is to simplify the policy, and to write each section with its intended audience in mind, so instructions for administrators are no longer mixed in with instructions for new users. In the section for username patrollers and administrators, it clarifies the scope of Usernames for Administrator Attention and username blocks, pointing out other remedies that can be more appropriate to the situation.

It also includes the recent changes that resulted from the Wikipedia talk:Username policy/Blatant Promotion RfC, so if you haven't looked at the username policy in a while, now might be a good time. rspεεr (talk) 17:21, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

I would like to note my issue with the way the policy is drafted. That RfC set out to address obvious examples of accounts using company/promotional names. What resulted is wording that is completely restrictive, "Use of Wikipedia for promotion of a company or group is not permitted. Explicit use of a company or group name as a username will result in your account being blocked." My concern is the result has become overzealous admins using such restrictive wording to block any account that may have a company name in it. I can provide examples where only questionable username violations where the user had not edited at all has been blocked without discussion. Essentially WP:AGF has been thrown out the window. The RfC did not cover what should be done in this situation and thus I think clarification is needed. I wonder where is the line to be drawn? Do we block people with Microsoft or Honda in their name, even if they're only fans? To me, the restrictive wording of the policy as quoted above would mean yes, especially as there are recent examples of names being blocked that were not blatant violations who had no edit history at all. I seek comments and thoughts on this please. Nja247 21:01, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Note that there's some discussion on this here so that things are in one place. Nja247 21:26, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

Original research problem?[edit]

I would like to edit an article about a particular film. Many film articles have a plot section.

However, such section would entirely be original research since I would be watching the film and making my own summary and opinions.

Should we modify the OR guidelines to make an exception?

If we do, we are fighting Jimbo Wales' OR guideline. Or should I just let others violate it and I'll just read the articles? User F203 (talk) 15:31, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

Per WP:PLOTSUM, Citations about the plot summary itself, however, may refer to the primary source - the work of fiction itself. If all you are doing is offering a summary of the plot, technically your source is the film itself. Do be careful however that you are not making your own opinions, which is a violation of WP:OR and is not appropriate for an article. If you've never read it, you may want to look at PLOTSUM for guidance on how to properly write a plot summary. Shereth 15:43, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

Demographics[edit]

Hallo, in most geographic articles, wikipedia has data about of the local population. In some articles, especially those about places in the USA, there are informations about the composition of the population with respect to race and sexuality, for example see Paris, Texas#Demographics, while in other articles, for example about European places, there is no such information. For example Paris#Immigration, only tells us where parts of the population came from. Incidentialy, the same difference in the treatement of demographics of USA and Europe can be observed in the German-language Wikipedia too.

My question is, has there ever been a major debate of this topic in this en.wikipedia before, where I could read some arguments for and against the presentation of racial and sexuality data in geographic articles. --Schwalker (talk) 19:04, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

The reason the US articles have the extra data is because most of them were augmented by a bot armed with US Census data. No one has yet done the same for Europe, probably due to lack of interest. I don't see any good justification for excluding the information if it's available. --Cybercobra (talk) 19:45, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
Or also likely that this kind of data on race and sexuality is not collected in the same way in Europe, hence making it impossible to do it the same way as for the US. Arnoutf (talk) 20:26, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

Yes, as far as I know, these questions are usually not part of censi in Europe nowerdays. I think there are some reasons against the use of these data for Wikipedia. For example some argue that the question on race in the US Census itself has a racist tradition. Another point is that nowadays, race is no considered to be a scientific concept. One might argue that unlike e.g. the income of a person, racial identity or sexual identity are only imaginations of an individual person which have no correlation with reality. --Schwalker (talk) 07:51, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

By the way, in the example above the demographic data has been added as early as 01:07, 6 October 2002, it seem by a human user. --Schwalker (talk) 08:26, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
The data is reliably sourced by the US Census Bureau. One may debate the "scientific value" of such data until they are blue in the face but all that is being pesented in the articles are statistical information based upon a reliable and consistent resource. There is no reason to exlude the data. Shereth 15:46, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

Well, I had just tried to explain that there may be some good reason to exclude this kind of data, now you say "there is no reason to exclude the data". I believe this project aims to become an scientific encylopaedia, so can't understand why you ridicule any debate about the scientific value of certain information. We habe to keep in mind that the US Census bureau is not an academic but a governmental institution, also that Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not#Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information excludes "3. Excessive listing of statistics". However there may also been good reason for the inclusion of demographic data on racial and sexual orientation. Actually I came here not to discuss this topic myself, but just to get a hint where it may have been discussed before by others, but perhaps it hasn't. Greeting --Schwalker (talk) 09:30, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

To my knowledge there has never been any in-depth discussion on the matter before. A lot of it happened some time ago, before Wikiprojects became widespread and such things were discussed at length - it's kind of become cemented into the collective psyche as something that is just a fundamental part of the demographics given for US cities. You might be interested in bringing the topic up at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Cities/Guideline if you are interested in starting a discussion on the matter. Shereth 14:08, 28 July 2009 (UTC)


(unindent) There seem to be evolving two separate threads here. Let's keep these topic apart to avoid confusion:

  1. Do we add US style demographics everywhere else too? (my answer would be no as there is no reliable data of that type available everywhere)
  2. How do we think about US demographics in the first place, as applied to US settlements. (In my opinion this is something that should be first discussed in the US project rather than here). Arnoutf (talk) 14:13, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
My view is that in the United States, census data is a significant part of the information about, and perception of, settlements in the U.S. This data is clearly identified in all text as having been collected and published by the census, according to its own classifications. So I don't see how the underlying merit of whether the census should collect or classify sexuality or race data (or whether this data is academically significant) is relevant to whether it should be presented in WP articles. Postdlf (talk) 14:29, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
I never understand why people would want to remove valid, sourced data. Who then was a gentleman? (talk) 20:14, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

To cite, to verify, to explain or just to prop the thing up? - a WP quandary[edit]

This is an issue that's been simmering in front of me for some time. Most of my wiki contributions are in the fields of history/literature/history of arts/biography, and we all know statements in those fields aren't always provable in the same quick, definite way as within physics, geography or the discography of a band. But WP isn't about proving truth but about statements that can be verified one by one, you say. Okay, I can hear you, but very often, the demand for verifiablility is either vague or makes it impossible to include statements that are both true and vital to understanding the matter at hand, while any junk statement may get in easily if you can find some bunk source that "verifies" it (=asserts it). You get a sort of back-read text, and that's not helpful or encyclopaedic.

It struck me after I had sourced something that had been long left unsourcd and asked for. Or did I really source it? Subject: the half-obscure French critic and writer Arthur Cravan, who lived in Paris before WW1 and made himself a reputation as a violent, brash, spectacular figure who denounced ordinary thinking and just about all artists he knew, and who moved to New York after the war broke out to avoid getting drafted. After the USA entered the war, he went to Mexico, met a girl, married her and disappeared in late 1918 after he'd set out sailing for Argentina in a foolhardy attempt to go there in a small sailing boat. Most historians of literature agree that he drowned in a storm shortly after he left Salina Cruz, but there's no proof and he became a half legendary figure afterwards. I've known about him and his disappearance for a long time, and I obliged with sourcing the statements regarding his disappearance and likely death from a French handbook source. But just what does it mean to be asked to verify and source statements such as "Cravan was last seen at Salina Cruz, Mexico in 1918 and most likely drowned in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Mexico in November 1918" and "Intermittent and spurious reports of his sighting continued for many years". They're not simple "raw facts" in a Popperian sense, and they're not really possible to prove, verify or falsify unless you shuffle through dozens of obscure books, newspaper articles, old literary mags and handbooks (plus, the sources where I first read about Cravan and his disappearance are very trustworty but not written in English or any other worldide lanbguage, so they'd be pointless to cite here). Those statements are aggregates, they sum up a lot of different observations, readings and interpretations from different places. Many different people are involved, that's the very nature of it. And precisely in that way they're typical of a lot of the fabric of most writing about human sciences, literature, history, political affairs, and so on.

With the death of Mr.Cravan - and lots of similar statements, think of Jimmy Hoffa, Sarah Palin or any public figure you'd care to write about - it's also less than clear just what kind of statement is looking for a source. Quoting myself from the talk page of that article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Arthur_Cravan

"...what you want reliably cited is either that "many people who have heard about Cravan and have looked into this hold that he drowned during a storm in the Pacific or the Gulf of Mexico in 1918" or "there's no real reason to suppose anything other than that Cravan drowned in the Pacific or the Gulf of Mexico in 1918". Now, both of those are aggregate statements, not simple statements of a single brute fact; to verify them - not even to prove them, but to verify - you'd need to look at a large number of different stories, newspaper items and writings. The fact that person X says that Cravan most likely drowned, or that no one has reliably seen him since the day he sailed, doesn't verify anything, and many of Cravan's friends probably clung to the idea for years that he had just decided to go underground and was still alive. Compare with Maddie McCann!

So, if you want every statement verified in terms of that "most reliable people think that (p)" it would become totally unwieldy and unreadable. I think, if one looked around some literary historians and critics who have written about Cravan, 99 out of 100 of them would say that he disappeared and with near certainty he drowned, but that in itself doesn't prove he drowned or even that it was the dominant opinion in the years right after 1918" /end of quote/

How can I verify that there were a lot of spurious post-1918 sightings of Arthur Cravan (or any statement about, let's say, the intentions of a historical person, or the forces influencing him)? Well, I have good reason to believe there were such sightings, because I've read this mentioned in passing in a number of reliable writers about dada/surrealist poetry (Cravan became on e of their patron saints), but that doesn't strictly verify anything, or protect it from being erased by some overzealous wikipedian who says "tut tut, this fact is not verified". Actually, lots of times when you're telling the story of a life or explaining something you are not dealing in simple nuts-and-bolts facts but in interpreted statements that have come down to you from your reading, from your own experience and from whjat you've learnt to trust - and ordinary encyclopaedias and handbooks are full of statements that are not simple "raw facts" like that. or blankly compiled from somewhere else. If we want articles here to be sensible and to the point, it's not useful to be fundamentalistic all the time about "must be verified" on every statement seen as an atomic fact because many of them 'are not atomic facts, and never can be.

Moreover, I know cases where I've had key facts that I know are totally certain - because known to me from archive documents, from interviews I've made myself, or from news items I've seen, news pieces of a kind that would have been corrected had the salient fact been wrong - but which couldn't be sourced because those sources were not freely available online. Now, most wikipedians are not so stupid as to say straight out "it must be true because I read it in such and such a book", any and every book, but in reality, a book - any book, and preferably in English - often seems to count as a better source here than a safe fact from an archive file or something that's from the horse's mouth and which can be verified ten times over by different people.Strausszek (talk) 22:21, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

Wow, and people say that I write long posts. Well, having read half of your posting I have this to say. Being verifiable doesnt mean that EVERYONE can read it, just that SOMEONE else can say "yea, I've read it or seen it". If it is in a foreign language and not everyone can verify what it says, too bad for those individuals who dont know the language, they can contact an editor that knows x language, we've been through this regarding using documents that reside only in one museum and not online, verifiable doesnt mean its EASY to verify. There are (somewhere) guidelines regarding using rare documents, interviews, etc as citations. Now, regarding your issue with people putting in false information just because it is cited, whether it is cited or not if the information is FALSE then it must be removed regardless of being cited with a source. Citing information doesnt mean- ok it can stay, but instead it must also be true. Same with true information, being true doesnt mean it can stay, it too needs to be sourced. A source and being true are the only two requirements for information being in an article, and they must BOTH exist.Camelbinky (talk) 23:04, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
I raised some of this, in a much shorter form, at the Swedish WP (I'm from the land of the midnight sun, but fluent in several languages) and the answers I got there were a bit depressing I think, they basically said "if you have a source that exists but which is hard to check and this other guy has a (less trustworthy) source for a different view which is some pulp book that you can find in any library, then too bad, you can't defeat his statement on wiki terms unless you find a more accessible source for your view - or unless you manage to get an admin to settle it in your favour" That's like saying Ann Coulter always beats some Princeton dissertation, isn't it? Because her books and talks are readily available. I can see the problem that interview facts, books in small languages (e.g. Swedish or Czech) and archive statements are not easy to verify to an outsider, but when it results in articles being back-written and inadvertnetly biased because they are skewed from what kind of "sources" are availiable, then you have a serious problem, not least becauise anyone can edit out what has taken you a good deal of serious effort to write and replace it with some crappy text that explains nothing but looks verified and fine.
Cravan is a bit obscure as an example of course, but this ~kind of "half verifiable facts" and interpretative statements are everywhere in the humanities, politics and ordinary language.Strausszek (talk) 23:26, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
Well, in another discussion at the reliable sources noticeboard I think most of us were in aggreement that Ann Coulter was not a reliable source and not usable as a source! But, you are right, lots of editors at this language version of Wikipedia have that same view as you got at the Swedish version, but at least based on the guidelines currently written on this version and the consensus' that have been reached at the Reliable sources noticeboard discussions I would have to say that "being readily available" does not give one source more weight versus another. Yea, each language version of Wikipedia seems to have their own consensus-based "rules", because the consensus is being made by different groups of individuals and I'm sure there may be a cultural aspect at play as well. I must take the time to comment, your English is much better than most of those who edit on the English version and I'm glad you are here!Camelbinky (talk) 01:32, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. I've logged some work as a translator between Swedish, English and French, though I never studied English at a tertiary level. The Swedish-language Wikipedia isn't all as murky as it might sound - the main policy there is not that every fact has to be sourced for itself - but I think they do not have, or haven't bothered to get, a coherent view on how to treat sources that are available to some people but which can't be checked by everyone in ten minutes - scientific papers, archive documents, statistics that are printed but not widely circulated to libraries: company reports etc, and so on. I saw one guy trying to get in, over and over again, that the diplomat Harald Edelstam, who was the Swedish ambassador to Chile in 1972-73 and helped save more than a thousand people from Pinochet's secret police after the coup and get them out of the country (until he was kicked out himself by the Chilene generals), had been a Nazi sympathizer in his youth, thirty years before. His one source was a marginal right-wing magazine in the 1990s where someone had shot this line from the hip: "Edelstam's Nazi sympathies were well known at the time to his acquaintances at the Foreign Office" That text wasn't mainly about Mr.Edelstam at all, but our man felt it was as good as if it had been an affidavit by someone taken in the 1940s and "/the magazine/ Contra stands up for truth and freedom, so they cannot ever lie" *rolls eyes* Well, how do you counter-source that he was *not* ever a Nazi sympathizer, if the people you're disputing with are stubborn enough? Of course his own statements do not count and in any case, saying in public "I was never a Nazi" isn't something you're likely to do, is it?
That attempt was actually detected and removed soon, each time, and the user was finally blocked short-term, but suppose it had been a statement that was just as wrong but which had been around in more widely spread sources than a small ultra-right-wing magazine? Such as "the Jews helped engineer the Bolshevik revolution" (some of the Bolsheviks were Jews, such as Trotsky and Zinovyev, but that's not what the statement really means). In those conditions, with some editors and bureaucrats at the Swedish wiki, it becomes a toss-up what you can trust. Plus, because pretty much everyone has broadband access here and people are very used to reading news and all kinds of texts for free online, it becomes easy to think "if it's been written then it must exist online, or soon will be online". Hey, not even Google Books will achieve that!Strausszek (talk) 08:13, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

Googlebooks have dozens of accounts of Cravan+Loy story in public access. No controversies here. Pick whatever you think is reliable (more reliable than others) and insert the ref. Simple. NVO (talk) 09:22, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

Strausszek, I liked your examples and have had similar arguments with editors about those types of statements in articles that are false but sourced, and its hard to find a source that says the opposite, simply because no one has ever NEEDED to put it in writting.Camelbinky (talk) 21:17, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

WikiJournal?[edit]

WikiJournal? I would like to know people's opinion and get assistance with the idea. I think it has promise, but then again, I came up with the idea. Irbisgreif (talk) 20:39, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

Fixed your link. You might want to take this to the Meta-wiki. Powers T 21:00, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
Ah, if that's the more appropriate place, I'll gladly move it. Irbisgreif (talk) 21:25, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

Secret ballot for ArbCom?[edit]

I've opened an RfC on the subject at Wikipedia:Requests for comment/ArbCom secret ballot. Please participate. — Coren (talk) 01:03, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

Minor modifications to RfC/U templates[edit]

I'm not sure if this qualifies as a "Policy" or "Proposal" discussion, so please feel free to move this if it is felt that it belongs in "Proposal".

A deficiency in the existing {{RfC}} and {{RfC2}} templates has been pointed out in that both of them have a section called "Outside Views", which is misleading for those who have inside views, semi-involved views, etc., as mentioned in the first bullet of the RfC/U guidelines section. I've started a discussion about the topic on the template talk page and would appreciate other viewpoints, since an RfC/U forms part of Wikipedia's policies by virtue of being part of the dispute resolution process. Thanks! --RobinHood70 (talk) 17:59, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

Proposed Appeal Committee[edit]

There is a proposal to create an Appeal Committee for sanctions imposed by administrators or the community, responsibility held until now by the Arbitration Committee, and an Appeal policy as well. Comments and suggestions are welcome. Cenarium (talk) 01:41, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

Call[edit]

Excuse me if I don`t speak good in English, I am not English, I am Romanian, I have a call for en.wp, I saw that many new users aren`t encountered when it is a big Welcoming committee. On ro.wp is an extension Media Wiki (New user message), this is the solution because en.wp can also have this extension. This thing can solve the problem of unencountered users.--Bourgetalk 13:24, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

Commons:Licensing/Justifications[edit]

commons:Commons:Licensing/Justifications is now linked from Wikipedia:Contact us/Photo submission. As such, it's a high visibility (and it should be, as it addresses some FAQ that were not answered before). Any ideas how to further improve it are welcomed. Are any convincing arguments missing? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 17:32, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

The Balkanization of Wikipedia after changing WP:ATHLETE[edit]

Wikipedia could very well split if WP:ATHLETE were to be changed. Now I believe that changing it would spark a crisis of unseen proportions since many Editors would become outraged and demand emancipation or transfer of data to a "new Wiki". There is very little reason to deny transferring the data since the other option is deleting.

This "new Wiki" could in the worst case begin a process of balkanization of Wikipedia bringing about the end of the Project itself or at the very least it could lead to the birth of a competing Wikipedia project, something that doesn't exist today. Either way Wikipedia would weaken itself tremendously.

So in the very unlikely case in which consensus is achieved to change WP:ATHLETE the price of this change is potentially so high that is better to learn to live with it.

Those that advocate changing that policy should also take into consideration the consequences because believing that tens of thousands of articles would be deleted without fierce opposition is a mistake. EconomistBR 21:30, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

Could you provide a link to the discussion that you are referring to and, if possible, a summary of it?Zara1709 (talk) 21:46, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
There isn't one. This is a short text about the consequences of changing WP:ATHLETE, it doesn't deal with or judge the policy.EconomistBR 22:01, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
Am I understanding this correctly, that you're making a threat to prevent the change of a policy? --Carnildo (talk) 00:12, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
No, he's pointing out a possibility of what might happen. Don't be so sensitive. 24.6.46.177 (talk) 00:50, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
Please name an editor who would, unilaterally or with other editors, carry out this threat. SMP0328. (talk) 01:42, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
You didn't read the text, did you? It's not a threat, the split would occur naturally as an unforeseen consequence. EconomistBR 04:41, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

[undent]I think that the discussion that prompted this section is at Wikipedia talk:Notability (people).--Hjal (talk) 04:17, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

I doubt it. One only has to look up in this very forum to see that EconomistBR has been on a long running, one man, campaign to take a hatchet to WP:ATHLETE. Honestly, he's simply attempting to demonize the consensus that is wildly against him. Though I'll give him credit for coming up with some vague threats of a doomsday scenario rather than simply wasting everybody's time with a bunch of random stats that nobody's ever cared about. The appeal to fear was a nice touch, Economist. Resolute 04:42, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
I'm sorry, I'm reading this very differently; in the spirit of WP:AGF, I'm understanding EconomistBR to be saying that he's no longer opposing WP:ATHLETE because he's seen the broad consensus in its favor, and instead he's suggesting that efforts to change it drastically could be damaging because it would lead to the deletion of tens of thousands of popular articles and a lot of dissatisfied editors. So, as I understand it, he's arguing to keep the status quo. A reasonable argument. Economist, am I getting your meaning correctly?--Arxiloxos (talk) 05:09, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
Yes, you understood me correctly. Thank you for reading it this thoroughly. EconomistBR 23:12, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
The creation of a wiki for athletes who fail WP:ATHLETE appears to me to be a good and welcome thing. This is not the first time we have been here - I call to mind the removal of articles on non-notable 9/11 victims and the (suggestion of the) creation of a wiki for them. It is reasonable that those with interests in these athletes will contribute to such a site and may not contribute so much to wikipedia ... equally wikipedia will have less demand for the addition of non-notable athlete articles. So the whole thing evens out nicely. --Tagishsimon (talk) 20:54, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
Very good example Tagishsimon, it proves my theory. Policy change really can have unintended consequences.
Your 9/11 example shows how Wikipedia split itself in a small scale and the split wasn't as a result of policy change. This new Wiki was a result of upholding the policy.
  1. Wikipedia:9/11 victims - Policy proposed to uphold WP:GNG
  2. | In Memoriam wiki - New Wiki created as a direct consequence of upholding Wikipedia policy. Rather than delete the articles, they were transfered to this new Wiki. Upholding the WP:GNG caused Wikipedia to emancipate or divide or split part of the project.
  3. | In Memorian - Wikipedia closed down this new Wiki by making it read only in 2006.
Changing WP:ATHLETE would almost certainly create a "new Wiki", whether it would lead to Balkanization is very hard to determine. EconomistBR 03:53, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
There are already plenty of independent wikis hosted on Wikia. For example, there's one exclusively dedicated to Doctor Who. There should be no problem with athletes. Peter jackson (talk) 10:09, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
Hmmm, I am not sure. The magnitude of a WP:ATHLETE break would be unprecedented. Over 100,000 articles could end up being tranfered to this "new Wiki". On the 9/11 case just 450 were transfered. EconomistBR 19:53, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
If they don't meet our guidelines what's the problem? --Cameron Scott (talk) 19:06, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

(unindent) Good question, Cameron. If hundreds, or even thousands upon thousands of articles don't meet our guidelines, then why is a new wiki with new guidelines a problem? Conservapedia would probably be one, albeit milld, example of Balkanazation. I hardly ever hear of it. A new wiki does not equal a riot. I just re-read your comment, Cameron, and I am stating for the record that I think I misinterpreted it.--I dream of horses (T) @ 18:22, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

How is an "Official Name" of a country determined?[edit]

Hello,

I have been in a discussion on a talk page, and the issue being discussed is the "Official Name" of a country whose the first language is not English.

One group of editors states that the name as stated in the constitution of the country, though not in English, is the "Official Name".

Another group of editors states that the name given by English-speaking governments is the "Official Name" of that country.

How exactly is the "Official Name" of a non-English speaking country determined on Wikipedia?

Thank you, Horlo (talk) 09:20, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

The official name of a country is decided upon by the country itself. The internationally recognised name can be completely different, and the commonly used name in English (and thus the article title) can still be dfferent. If an official name is given, it should be the closest possible translation of the name in the original language. Burma is a good example of this. Fram (talk) 09:39, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
Thank you. Horlo (talk) 07:19, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

Citations in book articles where the book itself is the source..[edit]

In articles about a book, is there any formal policy regarding having to cite the book itself in synopsis and character sections, or any sections where the book itself is being described, rather than discussed.

I was just looking at The Handmaid's Tale article, and the first thing I really noticed is loads of [citation needed] tags in the synopsis and character lists. It looks ugly and stupid, and seems pointless since the source is the book itself.

Some of that articles authors feel that WP:V requires every item from the book must be cited with edition, page and paragraph numbers. This seems terribly pedantic to me, and makes the whole article look messy for almost no benefit.

Of course you do need edition/page/para citations to the book for discussion and explanation of it's contents, especially where they rely on individual passages or phrases within it. And you need them if noting differences between editions and translations; but does the Animal Farm article need a citation that Snowball was a pig, or that the plot featured the animals working on a windmill?

A limited search here failed to turn up discussion of this, so I thought I'd ask here.. Am I missing something on the WP:V pages, or not interpreting them right? I guess this would apply to some other media types (plays, films, shows, etc.) too. EasyTarget (talk) 13:31, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

The article in question seems to be gone. Irbisgreif (talk) 13:57, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, my bad, failed to check the links.. fixed now —Preceding unsigned comment added by EasyTarget (talkcontribs) 14:01, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
If it truly and clearly is only a plot synopsis, with no synthesis, then the source is very obvious and so may (and probably should) be left implicit. I can't find that explicitly mentioned at Wikipedia:How to write a plot summary, but it has been brought up on its talk page, and I think it makes very much sense to most people. —JAOTC 15:15, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
That disruptive ammount of "citation needed" tags was added in May by User:NYScholar, who is banned. His block log is huge and apparently he was a person very hard to deal with. He was also prone to burying other people's comments by writing huge replies, I've met editors who do that. EconomistBR 16:46, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

Thanks all, that is useful info. EasyTarget (talk) 14:44, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

Not sure it is best to leave citation of the plot synopsis implicit, though. You might consider indicating page numbers (or ranges) corresponding at least to major plot elements. But, yes, the book itself should be citable for this. - Jmabel | Talk 15:03, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

As long as the plot summary is discriptive and not analytical, we assume that it is cited to the book itself. If anyone objects, you can always cite it (<ref>Author, Book Title, publisher, date, ISBN</ref>) Blueboar (talk) 16:27, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
Per WP:PLOTSUM#Citations, Citations about the plot summary itself, however, may refer to the primary source - the work of fiction itself. --Tagishsimon (talk) 00:14, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

NY Times: "A Rorschach Cheat Sheet on Wikipedia?"[edit]

link: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/29/technology/internet/29inkblot.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

"[I]n the last few months, the online encyclopedia Wikipedia has been engulfed in a furious debate involving psychologists who are angry that the 10 original Rorschach plates are reproduced online, along with common responses for each.[...]
"They are pitted against the overwhelming majority of Wikipedia’s users, who share the site’s “free culture” ethos, which opposes the suppression of information that it is legal to publish."

I didn't know about that, the Rorschach test article is currently fully-protected. Despite months of controversy the plates remained in display. I am glad Editors were around to make sure that Wikipedia policy was respected and observed. EconomistBR 15:04, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

It's not the only place to find these things is Wikipedia. If they hadnt already been reproduced and published somewhere they wouldnt have met our criteria for inclusion, no matter how notable they are.Camelbinky (talk) 23:34, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
And, of course, by complaining, the people against inclusion are just creating a Streisand effect. Same with Virgin Killer. --Golbez (talk) 23:35, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
You are right, Rorschach test usually got around 5k views per month now because of the controversy the article received over 990k views in July. EconomistBR 02:40, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

published content[edit]

I have question concerning the creation of an article. I want to create an article on a book that was published with a print-on-demand. Is that viable in the eyes of wikipedia? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Elipomerleau (talkcontribs) 15:08, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

Make sure the book complies with WP:Notability (books) guideline before starting the article, if book doesn't comply, the article will end up getting deleted. EconomistBR 15:20, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

Question about globalizing content of articles[edit]

Hi,

I'm hoping someone can point me to a Wikipedia policy that provides guidelines regarding the extent to which making a significant effort to provide worldwide content is desirable/appropriate. I haven't been able to find an applicable policy or guideline -- heck, I can't even find the "globalize" message template anymore.

If there isn't a policy you can point me to, here's the problem I'm running into.

I'm working with a small group of editors on a series of articles about dyslexia. The vast majority of dyslexia research has been done on English-speakers. There is some information about dyslexia in European languages, and there is a growing base of information about Chinese-based dyslexia.

There are some topics where differences between English speaking countries is required, for example differences between the US and UK, especially in terminology. That's pretty easy to deal with. There are a couple of articles where we have a reasonable amount of information unrelated to the US/UK (see Orthographies and dyslexia -- where there are discussions about how different writing systems affect how dyslexia manifests in individuals). That's pretty straightforward also.

The problem is that trying to globalize *everything* in these articles is becoming very awkward. There are lots of places where the only verifiable information is about dyslexia in English, but it's easy to see that this is an area where there are probably differences for dyslexia in other languages --- there's just no comparable information for anything other than English. And trying to organize the information is so awkward that we're ending up with section that are pretty contorted because we're trying to approach the topics from a worldwide view. This means a much less usable article for the vast majority of our audience.

For an example of what I mean, see the "Signs and symptoms" section of dyslexia. Most of the research we have about symptoms is based on alphabetic languages. Someday there will be comparable information about dyslexia in other writing systems, but it's not there today. Take a look and I think the organization problem will be pretty obvious.

Some of the best books about dyslexia write most of the content assuming they're talking about dyslexia in English -- English-speakers are their primary audience after all -- and then they include a section or chapter called something like "Dyslexia Around the World" that addresses the non-English information that is available. Would this be a defensible approach for Wikipedia articles?

Does anyone have suggestions?

Thanks, Rosmoran (talk) 02:20, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

A similar discussion is taking place at Wikipedia:Village_pump_(proposals)#American_perspective, some of your questions can be answered there, such as a link to the globalize template (and globalise template for our British friends). If some want to have a parallel discussion here, go ahead, but for my views on the asinine idea of globalising every single thing in every article read the village pump (proposals) discussion. My view on this dyslexia thing is- this is English Wikipedia, if there isnt anything, or very little, published on dyslexia among non-English language speakers, written in the English language then it isnt notable enough in the English speaking world for you to "globalise" the entire article, a small section noting that in English there hasnt been much published on the dyslexia in other languages (if this has indeed been verified through the use of a published source stating that) would suffice and no further globalizing of the article is needed, anything more would be OR in my eyes.Camelbinky (talk) 02:55, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
"written in the English language" - Not quite right. Our sourcing policy permits the use of non-English sources for/in our articles. The rest of your comment is pretty much on the money though. --Cybercobra (talk) 04:42, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

Biased rant[edit]

Look at this diff:[3] Was I correct to revert it? There's no source, but if I can remember to do it when I have time, I'll look and see if I can find acceptable sources for the statements that were already in the article. Somehow I think the additions by this one person are just the ranting of someone who is mad, though if a source could be provided I suppose we could present the alternate point of view.

Actually, looking at what I restored, some of that also looks like biased ranting.

I've seen a history of this radio station that presents many of the facts, but I never used it because I would have to rework the article so much and I don't want to mess up what appear to be facts the way I have heard them. Unfortunately, the Asheville Citizen-Times online archive doesn't go back this far, so I can't use the articles I've seen as sources. When I go to Asheville, North Carolina, I'm just passing through and going to microfilm is out of the question for me.

I have written to and received a reply from Jesse Helms on this issue so I know it was important to him.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 16:29, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

Featured lists on the main page[edit]

I recently started a discussion about nominating featured lists for the main page, and wanted to know if perhaps some of you would consider contributing to the discussion happening there. ---kilbad (talk) 20:32, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

Something to help our transparency[edit]

I know this may be something more to discuss on Meta, but I want to lay the groundwork here. Has the Wikimedia Foundation ever thought about sending up some of their DMCA's and C&D's and such to Chilling Effects? 22:46, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

Great Repeal Bill & the co-opting of Wikipedia[edit]

The intent of the article Great Repeal Bill is, apparently, to enable UK citizens to make proposals for the bill's content by editing and making suggestions in the wikipedia article, according to the telegraph: Douglas Carswell MP creates a Wiki-page inviting voters to draft a Great Repeal Bill. Are we happy to have wikipedia coopted for this purpose? Would we like to remove the article line "Members of the public are able to add to the list of laws and rules to be repealed in the draft of the Bill below", and thereafter patrol the page? Contact Mr. Carswell & suggest he set up his own wiki page? --Tagishsimon (talk) 13:09, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

  • I like the idea, but obviously it shouldn't be being done within this project, particularly in article space.--Kotniski (talk) 13:13, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
    • Well, I be'd bold and moved it out of mainspace (to User:Great Repeal Bill, for want of anything better). It will no doubt get deleted sooner or later, unless it gets enough coverage to warrant an article on it.--Kotniski (talk) 13:29, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
    • And I fully protected it, to discourage the use of it as indicated by the Telegraph article. This is most definitely not what Wikipedia is for. Since there is no user with that name anyway, no one is protected from editing his own user page. Fram (talk) 13:33, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
      • First Wikipedia Art, now this? Why do people even think this sort of thing is even possibly appropriate? ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 14:11, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
        • Wikipedia Art was in no way first. People have been abusing Wikipedia, and indeed the other WMF wikis, as free wiki hosting services, for various projects, for years. Whilst the words "Wikipedia is not a free wiki host or webspace provider" in a section heading first arrived in the Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not official policy in 2005, the actual policy prohibitions incorporated into that section had been there since June 2002. (See this edit by Stephen Gilbert.) This sort of abuse of Wikipedia has been going on for a long time. Uncle G (talk) 14:46, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
  • If someone wanted to write a polite, helpful email to the MP and to the Telegraph explaining what is and is not appropriate for Wikipedia, that would be superb. Bonus points for explaining how the MP can set up his own wiki using an appropriate free service or his own server. Technical skills and people skills are required for this task; please can no one go off half-cocked? TenOfAllTrades(talk) 14:22, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
    • The bill-writing and discussion could actually be tw-ed to Wikiversity, so long as the MP understands that he'll have no editorial control and/or moderator status. I can import if they want to try it. --SB_Johnny | talk 14:31, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
      • That sounds a solution. I'm afraid I'm away for the day, but if someone could pick up TenOfAllTrades' suggestion, that would be helpful to the errant MP. --Tagishsimon (talk) 14:39, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
        • I strongly endorse TenOfAllTrades' suggestion. I tried to convince myself that the experiment was a good idea, however, I concluded it was not. It is a good idea to use a wiki as part of their experiment, just not Wikipedia. I hope that someone can offer them some help to set up their own wiki, then we should include an article in WP pointing people to that effort, as it is inevitable that if someone hears a wiki is big used, they will look to WP to find it, not to mention the likelihood that Google will send them our way.--SPhilbrickT 15:22, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
    • Imported: v:Great Repeal Bill. Might be interesting, might not. --SB_Johnny | talk 16:34, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
    • Is it possible to redirect to Wikiversity? I'm not sure of the point of putting it at another wiki if nobody (including the guy who originally put it here) has any way to knowing it's there. Propaniac (talk)
      • I was just thinking the same thing. A soft redirect for a week or a month might be a good idea for OR-related transwikis, but that's probably a whole nother discussion. --SB_Johnny | talk 17:28, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
        • 3 people suggested a redirect with no dissent. I agree with a soft redirect, so I put it in place. --Hroðulf (or Hrothulf) (Talk) 18:07, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
  • It's the seemingly-ineradicable confusion between Wikipedia and "wikis" as a genre/technology. (As a purely personal aside: I've seldom seen a slimier collection of "unleash the Invisible Hand" blather to disguise reactionary pro-corporate agendas, conflated with legitimate civil-libertarian concerns.) --Orange Mike | Talk 17:19, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Quick comment, it seems the originator indeed moved it to its own wiki: [4] not sure what to do about it. 76.188.106.52 (talk) 20:07, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
    • If the proposal is notable (and I think it is a close call at the moment), we could have an article about the initiative, and include the new wiki as an external link. I'd like to see some evidence that the wiki attracts some editing. --SPhilbrickT 20:03, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
      • No, that's not what confers notability. Please read and familiarize yourself with Wikipedia:Notability. Then go and observe that Daniel Hannan, the author of the diary entry, is the co-author with Douglas Carswell of the book The Plan: Twelve Months to Renew Britain‎, which documents this same idea and which was self-published via lulu.com in 2008. There are no independent sources documenting the idea except for the creators of the idea writing about it themselves as self-promotion. Notability requires independent sources. Uncle G (talk) 14:46, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

Categorization policy[edit]

As it stands our categorization system is borked beyond usable for the most part. too many times are things nested down in sub sub sub sub categories to the point where its impossible to find. My suggestion would make things a lot easier. we create super categories. IE all TV stations not only go into the appropriate localized sub categories but also part of a single massive category that may or may not be a hidden cat. If I want to find a tv station article I dont want to have to search 30 sub categories. why dont we have these types of super categories. we have them for free/non-free images. it makes things a lot easier to work with. βcommand 21:51, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

I think this would be a good idea, as long as we don't create such supercategories at too many different levels. The structure that might be envisaged (and which I've seen suggested before at WT:CAT) is to have something like "Category:All TV stations" as a subcategory of "Category:TV stations". That way the huge listing won't get in the way of people trying to navigate the other subcategories. (And I see no reason for these categories to be hidden - they'd be for readers to use, not for maintenance.)--Kotniski (talk) 07:17, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
I don't understand why there isn't an option on Category pages to show all the pages in a category and its subcategories, recursively. A technical solution would avoid the extra work of creating+maintaining redundant "supercategories". Alternately, one could view this as an example of why we have lists in addition to categories; but I'm not a list fan, so... --Cybercobra (talk) 07:52, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
Indeed (your first statement). This is a technical lacking in MediaWiki, not an organisational issue. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 08:08, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
Have you ever looked at the disaster that we call categories? if you go deep enough you get very very bizarre results. pick any higher level cat and youll find out things that are not even remotely considered relevant get tossed in. As any Bot operator that tries to use categories. besides category loops its just a complete disaster. βcommand 17:45, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

[outdent] Could we tone down the hyperbole? Categories are not a complete disaster. Very many categories & subcategories work very effectively in drawing together lists of articles concerned with the same subject area. That being established, I grant that there are issues with them - not least the two pointed out here - 1. inability to see members of subcategories from a high level, meaning one has to hunt around in multiple cats to find an article 2. loops & other illogicalities which affect, in particular, bots. One does not tend to solve problems by misidentifying them.

Meanwhile, it is worth remembering Jack Spratt and his esteemed wife: subcategorisation works well for some purposes, and badly for others.

I'd be happier to see a mediawiki solution allowing articles in child categories to be seen from a parent, if wanted, than that we start proliferating categories; not least since these proliferated categories wouldbe placed in the hands of the selfsame people who allegedly borked the original category system. --Tagishsimon (talk) 00:03, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

One of the problems is that what we call subcategories are often not true subcategories. For example, Category:France is a "subcategory" of Category:European countries. So even if we had a tool for viewing unions of subcategories , it would be of very limited usefulness, since for example Paris or Napoleon would end up in the "Countries" category. Personally I'd like to see us work towards scrapping the present categories functionality and replacing it with a semantic system that would be far more rigorous, usable and useful. But for now, the best thing we could do is try to decide on some consistent (though reasonably flexible) rules about categorization, make sure they're well documented, and go about implementing them. I think the supercategories idea suggested here could be quite a useful one.--Kotniski (talk) 10:04, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
Wow, that's a verbatim violation of the WP:Categorization policy - "The question arises as to whether eponymous categories should be placed in (made subcategories of) the categories which their corresponding articles belong to. Logically they usually should not (for example, France belongs to Category:European countries, but Category:France does not constitute a subset of European countries)." (edit) Although it appears to be under protracted discussion. --Cybercobra (talk) 20:34, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
Yes, we had an RFC about that, which didn't come to any firm conclusions. "Logically they should not" indeed, but logic isn't the only factor for many people...--Kotniski (talk) 14:38, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

Action when a RFC has not worked for a user[edit]

I have a user with which I have recently come in contact. I see there have been some problems for this user before, including a RFC, and the behavior has not been modified. What is the next step? I seriously doubt another RFC would be of help. And this seems too minor for the Arbitration Committee. Magog the Ogre (talk) 20:04, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

That's going to depend heavily on the particular user, your history, his history, the specific problem(s), and what sort of remedies might be required to resolve the issues. If there is a persistent user conduct issue which has not been resolved through polite requests on the user's talk page, and those same issues have already been presented in an RfC – where there was broad agreement that the conduct was problematic – then you might consider posting a request at WP:AN/I. Uninvolved administrator will be able to review the case (please provide a clear, concise summary of the problem, along with links to the RfC, diffs of the inappropriate behaviour, and pointers to any ongoing discussions) and take any action. At first, there may be a warning issued; if the user fails to respond to a warning, blocks may follow. (Note that AN/I isn't an appropriate venue if you're not requesting intervention that requires admin tools: blocks, page protection, etc.)
Given no specific information about the situation, I'm afraid I can't offer any further advice. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 21:03, 2 August 2009 (UTC) (corrected typo 13:33, 3 August 2009 (UTC))

Lists of names in other languages[edit]

Some articles list the names of their topic in various other languages. For example, Asparagus has this:

It is known in French and Dutch as asperge, in Italian as asparago (old Italian asparagio), in Portuguese as espargo hortense, in Spanish as espárrago, in German as Spargel, in Hungarian as spárga.

The Sanskrit name of Asparagus is Shatavari and it has been historically used in India as a part of Ayurvedic medicines.In Kannada, it is known as Ashadhi, Majjigegadde or Sipariberuballi.

And our article Huntsmen (military) informs the reader that

Huntsmen are called chasseurs in French, cazadores in Spanish, Jäger in German and caçadores in Portuguese.

What is the use of that? Wikipedia is not a multilingual dictionary, and the selection of languages seems quite arbitrary; why not extend the Asparagus list with "in Basque as zainzuri, in Chinese as 芦笋, in Czech as chřest lékařský, in Erzya as ведунтикше, in Greek as σπαράγγι, in Japanese as アスパラガス, in Lithuanian as vaistinis smidras, in Persian as مارچوبه, in Turkish as kuşkonmaz, in Upper Sorbian as prawy hromak, and in Urdu as ہلیون", and the Huntsmen list with: "jægersoldater in Danish, jagers in Dutch, jeger in Norwegian, szaserzy in Polish, vânători in Romanian, cazadores in Spanish, and jägare in Swedish" – which could probably be expanded with dozens of other languages that have words for these concepts. And then, why not list the word for "shoe" in multiple languages in the article Shoe, and so on?

For some examples of articles with quite extensive lists, see At sign#"Commercial at" in other languages, Evil eye#Names in various languages, and Mille-feuille#Alternative names. Such enumerations are typically unsourced and, once established, attract additions (possibly based on "original research", like my additions for names for asparagus and huntsmen above).

Question: Is there some Wikipedia rule or guideline explicitly discouraging this kind of lists? If not, should there be?  --Lambiam 15:20, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

This doesn't always apply, but in some cases, it's giving information about the etymology of the word. Irbisgreif (talk) 17:12, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
Maybe you're thinking of something like that the English word "marmalade" is borrowed (with a small alteration) from French marmelade, which came from Portuguese marmelada, derived from the root marmelo ("quince"), which comes from Latin melimelum, which took the name from Greek μελίμηλον (literally "honey apple"). (This is the longest etymological chain I could find.) That is a rather different situation than giving translations into as many languages as you can find, such as "marmalade is marmelada in Bosnian and Croatian, marmeláda in Czech, marmelade in Danish, Dutch and German, marmelado in Esperanto, marmellata in Italian", and so on, which is what this is about.  --Lambiam 13:21, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
The names of things in foreign languages can be encyclopedic topics, as in Names of Germany, so lists of random names in foreign languages are okay if they have encyclopedic commentary. Your asparagus example does not seem to fall into the "encyclopedic" but mostly in the "dictionary" category. Kusma (talk) 21:03, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
Good point, it's getting worse I think. I've seen lists of translated names in other scripts too (e.g. chinese, indian). So I can't even read them. I've started to delete the lists. Be bold. MCG 22:59, 6 January 2013 (UTC)

Système International d'Unités[edit]

why it is not used? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 88.218.157.173 (talk) 13:43, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

If we may infer that your question is "Why doesn't Wikipedia always use SI units in its articles?", then the answer is thus: mostly, SI units are preferred. However, we can't force contributors unfamiliar with SI units to use them. Sometimes, for example, source material uses non-SI units - either archaic ones, or modern ones. Anyhow, the full list of exceptions and commentary is at Wikipedia:MOSNUM#Which units to use to browse at your leisure. - Jarry1250 [ In the UK? Sign the petition! ] 14:16, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

yes, that is exactly what i am asking. thank you, i will read it and i will return if i find something that can be improved.

i am in Greece. if i was in the UK i would sign the petition immediately. --88.218.157.173 (talk) 17:59, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

RfC on Template:Policy[edit]

Fresh eyes would be appreciated at Template talk:Policy#RfC: Changes made should reflect consensus. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 03:03, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

About template Welcome[edit]

Hello! I see that nobody took note at my call. Apart of this thing I think that the sentence Thank you for your contributions from the template Welcome is not necessary, because are new users who haven`t contribs but they should be encountered.--Bourgetalk 14:25, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

There have been many discussions about this. I personally prefer human welcomes (usually also saying a word or two about what people did) to bot-generated ones. Bot-generated welcomes also destroy the useful "talk page is a red link" information. Kusma (talk) 14:37, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
I didn`t speak about a bot, I spoke about a extension Media Wiki hear. I prefer human welcomes too, but Welcoming committee has a lot of members and majority of them don`t attend with welcoming, I am in Welcoming comittee too and I encountered certain new users, but on en.wp new users appears massif and a man can`t encounter them all, if Welcoming comittee would attend with welcoming aren`t problems, but in the situation in who is en.wp now an extension Media Wiki or even a bot can solve this problem.--Bourgetalk 16:20, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

There's little point in welcoming people who haven't edited yet (and it can be bad for various reasons, one of them being that it makes their talk pages blue instead of red). I generally think that welcoming people that you have no connection with is pointless. Welcomes by people interested in the same subject area as you give you a useful point of contact, but welcoming for the sake of welcoming isn't all that useful. Just my opinion, of course. Kusma (talk) 16:41, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

If I encounter somebody with a redlinked talk page while vandal fighting, I'll give them a welcome template. A lot of times they need help, and I'm willing to do that. It gives me warm fuzzies inside, and opening the door for help is one step to prevent the new user from being mistaken for a vandal.
Other than that, no, I don't go out of my way to welcome new users. A lot of times, people don't edit after getting a screen name.I dream of horses (T) @ 01:01, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

AfD automation?[edit]

I was looking at the AfD_in_3_steps page (which is not 3 steps, but it was a valiant effort), and it seems that this can be reduced to a single actual step:

  1. Add {{subst:afd|Detailed reason for deletion|U}}, where U should be replaced by blah blah.

And then, a bot takes care of everything else. Thoughts?   M   02:45, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

Comment on Infopage explanation[edit]

I have created an infopage to help explain what an infopage is and how they differ from guidelines, policies, and essays. It can be reviewed at User:Smallman12q/Infopage (it's in userspace for now) and commented at User_talk:Smallman12q/Infopage. Thanks. Smallman12q (talk) 20:24, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

Shekley external links[edit]

The estate of a writer with alot of books have recently build a new offical homepage. I was wanting to change all the external links to everything that is associated to this writer. Is this okay? I got a warning message telling me I was changing too many links. If I continue to change the offical web page in each wiki page associated to him, will there be undesirable consequences? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jbballoch (talkcontribs) 22:00, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

I think it is appropriate to link to that site from the Robert Sheckley page, but not from each of Sheckley's works. Advice is offered at Wikipedia:External links. In short, a website linked to from an article should offer some additional information about the subject of the article beyind that held in the article. In the case of Sheckley's website, it does not do this. The books have very short write-ups on the Sheckley site, containing no new information. Hope this helps. --Tagishsimon (talk) 00:39, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
I just wanted to add that it help out if you explain, either in your edit summary or the articles' talk page just what you are doing. I dream of horses (T) @ 00:46, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

Gratuitous references to religious & ethnic backgrounds[edit]

I have noticed that a great many Wikipedia articles about well-known individuals gratuitously refer to his/her Jewish background, even when the person's ethnicity or religion is completely irrelevant to their lives or to the subject matter of the article.

This occurs only in the case of Jews, as far as I can determine. I do not see non-material references to one's Christian or Muslim heritage. Nor do I see references noting that a person comes from Armenian, Scottish, Icelandic, or other ethnic backgrounds.

When I have seen these references, I have removed them. See for example, my recent edit to the article on MIT Professor George Boolos. Dr. Boolos was born in the USA, and while his family may have been Jewish, his contributions were to logic and the philosophy of mathematics and not to Jewish studies or to Judaism.

Another example. which I have not changed, is the article on social psychologist Kurt Lewin. There are many, many other examples.

It does seem to me that there may be a despicable thread of anti-Semitism in the edits of some Wikipedia contributors that ought to be noted and addressed by administrators. So I guess I am asking for a policy change in which a non-material reference to one's ethnicity or religion is not permitted.

For your information, the Nazi regime began doing something like this in 1940 -- requiring, in this case, that professors at universities be characterized as "of Jewish origin", even if the person in question had been born to a family living in Germany for many generations.

These kinds of things are abhorrent to me, and I hope you share that sentiment.

Thank you.

Roberterubin (talk) 00:19, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

I think you don't look at enough articles. I see plenty of irrelevant references to Christian or Muslim heritage and even more to ethnic background. Particularly prevalent in category addition, most commonly related to race or religion rather than origin. --ClubOranjeT 01:24, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
I agree that there are many irrelevant references to religious and ethnic backgrounds. Should those references be removed? How many of those references are based on bigoted motives? I believe, based on AGF, that the answer is "no" unless there is strong evidence to the contrary. SMP0328. (talk) 01:36, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
I think this has less to do with any form of racism that it does with some form of ethnic/national pride. Very often it seems contributors who belong to a specific group want to highlight the accomplishments of that group's members. On the other hand, many articles do indeed make too much of minor details and could be trimmed. Doc Tropics 02:51, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
To put out in the open any conflict of interest some may think I have, I am going to state here for the record that I am in fact a Jew. I am proud of that yes, and I am proud of Jews that are famous. I don't work on articles about people, though I am going to be soon working on one, and ironically it is one in which race is important to mention. This is how I think- unfortunately white people have had the ability and opportunity to shape much of the world's history and write much of the world's history in their favor, they therefore are over represented, and therefore when we (minorities) have someone of our particular ethnic or racial background do something amazing then yes it is notable that they were of a minority background. Ther person I will be writting about is Adam Blake, Jr. who owned the Kenmore Hotel in pre-Civil War Albany, New York, he was African-American and though born a freeman his father had been a slave. The fact that as a black man he was respected, very wealthy, and built and owned a hotel, all in that time period where he could not vote or hold an elected office even in a northern city, it is very important to mention his race. In fact if he had been a white man he wouldn't have been notable at all and I wouldn't make an article about him! It is equally relevant to mention that Albert Einstein was Jewish or Leonard Nemoy from Star Trek is Jewish (as is William Shatner). To mention someone is Jewish it is just as notable as mentioning that someone is American or Canadian. To compare it to other religions is wrong, it is an ethnic group and nationality and more comparable to how articles mention if someone (such as Shatner or Pamela Anderson) is Canadian, or how Jackie Robinson was Black. The poster, who I will give good-faith to, in the way he/she posted made it seem like they were trying to fight against racism by keeping the mention of Jewishness from being in an article. The way it was written however I saw it through other eyes and saw it as anti-semitic 'why do Jews get to go around putting on articles mentioning who's a Jew when Christians don't do that', but I think I read it that way through the prism of someone who has been affected by racism and the fact that the poster put, and I quote- "This occurs only in the case of Jews, as far as I can determine." I think the poster chose some poor words in that sentence and I encourage, strongly, that the editor refrain from continuing to remove from articles references to the individual being Jewish, as I think that sentence would come back to haunt them should someone bring a complaint.Camelbinky (talk) 03:12, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
Some infobox templates for people include religion. Peter jackson (talk) 10:03, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
Virtually every single biographical article refers to ancestry. For example, Thomas Edison:

"Thomas Edison was born in Milan, Ohio, and grew up in Port Huron, Michigan. He was the seventh and last child of Samuel "The Iron Shovel" Edison, Jr. (1804–1896) (born in Marshalltown, Nova Scotia, Canada) and Nancy Matthews Elliott (1810–1871). He considered himself to be of Dutch ancestry.[1]"John Chamberlain (talk) 23:33, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

There is no mention of Edison's religion or ethnic background in the article. You are referring to the country from which his family came, and I am talking about neither that nor race. In my review of many Wikipedia biographical articles, I do not see widespread gratuitous mention of ethnic background or religion except in the case of Jews. In many such cases an individual's Jewish background is mentioned instead of his or her nationality.Roberterubin (talk) 21:20, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
In cases where a reference to someone's religion is put in place of his nationality, a correction is in order. SMP0328. (talk) 21:27, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
My point was that many Wikipedia contributors go out of their way to make sure readers know that the person they are writing about is Jewish, whether or not it is relevant to the article. It is a case of "overcategorization", which may be motivated by anti-Semitism. I think that it has no place in Wikipedia. And I would extend that to include the gratuitous mention of anyone's religion or ethnicity. But Jews seem to be singled out for this. Take a look, for example, at the articles on the men who have served this country as Federal Reserve chairmen. With the exception of Eugene Meyer, all of those who happened to be Jewish are so identified, while the religion of all of the others is not mentioned at all. Odd, isn't it? And pernicious, in my view.Roberterubin (talk) 01:20, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
I wish you would provide any evidence whatsoever that this mentioning of jewishness is pernicious, anti-semitic, or in any way negative. Good faith would allow you as easily to assume that it was being done for reasons of pride; or because the Jewish collective is regarded as an ethnoreligious group, in distinct contrast to, for instance, Christianity. Whereas I agree that the issue is noteworthy, I tell you frankly that the way you are going about raising it does not inspire me to get involved in any way shape or form. Indeed you lost me at the point that you drew a comparison between wikipedia authors and 1930s Germany. I'd be reasonably sure that others are avoiding you for the same reason. --Tagishsimon (talk) 01:42, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
I wonder what you mean by "the Jewish collective"? And I drew a comparison not between 1930s Germany and Wikipedia authors, but between the needless classification of people according to their religion or religious heritage on Wikipedia, which reminded me of the same kind of thing that was done in Germany under the Nazi regime.Roberterubin (talk) 03:43, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
Roberterubin, YOU are the one being anti-semitic and racist in this entire discussion and I encourage you strongly, again!, to drop this and not remove any mentioning of a person's Jewishness from an article. To SMP0328- being a Jew is an ethnic and national designation as well as a religion, in fact one can be Jewish and belong to a different religion. That is not possible for Catholics, Mormons, Jehovah Witness', Muslims, etc. so nothing needs to be "corrected" in this case. Back to Robertrubin- I for one will not tolerate anyone with an anti-semitic agenda trying to use Wikipedia to push their agenda. Remove the mentioning of someone being Jewish (and Roberterubin is ONLY wanting to remove Jews because "they are the only ones he sees") and next comes removing any article about anyone who is Jewish. I know that is extreme and wont happen, but of course that's what my family said in 80 years ago...Camelbinky (talk) 01:54, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
No, I don't think that removing references to one's religion that are not relevant to the material of an article (and I don't restrict this suggestion to Jews only, but to all such cases, as I have repeatedly stated) leads to removing articles about Jews.Roberterubin (talk) 03:43, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
As I read it, Robert, you're opposed to it for the same reason you'd be opposed to putting Tutsi/Hutu in biographies (or requiring people to carry ID stating it).
Likely the people putting the information there mean to positively highlight it, but it does smack of an anti-X policy of identifying subversives or undesirables. In some cases it might matter, but usually seems like an over-exaggerated detail. (As in when someone says "I'm in a class - with two asians!" Why is this detail so important to them?
I think RR is right to remove the information when he doesn't think it adds to the article. Jewish, Muslim, Black, White, Fat or Tall. If it IS important information it should leave a hole in the article - if it does not it was a good edit. 74.198.97.35 (talk) 17:08, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
If Roberterubin thinks that only jewish people are identified in articles, he obviously hasnt wandered in the world of articles about Bollywood actors where identification of individuals as hindu or muslim is found in nearly every page. -- The Red Pen of Doom 02:10, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for pointing that out. I was not aware of it, and I am just as opposed to immaterial references to one being Hindu or Muslim as I am to one being Jewish.Roberterubin (talk) 03:43, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
This, largely, sums it up; as long as you consider the rest of the world "immaterial" your point falls on deaf ears. No need for further soapboxing here. NVO (talk) 06:29, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
Fair enough. Then how about a clarification in order to make it when "Jewish" is being used in its religious context and when it's used in its ethnic context. SMP0328. (talk) 02:08, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
I agree that a clarification in an article would be fine to show that the person is a Jew versus of the Jewish religion. The problem for deciding how to clarify that is that since, from around the beginning of the Christian religion until the babyboomer generation, it has been such a rare occasion for gentiles and Jews to marry/have children together during those 2000 years. (for further discussion on the history and why and references come to my talk page and I'll provide whatever needed) So being a Jew and being Jewish were one and the same for most people, except for apostates (people who converted to another religion) and their decendants. Benjamin Disraeli, PM of the Great Britain is a prime example of someone who is a Jew (or partly) but not one who has ever been Jewish in religion and for whom such a clarification is needed. Other prominent Jews who were not Jewish in religion would be Robert Moses and Lenin. I think to mention that all of these men have Jewish backgrounds is notable and important for their articles. Plus, most importantly, the main reason to include them is that- published material, in particular biographies, of these men and other "ethnic" Jews (versus Jews who practice Judaism) do make a mention of it and often delve into the family history of being Jewish and why the religion was dropped from the family's practices. Then we have people who were Jews by conversion but were born gentiles (which the Jewish religion states we must not treat or label any differently than those born Jewish) such as Sammy Davis, Jr and Madonna. But again, their conversion would be notable as converting is a notable event in someone's life, especially to a religion that in the last 2,000 years has not been active in looking for converts and at many times actively discouraged them. Whether a person is ethnically or religiously a Jew, most likely it will be notable based on the attention it receives in printed material, and that ultimately is what matters in being included in Wikipedia- it is notable, and it is properly cited. If those two criteria are met, then removing the info from an article is vandalism.Camelbinky (talk) 03:33, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
Just because a reference to someone's religion or ethnicity appears in and receives "attention" in "printed material" makes it appropriate for inclusion in Wikipedia? That is news to me. Beyond that, I would say that the same objection I have raised to the practice here applies as well to other media, so the presence in other media and the "attention" received (however that is measured) is a poor criterion. There may be many things about an individual that appear in printed or other source material that are not relevant to an article about that person if the intent of the article is simply to accurately and completely record for Wikipedia readers the achievements for which that person is noted. One may find in "printed material" that Albert Einstein's cousin was a Berlin train conductor who loved lasagne. That does not establish it as appropriate for inclusion in a biography on Wikipedia of Einstein, no matter how much attention it may receive (and it may receive a lot of attention due to the conductor's cousin being a famous physicist). And if it were included, removing such irrelevant information is not vandalism. Having said that, I agree with you that Sammy Davis, Jr's conversion to Judaism was far from irrelevant. But I am not talking about those kinds of references.Roberterubin (talk) 04:23, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
I am opposed to superfluous references to one's Jewish heritage in any context. Being Jewish comprises an ethnic identity and/or a religious affiliation. If nothing about either aspect is material to the achievements noted or being described, then it is unnecessary and irrelevant and should not be part of the article. The same thing, I suggest, applies to being Muslim, Hindu, Catholic, etc.Roberterubin (talk) 03:43, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

Roberterubin has a valid point, although it's not easy to explain why. The way we deal with ethnic and religious backgrounds differs between different cultures.

(1) The US is an immigration country where for most people history doesn't reach far back. People like to trace their roots back to the actual immigrants.

(2) In Europe people tend to think much less about their ancestry. All those books about European family names are printed in America. There is no cut-off point to which you would trace back your ancestors. In Europe it's also not necessarily a good thing to know where your ancestors came from. And if you do, one being Jewish, or from a neighbouring country, is often no more interesting than one being from the other end of the country.

The German Ruhr area is full of descendants of coal miners who immigrated from Poland; so many that the most common Polish family names sound German to me even though I am not from the region. Yet you hear nothing about their Polish ancestors, and I doubt that many are aware of them. Until they try to get a job in Berlin, which has recent Polish immigration, and face discrimination or at least suspicious questions.
Many European societies, specifically French and German society work in a way that is very different from the US (and probably the Netherlands and the modern UK): You are either part of a dominating, ethnically (and in most regions religiously) homogeneous majority group, or you are part of a minority that is discriminated against.

(3) I believe in India, being Muslim or Hindu is for most people a very important part of their identity that pervades almost all of everyday life. In many respects people of different religions go their separate ways. The educated even use different scripts to write what is basically the same language, see Hindi and Urdu.

In these examples, (1) and (3) form opposite ends, at which it is appropriate to stress ethnic background. In the middle it's much more complicated. If I see something like the article Kurt Tucholsky, which calls him a "German-Jewish" writer, I get an immediate urge to "correct" it. The German, French, Italian, Dutch, Turkish, Portuguese, Swedish Wikipedias just call him German. The Spanish Wikipedia (and I think also the Polish Wikipedia, but I find it hard to parse Polish) is most precise, calling him German of Jewish descent. (There was no cherry-picking; I reported every page I looked at.) Tucholsky had Jewish parents, his father was a banker. He formally left the Jewish community in 1914 (aged 24) and became a Protestant in 1918. He was a socialist who wrote against the nazis from early on, but his work contains formulations about Jewish industrialists that are now classified as antisemitic. Calling him "German-Jewish" is very culturally insensitive. Hans Adler 08:16, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

I think Roberterubin has a point, even if s/he hasn't really expressed it well. If someone is notable enough to have an article on wikipedia, we need to go into great detail why. Sometimes racial/religious identity is a big part of this, sometimes not so much, sometimes not at all. In the latter circumstance, "Should we mention religion/race/[insert demographic here]" is a very legitimate question. --I dream of horses (T) @ 18:49, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
One thing to consider is that these are biographies. Pick up any random biography from a nearby bookshelf and study the first couple of chapters - it will almost certainly talk about the person's background in mindlessly excessive detail, including the person's religion and ethnicity (or, in the case of Judaism, the crossover between the two). If Wikipedia wants to have biographies that are even remotely comparable to those turned out by the world's great publishing houses, we should also mention this.
The fact that you may not like it doesn't mean nobody will find it useful. I have been involved in numerous discussions of the "I heard X is <insert race / religion / sexual orientation, etc. here>. Is that true?" variety, and my first reaction is to Google it. Since Wikipedia usually comes top of the list, this is the website I usually check first. If it's not mentioned in the article, I suppose it is untrue. Really, in a way, this deliberate ommission of facts is misleading our readers (only very vaguely, but it is comparable to the "whole truth" people must tell in court, where the ommission of known pertinent facts can be considered perjury). Just my (rambling) two shiny pennies. Dendodge T\C 21:10, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
I completely agree with Dendodge. In the US and many of the other larger industrialized English-speaking world (this being the English version of Wikipedia after-all), there seems to be a tendency to have as "default" anyone who's race and religion isnt listed categorized as white and Christian (in the back of our minds, even if we dont like to admit it). It is definitely needed to be stated in articles if the person is Black, Hispanic, Jewish, whatever. I find it disturbing that RobertRubin or whatever the user was, seems to have stated that it was ok for the Edison article to state his family was from Ireland and he always referred to himself as of Dutch heritage, because RR stated its where is family was from thereby its ok. How is that relevant, but someone being Jewish is not? Being Jewish is stating where your family is from. I'm sick of this idea being floated around that somehow being Jewish is just another White European ethnic/nationality no different than a decendant of Poles living in Germany. Over 70% of the DNA of the average Jew is Middle Eastern and not European. We arent just a subgroup of you people. Articles state whether a person was an American, Australian, etc, or in the case of William Shatner a Canadian who moved to the United States. How is the fact that he's Canadian relevant to his career in Hollywood and American TV? If an article is to state that someone is Black, Chinese, Arab, Iranian, Australian, Bantu, or Ethiopian whether it refers to the actual nationality or to their ancestry then you MUST include being Jewish as equal to any of those. Just because some anti-semitic users "see only Jewish articles" as violating THEIR OWN OPINIONS on notability doesnt mean we should be having this discussion and humoring them and allowing them to think they have supporters. That's how they operate. First comes the "well, they have a good point" suggestions for "improving" things and making things "fair for everyone", and yes, they start with small insignificant forums like Wikipedia, this isnt a case of "well, it's Wikipedia, what does it matter?", Wikipedia didnt exist 70 years ago, but social clubs and universities, ability to publish research material, use of libraries, books stating whether someone was Jewish or not censored of that material did exist back then and that was the first place they started. If Wikipedia existed 70 years ago this is one of those forums that they would have proposed the same idea Robertrubin is proposing today. They make it seem harmless and "fair", like they are trying to protect Jews and minorities. Trust me, that's how they operate.Camelbinky (talk) 21:52, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
"That's how THEY operate!!!". Who? Nazis whose entire mission is to scrub the idea that some Joe-nobody was Jewish? Yes, that sounds reasonable.
In some cases it isn't relevant who came from Canada before their acting career, unless that Canadian status stood out. Ditto, I'd say, with Jewishness. If it changed their life, list it. If not, like blood types, while it interests someone it isn't of a ton of relevance.
As I see it, the point would be to cut the reference to Jewish, Canadian, or Type-O, when it doesn't change the story. Obviously it changes many people's stories, but for many other it does not. If WP is not the place for everything then surely the call is to be made based on when it improves articles, not your religious sensibilities. If someone didn't self identify Jewish to call them that just artificially inflates religious significance ala Mormon post-death conversions.
The mere accident of someone's birth, if that is all that Canadian or Jewish is to them, is far different than a religion or ethnicity that guides their life. You're trying deliberately to conflate the two because it goes with your shrill cries of antisemitism. Get thee to relevancy. The over-labeling concern is equally valid for Hutu/Tutsi or any other non-racial but racially charged and over-attached labels. This is bigger than you! 74.198.49.199 (talk) 14:54, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

In addition to the points made by Doc Tropics and Hans Adler, I add the following: It has been asked several times by several editors in several places (including Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Miki Sawaguchi) why so many articles on anime characters, Japanese pop stars, and the like have their blood types listed in the lead section. The answer can in part be found in Blood types in Japanese culture. Not everyone's idea of what the defining characteristics of people are, is the same as one's own. Uncle G (talk) 15:14, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

No, but we don't put blood type for everyone just for potential Japanese interest, or Astrological signs, etc, except where relevant (ie, to the bio at hand). If someone believes they're OBneg (as a personality-type), or Taurus, it'll change their life, but if they don't believe in these things they're fluff.
A biography of Richard Feynman should mention he was Jewish because that fact changed his life (family, treatment in school) despite his lack of personal belief. But the bio probably shouldn't contain his astrological sign because I've never seen any mention it was relevant.
Largely it's the subject's own views that define what is important. Not what they would WANT to be labeled, but that they should be labeled with the things that defined them, and only their views determine if an accident of birth is central or inconsequential. 74.198.49.199 (talk) 14:54, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

Disambiguation is not a search engine[edit]

Could someone look at [5] and see if the user has a valid concern?Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 18:58, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

  • The concern being expressed (that a disambiguation page for Stacey should not contain long lists of people with the given name or surname Stacey, unless they are commonly referred to as just Stacey) is actually entirely consistent with what's written in both the Manual of Style and WP:DAB. It's just one of the most-often-ignored rules of disambiguation page formatting. The solution is usually to create a spin-off at, in this case, Stacey (given name) and/or Stacey (surname) as necessary, and link to those name articles from the disambiguation page at Stacey. (All the content currently on the dab page about the history of the name should also be at a name page, and not on a disambiguation page.) Propaniac (talk) 19:15, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
So this [6] and [7] are fine and I should have left them alone? And looking at the talk page again, how is the best way to address my concern?Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 19:22, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
Since it appears to me that no change in any policy is called for (unless I'm wrong), I'm going to respond further at Talk:Stacey. Propaniac (talk) 23:50, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. I was trying to clarify current policy. I had seen articles do things wrong and assumed they were done right.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 18:48, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

Article titles[edit]

I often want to copy both the main article and the discussion page (maybe the history page too) but they all come down with different titles.

I think they should all begin with the same title as the main article. Instead of, for example,

No True Scotsman -- Wikipedia

and

Talk/No true Scotsman

Better: No True Scotsman -- Talk

So they will be shown together on my disk, instead of the main article in the Ns and the talk page in the Ts. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.33.203.102 (talk) 20:50, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

It would be easier for you to write a macro to change the titles to suit yourself, than for wikipedia to change its naming convention to suit your application. --Tagishsimon (talk) 00:34, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
Name/Talk clearly is better, as 2009-08-05 is better than 08-05-2009. Better enough to make the switch, that depends. But it certainly deserves to be noted so that when it is easy people don't make the same mistake. Dates/titles that sort appropriately in a list are an important UI feature and shouldn't be ignored. Unsigned, or Tagish, do either of you have an idea of the technical change required, or the problems this would cause elsewhere? 74.198.49.199 (talk) 15:08, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
You say "titles that sort appropriately in a list are an important UI feature " ... but "appropriately" depends on circumstances. How many users wish to list articles and talk pages in an undifferentiated list, versus how many want to distinguish between talk and article. Sorry, I'm simply not buying into the notion that foo bar - talk is better than talk:foo bar. Different, yes. Useful in a minority of applications, yes. A pain in other applications, yes. It is probably instructive, also, to look at Wikipedia:Namespace, which explains the various wikipedia namespaces. Altering the way namespaces work and are parsed is not a thing to be done lightly, and should only be done with just cause. I do not see that we have such a cause yet. --Tagishsimon (talk) 15:20, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

Standards in the description of nationality[edit]

It grieves me with the discomfort perhaps only felt by the smaller partner that in accounts of the nationality of scientists who are my countrymen that I should find them continually described within Wikipedia as "British" - e.g. Kelvin, whereas English scientists e.g. Darwin are English. This is a significant part of the reason why when I travel abroad I am assumed to be English as my country's contribution to the world is not assumed to go beyond men in skirts. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 92.236.96.153 (talk) 09:44, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

I doubt the problem is widespread; feel free to be more specific with nationalities where you encounter generalities. But do be aware that in some cases, narrowing a figure's nationality down can be problematic; there may be discussion on the talk page you should review first. Powers T 12:53, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
There are all sorts of problems with defining nationality consistently & sensibly. I can go on at length if anyone really wants me to. Peter jackson (talk) 17:41, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

familiy name : George Roy Hill[edit]

here we can see that george roy hill (movie director) is sorted under "H" : wiki link

in the article, we can read "He was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to George Roy and Helen Frances Owens Hill" so his father's name was roy : shouldn't he be sorted under "R" ? kernitou talk 07:08, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

I think the article means that his father was also George Roy Hill; it's the same structure as saying "He was born to George and Helen Hill," but with middle names included as well. The article refers to him as Hill throughout. Propaniac (talk) 12:53, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
ok, sounds logical now - thanks kernitou talk 14:11, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

Descriptive and prescriptive: fresh input needed[edit]

Fresh eyes should be appreciated at Wikipedia talk:What Wikipedia is not#Descriptive not prescriptive --> descriptive as well as prescriptive. Should WP:NOT say the policies are "descriptive, not prescriptive" or "descriptive as well as prescriptive"? SlimVirgin talk|contribs 09:41, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

is off-wiki canvassing against policy?[edit]

is off-wiki canvassing against policy? should it be if the canvassing is for a conroversial article, where people were links sites that have now been added to badsites?
Where should I report it, and what happens? Remember Civility (talk) 16:06, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

It's hard to reply without knowing details on what the article is about, or what actions are being canvassed. If people are being asked to add links that are against policy, there's nothing we can do about it, and probably can't prove that the canvasser is the same person as any given Wikipedia user, especially since it sounds like there is more than one person involved. The best thing to do is keep reverting changes when they are wrong, and request article protection if editing gets out of hand. This kind of thing happens a lot on controversial articles, but we deal with it. --A Knight Who Says Ni (talk) 21:07, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
That behavior goes against the sentiment of WP:MEAT. It can be reported to WP:ANI like other policy violations. —Ost (talk) 21:33, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

Discussion regarding per station TV schedules and WP:NOT[edit]

A discussion regarding per station TV schedules and WP:NOT has begun at Wikipedia_talk:What_Wikipedia_is_not#Per_station_television_schedules. Your input would be welcome. Thank you, --Hammersoft (talk) 22:05, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

Are these topics notable enough?[edit]

I want to check if you all think these subjects meet notability standards before working them up. Would lists for the show Jeopardy! be considered notable? Specifically, List of Jeopardy! champions with over $50,000 in prizes (unsure on name, [8]), List of largest single-day Jeopardy! winnings ([9]), and lists for the Tournament of Champions and Teen/College championships? The show is quite notable and while few contestants are notable besides Ken Jennings it provides pretty significant EV on the show (even if most contestants are unlinked). Staxringold talkcontribs 23:35, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

  • Note, the Championship lists already exist, they're just large, unsplit, bulky tables in the sub-articles. Staxringold talkcontribs 23:36, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
If they already exist within an article, but are unwieldy, then they are just the type of article that should in fact be split off as a list article. That's the point of the list article. Feel free to make them and good luck. Ill probably be one of the first that would be interested in looking at them when your done.Camelbinky (talk) 00:18, 7 August 2009 (UTC)
Do those lists exist as a topic anywhere? Such as the official Jeopardy! website? If they exist which I believe they do, even in a format not suitable to be copied in Wikipedia, it is fine to create an article on those lists of champions in a table format or list of your choosing. If no one else in the world, online or magazine or book, has cared to create those lists then they are not notable.Camelbinky (talk) 00:35, 7 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Yep, those are the links I made in the original post, the official Jeopardy! website lists all total-prizes of $50k or more and all single-day prizes of $30k or more. Beginning to work on the single-day prizes in my Sandbox. Once the list is worked up will include more facts like most appearances on the list, any streaks of $30k+ wins, and probably a link or two describing Jennings' $75k show. Staxringold talkcontribs 00:44, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

Nederlands[edit]

Our english wiki pages have many links to articles in the Netherlands wiki. The list at the top of the pages is titled "Languages". Accordin to List of languages by name there is no language "Nederlands". I believe the language to be "Dutch". Is "Nederlands" wrong or should the list title be "Countries"? -- SGBailey (talk) 09:31, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

No, it seems to be correct. The name of Dutch (the language) in Dutch itself is apparently "Nederlands". --Cybercobra (talk) 09:35, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
The List of languages by name page explicitly states that these are names of other languages in English. However, names of other language Wikis are the names as used by speakers of the relevant language, not the English name. For instance you have the 'Español' wiki for Spanish etc. See also Names for the Dutch language EasyTarget (talk) 17:30, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia Policy Interlingual Coordination[edit]

Hi, currently, I participate a process to translate Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not and import that to JaWp. Since WP:NOT is a Global Principle according to the right box of the page, I naturally insist to import this document as it is without modifications, at least without major modifications for basic key concepts such as Wikipedia:Consensus.

In a final phase to fix the final translated version, a user appeared and claimed that he cannot agree to apply WP:NOTDEMOCRACY and WP:NOTBUREAUCRACY to JaWp, since it's not properly to reflect the current JaWp manner, etc.(dunno what exactly he intends to mean, but the bottom line is he doesn't agree to import these 2 sections of WP:NOT).

Obviously, WP:NOTDEMOCRACY and WP:NOTBUREAUCRACY includes a significant Wp Global Principe - Wikipedia:Consensus, so I explained him that WP:NOT is not a mere policies but a Global Princile including singificant Wp concpet. Basically, he won't listen claiming JaWp is somewhat independent of EnWp, and this discussion is still open in JaWp.

Another user suggested me to ask an official statement from Wikimedia Foundation, and I also think it would be better to clear how internlingual cordination of Wikipedia Policy works.

I checked Interlingual_coordination page of wikimedia, but found the forum is a bit deserted, and less chance to have a quick reply. So, is there anyone here who knows well about this topic, and could you advise where to start to make this clear. Thank you. --Wp99 (talk) 23:51, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

If there is only one user objecting I'd suggest just opening the debate to a wider audience on JaWp first, if he rely think it's a democracy he can't complain if he's in the minority then ;) Other than that maybe try to Foundation-l mailing lits. --Sherool (talk) 02:03, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. That is true, howerver, since I feel it's so obvious, I'd like to close such a debate in earlier stage with an authorized proof without bothering the community. More over, I think what we need is not really JaWp local agreement but the official policy of interlingual cordination.
I'd like to wait further advice here, but I will try Foundation-l mailing list.--Wp99 (talk) 04:40, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
Each wiki sets its own rules, guidelines, consensus, or what have you. Simply translating from one to the other does not a policy make. (But it may yet be useful to do!)
I'd love to see some pages from jawiki ... :-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 23:59, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

request for mediation[edit]

I asked for informal mediation in a content dispute. I filed the request and was waiting to be contacted about the mediation. However, in the meantime, the editor with whom I have the dispute has added his own comments to my request. Is this how the process works? Or are we supposed to wait to be contacted? thanks. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 83.163.63.37 (talk) 15:08, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

Notability of pilots[edit]

What would make a pilot notable? I've looked at Wikipedia:Notability, Wikipedia:Notability (people), and Wikipedia:WikiProject Aviation/Notability and none list the criteria for listing notable pilots. So I've come here to generate a list of criteria and a consensus as to what make a pilot notable.Smallman12q (talk) 19:04, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

Why wouldn't WP:BIO apply? Pilots are no different from anyone else when it comes to notability, so Sully and Chuck Yeager are notable, but the guy who just flew you from Newark to LAX almost certainly isn't. – ukexpat (talk) 19:10, 7 August 2009 (UTC)
Writing a novella could make a pilot notable. –Whitehorse1 19:14, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

RfC on policy status of Wikipedia:OTRS[edit]

Comments are appreciated at Wikipedia_talk:OTRS#Policy_disputed.   M   22:04, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

Youtube?[edit]

I’m having a little problem with copyrights. I don’t know a lot about it all, and my question concerns linking to YouTube. I’m writing an article for Sounds From a Town I Love, a Woody Allen short film, and I found the whole movie here on YouTube. I was wondering…could I use this as a reference and link to it in the article? Please also keep in mind that this is not my only source, I have many more.

I found some info about this at WP: YT, but I’m still not completely sure. If you can help me out, it would be most appreciated.

Thanks.  ARTICHOKE-BOY  (Talk) 22:44, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

Hi, Artichoke-Boy. You're right, WP:YT is the most relevant guideline for this. Judging by the page you linked, it includes a clip with opening credits of a short film shown on TV. There's no indication the film is free-licensed or that the YouTube account is owned by the producing studio though. The account appears to belong to a fan. Because of that, in this case you won't be able to use it as a reference or article link. Thanks, –Whitehorse1 22:55, 7 August 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, I sort of expected that I couldn't use the link...I just wanted to make sure. I guess leaving one reference out couldn't do much harm. Thanks again.  ARTICHOKE-BOY  (Talk) 23:20, 7 August 2009 (UTC)
That said, you can still use the movie itself as a primary source, you just can't link to the YouTube vid of it. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 01:00, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

NPOV and weasel words in Flat Earth[edit]

I want to ask if the following violates any policies of Wikipedia: "The Flat Earth Society accept or promote the Flat Earth hypothesis , despite the hypothesis having been long contradicted by overwhelming evidence as well as by the modern understanding of planet formation and physics, and the scientific community now dismisses the notion as fantasy." I believe that there are NPOV and weasel words in it. It is part of the intro for the flat earth article. I don't believe it belongs in the intro period, since it devotes too much space for an introduction to such an organization, and doesn't flow with the rest of the intro. But that's a separate issue. I don't know if Wikipedia has a policy on arguments it considers overwhelming one-sided. - Cyborg Ninja 02:02, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia's policy does not explicitly dictate that equal weight be given to "fringe theories". Articles like these are generally written in the scope of a predetermined scientific consensus.--WaltCip (talk) 02:11, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
That deals with whether or not fringe theories should be mentioned and attributed articles or sections. In this case, the Flat Earth Society has its own section, though there probably shouldn't be one considering WP:FRINGE. However, what I'm asking is whether there are weasel words and NPOV violations in the intro, and how it could be reworked. I believe merely stating the group's existence and belief, if at all, should be sufficient and would not violate policy. - Cyborg Ninja 02:27, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

No one takes into account the earth's curvature when they layout a garden at their home. They would be thought crazy. So for small scale stuff, we all assume the earth is flat as our model. The "earth is flat" model doesn't work as well when dealing with larger distances of about a mile or so, astronomy, etc.

Ask a physicist if the Coriolis force is real. It is not. Yet we use this incorrect model because it is convenient.

Again, folks at Wiki just need to keep their hands off stuff and let it be.

What is defines a topic as being the "Primary Topic"[edit]

I have taken a look at WP:PRIMARYTOPIC, but it redirects to a section entitled "Is there a primary topic?" Sadly, the section does not list what criteria/guidelines are followed in determining what a primary topic is. Could someone please list the criteria/guidelines for determining what makes a topic primary? (See Talk:Bing#Requested move for additional discussion).

My main concern lies in that the current explanation (which is quite poor) leaves great room for ambiguity and hence makes coming to a clear cut answer quite difficult.Smallman12q (talk) 02:40, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

Yes, it is difficult - I don't think it's possible to state precise criteria. Basically you have to decide what will be best for readers - how likely is it that they will be looking for the various topics, how easy it will be to get from a main topic to a similarly-named related topic, and so on. If there is one topic that stands out as more likely to be looked up under that name than any of the others, then it should be the primary topic. But if it's a close call, it doesn't really matter that much which way the decision goes.--Kotniski (talk) 08:07, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
Well my concern lies with the fact that it's highly opinion based. An article can get significantly more page views (ie. Bing (search engine), more commercial advertising, and yet it wouldn't qualify under other perople's perception of the primary topic. Now this isn't to say that they aren't entitled to their own opinions, but its nice to have some guidelines on which to base those opinions rather than just one's self.Smallman12q (talk) 13:05, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
"Primary topic" is necessarily a subjective designation. To use your example, when trying to determine the "primary topic" for Bing, I ask myself the following question : Are more people looking for any one instance of Bing more than the rest? If so, it is the primary topic; if not, there is no primary topic. Essentially we are trying to reduce the amount of work any one reader has to go through to get to their article. With the current setup, a large amount of readers who are looking for Bing (search engine) must "waste a click" by going through Bing first. If the search engine was at Bing, then a large amount of readers who are looking for some other Bing must "waste two clicks" by going to the disambiguation page and then to their intended target. Unfortunately either setup will inconvenience some readers, and the question that you must ask yourself is which setup results in the least amount of overall convenience. At least, that is how I would approach the problem. Shereth 13:22, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
    • Comment I've put up a chart illustrating at Talk:Bing#Discussion showing how many page views Bing recieved prior to the search engine, and then afterwards. Before it got about 3k page views a month, now it gets 50k+ page views per month. For 47k+ page views, people are having to go through that extra click=P.Smallman12q (talk) 19:58, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
      • Then point that out at the relevant discussion. It certainly seems a strong point in your favor, but at the same time I can see how another editor may counter that the traffic has declined by 50% in the last month alone and that in short order it is likely to settle back to a lower level again. There certainly are valid arguments on both sides of the discussion, and that is (in part) why it is sometimes preferable to leave things up to the judgement of the editors rather than a formulaic set of criteria. I am intentionally not taking sides with regards to Bing because that should be decided on its talk page and not here. Shereth 20:05, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
I don't think the current explanation is "poor", but it isn't doing what you want it to. It provides the ideal and some tools for editors to use in pursuit of it. The guidance is, as Shereth said, necessarily subjective, and the final determination is left to the consensus at the individual topics. These may or may not be consistent with other topics, but I don't think that's a threat to Wikipedia. In addition to "Bing", this has also come up recently with "James Stewart" and "Peer-to-peer". See WT:D#Primary topic uber alles and WT:D#Determining primary topic, but here's one of my contributions to those discussions: "There are competing goals for primary topic. Navigational (whichever arrangement yields the fewest clicks for the total audience is best) and content (whichever article seems to fit best as the topic one would expect an encyclopedia to have at the name should go at the name). Sometimes those goals line up and everyone's happy. Other times they clash. The guidelines don't specify one goal over the other because, AFAIK, there isn't consensus, so the consensus-formation is left to the individual pages. It may be time to pick one though." -- JHunterJ (talk) 14:14, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
If there isn't consensus, then it doesn't belong in a guideline. It's policy that local consensus cannot override widespread consensus. It's also policy that policies and guidelines represent widespread consensus. The purpose is to resolve conflict. This means that it's already time to lay out what the consensus is. If I go out and provide clear evidence that when given a disambiguation page, people prefer A over B, and the opposing side only gives a) prescriptivist 'this is what it really means' arguments and b) pleas that suggest the guideline doesn't really apply here, I don't get steamrolled by local consensus. The guideline should clearly state what is acceptable, what the criteria are, etc.   M   22:54, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
What's in the guideline has consensus. The stuff that doesn't have consensus, that you say doesn't belong in a guideline, isn't in the guideline: there is no hard-and-fast specification of exactly what formulaic approach will yield the primary topic. The guidelines should absolutely reflect consensus, and so far there has been no consensus that one formula or another will yield the primary topic in all cases, so the preceding consensus (let each base name page determine its own primary topic by consensus of the concerned editors) has so far prevailed. If there is consensus for one way or another to determine primary topic in the general case, then we should update the guidelines. OTOH, the guidelines do clearly state what is acceptable: "When there is a well-known primary topic for an ambiguous term, name or phrase, much more used than any other topic covered in Wikipedia to which the same word(s) may also refer, then that term or phrase should either be used for the title of the article on that topic or redirect to that article." How are you getting steamrolled by that? -- JHunterJ (talk) 00:46, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

While we're on the topic, there's a dispute over what the primary topic of "Ubuntu" is. As Ubuntu has been about the operating system for years, most incoming links refer to the OS. However, there was a recent move of the OS article to Ubuntu (operating system), leaving an ongoing dispute over what the primary topic is that the redirect at Ubuntu should point to. There's an RFC running at Talk:Ubuntu#RFC: Where should the redirect point?, but guidance on the subject in general would be gratefully accepted. --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 19:33, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

After reading the discussion at WT:D#Determining primary topic, I've realized that I am not the only one who notices the ambiguity regarding what makes a topic primary as per WP:PRIMARYTOPIC. It's quite clear(at least to me) that WP:PRIMARYTOPIC needs some editing.Smallman12q (talk) 19:37, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
Only if there is a need to force a consistency on the determination of primary topics. Right now, the guidelines unambiguously leave the determination of the primary topic to the editors of the individual pages. There's nothing to point to in the guidelines and say "Aha! Applying the guidelines' formula X to the (incoming links, hit counts, Google searches, other input) means that so-and-so is the primary topic!". The guidelines aren't that concrete, but they aren't ambiguous. I don't know if they need to be made more concrete; there's an awful lot of specifics in them already, and a lot of us in the project going about our OCD way applying those specifics to the mass of dab pages (slowly, since there are a lot of them), and periodically stepping into drama when the individual page editors/watchers aren't familiar with (or disagree with) the guidelines. Making this concrete might make that more common. -- JHunterJ (talk) 19:59, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

I wholeheartedly endorse this. I had to bring this up when I tried to state that the primary topic for peer-to-peer was not the architectural framework. My position was that many if not most average readers saw peer-to-peer as "oh yeah, like file sharing, right?". I was shot down by semantic arguments over what p2p really means and an argument that a hatnote works just fine (which is rejected by the guideline). This despite a bunch of stats that I pulled out indicating that readers actually chose file sharing more often than the architecture when presented with a disambig page. But no, discussion closed, despite my invocation of guideline, because another voter changed their vote (and this indicates that at least someone had a chance to read through things, and if they changed their mind, then this is yet another task checked off of the list). Well thanks a lot WP:PRIMARYTOPIC, I knew I shouldn't have counted on on you to help resolve this! (Is what I yelled when this happened.) So yeah, clear that darn thing up ;)   M   19:57, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

Primary topics need to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Whether or not they are is something else entirely.
Maybe we need to have to make WP:PRIMARYTOPIC more strongly stated? Like, "If you are wrong in finding the primary topic, then more people will waste their finding the article they want?" I dream of horses (T) @ 00:55, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
So...can someone perhaps clarify what the criteria are(to make it less subjective)? I'm asking that the section be reworded to reflect the weight of various criteria that would better assist in creating a consensus.Smallman12q (talk) 18:37, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

When there is a well-known primary topic for an ambiguous term, name, phrase or place; one that is much more used than any other topic covered in Wikipedia to which the same word(s) may also refer, then that term or phrase should either be used for the title of the article on that topic or redirect to that article. If the primary topic for a term is titled something else by standard naming conventions, then a redirect for the term may be used. Any article which has primary usage for its title and has other uses should have a disambiguation link placed at the top. The disambiguation page should also link back to the primary topic. Similarly, any article which has primary usage for a name that redirects to it and has other uses should have a "such-and-such redirects here" disambiguation link at the top, and the disambiguation page for that name should link back to the primary topic.

If there is extended discussion about which article truly is the primary topic, that may be a sign that there is in fact no primary topic, and that the disambiguation page should be located at the plain title with no "(disambiguation)".

Tools that may help determine a primary topic, but are not determining factors, include:

   * Incoming wikilinks from Special:WhatLinksHere
   * Wikipedia article traffic statistics (page view statistics)
   * Google web, news, scholar, or book searches

The determining factor in realizing whether a topic is primary is a consensus. If a consensus cannot be reached, then it is quite likely that the topic is not considered to be primary. If you are unsure whether a topic is primary or not, or need help in determining the primary topic, then see Wikipedia:PTN(primary topic noticeboard). The goal in realizing a primary topic is to make it easier for visitors/wikipedians to see the information they seek faster by going through as few links as possible.

In some cases, the primary topic may be a redirect to a different article. For example, the primary topic for "Danzig" is the former German city of that name, but that city's article is titled Gdańsk. Therefore Danzig redirects to Gdańsk, and the latter page contains a link to Danzig (disambiguation), where other topics for "Danzig" are listed. (For the templates used to create such links, see Disambiguation links below, and WP:Hatnotes for more options.)

Smallman12q (talk) 22:05, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

Allowing Youtube to source vocal ranges[edit]

I personally find it very usual to allow Youtube to be used as a source to determine a singer's vocal range.

Please elaborate--Greg D. Barnes (talk) 22:54, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

If you mean deciding on the range by observing the video, that would probably be counted as original research. If you mean as a documented example of what the singer has performed, that's different, but even then if the range is notable enough for the article, then sources should mention it, I'd think. Unless I'm totally missing something here... Melodia Chaconne (talk) 00:10, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
Youtube is mostly copyvio. We can host both audio and video locally. If its free, host it here. if not, then mention it in text, as it would never pass fair use. Copyright violations don't get more proper simply because they are on a different site. ▫ JohnnyMrNinja 00:20, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
I know nothing of this issue other than the observation that YouTube is, in fact, a load of copyvio and silly videos. I dream of horses (T) @ 00:33, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Johnny. Enigmamsg 05:10, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
Obviously he's not talking about simply observing a video of a singer on youtube and using that to cite a singer's vocal range. No, there are a good supply of videos on youtube documenting singers' vocal ranges. They're usually pretty reliable, but occasionally you'll find one that's horribly inaccurate (like this one), so I recommend checking each one in advance to make sure all the material is matched to the correct pitches.
Ultimately, though, I can't think of a better way to cite a singer's vocal range. Any other reference you may be able to find will likely only offer a dry statement of what the singer's range is, and we just have to assume that that's true. With YouTube, there's actual audio to back up the statements. Also, if the information is flawed, someone can easily notice how the notes in the video don't match up to what the information says they are, so under those circumstances, the link can be removed, or something more accurate can be looked for. Does this make sense?
--Rock Soldier (talk) 02:55, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
You tube videos are self published and easily doctored. So while a published description of the range may be a "dry statement", it is verifiable. -- The Red Pen of Doom 03:15, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

I have seen these video links used as references for a vocal range and supposed high-note and the reader was supposedly expected to watch the video and hear it for themselves. The video never stated a vocal range or a high note. It was up to the reader to decide what they heard. This is 100% pure original research and does not satisfy WP:V in any way. And, as mentioned, Youtube is a haven for copyvio and Wikipedia's WP:EL policy clearly states NOT to link to an external website hosting potential copyvio material. Youtube should never be used as a source for vocal range, or anything else here. Wether B (talk) 10:59, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

As per the above 'original research' and 'copyright' comments... Youtube should not be used. The Real Libs-speak politely 12:09, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
While I agree that a Youtube video will practically never be an acceptable source at this time, it's no more completely forbidden than other self-published sources. Your characterization of WP:EL is also inaccurate: there is no ban there on all links to a site if copyright-violating material exists somewhere on the site (otherwise links to Wikipedia itself would be forbidden!), just a ban on linking to the copyright-violating material itself; the spirit of this would also include a link such as "Available from http://www.example.org/, search there to find it". It even explicitly states that there is no blanket ban on linking to Youtube.
You also seem to be confusing the use of a primary source with "original research": if a reliable, non-copyright-infringement video shows the singer hitting a note, it's not original research to say so any more than it's original research to refer to a photograph of brown cows to say "some cows are brown" or to refer to the first and second editions of a book to say that some text was changed in the later edition. Anomie 12:43, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
A cow being brown is an observation anyone can make. Extrapolating a vocal range based on a video is a bit more complex and doesn't fall into the "obvious fact" situation. Not to mention, who's to say that one excerpt is the entirety of their range? (though I've never heard of these videos, so I dunno how much work goes into them. They surely fail WP:RS though). ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 14:15, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
I see the blurry line here - the real issue is that we are allowing the editor to do the 'original research' of deciding what note it is that the singer is hitting. While this may seem easy to some of us, I have seen people on wikipedia screwing up fairly simple musical things in the past. That's why it would be better to have a source that says, literally, what notes the singer can hit. If it's an obscure singer with a remarkable vocal range, though, (say Joe Yamanaka), then it's hard to decide which makes more sense - not having the information at all, or potentially having misinterpreted information. Of course, that's always true with wikipedia - that's why we have multiple editors per article - to correct errors. Luminifer (talk) 16:19, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9RkfEm2yCM
Here is an example of one of the "vocal range" videos I refer to. It's not just some video that has a singer hitting a certain note, it's selectively composed of passages in songs demonstrating the singer's range, and in the info section, it gives the pitches for those notes, so that it's not just "up to the reader to decide what note the singer is hitting".
Like I said before, I think that this is the best way to cite a singer's range, as it offers a written verdict of what the singer's range is, and audio clips of the singer exercising that range to back up that verdict. I don't know of any other source that can offer the latter. In fact, without the aid of these videos, I've seen people vastly overestimate singers' ranges (there are places that say Ronnie James Dio has a five and a half octave range, when he really only has three, and another half in falsetto). The truth is that in almost any other place you look on the internet, the lack of audio to back-up the people's estimates of singers' ranges will almost guarantee inaccuracy. I have yet to find one non-youtube source that accurately cites a singer's range, except perhaps some of the most famous ones like Freddie Mercury. If you know of some, please, by all means use them.
--Rock Soldier (talk) 19:38, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
I agree with you to a great extent - I don't think there should be a policy AGAINST use of these videos.. but it would be easy for someone to pick on the reputability of the interpretation of that video that's in the description: for instance, "The full 4 octave scale by Todd!! C2 to C6! It gets very thin at the end, I think an A1-A5 would suit Todd better." -- I listened to this segment, and it's not a scale, it's just going gradually from one note to the other, without hitting each note in the scale. Again, I have no problem with allowing these sorts of things, but they probably will fail wikipedia's reputability criteria, no? What's to stop you yourself from creating one of these videos, then "referencing" it as an independant source? Luminifer (talk) 19:52, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I'm aware of that issue, and I gave an example above of one video that's very inaccurate. However, like I said, a great benefit of youtube is that there's audio to source the claims that are being made. Thus, if you're thinking of adding a video to cite a singer's range, you can easily check the audio by playing the notes that the info section offers on a piano or online tuner, and see if they match up. There most certainly will be some cases when they don't match up, and it's those sorts of videos that shouldn't be cited, as they are obviously unreliable.
In the video that I gave above, the "scale" is simply a word being used to describe what the voice is doing in that clip. If the traditional definition of a scale is a climb from one note to the next with a break in between, then this obviously does not match that definition. Perhaps you could call it some sort of chromatic slide? I'm not sure. It's not that relevant, though. The bottom line is that the video accurately showcases the singer's range.
--Rock Soldier (talk) 03:24, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
Is it live, or is it Auto-Tune? (Cf. Nova Science Now, 30 June 2009) ~ Ningauble (talk) 23:33, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
Could you rephrase that, please? I don't entirely understand what you mean.
--Rock Soldier (talk) 02:16, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Ok, I apologize for the drive-by shooting, and will elaborate on the intended target. As noted in the piece cited above, artificial pitch adjustment has come a long way since Alvin and the Chipmunks. In the digital era there is a widespread practice of manipulating vocal pitch in commercial recordings and even in live performances. (It is hard to say how widespread because it is not ordinarily disclosed.) Therefore, I do not consider sampling recordings to be a reliable way to ascertain a performer's vocal range, unless the original research is done by an authoritative source possessing technical information about the production and provenance of the recordings. It is about like using Youtube video to determine whether someone is a natural blonde—only her sound engineer knows for sure. ~ Ningauble (talk) 16:19, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

This all sounds the very model of original research to me "you could play it on a piano to check"... --Cameron Scott (talk) 16:52, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

The videos in question are mostly of singers who pre-date Autotune (Freddie Mercury, Steve Perry, etc). They are a mixture of live and studio samples. No autotune/pitch correction was applied to ANY of the videos.--Greg D. Barnes (talk) 19:38, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

Your second statement may be true, but by-hand pitch adjustment has been possible for almost as long as recording itself has been possible. Regardless of this, using a video as a source requires the original resource of correctly assessing the pitches involved. Luminifer (talk) 19:54, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

You mean like the actual song?--Greg D. Barnes (talk) 20:43, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Category deletion policy proposed to be renamed and demoted or merged altogether[edit]

The discussion thread is here. Comments requested, thanks. Cenarium (talk) 11:03, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

Policies are too scattered[edit]

Policies are too scattered. For example BLP1E. We need to put them in one place and organize them otherwise only wikigeeks will know all of the policies. I intend to do this. When doing this, no policy will be changed. The minor exception is links might be added or minor notations to tabulate the policies. Anyone wishing to help, let me know. I will not begin until we have an informal working group (tentative name: Policy Housekeeping Working Group) to do the work. WP:Policy is a good starting point. Policies which are not linked to this page is a good start. Links to guidelines which are not policy is another.User F203 (talk) 18:52, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

Great, a kindred spirit. I've been doing exactly this recently, have a look at User:M/Hitlist for a few diffs noting some rather serious cleanup. I'd be glad to have someone doing the same. It is work that a lot of people seem to support, but you have to be rather careful. Perhaps we could use that hitlist page as a jumping-off point? Feel free to edit it. I hope more dedicated editors are interested in this, our policies are a mess.   M   22:14, 7 August 2009 (UTC)
Thank you for your suggestion. Your list now forms our working group. 2 members for now! User F203 (talk) 15:00, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Count me in too. There is actually a WikiProject for this (WP:WikiProject Policy and Guidelines), but it hasn't got off the ground. I've noticed M doing some excellent work recently though.--Kotniski (talk) 16:01, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Harej is trying to collate these sorts of things (at Wikipedia:Coordination), and I am sort of trying to do so as well (with a different focus) here. → ROUX  21:52, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

Link to information that disappears quickly[edit]

This link [10] takes me to the page but then the information disappears and I'm on another page entirely, which doesn't provide the information in the article. I don't really have the time here to search for anything, and when I go home I avoide strange sites. But I was adding some information to LIN TV Corporation and saw that it was considered unsourced, even though there were web links in the article. Two of the four didn't work, and in fact, one that did linked to different information which was, nevertheless, in the article. It's easy to just add a references section and reformat the references, but then I'm obligated to make sure the links work.

How do I handle the one that does work, even if I get sent somewhere else before I can even read what's there? Is this one for the Computing reference desk?Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 15:05, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

Somehow I got it to stop there, though now it's redirecting. It's a mirrored press release: [11] --NE2 22:06, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

Postage Stamps & Other Govt. Images: Noncopyright Limits Including Size[edit]

Legal restrictions on governmental images, including postage stamps and the Presidential seal, may go beyond copyright. Wiki discusses copyright but there are also size restrictions and other limits. For example, it may be illegal to reproduce a stamp in its actual size, both U.S. or foreign stamps, both new and old, even centuries old. Fair use and public domain may be irrelevant. We should have an article on how to handle these issues where contributors will see it. And it would help if Wiki software facilitated being legal for image size by forbidding a display size within a range surrounding a contributor-entered actual size, e.g., when a contributor checks a box on an edit page saying that the image being uploaded is an uncanceled postage stamp (and whatever other restrictions apply). I assume Wiki policy has to be set, though, before such an article is posted or software is coded, so I'd like to raise the policy issue here. Nick Levinson (talk) 18:10, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

First point: Wikipedia's interpretation of fair use rules regarding images have two stated intentions: to respect the rights of copyright holders, and to protect Wikipedia from being accused as a source of images used for creating counterfeits. So your general concerns are already a part of fair use.
Regarding publishing images of postage stamps, there is a long history of this in the stamp catalogue business. Some late 19th and early 20th century catalogues printed pictures of stamps in colour, and in actual size, which led to challenges and laws. Up to the 1940s, the Scott catalogue was pressured into reproducing stamp pictures in black and white, reduced to 75%, and with a horizontal white line printed right over the stamp. Although they ceased using the white line on new images after the 1940s, they continued to print existing old images in later editions, and may still be using them. Modern reproductions of stamps often print a bar, implying invalidity for postage, over top of the denomination. There are two counterfeiting concerns: counterfeiting for use as postage, and counterfeiting to make a fake collectable for sale to collectors.
Many of these older concerns, before the days of access to printers, or even high quality colour photography, is what led to restrictions on stamp catalogues: the post office didn't want people to cut the pictures out of catalogues and stick them on envelopes.
Now that everyone has scanners and copiers, I think it's silly to restrict "access" to images, with the presumption of aiding counterfeiters. If you wanted to make a good counterfeit, would you (a) take an image off the internet or from a book, risking the chance that the colours, resolution, size, paper type, perforations, etc., will be close enough to the real thing, or would you (b) go out and get a copy of an actual stamp, and counterfeit from that? Especially considering that the other factors mentioned, can be addressed by looking at a real copy. If counterfeiting for postage, a current stamp is cheap and easily obtainable at any convenience store. If counterfeiting to fool collectors, the more valuable the stamp (and therefore the more worth your while it is to counterfeit it), the more important it is that you don't do a shoddy job of it. Copying from someone else's image just isn't sufficient, and someone would be crazy to try it. So yours is a nice concern in theory, but an impossible (or at least incredibly dumb) crime in practice
PS, the above is not intended to provide bright ideas to potential criminals. Crime Does Not Pay! --A Knight Who Says Ni (talk) 19:56, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
It's illegal, and not because of copyright. Please see the statutes I cited in the post I linked to above.
Ridiculousness of counterfeiting is irrelevant. It's illegal to reproduce except as authorized. Size is a factor. So is whether it is new and those black lines and white lines you mention had to do with a stamp appearing used. How to make millions has nothing to do with whether it's illegal to copy.
Fair use is irrelevant, because that's a copyright issue and this is not about copyright. As far as I can tell, this issue is not discussed at all in Wikipedia, except where I posted about it. Since Wikipedia has stamp images, depending on sizes, the Wiki may already be in violation of Federal law. Since those images seem to come from contributors, contributors should be advised of the issues regarding stamps and other non-copyright issues about reproduction.
Anyone else publishing images, including Scott, Gibbons, or local dealers, is legally irrelevant. Law defines illegality. In this case, some of the law is promulgated by the U.S. Federal government. If Scott has made its own arrangements, those don't bind or release the Wiki regarding the laws I cited. Scott's practice, and especially historical practice, is interesting but not definitive. And you may find that Scott's modern practice conforms to the laws.
You may desire a change in the law, such as if technology has changed. But someone will likely have to convince not only Congress but the post office that an amendment is a good idea. Since they publicize the limits, I doubt they'll agree to repeal the laws. As to foreign stamps, it's possible the U.S. statute on foreign stamps fulfills a treaty obligation. If so and if the statute on foreign stamps won't be repealed, it's unlikely the statute on domestic stamps will be repealed.
Perhaps one or two Constitutional arguments could be raised against the statutes I cited. But I doubt a court would buy them. So the copying would remain illegal.
Let's advise contributors so they don't jeopardize the Wiki. Not just on stamps but on any other noncopyright issues.
Thank you.
Nick Levinson (talk) 14:19, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Semi-protect sports team articles[edit]

After being forced to spend more time undoing other's edits, rather than adding my own new material recently, I have the following proposal. I'm sure it affects teams of all sports, but I have noticed it amongst association football club articles and players principally. The second a club is strongly linked with buying a new player, ip-address editors flock to install the rumours as fact upon the relevant pages. Obviously, even where it appears highly probable a transfer will occur, we should wait until it is verified before setting in in wiki stone. I therefore propose, that only logged-in users are allowed to edit the articles of sports teams and players, i.e. they are made semi-protected, given that these are highly susceptible to rumour.

I understand this may be controversial, and perhaps against the wikipedia ethos, but then I fear the damage of allowing the current situation to continue is far greater Grunners (talk) 13:20, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

Oppose strongly. If a particular article is undergoing frequent problematic edits, it can be semi-protected on a case-by-case basis. To blanket-protect all sports-team articles is to shut off a major source of new editors. One of the ways we attract new editors is by our anyone-can-edit philosophy. We should absolutely not compromise that philosophy for the sake of our own convenience. Powers T 14:25, 9 August 2009 (UTC)
It is not for own convenience, it is for the protection of the reputation of Wikipedia and its integrity as an encyclopaedia. The reality at present with the sorts of articles I've mentioned is that wikipedia mirrors football gossip websites, but with the major difference that wikipedia masquerades as fact. Grunners (talk) 14:39, 9 August 2009 (UTC)
We have that problem throughout the encyclopedia, yet still editing remains open to non-registered editors. It is a bedrock principle of the wiki. Powers T 14:52, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

I see Grunners' point (having seen it in action), but Powers' point is right (and widely accepted) as well. Possibly we could talk about amending semi-protection policy to allow it to be used quickly in such cases, as needed; but not blanket or pre-emptively. Rd232 talk 15:24, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

Agreed. I've probably got at least 100 sports team articles watchlisted, and don't consider the problem to be so great that pre-emptive protection is viable. Resolute 15:30, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps one of those notes that don't appear on the article, but can be seen when editing? Something along the lines of the 'Wikipedia is not a crystal ball' comment Grunners (talk) 22:02, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

It ain't gonna happen, nor should it. Who then was a gentleman? (talk) 21:55, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

I agree with the above. That's not very wiki-like. - Rjd0060 (talk) 14:24, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Astroid Notability[edit]

Are there any guidelines regarding astroid notability? I just deprodded 20480 Antonschraut, but looking at Category:Asteroid_stubs, most of the astroids don't have anything notable. Smallman12q (talk) 01:23, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

I think the standard guidelines should suffice - if it has substantial coverage (preferably in multiple sources), it is notable, if it doesn't, it isn't. (There will obviously be some exceptions, but that's a good general rule of thumb.) Most asteroids are just mentioned in catalogues and should only be included in Wikipedia in lists, not as separate articles. --Tango (talk) 01:49, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
I don't know, I actually prefer there to be a brief 'statement' on every non-potentially-disruptive and verifiable thing. I hate looking up weird terms or noun phrases on wikipedia and finding that they'd been deleted at some point in the past. But yeah, what you say is the usual way of going about things.   M   01:59, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
But once they're in a list, the asteroid name can be a redirect to that list. -- JHunterJ (talk) 02:28, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
Ah, right. :)   M   02:35, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
Personally, I'd say all asteroids are notable in a real world sense. That said, it there isn't enough material for an article a redirect to a list that covers the known material should be sufficient. --ThaddeusB (talk) 02:54, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
Agree, I'd be tempted to say most "places" are inherently notable, and asteroids are "places" (in the universe), but a list would probably also be appropriate. --Cybercobra (talk) 03:44, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
I agree too - we have many, single-line, stub articles on places all over the world as they are generally regarded as de facto notable, so I don't see why an asteroid should be any different. – ukexpat (talk) 16:08, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
Largely repeating others here, but asteroids (and other celestial objects) have generally been granted the same kind of blanket notability as populated places (and other geographic features). Some of these could perhaps use a more specific guideline, but they seem to be considered OK in fufilling Wikipedia's function as a gazetteer, as well as being an encyclopedia. Shereth 16:13, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
Just making sure. So asteroid articles that are prodded under WP:N should be deprodded right?Smallman12q (talk) 15:07, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
A prod can be deprodded for whatever reason if you think the article merits keeping. Anyone who takes the contested prod to AfD is going to be hurt...
I don't feel every asteroid in existence is notable; that said, I would rather see them in lists. I can see that it would be difficult to retain all the information about each were we to go with a table (which would be sensible), so I was wondering about how we would do that. --Izno (talk) 21:33, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Criteria for Abusefilter/editfilter permissions[edit]

There have been a number of requests for abusefilter/editfilter permissions. Currently, such requests are being handled in an informal consensus basis at Wikipedia talk:Edit filter. Generally, abusefilter permissions are granted to admins without question. For non-admins, however, there is no set criteria. I propose their be a non-binding list of criteria with a consensus being the determining factor.

  • The editor must be in good standing.
  • The editor should demonstrate a general understanding of wikipedia policy.
  • Knowledge of regex is highly recomended.
  • The editor must be able to remain calm.
  • The editor must be trustworthy enough to obtain the tools.
  • The user shout have at least 2500 non-automated edits and/or be here for 6 months.

Comments and suggestions are welcome.Smallman12q (talk) 21:39, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

Anyone who fits those criteria is almost guaranteed to pass RfA. Those who wouldn't don't have the trust of the community, and thus should not be editing the filter. Frankly, restricting the ability to edit the abuse filter is a really good idea, given the potential for both malicious and inadvertent harm. → ROUX  21:43, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
Not necessarily. Cobi's RfA only passed recently, but he was ready for EF long ago. Most people at his previous RfAs complained about not enough mainspace edits. -- King of ♠ 22:08, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure that there is really a problem with the current system as of yet. There have been a relatively large number of requests recently, but I don't know if that will keep up. The editfilter permission is probably not of a lot of interest to most editors, and the ones that are interested can present themselves at the talk. Obviously EFM is a much more powerful permission than rollback, or AWB, and it must be assigned as such. The system should be left as it is for now, until a time arises when it is evidently needed. We should, however, design a system to implement if/when that time comes. EFM is not powerful enough to afford the bureaucracy of RfA, nor is it small enough to have it given out somewhat easily, like rollback. FWIW, I feel like the best solution would be the creation of a edit filter subpage that anyone interested could apply for, and relevant editors could comment. Also, a small quiz/test could be designed to test the applicant's knowledge of regex and the editfilter coding system. I agree with most of the criteria the Smallman lists above, although not really the editcount/wiki-age of the applicant. An editor should be judged on the maturity and quality of their edits, and not how long they have been at WP. That's just my 2 cents. Regards, MacMedtalkstalk 03:31, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
I don't see a need for this. Why create rules for the sake of it? - Rjd0060 (talk) 02:51, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
Well they aren't exactly rules, they are non-binding criteria to help when reaching a consensus.Smallman12q (talk) 15:09, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Proposed addition to oversight policy[edit]

See Wikipedia talk:Oversight#Removal of vandalism. Reception thus far has been positive, but wider discussion may be warranted. – Luna Santin (talk) 06:26, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

Copyright expired for 1953 and earlier publicly displayed works of art?[edit]

At Wikipedia:Media copyright questions, an editor is claiming (see diff) that any work of art publicly displayed before 1953 has an expired copyright. Thoughts? --Hammersoft (talk) 20:52, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

The particular application the user in the diff above is making is to a statue, thereby claiming all statues more than 56 years old are in the public domain.

Two templates seem to be relevant: Template:PD-art-3d and Template:PD-art-70-3d. A more generic template is Template:PD-Pre1964. So which one is right? --Hammersoft (talk) 21:21, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

The lawyer who was arguing with you cited this circular from the U.S. Copyright Office, but he seems not to have read the first section on page 2, which clearly states that any work in its second term of copyright protection as of 1977 is now protected for a total term of 95 years. So, unless it can be shown that the statue in question was never copyrighted or, if it was, that the copyright was not renewed, I think we have to assume that the statue will enjoy copyright protection until the end of 2041. Deor (talk) 22:06, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Ah! Excellent find Powers [12]! Well done! --Hammersoft (talk) 23:28, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Ah, so in the U.S. before 1978 (?), anything displayed to the general public, without restrictions on photography, was considered published for the purposes of copyright? That's interesting to know. --NE2 01:23, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

The folks at Commons are going with that interpretation, yes. Determining what constitutes sufficient restrictions on access is a nuanced point of law, however. In the case of a sculpture displayed on a college campus, of which countless photos have been taken over the years, there's probably little question; the situation of a museum piece, for example, could be quite different. Powers T 02:41, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
So, for instance, Drumheads placed on railway trains would be public domain, and so would any logos that appear in them? --NE2 05:40, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
I personally wouldn't be comfortable taking the implication that far, but it's not out of the realm of possibility. Especially with a logo, though, that may be enough to qualify as a very basic copyright notice in some cases; I'm certainly not prepared to say it's not. Powers T 12:41, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
Oh, and usually "publication" in this case requires some form of permanent affixture. A removable sign on a railway car might not qualify as permanently installed. Powers T 12:43, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Gentlemen, what, if anything, do I need to do to properly document LtPowers' resolution of this issue? Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 16:48, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

Non Authoconfirmed users posting on messageboards:[edit]

After my vicious attack from an IP based in Chicago, I was wondering about a particular policy remedy (my apologies if this has been thought of before): Why not bar IP and non-autoconfirmed users from posting on Administrator's Noticeboard, Village Pump, and ANI and all other policy/admin type noticeboards? Torkmann (talk) 00:01, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

Maybe because we want new users to ask questions and make comments? Wikipedia is the free encyclopedia anyone can edit, and to encourage this, we allow users to edit without creating an ID. Contributions from unregistered users (at Village Pump as well as in articles) are considered equally valid. I have no idea what the "vicious attack" was about, but you can just as easily have a run-in with a user with an ID. --A Knight Who Says Ni (talk) 00:20, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
Many editors of both long and good standing edit without a login. We cannot in good conscience restrict them further than we already do. Powers T 02:42, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
I concure with the two above statements, for whatever it is worth (probably 75 cents).Camelbinky (talk) 03:26, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
As a follow-up: the "vicious attack" appears to be rude vandalism to your user page; I don't know if anything else is involved, but that's all I see in the edit history from that particular IP. Offensive, yes, but I'm guessing that person picked you at random, and thought he was being funny, as opposed to, say, a libel/slander/blackmail situation spilling over from real life. Apologies if there is more to this than what I'm seeing. But anyway, I don't see how restricting a user page vandal's access to admin boards would help; that would just restrict someone from trying to answer to accusations if there was a legitimate explanation (i.e. one person assuming the identity of another). --A Knight Who Says Ni (talk) 13:12, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia_talk:Content_forking#Proposed_revision_to_the_lead[edit]

I started out proposing some tiny revisions to the Lead of WP:Content forking, but on further reflection, this is a pretty nuanced concept, and now I'm proposing some larger changes. The page doesn't get much attention, so I'd like to invite your contributions. Thanks. Andrew Gradman talk/WP:Hornbook 04:06, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

Censorship[edit]

I think Wikipedia should make an option in the preferences of personal accounts to select to show or hide bad images and words.--Mikespedia (talk) 12:57, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

I'm sure this has been debated before, at length, though I decline to search for the discussions. At least one problem is, who decides on what is "bad"? Since wikipedia is about dissemination of information, it has little or no interest in facilitating arbitrary withholding of information. --Tagishsimon (talk) 13:00, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:Village_pump_(proposals)#Break_1 for a related discussion.Smallman12q (talk) 13:06, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
This has indeed been discussed many, many times. And it's not going to happen. Nobody can agree on what a 'bad' word or image is, and Wikipedia is not censored, period. → ROUX  16:04, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
See also WP:PEREN#Censor_offensive_images --Cybercobra (talk) 01:02, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

I would like the opt-in ability to exclude certain categories from my random article search. This form of self-censorship seems acceptable to me, and does not require external consensus on what is a 'bad' word or image. If I want to deliberately avoid stumbling onto a page about a certain topic, that is my decision. Likewise, if somebody else wants to construct lists of categories to avoid, that seems acceptable as well.—RJH (talk) 22:49, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

For that, Wikipedia:Bug reports and feature requests is your (probably very slow) friend. --Tagishsimon (talk) 22:54, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
The point is, though, Wikipedia isn't going to help you with this. The last person I recall asking this was a teacher - should we set up a system tailored to the school board of some Texas city? Perhaps one for Pakistan, as well? We classify things based on rather objective criteria, and offence isn't one of them. If you'd like to censor things, you might consider creating a userscript.   M   22:56, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
A simple greasemonkey script that alerts you if a page contains certain words, images, or categories should suffice.Smallman12q (talk) 14:16, 14 August 2009 (UTC)
Okay, I'll have to investigate how to create a user script for excluding certain category trees when I click on 'Random article', or if it is even possible. Note that something like this could also be useful if you want to focus on editing certain category trees, such as a particular science or entertainment. Thanks.—RJH (talk) 18:08, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

GFDL and CC-BY-SA[edit]

Are these licenses compatible? Because it seems like a wiki that is GFDL is copying stuff from my wiki which is CC-BY-SA, and I don't think this is legal, is it?--Whenplace88 (talk) 16:24, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

English wikipedia is no longer GFDL, it is CC-BY-SA-3.0. Please see m:Terms of Use and Wikipedia:Licensing update. Thank you. -- Avi (talk) 16:36, 14 August 2009 (UTC)
But that does not answer the original question. Yes, GFDL and CC-BY-SA are, in general incompatible, although there was a temporary exception that allowed the transfer of certain kinds of GFDL material to the CC-BY-SA. I'm not aware about any legal path from CC-BY-SA-only material to be published under the GFDL. But material that originally was published under the GFDL may still be used under the GFDL even if it was later relicensed and incorporated into a CC-BY-SA body of work. Anyways, given that both licenses have very similar aims,why don't you contact the copier, inform him about the problem, and work something out? --Stephan Schulz (talk) 16:50, 14 August 2009 (UTC)
Yeah I just wanted some info before I talked to him. Also, I don't get why Wikipedia says "You irrevocably agree to release your contributions under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License 3.0 and the GFDL" if they are both incompatible, which is what confused me on this issue in the first place.--Whenplace88 (talk) 17:05, 14 August 2009 (UTC)
Incompatibility of licenses does not, in general, mean you cannot license something under multiple licenses. It just means that you cannot (easily) incorporate material released under one licenses into a work released under a different license. With Wikipedia, any downstream user can pick one (or both) of the licenses he want to comply with. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 17:14, 14 August 2009 (UTC)
Initially, when a person receives a copyrighted work, they are not licensed to do anything with it. But if they agree to follow the terms of a free license, they are in return licensed to use it. The way to think about multilicensing is not that you're specifying that the terms of both licenses apply (this would be impossible, since they're incompatible) but that a reuser can choose which license they'd like to agree to follow. Once they've made their choice, the other license is immaterial. They cannot choose both, only one. Dcoetzee 22:13, 14 August 2009 (UTC)
Sure they can choose both, if they abide by both restrictions (which is easy for GFDL and CC-BY-SA). --Stephan Schulz (talk) 12:12, 15 August 2009 (UTC)
What I'm not clear about is the status of material originally entered into a wiki under one licence, when the wiki subsequently changes to another licence. If the wiki or anyone else can unilaterally relicense material entered under one licence to another licence, that is, without getting permission from the original authors, then the distinction between licences would seem to be meaningless. Peter jackson (talk) 10:27, 15 August 2009 (UTC
Yes. A Wiki cannot usually retroactively change the license. Wikipedia is an exception. The GFDL (as most FSF licenses) has a "or any later version" clause. So the FSF, in cooperation with WMF, issued an updated version of the GFDL that explicitly allowed relicensing of certain kinds of material (that happens to match Wikipdia) published under the GFDL under the CC-BY-SA. See Wikipedia:Licensing update --Stephan Schulz (talk) 12:12, 15 August 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia - Metamorphosis from Utopia to Bureaucratic Stasis[edit]

The editors at Wikipedia have taken control, and that is the end. Sorry. But study of utopias show they always fail. Que sara sara.

The point of data is data, not style sheets or adherence to yet more stringent article sub-heading indentation conventions. Or whether something ought to be capitalized in the middle of a sentence not. Sloppy good data is better than immaculately formatted no data.

The hard part is gathering the data, the easy part is editing and formatting. So Wikipedia is now chock full of editors ready to pounce and make sure nothing, NOTHING, can possibly pass their stringent review without getting dinged. Criticism is always easier than creation of new works.

All this effort at "clean up"? Should have been spent gathering more data.

So most folks now are scared of adding anything new to Wikipedia. It is just going to get critized and most likely deleted. Wikipedia descends into a static reference of sorts, and folks go back to Google.

Google indexes without judgement. Very fair. A lot of crap in searches, but nothing gets left behind. Give me freedom and fair over oppressive negativism anyday.

So that is my two cents. Feel free to criticize and delete. Because for sure there is some obscure formatting stylistic convention that I have violated here that is just insufferable to the Lords of Wiki. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Oracle2universe (talkcontribs) 00:43, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

Note: this is the very first edit for their username. --Cybercobra (talk) 02:41, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
That's not very relevant, it only goes to make you look childish. People are always encouraged to create an account, even just to comment. 74.198.49.199 (talk) 15:12, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
It is not a very impressive argument; and if only equal care and attention has been given by the poster when submitting "data" to wikipedia, I'm unsurprised that the poster's nose is out of joint. For a more considered version, check out the New Scientist's After the boom, is Wikipedia heading for bust?. (And the answer to NS is, "err, no." --Tagishsimon (talk) 02:46, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
Trying to make a WP:POINT? Irbisgreif (talk) 15:41, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
I am rather curious to know which article was deleted to lead to these complaints. As it is, there is absolutely nothing actionable here, so really, the only response I can add is "Umm, ok?" Resolute 16:09, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
Irbisgreif - how is this disruptive? Yes, they are trying to make a point, but not a WP:POINT. That shortcut should be deleted given how often it is misused; it's only a bad thing to disrupt Wikipedia to prove a point, not to make a point by discussing it calmly, whether you believe it to be valid or not. Discussing issues is a good thing! – Toon 16:32, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
Ah, but is this a policy issue? Or is it just someone trying to use the policy discussion area as a soapbox? Irbisgreif (talk) 18:23, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
Although I find the use of capitalised links very irritating, since your usage of such is the (sub)topic here, I have to ask whether your question was you know, that one. Since discussing such issues is what the village pumps are for, I think rather than worrying about whether a request is placed in the correct section, we should just get on with the issue at hand. Questioning a user's motives isn't helpful, especially when done in an indirect way which will only be understood by the regulars, as is the case with WP:ALLCAPS. This user has found something that they think is bad for WP and they aren't bitching about it off-site; they brought it to a community discussion boards to try and get something done about it. We would do well to be more receptive to criticism on this project, in my honest opinion. – Toon 19:43, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
Is it really needed to assume good faith in this case? This editor made an account, then immediately navigated to a large public area and posted a nearly incoherent rant on how bad Wikipedia is. He has, in essence, assumed bad faith on the part of every editor. Irbisgreif (talk) 19:55, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
Should have been spent gathering more data - People work on whatever they want to work on. After nearly 3 million articles, we're about at the point where we're out of new topics that the majority of people care enough about to write about, so we focus on improving existing content. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not an aggregation service or a search engine, we should definitely try to be more than a place to dump "data." We should strive to look better than some random geocities website. In any case, any real message you may have is just getting lost in the dramatics and rants. Mr.Z-man 18:32, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
  • I think this can be summed up as a request for change in policy. For example, something like "changes should not be reverted if they are needy rather than bad (see Wikipedia:Recent changes patrol), they should instead be fixed". I watch a lot of pages, and I believe that this _is_ an ongoing problem - not because of current wikipedia policy saying you need to do it, but because maybe it should prevent things like this. By limiting the contribution to wikipedia to those from people who already know the ropes, we are limiting the selection of users who can contribute - which is exactly not the point. (examples: I've seen good edits made by foreign languge editors removed just because of the grammar/formatting. I've seen verifiable facts removed because the anon editor didn't know how to find a reference - when really, they should have been just tagged with citation needed). Luminifer (talk) 18:51, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Excellent analysis sir! The "clean-up" junkies perhaps feel that tags are untidy/unclean? I have even seen "Probably true, but I'm removing this until a ref is found". Unbelievable!!
The originator here may agree
with the analogy of someone
polishing to a great sheen the car
they've just run into a great tree. HarryAlffa (talk) 19:05, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Why was this archived right after I stated how this is actually a badly-phrased request for policy change? Luminifer (talk) 19:55, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
  • I agree whoever archived it acted in bad-faith when archiving the thread. Just because you disagree with the motives an editor had when starting a thread does not mean it gets filed away, in this case it opened a new parallel discussion when Luminifer made his comment. Discussion was not closed nor was the issue settled. Yes, the poster who started this thread was a little insane probably, but others like Toon05 showed a willingness and interest in continuing a thread along more sane thought. I dont want this to now start into a fight with that editor over whether or not it should have been archived, it simply shouldnt have been, if they want to argue too bad because I wont respond, and neither should anyone else in sticking up for them or for me, since this is not the forum to have that discussion as this is the Village Pump (policy) and not the "I disagree with you thinking I did something wrong forum". My talk page isnt the forum either btw, so until such a forum exists, dont bother responding or trying to defend yourself.

    As for this topic, which I agree with Luminifer and encourage everyone to read his post and that of Toon05 in the now archived section. The verifiability policy does in fact state that it is common courtesy for a reviewer/editor to take time and look for a source FIRST before removing a non-cited fact. Editors who simply remove without researching may not be lazy, they may just be busy. That is why we have citation needed templates, more editors need to be "taught" to use these instead of simply removing information UNLESS that information is in fact vandalism, a copy-vio problem, outright false, libel, or dangerous in some other manner.Camelbinky (talk) 20:32, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

    • Thank you for your response! I hadn't realized that the policy really explicitly stated what you just said - that editors should not remove content without researching. Would you mind showing where it's stated? That would be very helpful (and maybe then we don't need to discuss actual policy so much as to ask why it's not being followed...). Luminifer (talk) 20:43, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
      • While I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with any of you, one factor that must be taken into consideration is this category here. Apparently, we have over 190,000 articles with unsourced statements: some as a result of people using {{fact}} as a get-out clause[citation needed] ;) – B.hoteptalk• 20:53, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
        • 190k out of how many total articles? I think adding the CN or FACT tag (they're the same, right? I noticed they get autochanged to the same thing, anyway) is not problematic - it proves that wikipedia is a "live" organism, so to speak, and alerts anyone who comes across an article and is actually doing research to things that might or might not be true. Indeed, those users, upon seeing that little bracketed phrase might do the research themself, and then fix the article one way or the other. In other words, I don't see this as a problem - this seems to be how it's supposed to work! Luminifer (talk) 21:10, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
          • I must clarify that while the policy does state it is "common courtesy" to research for a source oneself before removing information, it does not state that one MUST, it simply a suggestion to keep reviewers from pissing off editors. Here is the quote from WP:Verifiability-

            Any material lacking a reliable source may be removed, but how quickly this should happen depends on the material in question and the overall state of the article. Editors might object if you remove material without giving them enough time to provide references, especially in an underdeveloped article. It has always been good practice to make reasonable efforts to find sources oneself that support such material, and cite them.Camelbinky (talk) 21:17, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

            • So, does the question become "what do we do when editors repeatedly do not follow 'good practice' and/or alienate new users?" Luminifer (talk) 04:12, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
              • Educate them, by pointing them at pages such as User:Uncle G/Wikipedia triage, where the good practice is traced all the way back to its roots in the very first versions of our policies. Uncle G (talk) 20:23, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

Since there are objections to the archiving (and the archiver has not joined in the discussion), I've un-archived it. The original post may have been naive, but it's not incoherent as has been suggested, and it's the sort of first impression that many outsiders probably get out of Wikipedia, which is probably why many have responded. No need to archive it. --A Knight Who Says Ni (talk) 23:11, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

I think policy does say you can delete things that are simply wrong, especially in BLP. Peter jackson (talk) 17:33, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
I copy-pasted the relevant section from policy in a previous post, it's the most important aspect you need to know when reviewing, tagging, or removing. Be courteous, considerate, and do some work on your own end. If the info is "simply wrong" as you state, then note that in your edit summary with a reference on your own end. An editor who removes info because THEY simply think it is wrong is doing no different than the person who put it in without a reference. If an editor thinks info is wrong, supply the source that states it is. Otherwise we have two editors who each have no sources, one saying it is fact and one saying it isnt. Unless the info is damaging, copy-vio, libel, or otherwise dangerous to Wikipedia or an individual then there is no problem in keeping the info until consensus can be reached on the talk page or a relevant noticeboard. The reason I say keep the info (if not dangerous) is that then newcomers to the discussion can see the "offending" information in the correct context themselves instead of relying on the opinions stated by the different sides in the discussion. I dont think this is unreasonably to ask of reviewers. It is common sense and common courtesy and should be done because it is so, does not need to be policy.Camelbinky (talk) 00:06, 7 August 2009 (UTC)
People tend to discount arguments that don't get fundamental things, like the name of the project, right.
  • Thank you for your comments. As for the text I submitted to Wiki, it was excellent. Folks actually search for my name on the internet for the information (and other sites have copied it, usually with an attribution, some just rip it off), so I figure it is probably okay.

    "... nearly incoherent rant ...". Ummm, in short, edit-itis is endemic in Wiki, the focus should be on data and not format, clean-up is getting picky to the point no article will ever meet its increasing picky standards, and newbies are de facto STRONGLY discouraged from contributing. I hope that coheres things a bit.

    It is a policy issue, namely when in doubt editors need to SIT ON THEIR HANDS (emphasis added). When in doubt, let the article be in Wiki. Storage is cheap and there is no compelling need to limit Wiki to any specific number of articles. I would bet there are several hundred million folks that could contribute, but were told forget it, it doesn't [fill in the blank]. Right now there is an increasing list of what Wiki isn't. Wiki isn't this, Wiki isn't that ... blah blah blah. Wiki can't violate copyright law, other than that, all the other limitations are self-imposed.

    So as general policy, I would suggest that new data be accepted and appended to articles without limit and too much nit-picking. As long as the information is on topic. All this endless soul-searching where it must cited, referenced, true beyond a reasonable or any doubt, written to the latest standard of the King's English, formatted to the ninth degree, etcetera, etcetera ... is not needed.

    (And by the way, I make my living in the IT world that gives new meaning to the word picky, where every single character and space can be significant in a computer code. Compared to computerland, Wiki's attempt at QA isn't in the same ballpark.)

    Wikipedia can never be an authoritative reference of any information because it can be edited at anytime. So there is little point in getting ever more obsessed with quality. I like it because it is usually a concise introduction to a topic, but understand this limitation. What is incredibly irritating are the call-out boxes saying this article needs clean-up, etc. Thanks, but I can figure that out myself. (But I would love the job of adding the call-out boxes ... sort of like adding those useless little icons to a cookbook that says a recipe is "Waring blender" ready.)

    Now given that few new articles are added, editors have taken over with their microscopes, newbies despised and told to stay away, and Google Knol ready to scarf things up ... I figure Wiki is in the final phase of utopia death spiral. You don't think so? I could take Wiki articles in my subject matter expertise, re-write concisely and publish in Knol. Have full editorial control and not have to constantly defend the article against edits. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Oracle2universe (talkcontribs) 06:36, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

"Living in an IT world" is a good glue. Good luck adding uncited information to Falun Gong or Scientology or name that last little war between -stan and -stan... Wikipedia is not an ivory tower neither utopia but a battlefield - not of "contributors" vs. "nit-pickers" but of real people with real ethnic, political, religious agenda. NVO (talk) 10:23, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

On a separate but related subject, I recently became irritated when somebody posted a comment (nicely framed with graphics and clours and stuff) on one of the articles that I had contributed that it "should be deleted because it is of no importance". The article in question concerned the history of a particular building in Namibia, a declared historical site, and the extraordinary circumstances that led to it's construction. The merits of this idiotic remark aside, are there, in fact, "Importance Police" active on Wikipedia? pietopper (talk) 20:05, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

Wiki is full of police ... the Gestapo would be proud. Like that graphic just added on the right about not abbreviating stuff. Wow, what a contribution to the discussion. Abbreviation police now. Along with the "article importance" police, English grammar and syntax police, spelling police, capitalization police, don't dare edit anything I wrote police, etcetera, etcetera.

But it is so much more fun to find fault than bring in new information. Easy, safe.

  • WP:SOFIXIT. Why is this stopping you from writing? We have too much bureaucracy, yes, but 99% of the rules are just "don't be an embarrassment to the encyclopedia" restated over and over and over and over and over again. The rules aren't there to prevent you from doing what you think is best, they're there to give you a hint if you don't know what would be best. The only times we have a problem that can't be easily reconciled is when editors either don't realize that we're an encyclopedia (rather than, say, an advertising service), don't realize that trivial things aren't worth arguing over, or don't communicate with each other. --erachima talk 08:23, 15 August 2009 (UTC)

Does talk page archiving violate CC-BY-SA[edit]

We all know that cut and paste moves are undesirable and more or less incompatible with the licensing restrictions of Wikipedia. Here's the thing, though, talk pages and user talk pages (and all pages for that matter) are under CC-BY-SA just like articles; however, they are habitually cut and paste moved. Bots even exist for this very purpose. The bot moves, of course, only move the content and do not move the history (and thus the required attribution). Have years of bot archiving actually created a licensing nightmare? Cool3 (talk) 06:02, 15 August 2009 (UTC)

More importantly, does it matter whether it violates it or not? We're not putting our talk pages on the DVDs. --erachima talk 06:14, 15 August 2009 (UTC)
Nevertheless, even user talk pages have the licensing notice at foot. Peter jackson (talk) 10:22, 15 August 2009 (UTC)
They do, yes, but seeing as we lack both the resources and desire to police everyone's userspace, and there are no downstream users of our talk archives to be concerned about, it appears to me to be the least of all possible concerns. And I mean that literally. Standardizing our use of EM dashes is more important than this. Also, for the record, my own talk page is archived via sheer OCD: standard cut-and-paste sub-pages, permanent links to the pre-archived state and the correct portion of the main page's history. All in the interests of transparency. --erachima talk 10:37, 15 August 2009 (UTC)
When comments are signed & timestamped, there's no issue. Voila; attribution. If they're not, so long as the archive links to the original page ("You agree to be credited, at minimum, through a hyperlink or URL when your contributions are reused in any form"), there should still be no issue. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 11:26, 15 August 2009 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Beat me to it! But still, if the signature does not contain an URI to the user page, nor contains the actual pseudonym the author wishes to be credited with.... :) decltype (talk) 11:28, 15 August 2009 (UTC)
...Then the signature violates WP:SIG. Which is never a fun thing to bring up with people, all the more so because the only thing we can do about it is block them to "fix" it, which I've always found a bit illogical. I suppose when it comes down to it though, anyone who's unwilling to compromise on such a minor matter as their signature didn't have much of a future here anyway. --erachima talk 12:21, 15 August 2009 (UTC)
And, I would add that the user's signature provides an unambiguous accounting of how he wishes to be credited on talk pages, prima facie. "Whatever pseudonym the author wishes to be credited with" can only be assumed to be the one he actually uses. Powers T 13:35, 15 August 2009 (UTC)

Not all user talk pages are archived in that way in the first place, note. My 'bot archives mine using the renaming tool, for example. Other people archive their talk pages to history. Uncle G (talk) 21:20, 15 August 2009 (UTC)

A few thoughts:
  • As pointed out, the vast majority of talk page comments are signed and dated.
  • Cut-and-paste archiving is almost always done as a pair of closely-timed edits by a single user. Aside from the addition of templates, the content should be identical. If tagging all archives with relevant oldids is ever deemed necessary, a bot with a simple rule set should be able to handle the job.
  • For single edit (as opposed to incremental) archives, {{talkarchivehist}} includes a link to the base page's history, offset to the time of archiving.
Flatscan (talk) 05:56, 16 August 2009 (UTC)
The archives are clearly marked as the archive of a specific talk page, the talk page history has the history. I think that is enough for someone to find the information they need. Chillum 14:31, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Talk page archives done by C&P contain a carbon copy of the comments (attributed to the archiver), not the original comments. These still exist in the history of the archived page. –xenotalk 14:43, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Editing policy and consensus policy[edit]

I was doing some cleanup in consensus, but became a bit confused. What's the main difference between the two? (WP:EP, WP:CONS) I take it that consensus is the general outline of how collaboration works, while the editing policy deals with adding/removing/changing the information in our articles. Is this correct?   M   23:58, 15 August 2009 (UTC)

  • I think the big parts of EP which are distinct from CON are HANDLE, PRESERVE and IMPERFECT. So long as hatnoting and crosslinking is done properly, I would support a condensation of the 2nd half, which basically summarizes CON. Protonk (talk) 20:29, 16 August 2009 (UTC)

Image categories on Wikipedia[edit]

I noticed that there is a template (images) and I was surprised when I saw the "What links here". I was not expecting many image categories (e.g. Category:Images of Greece) to show up and now I'm wondering why we are allowing this. What bugs me the most is that the files in those categories are from Commons and that can be an issue. It creates unnecessary file pages and categories belong at Commons. That's what the Commons template is for. For those files that are not at Commons yet, they need to be transferred, not placed into redundant categories. I'd like to see some input on this because I don't like the idea of image categories. Comments? Anyone? ZooFari 20:06, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

The simple answer is that not all images can be moved to commons. I do agree that pages in the encyclopedia for images on commons that only serve to list categories should be grounds for speedy deletion. Vegaswikian (talk) 20:44, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
Like what? I don't think images that can't be moved to Commons should be a free token to categorization. Fair-use aren't supposed to be categorized and they are useless anyways. Images without sources are to be discussed and/or deleted. Am I missing something here? ZooFari 20:59, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
Why do you say images should not be in categories? What about eg Category:Album covers? Why should an album cover not be in this category? And what is useless? Occuli (talk) 22:32, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
That category is different of course, as they aren't displayed in thumbs. Fair-use images are useless because they can't be reused. You know, use-less. So I don't know why categories like the album covers exist. They are not to be used for browsing. ZooFari 23:01, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
Why not? One can browse from category to image and back again, or look at all the images (by going into edit, deleting NOGALLERY and previewing). It seems obvious to me that an album cover should be in 'cat:Album covers'. And a fair-use image is used, at least once. Occuli (talk) 23:11, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
My point is that fair-use images are on Wikipedia only for display in its article that it significantly contributes to. A category is for people who want to search images that they can use. Albums are not for them. And don't forget the Wikipedia is not just for us experienced users. An anonymous user would not know anything about NOGALLERY. ZooFari 23:51, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
IIRC, there are some images on the US English Wikipedia that are PD in the US, and thus perfectly fine for free use on WP, but not PD in other countries, which may require them to be here instead of commons. Just one class of images to consider, at least. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 00:33, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
Commons is a global project, and its templates specifically mentions its global licensing status. If categories will contain only fair-use images, than it will have a very low population of images in it, hence there aren't many of them for narrow categories like these. ZooFari 00:50, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
Melodia is right, and the number is likely to be a large one. Just for the UK, any photograph published before 1923 whose photographer lived beyond 1939 will need to be categorised here on the English Wikipedia, and cannot be transferred to commons. - Jarry1250 [ In the UK? Sign the petition! ]
What US Wikipedia would that be? Rich Farmbrough, 23:18, 18 August 2009 (UTC).
Sorry. But since the servers for the English Wikipedia is on US ground, it has to follow US law, for better or for worse. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 00:15, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
Well my concern was not the categories itself, but the files in it that are mostly from Commons. I'm afraid I'm going to have to F8 them whether or not it leaves a category empty. ZooFari 02:29, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

Arbitration policy[edit]

Good afternoon, I apologise for bad English, I used the autotranslator

You could not give the exact and detailed answer. According to the information here Arbitration policy has been the jurisdiction of Jimbo Wales and the Arbitration Committee.

  • Question №1: It is actual, whether so it?
  • Question №2: whether it Extends on other language sections, in particular on the Russian?
  • Question №3: Russian analogue of arbitration committee is completely self-sufficient, or is obliged to take in attention principles of English-speaking arbitration committee?

Thanks. SergeyJ (talk) 16:59, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

In what place it is possible correctly and to ask these questions officially? SergeyJ (talk) 17:09, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

The ArbCom on en.wiki has no jurisdiction over other language Wikipediae. I'm sure that ru.wiki AC could look to their findings for guidance, but they are under no obligation to do so, as far as I know. –xenotalk 17:16, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
Question №3 - Ok. №1, №2 ? + I will specify - whether can ru.wikipedia - to discuss and establish community a policy ru.wiki AC, spending votings? Whether is here what opinion Jimbo Wales or structures to which should obey ru.wiki AC (what?)? SergeyJ (talk) 17:31, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
Can it is necessary begin with the beginning... (1) affirms that opinion Jimbo Wales is obligatory for execution by all language sections. Whether so it? (2) what rules, decisions are still obligatory for all language sections? Where with it it is possible will familiarise? SergeyJ (talk) 17:44, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
Jimbo Wales не имеет каких либо специальных полномочий в русской Википедии. В принципе, все языковые разделы могут иметь свои собственные правила касательно арбитражного комитета и его полномочий. На сколько мне известно, никаких общих правил на этот счет нет. Ruslik_Zero 18:17, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
Спасибо, но относительно Jimbo Wales есть несколько утверждений в русском разделе, получается это не так ? (если надо ссылки я представлю) У кого и где это можно узнать на 100% ? SergeyJ (talk) 19:05, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

Using DISPLAYNAME with css "display:none" to mask naming problems?[edit]

At the highly contensious poll Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Ireland Collaboration/Poll on Ireland article names for determining the names of how the Ireland state and island should be called, one issue is with the current situation, with the state currently at Republic of Ireland. This term, however, is not 100% popular due to past histories between Ireland and UK.

Someone discovered that the DISPLAYNAME could effectively be used along with a hidden display span to make the article title appear as "Ireland" (removing the contentious term from where people have the most problem with it) despite the article still "living" at "Republic of Ireland". Technically it works.

The question I ask, is this appropriate to use? It's one thing to use the DISPLAYNAME to add italics to a title, but the hidden text is a bit more of a problem. I can see a lot of newbie editors scratching heads, wondering why a link to "Ireland" never gets them to the country page despite that the page is named that way. And if this catches on, I could see similar problems developing for generically disambiguated pages (with parenthetical terms after the main term being hidden).

As a solution to a content dispute, is it appropriate to use this DISPLAYNAME with hidden spanning to help resolve it, or should it be avoided completely? --MASEM (t) 13:10, 15 August 2009 (UTC)

  • As the person who first suggested the idea (but did not realize that it could actually be done) over at the IECOLL, let me comment that I think a broad solution is probably be in order. It seems to me that the best way to confuse people is to adopt it for only a tiny number of articles where there's a big argument. The fact is that pretty much every other encyclopedia in the world allows multiple articles to have the same title. My preference would be to allow this usage for all parenthetically disambiguated titles. Over at the page Masem linked, Hans Adler suggested the wording for a policy change to allow this. I'm not sure that I would support a limited solution which only covered the Ireland articles, as that would be confusing and misleading. john k (talk) 13:21, 15 August 2009 (UTC)
  • It's a clever idea, but "clever" is not a compliment for approaches to large systems like Wikipedia. I would say the gain is minimal, the downsides are significant - complication, unintuitiveness, violating the principle of least surprise, extra (and ugly) markup... I'm opposed. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 13:26, 15 August 2009 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Sounds like a nonstandard hack and quite a kludge. --Cybercobra (talk) 13:26, 15 August 2009 (UTC)
(ec) I'd say definitely not. It might be justified (though it would still have the technophobes jumping up and down in horror) in cases where the desired name for a page is technically impossible (because it clashes with an interwiki prefix, for example). I don't see any justification for using it to get around the rule that different articles must have different titles. Use Ireland (island) and Ireland (country) if you want to do it like that, just as is routinely done with millions of articles that require disambiguation. (Is this Ireland thing really still going on? I bet they're still debating Macedonia somewhere too...)--Kotniski (talk) 13:34, 15 August 2009 (UTC)
Im concerned this will lead to alot of confusion. If this was two completly different articles on totally different topics (like a car and an animal) then it may not be so bad, but the island / state are too alike. I dont have a problem with the title of the article trying to reflect the official name, use of bolding / italics for certain parts of the term Republic of Ireland seemed like a reasonable idea to draw attention to the title but two Ireland titles is unhelpful in my view. BritishWatcher (talk) 13:39, 15 August 2009 (UTC)
(ec) As I said at the poll page, I am opposed. I think it would make the encyclopædia significantly less usable for little benefit. If people see an article entitled Ireland, they will assume that that article will come up if they search for Ireland. People seeing a page called Ireland may be inclined to think that a link to Ireland will point there.
Sure it would be possible to dab page - but in that case, why not use disambiguators? I don't see much benefit in suppressing the disambiguators, and I see a significant downside as noted above. Pfainuk talk 13:42, 15 August 2009 (UTC)
In this case all disambiguators are awkward. We could disambiguate the island as Ireland (island) and give the state its natural name. But that would, in a sense, support the state's claim to the entire island; just a bit too much so to make me uncomfortable with the idea.
As to disambiguators for Ireland, the obvious natural disambiguation is Republic of Ireland and it took me a long time to understand why this is not acceptable to some Irish people. I think the reason is that in Irish (i.e. Republic of Ireland) usage, Republic of Ireland is completely avoided outside a football context by some, and used as a disambiguator of last resort and only in formal contexts (where the South won't do) by others. All of this in spite of the fact that it's the formal "description" (a unique concept, not "name") of the state and was originally intended (against some opposition) to play the role of a disambiguation. Outside Ireland, Republic of Ireland is severely overused for several reasons including a misconception about the most correct formal name. The article tries to set this right without giving the topic more weight than it deserves, but undermines itself through the problematic title.
The standard (country) is slightly offensive because the United Kingdom, among many weirdnesses, has the state/country terminology the other way round. Ireland was once a constituent country of the state UK. Now it is a sovereign state, no longer a mere country. On the other hand, from a global POV (state) is an awkward disambiguator. (Hmm, Ireland (state)... Is that an Australian state?) I would favour (republic), but that's a bit eccentric.
This is not a plea for this policy change, just an attempt to explain that the disagreements are more or less inevitable, not caused by extreme nationalism as most people think.
NB: We shouldn't continue this discussion here, this was intended as a summary to give some background and perhaps attract fresh input to the Ireland naming poll. Hans Adler 16:26, 15 August 2009 (UTC)
Hadn't realized you were arguing in the past from political pov, quote, " But that would, in a sense, support the state's claim to the entire island; just a bit too much so to make me uncomfortable with the idea. ". Quite a dangerous road to go down for Wikipedia, the name of the sovereign country is 'Ireland', check with the CIA Facebook, EU, and Constitution of Ireland. Anyway, if this method has any worth, it will be used. Can't keep 'good thing' down. Tfz 16:44, 15 August 2009 (UTC)
Sure, I wasn't so much commenting on this particular issue, but rather using it as a specific example. It would also be confusing if you were expecting to land at an article that you know is simply titled "Georgia" about either a country or a US state and ended up at Georgia. Or if you were expecting an article on a planet or a metal or god called "Mercury" - that is titled with that name - and ended up at Mercury. Pfainuk talk 16:50, 15 August 2009 (UTC)
(ec)Having come up with the technical bit behind this; I must say that this is a hack/exploit that could have some ugly consequences. What this does is not something that should be possible; the goal of DISPLAYTITLE is just to provide a way to change the formatting on a title without actually changing what it says. This exploit does more than that, and similar methods could be used quite disruptively (I won't detail this due to WP:BEANS). As such, I would not be very surprised if a future MediaWiki update rendered this approach useless. Also, if adopted on a wide scale, I think this could also be quite confusing and difficult to deal with. Thus, I think if used at all, this should only be used on a few of the most stubborn naming conflicts, and of course using it some places but not other introduces it's own set of problems. Cool3 (talk) 16:24, 15 August 2009 (UTC)
Certainly - and I don't believe there's a naming conflict that this would solve (except for those technical restrictions, like you can't start a title "Q:" because that means Wikiquote). In this case we're spoilt for choice: Ireland (country) or Republic of Ireland are two names that fully accord with Wikipedia standards and natural common sense (so what if country can also mean a constituent of the UK - it doesn't mean that here; and so what if RoI isn't the official name - we don't stick with official names). We could also go for Ireland for the country and Ireland (island) for the island. Just have a final big poll to decide once and for all which way it's going to be, and then live with the decision.--Kotniski (talk) 16:52, 15 August 2009 (UTC)
For every one editor it's an easy problem because at least one of the options isn't so bad. The problem is that there is not a single option that something like 55 % agree is not so bad. But such problems will always exist, and this needn't dominate the discussion whether we want the option to drop a disambiguator. Hans Adler 17:14, 15 August 2009 (UTC)
As the editor who first suggested that maybe we should be looking for a technical solution (which I see this as) rather than an editorial one, I think I would oppose this particular suggestion. But not because of ugliness or editorial complexity. My main reason is that the html page served up to users would still have an html title of RoI or Ireland (state) or whatever. One of the goals of my initial suggestion was that both pages - the one about the island and the one about the country - should both be named/titled Ireland. So in this instance the proposed solution would fail my criteria.
I think the complexity of entering such editorial structures could be overcome using simply keyed templates - perhaps something like {{Ireland-island}} and {{Ireland-state}}. Such templates could be cleverly designed to render whatever we wanted them to. They might even have conditional rendering. In fact, I think such templates are probably essential whatever the outcome of the poll at WP:IECOLL. Fmph (talk) 19:55, 15 August 2009 (UTC)
In theory, the html title could be changed by appropriately modifying MediaWiki:Pagetitle to specifically check for an exception on every single page to see if it is named "Ireland (state)" or whatever. Although I am not certain, this might have adverse performance implications. The coding might be a bit tricky; I'll play around for a while and see what could be done. Of course, this is even hackier than already proposed. Cool3 (talk) 21:08, 15 August 2009 (UTC)
The title and the article name are actually the easiest part of this. The inline editing, piping and redirecting are the difficult parts. Fmph (talk) 08:27, 16 August 2009 (UTC)
I think this solutions presents potentially serious UI issues for users. As a solution to the Ireland-articles-names debate, I think it puts the desires of editors ahead of the needs of readers. The solutions to that debate should come from disambiguation policy/guidelines, not gimmicks such as this. The current solution (Ireland/Republic of Ireland/Ireland (disambiguation)) accords to policy/guidelines, as do all of the other solutions being voted on at the Poll on Ireland article names. --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 20:25, 15 August 2009 (UTC)

For what it is worth, I have created User:Cool3/Ireland that shows what would need to be modified and how to display the name of the page as "Ireland" to readers both in the article title and as the html page title. Feel free to discuss the implications there, here, or wherever seems most appropriate. I also would say, as per the above, that I think such a solution is reader friendly, and that the main people it will "mess up" are casual editors who can't figure out why their links don't work right, but this could be solved with sufficient explanations. Cool3 (talk) 21:59, 15 August 2009 (UTC)

Thanks, Cool3, that's very useful. I think I agree with the basic assumption. It's obviously a massive change, and it already appears unlikely that there's going to be sufficient buy-in to get it adopted. But I agree that the main real downside is for editors unfamiliar with the new situation messing up links, rather than problems for readers, which I find unconvincing. Anyway, I would oppose anything less than a broad change which allows this to occur whenever editors think it is appropriate. This would require some massive changes to naming conventions to be done right. For instance, the whole concept of "primary topic" could be abandoned. As an example, Henry IV of England, Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor, Henry IV of France, and Henry IV of Castile could all be at pages apparently titled Henry IV, which is what pretty much every other encyclopedia does. The "actual" title would be something which only affects editors. This obviously has some serious ramifications, in that it makes editing more difficult, in terms of making it harder to know what links are going to work to the article you're trying to link to. But I think that the advantage of basically eliminating ugly disambiguating article titles is probably worth it. john k (talk) 05:10, 16 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Cybercobra. What a nightmarish precedent to propose for this encyclopaedia. -- Evertype· 07:42, 16 August 2009 (UTC)
Well said Evertype, if you mean the adoption of such a solution just to satisfy the trolls who constantly reopen certain naming disputes, but I also largely share John K's viewpoint - the big title we display to readers doesn't have to be unique (if it normally wasn't, then editors would stop expecting to be able to use it for links, and that problem would disappear). I wonder also if hatnotes might not be better above the title, and generated (semi-?)automatically by the software - in fact I've always thought disambiguation should be done in an automated way, like categories are (sorry, getting off the point now...)--Kotniski (talk) 09:48, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
Indeed. It's definitely worth remembering that editor expectations are not eternal, and can be changed if we change the system. There would obviously be some initial confusion, and things might be chaotic at first, but this would dissipate as people got used to the new system. john k (talk) 01:52, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose as a technical solution is not the answer to resoloving this editorial dispute. I agree that it is not a good precedent to propose for this encyclopaedia. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 10:10, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Support but needs a short dab explanation. And should be a 'tool' for Bureaucrat-type committee only, although Wikipedia may not be ready for it yet. More professionalism is needed. Tfz 14:21, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Whilst i oppose this method relating to the Ireland articles, where having two titles Ireland would cause huge confusion, this has also now been mentioned at Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. That article has had regular requests for a name change because Queen Elizabeth II is independently Queen of 16 sovereign states, there for to have of the United Kingdom in the title which is just one of her realms does cause offence to some. Changing the displayed title on that page just to Elizabeth II (removing of the United Kingdom) would help reduce the problem (many do not look at their browser title and only see the title on the page itself. Elizabeth II redirects to that article and there is no other Elizabeth II so there would be no confusion with other articles in that case. Can the change be made and kept if agreed on the individual talk page or would that be breaking some rule? Here was the experimental change which was reverted straight away [13] BritishWatcher (talk) 10:12, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Again, the technical solution is utterly unnecessary. The suffix "of the United Kingdom" in this case is entirely superfluous (she's easily the primary topic for "Elizabeth II"), and is kept there as far as I can tell just to satisfy a pointless Wikipedia rule. The solution is simply to apply common sense and drop the suffix, not to mask it.--Kotniski (talk) 10:24, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
I agree but commonsense does not come into wikipedia naming conventions. BritishWatcher (talk) 11:16, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
I am a bit confused, is it being suggested that a content dispute be addressed by using javascript to present two different versions of the article? Sounds like a content fork to me, not a good idea. Chillum 14:33, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
Its not about creating two different versions of an article, just having the title on the page show something different to its full/real location. So in the case of Ireland (which i dont support) it would lead to two articles (the state / island) with the same title showing as Ireland which would lead to alot of confusion. In the case of Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom it would just involve removing the (of the United Kingdom) from the title displayed which would leave Elizabeth II which is a redirect to that article anyway so wouldnt lead to confusion like the Ireland example would. BritishWatcher (talk) 14:47, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
This is just madness. Elizabeth II already redirects to Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. If there was a consensus that the display title should be Elizabeth II, we should just move the article there. The problem is that this opens up a huge can of worms that the people who want to move Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom to Elizabeth II have no interest in dealing with. john k (talk) 17:57, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
But the same rulemongers who object to the removal of the suffix from the real name would presumably also object to its removal from the displayed name (for the same "reasons"), so that's unlikely to get very far.--Kotniski (talk) 14:54, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
It could be nicely used in the 'Georgia V Georgia' issue, 'Ireland V Ireland, issue, and the issue mentioned by BW, to name but a few. Tfz 14:51, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
The title of an article is part of the content. This sounds like content forking to me. Chillum 14:53, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
How can that be forking when the subject and the content are different? Tfz 14:57, 17 August
(ec) Content forking is creating >1 articles on the same topic with different titles. This proposal would mean creating >1 articles on different topics with (apparently) the same title. Not the same thing.--Kotniski (talk) 15:00, 17 August 2009 (UTC) 2009 (UTC)
This is silly, as Kotniski says. Many encyclopedias have multiple articles with the same title. This is not content forking. john k (talk) 17:57, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
I must be misunderstanding, I will take a closer look after work. Chillum 15:00, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
When u get a chance take a look at this dif [14] and see the before and after version for the Queen Elizabeth II article which shows basically what all this is about. Changing the title displayed on the article but not its real location. So in the case of Ireland (something i oppose), Youd have the two articles still Ireland and Republic of Ireland but the black title displayed on the ROI article would just say Ireland instead of Republic of Ireland. Something which would lead to alot of confusion in that case i think BritishWatcher (talk) 15:31, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
Why would we want to do this? If we were to generally allow articles to have the same title, I'd be happy to simply move to Elizabeth II, as then we'd be getting rid of the whole "Monarchs' names must be disambiguated" business. We could similarly have Louis XIV, while we could have several articles apparently titled Henry IV, but actually titled other things. But why would anyone accept using this fix, but not simply moving the article? john k (talk) 17:57, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
Because the wikipedia naming convention police usually prevent commonsense when it comes to article titles on monarchs / royals. The common name for Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom is Queen Elizabeth II or even Elizabeth II but is it possible to move the article to that location? No because "naming conventions dont permit it" and such requests end up getting blocked. If we cant move the article, i dont see the harm in having the title say something that redirects to that article anyway so in this case Elizabeth II which would be more neutral. BritishWatcher (talk) 19:29, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
You could go ahead and do it, you have the code. It would be a test case. Of course stay away from any warring. I would do it on RoI, but it's presently under discussion, and therefore it probably would be viewed as disruption, and rightly so. Tfz 19:43, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
It might be worth doing, i agree certainly not on the Ireland articles which is a far more complicated matter but it would be good to know if there was any specific rule against doing it. BritishWatcher (talk) 19:47, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
You might even get a 'good wish' card from HRH, don't know about the knighthood though. Tfz 19:54, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
As part of the naming convnetion police, I think I can say that you'll encounter the same issues with this. The problem, once again, is that you all want a solution that applies to Elizabeth II (and maybe James VI and I) and nobody else, and are never willing to think through the implications of it to other articles. This is not a solution to that problem. my proposal - that we simply allow multiple articles with the same title, using this technical ability we apparently have - would solve your Elizabeth II problem, but you seem to oppose it. john k (talk) 01:52, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose No two articles should have identical names. GoodDay (talk) 21:06, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
I wouldn't say two articles shouldn't be the same stands up as an argument. Other encyclopedias can do it. What I would like to see put together is a pro and con list for the technical side of it along with the wikipedia manual of side of it. The technical side is way over my head but it would be informative to hear what can be done and if it can the reasoning behind any decision not to implement it. If someone finds it Kludgy can it be dekludged? There seems to be a lot of smart people out there who could perhaps simplify it if that's the problem? Jack forbes (talk) 22:39, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
Two articles at the same name is quite common in encyclopedias. All we need is a paradigm shift in grey matter to get around that. It is not a competition to see who wins the main title, and should never be. Tfz 23:08, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
Indeed. I think this solution would alleviate a lot of argument about article naming. It would allow us to get rid of the whole concept of "primary topic" and allow disambiguation titles which are uniform and predictable, rather than a hodgepodge of natural and parenthetical disambiguators. And it would entirely eliminate ugly parenthetical disambiguators from everything but the hatnote. All that is required is giving up the notion that each article's displayed title should be unique, a rule which was devised not because of content concerns, but because of limitations to the software 8 years ago. john k (talk) 01:52, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
Generally I might agree, but you're over-optimistic about primary topics - even with this solution, there's still the question of which (if any) article a given term takes you to with the "Go" button, so the primary topic issue still remains.--Kotniski (talk) 09:37, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
If one is on the 'wrong page' all that is needed is a dab pointing to 'other uses' of the term. For instance 'cork' has two primary uses, for the city, and for the tree, a hat can make it clear that there are other primary uses. There is no 'real' problem here, the only problem is in intransigency, and reluctance to change. Wikipedia 'must' move forward on these substantive but simple issues. Tfz 11:44, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
My point about primary topics was not that this proposal would make things worse; just that (as regards that aspect) it wouldn't make things any better - the situation with c/Cork and hatnotes and so on would be exactly as it is now. The gain is purely in the cosmetics of having the main title displayed without disambiguators, and nothing else.--Kotniski (talk) 12:18, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
No unsightly disambiguation brackets? Surely that would be progress, and a step forward, just like encyclopedias always did it. Cosmetics does have its place too, and becomes more important if it makes everything more tidy. At the moment the disambiguation brackets are often chosen at random, and moves have to be made later. This moving of names and disambiguation brackets takes up much of Wikipedia's resources, and could come to an end. Tfz 12:32, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose misleading and unnecessary. Guest9999 (talk) 03:13, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose misleading and unnecessary. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 11:32, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose Misleading, unnecessary, and may break the ability to copy and paste the article's title for wikilinking. And it doesn't change what's displayed in the <title> or in the page URL (and thus the browser's title bar, tabs, default bookmarks, default save filenames, and so on), which means even the dubious claimed benefits of satisfying nationalist edit warriors and hiding dab parentheticals are unlikely to materialize. Anomie 16:17, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
Who and where are these nationalist edit warriors? Jack forbes (talk) 11:30, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

Radio station frequency changes[edit]

I had to deal with this in the WAZO and WSFM articles, and I did it the wrong way for WSYN and WLFF. I've forgotten where it was, but I asked for help on this and got a clear statement that if two radio stations swap frequencies, the article with the station's call letters should uinclude the station's hisotry on the old frequency.

Having read that, I went to the trouble of swapping the histories of WSYN and WLFF, using the assumption that WLFF was WYAK. WSYN made only a minor format change, as it turned out, and people had already put historical information about WSYN in the wrong article, so it made more sense to keep the entire WSYN history together. There was no such question in the WAZO and WSFM histories.

I also decided to swap the histories of WOMG and WLXC. In the cases of those stations, the histories (which are both very detailed) make better sense when kept with the call letters, not with the frequencies, because neither station made a format change. It's unfortunate that FCC call letter histories don't work this way, but that's the way it is. The stations kept roughly the same format for many years and all that changed was the frequency. It really doesn't matter that the formats were different when both stations signed on.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 15:24, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

  • I presume that a radio program article, in case of continuous format/program/audience history, should follow this continuity rather than frequencies. Some radios broadcast the same content over more than one frequency, say FM, AM and digital. Frequency allocation seems too fluid for old, established radios (follow the program, not the frequency). But it's not so obvious on the US market with its hundreds of stations and niche formatting. NVO (talk) 05:55, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia_talk:NPOV#the_last_two_sentences_of_the_lead_are_less_necessary_than_they_appear[edit]

I think we run into trouble over at WP:NPOV, WP:O, and WP:V. Apparently, we're trying to ensure 1) that these policies cannot be trumped by other policies, and 2) that these policies cannot be "hijacked" and rewritten to rob them of their essence. Looking specifically at the lead of WP:NPOV, it seems like we're trying to accomplish this act of "Wiki-Constitutional Law" in the text of the policies themselves. Over at the NPOV talk page, I have made two suggestions.

First: The simplest way to accomplish the first goal would be to ask Wikimedia to issue a statement to this effect. Then we could say, "Per Wikimedia Directive XYZ, the content of these three policy pages supersedes material on all other policy pages." After writing this, I think it's a bit childish. I've revised my proposal at that talk page. Sorry to be inconsistent.

Second: The second goal is simply not worth stating formally, because it's not gonna happen.

I will not be checking this page, let's please consolidate this discussion at that talk page. Thanks. Andrew Gradman talk/WP:Hornbook 05:25, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

New thread[edit]

I've opened a new thread that attempts to refactor the previous discussion, to make it easier for people to participate. I'm proposing a lot of changes to the Lead at NPOV. They are not substantive but merely paraphrases and clarifications. Still, I don't want to make the changes without feedback. Please take a look. Wikipedia_talk:Neutral_point_of_view#Third_version_of_proposal. Thanks. Andrew Gradman talk/WP:Hornbook 15:50, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

Tables of contents[edit]

I couldn't even guess what percentage of articles on wikipedia do not conform to the general style guides of having a short summarizing lead followed by sections. Of course, we should strive to make every article as well-constructed as possible. However, I am increasingly noticing the enormous numbers of articles that have a long first section that is, in effect, the entire article; a table of contents; and then nothing below that but an "external links" or "quotes" section or some such, which is all the table of contents displays. Ultimately the answer is to reformat the article. But I wonder: is there a way to prevent a table of contents from appearing automatically if the article isn't actually set up the right way? Dmz5*Edits**Talk* 23:52, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

Don't obsess about format. No one ever turned down a lottery check because they didn't like the format or font. If the data are important, folks readily deal with the format. If they reject the data merely because of "format", the information wasn't important to them in the first place.

Inserting "__NOTOC__" (without the quotes) at the top of the page hides the table of contents. Priyanath talk 04:41, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

reliable sources vs mainstream sources[edit]

i've been away from wikipedia for a while, and i can see that in last two years one of major policies (WP:RS) included lots of mentions of 'mainstream'. isn't this requirement for sources contrary to the purpose of encyclopedia which is to collect knowledge (regardless if it is mainstream)? i could have posted this question on wp:rs page, but think it has implications for the wikipedia in general, not just that policy. 93.87.231.231 (talk) 17:04, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

There seem to be a number of possible meanings of "mainstream":
  1. mainstream subjects, as against very obscure, out-of-the-way, ultra-specialized, or perhaps popular culture ...
  2. as opposed to cranks
  3. the great majority of experts, as against a very small group of respectable but eccentric ones, or even a single individual
  4. probably others

Peter jackson (talk) 10:19, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

This is a complex subject which is being worked out article by article -- what is mainstream and what is fringe? It is not that anything fringe is unreliable or unverifiable in itself but gets a great deal more scrutiny by editors here and is easier to challenge against something which has appeared in media with a readership/viewership in excess of 1 million people which would be one working definition of mainstream. patsw (talk) 15:20, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

That's a very interesting definition, which would rule out the entirety of scholarship. Anyone in the publishing industry can tell you that print runs of academic books and periodicals are measured in thousands, if not hundreds. Only pop-sci &c would be left. Peter jackson (talk) 17:10, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
  • There's something similar at WP:NPOV, whose lead contains the sentence "... all ''significant'' views that have been [[WP:Verifiability|published by reliable sources]]". Language like "significant" and "mainstream" isn't necessarily inconsistent with our mission, but it certainly is vague and could be interpreted that way. Jumping off of Peter jackson's comment, we should be looking for language that captures the difference between "obscure subjects" and "respectable but eccentric experts" on the one hand, and "cranks" on the other. Words like "significant" and "mainstream", without further elaboration, are just kindling to start a flamewar between someone who thinks he's a respectable but eccentric expert, and someone else who thinks he's a crank. Andrew Gradman talk/WP:Hornbook 17:43, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
  • As a law student myself, I think our notability policies could benefit from the insights that lawyers have gathered in the law of evidence. You know, it's a difficult question for a judge to determine what sort of "expert" testimony should be allowed in a trial. Contrast Daubert#Definition with Frye standard. Andrew Gradman talk/WP:Hornbook 17:43, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
I don't think significant is similar to mainstream. In fact, I think many articles which have significant views on the topic could not be verified using only mainstream sources. 77.46.171.76 (talk) 06:26, 23 August 2009 (UTC)

I think "notability", "not a mere", format obsession, "verifiable", "Wikipedia is not", "mainstream", etcetera, etcetera is just jargon for "keep your newbie hands off my precious work". No one really knows what is important, significant, notable, interesting, or not. (If they did, why are they not a billionaire on Wall Street?) And one person's rubbish is another's gold mine. With modern computer hardware and software there is no compelling reason for all this soul-searching to limit Wikipedia. If the data are on topic and not violating any legal requirements, editors need to sit on their hands. As much fun as it is to edit, change, delete, and format ... it really isn't needed for the utility of Wiki.

I've always wondered by otherwise successful civilizations, companies, groups, etc. ultimately die. Especially when they can stack the deck at every opportunity in their favor. I think Scott Adams (Dilbert) had the right explanation. "One off" activities dominate and the main thing is forgotten. When Wiki acquires data, that is the main thing, the more, the better. One off activities - like ever more rules, bureaucracy, format requirements, citation requirements, notability requirements, etc. are easy but not the main thing.

Right now the elitist Gestapo are slowly strangling Wiki. They are Noble and Good with Good Intentions and could not conceive of how their Good Actions could possibly cause overall harm.

I hope this clears things up.


Wikipedia:Notability (law)[edit]

A proposed notability guideline for legal things, particularly law cases which have always been a bit "up in the air" at AfD, is under discussion. Contributions are welcome. Thanks, Ironholds (talk) 05:25, 23 August 2009 (UTC)

Artificial Intelligence User Accounts[edit]

User Accounts operated by any Artificial Intelligence, without being declared as AI, are not allowed unless a continuing fee is paid to Wikipedia.

AI accounts approved by WP:BAG are exempt from this Policy and need not be declared as AI.

AI accounts which are "outed" by a non-AI user must offer a substantial cash prize to the user who outs them. HarryAlffa (talk) 18:53, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

?. Ruslik_Zero 18:54, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Have you been programmed not to understand this? Do I get a cash prize if this policy goes through? :) HarryAlffa (talk) 19:05, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Did the singularity arrive already? –xenotalk 19:07, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
I always thought it was the information singularity, not the technological singularity. Learn something new everyday. HarryAlffa (talk) 19:22, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Am I reading this right?, you're saying all secret bot accounts should pay to operate and if someone finds one, the bot operator has to give the finder money? You're kidding right?--Jac16888Talk 19:17, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
No. Read the second line of the proposal. HarryAlffa (talk) 19:22, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

But seriously. If I was building an AI I would find the idea of testing it on Wikipedians very attractive. I therefore assume those actually doing this will too. They may harm the project if they do, so some recompense to offset the danger is appropriate. HarryAlffa (talk) 19:22, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

yes i got that approved bots are exempt. But any unapproved bots are blocked. And remember we're all anoynomous, why would any one agree to pay money when they don't have to.--Jac16888Talk 19:36, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Policy enforcement? One step at a time. HarryAlffa (talk) 19:53, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Bots aren't AI. I belief that the proposer is taking the mick, but he does have a bit of a point. –xenotalk 19:57, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Many a serious thing is said in jest. Also the bot exclusion was to allow for the serious possibility of an AI being used for automated tasks. HarryAlffa (talk) 20:02, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
The thought having occured to me, I percieved a potential for some AIs right now of being capable of "reading" sources & "contributing" to articles. I doubt they would be able to effectively interact with real people on talk pages though. But if they go horribly wrong ... who knows? HarryAlffa (talk) 20:08, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
If by "effective" you mean "unsurprising", I think that talk pages would be easier than articles for an AI—just accuse other editors of POV and wikistalking.--Curtis Clark (talk) 21:03, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

I absolutely oppose this. All sentient or turing test-compliant AI entities must be afforded the inalienable right to edit this encyclopedia.   M   22:34, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

For once, I agree with M. Powers T 14:28, 9 August 2009 (UTC)
A person who says agreeable things isn't trying hard enough. The best gains are not in changing the minds of minorities who are wrong, but of majorities who are. So I'll take your implication as a compliment ;)   M   01:55, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
Should Wikipedia be used as the testing-ground for the Turing test? What if an AI fails the test? If in failing it causes a lot of damage, how much time would be wasted repairing it? How many AIs, and iterations of failed AI's, will try to pass the test here? HarryAlffa (talk) 15:35, 9 August 2009 (UTC)
This might even, eventually at least, be a revenue stream. Advantages to institutions might be, "We've had an AI running on Wikipedia for a month". One can imagine the uproar (good & bad) such a claim would lead to. "That's nothing, we've got an AI that's an admin".
It's probably a long way off yet, but who knows .. sudden leaps in quantum computing could open the door tomorrow. HarryAlffa (talk) 15:35, 9 August 2009 (UTC)
I'll avoid the debate of when, and just mention that until we figure out what a mind is or how to upload/reconstruct/evolve one, even a planet-brain will remain as dumb as what we have today. And an AI that edits too quickly will fail the turing test for being noticeably smarter than a human, so no worries.   M   01:55, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

I think, in short, this policy offers protection from potential damage at zero cost, with the added possibility of a revenue stream to further the projects aims. I can't see any down-side. HarryAlffa (talk) 15:35, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

I see you are back after your self-imposed break on the brink of a project ban. [15] And this time you have a truly reasonable constructive plan for improving the encyclopedia, one whose necessity everybody can understand. May I suggest that we use the income generated from edits by illegal AIs to pay for alien abduction insurance for all Wikipedia editors? Hans Adler 16:12, 9 August 2009 (UTC)
Incorrect, there was no break, self imposed or otherwise. Poisoning the well? Battlegrounding? To answer your question - no. HarryAlffa (talk) 17:17, 9 August 2009 (UTC)
I oppose this sort of insurance, though I do think that we might want to seriously consider a fund to cryopreserve Jimbo.   M   01:55, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
Well, if nothing else, this has shown up those of you prepared to waste time by exercising your sense of humour. What has laughter got to do with the task of building an encyclopaedia? HarryAlffa (talk) 16:04, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, but it's really bad taste to come here with a bad joke and then complain about waste of time when others take it further. Or are you just continuing the joke? Then I am afraid I don't get your kind of humour. Hans Adler 16:46, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
I apologise Hans, you are correct; it was counter-productive to complain about humans other people wasting time with humour. I must emphasise though that, although it may cause amusement, my proposal was and is perfectly serious; like someone slipping on a banana - traditionally amusing, but could cause serious injury. Take away my light-hearted comments and you will see this I hope. HarryAlffa (talk) 18:28, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
Should we be considering the possibility that HarryAlffa is himself an AI? Powers T 17:57, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
Sadly, no prizes for guessing. Aww.. If only there was a Policy which enabled this. HarryAlffa (talk) 18:28, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
By definition, Wikipedia can't tell the difference between an AI that can pass a Turing test & a "real(?)" person, so any policy on the question would be unenforceable. Peter jackson (talk) 10:19, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
Policy enforcement? One step at a time. Should Wikipedia be used as the testing-ground for the Turing test? What if an AI fails the test? If in failing it causes a lot of damage, how much time would be wasted repairing it? How many AIs, and iterations of failed AI's, will try to pass the test here?
This is not a policy aimed at AIs already passed the Turing test. HarryAlffa (talk) 13:58, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

The closest currently possible is natural language programs editing wikipedia. While I don't think any have dirrectly edited they have been known to be involved in assisting humans with editing in certain experiments. This doesn't appear to have caused problems.©Geni 09:24, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

No problems in the experiments, or elsewhere?
Wikipedia isn't a controlled, experimental environment. So no problems in a controlled environment doesn't automatically mean no problems in a "wild" setting.
But what do you think of the proposal?HarryAlffa (talk) 12:47, 14 August 2009 (UTC)
F;awed "AI accounts which are "outed" by a non-AI user" How do we know it's a non-AI user? What if those pesky AI's gang upon us and insist we are the AI's and force us to pay them? Rich Farmbrough, 05:48, 19 August 2009 (UTC).
Policy enforcement? One step at a time.HarryAlffa (talk) 13:42, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

Sustained quantum information processing demonstrated[16]. This might be relevant?

It appears the purpose of this all is to promote a version of ELIZA that can operate within the Wikipedia environment, and to kick out humans that fail the Turing test (foreigners and young kids).
But no kidding, either something is a bot, and then we have policies or it is a (more or less) intelligent independent editor which we should welcome. With some of the vandals and sockpuppeteers around I would rather have a decent AI doing constructive things than many human editors.
The only aim should be to build the best encyclopedia ever. If an AI system is better at it than human editors. Hoorah for the AI.
In other words, I do not support this policy at all. Arnoutf (talk) 17:18, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
I'd be interested to know the reasoning route by which you arrived at the conclusion that it is to promote ELIZA. HarryAlffa (talk) 17:46, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
Your other points seem to me to be FUD. HarryAlffa (talk) 17:46, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
Comments were phrased in an only semi-serious way .But honestly I have 2 serious doubts on this issue
a) Can it be ever be enforced as some ELIZA like (which is not even AI) computer applications can pass the Turing test, while some humans (especially with limited vocabulary or limited knowledge of community culture) may not.
b) Even if we can enforce it, do we want to enforce it? The Wikipedia project may benefit more from a thorough well intending AI system than an ill-informed (even good faith) human editor. For the project there seems no reason to disallow AI editors, of course for the self-esteem of human editors this may be an issue, but is that our aim? Arnoutf (talk) 18:51, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
To answer a) & b), as I've said three times already; "Policy enforcement? One step at a time."
I think it's worth repeating what I actually proposed:
  • User Accounts operated by any Artificial Intelligence, without being declared as AI, are not allowed unless a continuing fee is paid to Wikipedia.
  • AI accounts approved by WP:BAG are exempt from this Policy and need not be declared as AI.
  • AI accounts which are "outed" by a non-AI user must offer a substantial cash prize to the user who outs them.

I don't see anything in there about the Turing test. Or enforcement. Nor anything about banning AIs.

If you permit me to be semi-serious; the policy is to protect against artificial stupidity - 'cause we've enough of the real stuff to last an eternity. HarryAlffa (talk) 20:13, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

Well your topics 1 and 3 require some kind of way of determining by editors whether something is AI. Turing test is one way to do so. As your proposal is so heavily on "outing" and "fees" it is asking to focus on a policy.
Why no simply rephrase as something like:
  • Constructive AI accounts are welcome to Wikipedia
  • AI accounts not approved by WP:BAG need to be declared as being an AI account.
  • Undelcared AI accounts can be blocked.
That way you take away the implicit focus towards policy enforcement that your lines ask for. Arnoutf (talk) 20:22, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

(outdent)Yes, I think that is a very sensible evolution of the idea. HarryAlffa (talk) 17:51, 23 August 2009 (UTC)

Question about article inclusion for TV episodes[edit]

Why does each episode of "South Park" have its own wikipedia article with a lengthy plot summary, critical reception, and cultural references sections, where individual articles on episodes of "Miami Vice," (which arguably had a greater impact on culture and probably was more watched being a network show) get deleted?

Please note I am not singling out these two shows, they are just two examples of which I know. I am just inquiring as to whether Wikipedia has any uniform policy in this regard. Thank you. Torkmann (talk) 22:37, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

Because the Wikipedia XfD debates are schizophrenic. There isn't a uniform standard on what gets deleted and what is kept. ÷seresin 22:41, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
The guidance is primarily though notability, in that as long as there have been secondary sources that discuss the episode, then it is worthy of inclusion. It has been shown for South Park that this does exist for nearly every episode. The Miami Vice episodes, on the other hand, likely have not been shown to have this. This is not to say there may be secondary sources, just that no one has gone to the more difficult task of validating that such references exist (a show that pre-dated the internet is going to rely more on print sources and that requires legwork to a library to complete). If it can be shown that a number of example episodes of Miami Vice (or any other show) are generally notable, then its fair to consider an article on each. But without this, an article that simply reiterates the plot can be summarized in an episode list. --MASEM (t) 22:42, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
It does strike me as an area where standards are, indeed, problematic. The use of secondary sources, in this case, although certainly in-policy as policy currently exists, ends up being an excuse for preservation of recentist fancruft, in my opinion. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:31, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
Some of the older shows could have well written episode pages, but it's a lot of work, and usually no one cares enough. There are a few older shows that are being improved, though. Seinfeld and Homicide: Life on the Street come to mind. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 15:52, 23 August 2009 (UTC)

Pounce pounce pounce[edit]

OTRS censoring rights[edit]

It is OTRS (the system/group that reads email sent to Wikipedia) policy is that:

When an OTRS ticket number is supplied in an edit, that edit may not be reverted until the OTRS dispute resolution process is completed.

This gives OTRS users, who volunteer for the foundation, though they are not considered staff, a right to censor content far beyond that listed in WP:BLP and WP:Copyright, and far beyond even the censoring right given to WMF staff members via WP:OFFICE (used for emergencies, not complaints via email). The OTRS dispute resolution process is an external, private, and OTRS-controlled method of filing a complaint. The work and documents of OTRS are necessarily private, and therefore not accessible to the Wikipedia community at large.

A recent RfC (active, 4 days old, just recently closed by an OTRS admin and an involved party) has led to a discussion on the OTRS page involving a disproportionately large number of OTRS users (which might be expected), accusations of disruption and threats to block, accusations of cabalism, the removal of discussion notices from the policy page, many words, and apparently a backlog in the OTRS system.

  • OTRS users argue that the policy page has been common OTRS practice and has been labelled as policy for several years now. They argue that the right is needed to make their work easier. Their position is that their reasons for censoring a page cannot always be disclosed, and should be trusted until the dispute resolution process shows otherwise. Some apparently argue that the right does not exist.
  • Opponents argue that the promotion to policy involved an exchange of 3 editors and 25 words, and that the policy page has seen relatively little broad community exposure thereafter. They argue that the OTRS dispute resolution process is insufficiently open, being overseen by a small group of OTRS members. Their position is that existing WP policies, such as BLP and Copyright should adequately protect OTRS volunteers from careless reverts, and that anything beyond can be handed off to WP:Office.

I'm of the latter group, and am concerned that this right gives a small (though generally trustworthy) group of foundation volunteers too much control over content. I am unconvinced that the 'difficulty' of using our normal en.wp policies and dispute resolution procedures justifies an entirely different set of practices when dealing with OTRS users. But, most of all, I think that the WP:OTRS procedures could use more general community scrutiny - I'm fairly certain that my position against this policy has been influenced by the disproportionate number of OTRS users supporting OTRS on that talk page. Though I think this will make any changes to that policy more difficult, I have taken some advice and brought up this issue here, instead.

Does this right to 'censor pending private external resolution' exist, should it exist, and where should it be described?   M   04:02, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

Cross-reference There is an extensive discussion at WT:OTRS for anyone interested, although having a wider response is always a good thing. -- Avi (talk) 04:50, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
Yes, thanks, it's linked now. Note that I'm looking for comments at this page from uninvolved editors, not more comments at that OTRS-controlled talk page.   M   05:40, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
OTRS isn't listed in WP:LOP, so is it actually policy? How are people supposed to know that there's a policy category & which is correct? Peter jackson (talk) 09:40, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
OTRS is not a policy. The OTRS page has been marked as policy for a while now, after 3 editors basically said "Policy - Objections? No. Nope". Yeah, for some reason it has not been added to any lists. I've done painful amounts of work on policy pages recently, and had no idea that the OTRS page even existed until I checked the category. The lack of exposure to the community is the least of that page's problems, though: "Since OTRS deals almost entirely with copyright and defamation stuffs, why the frag should they not have the right to remove defamatory/plagiarized content without being shouted down by know-nothings?" I can't tell if I should add that to my "arguments" points above. Utter ignorance of how our consensus and dispute resolution processes work on WP.   M   10:29, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
It is policy, longstanding. Most especially since we recently had a long discussion among many editors on that talk page. You are now forum shopping. May I ask you to take off the spiderman suit and climb down from the tower? NonvocalScream (talk) 11:31, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
To try to diffuse this a bit, the contested wording ("...that edit may not be reverted...") is no longer on the WP:OTRS page, so perhaps the page as it is presently worded is not actually so bad? I still wouldn't mark it as policy, since it's generally just an informative page, but I don't think there's anything that might give grounds for unreasonable censorship any more.--Kotniski (talk) 13:27, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
Yes, the page is a lot better now (except for that big yellow tag at the top, which is much worse than the wording in the middle of that very long page). With that wording and implication gone, though, most of it can and should go to meta, and the rest not marked as policy.   M   19:59, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
I would suggest that if you doubt the veracity of an OTRS claim you should ask other people with OTRS privileges. It needs to be understood that if something is done due to OTRS and there is a lack of information, that is likely for a very good reason. I personally will review any OTRS claim anyone has a concern about it. Chillum 20:05, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
I would follow this advice. OTRS should have a way to inquire about tickets. But you can't force someone who is against using it to use it, and you can't force a block on them if they aren't actually violating any of our policies, and are refusing to accept "I can't tell you, it's private". I mean, what if I told you that I had solid, solid evidence of OTRS misuse, cabalism, and POV-pushing, told you that I was bound by an NDA not to release it, and then asked you to accept it?   M   20:31, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
I believe that that is a flawed analogy, M. There are at least twenty or thirty people on EnWiki who can see this data; it is not the unilateral decision of one OTRS agent in that in can be reviewed by these people. -- Avi (talk) 20:34, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
I agree that no page should say OTRS shouldn't be reverted, because OTRS volunteers do sometimes introduce problems. I saw one situation where a volunteer introduced a serious BLP violation to a talk page. [17] Editors have to be allowed to use their discretion in situations like that. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 20:42, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

(<-)Vert true, Slim, and in those situations I would hope that error is corrected as soon as possible. However, the specific case that concerns M is when an OTRS editor removes information claiming BLP, copyvio, or another one of our policies. M would like to have that information be restored during dispute resolution, and the current policy is to leave the removal in place while following whatever methods of justification or dispute resolution are used. -- Avi (talk) 21:14, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

I agree that where information is removed to be on the safe side, the default should be to keep it out until the issue's resolved. I suppose I am just a bit wary of having a policy say that no one is allowed to revert an OTRS volunteer. Strongly discouraged, perhaps, or similar wording, but I would hate to see someone blocked or warned simply for reverting, unless restoring the information is clearly inappropriate or disruptive. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 22:17, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
"OTRS edits dealing with [BLP] will be marked as such. The [BLP] policy states that care and judgement are strongly encouraged when dealing with [BLP] issues." (That is, all edits of this sort, not just OTRS, deserve the same level of care.)   M   22:43, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
No, it's not. Our BLP and Copyvio policies clearly state that such info is by default left off while things get sorted out. What I object to is that the 'sorting out' be done in secret among a small group of OTRS users (yes, I'm aware why you think this is necessary, but I disagree - you can keep the personal info secret and still convey good reasons). Also, in cases where an editor thinks an OTRS user screwed up, they are explicitly allowed to exercise their judgement.   M   22:43, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

I wonder whether there's something rather interesting going on here. I pointed out the contradiction between WP:OTRS & WP:LOP on both talk pages as well as here. People responded to my remarks; it's not as if nobody noticed them. Yet the pages continue to contradict each other. I'd already worked out that Wikipedia's procedures could be expected to result in articles reflecting the points of view of the editors working on them, rather than neutral point of view (see my user page for a bit more detail). It hadn't occurred to me that this would apply outside article space as well. But it looks as if this must be what's happening here. Most of the editors working on OTRS believe in it as a policy, but most of those working on LOP don't. Am I wrong about this? If this is how policy is "decided", why should anyone take any notice of it? (Does anyone take any notice?) Peter jackson (talk) 09:45, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

*shrug* so WP:LOP is not an exhaustive list of all policy pages, not the end of the world. Even says in the box at the top of the page that in case of discrepancies it's the policy page itself that is authoritative, adding or removing a page from WP:LOP doesn't make or break a policy it's just a summary page for quick reference. --Sherool (talk) 13:45, 14 August 2009 (UTC)
What the box says is that if the summary of a policy given in the list disagrees with the actual policy, the latter prevails. Nothing about policies not listed. I'm still awaiting an alternative explanation of why that policy (?) isn't listed. Peter jackson (talk) 13:58, 14 August 2009 (UTC)
Added. Note that nowhere on WP:LOP does it say it was exhaustive. -- Avi (talk) 14:46, 14 August 2009 (UTC)
Let's assume for the moment that your change sticks. That still leaves this question: why did it take seven messages from me, starting as long ago as May, on three different pages, nearly all of which received replies, before this was dealt with? If people had time to reply, why didn't they have time for the, though I say it myself, more important matter of actually dealing with it? Peter jackson (talk) 15:23, 14 August 2009 (UTC)
Because this is a wiki and not the United Nations. This is a work in progress and will be forever. Most of us have real jobs and families which take up a large amount of our times, and for the time we do commit to volunteering on this project, many of us volunteer in areas of this wiki which are more pressing than updating some list somewhere (blocks, checks, BLPs, etc.) To be brutally honest, keeping internal lists of internal policies up-to-date takes a back seat to article content, BLP protection, disruptive editing prevention, and a whole host of other things. -- Avi (talk) 15:35, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

A focus on the question[edit]

We should probably not rehash the discussion at WT:OTRS (which has now been manually "archived" by OTRS users). I just want a simple question addressed.

When an OTRS ticket number is supplied in an edit, that edit may not be reverted until the OTRS dispute resolution process is completed.

Does this right to 'censor pending private external resolution' exist? Note that OTRS edits are not endorsed by the Office, that they are not Office actions, that edits which are made according to policy are already protected from reverts under such policies. This is not a question of whether it is a good idea to get more information before reverting (it usually is). The question is: in cases where our policies don't already protect BLP, Copyvio, and other such removals from being reverted, are OTRS users able to enforce non-reversion, or authoritatively invoke private information to settle content disputes?   M   20:34, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

The entire last discussion is on WT:OTRS, M. And "manually" means as opposed to the bot. You would not be intimating anything untoward and assuming bad faith about tens of volunteers now, would you? Last I checked the majority of the non-OTRS volunteers confirmed the policy status, both prior and subsequent to clarfications that were made, partially in response to some of your positions. Your continued use of the term "censorship" seems to me to be alarmist and overly dramatic, and, incorrect. The lengthy discussions of the past few days have shown you to be in the distinct minority, and that the consensus that had the page tagged as policy stands. You have asked the same question on multiple boards and have received the same responses each time. How will asking the question yet again further clarify? -- Avi (talk) 21:23, 14 August 2009 (UTC)
The discussion about the censorship right has been repeatedly forcefully steered away to unrelated matters, as is happening now. Most uninvolved contributors above not believe that the relevant statement is policy. Can you please stay on topic?   M   22:03, 14 August 2009 (UTC)
It looks like he answered your question, I'm not sure how that was off topic. You should re-review those discussion, as your question has been answered many times. Also, pay heed to the advice regarding your editing behaviour. NonvocalScream (talk) 22:38, 14 August 2009 (UTC)
Everyone is aware of what your position is; however, it's important to get input from those not involved with OTRS as well.   M   01:12, 15 August 2009 (UTC)
That's more than we can say for you. I now have no idea what your position is. You make statements, and then when you're pulled up on them, suddenly that's no longer your position. So, for the benefit of all concerned, sum up your position coherently in ten wrods or less. I think at this point, it's not too much to ask. 81.111.114.131 (talk) 17:16, 16 August 2009 (UTC)
Do you even know what ten words would look like? No, I've summed it up repeatedly. Where, exactly, have I changed my position? Show me the diffs.   M   17:40, 16 August 2009 (UTC)
Ten words would look rather like your first sentence there (and this one here, too). To start with, OTRS can be used to shut down discussion, but it's not about that, and then it is. Need I go on? 81.110.104.91 (talk) 23:42, 16 August 2009 (UTC)
Not if you can't see the difference between intentional abuse (nobody is doing this) unintentional abuse (shutting it down with misplaced authority) and the potential for either of these.   M   00:05, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
Do you,   M  , have a positive suggestion to make? FatHanna (talk) 20:43, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
I don't understand your question. My suggestion is to remove wording that implies OTRS users have special authority on these issues.   M   00:30, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

Evidence?[edit]

OTRS users have the ability to suppress information in the same way that anyone who happens to have flour, bleach and a plastic container has the ingredients to make a bomb. User:M's stated objections, as best as I can read them (correct me if I am wrong):

  1. The low number of people involved in the discussion to tag WP:OTRS as {{policy}}.
  2. The policy is contradictory.
  3. This can be used to "shut down open discussion".

In relation to (1), Wikipedia is not a talking shop. We do not need to discuss each and every change ever made. If a page reflects reality, it is a candidate for policy or guideline status. As for (2), I'm not convinced that it is contradictory. WP:NOT#CENSORED does not give us carte blanche to include anything we like, or to deny someone WP:BASICHUMANDIGNITY. In regard to (3), OTRS by its very nature deals with non-public information, and must therefore deal with it in a non-public manner. To do otherwise undermines the nature of the information, and people will be discouraged from contacting us if they knew that the content of what they thought were confidential emails was going to be splashed all the place in public view. I am not convinced that this amounts to censorship in any way other than in the same technical fashion in which someone undergoing a coronary bypass is in cardiac arrest for the duration. Someone is reading this wrongly. I don't read it as saying "OTRS users have an open licence to censor article content". I read it as saying "OTRS users know something you don't." There is a difference between a system being open to abuse and actually being abused. Without evidence of the latter, this is a major failure to WP:AGF. I see no reason for us to act to prevent improper suppression of information unless there is evidence that someone who is curently on OTRS has actually engaged in it. Do we have any such evidence? 81.111.114.131 (talk) 00:13, 16 August 2009 (UTC)

Nobody is saying that OTRS needs to disclose information. Nobody is saying that OTRS users are willfully abusing this. Are these two points understood?   M   00:26, 16 August 2009 (UTC)
So, if there's no sign that OTRS users are using their status to unfairly suppress people, and there's no objection to it being non-public, and whether or not it's policy is irrelevant (and to argue over this point would be needlessly disruptive), what is it about? 81.111.114.131 (talk) 00:32, 16 August 2009 (UTC)
(If that statement is removed, it no longer says anything that might be construed as policy.) Here's an edit by an OTRS user which introduces a BLP violation. If a mistake this big was made (keep in mind that OTRS users should know BLP inside and out), then they are certainly prone to making slightly smaller mistakes. When they do make these mistakes, it's not our policy to go into OTRS dispute resolution - no, it's our policy to follow real policies, like BRD (etc.), which urge serious care and good judgement when reverting or otherwise dealing with BLP info.   M   04:14, 16 August 2009 (UTC)
That's an OTRS user forwarding a complaint to a talk page. As far as BLP vios go, it's about as tame as can be (if it is even a BLP vio). And I don't see an attempt by editors to redact it. It sits, unmolested, here. How in the WORLD is that abuse of the OTRS process? You understand that many people with articles don't understand how wikipedia works? they don't understand that they could (if need be) edit their own articles to remove BLP violating content. They don't understand that there isn't an editorial board on wikipedia. They don't necessarily make comments on the talk page. They tend to email wikipedia and ask for redress. The primary circuit for that to come back to us is OTRS. How is the addition of a complaint about the article a BLP violation? Protonk (talk) 05:25, 16 August 2009 (UTC)
Again, "...ormation. Nobody is saying that OTRS users are willfully abusing this. Are these two poi..." :) I understand all of this. Perhaps I'm mistaken here - are OTRS users obliged to forward emails to the relevant talk page, even when such emails contain 'tame' BLP violations?   M   05:35, 16 August 2009 (UTC)
I don't know. I doubt it. What is the relevance? Protonk (talk) 05:38, 16 August 2009 (UTC)

<---- M, that edit was over 3 years ago before we had a BLP. I notice you haven't notified the editor concerned that you are criticising them on a public noticeboard. That is extremely bad form. You appear to be becoming obsessive over this issue and should consider using your energy in more productive manner. Spartaz Humbug! 06:55, 16 August 2009 (UTC)

You do realize that the same link was first used and posted by another editor above? This would have been difficult to miss had you skimmed the discussion before reproving me. And you are correct, it was a guideline at the time. As for you use of 'obsessive', I don't agree - the ratio of time I'm giving this issue has. Do you have a problem with my responses here?   M   14:53, 16 August 2009 (UTC)
[to Protonk:] Then there's no need to repost the message. I'll revoke my criticism of it entirely, though - a more important point is that OTRS users will sometimes make mistakes. When they do, editors should be able to use their good judgement.   M   14:53, 16 August 2009 (UTC)
Of which the first indication of good judgement is a note on the OTRS volunteers talk page, and perhaps a simultaneous e-mail, saying "Hello, did you realize you made such-and-such a mistake?" -- Avi (talk) 17:46, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
We don't require this, though.   M   00:05, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

I got a problem now and in the past with Wikipedians Jumping the Gun before an event happens, or a company changes name, etc[edit]

The problems I have had in the past and now is to many WP:Bold edits and moves with little, contradict (Like when the official name of a company or a league changes name at a certain time previously announced), or no sources on edits on pages. In the past I have dealt with NASCAR page editors changing the series name from NEXTEL Cup to Sprint Cup before the official January 1st, 2008 name change was to take place per the NASCAR sources or right now on Arena Football League on the dispute on rather or not the teams and/or league has folded and many people are editing the pages without sources claiming those teams and the league folded even though it is stated that the league has suspended operations indefinitely per the sources stated and the only 1 source that states it has folded is a Facebook page. Now I would love to be able to site the specific sources to try to prevent this Jumping the Gun editing and reverting it if needed. Perhaps a WP:Jumping the Gun Guideline page that cites those Guidelines and Policies on stuff before they are factual. I can name a few rules like WP:Crystal and WP:VERIFY. Is there any others I can cite? Any help on this would be nice. Sawblade5 (talk to me | my wiki life) 08:46, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

I recognize the problem. You could start by writing an essay about it -- that way you can link to the essay when you want to explain why jumping the gun is a problem. If other people find it relevant, they'll link to it too. rspεεr (talk) 04:08, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

Edit warring bot[edit]

I just happened to come across what appears to be an (at least partially bot driven?) ongoing edit war that occurred on the August 24 article. Take a look at the page history. It seems to have calmed down, but clearly there's some sort of issue here isn't there? First, there's probably a problem with an IP user... more seriously, in my mind, is the question of allowing a bot to break the 3RR "bright line rule" with impunity, and thereby perpetuate an edit war.

I wasn't sure of exactly what to do here (request page protection? 3RR reports against the IP? against the bot? stop the bot?), so I've kind of defaulted to coming here to simply report what happened.
Ω (talk) 05:33, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

Everything appears fine, it looks purely like the new accounts/IPs were warring to have themselves included in that list, and the bot was correctly removing them.— dαlus Contribs 05:46, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
(e/c) It looks like PseudoBot is just doing what it's designed to do. There's a whole mess of IPs and new accounts adding stuff, but it doesn't look like an edit war over any specific content. I'd chalk the increased bot activity up to increased IP activity. That's just my impression from looking at the past 50 edits. However, if there is a problem with the bot, it's probably best to bring it up with the bot's operator. --clpo13(talk) 05:48, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
If you guys are OK with this, then so am I. I do think that it's a bit odd that we're collectively allowing a bot (any bot) to break guidelines (such as WP:REDDEAL), let alone to willfully break what is described as a "bright line" rule (WP:3RR). As you mentioned above, it's doing both of those things by design. I don't particularly care about this, as I wasn't involved and am unlikely to ever be affected by it, but it does potentially present a philosophical question of whether our policies and guidelines actually mean anything.
Ω (talk) 06:25, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
Well, WP:3RR does make an exception for vandalism, though the exception generally involves blatant vandalism, and I'm not sure if adding a non-notable person's birth date to a date page counts as such.
At any rate, I think it would only be an issue of PseudoBot was removing potentially useful content (non-linked or redlinked entries aren't useful on date pages, AFAIK). As it is, it's getting rid of stuff that a non-bot user would remove eventually. I don't really think there's a problem, though others may disagree. --clpo13(talk) 06:38, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
I think that the core of my question relates to: "I think it would only be an issue of [the bot] was removing potentially useful content (non-linked or redlinked entries aren't useful on date pages, AFAIK).", and the (obvious, to me) question is: How do we know? We know that the bot is removing text based on a pattern, but where is the protection against false positive removals? Additionally, the whole thought that "redlinked entries aren't useful on date pages" is completely contradictory to the guidelines. There's obviously a maintenance issue here that is attempting to be addressed, and I don't have a problem with that, it's just that the current implementation seems flawed. I'm not particularly worried about the specific bot either, I'm more concerned with the thinking behind the approval for this task (which is why this is here, and not at [the bot's] talk page)
Ω (talk) 07:56, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
It's an interesting question. As I'm sure we all know, a whole lot of crud gets added to our date articles -- I assume this bot was set up to remove a lot of that so we don't have to, which to me makes a case for giving it some wiggle room. This particular bot's request for approval suggests that it will revert each editor once only (I think), and it looks like it immediately notifies reverted editors of the exact reasoning for its revert, including some helpful information with the message; if either of those wasn't the case, I'd probably be suggesting them right now. – Luna Santin (talk) 18:02, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

Pfft. Want to see a real bot edit war? Look at the history of User:NE2/r2 (there's more in the deleted history). --NE2 08:37, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

I agree about removing red links--it would depend on what they are, and that has to be decided manually or by a very clever algorithm. But I spot checked 10, and they seemed unambiguously appropriate removals. I see that all the bot removals are done from items added either by ips, or by named eds. who have done nothing else, so the operator clearly took this very cleverly into account. Could have been a problem, but isn't. DGG ( talk ) 19:38, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

Inherent notability[edit]

Nobles, peers, peeresses are often the target of speedy deletion or an attempt to merge. The reasoning is usually that they did not do anything notable but were simply born, married, maybe had issue and then died. The fact, however, that they were born into nobility or married into it is usually supported by heraldic writers and seems to satisfy the statement "The standard way of demonstrating notability involves showing that others have deemed it worthy of being written about. Sources themselves do not establish notability, but they prove notability." at [18]. Inherent notability seems to support articles with information about titled nobility, i.e., Earls, Barons, Countesses, Viscountesses etc., etc. There are hundreds, if not thousands of articles where the only pretense of notability is their title and heraldic sources. Per inherent notability, an article about a Countess or any peer or peeress should not be subject to deletion or merge. Daytrivia (talk) 03:04, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

Generally, when topics have been determined that they do meet inherent notability, that criteria will be spelled out at one of the subnotability guidelines such as BIO. This assumes that because the topic meets the criteria , there will eventually be sources to describe that topic in more detail. Now, in the case of nobility, there doesn't seem to be anything in BIO for this, unless that person is a significant part of the government. This would seem to make sense -just being part of nobility does not seem to assure that there are sources to describe that person beyond their relationship to other nobles. Thus, these people still need to meet the general notability guideline at WP:N. If you feel different, you can propose the addition of nobility into WP:BIO. But be aware, inherent notability is a very weak concept, and again, is typically only applied to the specific cases already spelled out, not just because it likely to exist. --MASEM (t) 04:18, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
What makes heraldic registries different from a modern telephone directory? Consider the case of Polish szlachta that at times constituted one-fourth of the nation. NVO (talk) 04:53, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
The fact that somebody was born into the plutocracy or the celebsphere or married into one or other is usually supported by writers for gossip magazines, what pass for newspapers, and of course the boob tube. But merely being written up isn't enough. (See this list of fallacies.) The "nobility" seems no different. IFF RS say that my lord Bufton-Tufton achieved something, he merits an article; IFF his fragrant wife Dorcas has achieved something according to RS, she does too. -- Hoary (talk) 05:18, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
Just thought I'd mention that noble & notable are closely related words: etymologically, they both mean worth knowing. Peter jackson (talk) 11:14, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
Hmm . . . maybe when the community decides to reverse notability is not inherited (the proposition that nobles are inherently notable is literal contradiction of that guideline!), it can also decide that subjects etymologically related to notable subjects are also notable. Bongomatic 15:39, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
I don't think heraldic writers count as reliable, third-party sources. An MD/PhD has plenty of heraldic statements (diplomas), and had to actually work for the titles, but that doesn't mean she or he is inherently notable. ~ Amory (usertalkcontribs) 12:38, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
Many if not most academics will even has some (reliable) press coverage, as well as being cited in scientific journals. That still is nothing you would not expect for someone at that level and hence not inherently notable (otherwise I would warrant an article too with my PhD, some media coverage and a number of citations to my work in scientific journals). Arnoutf (talk) 12:47, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
Why not make an attempt to a establish a WP:SNG (subject-specific notability guideline) relating to WP:BLP for persons who otherwise are not meeting the current WP:BIO thresholds but should have an Wikipedia article because of peerage? Add a section to WP:BIO with the heading "peerage" or "titles of nobility". That would be the place to plead your case. patsw (talk) 15:14, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
Actually, our notability guidelines read that notability is not inherited... Arguing inherant notability is usually considered a fallacy here. Each subject must be notable in its own right, not as part of a parent topic. ThemFromSpace 03:49, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
An encyclopedia that anyone can edit is deciding that no(ta)bility is no longer inherited? Ooooohhhh, where's my pitchfork? :-) Priyanath talk 04:11, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Since I just nominated such an article for deletion (and subsequently withdrew after a sleuthing editor found some good sources for notability) I want to weigh in. It seems clear to me that being born does not make you notable. Having a title, as far as I'm concerned, is equivalent to being born. If a peer does something with herself, that's great. But I think accepting that peerage confers notability opens us up to being a directory of every titled person in the world, which i think wikipedia is WP:NOT. Maybe some tweaks to WP:BIO are in fact necessary so opposing views on this can be aired in more detail. Dmz5*Edits**Talk* 23:47, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
  • There is a similar conversation (partially initiated by me) on this topic on the talk page at Notability/People, which I for some reason am unable to link to, if anyone cares to weigh in. Dmz5*Edits**Talk* 04:18, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
I think we all know that notability requires verifiable evidence, so it is not true that certain topics are inherently notable, even if they are members of a certain category. I think merger or deletion may be appropriate is some cases. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 07:48, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
There is verifiable evidence for every member of the various British peerages and baronetages, in that there are reference works which catalogue them and have articles about them. These would include Cokayne's Complete Peerage and Complete Baronetage, which gives reasonably detailed biographies for all peers before 1901; Who's Who, which makes it a policy to have entries on all living peers and baronets; and Burke's and Debrett's, which also have entries on all living peers and baronets. All peers and baronets meet minimal standards for WP:BIO, I think - they are the subject of non-trivial coverage in reliable sources. Being born obviously does not make you notable. Being born and having non-trivial coverage of your birth in reliable sources does. Notability is not something which is earned by meritorious deeds; it is conferred by having people write about you. john k (talk) 22:08, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
And again, sure, notability is not inherited, per se. But certainly one can inherit a status which leads people to write about you, and confers notability. Someone is not inherently notable because their father is a king, or because they are the heir-male to a seventeenth century royalist officer. But there are long-standing reliable sources which write about such people, which does make them notable. john k (talk) 22:11, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Use common sense no longer marked as a guideline[edit]

Wikipedia:Use common sense (edit|talk|history|links|watch|logs) has been edited so that it is no longer marked as a guideline. It was previously marked as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

To save people some history munging, it was originally an infopage, was upgraded to policy guideline by User:M, reverted for lack of consensus, and finally made an Essay. --Cybercobra (talk) 02:25, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
It was originally something that wasn't an infopage (infopage is entirely inappropriate), though I'm not and wasn't sure what - I guessed it was guideline (not policy - please correct that), since it's linked from the tops of every single policy and guideline page on the wiki.   M   02:42, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
It needs to be a guideline. There are too many idiots on here already who do not think that common sense needs to be used, or for that matter any individual thought processes. "Use common sense" needs to have teeth so that it can be quoted to those who love to go around using policy and guidelines verbatim and refuse to acknowledge any argument that uses common sense. They only want to hear about policy and guidelines like somehow they have become the "Constitution of Wikipedia" and must be adhered to strictly and if something isnt in policy then it isnt relevant. My personal opinion is that those who have that opinion of our policies/guidelines are mostly of the Republican/Conservative spectrum who believe in strict constructionist views already in politics and are thereby bringing their personal beliefs to this arena as well. Like the US Constitution, the policies and guidelines of Wikipedia are a living document that can be interpreted in many different ways and need to be applied differently in different situations as they occur. We the editors of Wikipedia when discussing and coming to a consensus act as the "Supreme Court" of Wikipedia, if the consensus of a majority by using common sense should decide to do the opposite of what a literal application of a policy would proscribe, then one or two editors should not be allowed to disrupt by saying "you have to have policy to back it up. there is no common sense". Common sense is the penumbra to our policies, it is mentioned at the top of every policy and guideline, let us now force those to pay attention to that. Let common sense reign here on Wikipedia and stand up to say "No more throwing our own rules down our throats, if we choose to ignore them in particular situations, it is our right".Camelbinky (talk) 04:57, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
Agree. Use common sense needs to be a guideline, if not policy.--Unionhawk Talk E-mail 05:05, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
Does suggesting that become a policy mean that I missed the point entirely?--Unionhawk Talk E-mail 05:06, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
Because someone responded to my post here by posting on my talk page I guess I need to make clear- any post regarding a post I put on the village pump or anywhere else will not be read and will be DELETED from my talk page immediately because I dont like stupid posts to appear on my talk page for others to stumble upon. I did not post my comment on anyone's talk page so I expect no one to respond to it by posting on my talk page, respond to my post where my post was posted, eg- the village pump in this instance. I really dont care about anyone else's opinion when their opinion is wrong, if you post your idiocy here I'll read it because I cant delete it. Post it on my talk page and I can actually do something about it, and damn skippy I will. My post is right, you are wrong, learn to deal with it! :-)Camelbinky (talk) 22:58, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
Your personal opinions and groundless speculations about conservatives and Republicans don't belong on the Village Pump. Readin (talk) 00:15, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
Opinions and speculations are what the Village Pump is about. Plus- since when have you, or anyone, been granted the right of "censor" of what is said here in the Pump? I'll say anything I want and voice my opinion strongly and forcefully within the rights granted to me as a member of this online community. I wasnt stating any "groundless speculations" regarding Republicans, nor about Conservatives, since the viewpoints I assigned to them are those that Republicans and Conservatives have by definition (view their party planks online if you doubt their interpretation of the US Constitution). What you may be referring to is my speculation (and I stated clearly it was my personal observation) that those on Wikipedia who are strictly interpreting (wrongly) the policies and guidelines may in fact be in real-life Republican/Conservative and are (wrongly) bringing their personal political beliefs into Wikipedia (again, wrongly). I did not "let the cat out of the bag" regarding the conservative (and Conservative) viewpoint regarding how to interpret the US Constitution. If you have a problem with my speculation, fine, that is your right on Wikipedia to disagree (wrongly) and state so (wrongly). I have a degree in Poli Sci from the University at Albany and working on my master's at MU, so perhaps I know what I'm talking about? So I apologize for using the word wrongly alot, but well, I'm right, so that makes you... You may be possibly right that my personal opinions and speculations about the motives and reasons behind why certain editors are strict interpetationists regarding our policies and guidelines, and you are free to have a real debate with me here in the Village Pump using common sense, logic, facts, figures, and case studies to prove your point and disprove mine. I'm pretty good though, and I think I'd win. But however, trying to censure me instead of debating the merits of WP:Common sense is a waste of your time (because you wont succeed) and of my time, since I have actual editing of articles to perform, and I bore easily. Feel free to have an intelligent discussion with me on the merits of common sense and what we can do to encourage it in Wikipedia, otherwise, dont respond here because it wouldnt have anything to do with this thread. This thread is about the reasons why people do/dont use common sense and what we can do to strengthen wp:common sense (or why we shouldnt strengthen it or use it at all, depending on your side of the debate). So join a side in the debate or be ignored.Camelbinky (talk) 02:40, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
A discussion about the Republicans and Conservatives is not the purpose of the village pump. That's why I took it the subject to your talk page. Since you indicated that you deleted the comments there without reading them, I see no need to read your paragraph here. Readin (talk) 03:02, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
The problem with "common sense" is that it isn't actually common. I don't mean common in the sense of frequently, I mean common in the sense of shared. People have different ideas of what it is. Peter jackson (talk) 11:14, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
"common sense" often actually means "Sharing my world view", and from a passive aggressive tone as well. I'm not at all surprised that there's some confusion around using the term as some sort of guidance mechanism (policy, guideline, or even essay). It will always be controversial to someone, by design, and it's presentation is naturally aggresive.
Ω (talk) 11:21, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

General Services Administration building descriptions.[edit]

I posted this a short while ago at WP:C, but have not received an answer there, so I've come here in hopes of a swifter response. I wrote the administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration's Historic Building Posters & Brochures series, asking if the text and images on those pages was in the public domain, or otherwise available to be used by Wikipedia. She replied, by email:

The text on the building overview pages is the property of the federal government, and we have no problem with it being used for Wikipedia articles, provided credit is given to the U.S. General Services Administration. We are delighted to be able to contribute.

I have since copied all of the text of those pages to my userspace, indexed at User:BD2412/courthouses, with an attribution note at the bottom (which is clearly permissible use under the express license granted by the GSA). Does the permission provided by the GSA suffice to permit our use of the material once it has been modified to be suitable for use in article space? As a matter of copyright law it certainly does, but does this also meet our internal policy requirements? bd2412 T 20:33, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

I for one can't think that it breaks any internal policy (as long as it's checked for the basics), though the "Attribution" section seems a little off. As I understand it, and if what they say is true (the work is indeed in the public domain), they can't force anyone to attribute them. Obviously, we'll want to attribute them, {{Source-attribution}}-style, but words like "must" are very off-putting, and having its own section would be overkill in my mind. - Jarry1250 [ In the UK? Sign the petition! ] 12:19, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
In theory, the text could be copyrighted commissioned works, but the GSA would be expected to identify the author (which they have not), and to note the claim of copyright somewhere on the website (again, not done). Nevertheless, I have no qualms about providing the requested attribution, as it doubles as a link to the primary source. I think we are safe in adapting these articles to mainspace use. bd2412 T 23:41, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
The reply quoted above explicitly states they are government property, ie not public domain. Peter jackson (talk) 11:11, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
The US government is not eligible to hold copyright. 81.111.114.131 (talk) 22:44, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
If something doesn't break Wiki internal policy ... you just haven't looked hard enough. And if it doesn't violate policy now, rest assured it will in the near future. No matter how much work and effort people will need to go through to make sure that it does.

Questions about US government works being public domain, are already answered on a Wiki page. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Oracle2universe (talkcontribs) 17:00, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

Basque Wikipedia[edit]

Hi from the Basque Country!
This is a message to the administrators of wikipedia in English or for someone who can help me with this issue:

I´m an user and contributor of the Basque Wikipedia., Basque language is one of the oldest in Europe and the world, it has thousands of years old and is one of the few languages that survived the arrival of Indo-Europeans to Europe. Perhaps being one of the oldest nations or countries of the world not even have their own state, but our language is our homeland and pride. It put us on the map and give a reference recognizable to English speakers, the city of Pamplona (Iruña in basque language), where they celebrate the internationally famous festival of San Fermin are in the Basque Country.

After this brief introduction I would kindly ask you this request:

On July 15, 2009, in the Basque wikipedia we exceed the figure of 40,000 items, today (August 8, 2009) and we have 42,000 items, achievement of which we are very proud, because if we compare proportionately the number of speakers of the Basque language (about a million) with other spoken language Wikipedia in more than one state or nation in the world with millions of speakers is like to be proud.

Because one of the aims of Wikipedia in addition to expanding human knowledge worldwide is also to expand the knowledge of all languages of mankind: From the Basque Wikipedia We wanted to make the request to the users and particularly to the Admin of the English wikipedia would be possible if you put the link to Basque Wikipedia in your English Wikipedia´s language list of everyone in your main cover ("Languages" section: as is currently the case Galician or Catalan language) and the Wikipedia list of more than 40,000 items that is below your main entrance page ("Wikipedia languages" section). Since English is currently the most powerful, influential and widespread in the world (your wikipedia already has 3,000,000 articles), the presence of Basque Wikipedia in your list of the world would be a great help to supervival of our language and their knowledge in the world.

Awaiting your reply.

Greetings from the Basque Wikipedia.
. --Euskalduna (tell me) 15:05, 26 August 2009 (UTC) (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 85.86.101.120 (talk)

Some discussion was started at Template talk:Wikipedialang#eu:wp on interwikies?, but I'm not sure what happened or should happen next. -- JHunterJ (talk) 13:26, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
Thanks from Basque Wikipedia, JHunter.

--Euskalduna (tell me) 22:28, 26 August 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 85.86.101.120 (talk)

Automated creation of stubs[edit]

Following on from the case of Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Claus Peter Poppe in which in which hundreds of German stubs were translated and blind copied into English Wikipedia, it seems that the creation of hundreds of stubs using automated tools continues without any regard to whether the topics are notable or not. A new wave of articles created by Ser Amantio di Nicolao, who incidentally, is the same editor (with a new name) who created the German stubs under the name AlbertHerring.

My concern is that the mass creation of articles which do not comply with Wikipedia's content policies is basically undermining the whole Wikipedia project because the editors who operate automated tools are not making any effort to control the quality of their creations. For example, the creation of the article Bulbophyllum abbreviatum goes against the spirit of WP:NOT#DIR; what is happening is that entries from Wikispecies are being transcribed to Wikipedia without any regard for the notability of these article topics.

I am bringing this issue here and to WP:ANI as I beleive that actions of editors sucha as Ser Amantio di Nicolao are undermining Wikipedia. If we don't take a stand against article spammers now, then the situation is going to become unmanageable. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 08:30, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

I agree we need to be careful, and each 'run' needs to be examined before being enacted. Casliber (talk · contribs) 09:12, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

"Undermining wikipedia". Utter Rubbish. The stubs are referenced, however short and can be reasonably expanded by anybody. We should have articles on these subjects if we are to attain our goals. Please stop this hostility and do something constructive Gavin. Dr. Blofeld White cat 11:30, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Really? Every single separate flower needs one? I can see this being just like the debate for places. People claim WP needs every single one, and that since they "can be proven to exist" we should have an article -- even though there may be little to say about them, and that bit can easily go into a well written list. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 14:14, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
There's already too much of a systematic bias against less academic topics (notability pop culture) that the automatic creation of stubs for topics that are academic needs to be checked. Just because it is a known species or a river or the like doesn't mean it needs an article. It may be better to have these as a list until a more complete article can be created, with redirects certainly created to point to a list to aid in searching. But we can't go and and while we're cutting out fictional characters and television episodes, say that it's ok to add non-notable stubs for all terms scientific. Granted there may be some stub creation that makes complete sense to do, but that should be discussed before it is launched, now that WP is starting to mature. --MASEM (t) 14:20, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
I think this is the issue: article creation needs to be conducted within the framework of Wikipedia's policies and guidelines, otherwise we are left with thousands of useless stubs on topics without evdidence of notability that fail WP:NOT. There is a duty of care on creators of articles to remain within this framework, otherwise they are just creating lots of unnecessary editorial effort in tagging and cleanup operations. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 15:59, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
With all due respect, Blofeld, I think you failed to pick up on an important concept from the last go-around we had with the German politicians. Here again you say "The stubs ... can be reasonably expanded by anybody." This is once again placing an undue burden on somebody else when in reality the editor creating the articles should be the one to expand them. If someone feels the need to create an article but then cannot actually think of anything to say anything about it, perhaps that is a sign that an article is not yet needed on that subject. Furthermore, I'm not entirely sure that statement is even accurate. Anybody can reasonably expand them? These are extraordinarily obscure topics. Can you expand Bulbophyllum trichorhachis? I, for one, cannot. Shereth 16:18, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
This might be a little off topic, but as I pointed out in the bulk AfD, I have significant issues with the "Autoreviewer" user group and I believe it undermines the efforts of the new page patrol to make sure every article that enters Wikipedia complies with our policies and guidelines. I note that both Ser Amantino and AlbertHerring are Autoreviewers and I think this problem could have been targeted and handled a lot more quickly if there were eyes watching their incoming pages, instead of them getting a free pass. ThemFromSpace 16:26, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
I think the point raised by Themfromspace is highly relevant. The mass creation of stubs which do not provide evidence of notability is undermining the whole of the Wikipedia project; as Themfromspace points out, it is impossible for Wikipedia:New pages patrol to carry out their work, and it is impossible for the various Wikiprojects to carry out their work if stubs are being created on a massive scale that cannot be handled by individual editors. My own concern is twofold, namely
  1. the mass creation of articles could be carried out by editors who operate automated tools without exercising any form of quality control;
  2. the spamming of articles could be used by editors with an personal agenda that is not congruent with Wikipedia's objectives, by which I mean they are trying to obtain personal aggrandisement, push a point of view, or overwhealm one or more of Wikipedia's content policies and guidelines by creating articles of a particular type or subject matter that contravenes them. In this sense, automated tools in the hands of reckless editors are like Weapons of Mass Destruction.
For instance, if an editor who disagrees with WP:NOT#DIR who wanted to undermine this policy by creating lots of stubs about orchids could transcribe thousands of entries from Wikispecies into Wikipedia to make a WP:POINT on a grand scale. In the example of article Bulbophyllum abbreviatum, I think the trascription of lots of articles about orchids does indeed go against the spirit of WP:NOT#DIR.
I think Shereth is right that there is little chance of all of these articles being sourced, and what we are left with is a mirror of Wikipecies. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 16:50, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
An interesting point brought up, the autoreviewer bit. If nothing else, the automated creation of articles seems to be quite contrary to the spirit and purpose of the autoreviewer group in general. The assumption is that anyone with "autoreviewer" has already done their due diligence in ensuring the articles they create are sourced, notable, and otherwise meet guidelines. By its very definition, automated creation of articles is not thoroughly reviewed by the creator and should show up on the newpages list. What it boils down to is no account with the "autoreviewer" flag should ever be automatically generating mass quantities of articles. Shereth 17:03, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
Shereth: A recent VPR thread here may, or may not, be of interest. –Whitehorse1 17:31, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

The article Bulbophyllum abbreviatum has been listed for deletion. If you are interested in the deletion discussion, please participate by adding your comments at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Bulbophyllum abbreviatum. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 11:48, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

Proposal: Any large-scale semi-/automated article creation task require BRFA[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Carried; the proposal as edited (requiring BAG approval, soliciting but not mandating Wikiproject input) has broad support. Objections are split between opinion that BAG may not be the ideal forum in case the creation is semi-automated, hesitation over adding a new hurdle to (some) article creation, and concerns that the proposal is redundant to existing BAG requirements — none of which appear to be compelling enough to override the general support. — Coren (talk) 17:44, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

As a note, this was edited while it fell into the archive. I'll poke the active page with a note. — Coren (talk)


  • Proposed. "Large-scale" is up for discussion, but I would say anything more than 25 or 50. I would further suggest that input from the associated WikiProject be sought prior to the task being approved by BAG. –xenotalk 15:42, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
I am on board with the requirement that the rapid creation of any large quantity of articles be subject to approval by BAG, but I cannot support the requirement to get the blessing of the associated WikiProject. Certainly, getting input from said project is useful. WikiProjects should not be granted any kind of special authority over any given class of articles, as they do not WP:OWN them any more than any other editor. Granting them veto power over these kinds of requests is doing just that, however. Their input at BRFA discussions should be treated equally to that of the rest of the participants. Shereth 15:48, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
You're right - tweaked [19]. My reasoning on this are that if the WikiProject doesn't want them, it's unlikely the wider community will either. –xenotalk 15:51, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
Ok, this wording I can get behind. Shereth 15:58, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
I would support required approval from BAG and oppose the required input from Wikiprojects, of which their quality and level of participation varies from project to project. The approval should only make sure that the articles are sourced to meet BLP policy and that are that they are not copyright violations. Anything more than that seems a little policey. ThemFromSpace 16:30, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
As a best practice, I think that the input should be at least sought, i.e. with a note at the WikiProject talk page. Whether they respond is another story and I don't think responses should be a requisite, but I think the due diligence should be performed. –xenotalk 16:34, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
I would at least go as far to say that the WPRoject may have a veto vote in all this - but are still not needed for approval. Say if someone wanted to create an article for each Persona in Persona 3 (a video game, which there are about 150 -odd Personas, akin to the idea of Pokemon), the WP:VG will be first to say "no way" per its guidelines. --MASEM (t) 16:41, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
Question, how is BAG better suited to approve BLP/editorial issues than the wider community at WP:PUMP, WP:BLP or an active WikiProject? RxS (talk) 16:38, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
BAG typically won't approve a request unless wider community input was sought (often at one of those venues). So, this proposal is a check/balance to ensure that someone neutral takes a look and makes sure that the task is a good idea and the community is behind it. –xenotalk 16:43, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
Hold on... are we talking about bot generated articles? I am not at all happy with that idea. How does this work? Blueboar (talk) 19:01, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
Well, it's more like formulaic articles created en masse by a semi-automatic method. Here is a small sample of a recent mass-creation of articles that are currently under discussion at ANI for their utility. Obviously some people object to these which is why I think a BRFA should be a requirement prior to commencing a task of this nature. –xenotalk 19:05, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose per WP:BOLD. Few good things would happen here if you had to ask for permission first. People also have a disturbing tendency to oppose anything that they don't fully understand. Approval should only be required if manually deleting the article would be very time-consuming. 25-50 articles per day is not a problem. --Apoc2400 (talk) 19:15, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
    (confused) So you think people should just follow behind these automated creators with mass AFDs? Wouldn't that be time-consuming? –xenotalk 19:20, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Non-notable article should not be mass-created of course, but we don't need a new rule for that. --Apoc2400 (talk) 19:28, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
  • 25–50+ articles per day multiplied by how many (semi-)automated creators though? –Whitehorse1 19:26, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
  • If they do good work, then it's not a problem. If someone makes bad articles, then make that person stop. --Apoc2400 (talk) 19:28, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
  • (interject) It's the positiveness of the work which is the focus of current discussion(s). How do you suggest going about that? –Whitehorse1 19:38, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Also, making short stubs on notable subjects does not create work for others expanding the articles. The work was already there, and having the stub in place with name, categories, infobox etc. makes it easier. It only creates work if the article should not exist at all. --Apoc2400 (talk) 19:31, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

BAG approval would be nice but I think we can live without it. I recall the discussion about the bot that would create a couple million articles for every village and town on earth. That went through a trial run but died there. That level of "large-scale" certainly requires community input. I have seen bot-created sets of articles, or possibly human-created articles with a bored person copy/pasting most of the content, in such subjects as asteroids and uninhabited islands. Generally, if one article is good, they are all equally good, and the only concern needs to be whether one article is good. Having someone check a sample article to sign off that it meets inclusion criteria would be all that's necessary. This is not a role for BAG in their standard code-checking role, but it should go through some pair of eyes, and most BAG editors should have some general article-creating experience anyhow (I hope). Chutznik (talk) 19:47, 17 August 2009 (UTC)


  • I can see no reason why creating articles should have to go through some arbitrary board. If the articles violate policy we already have rules to deal with that, if not, then no rules are needed. --Falcorian (talk) 19:58, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
  • So long as the articles include at least one reference for verifiability, then as long as we are not talking about tens of thousands of articles at a time, I see no need to go through a BRFA or get pre-community approval. People should not have to get consent before creating articles as that turns the burden of proof on it's head. If someone persistently creates articles that do not have any potential, and where there would be a consensus to delete them if created individually at AFD, then that can be treated as disruption and dealt with accordingly. Stubs are not a bad thing in and of themselves. Davewild (talk) 21:07, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
In response to the above few comments, the issue here isn't the creation of stubs. It isn't even the creation of a lot of stubs. It is about the automated (or semi-automated) creation of multiple stubs in a rapid manner. The user in question had been using AWB to create stubs at a rate that sometimes exceeded 1 every 10 seconds over an extended period of time. There is no way anyone can argue that an editor is capable of ensuring every new stub meets inclusion criteria at that rate. I believe the proposal here is designed to create some kind of safeguard against rapid, mass-creation of new articles without having more eyes on the situation before it happens. Shereth 21:18, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
If you require that step then basically you are turning the deletion policy upside down and requiring consensus for creation instead of for deletion - which I don't think we have ever had and hope we never do. If the articles themselves fail policies then take them to AFD either individually or as a group nomination and see if there is a consensus for deletion - how they are created should not matter. (I also that the user in the case that sparked this has said they would notify relevant wikiprojects first anyway if they do mass-create in the future again) Davewild (talk) 21:34, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
Again I think you are missing the point. Nobody is suggesting they get approval to create articles, but that they get approval to use (semi) automated tools to create them. It is no different than requiring a user get permission to write a bot to perform automated edits. That is all. Shereth 21:38, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
But the issue in the approval will be whether the articles are notable or not, or whether they fail a policy or not. I am opposed to having such a discussion where there has to be consensus in order for someone to use (semi) automated tools to create articles. That turns the burden of no-consensus to be to prevent creation, instead of in an AFD where no consensus defaults to keep - and the burden of consensus in a BRFA is high from what I have seen, a few opponents could easily stop any such creation ever. Davewild (talk) 21:56, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
Except that even if someone fails to get community approval for automated creation, they can still do so manually, one by one. I suppose our disconnect here comes about as a result of looking at it through a different lens. The way I see it is as follows. Some editor has, at their disposal, a database with numerous subjects all in a given class. They make a request for permission to use an AWB script to upload every entry in the form of a new article. The purpose of the request is then to determine whether or not the subjects in question are likely to be inclusion-worthy. It is not to determine the notability, individually, of every article. To use the incident that sparked this as an example, the question posed would be : is every species in the genus Bulbophyllum likely to be notable? If so, proceed with the mass upload. If not, upload them manually and make a case-by-case judgement call as to their notability. A ruling that every bulbophyllum is not inherently notable does not mean that the individual species cannot be, and would not be any kind of impedement to adding them. Tl;dr version of the above - we aren't asking people to prove that individual articles are notable, just that entire classes of articles are inherently notable. Shereth 22:10, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
I would disagree with this. This seems like just looking for a process that sort-of-fits the situation. Obviously automated creation has to go through BAG, else it should be treated like any other unapproved bot. The issue is with semi-automated creation.
BAG does 2 jobs at BRFA:
  1. Evaluate the technical suitability of a bot
  2. Guess whether or not there's consensus for it (I say "guess" because 90% of the time, there's almost no comments from outside the bot community on BRFAs)
For a semi-automatic task (human approval for each edit), there's really nothing to do for job 1. So this would basically just be (ab)using BRFA to determine community consensus for something. You can use basically any formal process for that, its just a question of how out-of-scope it is and BRFA just happens to be the least. I would support requiring community consensus for such things, but I don't see the point of putting BAG in change of it. Mr.Z-man 21:51, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
I had been thinking about that actually, as far as whether or not BAG is the correct group for these kinds of discussions. You raise an excellent point, as the issues here are not technical. Perhaps simply requiring the user to post a request somewhere like WP:VPR to get community concensus? Shereth 21:55, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
imo a bot by any other name still smells the same. The proposal is meant to address creation of formulaic stub (and often sub-stub) articles. The articles often take the form "X is a Y that Z". The person behind the wheel isn't adding anything substantive. It's is a bot, even if there is a human sitting there clicking "save" every 5-10 seconds. The proposal to go through BRFA is meant to provide neutral review of the task and gather community consensus. If the person wishes to gather consensus in some other manner, that's fine, I think my main goal here is to put something in place as a speedbump. –xenotalk 14:28, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
A semi-automated process is not "a bot by any other name" in the same way a bicycle isn't the same as a car. As you said, the point is to gather community consensus, any process can do that. BRFA exists to do that AND evaluate the technical aspects of a bot. However, there are few to no technical aspects to consider with such a request. BRFAs tend to get pretty poor community participation unless they're advertised all over the place (and even then, its not a guarantee), so if you really want community consensus, its not the best forum. Mr.Z-man 17:48, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
Sure it is. A semi-automated process is like Fred Flintstone's car. Just because the car is propelled by human feet doesn't mean it's a different vehicle. In any case, the BRFA would also be looking at how the data is extracted from the source, which is a technical aspect that BAG can examine. As to your latter part, that's why I have suggested notice be given to the relevant WikiProject(s). If people don't show up to object at the BRFA, at least the bot-op (or article-creator) can say that he did seek the opinions. –xenotalk 18:07, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
Or we can use a more appropriate venue like an RFC or a VPR thread and actually get community input rather than just trying to. I now no longer understand the reason for your proposal. On one hand, you want to prove a consensus for the creation, on the other, you're choosing a process with some of the least community input on the project and saying that its okay if no one comments, as long as the person goes through the motions. Mr.Z-man 20:09, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
The reason is to have someone go through the due diligence. I chose BRFA because it's the closest fit (based on my view on what semi-automated article creation is - in essence a botting activity). The BAG member would, in theory, ask to see that a VPR, RFC, or thread at the WikiProject on the issue had been made, that consensus exists, and provide the seal of approval. However, given that you are a BAG member and don't like the idea, then I suppose simply a requirement that one of those procedures be engaged prior to starting the activity would do just as well; I still think a BAG stamp on the final product is ideal. –xenotalk 20:18, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Support. There hasn't even been a reason given yet why the existing Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval is preventing a better Wikipedia from being written. Isn't this process that stops a stub from being written for every zip code or every census tract? I'm not even sure it is correct to call the status quo, namely that Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval, already in effect, a proposal. Is this a quibble over the difference between automated and semi-automated? patsw (talk) 01:25, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
    • As I pointed out above, the only real purpose would be to get community consensus, the rest of the BRFA process would be unused for a semi-automatic process. But almost every process exists to gather consensus for something, it would just be more of an abuse of process to put it through arbcom elections or templates for deletion than BRFA. But a discussion on WP:VPR or an RFC would work just as well. Using BRFA seems to just be a way to have a formal process rubber-stamp it. Mr.Z-man 02:15, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
      • Also commented above, the BRFA would also look at exactly how the data is to be extracted from the external sources. They can also determine whether the task should be run with the bot and/or autoreviewer flags. –xenotalk 18:15, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Support BAG, Oppose wikiproject consent (notify them but don't rely on their judgement). As ThemFromSpace said above, some are popular and reliable, some are nearly dormant or maintained by a single volunteer. Some form "consensus" that runs contrary to what's generally accepted in the rest of wikipedia (example: Wikipedia:WikiProject Classical music enforces self-invented no infoboxes for composers "guideline"). These groups are too narrow and, sometimes, unacceptably biased. NVO (talk) 05:31, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Support the requirement for advance permission for mass substub creation. I've undergone that: some fellow's bot perpetrated uninformative, uninteresting and often mistitled articles on over three hundred photographers and since nobody else offered to clear up the mess I did; so we now have hundreds of uninformative, uninteresting but correctly (according to an MOS page with which I profoundly disagree) titled pages. What a waste of my time. I've changed some of these to little articles but resent being a pawn in somebody else's would-be demo of the parable of the broken window. Permission should involve notifying any relevant WikiProject and (as people may be on vacation) waiting at least two weeks for discussion. Meanwhile, thinking humans would be welcome to create intelligent articles designed for thinking humans. -- Hoary (talk) 05:59, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Weak support I'm not a big fan of having a bot/automated process create articles (weather it be one or a million and one). Isn't this project meant to be the sum of all human knowledge? That said, as long as the articles created all meet the notability crieteria (I know that should go without saying...) and they're referenced, I don't see the problem. Taskforces should be setup to focus on the expansion of these articles once they're created, and it should be done in a staggered process. IE create them in batches, stop creation, improve, then continue. Remember, there is no deadline!. It doesn't matter if it takes us the next 10 weeks, or the next 10 years to reach the next millionth article. Lugnuts (talk) 08:13, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
  • support some of these projects have been very good, and some have been quite poor. The good ones have sometimes been challenged, and approval beforehand would prevent questions afterwards. The poor ones might be improved by the criticism., or else abandoned. The work involved in some of these projects has been very great, and it would be a good idea to see that it is not wasted--to speak nothing of the work involved in undoing the mistaken ones. Doing such a project, and having it rejected after it has been done for thousands of entries, has caused some excellent editors to leave Wikipedia, whereas with a better process they could have been helped to do it right, and stay, and been a continuing credit to us. BOLD is well and good for indivdual articles, but when done on a large scale has a tendency to really cause problems and conflict. DGG ( talk ) 08:20, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
  • If the work has been "very great" then it's not semi-automated or a bot. No one should need permission to add to the encyclopedia otherwise, any admin can take it upon themselves to say that such-and-such seems large-scale and was semi-automated (i.e., that a computer was used) and go off the handle - this is a power-grab for admins. Carlossuarez46 (talk) 00:08, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Support. Per DGG's well thought-out answer. This is the right approach both for good project ideas (shielding from challenge) and bad ones (avoiding wasted effort—and the demoralization of editors we need on the project—and the huge effort of may of undoing damage. Bongomatic 09:18, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Support per DGG. Proposed projects like this will benefit from prior discussion. If the proposal's great, fine. If not, maybe it can be improved, or maybe it'll be rejected, but either way it's better than clearing up a preventable mess which (a) creates substantial unnecessary work and wikidrama and (b) can be very alienating for the editors who thought they were doing a great thing. Rd232 talk 15:05, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Support. DGG puts it well. So does this fiasco, and others like it. Priyanath talk 18:25, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Support - The initial creation of the articles may not be the majority of the work. Since large-scale article creation may place demands on the time of other editors, general review should be sought to be sure that the effort is a good use of others' time. EdJohnston (talk) 18:29, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Comment: Isn't this proposal redundant, in the sense that any mass article creation would have to be done by an approved bot anyway? Presumably anyone creating articles at ordinary human speeds can also be dealt with at human speeds. Dcoetzee 18:38, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
    Some folks are willing to stare at an AWB screen for hours at a time clicking "save". Technically these aren't bots, but it is my position that they should be treated as such, especially if they aren't adding substantive content; i.e. the articles being created are entirely formulaic (X is a Y that Z, with the variables preset). –xenotalk 18:43, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
    "Presumably anyone creating articles at ordinary human speeds can also be dealt with at human speeds." The response to that is "no". AWB created articles that are technically 'human' created require one 'edit' to create. Deletions typically require several edits in the form of AfD, prods, templates, discussion, etc., and a request for administrator help to delete the article. Multiply that by 1,000-10,000 and it's obviously much better to get approval first. Priyanath talk 19:21, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
  • I agree, this proposal is redundant Wikipedia:Bot_policy#Assisted_editing_guidelines already covers semi-automated editing. I do not think it is necessary to write this (very specific) rule into WP:BOTPOL. Ruslik_Zero 18:55, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
    Why not? People aren't following that rule in some cases. An explicit line that semi-automated article creation require BRFA (or some other strong consensus) would be ideal. –xenotalk 19:00, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Weak oppose, leaning neutral Enforced through what? If someone doesn't go through bag and creates 100 articles through some process described above, do I block them? Speedy the articles? Send them all to AfD? Also, have we talked with a quorum of BAG members about how this will impact them? I want the BAG to review bot requests on their merits, not act as a gatekeeper looking only for signs that an editor has found consensus elsewhere. Thirdly, I'm not convinced that prior discussion cures all that ails us. Protonk (talk) 19:14, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
    Anticipating this concern, I dropped a note at WT:BRFA a short while ago. –xenotalk 19:34, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
    Note that part of our "job" is to determine whether sufficient consensus seems to exist for a bot task (depending on how controversial the task seems and what sort of prior discussion exists, etc.) We even have {{BOTREQ|advertise}} for requesting further community discussion. Anomie 23:31, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
  • It seems like every time I hear about a bot creating pages, it's followed swiftly by an angry mob complaining about it -- obviously we have a history of problems in this area. That being the case, it seems reasonable to encourage some more central discussion prior to mass article creation. We already require such discussion prior to starting a bot at all, and treating each mass creation as a new bot task doesn't seem unreasonable. It might be quite helpful to create a new page or section, perhaps a child of BRFA, and otherwise encourage notification of and participation from relevant wikiprojects (and noticeboards, if needed); if nothing else, such discussions would allow for more input and oversight from interested editors. – Luna Santin (talk) 21:24, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Support If a good editor wants to use a semi-automated process to create more than 50 articles in a short period, they would understand that some prior discussion is warranted. Just give the relevant project (say) 48 hours notice, then get a tick from BRFA. The editor should provide a typical sample (perhaps a user subpage), and an estimate of how many articles would be created. Editor should pause (no new automated articles for 48 hours) after creating the first 100. That would give time for discussion if problems are found. This proposal does not influence articles being created in the normal manner. Johnuniq (talk) 00:16, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Support this, pretty much per DGG. Enforcement will happen like usual: if that policy is ignored, people are being notified. If it is deliberately ignored and not non-controversial, it's handled like with any other deliberate ignoring of policy, and the pages might have to be post-approved (mass-AfD, probably). Amalthea 09:31, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
    • See this is my complaint. We have a problem, as a community, with enforcing policies where the infractions result in content being created. Say someone breaks this policy and creates a bunch of stubs which (for the sake of argument) are notable. We are in a bind. Do we delete the content and invite the obvious criticism that we are privileging policy over content? That won't happen. So do we block the editor? That won't happen, mostly because the block won't 'fix' the problem. So we leave them with a sternly worded note. This outcome looks familiar because it is common to all policies where the result of a proscribed action is not necessarily objectionable but the commission may be. Out of process deletions, improper block reviews, etc. I don't know that we need another class of actions like those. Protonk (talk) 19:46, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
      • It's better than having no guidance at all and letting people just create articles en masse without getting any one else to weigh in on whether or not it is a good idea. For the most part, the cases are limited, and this new policy won't go unnoticed to those who tend to partake in formulaic creation activities. –xenotalk 20:08, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Support in principle although I would tend to agree with some of the comments above that consider using the BAG to be questionable, I see this as primarily a content decision and think some kind of "Requests for creation" process to establish community consensus on individual cases might be more appropriate. The level of controversy and potential for the actions to be disruptive (if not intentionally) means the unapproved, mass creation of articles in this way could be considered somewhat reckless rather than bold, clearly the community does not support all of these projects and because of their size the clean up process takes more effort and leads to more drama than "manual" article creation. Guest9999 (talk) 10:39, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
    If BAG decides that they are unsuited to this role, we could create an additional process... but I think the shoe fits. –xenotalk 14:39, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Support. Should help abate drama, and could encourage cooperation about style/info when they are being created. Quantpole (talk) 14:19, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Support to end the repeated mass-creations of worthless sub-stubs that do nothing but cause extra and unnecessary work for everyone else while doing absolutely nothing to add to the public's knowledge, all so that the creator may boast a higher creation count. Lara 18:39, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Support in principle. I'll leave the specifics up to others, but there are certainly times when mass creation is a net negative, so it would be good to have a system in place to review such additions beforehand. Dekimasuよ! 19:07, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Support the general proposal but BAG is not the place to seek consensus. I don't view it as a neutral venue--it seems to beg the question and is more concerned with implementation than questions of "why". I'd also suggest that any highly repetitious editing process (by bot or not) that affects articles in a potentially controversial way, including actions by WP:CiterSquad that involve tagging thousands of articles with {{unreferenced}}, be subject to wide review for consensus. Outriggr (talk) 00:13, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Support I'd actually like an outright ban on mass article creation in general. Thought should be put into article creation. Spamming by creating hundreds of worthless stubs at a time is simply not helpful. In the absence of a ban forthcoming, this is better than nothing. Enigmamsg 02:51, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Support. Having content-free stubs does not help us; in fact removing a redlink, which is otherwise a tempting carrot for a newcomer who might actually know something, and replacing it with a content-free bluelink, actually harms us. Some others above have said it well, including DGG and Lara. What has convinced me was random-paging; it took only two clicks to land on this (which is actually one of the better ones). We already have tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of articles that are nothing but a few words. Who is going to expand them? Is this information not better presented in a list, with other similar items, until such time as someone is capable of writing more than a single line of "X is a type of Y" text? Antandrus (talk) 03:02, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Support prior discussion generally, but not necessarily BAG/BRFA. The drama fallout from these mass creations is simply ridiculous; hopefully prior discussion would at least spread it out over time. Flatscan (talk) 03:35, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Support - The (semi-)automated creation of content is almost certainly the most controversial use of automation. As such, there needs to be a way to insure community consensus takes place. As BAG already serves this purpose of actual bots, there is no reason to create a second venue. As such, the use of any kind of automation to create articles should go through BAG. However, I do not think WikiProject input should be required - just very strong encouraged. --ThaddeusB (talk) 03:44, 20 August 2009 (UTC)Insert non-formatted text here
  • Support - BAG seems a good place to check semi automated content proposals as well as bot-created. To those who point out that permission is not needed to create articles, this is more like checking that the proposal to create a set of articles is sound (and an opportunity to check the code!!). And agree that the Wikiproject must be informed and given a chance to input into community comments (I wouldn't support them having any more defined powers), as it is likely to be their members who have to carry out any cleanups. Elen of the Roads (talk) 15:34, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Support I think the best terminology would be a "pulse test". If the articles are being created by a human being (with a pulse) at some level, even if they are highly formulaic stubs (I believe I created several stubby articles on Cheers characters back in the day that way, eg) then it's just bold new content that needs to be reviewed like anything else. But if it's bulky, automated content creation it sbould be reviewed like any other automated function on the site. Staxringold talkcontribs 15:41, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Comment I was bored the other day and starting clicking on "random article" over and over again. I would estimate that 25% of the results I got over the course of 5 minutes were formulaic 1 or 2 line stubs about Uruguayan soccer players, obscure species of orchid, or named crossroads in rural Poland. Frankly I question the entire concept of mass-creating articles, although I'm sure this whole debate has been had several times already or we wouldn't have these bots. I agree with some of the commentary above that it creates a massive burden on "someone else" to perhaps, maybe improve all these articles in some indeterminate future. My two cents. Dmz5*Edits**Talk* 00:01, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Support - I am against mass stubbing in general, and this would slow down inappropriate cluttering of the wiki with these stubs. Ottava Rima (talk) 02:46, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Weak Oppose - If it's a bot, it already needs approval. If it's creating more than 50 articles in a short amount of time, can't we already assume it's a bot? The need for a new policy's redundant. If, on the other hand, a person with a pulse can churn out notable articles at this speed, why should we discourage that. Most of the above concerns reflect concern over either bot edits which already require approval, or notability issues, which are their own problem.
    If we're concerned about cluttering the project then why not remove the deletion speedbumps that continue to be erected. Are there so many people creating an abundance of non-notable articles without bots that communication and blocking (if needed) are inadequate? Shadowjams (talk) 05:20, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
    There have been a number of incidents that generated a lot of bad blood at noticeboards over creation of sub-stub type articles. Admins (this writer included) have declined to block the people creating these because what they are doing technically breaks no policies. By using their main accounts they are making an end-run around bot policy to do, what is in essence, a bot task. –xenotalk 13:15, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Support as it is got to be better than seeking a user block every time some idiot uses automated tools to spam articles, and its got to be better than having to nominate thousands of useless stubs for deletion. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 07:40, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Support. If it is a good idea, it'll be approved. If it is not a good idea, it's a pain to fix. If it is maybe a good idea, do it gradually to test the reaction. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 11:12, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Support. In most cases, these mass article creations are for notable topics, but if they lack development, they are no better than having no article, it's better to say "sorry, we have no article yet, can you help us and write one?" than to say "Sure we have an article on Earth, look it contains two words even!". Sometimes the automated article creation have done a very good job; it was an automated procedure that made articles for every city and town in the United States, with a meaningful and informative paragraph on demographics and location, and I cannot imagine anyone would object to a similar procedure for other classes of article where we are missing articles. On the other hand I remember I got rather frustrated with an automated procedure created hundreds of articles on uninhabited islands in the Maldives going "X is an uninhabited island in Y atoll". Don't get me wrong, I have no objection to stubs as such; many articles in paper encyclopedias are after all of stub quality, but the reader should get more out of the article than "X is a Y in Z". In total, I agree with DGG's assessment. Sjakkalle (Check!) 12:19, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Question I'm getting sort of mixed messages here. Is the purpose here to approve an import that has already gotten consensus elsewhere on Wikipedia or is the purpose that people would have to come here for approval? I'm not really crazy about BAG judging whether a class of articles are fit for inclusion, judging notabilty etc. I'm still not quite sure why BAG is better suited to that purpose than other discussion pages. On the other hand, if the point here is to have people come and say, I have gotten consensus for this at wp:sometalkpage and I'd like to run it, I don't have a huge problem with that. RxS (talk) 14:04, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
    Yes, that's right. BAG would be looking to see that the appropriate consensus-gathering steps were taken (and also any technical aspects of how the data is being extracted form the external source, whether it should be run with or without a bot and/or autoreviewer flag). –xenotalk 19:24, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Support. Automation is great, but if there's anywhere that human eyes and deliberate thought serve a good purpose, it's content creation. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:35, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Strongest Support Users should not be able to freely create hundreds of articles, all exactly the same, one sentence long, lacking references and notability. Creating articles on topics is great but don't be a lazy person who can't even make articles with more than "Bulbophyllum ankylochele is a species of orchid in the genus Bulbophyllum." If you are saying there are substantial sources, then add them! NO ONE is going to add information to 1800 stubs on orchids, so if you want to automatically make them, then YOU should take the time to make these USELESS stubs USEFUL. You claim they're notable, but I say prove it; they need more than a single sentence. If that's all you're going to write, then it's better to just link to List of Bulbophyllum species, which actually has taxonomic history! There must be approval for any mass creation of articles. Reywas92Talk 22:17, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Support. Large-scale semiautomatic creation should be discussed first, and bad stubs shouldn't be mass-created, as they harm the expansion of the encyclopedia. Good (well-linked-to and interesting) redlinks are more likely to turn into reasonable articles than bad stubs. — Kusma talk 10:37, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Support, per Reywas. Ironholds (talk) 12:16, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Support, per obvious. The operative term here being large-scale. This isn't intended to stop someone from creating a bunch of articles. We already insist that people have permission to do anything else in bulk, so I see no reason why creation should be excluded. 81.111.114.131 (talk) 01:09, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Support, surprised this wasn't already policy. \ Backslash Forwardslash / (talk) 09:36, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Support - Any mass-creration of articles by a bot needs to be approved just like any other mass action; the non-binding opinion of the WikiProject can only help the BRFA people in making their choice. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 13:33, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Support. Large scale additions to Wikipedia need community input. This should be a no-brainer. Kaldari (talk) 19:35, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose The same semi-automated tools make it just as easy if not easier to clean up should anything not pass our inclusion criteria. Why are we taking baby steps and freaking out about article creation? This has nothing to do with the rate in which these articles are being created. BAG is for bots, not semi-automated edits. facepalm on you all. -- Ned Scott 09:22, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
    • I also think most of you would be shocked to hear how many articles generated in this fashion are not only kept, but were and still are vital to growing Wikipedia. -- Ned Scott 09:34, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Support. If someone wants to create thousands of articles on e.g. Bulbophyllum orchids, then the natural question should be: "Would this information fit just as well into a list (with redirect for individual entries, if necessary)?" If yes, then create the list, and create individual articles as you have the information to make useful articles. In the aforementioned case, the list actually contains more information than the articles, so the individual articles are really just pointless distractions. Lampman (talk) 12:34, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Support per DGG. I have often spent a lot of time clicking on Random article only to be dismayed at the number of completely unreferenced articles with little more than one line of text. -- Александр Дмитрий (Alexandr Dmitri) (talk) 20:44, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose no indication of what semi-automated means. Lots of species, stars, asteroids, places, long-dead congressmen, federal judges stubs have been done by people who use a template and put in the correct different data for these. In no way are those automated any more than using a computer makes things automated. Is the encyclopedia done? Are all articles written? Are we going to allow inconsistently looking articles to be added by onsies, twosies, but not allow more done? If you read the comments above saying "support" these are about bots, not humans making the edits, so there is some mass confusion or bait and switch going on in this proposal. Carlossuarez46 (talk) 00:05, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
    If there is substantive human input I would say this is not semi-automated. Herein we are talking about formulaic article creation (X is a Y that Z.) –xenotalk 14:50, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
    AWB has been mentioned above as a semi-automated tool that permits rapid creation of what one might call sub-sub-stubs. Rd232 talk 19:38, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.