Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive V

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Recipes[edit]

What is Wikipedia policy on recipes in articles? Captain Jackson 18:56, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not... Instruction manuals - while Wikipedia has descriptions of people, places, and things, Wikipedia articles should not include instruction - advice (legal, medical, or otherwise), suggestions, or contain "how-to"s. This includes tutorials, walk-throughs, instruction manuals, video game guides, and recipes. Wikibooks is a Wikipedia sister-project which is better suited for such things. --Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not -Raul654 18:58, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
Wikibooks has a recipie book! :-)
Not just recipes, but a whole b:Cookbook. Gentgeen 10:04, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

Song copyrights[edit]

What's the policy on quoting lyrics in songs? Do we state copyright holders - and if so, what's the prefered format here? --Flatulus 02:10, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

Do you mean just a line, or a full song? If a full song, don't do it. It's copyrighted material. If it's just a line or two, then that falls under fair use I think. --Golbez 02:27, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
Do quote the authors. Usually, this is clear in context. Superm401 - Talk 03:15, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
Cite the people who wrote the lyrics. Sometimes the liner notes don't make it clear who this is - in this case just credit everybody listed as a writer on the song. There's no standard format - you can use a footnote, put it after the quote, before the quote, whatever. Don't quote more than a stanza. Deco 08:50, 28 January 2006 (UTC)


Wikipedia:Good articles[edit]

The talk page has recently had a question about why the {{proposed}} tag has stayed on the page for so long when the guideline portion (the front matter before the TOC) has remained stable for so long. One editor simply replaced the template with a box of his own creation, and someone else replaced it, and then it got replaced again, and I restored it. The argument is that the proposed box detracts from the page, and should not remain on it indefinitely. Should this article become a {{guideline}}? Or something else? --TreyHarris 07:31, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

Why not list it at Centralized discussion? Consider a straw poll. My first impression is that it's just redundant, despite being well-intentioned. —Wahoofive (talk) 16:37, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
Redundant with what? It's specifically not Featured Articles, for the reasons described there, if that's what you're saying it's redundant with. --TreyHarris 19:09, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
It's not proposed, it's not a guideline, it's a list of good articles, and hey, it's a list! It's working, it's there. We're fine with it. No one opposes it, some people actually like it. It's FINE. Congratulations with your working project namespace page.
Now stop waving around tags in peoples faces, before you find someone silly who takes offence. *sigh* Kim Bruning 18:51, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Check the history Kim, several people have opposed this in the past (mainly because this list also adds templates to every article that's on it), hence the "proposal" tag in an attempt to get more interest. Radiant_>|< 21:55, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
I think the goal here is to get GA as well-accepted as FA, i.e., a standard part of Wikipedia. How is that done? Walkerma 20:43, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
By running it. If it's useful, everyone on wikipedia will use it one day. If it sucks, it'll peter out. Kim Bruning 20:51, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

Lists of X in (year)[edit]

Problem: We have tons of lists of politicians, religious leaders, artists, literature, etc. organized by year. While these series are nice for inflating edit count, I find organization of individual articles by year to be unmaintainable, and not very useful. I (subjectively) say not very useful for lack of imagination; I'm open to justification of utility.

They are unmaintainable because they're lists of incomplete information, blatantly duplicated across many articles, and they are neglected. Duplication of information that needs to be changed is always bad. This requires lots of human labor to do something a computer can do easily. For an example of an unmaintained series, look at List of state leaders in 18BC. The adjacent years are all practically empty.

Some individual articles have been nominated for AFD, but there was no chance that a single article would be deleted considering the "precedent" of all the other year articles.

Solution: Either this needs to be automated, or reorganized to be more maintainable. Categories are normally a maintainable alternative to lists, but the current technical features of Categories are not ideal for such lists: a political leader that ruled for 50 years would need 50 category tags. We would need a technical change to allow "range" categories.

One idea that does not require software changes is to organize by decade instead of by year: that would increase maintainability by a factor of 10. And it would be more useful to the reader than browsing lots of year articles and manually comparing the differences. We can think about the optimal granularity for lists: obviously "List of political leaders in September 1984" would be too small, but "List of political leaders in 1000s" is too large. I think decade is the right granularity. Quarl (talk) 2006-01-25 19:20Z

I agree that we should change it to decades rather than individual years. That makes these lists a potentially useful resource, which they most probably aren't at the moment. -Chairman S. 23:20, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
I think the reason why they are not by decade is in recent history, like List of state leaders in 1984, they are quite full, and doing them by decade would be more troublesome. Also, they are in many senses parts of the general year pages, like 18 BC, or 1984, and so doing them in decade form would be difficult because of that, also. I would suggest you contact the people who made the first few edits to various of them, and ask them to comment on this. Regarding automating it, that is a good idea - doing it with a bot is the customary way such things are handled on Wikipedia, you should probably mention this on Wikipedia:Bot requests. This is a good point to bring up, thanks for mentioning it. JesseW, the juggling janitor 10:30, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
I did contact some people. The sole author of the 17 BC, 16 BC, 15 BC, ad nauseum state leader articles has effectively refused to update those pages with the information from 18 BC. Normally when I see such a thing I would fix it myself, but as I've said above, I feel that would only be perpetrating a system that is unmaintainable in the long run. Quarl (talk) 2006-01-28 00:01Z
If you are talking about this discussion;

it looks like there was some confusion in how you asked; you pointed out a simple typo that needed to be merged, and hinted(in the last part of your request), that you really wanted to talk about all those pages, but said nothing about your opinion on them; the person you spoke to misunderstood this, and responded only to the specific request that you made, not the possible offer to discuss the whole issue of List of state leaders pages. I'm glad that you contacted some people, but I don't think it was a case of anyone refusing anything - just a misunderstanding due to a less than totally clear request on your part. I strongly encourage you to post on Bot requests, asking people for ideas of ways to semi-automate the creation and maintanence of those pages, and/or coming up with such ideas on your own. This is a good point you bring up. JesseW, the juggling janitor 06:27, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

Yes, it appeared he misunderstood in the beginning, but his final message to me on my talk page indicated to me that he was not interested in working on the other articles. (This is why fragmented talk pages suck.) Anyway I don't wish to single him out as I have gotten bored of particular pages in the past as well. I will think about a way to do it with a bot as you suggest. Thanks. Quarl (talk) 2006-01-28 06:45Z

User:Netoholic, {{Main article}}, {{Further}}[edit]

Something odd is going on. I'm seeing a bunch of changes:

I've not seen any discussion of these changes. These are cited in various guidelines, so I'd expect there to be a lot of discussion before deployment.

--William Allen Simpson 02:16, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

PD-art vs. PD-US[edit]

Does the tag PD-art apply to photographs of art from before 1923 without life of author plus 100 years? If not, does PD-US apply to recent photos of pre-1923 art? Justin Foote 01:12, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

That depends on the nationality of the artist for copyright purposes. The photograph has the same copyright status in the US as the original work, as long as the original is two-dimensional (ie, painting, but not a sculpture; see Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp.). Pre-1923 work by American artists is certainly PD: for other jurisdictions it might be trickier, I would have to double-check the relevant laws. As for the template, {{PD-US}} fits the bill, but please give as much info as possible on the description page (artist name, date of death, date of production of the work) to help users in other jurisdictions. Physchim62 (talk) 12:51, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

Use alternatives to SVG where possible[edit]

I really think we should hold back with the use of SVG format images. I personally hate to see them because I have to use IE and the blue background is so very annoying. Why are people pushing a format that simply isn't compatible with the browser used by the vast majority of our readers? violet/riga (t) 20:56, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

Sorry but... works fine here both with Firefox and IE. Wikipedia actually spits out a bitmap anyway... Thanks/wangi 23:37, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
Works For Me.
But even if it didn't, MS is working on IE now anyway. But even if they're working on IE now, I don't care. Firefox has working-ish SVG support already, and it's a free download, so no excuse. (And the SVG support lib is free as in speech too, so MS and Opera and Apple and whoever can just use it, unless they're being contrary). Once SVG support is solid in at least one browser, we should switch to putting out SVG native, this will reduce bandwidth usage and server costs considerably. If this gets people to switch to free browsers more quickly, I won't be sorry. Kim Bruning 00:31, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
The software renders SVGs as PNGs in articles, which I think is an excellent solution to this compatibility issue (current version of IE has some transparency problems with PNGs, but it's easy to add a background shape to an SVG if necessary). I think they should send down the original SVGs for users of browsers that do support it though, which is not the current behaviour. Deco 00:48, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
Well, some organizations have reasons to keep Internet Explorer. Yes, it may not be necessarily wise, but hey, that's something beyond Wikipedia's control. We're on a multi-platform environment anyway, and it's not as if Internet Explorer's market share is insignificant yet. In any case, spitting out a raster file for an SVG is a perfectly fine compromise and pretty decent default behavior IMAO, even if there is some kind of server load cost associated with it. — T-Boy: (complain bitterly) (laugh contemptuously) 00:53, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
Theres a simple hack to fix PNG transparency for IE... see http://webfx.eae.net/dhtml/pngbehavior/pngbehavior.html  ALKIVARFile:Radioactive.png 00:56, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
I'm against any change that will require a browser switch, as every browser has serious problems (at least on Mac) and users should be able to use the one that works the best for what they use it for. I have one main browser and use three others depending on the application. -- Kjkolb 01:12, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
Getting back to the original question - as it stands Wikipedia renders SVG files as PNG bitmaps for display, and this works well on Internet Explorer. Obviously violetriga is having a problem with something, but it's not a generic issue. T/wangi 14:31, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
And the problem is nothing to do with SVG in fact... After a bit of digging in Violetriga's contribs (note - always a good idea to give examples!) I came up with:
The second, SVG-based, one will display with a grey background on IE. The problem isn't SVG, but rather IE's handling of transparent PNGs. Thanks/wangi 14:39, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
In a case like this, the obvious solution is to stick a white rectangle behind the check in the SVG. If IE ever gets fixed, it's easy to remove. Deco 01:51, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
Why would you want to put a white background? I use classic skin and it has a pale yellow background... Grey is fine. -- SGBailey 23:07, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
FWIW that second one shows a pale green background in my IE. HTH HAND —Phil | Talk 14:05, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

Help needed at Talk:The Song of Hiawatha[edit]

CJLippert bills himself as a knowledgable source on the Ojibwe language, and I believe him. I'm rather puzzled about what to do about a table he has contributed to The Song of Hiawatha. Longfellow used many Ojibway words in his poem, which has an appendix giving their meaning. Lippert has contributed a table comparing the spelling and meaning given by Longfellow with their modern equivalents.

Now, I don't want to be a jerk about this, but I am convinced that in fact this table does not comply with our policies on no original research, verifiability, and citing sources. I don't think there's any urgency about dealing with this and I'm not eager to delete it... but...

What is the best way to cite sources for a table contributed by an Ojibwe language expert which pulls together information from multiple published sources and his own experience? Is there a way to keep this material, comply with policy, yet not require that an individual source be given for the meaning of each individual word?

Please discuss at Talk:The Song of Hiawatha. Please approach this in the spirit of problem-solving. Dpbsmith (talk) 20:13, 26 January 2006 (UTC)


Another useful user attribute[edit]

With the recent proposal to grant certain (non-admin) users access to the "rollback" tool--thus creating an additional class of non-admin users (in addition to the current 2--logged in and anonymous), here is my proposal for yet another class of users. Technically, this attribute could be considered orthogonal to the other user attributes of interest, but I would expect that any user who is an admin or higher, or who has rollback priveleges (should they be granted), would also deserve access to this new privilege:

And the privelige is this: To be able to edit Wikipedia, while logged in, from a blocked IP address.

One of the big problems with IP-blocking, and especially Wikipedia:autoblocking, is the collateral damage they create. If Joe Vandal posts anonymously from a shared IP, and gets blocked, any logged in user who also posts from that IP will be affected. While it wouldn't be a good idea to let any logged in user bypass an IP block (for obvious reasons), users who are well-known members of the Wikipedia community in good standing, shouldn't be IP-blocked when they edit while logged in.

It may be possible (or desirable) to have 2 levels of IP blocks--a soft block which is bypassable by the privelege I describe, and a hard block, which disables any edit from the IP, regardless of the user, and works like IP blocks work today. The soft block would be what gets used when dealing with ordinary vandalism (and is what would normally be generated by autoblocks); the hard block would be reserved for exceptional cases, such as known untrustworthy IPs (open proxies, static IPs belonging to banned users, spam domains, etc.)

I have little knowledge of how difficult this would be for the developers to implement.

Thoughts? --EngineerScotty 19:39, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

See bugzilla:3706. --cesarb 20:10, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

sources of promotional material[edit]

This question was placed on my talk page, but I don't feel comfortable giving a definitive reply. Does someone here feel conversant enough in this matter to reply? (RJFJR 00:36, 26 January 2006 (UTC))

OK, i finally have a question! As discussed at Wikipedia:Fair use, posters and DVD covers found at such places as the IMDb may be considered fair use at low resolution. I have found hordes of posters for tokusatsu films at other sites, e.g. The Official Godzilla Site and GojiStomp (a fan site). May i assume the same guidelines for borrowing (and, possibly, shrinking) images from such sources?—Crazillatalk|contribs 21:30, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

Policy on Biographic Articles[edit]

Several previous comments could be merged into a discussion of biographic policy. Which people are of sufficient public interest to make a biographical article desirable? Should living and historical people be treated differently? Should the subject, family or friends have control over the material.

I suggest that a concept of public figure can be used with reasonable success. For an enclopedia this probably does not include everyone who has been in the news for 15 minutes, but would include anyone who has been substantially public over a period of time, or who is a significant figure in an event that is of significant importance. John Wilkes Booth only did one thing of interest, but he should have an article.

I also suggest that a standard of good taste must be used, but individuals cannot control public discussion of their actions. The public has a right to publish articles critical of public individuals, such as politicians, writers and industry figures. A company or individual has a right to protest inaccurate articles, but not to veto truthful bad publicity.

I think a policy could have a general statement of principles and a list of helpful examples. It would make sense to have a list of reasons that are and are not sufficient to justify an article.

For example, I would suggest that an article is justified for every person who has every been a supreme court justice. I am not sure if an article is justified about every person who has been nominated for the supreme court. (Timely question, I hope.)

I think there would be a long list of easy cases: every head of state, every four star general, every supreme court justice, every nobel laureate etc.

Other cases would require more thought and discussion.

Cre 16:26, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

We have WP:BIO and WP:BLP which would seem to address these issues. Physchim62 (talk) 16:43, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

Creative Commons content[edit]

Can content that is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license by submitted to Wikipedia? I would have thought not because of the "only under the terms of this License" and "You may not sublicense the Work." parts under Restriction but IANAL.

Apologies if this is already covered somewhere, but after searching for an hour I couldn't find it any of the obvious places. AlistairMcMillan 19:37, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

No. Written works must be compatible with the GFDL. Image use is somewhat more liberal, but must be sufficiently free to allow for commercial reuse (and the possibility that we might want to generate income by selling CD or books derived from Wikipedia content someday). Becauase of this cc-by and cc-by-sa are acceptable for images, but cc-nc is not. See Wikipedia:Image copyright tags if you are interested in more details about images. Dragons flight 19:58, 24 January 2006 (UTC)


Wikipedia NPOV and privacy[edit]

I write this as an objective visitor, touching on a potentially contentious issue in this community. Nevertheless I've decided to make my point here and it will either be accepted and discussed, or rejected and pushed away.

It seems to me, and I think it is the right time while the Google supoena is in the collective conciousness of the internet community, that Wikipedia needs to outline its boundaries in regards to privacy of the individual. I don't believe it is a reasonable enough argument to say "This is of interest to a sum of people, and therefore it belongs in an encyclopedia". This logic is a red herring, and I believe it contains flaws, which I will attempt to illuminate.

Firstly, it must be realised that the regular contributors of Wikipedia, of which predominantly all of you are, are a closed community. You are a very large community, but you exist independantly from the collective conciousness of 'general' society. Secondly, this collectivism is further concentrated by the very design of Wikipedia. By that I mean, the like-minded or polarised swarm on a particular topic, and thus give it energy and life. This is a good thing -- this is what creates great articles, allows the process of refinement and drives Wikipedia. And a side-effect of this is that an article can become, at times, inflated for what it is. This is of course a subjective comment, but look up some anime series articles or other subcultural influence articles to see the overstated and obfuscated effect of the collective 'importance' that is placed on some articles.

Even that is not my issue. But it leads me to it, in regards to privacy of the common individual.

I refer to two examples, the Daniel Brandt article and the Brian Chase article. They are perhaps intrinsically linked, but they are how I came to see this side of Wikipedia after using it for many years. Due to the controversy surrounding one of these particular figures, I'd like to make clear that I have never been in contact or any interactive context with either of these figures beyond reading and absorbing the text that flows around these names. And in order to keep the responses to this on topic, I'll refer more to Brian Chase.

In the first instance, it is overwhelmingly clear that Daniel Brandt does not want his article on Wikipedia. In the second, Brian Chase certainly never asked, wanted, or imagined that he would be the focus of an article. He is, of course, the archetype everyman afterall. And yet both these men have articles. And so I ask why. The common response, so I can gather from the resulting delete/keep votes is the argument I paraphrased earlier -- "This is of interest to a sum of people, and therefore it belongs in an encyclopedia".

But this negates the very real issue of moral obligation. If someone does not want their article on Wikipedia, is it morally right to oblige? What constitutes a public figure? In assessing that constitution, should it be taken into account the inherent closed-circle collectivism of a non-mainstream community? Should it then be assessed whether the agenda of the community affects the reasoning towards these articles?

I chose these two examples because they outline what I see is a dangerous precedent, and one that should be openly and objectively discussed. David Brandt "critisied" Wikipedia. Brian Chase inadvertantly brought the integrity of Wikipedia into the temporary spotlight. And it is impossible to remove the motivations that spawn from a community that has this put onto them, from the objective assessment as to whether there is to be a need for the article to exist.

My strong contention is that these articles are a violation of the basic principles of privacy. This is further reinforced by the shift of power that places the opinion of one person into the subjective hands of potentially thousands. When the swarm surrounds the article, and the polarization process occurs, an angle is thus formed. So Brian Chase (hypothetically) the church going family man who enjoys his old Beatles LP becomes Brian Chase (Wikipedia hoaxer). It is of course undeniable that he placed a hoax on wikipedia. But by process of selection, the internet now knows him through the black and white context of being, essentially, stupid. Nevermind important factors such as intent or awareness. This information will concievably be retrievable instantly for the rest of his life. As a result, the mass concencous has a prepacked opinion of this man, and that will affect his day to day work and personal life.

Please assess the ethical and moral implications of this. Put yourself in that situation if it makes it easier.

I believe this man does not warrent enough importance to have his own article. But that is my opinion. Where is the line drawn? I believe this article made it to publication because of the link with Wikipedia. This inflated the relevance to the community, and thus it was assessed as relevant to the broader community. Secondly, it was not balanced with the moral and ethical repercussions that would affect this man.

Unlike a traditional encyclopedia, Wikipedia has no real issues in regards to space. This has positive consequences. But it does effect the relevance when writing about living persons. If extrapolated, one can assume that these types of articles will continue to grow. These men are not famous. They are not prominent outside of the Wikipedia community. They do not deserve their own articles, regardless of the role they have played in Wikipedia history. They are noteable to you. Indeed, these articles exist because the people that make the focus of them have touched on Wikipedia history in some way. But does how does this balance with the ethical and moral obligations such a community should possess? And doesn't, in a holistic sense violate the communities rules of NPOV? I believe Wikipedia should assess whether it has exercised a communal POV in these cases, and in doing so with no major opposition, has not felt the need to place checks on themselves.

You are in charge of a powerful tool. But articles about science and history are very different to biographical entries. Especially so when it comes to living persons. And even more so when it comes to living persons of little cultural or historical relevance outside of the Wikipedia/internet community. I believe the Wikipedia community needs to have a meaningful discussion about this. Focus on the articles that spring up involving the "little people" -- people that outside of your community have no cultural or historical relevance -- and decide on where to draw the line. "Rational"/Logical thought argument has been the general response. So now it is time to look at these articles from a moral and ethical perspective, strongly taking the effect on the subject into account, and their inability to do anything about it.

You'll forgive me for signing without a username. 210.10.166.48 13:13, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

Those people were written up in mainstream press outlets such as the New York Times. We didn't publish any personal information about them that was not already public; it's not like we published their home address, Social Security number, or things like that. And, while it's true that Wikipedians are a community and might, on the whole, have values or perspectives not exactly matching the "outside world", it's not really a "closed community" either, since it's open for anybody to join, much more easily than is the case for typical other communities. *Dan T.* 19:54, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

User hints he will delete content on Monday night[edit]

A dispute is brewing at Talk:Canadian federal election, 2006 that could use some attention.

Canada is having a national election on Monday. The polls close at 7:30 PM EST in Newfoundland, 8 PM in the Atlantic Time Zone, 10 PM in the Eastern, Central and Mountain time zones and 10:30 PM in British Columbia.

Under Canadian law, it is illegal to publish or broadcast results from any district in a way that makes them available in a place where the polls are still open. For example, a local TV station in New Brunswick can announce results at 8 EST, but the national network cannot announce the results to Manitoba.

Because the Internet is available everywhere, it's illegal to publish results from anywhere on the Internet before 10:30 EST. A guy in Canada was fined $1,000 for doing that in 2000.

However, Canadian censorship laws do not mean anything to Wikipedia, which is not based in Canada. (Theoretically, a Canadian could be held liable for posting results to Wikipedia, but I suppose the only way a prosecutor could find out who the user is would be if he was a user with an IP address for an ID.)

In the past, Wikipedia has ignored censorship laws of other countries, including Canada. Last year, there was a period of a few days in which it was illegal to publish some information on the sponsorship scandal. People did anyway on Wikipedia.

User:E Pluribus Anthony has hinted that he will revert any attempts to post results before 10:30, even if the information comes from reputable sources. To me, this is vandalism.

How should this issue be dealt with? -- Ray Oiler 01:00, 20 January 2006 (UTC)

You shouldn't have to do anything. Someone like you will revert the deletions, he'll revert again, you'll all talk about it on the talk page and come to a consensus. There's no reason this has to involve the rest of Wikipedia. We do not have to my knowledge any policy for or against this, nor really need one, and I don't think anyone's going to get in trouble by posting the content if that's what they decide to do. Deco 01:04, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
I would add that he only gets three similar reverts before being subject to a block. I agree that in principle it's up to each Wikipedia editor as to how or if they want to participate on the page. The servers are in Florida, USA and are presumably protected by US first amendment rights (PS I'm not a lawyer). Wyss 01:12, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
This is a can of worms, and not likely to make an impact here. I doubt this will result in anything more than a temporary dispute between Wikipedians, but Wyss, I think you're missing the point. The US has specific reciprocity agreement with other countries which cover the mutual acceptance of the laws other countries pass, in exchange for the acceptance of US law outside the US. Canada is the US's biggest trading partner, and has the most agreements between these two countries. This includes but is not limited to areas of law such as Copyright, Criminal Codes, etc. Although those treaty’s don’t trump the US Constitution within the US, the Constitutional protection of free speech does not extend to non-Americans especially if they are outside of the US. So if Canada passes a law not to publish its election results until such and such a time, and that law is covered under one of the reciprocity agreements (and I'm fairly sure it is, for Canadian election law is governance), Wikipedia can be made to honour it, as long as it wasn’t an American publishing the results. You shouldn’t rest so heavily on your Constitutional protections not knowing international law. LinuxDude 08:24, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
The idea that the American legal system would go along with subpoenas of IP addresses from the Wikimedia Foundation in an attempt to help the Canadian government enforce its censorship law is completely out of the realm of possibility. There have been several instances of Canadians using American-based websites to skirt Canadian publication bans, as in the case of the Bernardo trial, the Gomery inquiry and that mass murder in BC. In each case, the American publishers relied on information from Canada. But Canadian prosecutors never even thought of trying to take action against the Americans or trying to pressure them to find their Canadian sources. If an American court ever were to acquiese in a foreign government's attempt to enforce censorship laws, the outcry in the U.S. would be enormous. That's why it's never happened and never will. -- Ray Oiler 01:05, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
You make me think there are some aspects to this which would be even more murky than I thought and also, I should have been more thorough in my remark. I for sure was thinking more in terms of Americans (US citizens) posting to a US server. Obviously a Canadian posting un-anonymously from anywhere, or even anon from Canada (maybe even the commonwealth, I don't know) would be breaking the law. The point you make about Wikipedia's general liability is interesting and I'm not a lawyer but ultimately I don't think the Canadian government can effectively shut down a server in Florida which is carrying content which is legal in the US, whatever the source. However let it be said, even I wouldn't rely on my own opinion here without knowing more. I should add, given my own affection in principle for the rule of law and my sympathy for the spirit of this Canadian one, personally, I wouldn't participate on the page. But then, I'm not a Canadian who might be anxious for information Monday night! Wyss 13:24, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
Another note -- be careful about throwing the word "vandalism" around. I'll agree with you if you say that it's inappropriate for him to revert the changes, but vandalism has a specific meaning and this does not fit. --Improv 14:21, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
"Censorship" seems a fairly harsh word for the situation as well: the results will be freely available after 22:30 EST (03:30 UTC on Tuesday). The extent to which content providers are protected by the First Amendment against cases brought in foreign countries is not at all clear, as the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit demonstrated recently in the LICRA v. Yahoo! case (note that this case has now been going on for five years). I would suggest placing a banner at the top of the page explaining that results cannot be published until the polls have closed and that any purported results which are added should be treated as unverifiable speculation. Physchim62 (talk) 14:46, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
I think that "censorship" actually fits (although it is of a very mild form with little possible harm) -- it is government supression of the publishing of information that the press would (presumably) like to print, which meets my basic definition. Personally I see little harm in people publishing reports of information people have, so long as they include a source. Verifiability of information does not always imply the same time scope as the censorship -- instead people must wait until the end of the elections to verify the data (although whether it is the data or that the source said it is the important part of verifiability is an open question). In any case, I don't think we should be thinking about the Canadian law or trying to respect it, but there may be unrelated good policy reasons (verifiability-related or not) that should affect how we handle this) --Improv 16:26, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
  • See my comments on the election article's talk page for my critique of the template. Regarding the LICRA v. Yahoo! case, you appear to have taken it well out of context. That case was filed by Yahoo in California in an attempt to overrule a French court's decision. Yahoo lost in the appeals court not on the issue of free speech but on the technical issue of whether or not the company had standing in the court. -- Ray Oiler 01:05, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
Something like Template:ElectionResultsCA, for example. The Foundation seems OK on this problem, as the offense requires intent (s. 495(4)(d) Canada Elections Act), but any editor posting results is liable to a fine of up to C$ 25,000 if the Canadian authorities can find them. Physchim62 (talk) 15:40, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
I've nominated that template for deletion as a blatant violation of WP:NLT. Crotalus horridus (TALKCONTRIBS) 05:04, 21 January 2006 (UTC)

This template should not be used. Provided no citizen of Canada posts the results, there is no risk here to anyone. Canadian criminal law cannot be enforced in the United States. It is a fundamental principle of U.S. law that one jurisdiction will not enforce the penal laws of another, let alone when to do so would violate the First Amendment. Another issue is whether you actually think it plausible that Canada would even attempt to reach across its borders to restrict the free speech of a U.S. citizen or U.S. based company. Postdlf 01:25, 21 January 2006 (UTC)

  • U.S. courts will not enforce foreign judgments if they are deemed to violate public policy. For instance, there have been several instances where they refused to enforce libel judgments made under British-derived law on the basis that these did not meet the stringent requirements of the First Amendment. See [1]. Crotalus horridus (TALKCONTRIBS) 05:04, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
    • Yes, there is a public policy exception to the recognition of foreign judgments generally, but when the foreign judgment imposed a criminal sanction, the penal law exception applies per se without the court having to even consider policy. Postdlf 05:10, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
      • That template is nothing to do with US Courts. Why are you bring US Courts or US Law into it. It was simply information to Canadians, who probably don't even know their own law. Surely this discussion should be NPOV, which means not discussing that template in terms of US, East Timoran, or Uzbeki law. Nfitz 06:30, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
        • We're discussing policy issues. WP:NPOV isn't at question here. Your statement above would justify slapping disclaimer templates on virtually every single article in Wikipedia. First, let's put disclaimers on all articles related to Tibet, Taiwan, and Falun Gong telling Chinese citizens they could get in trouble for reading/posting there. Then let's put disclaimers on all Nazi-related articles telling the Germans and French they could go to jail for posting a picture of a swastika. And then we can put disclaimers on all pages with photos of unveiled women saying that they violate Saudi Arabian law and that no Saudis should read those pages. Where does it stop? My answer: According to Wikipedia policy and guidelines, particularly Wikipedia:No disclaimer templates and Wikipedia:No legal threats, it doesn't start. We nip this in the butt right now. Crotalus horridus (TALKCONTRIBS) 07:36, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
          • Actually, Commons:Template:Nazi symbol has been around for more than a year now (it's getting a bit long, but that's the Commons for you). The French don't risk jail, just a €1,500 fine and the withdrawal of the right to bear firearms. Physchim62 (talk) 12:00, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
        • I have no idea what NPOV has to do with anything here. Wikipedia is based in the U.S., so it's only natural that U.S. law would be of chief concern to Wikipedia because that's the only law that Wikipedia must follow. Individual Wikipedians must take responsibility for themselves when it comes to their own country's laws and use Wikipedia at their own risk. Laws from nation to nation vary so much that as Crotalus aptly pointed out, we'd end up putting warnings on just about everything. Postdlf 07:43, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
          • NPOV is relevent here, because all these people not involved in the debate, are suddenly quoting US law; yet none of the people involved in the debate ever mentioned the US. Besides, the template is neither a disclaimer, nor a threat. Nfitz 08:03, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
          • The part of the template which is most objectionable is "Editors who post such purported results are breaking Canadian law." No one outside of Canada's jurisdiction is breaking Canadian law by publishing these results: to break a law, one must be subject to it, and Americans are not. If the template were rephrased to apply to Canadians only, it would be correct, but problematic, as others have pointed out, given that peculiar laws in many countries would require a disclaimer on nearly every page here. Xoloz 18:21, 21 January 2006 (UTC)

Would it not be sensible to put a paragraph on the page about elections in Canada about this law, and why it exists? To me it seems a very reasonable law to have, and it seems a fundamental part of Candian elections. Don't prhase it as a warning, but as part of an encylopaedic article informign people about elections in Canada. Thryduulf 11:58, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

Maybe an article about similar laws across the world: I know France has one. What should we call it? Election blackout laws? Physchim62 (talk) 12:07, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
That's a good idea. In Britain it is also illegal to broadcast results/exit polls/etc until the polls have closed. Perhaps call it Election reporting restrictions? Thryduulf 12:50, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

We still have a fundamental problem here. The User orginally the source of this discussion, is still implying that he will remove results before 10 pm Eastern. Current discussion at Talk:Canadian federal election, 2006#Removal of early results. While I personally feel that a well-worded warning template is appropriate, and that Canadians shouldn't be flouting the currrent election law (no matter how unjust), I also don't think anyone should be removing apparently valid results in a vigilante fashion. Not sure anything can be done about this until it starts happening this evening ... except more talk. Nfitz 16:27, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

People are missing the point. Why is Election Canada have such ban? It is because it does not want the posting of election result influcing on people of whom to vote in western Canada. reverting those result, IMHO, is not censorship but rather, as not to influence on people whom to vote. SYSS Mouse 14:17, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

Creative Commons content[edit]

Can content that is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license by submitted to Wikipedia? I would have thought not because of the "only under the terms of this License" and "You may not sublicense the Work." parts under Restriction but IANAL.

Apologies if this is already covered somewhere, but after searching for an hour I couldn't find it any of the obvious places. AlistairMcMillan 19:37, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

No. Written works must be compatible with the GFDL. Image use is somewhat more liberal, but must be sufficiently free to allow for commercial reuse (and the possibility that we might want to generate income by selling CD or books derived from Wikipedia content someday). Becauase of this cc-by and cc-by-sa are acceptable for images, but cc-nc is not. See Wikipedia:Image copyright tags if you are interested in more details about images. Dragons flight 19:58, 24 January 2006 (UTC)


Wikipedia NPOV and privacy[edit]

I write this as an objective visitor, touching on a potentially contentious issue in this community. Nevertheless I've decided to make my point here and it will either be accepted and discussed, or rejected and pushed away.

It seems to me, and I think it is the right time while the Google supoena is in the collective conciousness of the internet community, that Wikipedia needs to outline its boundaries in regards to privacy of the individual. I don't believe it is a reasonable enough argument to say "This is of interest to a sum of people, and therefore it belongs in an encyclopedia". This logic is a red herring, and I believe it contains flaws, which I will attempt to illuminate.

Firstly, it must be realised that the regular contributors of Wikipedia, of which predominantly all of you are, are a closed community. You are a very large community, but you exist independantly from the collective conciousness of 'general' society. Secondly, this collectivism is further concentrated by the very design of Wikipedia. By that I mean, the like-minded or polarised swarm on a particular topic, and thus give it energy and life. This is a good thing -- this is what creates great articles, allows the process of refinement and drives Wikipedia. And a side-effect of this is that an article can become, at times, inflated for what it is. This is of course a subjective comment, but look up some anime series articles or other subcultural influence articles to see the overstated and obfuscated effect of the collective 'importance' that is placed on some articles.

Even that is not my issue. But it leads me to it, in regards to privacy of the common individual.

I refer to two examples, the Daniel Brandt article and the Brian Chase article. They are perhaps intrinsically linked, but they are how I came to see this side of Wikipedia after using it for many years. Due to the controversy surrounding one of these particular figures, I'd like to make clear that I have never been in contact or any interactive context with either of these figures beyond reading and absorbing the text that flows around these names. And in order to keep the responses to this on topic, I'll refer more to Brian Chase.

In the first instance, it is overwhelmingly clear that Daniel Brandt does not want his article on Wikipedia. In the second, Brian Chase certainly never asked, wanted, or imagined that he would be the focus of an article. He is, of course, the archetype everyman afterall. And yet both these men have articles. And so I ask why. The common response, so I can gather from the resulting delete/keep votes is the argument I paraphrased earlier -- "This is of interest to a sum of people, and therefore it belongs in an encyclopedia".

But this negates the very real issue of moral obligation. If someone does not want their article on Wikipedia, is it morally right to oblige? What constitutes a public figure? In assessing that constitution, should it be taken into account the inherent closed-circle collectivism of a non-mainstream community? Should it then be assessed whether the agenda of the community affects the reasoning towards these articles?

I chose these two examples because they outline what I see is a dangerous precedent, and one that should be openly and objectively discussed. David Brandt "critisied" Wikipedia. Brian Chase inadvertantly brought the integrity of Wikipedia into the temporary spotlight. And it is impossible to remove the motivations that spawn from a community that has this put onto them, from the objective assessment as to whether there is to be a need for the article to exist.

My strong contention is that these articles are a violation of the basic principles of privacy. This is further reinforced by the shift of power that places the opinion of one person into the subjective hands of potentially thousands. When the swarm surrounds the article, and the polarization process occurs, an angle is thus formed. So Brian Chase (hypothetically) the church going family man who enjoys his old Beatles LP becomes Brian Chase (Wikipedia hoaxer). It is of course undeniable that he placed a hoax on wikipedia. But by process of selection, the internet now knows him through the black and white context of being, essentially, stupid. Nevermind important factors such as intent or awareness. This information will concievably be retrievable instantly for the rest of his life. As a result, the mass concencous has a prepacked opinion of this man, and that will affect his day to day work and personal life.

Please assess the ethical and moral implications of this. Put yourself in that situation if it makes it easier.

I believe this man does not warrent enough importance to have his own article. But that is my opinion. Where is the line drawn? I believe this article made it to publication because of the link with Wikipedia. This inflated the relevance to the community, and thus it was assessed as relevant to the broader community. Secondly, it was not balanced with the moral and ethical repercussions that would affect this man.

Unlike a traditional encyclopedia, Wikipedia has no real issues in regards to space. This has positive consequences. But it does effect the relevance when writing about living persons. If extrapolated, one can assume that these types of articles will continue to grow. These men are not famous. They are not prominent outside of the Wikipedia community. They do not deserve their own articles, regardless of the role they have played in Wikipedia history. They are noteable to you. Indeed, these articles exist because the people that make the focus of them have touched on Wikipedia history in some way. But does how does this balance with the ethical and moral obligations such a community should possess? And doesn't, in a holistic sense violate the communities rules of NPOV? I believe Wikipedia should assess whether it has exercised a communal POV in these cases, and in doing so with no major opposition, has not felt the need to place checks on themselves.

You are in charge of a powerful tool. But articles about science and history are very different to biographical entries. Especially so when it comes to living persons. And even more so when it comes to living persons of little cultural or historical relevance outside of the Wikipedia/internet community. I believe the Wikipedia community needs to have a meaningful discussion about this. Focus on the articles that spring up involving the "little people" -- people that outside of your community have no cultural or historical relevance -- and decide on where to draw the line. "Rational"/Logical thought argument has been the general response. So now it is time to look at these articles from a moral and ethical perspective, strongly taking the effect on the subject into account, and their inability to do anything about it.

You'll forgive me for signing without a username. 210.10.166.48 13:13, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

Those people were written up in mainstream press outlets such as the New York Times. We didn't publish any personal information about them that was not already public; it's not like we published their home address, Social Security number, or things like that. And, while it's true that Wikipedians are a community and might, on the whole, have values or perspectives not exactly matching the "outside world", it's not really a "closed community" either, since it's open for anybody to join, much more easily than is the case for typical other communities. *Dan T.* 19:54, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

User hints he will delete content on Monday night[edit]

A dispute is brewing at Talk:Canadian federal election, 2006 that could use some attention.

Canada is having a national election on Monday. The polls close at 7:30 PM EST in Newfoundland, 8 PM in the Atlantic Time Zone, 10 PM in the Eastern, Central and Mountain time zones and 10:30 PM in British Columbia.

Under Canadian law, it is illegal to publish or broadcast results from any district in a way that makes them available in a place where the polls are still open. For example, a local TV station in New Brunswick can announce results at 8 EST, but the national network cannot announce the results to Manitoba.

Because the Internet is available everywhere, it's illegal to publish results from anywhere on the Internet before 10:30 EST. A guy in Canada was fined $1,000 for doing that in 2000.

However, Canadian censorship laws do not mean anything to Wikipedia, which is not based in Canada. (Theoretically, a Canadian could be held liable for posting results to Wikipedia, but I suppose the only way a prosecutor could find out who the user is would be if he was a user with an IP address for an ID.)

In the past, Wikipedia has ignored censorship laws of other countries, including Canada. Last year, there was a period of a few days in which it was illegal to publish some information on the sponsorship scandal. People did anyway on Wikipedia.

User:E Pluribus Anthony has hinted that he will revert any attempts to post results before 10:30, even if the information comes from reputable sources. To me, this is vandalism.

How should this issue be dealt with? -- Ray Oiler 01:00, 20 January 2006 (UTC)

You shouldn't have to do anything. Someone like you will revert the deletions, he'll revert again, you'll all talk about it on the talk page and come to a consensus. There's no reason this has to involve the rest of Wikipedia. We do not have to my knowledge any policy for or against this, nor really need one, and I don't think anyone's going to get in trouble by posting the content if that's what they decide to do. Deco 01:04, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
I would add that he only gets three similar reverts before being subject to a block. I agree that in principle it's up to each Wikipedia editor as to how or if they want to participate on the page. The servers are in Florida, USA and are presumably protected by US first amendment rights (PS I'm not a lawyer). Wyss 01:12, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
This is a can of worms, and not likely to make an impact here. I doubt this will result in anything more than a temporary dispute between Wikipedians, but Wyss, I think you're missing the point. The US has specific reciprocity agreement with other countries which cover the mutual acceptance of the laws other countries pass, in exchange for the acceptance of US law outside the US. Canada is the US's biggest trading partner, and has the most agreements between these two countries. This includes but is not limited to areas of law such as Copyright, Criminal Codes, etc. Although those treaty’s don’t trump the US Constitution within the US, the Constitutional protection of free speech does not extend to non-Americans especially if they are outside of the US. So if Canada passes a law not to publish its election results until such and such a time, and that law is covered under one of the reciprocity agreements (and I'm fairly sure it is, for Canadian election law is governance), Wikipedia can be made to honour it, as long as it wasn’t an American publishing the results. You shouldn’t rest so heavily on your Constitutional protections not knowing international law. LinuxDude 08:24, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
The idea that the American legal system would go along with subpoenas of IP addresses from the Wikimedia Foundation in an attempt to help the Canadian government enforce its censorship law is completely out of the realm of possibility. There have been several instances of Canadians using American-based websites to skirt Canadian publication bans, as in the case of the Bernardo trial, the Gomery inquiry and that mass murder in BC. In each case, the American publishers relied on information from Canada. But Canadian prosecutors never even thought of trying to take action against the Americans or trying to pressure them to find their Canadian sources. If an American court ever were to acquiese in a foreign government's attempt to enforce censorship laws, the outcry in the U.S. would be enormous. That's why it's never happened and never will. -- Ray Oiler 01:05, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
You make me think there are some aspects to this which would be even more murky than I thought and also, I should have been more thorough in my remark. I for sure was thinking more in terms of Americans (US citizens) posting to a US server. Obviously a Canadian posting un-anonymously from anywhere, or even anon from Canada (maybe even the commonwealth, I don't know) would be breaking the law. The point you make about Wikipedia's general liability is interesting and I'm not a lawyer but ultimately I don't think the Canadian government can effectively shut down a server in Florida which is carrying content which is legal in the US, whatever the source. However let it be said, even I wouldn't rely on my own opinion here without knowing more. I should add, given my own affection in principle for the rule of law and my sympathy for the spirit of this Canadian one, personally, I wouldn't participate on the page. But then, I'm not a Canadian who might be anxious for information Monday night! Wyss 13:24, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
Another note -- be careful about throwing the word "vandalism" around. I'll agree with you if you say that it's inappropriate for him to revert the changes, but vandalism has a specific meaning and this does not fit. --Improv 14:21, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
"Censorship" seems a fairly harsh word for the situation as well: the results will be freely available after 22:30 EST (03:30 UTC on Tuesday). The extent to which content providers are protected by the First Amendment against cases brought in foreign countries is not at all clear, as the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit demonstrated recently in the LICRA v. Yahoo! case (note that this case has now been going on for five years). I would suggest placing a banner at the top of the page explaining that results cannot be published until the polls have closed and that any purported results which are added should be treated as unverifiable speculation. Physchim62 (talk) 14:46, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
I think that "censorship" actually fits (although it is of a very mild form with little possible harm) -- it is government supression of the publishing of information that the press would (presumably) like to print, which meets my basic definition. Personally I see little harm in people publishing reports of information people have, so long as they include a source. Verifiability of information does not always imply the same time scope as the censorship -- instead people must wait until the end of the elections to verify the data (although whether it is the data or that the source said it is the important part of verifiability is an open question). In any case, I don't think we should be thinking about the Canadian law or trying to respect it, but there may be unrelated good policy reasons (verifiability-related or not) that should affect how we handle this) --Improv 16:26, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
  • See my comments on the election article's talk page for my critique of the template. Regarding the LICRA v. Yahoo! case, you appear to have taken it well out of context. That case was filed by Yahoo in California in an attempt to overrule a French court's decision. Yahoo lost in the appeals court not on the issue of free speech but on the technical issue of whether or not the company had standing in the court. -- Ray Oiler 01:05, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
Something like Template:ElectionResultsCA, for example. The Foundation seems OK on this problem, as the offense requires intent (s. 495(4)(d) Canada Elections Act), but any editor posting results is liable to a fine of up to C$ 25,000 if the Canadian authorities can find them. Physchim62 (talk) 15:40, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
I've nominated that template for deletion as a blatant violation of WP:NLT. Crotalus horridus (TALKCONTRIBS) 05:04, 21 January 2006 (UTC)

This template should not be used. Provided no citizen of Canada posts the results, there is no risk here to anyone. Canadian criminal law cannot be enforced in the United States. It is a fundamental principle of U.S. law that one jurisdiction will not enforce the penal laws of another, let alone when to do so would violate the First Amendment. Another issue is whether you actually think it plausible that Canada would even attempt to reach across its borders to restrict the free speech of a U.S. citizen or U.S. based company. Postdlf 01:25, 21 January 2006 (UTC)

  • U.S. courts will not enforce foreign judgments if they are deemed to violate public policy. For instance, there have been several instances where they refused to enforce libel judgments made under British-derived law on the basis that these did not meet the stringent requirements of the First Amendment. See [2]. Crotalus horridus (TALKCONTRIBS) 05:04, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
    • Yes, there is a public policy exception to the recognition of foreign judgments generally, but when the foreign judgment imposed a criminal sanction, the penal law exception applies per se without the court having to even consider policy. Postdlf 05:10, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
      • That template is nothing to do with US Courts. Why are you bring US Courts or US Law into it. It was simply information to Canadians, who probably don't even know their own law. Surely this discussion should be NPOV, which means not discussing that template in terms of US, East Timoran, or Uzbeki law. Nfitz 06:30, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
        • We're discussing policy issues. WP:NPOV isn't at question here. Your statement above would justify slapping disclaimer templates on virtually every single article in Wikipedia. First, let's put disclaimers on all articles related to Tibet, Taiwan, and Falun Gong telling Chinese citizens they could get in trouble for reading/posting there. Then let's put disclaimers on all Nazi-related articles telling the Germans and French they could go to jail for posting a picture of a swastika. And then we can put disclaimers on all pages with photos of unveiled women saying that they violate Saudi Arabian law and that no Saudis should read those pages. Where does it stop? My answer: According to Wikipedia policy and guidelines, particularly Wikipedia:No disclaimer templates and Wikipedia:No legal threats, it doesn't start. We nip this in the butt right now. Crotalus horridus (TALKCONTRIBS) 07:36, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
          • Actually, Commons:Template:Nazi symbol has been around for more than a year now (it's getting a bit long, but that's the Commons for you). The French don't risk jail, just a €1,500 fine and the withdrawal of the right to bear firearms. Physchim62 (talk) 12:00, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
        • I have no idea what NPOV has to do with anything here. Wikipedia is based in the U.S., so it's only natural that U.S. law would be of chief concern to Wikipedia because that's the only law that Wikipedia must follow. Individual Wikipedians must take responsibility for themselves when it comes to their own country's laws and use Wikipedia at their own risk. Laws from nation to nation vary so much that as Crotalus aptly pointed out, we'd end up putting warnings on just about everything. Postdlf 07:43, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
          • NPOV is relevent here, because all these people not involved in the debate, are suddenly quoting US law; yet none of the people involved in the debate ever mentioned the US. Besides, the template is neither a disclaimer, nor a threat. Nfitz 08:03, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
          • The part of the template which is most objectionable is "Editors who post such purported results are breaking Canadian law." No one outside of Canada's jurisdiction is breaking Canadian law by publishing these results: to break a law, one must be subject to it, and Americans are not. If the template were rephrased to apply to Canadians only, it would be correct, but problematic, as others have pointed out, given that peculiar laws in many countries would require a disclaimer on nearly every page here. Xoloz 18:21, 21 January 2006 (UTC)

Would it not be sensible to put a paragraph on the page about elections in Canada about this law, and why it exists? To me it seems a very reasonable law to have, and it seems a fundamental part of Candian elections. Don't prhase it as a warning, but as part of an encylopaedic article informign people about elections in Canada. Thryduulf 11:58, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

Maybe an article about similar laws across the world: I know France has one. What should we call it? Election blackout laws? Physchim62 (talk) 12:07, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
That's a good idea. In Britain it is also illegal to broadcast results/exit polls/etc until the polls have closed. Perhaps call it Election reporting restrictions? Thryduulf 12:50, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

We still have a fundamental problem here. The User orginally the source of this discussion, is still implying that he will remove results before 10 pm Eastern. Current discussion at Talk:Canadian federal election, 2006#Removal of early results. While I personally feel that a well-worded warning template is appropriate, and that Canadians shouldn't be flouting the currrent election law (no matter how unjust), I also don't think anyone should be removing apparently valid results in a vigilante fashion. Not sure anything can be done about this until it starts happening this evening ... except more talk. Nfitz 16:27, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

People are missing the point. Why is Election Canada have such ban? It is because it does not want the posting of election result influcing on people of whom to vote in western Canada. reverting those result, IMHO, is not censorship but rather, as not to influence on people whom to vote. SYSS Mouse 14:17, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

Requests for rollback privileges[edit]

Please vote on the requests for rollback proposal, a proposal which would give good contributors, who are not admins, access to the rollback privilege.


Policy on Biographic Articles[edit]

Several previous comments could be merged into a discussion of biographic policy. Which people are of sufficient public interest to make a biographical article desirable? Should living and historical people be treated differently? Should the subject, family or friends have control over the material.

I suggest that a concept of public figure can be used with reasonable success. For an enclopedia this probably does not include everyone who has been in the news for 15 minutes, but would include anyone who has been substantially public over a period of time, or who is a significant figure in an event that is of significant importance. John Wilkes Booth only did one thing of interest, but he should have an article.

I also suggest that a standard of good taste must be used, but individuals cannot control public discussion of their actions. The public has a right to publish articles critical of public individuals, such as politicians, writers and industry figures. A company or individual has a right to protest inaccurate articles, but not to veto truthful bad publicity.

I think a policy could have a general statement of principles and a list of helpful examples. It would make sense to have a list of reasons that are and are not sufficient to justify an article.

For example, I would suggest that an article is justified for every person who has every been a supreme court justice. I am not sure if an article is justified about every person who has been nominated for the supreme court. (Timely question, I hope.)

I think there would be a long list of easy cases: every head of state, every four star general, every supreme court justice, every nobel laureate etc.

Other cases would require more thought and discussion.

Cre 16:26, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

We have WP:BIO and WP:BLP which would seem to address these issues. Physchim62 (talk) 16:43, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

Local versus global consensus[edit]

I have serious concerns about some of the actions that have taken place recently on Canadian federal election, 2006 and {{ElectionResultsCA}}. Throughout most of the election, the large, ugly warning template was posted on the top of the page, warning Canadians that they were violating the law if they posted results, and stating that any such results were speculative and unreliable (even if they came from legitimate news sources). This, to my mind, clearly violates the Wikipedia guideline of no disclaimer templates and the Wikipedia policy of no legal threats. Unfortunately, a large number of contributors on these pages disagreed. My question is what constitutes "consensus" in these cases. Is it a consensus on the pages involved only, or a global consensus throughout Wikipedia? In other words, can the contributors to an individual page really create a consensus to deliberately violate Wikipedia guidelines on that page? I've heard arguments that the messages posted didn't rise to the levels of a legal threat, but I don't buy it. Everyone who makes legal threats on Wikipedia denies that they are making threats, usually preferring to categorize it as a "warning" of what "might" happen if Wikipedia doesn't do what the threatener wants. Before a similar situation comes around again, I'd like to get more input on what the Wikipedia community as a whole thinks constitutes violations of WP:NLT. This seems like a pretty straightforward case to me, but obviously some others disagreed. I'm trying to understand these positions. Crotalus horridus (TALKCONTRIBS) 04:52, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

This doesn't address your central question, but to me a "threat" is when the author implies that s/he will take action personally if you don't do what they want. A reminder that a certain action might have legal consequences isn't really a "threat" in my book. —Wahoofive (talk) 05:50, 24 January 2006 (UTC)
In fact the template was placed on the article by User:Nfitz at 23:29 (UTC), and effectly removed by an edit from User:Crotalus horridus at 01:08 (UTC). In my opinion, the wording is no more of a threat than, say, {{fair use in}}, which states Any other uses of this image, on Wikipedia or elsewhere, may be copyright infringement. It does not imply that any individual editor will take legal action, which is the behaviour that WP:NLT is supposed to prevent. I would welcome a calmer discussion of the points in dispute, now that the Canadian election is over and no similar case is arising in the near future. Physchim62 (talk) 13:46, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

User:Cool Cat/Checkuser lite[edit]

This is a proposal for semi-checkuser privileges to check for sockpuppets. See below for a draft. This idea was first mentioned by User:FrancisTyers on IRC during a casual conversation. The original version of the ideas below are a result of the discussions between User:FrancisTyers, User:Robchurch and User:Cool Cat

Procedure:

  1. Two wikipedia usernames are inputted: User:Username A and User:Username B (anon usernames (aka IPs)) should never be a valid input so as not to compromise privacy.
  2. The IPs (logged on wikimedia servers) are checked for simlarities
    • If people are making identical edits thats generaly adequate enough to (blindly) block them both for sockpuppetary. This tool would only reinforce such blocks.
  3. Returns Likely (very similar or identical IPs) / Maybe (similar but not so close IP range) / Unlikely (IP range not similar) for a comparasion of the ips of users.

Further suggestions:

  1. This could also be a single username input checked for edits by other users from same ip. Which may...
    • Return the list of users who have used the IP
    • A yes/no value if the user has made edits as an anon without revealing his ip. (if an anon and non anon user is making identical edits they obviously do not care about their IPs privacy)
      • This may be bad though I am not so sure about this suggestion.
  2. Checked checkuser lite maybe either...
    • Selective list of users whom are preferably Administrators
      • I for one am not an admin who does RC patrol and if many users are vandalising the same article (with same IP or in a similar IP range) this tool would be a great help to me.
    • All Wikipedia:Administrators
    • Every user (Since the IP isnt revealed)

What this tool is not:

  1. This tool is just a tool there are valid reasons for multiple users to have same IPs (such as proxies). This tool should never be used soley to block users.
  2. This tool is not an invasion of privacy, the IP is never evealed

Have a read of the original proposal. Before comenting please. --Cool CatTalk|@ 12:48, 21 January 2006 (UTC)

  • Have you thought about what consitutes "likely"? There exists to my knowledge no simple algorithm for that. Checkusering is way more complex than you imagine. Radiant_>|< 13:45, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
    • This tool will compare ###.###.###.XXX and @@@.@@@.@@@.YYY. If I were to design this likely would be when ###.###.###.XXX = @@@.@@@.@@@.YYY. Again if I were designing this maybe would be where ###.###.### and @@@.@@@.@@@ are identical. Unlikely would be everything else. Reliying strictly on a tool to ban people is bad taste. Real Checkuser is an art. THis tool is not a replacement of existing checkuser privilages that would be an insult to people like davidgerard whom mastered the art of checkusers.
    • This tool is intended to relieve stress from people like DavidGerard. It is to identify if two users claiming to be diferent people who make similar/identical edits/reverts also have similar/identical IPs. Suspected sockpuppets are blindly blocked, this tool would discourage sockpuppetary.
    • If two users with identical IPs are making completely unrelated edits there is no reason to use this tool. Blocks to such users (such as people using proxies) is a violation of a number of policies and guidelines. --Cool CatTalk|@ 15:53, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
The problem is that, fundamentally, you need to see the IP address and understand it to use CheckUser. This isn't a scientific process; it's an art. Without seeing the actual address, you can't tell if it's an AOL proxy server - potentially used by 22% of the internet - or a single dialup line in rural Finland. And the implications of a match in those two contexts are very, very different. Shimgray | talk | 15:04, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
This is not a relacement of checusers. Checkuser is an art which few (only 2 people I know) can preform. This is to have a check for people suspected of being sockpuppets. This tool is to check two people with similar edits suspected of being sockpuppets. If people have identical IPs and edits its safe to conlude they are sockpuppets. However, just because people have identical IPs is no valid reason to block them. Evidence to suspect sockpuppetary must exist prior to the use of this tool.
Real checkusers can be bothered if this tool returns an 'unlikely' for a more indepth analysis. --Cool CatTalk|@ 15:53, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
Um, we don't block people for sockpuppetry alone, "blindly" or not. I'm not sure what you want to achieve with your proposal.  Grue  16:01, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
Sure we do. Any block on suspected sockpuppets is strictly based on the POV of the admin weather the edits of two parties are simmilar enough or not. Similar edits with identical ips are stronger sockpuppet candidates. What am I trying to achieve? A tool to detect sockpupepts without bothering David Gerard. Something will tell me if a person I or someone else blocked is still making similar edits or not. If two diferent ips are making similar ips they should undergo real checkuser rahther than being blocked on sight. --Cool CatTalk|@ 17:27, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
What is your aim in this? Are you expecting all admins to be given the right to use it? If so, I think it's a bad idea. You can quite easily say "I know where this user comes from" and find out if another user matches the range of IPs, even if that user doesn't want to display where they're from. I don't think that's unreasonable. This tool could easily be misused. [[Sam Korn]] 20:27, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
Currently, is it extremely difficult to tell if two users have the same IP? ArbCom members have access, not just David Gerard. Why can't they use regular checkuser? If the ArbCom members are unable to use checkuser effectively, then they should not have access (or a tool should be made that makes it easier, but only they should have access, not admins). Access should be granted to a few users able to use it well and who can be trusted. -- Kjkolb 20:52, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
I like the attempt at privacy, but it seems like it will lead to mistakes in banning and blocking. If you know the IP address, you can see if it has any contributions and if it has Wikipedia user or talk page, which may have a notice on it that it is a dynamic or static IP. Having the IP also allows you to trace it to the ISP, where you can get more information. -- Kjkolb 21:09, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
I am not seeing ips. Wikipedia servers know your ip. they simly tell me if you and another has an identical or similar ip or not. It is a simple tool that returns YesYes or YesRed XN or Red XNRed XN. --Cool CatTalk|@ 23:04, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps this should be used as a vindication that those aren't sockpuppets, rather to check that they are. Elle vécut heureuse à jamais (Be eudaimonic!) 17:08, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
Admins should be able to be more "confortable" in blocking people whom have sockpuppet behavior and identical IPs or "less confortable" in blocking distinct ips. Thats all there is for this tool. The tool isn't abusable as far as privacy is concerned. --Cool CatTalk|@ 23:04, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
Why checuser privilages is ineficent: I cannot have prompt responses from checkusers. I generaly have to wait lenghty aminsts of time as checkusers unlike common belief have a life. Checkuser privilages to arbcomers is really useless as most arbcomers dont have the time to scratch their head. This tool ment to be a quickie check. Real checkusers wont be bothered about incidents where obvious inpersonation or sockpuppetary is present. --Cool CatTalk|@ 23:04, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
Is checkuser really hard to operate? -- Kjkolb 02:19, 23 January 2006 (UTC)
Real checkuser isnt as much as "hard" but more "time consuming". Want the real check users to be concerned about incidents where their art is necesary. If it takes a scrible to take care of some sockpuppets no need to summon Leonardo Da Vincci. "Check user lite" is an over simplified version of the real checkuser art. If a number of people are vandalising with same ip or range its safe to assume what to do about that. --Cool CatTalk|@ 13:49, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

Help needed at Talk:The Song of Hiawatha[edit]

CJLippert bills himself as a knowledgable source on the Ojibwe language, and I believe him. I'm rather puzzled about what to do about a table he has contributed to The Song of Hiawatha. Longfellow used many Ojibway words in his poem, which has an appendix giving their meaning. Lippert has contributed a table comparing the spelling and meaning given by Longfellow with their modern equivalents.

Now, I don't want to be a jerk about this, but I am convinced that in fact this table does not comply with our policies on no original research, verifiability, and citing sources. I don't think there's any urgency about dealing with this and I'm not eager to delete it... but...

What is the best way to cite sources for a table contributed by an Ojibwe language expert which pulls together information from multiple published sources and his own experience? Is there a way to keep this material, comply with policy, yet not require that an individual source be given for the meaning of each individual word?

Please discuss at Talk:The Song of Hiawatha. Please approach this in the spirit of problem-solving. Dpbsmith (talk) 20:13, 26 January 2006 (UTC)


Another useful user attribute[edit]

With the recent proposal to grant certain (non-admin) users access to the "rollback" tool--thus creating an additional class of non-admin users (in addition to the current 2--logged in and anonymous), here is my proposal for yet another class of users. Technically, this attribute could be considered orthogonal to the other user attributes of interest, but I would expect that any user who is an admin or higher, or who has rollback priveleges (should they be granted), would also deserve access to this new privilege:

And the privelige is this: To be able to edit Wikipedia, while logged in, from a blocked IP address.

One of the big problems with IP-blocking, and especially Wikipedia:autoblocking, is the collateral damage they create. If Joe Vandal posts anonymously from a shared IP, and gets blocked, any logged in user who also posts from that IP will be affected. While it wouldn't be a good idea to let any logged in user bypass an IP block (for obvious reasons), users who are well-known members of the Wikipedia community in good standing, shouldn't be IP-blocked when they edit while logged in.

It may be possible (or desirable) to have 2 levels of IP blocks--a soft block which is bypassable by the privelege I describe, and a hard block, which disables any edit from the IP, regardless of the user, and works like IP blocks work today. The soft block would be what gets used when dealing with ordinary vandalism (and is what would normally be generated by autoblocks); the hard block would be reserved for exceptional cases, such as known untrustworthy IPs (open proxies, static IPs belonging to banned users, spam domains, etc.)

I have little knowledge of how difficult this would be for the developers to implement.

Thoughts? --EngineerScotty 19:39, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

See bugzilla:3706. --cesarb 20:10, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

sources of promotional material[edit]

This question was placed on my talk page, but I don't feel comfortable giving a definitive reply. Does someone here feel conversant enough in this matter to reply? (RJFJR 00:36, 26 January 2006 (UTC))

OK, i finally have a question! As discussed at Wikipedia:Fair use, posters and DVD covers found at such places as the IMDb may be considered fair use at low resolution. I have found hordes of posters for tokusatsu films at other sites, e.g. The Official Godzilla Site and GojiStomp (a fan site). May i assume the same guidelines for borrowing (and, possibly, shrinking) images from such sources?—Crazillatalk|contribs 21:30, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Clerk's office[edit]

Multipost removed. See Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)#Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Clerk's_office.


Discussion of Disambiguation at Talk:Ravi Shankar[edit]

Moved to Wikipedia talk:Disambiguation.

Wikipedia:Proposed deletion[edit]

This is a proposed very simple way to deal with non-controversial article deletions. The proponet propses a live test in the near future. I think the idea is a good one, but that some degree of community support is needed to sanction a live test. Please visit Wikipedia talk:Proposed deletion to express your views. DES (talk) 17:27, 27 January 2006 (UTC)


Attacks on non-contributors[edit]

It has been suggested that current policy on personal attacks be extended, in some manner, to give some protection to non-contributors (e.g. the subject of a bio article). See Wikipedia talk:No personal attacks#Non-contributing personal attacks. --Rob 11:37, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

Policy summaries[edit]

There is an almost comprehensive Wikipedia:list of policies. Would anyone like to add the two or three remaining summaries, check it and offer their comments or opinions? Stevage 07:51, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

User:Netoholic, {{Main article}}, {{Further}}[edit]

Something odd is going on. I'm seeing a bunch of changes:

I've not seen any discussion of these changes. These are cited in various guidelines, so I'd expect there to be a lot of discussion before deployment.

--William Allen Simpson 02:16, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

PD-art vs. PD-US[edit]

Does the tag PD-art apply to photographs of art from before 1923 without life of author plus 100 years? If not, does PD-US apply to recent photos of pre-1923 art? Justin Foote 01:12, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

That depends on the nationality of the artist for copyright purposes. The photograph has the same copyright status in the US as the original work, as long as the original is two-dimensional (ie, painting, but not a sculpture; see Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp.). Pre-1923 work by American artists is certainly PD: for other jurisdictions it might be trickier, I would have to double-check the relevant laws. As for the template, {{PD-US}} fits the bill, but please give as much info as possible on the description page (artist name, date of death, date of production of the work) to help users in other jurisdictions. Physchim62 (talk) 12:51, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

Use alternatives to SVG where possible[edit]

I really think we should hold back with the use of SVG format images. I personally hate to see them because I have to use IE and the blue background is so very annoying. Why are people pushing a format that simply isn't compatible with the browser used by the vast majority of our readers? violet/riga (t) 20:56, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

Sorry but... works fine here both with Firefox and IE. Wikipedia actually spits out a bitmap anyway... Thanks/wangi 23:37, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
Works For Me.
But even if it didn't, MS is working on IE now anyway. But even if they're working on IE now, I don't care. Firefox has working-ish SVG support already, and it's a free download, so no excuse. (And the SVG support lib is free as in speech too, so MS and Opera and Apple and whoever can just use it, unless they're being contrary). Once SVG support is solid in at least one browser, we should switch to putting out SVG native, this will reduce bandwidth usage and server costs considerably. If this gets people to switch to free browsers more quickly, I won't be sorry. Kim Bruning 00:31, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
The software renders SVGs as PNGs in articles, which I think is an excellent solution to this compatibility issue (current version of IE has some transparency problems with PNGs, but it's easy to add a background shape to an SVG if necessary). I think they should send down the original SVGs for users of browsers that do support it though, which is not the current behaviour. Deco 00:48, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
Well, some organizations have reasons to keep Internet Explorer. Yes, it may not be necessarily wise, but hey, that's something beyond Wikipedia's control. We're on a multi-platform environment anyway, and it's not as if Internet Explorer's market share is insignificant yet. In any case, spitting out a raster file for an SVG is a perfectly fine compromise and pretty decent default behavior IMAO, even if there is some kind of server load cost associated with it. — T-Boy: (complain bitterly) (laugh contemptuously) 00:53, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
Theres a simple hack to fix PNG transparency for IE... see http://webfx.eae.net/dhtml/pngbehavior/pngbehavior.html  ALKIVARFile:Radioactive.png 00:56, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
I'm against any change that will require a browser switch, as every browser has serious problems (at least on Mac) and users should be able to use the one that works the best for what they use it for. I have one main browser and use three others depending on the application. -- Kjkolb 01:12, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
Getting back to the original question - as it stands Wikipedia renders SVG files as PNG bitmaps for display, and this works well on Internet Explorer. Obviously violetriga is having a problem with something, but it's not a generic issue. T/wangi 14:31, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
And the problem is nothing to do with SVG in fact... After a bit of digging in Violetriga's contribs (note - always a good idea to give examples!) I came up with:
The second, SVG-based, one will display with a grey background on IE. The problem isn't SVG, but rather IE's handling of transparent PNGs. Thanks/wangi 14:39, 20 January 2006 (UTC)
In a case like this, the obvious solution is to stick a white rectangle behind the check in the SVG. If IE ever gets fixed, it's easy to remove. Deco 01:51, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
Why would you want to put a white background? I use classic skin and it has a pale yellow background... Grey is fine. -- SGBailey 23:07, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
FWIW that second one shows a pale green background in my IE. HTH HAND —Phil | Talk 14:05, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

Song copyrights[edit]

What's the policy on quoting lyrics in songs? Do we state copyright holders - and if so, what's the prefered format here? --Flatulus 02:10, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

Do you mean just a line, or a full song? If a full song, don't do it. It's copyrighted material. If it's just a line or two, then that falls under fair use I think. --Golbez 02:27, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
Do quote the authors. Usually, this is clear in context. Superm401 - Talk 03:15, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
Cite the people who wrote the lyrics. Sometimes the liner notes don't make it clear who this is - in this case just credit everybody listed as a writer on the song. There's no standard format - you can use a footnote, put it after the quote, before the quote, whatever. Don't quote more than a stanza. Deco 08:50, 28 January 2006 (UTC)


Wikipedia:Good articles[edit]

The talk page has recently had a question about why the {{proposed}} tag has stayed on the page for so long when the guideline portion (the front matter before the TOC) has remained stable for so long. One editor simply replaced the template with a box of his own creation, and someone else replaced it, and then it got replaced again, and I restored it. The argument is that the proposed box detracts from the page, and should not remain on it indefinitely. Should this article become a {{guideline}}? Or something else? --TreyHarris 07:31, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

Why not list it at Centralized discussion? Consider a straw poll. My first impression is that it's just redundant, despite being well-intentioned. —Wahoofive (talk) 16:37, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
Redundant with what? It's specifically not Featured Articles, for the reasons described there, if that's what you're saying it's redundant with. --TreyHarris 19:09, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
It's not proposed, it's not a guideline, it's a list of good articles, and hey, it's a list! It's working, it's there. We're fine with it. No one opposes it, some people actually like it. It's FINE. Congratulations with your working project namespace page.
Now stop waving around tags in peoples faces, before you find someone silly who takes offence. *sigh* Kim Bruning 18:51, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Check the history Kim, several people have opposed this in the past (mainly because this list also adds templates to every article that's on it), hence the "proposal" tag in an attempt to get more interest. Radiant_>|< 21:55, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
I think the goal here is to get GA as well-accepted as FA, i.e., a standard part of Wikipedia. How is that done? Walkerma 20:43, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
By running it. If it's useful, everyone on wikipedia will use it one day. If it sucks, it'll peter out. Kim Bruning 20:51, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

Lists of X in (year)[edit]

Problem: We have tons of lists of politicians, religious leaders, artists, literature, etc. organized by year. While these series are nice for inflating edit count, I find organization of individual articles by year to be unmaintainable, and not very useful. I (subjectively) say not very useful for lack of imagination; I'm open to justification of utility.

They are unmaintainable because they're lists of incomplete information, blatantly duplicated across many articles, and they are neglected. Duplication of information that needs to be changed is always bad. This requires lots of human labor to do something a computer can do easily. For an example of an unmaintained series, look at List of state leaders in 18BC. The adjacent years are all practically empty.

Some individual articles have been nominated for AFD, but there was no chance that a single article would be deleted considering the "precedent" of all the other year articles.

Solution: Either this needs to be automated, or reorganized to be more maintainable. Categories are normally a maintainable alternative to lists, but the current technical features of Categories are not ideal for such lists: a political leader that ruled for 50 years would need 50 category tags. We would need a technical change to allow "range" categories.

One idea that does not require software changes is to organize by decade instead of by year: that would increase maintainability by a factor of 10. And it would be more useful to the reader than browsing lots of year articles and manually comparing the differences. We can think about the optimal granularity for lists: obviously "List of political leaders in September 1984" would be too small, but "List of political leaders in 1000s" is too large. I think decade is the right granularity. Quarl (talk) 2006-01-25 19:20Z

I agree that we should change it to decades rather than individual years. That makes these lists a potentially useful resource, which they most probably aren't at the moment. -Chairman S. 23:20, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
I think the reason why they are not by decade is in recent history, like List of state leaders in 1984, they are quite full, and doing them by decade would be more troublesome. Also, they are in many senses parts of the general year pages, like 18 BC, or 1984, and so doing them in decade form would be difficult because of that, also. I would suggest you contact the people who made the first few edits to various of them, and ask them to comment on this. Regarding automating it, that is a good idea - doing it with a bot is the customary way such things are handled on Wikipedia, you should probably mention this on Wikipedia:Bot requests. This is a good point to bring up, thanks for mentioning it. JesseW, the juggling janitor 10:30, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
I did contact some people. The sole author of the 17 BC, 16 BC, 15 BC, ad nauseum state leader articles has effectively refused to update those pages with the information from 18 BC. Normally when I see such a thing I would fix it myself, but as I've said above, I feel that would only be perpetrating a system that is unmaintainable in the long run. Quarl (talk) 2006-01-28 00:01Z
If you are talking about this discussion;

it looks like there was some confusion in how you asked; you pointed out a simple typo that needed to be merged, and hinted(in the last part of your request), that you really wanted to talk about all those pages, but said nothing about your opinion on them; the person you spoke to misunderstood this, and responded only to the specific request that you made, not the possible offer to discuss the whole issue of List of state leaders pages. I'm glad that you contacted some people, but I don't think it was a case of anyone refusing anything - just a misunderstanding due to a less than totally clear request on your part. I strongly encourage you to post on Bot requests, asking people for ideas of ways to semi-automate the creation and maintanence of those pages, and/or coming up with such ideas on your own. This is a good point you bring up. JesseW, the juggling janitor 06:27, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

Yes, it appeared he misunderstood in the beginning, but his final message to me on my talk page indicated to me that he was not interested in working on the other articles. (This is why fragmented talk pages suck.) Anyway I don't wish to single him out as I have gotten bored of particular pages in the past as well. I will think about a way to do it with a bot as you suggest. Thanks. Quarl (talk) 2006-01-28 06:45Z

Tutorial: how to circumvent guidelines & consensus-building[edit]

See: Talk:List of Polish monarchs#Aftermath

I'm presently a bit discouraged by ethnic/nationalistic cabals driving home a firm grip on page naming, scorning wikipedia's general guidelines & policies.

The example above is about how a subset of Polish wikipedians were successful; as we all know the Icelandic subset is not less successful, for example presently holding back the adoption of Wikipedia:Naming conventions (thorn).

In a funny way, this connects to the problems mentioned above by Kim: the same people that are successful in bending the guidelines at the outskirts of the project namespace (the "thorn" & "Polish Rulers" Naming Conventions are definitely outskirts), often as easily engage in modifying general guidelines, example Wikipedia talk:Ignore all rules#Change proposal --Francis Schonken 15:52, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

I find it interesting, that when I listed the page on various noticeboards, RfC, W:Naming convention sections and talk pages, almost nobody came to debate this. But months after first proposal, after we finally gave up on attracting more opinions and started moving the pages, suddenly the case is reopened and people who invested hours into doing the research, making the proposal and such are accussed of being a nationalist, POV-pushing cabal :( --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 17:05, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
Hi Piotrus, don't worry too much about the name-calling - in fact I had to say the same to your opponents here --Francis Schonken 17:15, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
Funny thing is, his opponent (i.e. me) never actually called him these names. Piotrus is merely claiming this in order to make out that he is being victimized (defense being, as the old saying goes, the best form of attack ;) ). He claimed this on another page too, I asked him to point to an example and, funny thing this, he never did. Others have used these terms for him, but not me; of course, not having done it doesn't mean I disagree with these. On the other hand, I have a growing number of examples where he did indulge in name calling, and I'll be more than happy to post links should Piotrus desire it. :)- Calgacus 18:13, 29 January 2006 (UTC)


Recipes[edit]

What is Wikipedia policy on recipes in articles? Captain Jackson 18:56, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not... Instruction manuals - while Wikipedia has descriptions of people, places, and things, Wikipedia articles should not include instruction - advice (legal, medical, or otherwise), suggestions, or contain "how-to"s. This includes tutorials, walk-throughs, instruction manuals, video game guides, and recipes. Wikibooks is a Wikipedia sister-project which is better suited for such things. --Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not -Raul654 18:58, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
Wikibooks has a recipie book! :-)
Not just recipes, but a whole b:Cookbook. Gentgeen 10:04, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

Test template[edit]

Can I get some comments on a possible update to the test warning template? See More friendly? at Template_talk:Test, Thanks!- Ravedave 20:31, 30 January 2006 (UTC)


3D Images on Wikipedia[edit]

I am alarmed at the large number of "compatible" red/cyan 3D images that are currently being added to wikipedia articles. The problem with the images is that the images look bad without the required glasses (which the majority of readers won't have). For example, User:3dnatureguy has uploaded over 100 3D images and plans to add thousands more. These images shouldn't be treated as standard article illustrations, instead being treated as an alternate media type. I feel the images would be a positive addition if they where uploaded to commons and linked to articles with the standard {{Commons}} or maybe a new template specifically stating 3D images are available at commons. Is there any existing policy on this? --Martyman-(talk) 06:13, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

Figure out something sane. Do it. Then write down what you learned. Tag your writeup as a guideline.Kim Bruning 10:32, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
I am not feeling authoritarian enough to try and write a guideline based solely on my opinion. Is there any way to judge general perception on these things before jumping in at the deep end? --Martyman-(talk) 11:02, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
*grin* Well, since no one has a good idea, try something. But before you do that, read through the image policies a bit, and see what you can find in old polls or what not. You might get some ideas. Try and do something that seems sane in respect to what's already there. Discuss with folks too. I know this is tricky at first. Once you figure something that works, go and do it. If it works well, PLEASE also write it down on the wiki, so other people can learn about it. (that's what the guideline bit was about). Most importantly, have fun! :-) Kim Bruning 11:13, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
Bringing it up here is a good start, IMHO. Then maybe create a new template tagging these images as having issues? Put one or two up for deletion to judge consensus? Start a discussion page somewhere in the Wikipedia namespace (BTW where ARE the image policies to be found?) and try to put down the pros and cons, maybe invite a few noted metapedians to comment on it, as well as the image uploader that's uploading all of them. Personally, after going to look at a few of these (and in particular looking at an article, Custom car where they are used), I think they're distracting and make the articles look "gimmicky", and your thought that they should be treated as a separate media type rather than being acceptable as the only images in the article seems a good one to me. Hope that helps. All IMHO only, and I'm just some newb. ++Lar: t/c 19:19, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
As far as I can see there are not many image guidelines/polcies. The ones that exist seem to be entirely about copyright issues, rather than content. I am feeling a bit lost, and don't really know where to start. I don't feel IFD is the right path, though. I am also concerned that "anachrome" being used by the uploader to describe the images is the trademark of his company that sells 3D glasses. --Martyman-(talk) 21:14, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
I have tried to scrape together my ideas at User:Martyman/Sandbox3 Wikipedia:3D Illustrations. Any comments? --Martyman-(talk) 22:01, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
Martyman, if I can chim in here - my issue with the 3-D photographs is 1) the sheer number that are being posted in these articles per each article and 2) Are they illustrative of the subjects, or are they simply showing off what the process car accomplish. Here's the thing, any illustration for an article should at least provide examples of the article - a lot of these 3-D images just show a part of the car being written about (fender, or a radiator cap, etc). The problem that I have with the 3-D process images is that they are not universally accessible to Wikipedia's user unless they have access to the glasses which they have to buy or otherwise obtain. In there proper context, (an article on 3-D imaging, etc.) are more appropriate. Still, I really would like to encourage this user to start submitting regular images that don't showcase this limited technology. Stude62 22:23, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

I have moved the proposed guideline from my sandbox to the wikipedia namespace at Wikipedia:3D Illustrations and tagged it as a proposed guideline. I am unsure how to go about generating discussion on it now. I have asked for the opinion of a few wikipedians I respect, but am not sure where else to ask. --Martyman-(talk) 23:22, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

Response from User: 3Dnatureguy.[edit]

Let me have a chance to respond to the "tempest" that seems to have arisen over my 100 pictures posted. I have thousands,but I never said I intended to post thousands! Actually I'd be happy to cut down to just 10 new images a month to cover attrition from zealous editors! I see nothing wrong with using a noble public vehicle, like Wiki to promote progress in the area of mass education... What I offer, is being embraced by colleges and professional educators, as the months go by. I don't make or sell paper glasses at all. But tens of millions are sold by others. Many sites give them away free. I am one of several people who sell plastic glasses to colleges, science and medical schools. Anachrome is a name for "backwards compatible 3D", meaning it looks ok up to postacard size without glasses. Anachrome images have only about 5% of the "messiness" found in regular "crude" anaglyphs.So here's my case:

First I want to stress that those posted are generally good pictures in terms of color and relevancy. Secondly,they are supposed tolook at least average, overall compared to the typical illustration at the thumb size. Has anyone bothered to look at them with any of the millions of paper glasses distributed each year? These are actually offered FREE on several websites.

Here are three images posted in small thumbnails, to illustrate:

Detail of facade: in 3D
Commodus in lion skin in 3D.
Modern, but very Basic '32 roadster

Anachrome is a process that places very high value on "backward compatiblitiy".There are only about 5 topics where bad 3D images ought to be "tolerated" on Wikipedia, articles about 3D and perhaps some NASA related articles. On that, we agree!

I ask you to consider that the ideal encylopedia is no longer the Britanica 1911 format, but rather something like a fusion of modern Britanica and National Geographic. Good color has come to be a staple in National Geographic, but there were many in the thirties, who couldn't conceive that a 35mm camera and a roll of Kodachrome could capture the real world in color for the magazine. Let me send glasses to the first 10 editors who take any interst. Look at these images, form an opinion on the over-all value of what you see. In the meantime I will refrain in posting more than 10 images per month, They will all be of the best possible quality in terms of "compatibility" and of course, relevancy. Finally, and most importantly I think thumbs for 3D should restricted to no larger than 150px wide, and always marked 3D as a warning to readers. Also, when both a flat version option is posted as primary, a secondary can be thumbed at one third the size of the primary. A good example is a NASA artwork, which, I think could be offered both ways. Another option would be for "stereo fans" to create our own Stereopedia, using Wiki text with our images. Is that legally doable?3dnatureguy 02:13, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

Above comment copied to Wikipedia talk:3D Illustrations, please try to keep discussion on the proposed policy page. --Martyman-(talk) 02:08, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

Policy trifecta now entirely controversial[edit]

The policy trifecta , consisting of neutral point of view, ignore all rules, and don't be a dick is now entirely under fire from all sides, but especially from newer editors. :-)

The original writers are mostly doing foundation work now, so they're too busy to defend or explain their position on any of these rules.

As these policies have long been thought the cornerstone of wikipedia, I am beginning to doubt if simply rewriting these will actually have any meaning. (That is, won't people just keep following them anyway, or else we would have no wikipedia altogether?)

Anyway, it would be nice if people would look into this some more.

Kim Bruning 21:06, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

I think it is inevitable that as the number of editor grows, editable policy docuents enter a state of continuous flux. As a recently arrived editor, I have found the WP policy and guideline documents to be very helpful, despite somewhat chaotic organization and a mild case of endemic inconsistency. Even if there is a lot of tug-of-rope editing and reverting going on (which I haven't really dug into the edit histories and talk pages to discover in most cases), these articles still seem to be useful and relevant, and I imagine they will continue to be. Perhaps being "under fire from all sides" will lead policy statements to become as resilient, flexible, and strong as possible? [[User:Ben Kidw ell|Ben Kidwell]] 21:40, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

Let's hope so. They're important policies, so it'd be useful if people looked in, helped out, and thought really hard... :-) Kim Bruning 22:19, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
I agree that policies need to be continually revised not only to address previously nonexistent situations, but to better suit the modern body of contributors. Nevertheless, founding principles like NPOV function as design goals for every article and are at this point essentially irrevocable except by forking - there's already one fork of Wikipedia based on disagreement over this policy. Deco 09:39, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
Well, consider forking to MAINTAIN your view of NPOV in the near future then. Pay attention please. :-P Kim Bruning 09:53, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
Well, my point is that it seems like the only way to actually change policies like NPOV is to drastically update every article, which is infeasible. Any meaningful change to the policy cannot be implemented. I think a lot of the discussion about these foundational principles isn't about changing what they mean but about spelling out details that were before implicit or vague. I hope anyway. Deco 09:59, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
Less hoping, more helping. Kim Bruning 10:01, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
If I haven't already made myself clear, I don't think there is a significant danger that these founding principles will be undermined by the current edits that they are undergoing. They're intended for clarification and they're not yet settled. Deco 10:04, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
Good luck thinking. Don't be a dick got moved to meta, ignore all rules is under threat of deprecation. I'm sure NPOV will be clarified in a similar fashion :-) Kim Bruning 10:08, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
Well, to be honest I've only participated in the IAR discussion, and there doesn't seem to be any consensus for change there - the straw poll alone (without even looking at the various reverted conversions to redirects and moves and disagreements over rewrites) seems to indicate that nobody seems to agree on anything about IAR. It's important to be flexible, but I think consensus incorporating old blood will control drastic changes. I have no idea what the motivation was for moving DICK to meta. Deco 10:17, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
Re: Ignore all rules, you missed Wikipedia:Process is Important. If you view the talk page, you will see that this page is intended to replace ignore all rules. Kim Bruning 10:21, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
actually you are incorrect there. Wikipedia:Process is Important is NOT intended to replace WP:IAR and it says so explictly. it is intended to explain the reason that I and soem other users dislike and diapprove of IAR, and I ahve said that I want IAR deleted or tqagged as rejected, but others who support Wikipedia:Process is Important do not agree with that opnion. More importantly, Wikipedia:Process is Important is intended to expalin why I and those who agree feel that actions taken outside of process (soemtimes but not always under the auspiceies of IAR) are in most cases bad ideas, and in the long run harmful to the encyclopedia. It is a set of principles and arguements, not a policy or policy proposal. If everyone on wikipedia ageed with them, IAR would cease to be a major force, i think, but I don't think you need worry about that any time soon. DES (talk) 22:45, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
I think you may be overstating the danger a little bit. For instance, the deprecation of WP:IAR was raised by one lone editor and garnered only brief discussion. I hadn't been aware of Wikipedia:Process is Important, which in my personal opinion is dangerous, but it's just a Wikipedia essay. --Nick Boalch ?!? 10:48, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
The project namespace is a mess due to user apathy. People refuse to participate in discussions, thus even key policies get warped beyond recognition. Kim Bruning 10:55, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
  • That's a pretty POV statement, considering that you're complaining about NPOV being in danger. Perhaps you could point to some concrete examples of POV articles, than we might have a better understanding of what the problem is? - brenneman(t)(c) 11:33, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Kim. I know you make a habit of rather inflamatory statements(evidence provided on request), but this one just cries out for evidence - "key policies get warped beyond recognition"? Which ones? Are you talking about IAR? IAR is fundamentally self-controdictory; it can't be written down; therefore it can't be "warped beyond recognition". Are you talking about WP:NPOV? I just did a detailed analysis of all the changes in that page since March 2005(look on the talk page); it has been changed, but hardly "warped beyond recognition". Please give more details. JesseW, the juggling janitor 20:20, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
    Thanks for the compliment. I've been practicing my inflammatory statements really hard! ;-) Well, see the topic which says "policy trifecta now entirely controversial". I shall repeat myself for your benifit: WP:DICK is off-wiki, WP:IAR did seem to have a fairly stable version for a couple of years there (but now does not, despite whatever way you seem to want to put it), and now people on the talk page of WP:NPOV are discussing a total rewrite. Kim Bruning 21:16, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
  • (leftify) No, I'd say that statement is entirely mistaken.
    1. WP:IAR has never been policy per se, I thought that was the whole point. Problem is (1) it's untenable in larger society (meatball:CommunityMayNotScale) and (2) people have been abusing it, to breaking point (which has led to the rise of WP:PI, which is also sometimes abused the other direction).
    2. If you check the history, WP:DICK has been on META for about a year now. I'm not sure if WP:NPOV is really in as much danger as you claim.
    3. And finally, WP:TRI is not any kind of founding principle since it was written last april.
  • Radiant_>|< 21:41, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
The trifecta was a summary of the state of the wikicommunity at that point in time, duh. So the community appears to be changing.
The whole community may not scale concept is utterly bogus. I've done some numbers and it's scaling spectacularly well. Drop by my user page for details. :-) Kim Bruning 22:23, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
That takes a long answer or none. Maybe we should chat on irc about this sometime. :-) Kim Bruning 22:37, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

Off-Wiki Policy Discussion[edit]

Given some of the recent discussion on WP:AN/I and other forums regarding the use of the mailing list to make policy, and some of my own thoughts on the matter that have been brewing for some time, I've opened up Wikipedia:Off-Wiki policy discussion considered harmful. Feel free to comment. Crotalus horridus (TALKCONTRIBS) 21:01, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

This is a really, really well written and very good idea. --Jeffrey O. Gustafson - Shazaam! - <*> 21:04, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
Thanks. Crotalus horridus (TALKCONTRIBS) 21:08, 31 January 2006 (UTC)


Quotes of Eyewitnesses[edit]

In my opinion quotes of (alleged) eyewitnesses about crimes or similar actions should not be part of articles of an encyclopedia, since such quotes would make an article lurid and potentially manipulative. Is there an official policy of the Wikipedia about this (couldn't find any)? I'm discussing this topic in a specific case on Talk:German_17th_Infantry_Division --Volkerfreund 19:54, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

In this case it deals with confirmed witness, and the statement is used in scholar works as evidence for war crime. Volkerfreund hasn't provided any sources confirming his opinion that the witness is "alleged" --Molobo 20:02, 31 January 2006 (UTC)


You don' get it. It's not about the veracity of the quote. Even if it is true, it shouldn't be in the article for the reasons mentioned above.--Volkerfreund 20:08, 31 January 2006 (UTC) If its true and the witness isn't disputed, and neither are the facts then it shouldn't be a problem. Or do you claim it isn't true ? --Molobo 20:10, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

If the quotes are cherry picked to push a particular POV, then they violate WP:NPOV policies. -Kmf164 (talk | contribs) 20:16, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
That was my opinion, too. Could please someone "neutral" check on the article German 17th Infantry Division?--Volkerfreund 20:21, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
Also with this particular quote, it needs to be cited. Where did it come from? And the quote would need to be put into more context, about what the role was of the German 17th Infantry Division in the massacre. If there's enough context, then maybe a shorter excerpt of the quote might be okay. -Kmf164 (talk | contribs) 20:24, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

Where did it come from? The quote is from Institute of National Remembrance bulletin, article about Wehrmacht atrocities in September 1939.The article was written by professor Witold Kulesza who uses the quote as reference .He is the Prosecutor of the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN)- Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes Against the Polish Nation --Molobo 20:31, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Copyrights revision[edit]

Quadell has started a draft of a revised Wikipedia:Copyrights at Wikipedia:Copyrights/draft. Please comment at Wikipedia talk:Copyrights/draft, not here. Superm401 - Talk 00:26, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

Mini-guidelines[edit]

Is there a page where guidelines specific to a small number of articles and which were created after lenghty discussions are compiled? For example Capitalizing prophet in "Prophet Muhammed" or using in this order "Judaism, Christianity, Islam" when referencing to the Abrahamic religions. CG 16:02, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

  • I believe the latter has been discussed, and has largely been decided that the order of the three is not defined and should not be defined (concerted efforts to impose a standard order by individuals will likely meet opposition). If one is speaking about "the Prophet Mohammad", it would be capitalised as being part of a proper compound noun, as per the rules of English. --Improv 00:00, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
    • There were just examples. My point was to create a page to put all these small conventions together. CG 22:24, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

Ohio Schools[edit]

I've proposed a standard form for naming articles on Ohio school districts: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Ohio school districts), which could easily be extended to apply to districts in other states. I'd welcome some feedback on this. PedanticallySpeaking 16:34, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

Fanlistings[edit]

Is there ever a time when a fanlisting is appropriate as an external link? Jdavidb (talk • contribs) 16:28, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

If they have valid information which is not in the article, but it's hard to know when it's valid. If they have a quotes page or a picture gallery, I suppose would be okay. User:Zoe|(talk) 19:09, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

wording of ((guideline)) and ((style-guideline))[edit]

The wording of Template:guideline and Template:style-guideline have quite different tones to them--

  • style-guideline: This page is a style guide for Wikipedia. The consensus of many editors formed the conventions described here. Wikipedia articles should heed these rules. Feel free to update this page as needed, but please use the discussion page to propose major changes.
  • guideline: This page is considered a guideline on Wikipedia. It illustrates standards of conduct, which many editors agree with in principle. Although it may be advisable to follow it, it is not however policy. Feel free to update the page as needed, but please use the discussion page to propose any major changes.

The former is much more restrictively worded than the latter - cf 'is' and 'is considered', and 'should heed' and 'advisable to follow it'. Should there really be this much divergence of authority between the two guidelines? --moof 11:39, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

And then there's still the divergent wording of {{Wikipedia subcat guideline}} used for, for instance, naming conventions guidelines, for which I have to plead guilty.
I think I started to get used to these divergences in formulations, for instance the MoS guidelines being nearly as strict as {{policy}} - but that might be a mild form of Stockholm Syndrome kicking in. So please go ahead if you think you have good improvement proposals. Maybe Wikipedia talk:Template messages/Project namespace would be a good place to keep (or ultimately store) such discussions. --Francis Schonken 12:47, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

Precedents on application of policy[edit]

Is there someplace on Wikipedia that collects precendents on application of policies, especially for "borderline" cases? For example, on RfC, we are currently debating a possible violation of 'no scatological usernames' which is not clear cut. I would like to review past similar cases. Is there somewhere that already exists where I would look for this? ike9898 01:23, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

Regarding the 3D image issue: The Wikipedian contributor who posted most of the so called "compatible" 3D images, can't have a say because he has been blocked or deleted. This is not air, when he is being asked to co-operate in establishing guidelines. Can this be fixed. 69.226.54.6 04:29, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

Wikiprojects dealing with Templates[edit]

While this policy proposal is directed at Wikiproject:Userboxes, it may as well be directed to any Wikiproject with associated templates (i.e. chemical infoboxes for the Chemistry wikiproject, school infoboxes for the Schools wikiproject, etc. etc...). I would like to turn control of the deletion of Wikiproject-related templates only to the Wikiprojects themselves and not sent to TfD. TfD is for templates that matter and templates that have value, like Wikipedia message boxes and Speedy Deletion tags and things like that. TfD is not for cruft, specifically cruft that lives in the User namespace and is not encyclopedic. (I'm not saying that chemical infoboxes are not encyclopedic, but like I said before, this policy practically singles out Wikiproject:Userboxes...) Why isn't this a policy? I don't see why TfD should be filled to the brim with flame wars about why "usrboxen r sux" and why "usrboxen r kewl lol," and since Userboxes have sweet give-all to do with the Wikipedia article namespace, why the hell are we dealing with it in a place where templates that don't suck should be dealt with? I'm not saying that userboxes suck, I'm saying that people need to take that crap elsewhere. Cernen Xanthine Katrena 19:19, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

  • Why not just create Wikipedia:Userboxes for deletion? That would sequester all the userbox debate on a separate page, and dramatically reduce the amount of clutter at WP:TFD. Plus, since some userboxes contain both a template and a category, this could handle both at once. In practice, I suspect most nominations would end in no consensus, but that already happens at TFD. Crotalus horridus (TALKCONTRIBS) 19:42, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
You want to create a page solely for the purpose of reaching no consensus? Wow, that's a great idea. (I realise that's not quite what you mean, but you are basically saying that would be the effect). Sam Korn (smoddy) 19:49, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
I want to create a page where unproductive, pointless discussion can be sequestered so that the rest of TFD can concentrate on important stuff. Crotalus horridus (TALKCONTRIBS) 19:52, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
Easy to do. It's called archiving. I'll speedy keep any template on TfD where consensus is clearly not going to be reached by discussion on that forum. What you are suggesting is a place for userbox wars to be held out of sight. If we keep them in sight, we can tell people what idiots they're being. Sam Korn (smoddy) 19:59, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
I really think this is no longer a major issue. While there are people who still vote in a black-and-white way over userboxes, that has now basically ceased and those who continue can be ignored. A month is a long time on Wikipedia, and I think that the furore has now died. I won't go into the logistical problems of such a policy, except to say that they are myriad and not easily resolvable. Sam Korn (smoddy) 19:49, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
Black-and-white voting is, in fact, alive and well. —Cryptic (talk) 19:51, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
But petering out, as far as I can see. Not many people vote "keep OMG userbox DELTIONIST VANDAL" any more. Those that vote in that idiotic way can be ignired, as I said. Sam Korn (smoddy) 19:59, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
Ignoring the problem doesn't make it go away, though. I think a UBfD page would be a great idea (sort of what I'm getting at). And granted, keeping things in sight allows us to tell people what idiots they're being, but they're still in sight for those of us who actually want work done and not cruft debates. Cernen Xanthine Katrena 03:57, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

POV debates in bibliographies?[edit]

In history some topics are so hotly debated that there are “schools” of interpretation. For example, regarding Reconstruction, the New Deal, or the Cold War. Book reviews in the history journals usually tell us which book belongs, more-or-less, to school X, Y or Z. In keeping with Wiki POV policy, the article should mention the main schools. The question is whether the bibliography of the article should mention that book A belongs to school X, or Y, or Z—-or perhaps say it is “balanced” or “neutral.” Some editors have objected that any such annotation of the bibliography is itself POV and should be avoided. I propose that we encourage that sort of annotation so that the user can follow up on the different schools. Rjensen 01:03, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

There is nothing POV about claiming that a book follows a particular school of interpretation if it in fact does so. Per NOR, however, try to find a claim either in the book itself or from another author asserting the book's school. Deco 01:27, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
I think we should be very careful about adding too many editorial comments to the references. If the comment is something that is not in dispute, or as you say, some sort of clearly defined school of interpretation, then that's fine. But the problem I and other users have been having with some of Rjensen's edits are POV editorial comments like "best biography" or "series of well written essays", etc. We shouldn't be reviewing books here. We should be discussing the article content, we don't need to add a whole new level of dispute about comments in the bibliography. --JW1805 (Talk) 04:21, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
Wiki guidelines require editors to make value judgments on books: "you should actively search for authoritative references to cite. If you are writing from your own knowledge, then you should know enough to identify good references that the reader can consult on the subject... The main point is to help the reader and other editors." The point is that "good" is a POV--that is we have to review books and make judgments that they are in fact "good". The worst disaster is to have a grab-bag of books collected from Amazon or somewhere with no quality evaluation by editors. That does not help users and degrades our quality. Useful books are reviewed in the journals and bibliographies, and it is not POV to say that a particular book has been well received. If some editor disagrees then we certainly should discuss it in the TALK page. In fact I do not recall any example of anyone disagreeing with my evaluation of a book--they are afraid of any evaluation whatever. So I think we should have a policy decision. I suggest that if an editor decides a book is a "good reference" the editor should say so, and why. Rjensen 04:37, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
I agree. Bibliographies are the recommended reading of an author. Thus, they are an opinion in themselves. When the author is not an authority on the subject (or is anonymous, as is often the case here) they should probably justify their listing of the works in question, as well. It is usually clear which works are the most respected on a subject, especially to someone who has done print research to write an article here. Bias can also be discovered by scrutinizing adjectives used in the work and whether it is up to date can be determined by looking in the front of the book or by reading evaluative studies. Encyclopedia Britannica's bibliographies are very opinionated,[3][4] as are those from Colombia Encyclopedia.[5] --Primetime 04:48, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
I just can't see why we need to open up this can of worms. Is every article's talk page going to have debates on all the book reviews on all the references in that article? The debates need to be about the article content, not what precise language should be used to characterize the goodness of each of the references (i.e., is it "good", "very good", "the best", "one of the best", ... ) What if a lot of people like the book and a lot of people don't? Are we going to have long complex NPOV comments for each references? Are we going to have to cite references for our reviews of references? --JW1805 (Talk) 05:13, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
We need to open this can because some editors are blanking comments on books--not because they think the commentary is mistaken but because they think Wiki should have a "no comment" policy. I strongly disagree. If there is going to be a Wiki policy let’s set it here and not have blanking of one editor by another. If a user wants a book on a topic we can help by saying in a few words what is involved. As for debates: the controversial topic itself can be red hot (like "Cold War") but there seldom is much debate about the quality of the books. In terms of the books that go into bibliographies, there might be debate whether A is better than B, but that is not at issue. What readers need to know is the POV of the book, and its reputation for quality. A new user will not know that, but an experienced editor will know that, and I think we should share our knowledge not keep it hidden lest someone disagree. Thus far I have NOT seen much debate on the quality of a specific book in a bibliography--very little indeed compared to the huge debates on the content of the article itself. Rjensen 05:28, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

(unindent)

We should not be giving opinions about books in articles. We certainly need to evaluate them to determine whether they're suitable for citing, but professing the wonders of a reference in the article itself is a clear violation of NPOV. If you must describe a reference, describe it objectively and briefly as you would the topic itself, and describe only the parts of it that pertain to the topic. If you want to emphasize the quality or notability of a reference work, use an objective measure such as its number of citations, some of the universities it's used in, or whatever. Deco 07:42, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

Agreed that commentary should be objective and based on visible characteristics of the book, such as citations and the ratio of favorable to unfavorable reviews it receives in the scholarly journals. Rjensen 16:17, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
It depends. The majority of portrayals can be proven by simply reading the source referred to. These include portrayals of bias, currentness, and completeness. If the author compares it to other works, they can cite the other works that they referenced. For example, if I wanted to say the Dictionary X is the best Spanish dictionary available, I can cite (if requested) the other dictionaries I compared it to. Such a statement can also be qualified to read "in this author's opinion, Dictionary X is the best." Such a statement would need no citation.

So, to summarize: bias, currentness, completeness, and statements preceded by "in this author's opinion" shouldn't need a citation, in my opinion. Comparisons should need only a reference to the other works it was compared to. --Primetime 21:40, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

True, but such a statement is original research, which is forbidden. We do not as editors make value judgements, implicitly or explicitly. Deco 22:19, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
I doubt that rule was meant to apply to bibliographies. Rules must be interpreted so that we enforce the will of the rulemakers (i.e., the spirit of the rule). In this case, I can find no mention of bibliographies on the talk page of the original research regulation. In any case, bibliographies are not part of an article. They are set off in printed material by headings while sections within the body of the work are set off with subheadings. The main headings thus include the body, preface, and bibliography--among others. --Primetime 22:35, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
I believe it is intended to apply to every part of every article. It has never been mentioned on the talk page because, simply put, you're the first one to come up with such an idea. Drop a comment on that talk page and see what some of the people with interest in that policy think. Also, the use of the phrase "in the author's opinion" contradicts communal ownership of articles, in which different authors of the same article can have differing opinions. Deco 02:46, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
Original research of course applies to the substance of an article, which is not at issue. Wiki has the positive statement that editors "should actively search for authoritative references to cite.... identify good references that the reader can consult on the subject". I read that as saying the editors should pick out the best references and include them. When editors are asked to help the readers "consult on the subject" that means tell them something about the content or thrust of the recommended books. The information is asymetric: when the editors of an encyclopedia know something that readers don't know, we should reveal it and not keep it secret. Rjensen 02:54, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
I don't believe this is how it should be. We should offer the best presentation, and in selecting that presentation we make a lot of subject choices, but the end goal is an objective discussion of the topic. Sometimes information asymmetry is desirable if the information either contradicts policy or is only tangentially relevant. Wikipedia is not just a dumping ground for everything in our heads, it needs to be organized and verifiable fact distinguished from non-notable editorial. Deco 23:57, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
Let me explain how I (as a former librarian) go about selecting titles for a short Wiki bibliography on a controversial topic like Cold War. The goals is to have every major school of interpretation represented, as well as useful surveys. A good place to start is with major scholarly books that usually have a bibliography or footnotes or historiographical passages that evaluate the literature. In addition there are numerous compendia that historians and scholars use that summarize what are the evaluations of thousands of books, In diplomatic history we rely on Beisner, ed. American Foreign Relations 2v (2003), a 2000 page compendium of book reviews. For political & Economic topics we rely on the Harvard Guide (1954 and 1970 editions, abour 1500 pages of book evaluations) and the AHA Guide to Historical Literature (2v 2000), about 2000 pages of book evaluations. For new books the most important sources are the American Historical Rev, Journal of American History, Diplomatic Hist, and J of Military History (these print about 3000+ pages of book reviews a year). Whn scanning for titles to include I will use maybe one book in 20 or 1 in 50. (In some areas like Civil War there are over 50,000 books! For Cold War the numbers probably approach 10,000 books and scholarly journal articles.) History is strikingly different from science in that old items --say 30 or 50 years old--are often essential, so we really have a lot to sort through. Rjensen 00:10, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

Copyright status of U.S. coin photos/scans[edit]

According to the image use policy: "Also note that in the United States, reproductions of two-dimensional artwork which is in the public domain because of age do not generate a new copyright — for example, a straight-on photograph of the Mona Lisa would not be considered copyrighted (see Bridgeman v. Corel). Scans of images alone do not generate new copyrights — they merely inherit the copyright status of the image they are reproducing." Does this mean that images taken from coin auction catalogs, like this one, could be uploaded under a {{Money-US}} license? This and similar images are clearly either scans or straight-on photos, with little or no creative work involved. Can they be used in compliance with copyright law and Wikipedia policy? Crotalus horridus (TALKCONTRIBS) 21:40, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

I believe so. Entire pages from said catalogue could be copyvio, since they arguably contribute organizational value, but single images with no creative additions are under the original license. The common sense argument for this is that if the coin were in your possession, you could plop it on a scanner and get the same thing.Deco 22:34, 2 February 2006 (UTC)


Illustration examples under "Fair Use?"[edit]

I've been looking at articles about famous illustrators such as Robert McCloskey and noticed that many of them do not have examples of these illustrators' work. Most of these images are unfortunately not in public domain, but could it be considered "Fair Use" to supply, say, one example for each artist? --PlantPerson 12:59, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

If it is useful for understanding their work, and their importance as an illustrator is discussed in their article, then yes having an example would generally seem to qualify as fair use. Dragons flight 13:08, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
For example, Image:MakeWayforDucklingsBookCover.jpg... Physchim62 (talk) 21:38, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
This seems like legitimate fair use, but to improve the claim do not use current works with ongoing sales or very high resolution scans. Deco 22:36, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

Used with permission "for educational and noncommercial uses only"[edit]

I have come across Prosocial behavior. The article states at the top "This article, or parts of it, has been retrieved from Indiana University with the rights to be reproduced for educational and noncommercial uses only.". I suspect that this is not compatible with the GFDL license, and I wonder how we should deal with this and other cases like it. Sjakkalle (Check!) 11:42, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

Well either it's deleted as a copyvio or a complete rewrite, I'd say. Certainly isn't compatible with the GFDL/wangi 11:51, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
Put a {{copyvio}} tag on it and rewrite the page on the temporary subpage, using any "clean" content from the original if there is any. Deco 02:42, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

Systematic violation of rules by administrators at international Wiki sites[edit]

How are the other international Wikipedia sites monitored so that they follow the Wikipedia spirit and policies? I think there is danger that a small group of bureacrats can hold the new encyclopedia to themselves and keep out the users from editing, for example, by adding protection to articles for no reason, but then continuing to edit the article how only they want. This has happened. Another question, how are the first adminstrators of a new international Wikipedia site selected? 192.100.124.218 10:47, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

This kind of discussion is more suited for meta, since it's there that all international and cross-wiki issues are discussed. You should look there — there is, for instance, a page where new language encyclopedias are/were proposed and discussed. --cesarb 14:58, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
To be fair, meta isn't exactly the most active wiki. You may want to post a link to advertise it here. Deco 20:10, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
OK, I have asked the question [6] at the Meta discussion page 192.100.124.218 11:14, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

3D images again[edit]

A guideline proposal for 3D image use is under development at Wikipedia:3D Illustrations. The uploader who's prolific 3D image uploading brought this about is seeing the low numbers of people involved at the proposal as an indication that it is not the general opinion of wikipedians and can be ignored. How does a proposed guideline go from a few people hashing out a proposal to something that actually carries some weight behind it? --Martyman-(talk) 05:39, 3 February 2006 (UTC)


Harsher Sentences For Repeat Offenders[edit]

Who else thinks that blocking policy on wikipedia is too soft? It's ridiculous how many vandals cost hours of wikipedians' time only to get blocked for a couple a minutes before allowing them to do it again... and again... and again...

Is it really worth letting people back on, just on the offchance that they might contribute something useful? Weight the costs against the benefits. Benefit; 1 in 100 vandals turn normal editor worth two hours editing time per week. Cost; 99 in 100 vandals remain vandals and cost 198 hours of editing time per week. --Username132 22:46, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

Repeat offenders are blocked for much longer periods like days or even weeks, but many of them use web proxies or dynamic IPs and so we can't afford to block them indefinitely. And don't forget that editing time is not interchangable - if a specialist with a Ph.D. in, say, modern dance happens to be using a vandal's IP, and would have become a regular contributor to a very sparse area, that's a loss that cannot be replaced. Deco 23:52, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
If I am fairly sure that blocking an IP will only hit a vandal, then I will gladly make long blocks. A month for the second offence is not unreasonable IMO. IIRC there was a similar discussion at wikipedia talk:Vandalism in progress with the consensus being that long blocks are good as long as they don't hit bystanders. Thue | talk 13:19, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

RfC: No personal attacks, Policy Extension to non-contributors[edit]

After inclusive discussion, I've started an RfC on whether to extend the No personal attacks policy to non-contributors, living and dead. See RfC: NPA Policy Extendsion --Iantresman 15:47, 4 February 2006 (UTC)


A problem with voting[edit]

There seems to be a problem with voting for stuff on an article's talk page, namely that fans of the article tend to visit more commonly than "the general public". One obvious problem is in fan sites, where a lot of original research gets through because nobody normal wants to fight the rabid fan. Also has to deal with geographic names- we have articles on Braunschweig the city but on Brunswick-Lüneburg the state. There was a vote on the city article, but obviously more germans are interested in that page than in the normal population. Borisblue 15:26, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Request for rollback privileges poll closing soon[edit]

The requests for rollback privileges poll, a poll to gauge consensus on whether good contributors who are not admins should be given the rollback privilege, is closing at 00:00 UTC on Tuesday, 6 January 2006. If you haven't weighed in, please do so! Talrias (t | e | c) 11:14, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Middle group?[edit]

Should there be a mediation group between conflict and arbcom? My idea is made on Wikipedia: Board of Appeals. What do you think? WikieZach 00:46, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

m:Instructioncreep Wikipedia is not a bureaucracy. User:Zoe|(talk) 04:03, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
The Arbcom was still established, yet those rules are there. here is more on the idea:

I want to make an Appeals board (for use of a better name), that would resolve issues before they go to the Arbitration Committee as well as help enforce there (arbcom's) rulings. Now back to the idea: The board would have nine members, three selected by the Arbcom, five selected by the public (users) and one selected by Jimbo. They would each serve six-month terms (I can always change this) and would require a simple majority to make a descision. So I ask for your comments, good or bad (hopefully good) WikieZach 04:08, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Links to web pages[edit]

If webmaster of a site requests link to his site to be removed from Wikipedia, shoud that be done or is it considered vandalism? --Dijxtra 14:32, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

The answer is 'It depends'. We're under no obligation–legal or internal policy–to remove links on request unless they are somehow illegal under U.S. law (we're notified that they contain unlicensed copyrighted material or child pornography, for example).
If the link is good and informative, it's obviously preferable for us to keep it—and people who post things on the Internet should not be surprised when other people link to it. There's no reason for us to be a 'bad neighbour', however. If the webmaster made his request because referrals from Wikipedia are hammering his bandwidth and taking down his site on the first of every month, we should probably pull the link. If you can find a different external source to which we can link, that would be an ideal solution.
If you do remove a link without replacing it, leave an explanation on the article's talk page explaining why you've done it. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 14:44, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
Thing is: the webmaster has account at Wikipedia and is contributing POV info. And is being reverted. So, he decided to stop the edit warring, leave Wikipedia and remove his links. Should I revert the links to his web pages? --Dijxtra 14:52, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
If the links are relevant, informative, and on a publically-accessible website, there's no good reason not to retain them. (Of course, if they were being used solely to advance a slanted viewpoint, then we might be better off without them.) You might want to post a request for comment on the article(s) in question if you're not sure about the value or appropriateness of the links.
Removing a link from an article doesn't (usually) fall under the Wikipedia definition of vandalism, it's more of a content dispute. Keep in mind that the three-revert rule does apply, if an edit war should crop up. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 20:40, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
Could have fooled me. Earlier today I came across an editor rather randomly deleting links from several articles without any substantive explanation, which appeared to me to be simple vandalism. (The links had previously been inserted by different editors, unrelated to me.) After I restored them, the other editor summarily deleted them again (marking some of the restorations vandalism). After a short round of reverts, the other editor broke 3RR (having already reverted another's changes to the same article's link section). What happens when I report the 3RR violation? It's excused, on the grounds that I'd somehow excited the other editor, and the admin involved commented that I must be following the other editor around, since I'd been one of several users who objected to the other editor's inappropriate, repeated deletion of comments from a discussion page a few days ago. Meanwhile, the innocent but excitable editor pulls up my contributions list, finds every AFD/FAC I've commented on recently, casts a contrary vote, then runs back to the friendly admin to accuse me of stalking him/her in those discussions. That seems to be OK. Any thoughts on that? Monicasdude 21:10, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
Said "other editor" has behaved clumsily enough as to get others watching his or her edits. Keepin' eyes open ;-) -- Marvin147 03:26, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Anon edit summaries[edit]

Would it be possible to require that anon's enter edit summaries beyond the section heading. I imagine most petty vandals (e.g. schoolkids) would also vandalize on the edit summary. It might make it easier to pick up on vandalism to less obvious targets such as Treaty of Ghent, which sometimes get missed for a longish while. This seems like a pretty small extra burden for anon's, as we're all supposed to do that anyway. Derex 22:29, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

Having no edit summary is better than a meaningless edit summary, though. Usually, people stumbling upon Wikipedia and see a typo won't know what an edit summary is and won't bother to find out. Thanks! Flcelloguy (A note?) 23:06, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
Ok, how about calling it "a summary of your edit", then? If a user doesn't grasp english well enough to understand that, i'd really rather they didn't edit en.wiki. Not to quarrel with your response, but I'm not sure why you regard no summary as better than a meaningless one. A meaningless one indicates to me that it should definitely be looked at -- either editor is clueless or adding nonsense. An empty one only says that the user didn't bother; so I can't distinguish between the vandals, the clueless, and the lazy (but good faith) editors. This is my point in essence, that a filled in edit summary is more informative than an empty one. Derex 23:13, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
I think it's perfectly clear what an "Edit summary" is. However, not every vandal is out to make a scene and draw attention - many will either put misleading messages ("fixed comma") or put random junk. Many legitimate users would put random junk too, so it's not useful for catching vandals. You can't compel someone to use a feature properly. Deco 23:52, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
Ok, I'll leave off responding after this, because it's unseemly to argue. However, of course, you can't compel everyone to use a feature correctly. And of course you can't catch a dedicated vandal this way. All I want to do is catch idiots putting "so & so is gay" in articles. Those are usually schoolkids, who probably have no idea at all how we go about catching vandals. My guess is that they would put crap in the summary too. So, my point is not that this would eliminate vandalism; my point is that it might make it easier to catch some (not all) idiots, and it might just encourage some useful summaries along the way. It won't eliminate the need to check edits; it will optimistically just make it more likely that RC patrol catches quickly them rather than watchlisters catching them slowly. Derex 00:07, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
You might be right - really I'd have to see how it plays out in practice. Deco 00:48, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
By the way, please do not multipost! Deco 23:58, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you mean by that. You deleted my post elsewhere with a note that it was being moved here. I didn't see it here, so I assumed you had inadvertently forgotten to complete the move. Or did you move it elsewhere, or just delete it? Derex 00:07, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
Actually I said I was moving it to proposals, not policy (since it's a proposal). I got interrupted though, and I foolishly assumed you created this section at the same time as the original one. Sorry about that. Deco 00:44, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
  • or, you know, we could stop making up silly rules that only anons have to follow, that would be nice--152.163.100.200 23:59, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
    • nice talk page ;) (couldn't help myself) Derex 00:19, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
  • Trustworthy enough editors should be allowed to fill in blank summaries. This would help in review of article history. If someone misuses it it can be reverted all in once. Pavel Vozenilek 21:32, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Major changes in Wikipedia:Verifiability policy[edit]

On January 31, User:Jguk made a new rewrite of this policy live in an unilateral decision: Wikipedia_talk:Verifiability/Jguk's_version#Big_Bang

The old version sure offered some scope for improvement so it's sure applaudable to tackle the issue, also several of the changes were applauded in the discussion but others were disputed - most of those were settled in an unilateral decision of User:Jguk.

The discussion page of the rewrite as well as the discussion page of the policy and the editing history since (with several whole and partial reverts) show that there is evidently no consensus about the policy change as a whole and about parts of it.

In this situation I think that the whole issue should be taken up by a broader community, though I'm not sure which form would be most adequate to the issue. An RfC has been started by User:Jossi, but it might be that a Survey or a discussion here would be a better way. --Irmgard 16:23, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

Pages regarding the issue:


Disambiguation Links to Nonexistant Pages?[edit]

Yesterday I added a disambiguation link at the top of fiduciary that linked to the nonexistant page fiduciary markers. This link was then removed with the explanitory note that the other page should exist before putting a link to it. What is standard policy in this matter? I would have thought that having such a link would be desirable, as it would potentially inspire someone to make an article about the other meaning of the term. 24.81.28.51 01:49, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

  • Having redlinks is okay, we have redlinks all over the place. However, avoid having disambig pages with a lot of redlinks, and avoid creating a disambig page that has only one bluelink (because in that case there's no real reason to disambig). >Radiant< 01:55, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
A prominent redlink at the top of a page is a bit different from one buried in the text. This isn't about a disambiguation page, but rather a disambiguation link at the top of an article, which doesn't go to a separate disambiguation page, but links directly to another, currently nonexistant, page. Could you address this situation specifically? 24.81.28.51 01:59, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
There shouldn't be a disambiguation link at the top to a non-existant article. That is the same situation as having a disambiguation page with only one blue link. Mushintalk 03:12, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
What about top disambig links that include related but not absolutely necessary links, such as in the article Sophism? 24.81.28.51 05:20, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
I think the link on sophism should be removed. A red link on an already necessary disambiguation page is okay, but when it is a top of the page disambiguation, I don't think it should ever be a red link. By already necessary disambiguation page, I mean there are at least two articles that have been written and they have the same name. Also, if one usage is far more common, a link to the other page, or a disambiguation page, should be made on that article instead of having a disambiguation page at the shared name. This is just my opinion. -- Kjkolb 05:32, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

The guidelines for Wikipedia:Disambiguation#Disambiguation links don't permit a link to a non-existant article.

The guidelines for a Wikipedia:Section#"See also" line at top don't explicitly address the issue, but it should be a link that many readers are likely to follow instead of reading the article. Rather unlikely to follow a link that doesn't actually exist.

--William Allen Simpson 11:16, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

If you think an article should exist and the only reasonable place to link it is in a disambiguation page, create a stub and link the disambiguation page to the stub. The number of articles on the English-language Wikipedia is getting to a point where redlinks more often point out a misspelling or a needed redirect than an actual needed page that hasn't been stubbed out yet. --TreyHarris 11:21, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

Are these really fair use?[edit]

I would like to bring this discussion to the village pump to get input from a broader cross-section of wikipedians. My concern is about the widespread use of questionable fair-use images, and there's a clarification to the policy WP:FU that I'd like to make. The specific issue I'd like to address is the use of images from news sources. To cite a few examples at random; 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. These images are all copyright by Reuters, a company that makes its money (in part) by licensing images to people who want to use them to illustrate articles (usually news articles). So my argument is that almost all cases, using a photo from the popular media, whether a news service like AP, or an independent newspaper, is not fair use and should be subject to speedy deletion as a copyright violation. My arguments in support of this are:

  • WP:FU#Counterexamples point four says "A work of art, not so famous as to be iconic, whose theme happens to be the Spanish Civil War, used without permission to illustrate an article on the war." This issue is the same, should read "A press photo or work of art, not so famous as to be iconic...".
  • WP:FU#Fair_use_policy point two say "The material should not be used in a manner that would likely replace the original market role of the original copyrighted media".
  • From this site which comments on fair use law in the U.S., it says that "In a 1994 case, the Supreme Court emphasized this first factor as being a primary indicator of fair use. At issue is whether the material has been used to help create something new, or merely copied verbatim into another work." In almost all cases, our use of an image isn't transformative in any way; our use of the image is the exact same as the intended use of the original.

So what do other people think? Can we speedy delete press photos as copyvios? Matt 00:08, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Also see Wikipedia_talk:Fair_use#Counter_examples for previous discussion. Matt 00:12, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
I agree. Using contemporary material from a competing information service is in most cases bad. However, I wouldn't generally suggest speeding them. Instead, I would suggest removing them from the articles where they are occur and tagging {{fairusedisputed}} or something similar. Dragons flight 00:21, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
I've attempted to delete news photos before, ones that were shown on the front page. The uploaders argued against it pretty vociferously, citing various legal precedents that I couldn't verify. Don't know what the state of things is here. Deco 02:46, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

I sympathize with your point of view, as an editor who risks three years inprisonment for each time I see a fair use image, but I still think your solution is too drastic given current policy. To answer your points:

  • No, we should never use a fair use image where a free use image would do the job just as well;
  • In the case of agency photos, we should and do use lower resolution versions than those which appear in printed media;
  • Wikipedia is a derived work under copyright law: our use of copyrighted material is inherent on us placing it within an article and commenting on it, so "creating something new" in the sense of the U.S. Supreme Court judgment. Each use of a fair use image should be justified individually (I am not pretending that this always happens).

Please nominate badly used fair use images to WP:CP, but be aware that the copyright of press agencies is (under U.S. law) no greater than that of a book publisher or a TV firm or a movie studio. If the image is not used in an article, it should be tagged as {{or-fu}}. Physchim62 (talk) 03:23, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Using a current photo in the examples you gave is almost never going to be fair use under US law. Fair use is spelled out in the Copyright Act. Although it is a factual question (i.e., there is a conceivable fair use scenario for every work), your context doesn't seem to meet any of the tests. Using a photo taken in Iraq by a photographer could probably be safely used in an article on the photographer, as an example of his work, but could not be used to illustrate an article on Iraq. On the other hand, pulling dozens of photos of a single photographer together as a retrospective and publishing them in a book, even though characterized as a "critique" or "review" of his work, would almost certainly violate fair use (under US law). -- DS1953 talk 03:47, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

If you know where fair use is spelled out in the Copyright Acts, I'd be grateful if you could let me know... It is a defense, based on the constitutional basis of U.S. copyright law. There are legal exemptions to copyright in the U.S. and in in other jurisdictions, but that is not what we usually mean by fair use. Physchim62 (talk) 05:41, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

It's in section 107, which is essentially repeated verbatim in this U.S. Copyright Office explanation. Again, it is a factual question that courts have to grapple with, which makes it very difficult to generalize. Even an experienced copyright lawyer faced with specific facts can often only address situations in "probabilities" (my apologies to mathematicians and statisticians for the loose use of that term). That's why cases get to court! -- DS1953 talk 06:08, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
It's not that I'm arguing that press agencies have greater protection than book publishers, but rather fair use must consider the nature of the original work. When we use {bookcover} to illustrate an article on a book, we're 1) transforming the use (we're not using the image as a book cover, but as an illustration in an article) and 2) not significantly impacting the value of the original (the value of a book is not in its cover, but in the content inside). So the nature of a press agency photo is different than a book, TV show, or movie. Matt 04:39, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

I'm not suggesting that we shouldn't consider the nature of the original work; this is particularly true for book covers and CD covers, where much of the financial value does actually rest in the design (for example, American booksellers are reimbursed on their unsold copies on returning the cover, not the entire book). An extreme case is that of foreign bank notes. In these cases, we try to insist on a reduced resolution image, so that nobody could confuse an image taken from Wikipedia with the original. Physchim62 (talk) 05:41, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Bookstores return the cover to the publisher not because of the intrinsic value of the cover, but as proof that the book wasn't sold. I think that you'd have a hard time coming up with a single example of a book or CD whose value principally resides in the packaging. I'm not sure how your example of banknotes relates to this issue of agency photos; the purpose of a bank note is not to illustrate anything. Matt 15:57, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
To clarify - most (ie, mass-market cheap) unsold books are, in theory, returned to the publisher and destroyed. However, it's rather pointless to ship a tonne of paper back to the publisher, so they can send it off to destroy it, when it could be sent direct to the recycler or incinerator. So, the retailer removes the cover, sends that off - you have one cover per book, and you can't sell a coverless book, so this is a very good way to confirm how many books were destroyed - and then gets rid of the books. This is one reason a lot of books have wording like "This book is sold subject to the condition that it not be [sold] in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it was published" - to make it illegal to resell books from which the cover has been removed in this way. Shimgray | talk | 02:47, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
The nature of the work is one criteria but so is the nature and extent of the use, and whether it is for profit or not. Even a for profit magazine can generally publish an excerpt of a book in a book review, but if you put the same excerpt on a T-shirt for sale to the public, you would almost certainly be violating the author's copyright. Using a copy of the photos taken by the participants in Abu Ghraib prison scandal are news and their use is fair use, not because they illustrate the news but because they ARE the news. Using a news photographer's shot of one of the accused participants leaving a courtroom, in my view, is not fair use in most cases, though someone could probably create a scenario where there is at least a gray area. -- DS1953 talk 06:21, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

What are the policies governing the (non)deletion of Talk pages for deleted articles?[edit]

Hi. I would like to gain some understanding of the Wikipedia policies governing Talk pages that are left in place even though the article they were associated with has been deleted. I have tried to ask about it on Wikipedia_talk:Speedy_deletions, but have not gotten any answer - perhaps it was not a proper forum for the question, and this will prove to be a better one. The particular focus of my questions are the Aetherometry Talk pages. The Aetherometry entry itself was recently deleted, but the Talk pages were left in place, with the following explanation from User:Howcheng, who closed the AfD vote:

This article was nominated for deletion on January 14, 2006. The result of the discussion was delete. [...] However, in the event that the article can be re-created with citing reliable sources, I'm intentionally leaving the talk pages alone. They can be deleted at a later time if editors feel they are no longer necessary.

I have the following questions about this:

  • Who are the people referred to as "editors" in the above explanation? As far as I know, there are only two people who have significantly contributed content to the entry: myself and User:Pgio. However, neither of us has been consulted concerning the deletion or non-deletion of the Talk pages. On the other hand, when, after the removal of the Aetherometry entry, I submitted these Talk pages for speedy deletion, my request was briskly rejected by User:William_M._Connolley as being "silly". Are these Talk pages somehow a fiefdom of User:William_M._Connolley? Has he been nominated to be in charge of them? If so, by whom and on what grounds? As far as I know, his only contributions to the Aetherometry entry consisted of jeering, and of persistent and aggressive attemtpts to insert his own bias into it by labeling it as "pseudoscience". I realize that a lot of you share this bias, but unless you can quote reputable scientific sources to support it, it is just that: your own bias. Does Connolley's particular brand of aggressiveness and rudeness in expressing this bias somehow qualify him as an "editor" and as the appointed decision-maker about the Talk pages? Is there any policy governing this issue?
  • The above explanation by User:Howcheng implies that someone regards these Talk pages as being "necessary" right now. Who are the people that decided the pages were "necessary"? What exactly are those pages thought necessary for? They cannot be necessary as references to "reliable information" about Aetherometry, because all information sources quoted in them have always been rejected, by Connolley and others, as being unreliable. And neither can the Talk pages themselves serve as "reliable information" about Aetherometry - if they did, there would be no need for contemplating a new entry based on "reliable information". What, then, is the reason for keeping them? Is there any policy governing this issue?
  • Who, on what grounds, when, and by what procedure, is supposed to decide at "a later time" that these Talk pages are no longer necessary? If the word "editors" in Howcheng's explanation has the standard meaning, then surely the decision procedure should prominently include myself and User:Pgio. Does it? If not, whom does it include and why? Is there a policy governing this issue?

Many thanks in advance. Helicoid 17:03, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

As far as I know, there is no policy regarding this, but in general we delete talk pages along with articles, because discussion of an article that no longer exists and should probably never exist is rather moot. It's really the deleting admin's discretion. Deco 19:27, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

Thank you very much for your response, but in this case, it doesn't seem to be the deleting admin's discretion. When I contacted the deleting admin, User:Howcheng, for guidance concerning my submission of the Talk pages for speedy deletion, there was an immediate intervention from User:William_M._Connolley, who instructed Howcheng as follows:

Please ignore this request. The talk pages should be kept. I've removed them from the SD page. William M. Connolley 16:01, 2 February 2006 (UTC).

Helicoid 19:51, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

  • Anyone can remove a speedy tag that s/he feels is unwarrented, anyone else can put the tag back, but warring over such tags is considered very poor form. WP:CSD says "Talk pages of already deleted pages, unless they contain the deletion discussion and it isn't logged elsewhere. (CSD G8) but if the deleting admin feels that the talk page might be useful in future, s/he can choopse not to delete such a page. If significant discussion about why a page should or should not have been deleted is on the page, it should probably be kept, unless that info is copied elsewhere (say to the AfD's talk page). I would treat "editors" above to mean simply which evner wikipedia editors express an interest in the matter, which includes you. If you post a note on the talk page suggestign deeltion, adn no one responds with a reaosn not to delete in a reasonable time, you can apply a speedy tag. Or you might try the about to be tested system of Proposed deletion. DES (talk) 20:29, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
I'm unclear as to which of the criteria for speedy deletion the pages meet. Nor is it clear to me what urgency there is in deleting them (any more than I can see the need to keep them). Is there some hiddn agenda here of which I'm unaware? --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 21:34, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
I am a bit puzzled by your uncertainty about the applicable speedy-deletion criteria. Point (8) in the "General" category lists, as a candidate for speedy deletion:
8. Talk pages of already deleted pages, unless they contain the deletion discussion and it isn't logged elsewhere.
The Talk pages for Aetherometry do not contain the deletion discussion, so isn't this criterion quite clearly applicable?

Nothing to be puzzled about; I hadn't looked at them lately, and I wanted you to do the work; perfectly normal editorial laziness... --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 22:57, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

As for hidden agendas, there is nothing hidden on my side. I would like the Talk pages deleted for two simple reasons:
(1) They contain unfounded, unsubstantiated derogatory claims about Aetherometry, its creators, and anybody willing to regard Aetherometry without scientific bigotry. A number of people freely and deliberately made such unsubstantiated, hurtful claims on the Talk pages under the excuse of "on Talk pages, I can say whatever I please" - thus misusing Wikipedia as a vehicle for venting and legitimizing private prejudices, and for deliberately attempting to damage other people's reputations.
(2) There is no guarantee that these pages, if they continue to exist, will not continue, in the future, to be misused in the same way - as a vehicle for new derogatory and damaging statements.
I have yet to see anybody openly coming out with a reason for why these pages should be kept. Helicoid 22:34, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

Well, I've looked at the pages, and I'd have said that the criticism of aetherometry was well-founded — showing (on the whole) a reasonable grasp of the nature of science. Those defending the article (and attacking attempts to make clear the status of aetherometry within science) were often hostile, aggressive, and insulting, and the emotional temperature rose. I agree that there's no reason to keep it, but I don't see any special reason to delete. Still, given the CSD, I'll toddle over there and do the job. --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 22:57, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

Don't forget all the archives while you're at it. howcheng {chat} 23:15, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

Thank you very much for toddling over. Permit me, however, to disagree with your statement implying that there were people "attacking attempts to make clear the status of aetherometry within science". This is simply not true. There has never been, on the part of the "proponents" of Aetherometry, any claim that Aetherometry is mainstream science. I know that you are of the opinion that there is no such thing as non-mainstream science. But you know, it is perfectly possible to follow the scientific method (even as it is defined in Wikipedia) and yet not be a part of mainstream science. In the discussions on the Talk pages, the "opponents" of Aetherometry frequently and deliberately used the term "science" and "scientific" as if it was synonymous with "accepted within the mainstream". It is this conflation that the "proponents" of Aetherometry vigorously opposed, and I must, yet again, make the same point: "following the scientific method" and "mainstream" are really not the same concept.

And since you were so kind as to delete the most recent Talk page, could you please do the same for the archived talk pages? They are Talk:Aetherometry/Archive1, Talk:Aetherometry/Archive2, Talk:Aetherometry/Archive3 and Talk:Aetherometry/Archive4. I see that Howcheng already asked the same. Again, many thanks. Helicoid 23:24, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

  • I quote from Speedy deletion criterion 8, "Talk pages of already deleted pages, unless they contain the deletion discussion and it isn't logged elsewhere" (may be speedily deleted). >Radiant< 11:07, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Archived Talk pages[edit]

OK, here I am again. Now I am curious why the archives for the Aetherometry Talk pages are being left in place. Aren't they subject to the same policy as the most recent Talk page? It seems to me that archiving is just a technical convenience to decrease the size of the page editors have to work with. Am I wrong? The archived pages are full of wanton, unsubstantiated, unverifiable derogatory statements, some of which are simply slanderous. Here are some random examples (note that none of these "claims" have any basis in fact):
"I have proven the science of aetherometry is a hoax."
"I think this is nothing but a hoax and a fraud to gain false donations. I'm on the stage of reporting you people to the authorities immediately" "No peer-reviewed journal on Applied Sciences has or will accept a paper on this stuff."
"While we're here... is anyone up for a wikiproject 'keep wacko psuedo-science out of wikipedia'"
"Poor Tesla deserves better than you lot."
"The Correas are not a contributor to Wikipedia. Therefore to bash them on a TALK PAGE (not an article) is hardly slander."
"If the only place you can publish is in a magazine (IE) then there is something majorly wrong with your methodology."
"The process followed by the Correas has some superficial similarty with the scientific method, but only as a farce."
"OK, the Google spider did its job and our article is now indexed, in the moment it's the 4th hit when searching for 'Aetherometry'. Now we should better fulfill our noble mission."

Is there any reason why these are being kept? Helicoid 20:05, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

  • No. *zap*. >Radiant< 01:53, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

Many thanks. Helicoid 02:51, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

WP:PANIC[edit]

Following a recent conflaguration at Wikipedia:Administrators_noticeboard#Blocking_self-identified_pedophiles, I had an idea for a possible guideline that I hope could help in the future. I'm thinking something along the lines of WP:PANIC as the shortcut, and the short form of it is that it might be used to defuse some common situations where people have an intense emotional reaction to something, perhaps in the form of moral panic (as an example). If something like this exists already, please let me know. If the idea is dumb, then lemme know too! Here's the link to my proposed guideline idea: User:Chairboy/Panic - Thanks! - CHAIRBOY () 06:56, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

I don't know if we already have something like this, but it sounds like a great idea to me. We need to do something to help fix the wheel-warring situation. Keep up the good work.--Alhutch 07:15, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
The original poster was something of a troll here - I'm guessing someone from the anti-userbox lobby. It could be nice to have a guideline called Wikipedia:Don't panic (in the spirit of the classic Douglas Adams phrase) with a discussion of inflammatory topics, trolls, and the general conservatism of Wikipedia in adopting outrageous new policies. Deco 11:20, 6 February 2006 (UTC)


Names vs trademarks - ex. Life vs LIFE, Time vs TIME[edit]

Standard copyediting practice for encyclopaediae and other formal repositories of writing/information is to use the name of a magazine, company or product without resorting to the trademark itself, with a few understandable exceptions (XP or OS X don't become xp and os x, of course).

In numerous articles on Wikipedia there is some confusion followed by needless edit wars over this subject - can we please set down a policy to clarify it to editors, for once and for all? (Or if there is one can someone please point me to it?) -- Simonides 05:05, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Manual of Style (trademarks) - English presentations are preferred, i.e. Time and Life not TIME and LIFE. Dragons flight 05:14, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
Thanks, now can you please let User:Wisco know too :) ? -- Simonides 05:17, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Another proposal about userboxes[edit]

See Wikipedia:Use of userboxes. Basically, this proposal is about putting all userboxes (except Babel templates) into the user namespace, so that they can be treated like all other user pages. Discussion to the talk page, please. --bainer (talk) 03:30, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Suspicious User Accounts[edit]

I cam across a talk page, User talk:Crouton, for a user that appears to have been created solely so that the user talk page could be used as an attack page. The user's only edits have been to the talk page and to the December 12 and 1988 pages, adding the birth of the subject of the page. Do I speedy tag this as an attack page, or is there some other policy on pages like this one? Does it matter less because it's in the user talk space? Thanks. -- Vary | Talk 02:21, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

I went ahead and deleted it and posted a warning; the user has not yet made a single valid contribution. This was a clear abuse of the talk page, not merely a questionable use of it. Postdlf 02:26, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
Great, thanks! -- Vary | Talk 02:28, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
'Ethan Blatt', who he added, is almost certainly nn. Tintin (talk) 03:30, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Policy page I can't find[edit]

On a past VP, a user responding to my comments found some policy or guideline admonishing linking from articles to user space. I have looked through Wikipedia:List of policies and Wikipedia:List of guidelines, taken a fairly good look at Wikipedia:Manual of Style and a cursory look at Wikipedia:Shortcuts, but cannot find anything that says this, even though I followed the link that user gave and it was there at the time. As this was a while back and the Village Pump is archived only a week, it cannot be found that way. Lee S. Svoboda tɑk 01:27, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

WP:CSD Criterion R2 says: "Redirects to the User: space from the main article space. If this was the result of a page move, consider waiting a day or two before deleting the redirect. " There may be other policy pages as well, but that is one. DES (talk) 01:35, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
It's Wikipedia:Avoid self-references. -- Rick Block (talk) 15:08, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
That refers to referencing Wikipedia. It was something about referencing the author.Lee S. Svoboda tɑk 17:06, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
It's still a self-reference because it's a reference to Wikipedia users. Superm401 - Talk 23:51, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
Copious links to authors are available in the Talk page and history. Do not link to user space from articles. We expressly prohibit signing your name in articles, and it is a clear self-reference (just think print: how much sense would that make in a paper publication without the user page in it?) Deco 21:06, 6 February 2006 (UTC)