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Phew, this article needs a lot of work. Perhaps a complete re-write.

For now I have just made the changes I need to make in order to be able to refer to it from Ubuntu (operating system). When I tried to describe Ubuntu as adware, several editors on Talk:Ubuntu (operating system) complained that the term is value laden. Nevertheless we need an entry about software that displays ads. So I have added a new introduction and am about to rename the article to something less value laden.

Still a lot of work is needed, including references for what I have just added. I'll hopefully come back to this soon, or maybe the people who objected to the (perfectly accurate and descriptive IMO) term "adware" should do it!--Russell E (talk) 02:16, 26 October 2012 (UTC)

Value laden or not, "adware" is the term. If you want to change that, you should start a request for comment to move the page. Kafziel Complaint Department: Please take a number 02:19, 26 October 2012 (UTC)
Oh no, not again! OK. Do you want me to also revert the edit? (Or go ahead and do it yourself if you feel what I have written also needs discussion first.)--Russell E (talk) 02:49, 26 October 2012 (UTC)

RfC: Should the article be renamed?[edit]

It has been argued in an RfC on Talk:Ubuntu (operating system) that the term adware is value-laden and so should not be used in Wikipedia's voice.

Is the term "adware" value-laden?

If so, do we need an entry that gives a neutral description of software that renders advertisements in the user interface? (Along with its history, reception, etc. - all things not well covered by the present entry incidentally.)

Should the adware entry be renamed and modified to reflect this by using different terminology?

Should the article still talk about "adware" but only in order to clarify that the term is sometimes used, but is subject to contention? Russell E (talk) 03:12, 26 October 2012 (UTC)

  • What alternate terminology are we talking about? "Adware" is listed in dictionaries by Merriam-Webster, Oxford, Cambridge... it's a pretty legit term with a pretty consistent definition. I'm sure nobody loves the label when it's applied to them, but it is the label. If we have reliable sources that label something as adware, that's all we really need. If someone wants to hang this label on Ubuntu (or any other software) the burden of proof is on them to find sources to support that; I don't think we should be making up a new term just to get it to fit some particular purpose. Kafziel Complaint Department: Please take a number 03:57, 26 October 2012 (UTC)
In most articles, there are parts where uncontroversial facts are reported, and parts where opinion is reported. I can easily put in "blah blah thinks this is adware" with ref in the opinion section. And in the other section I should be able to say that this software renders ads in the user interface (not "blah blah thinks this software renders ads in the user interface") and provide a reference to this as a fact, not someone's opinion. It would be nice if with the latter there was an article I could link to that tells us all about software that renders ads in the user interface, instead of simply linking to the generic advertising article. Would you agree with this, and if so how would you fix it?--Russell E (talk) 04:45, 26 October 2012 (UTC)
Nowhere was it argued that the term "adware" should not be used in Wikipedia's voice. The only objection we have is calling something "adware" when no reliable secondary sources have called it adware. To look up a definition of something and then apply it to something else and then insert your own opinion into an article is WP:SYNTH and WP:OR which is prohibited here on Wikipedia. Starting an RFC just to mess with this perfectly good article is ridiculous. Elizium23 (talk) 07:33, 26 October 2012 (UTC)
Elizium, I am getting very tired of your unconstructive posts. Please read my post above yours and make a constructive suggestion for a way forward. If I put up a statement that Ubuntu is adware and quote a reference for that, you know very well that you or someone else will revert this unless it is reported as someone's opinion rather than verifiable fact. Therefore it belongs in the Reception section. Therefore something else is needed in the introduction, where the display of advertising can be reported uncontroversially and verifiably. I have done this but in doing so I have had to link to the generic advertising entry when I should be able to link to a factual article about software that renders advertising in the user interface. That's the problem as it stands. I have struck it with Ubuntu but it is likely to affect any other page about a software package that displays advertising yet has a partisan fanbase that objects to the application of the term "adware".
By the way, your condescending turn of phrase -- "here on Wikipedia" ... "ridiculous" -- is very tiresome. May I remind you that I have been an editor here for twice as long as you. I don't need you to tell me how the place works. Please be constructive.Russell E (talk) 08:42, 26 October 2012 (UTC)
I am perfectly willing to work with you if you are also willing to be constructive, but so far your talk page posts have not, so don't accuse me of being something before you take a look at yourself. We have explained how the policies work to you, and you just don't seem to absorb these facts at all. Now you have started an RFC on an unrelated article for no good reason. You are wasting my time, and the time of other good editors who need to engage in these conversations and explain how Wikipedia works over and over. I may be taking a more obstructive than constructive tone, but that is the nature of my role here on Wikipedia. I revert vandalism and I keep unconstructive edits out of articles. Therefore I am obstructing your moves and standing on policy in order to justify myself.
I am a user of Ubuntu but in no way can I be considered a "partisan fan". I acknowledge that it has warts and I am happy to publicly acknowledge them in my own voice. I am a partisan fan of many subjects on Wikipedia but I understand how policy works here and I don't try to push my POV into the articles. What you are engaging in appears much like POV-pushing in the opposite direction. I am just informing you that we report what is said in secondary sources. Since the vast majority of sources reporting on Ubuntu do not call it adware, we can't report that. You have pushed the advertising issue into a lede paragraph on that article. It is perhaps correct to belong there next to other sources of Ubuntu funding. But the very fact that adware is a controversial and loaded term is the reason we have to be careful of our wording. Now, enough of this off-topic bickering, I'll leave you to your RFC. Elizium23 (talk) 10:30, 26 October 2012 (UTC)
What part of the following do you not understand? I am not trying to say that Ubuntu is adware. That is the entire point of this RFC. I am trying to find a way to link from Ubuntu (operating system) to an article which provides factual and objective further information on software that renders advertisements in its user interface, without attaching value-laden terms such as "unwanted" or "adware". The same challenge would face many other entries. That is the clearly stated purpose of this RFC. Please do not reply unless you have read and absorbed this fact and please cut the condescension and personal attacks.--Russell E (talk) 11:25, 26 October 2012 (UTC)
If this article doesn't fit your needs, then maybe you need to create a new article. Or just stop trying to hang any label on Ubuntu. You can't just go around moving existing articles to shoehorn them into whatever specific application you're looking for. Kafziel Complaint Department: Please take a number 14:19, 26 October 2012 (UTC)
  • "Adware" is the common name for software that prominently displays unwanted ads. Note that application of the term to all software that displays ads would be WP:SYNTH - the term is pejorative and should be applied only to the extent that reliable sources do so, and might reflect the degree to which the term "unwanted" - as it appears in the first sentence of the lead - applies. In some contexts, advertising might be wanted or expected by most users, and in those cases "adware" would not be applicable by definition. -- Scray (talk) 10:15, 26 October 2012 (UTC)
OK, so no article can ever definitively say that "xx is adware" -- only that "yy says xx is adware". That's a problem, because articles need to describe what software actually does, not just what opinions people hold about it, and not just by describing it but by linking elsewhere in WP for further detail. We need an article that discusses advertisement-rendering software regardless of anyone's opinion of whether or not it is wanted. How should we achieve that, if not by modifying this entry? (Not a rhetorical question.)--Russell E (talk) 11:19, 26 October 2012 (UTC)
The question about how to describe software that displays advertisements but is not adware is a different question from the RFC (i.e. I'm not sure if this discussion belongs here). Such software could be covered in a sub-section of this article or in a different article, if it can be properly sourced. A software program can have many characteristics, but not all of them are notable, and not all of those characteristics have their own article in WP; thus, one answer to your question might be to say, "xx displays advertisements". -- Scray (talk) 12:31, 26 October 2012 (UTC)
Of course an article can say that "xx is adware"! All that we need is the majority of reliable secondary sources to agree on the assertion. This is the fundamental aspect of WP:V and WP:RS that I have been repeating again and again. Elizium23 (talk) 21:15, 26 October 2012 (UTC)
Then maybe I didn't frame the RFC correctly, because that's exactly what the RFC is about. Your clause "but is not adware" means the same thing as "is not value-laden" in the RFC. I don't think having two articles is justified for a relatively small topic upon which we have relatively little at present. If it's a subsection, shouldn't the more specific and subjective term be subordinate to the more neutral and general term? See, for example, premarital sex and its treatment of "fornication". (Yes, fornication also has a separate entry.)
Secondly, I'm not sure how the rendering of advertising in software could be not notable, but adware is, with the only difference being a pejorative connotation attached to the latter. The bulk of what would belong in a good article on adware would actually be applicable to a more general article on this type of software. In fact you could easily have "adware" as simply a subsection of that particular article, including only those parts that deal with the pejorative nature and usage of that particular term. That's what I started to embark on before objections were raised.--Russell E (talk) 12:55, 26 October 2012 (UTC)
  • I think this article needs to be altered. Too many disparate issues are being conflated.

Title: Advertising-supported software

Intro: state that this is a business model to fund software development, delivery, support etc. Briefly list the alternatives (donationware, freemium, commercial) etc.


Overview: Keep most of the current "application" text. Talk about popularity, discuss its impact in the mobile app context.

Types of advertising-supported software: As I see it there are three types. 1) software that permanantly displays (or randomly pops up) adverts for anything 2) software that permanently displays (or randomly pops up) adverts that are context-sensitive. 3) software that returns adverts as and when users perform various operations (such as ads tacked onto search results, or links to products in Ubuntu's dash); link to context sensitive.

Controversy: say that ad supported software does not inherently convey anything about the quality of the product. talk about the intrusiveness of the ads, the quality of the software. The link to malware. Subsection on "adware": talk about the term, it's frequently-differing definitions, the link to its use in the pejorative and its insufficiency to differentiate between the types of software above.

Then redirect adware to point to the adware subsection in this new article, and talk about Ubuntu in the sense of the third type of advertising supported software. The downside to this approach is that it would require the hardware section of "madware" to be spun out into an article without a focus on software. Plus, it's a lot of work and, while examples of the different types of adware can be found (such as google for type 3) the categorization, while intuitive, is OR until it can be cited. Svennig (talk) 13:14, 26 October 2012 (UTC)

  • I think we need to clarify something here. Adware is not the common name for software that displays unwanted ads. Webster's defines it as "computer software that is provided usually for free but contains advertisements". Nothing about "unwanted". Adware is not a subjective term. If software has ads, it's adware, and that can be stated as fact by reliable sources. It doesn't necessarily imply wrongdoing; many of us use ad-supported software because we're willing to put up with ads in exchange for a free service. Just as we put up with commercials in exchange for free radio. Spyware and Malware, on the other hand, are more contentious, and more subject to opinion. Kafziel Complaint Department: Please take a number 15:23, 26 October 2012 (UTC)
Well I agree but a little over half of commenters at ubuntu opposed using the label in this way despite numerous reliable secondary sources describing it as software with ads. Reliable secondary sources using the label "adware" are also likely to appear soon but my feeling is they would object to that, too, unless it's of the form "xx says this is adware(ref) but yy disputes this(ref)". That puts us in a position where the whole adware entry is only useful for linking from descriptions people's opinions, not of objective facts. That's why an alternative using terminology that can be stated as fact (along with a source), not opinion, is needed. I am not trying to shoehorn this article to meet a specific need. So long as the perception exists amongst other editors that the term is pejorative, any article about particular software that displays ads is going to face this difficulty.--Russell E (talk) 20:56, 26 October 2012 (UTC)
That looks like a problem to work through at the Ubuntu article. Changing the name of this article isn't going to solve that. We don't change the name of the spyware article just because some people don't like the label. We just resolve the disputes at the articles in question, as they arrive. Same with this. Kafziel Complaint Department: Please take a number 21:15, 26 October 2012 (UTC)
Just unlurking to say that I'm one of the ones who has an issue with the usage of the term. I'll copy some of a comment I put in ubuntu talk:
For me, the term adware has an implication of low-quality software which may be a malware vector. This is likely because it's a relatively uncommon business practice that reflects the value of the software; if it was higher quality it would simply be sold. Adware therefore gets applied to software that is bad (functionality, appearance, user experience), disruptive (frequent popups) or overtly malicious. A google search gives a similar assertion. Ad-aware, the first result, is about how to remove it along with spyware and viruses. Sophos claims to "secure your network from adware and spyware". Another site reviews the top 10 free adware, spyware and scumware removers. talks about how to remove it in an article in their antivirus subdomain. Symantec talks about removing adware. The open university talks about how to protect yourself from it. The majority of the results portray it as something that must be guarded against and removed when found, and associate it with spyware, malware and viruses both by treatment and direct comparison. Nothing in the results could give you any impression that it was a good thing. Svennig (talk) 06:48, 27 October 2012 (UTC)
I predict that Ubuntu will always be the source of controversy regarding the decision to sell advertising, for as long as the decision is upheld. Therefore, as Wikipedians, we need to document the controversy neutrally, explaining how it is covered in reliable secondary sources, without taking sides. That is the only way we can treat a controversy. On the other hand, if some Utopian land springs up where every journalist calls Ubuntu adware and all the critics are OK with that, then we can say in Wikipedia's voice, "Ubuntu is adware" and nothing else. Elizium23 (talk) 21:20, 26 October 2012 (UTC)
I am willing to accept that, but I am still stuck with the difficulty that there is no way to lead the user, in the descriptive part of the article, to further information on software which shares the trait of rendering advertising in the user interface. It is like having a malware entry but no software entry to link to. Not quite that bad but of the same character. That is the purpose of this RFC. I have put forth one way to achieve this. Most of your posts don't seem to address that proposal but overall you seem to oppose it. So I would like to know your alternative. Should I make a separate entry? "Do nothing" (just link to advertising) is not a good option. It's a gap in the encyclopedia if we cannot provide the user with more information on software that shares this trait. There are all kinds of information of interest to be provided here, much of it missing from the existing article. --Russell E (talk) 23:42, 26 October 2012 (UTC)


  • Keep at current title. We shouldn't set out to make this article purposely vague just so it can be more easily applied to more pages. Resolve the dispute at the Ubuntu article, not here. Kafziel Complaint Department: Please take a number 22:06, 26 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Keep current title per my comments above. -- Scray (talk) 07:15, 28 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Keep The term is pretty legit and consistent. It is common. --Ankit MaityTalkContribs 12:44, 5 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Keep If neutrality issues are concerned, the term can used minimally. -- FutureTrillionaire (talk) 21:19, 7 November 2012 (UTC)
Would you mind elaborating what you mean by using the term minimally? (feel free to move this comment along with your reply, out of the poll section)--Russell E (talk) 12:14, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Keep I've seen no compelling argument to change from the usual title, we can't change whatever associations people have with the name of something. Adware isn't a pejorative term. If you really wish: Non-adware name: [[adware|<name of choice>]]. Problem solved. IRWolfie- (talk) 00:14, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
Problem not solved. Linking to a term perceived to be pejorative, while "hiding" that link behind "non-adware name", would go down like a lead balloon with many editors. The problem is, you guys say the term adware is innocent until proven guilty, which is fair enough. Editors of entries of any adware software package are also going to say that that software package is innocent until proven guilty, therefore the term adware cannot be used, which is also fair enough. Therefore (in the complete vacuum of reputable sources on all sides of the matter), virtually no article can ever link to adware. And those that do will all be pages that describe packages that reliable sources describe as malware, even though the editors of adware will not permit the article to describe adware as malware. This is madness - a failure of WP policy to produce a self-consistent encyclopedia. I've given up proposing solutions but unlike seemingly everyone else, I'm not happy to see this problem persist.--Russell E (talk) 13:35, 15 November 2012 (UTC)
In fact, hundreds of pages link to adware, and nobody else seems to have a problem. Because it is not pejorative. So maybe you are wrong in trying to use it for that one specific thing, or maybe everyone at the Ubuntu article is wrong in not letting you link here (and if their reason is that it is pejorative, then they are wrong). Either way, nothing you've said indicates that there's a problem with this article. Kafziel Complaint Department: Please take a number 15:20, 15 November 2012 (UTC)

Classification as malware[edit]

I came here requested for a comment. However rather than joining the discussion about Ubuntu, I see a more generic issue wit the article.

I've just removed some texts which give irrelevant prominence to the fact that "some adware can be spyware". Any software may be spyware, and there is nothing special in adware to talk about spyware in this page. In fact, the opposite is true: a spyware is not supposed to attract attention and beg to remove. Whatever my opinion is, by wikipedia rules, if there are some prominent ideas which link adware to spyware, they surely must be described here, if valid references are provided. Otherwise a mere phrase "some adware may be spyware" is pointless: we cqan add it into every software category.

My second objection is classification of adware as malware, i.e., malicious software. I've looked up the definition of malware in wikipedia and don't see how "adware" fits it. Of course, wikipedia is not a valid reference for other wikipedia articles, but it must be consistent across its articles. The fact that some adware may be spyware does not justify classification the whole software category as malware. Adware per se may be annoying but not malicious. Concluding, either we have expand the "malware" definition to cover "adware" (of course, wth proper references) or declassify "adware" as malware. Staszek Lem (talk) 17:14, 5 November 2012 (UTC)

I'm not sure about this. The article needs to reflect the fact that the term "adware" has pejorative connotations (based on the reaction I got when I tried to describe Ubuntu Dash as adware in Wikipedia's voice, even though it uncontroversially fits the description in the opening paragraph of adware). Your modifications move the article even further away from doing that. (Not that the quality of the deleted text is anything to be missed!)--Russell E (talk) 23:07, 5 November 2012 (UTC)
The article doesn't "need" to reflect that it has pejorative connotations just because some guys on the Ubuntu talk page didn't like it. As I stated above, the dictionary definition is not pejorative. All this insistence is really starting to look more and more like you are trying to make this fit some weird anti-Ubuntu agenda. And, again, this is not the place to do that. Kafziel Complaint Department: Please take a number 23:19, 5 November 2012 (UTC)
I'm just trying to construct a useful encyclopedia that is consistent and well-linked but seem to be blocked in this at every step of the way by a storm of contradictory and unconstructive "you can't do that" complaints. I got slammed for using a well-defined word because it was supposedly pejorative... I concede in the interests of progress and now I'm being slammed in here for saying the word is pejorative. WTF. Is anyone here actually interested in writing an encyclopedia?--Russell E (talk) 06:10, 6 November 2012 (UTC)
Once again, instead of expressing your fruxtrtion, please search for reputable sources which support whatever you want to write in the article. And by the way, we are not interested in writing "an" ancyclopedia. We are writing wikipedia, and in accordance to certain rules. And please believe me, these rules are not aimed against you any more than traffic code is aimed against drivers. Staszek Lem (talk) 15:57, 6 November 2012 (UTC)
If you want to mention pejorative connotations, you have to cite sources and provide adequate context. By the way, is Google (or any products thereof) classified as adware by someone? Staszek Lem (talk) 03:01, 6 November 2012 (UTC)

Comments from a new set of eyes: This article was very poorly-structured and littered with uncited statements. I've just gone through and done some cleanup. It's unquestionable that some people use the term for advertising-supported software and that others use it for a variety of malware, and I've tried to make that as clear as possible. I think that there is a very strong case for a separate advertising-supported software article. (Note that that currently redirects here.) — Hex (❝?!❞) 14:53, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

That essentially amounts to a POV fork. Any positive or neutral uses would be moved to the other title (which, as discussed above, is not the most commonly used term), leaving only negative uses here. Essentially forcing "adware" to become entirely negative, which is not the case (as is also discussed above). The vast majority of reliable sources group adware with shareware, not with spyware or malware. Adding whole sections to the article as you did give undue weight to a few outliers. The article on magazines doesn't have a section about how some people are outraged by the advertisements. Kafziel Complaint Department: Please take a number 18:00, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
So convert "Adware" into a disambiguation page and split the article into Adware (commercial software) and Adware (malware). Write each carefully to explain that it's a specific use of a term that has more than one connotation, and refer to the other for contrast. Really not very difficult.
People may well be "outraged", but anyone who wants to mention that needs to provide a citation, not weasel words, and finding a weighty enough cite for that is going to be difficult. I doubt there is one; it's the opinion of a noisy minority.
By your comment about "outliers" and "undue weight", you're referring to the malware version of adware, right? Well, it does exist. The various references provided in the introduction show that. It deserves specific coverage. — Hex (❝?!❞) 12:48, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
I'd definitely be more inclined to support a disambig and split than just arbitrarily making up another name, though it's still kind of a POV fork and I don't think that would solve the original problem.
I also think you misunderstood what I meant about people being outraged at magazine advertisements, and I don't know where weasel words come in (or why you would link to the essay about them), since I've been advocating reliable sources from the start. Thing is, most of those reliable sources define adware without any negative connotations.
Finally, the fact that something exists does not mean it can't be given undue weight. In fact, that's the very purpose of the undue weight guideline - obviously fringe opinions exist, but they don't need to be given equal space. Kafziel Complaint Department: Please take a number 20:31, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
I guess I did misunderstand, can you explain your point differently then? The thing about weasel words wasn't aimed at you, I guess I could have phrased it better. I was trying to say that it's unlikely that junk like "many people have been outraged by the adverts" - or something like that - could ever be transmuted into anything that didn't give undue weight to a fringe opinion. Probably a redundant comment.
Some examples of the negative connotation:
  • McAfee exclusively use the negative meaning: "threats, such as spyware, spam, phishing, adware, viruses and other malware..."[1]
  • Lavasoft say adware "delivers advertising content potentially in a manner or context that may be unexpected and unwanted by users": [2]
  • Trend Micro identify an "aggressive adware" as a subset of malware: "Characteristics of such aggressive mobile adware include persistent ad displays to generate a profit for app developers and apps that gather personal information without explicit consent, such as call histories and locations."[3]
  • Research Machines say adware programs "tend to be more of an irritant than do actual damage to your system, but are an unwanted presence nonetheless."[4]
  • Clark College unequivocally describes adware as malware.[5]
  • Purdue University takes the middle ground: "spyware and adware can slow your system down, hog system resources, and use network bandwidth. Some spyware and adware can even be malware..."[6]
  • Princeton University identify adware with spyware: "malware also includes worms, spyware and adware. ... As soon as you open a web page that hosts spyware/adware, the site will download the program..."[7]
I got all of these from a small amount of searching. I think there's a strong case to be had that the term has negative connotations to some. — Hex (❝?!❞) 21:09, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
I feel really awkward explaining this to a fellow admin who has been editing for ten years, but people who profit by identifying malware are not neutral sources as to what constitutes malware. And it's not "Princeton University" that says adware is malicious - it's Princeton University's IT security department. Bunch of guys who get paid to keep everything off of their company's computers. Also not a neutral source. (For that matter, it's not Purdue University that takes the middle ground - again, that's their IT security department.)
I'm not trying to be a dick, and I'm sorry for belaboring the point, but it's a little frustrating to have patiently discussed this at length along with several other users, and to have you just show up, ignore everything that went before, and pass down your ruling. If we could get some legitimate sources - actual books by reliable and neutral software experts, say - then I'd have no problem with including the negative meanings right here in this article. Kafziel Complaint Department: Please take a number 21:33, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
There are a few points here.
Firstly, there's no disclaimer that states "information presented by the IT security department is not necessarily representative of the opinion of our computer scientists" on It's an official publication of Princeton University. Period. Princeton University as an organization has given its imprimatur to the information as a flat statement by publishing it. Ditto for Purdue. Ditto for anyone who publishes information in their official capacity. You are also making a personal judgment on the capacity and ability of IT professionals employed by a major educational institution to offer advice on software topics, which is original research.
Secondly, any statement you make about the motive of a company, for example McAfee, for attaching a particular definition to a word is pure opinion and speculation. I don't care if it seems obvious. "McAfee profit from defining adware as malware" is an assertion of fact. Cite it.
Thirdly, you are quibbling over the validity of a subset of small number of randomly selected sources in order to attempt to disprove that some people attach a negative connotation to the word adware. I haven't even started looking at book sources yet. Here's one from the first page of Google Books results for "adware", in which a FTC workshop of panels of "representatives from the computer industry, the electronic advertising industry, anti-spyware product industry, trade associations, government agencies, consumer and privacy advocacy groups, and other interested parties" debate the meaning of spyware, in which some types of adware are described as meeting the definition of spyware, while others do not. (Section 2.) Via that workshop, the Association of Software Professionals: "Since [2000], adware has become a bad word, linked to spyware and privacy violations by everyone except the publishers of the products... [it was] a good thing ten or fifteen years ago, and [is] bad now... [t]he lines for adware are even being blended into virus and trojan territory."[8] Here's a random security book that defines adware as a type of malware. Here's another that describes adware as "an increasingly common threat to computers". It goes on, and on, and on. The National Cyber Security Alliance: "Adware: type of malware that allows popup ads on a computer system, ultimately taking over a user’s Internet browsing."[9] "The terms 'spyware' and 'adware' apply to several different [malware] technologies..."[10]
Your assertion that there is no pejorative definition for "adware" - as opposed to the definition for "adware" being a pejorative one - is entirely unsupportable. — Hex (❝?!❞) 22:39, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
So why are you telling me? If you have good sources, {{sofixit}}, man. If you have sources, why on Earth would you advocate splitting the article? All the prior discussion above was about finding reliable sources and fixing this article instead of renaming it. Welcome to the conversation. Kafziel Complaint Department: Please take a number 22:47, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
I advocate splitting the article because it will never be possible to describe Ubuntu, or anything else, as simply "adware" without causing people to think it is being used in the pejorative sense. Some form of disambiguation is necessary. Advertising-supported software could be retargeted to a section of this article, but you will still encounter resistance from editors who dislike that the link ends up at "adware".
I'm telling you because you've apparently "patiently discussed this at length" in "the conversation", yet somehow haven't been able to perform the basic research necessary to turn up sources like these. Which I managed to identify within the space of an hour. Or, for that matter, spend any time cleaning up this jumbled mess of an article. I'll put the sources in in a while, and probably rewrite a fair amount of it as well. If not splitting it. — Hex (❝?!❞) 23:21, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
That first bit is an issue that would have to be discussed at the Ubuntu article (or wherever else people have a problem with the link). We don't split pages up just because somebody somewhere doesn't like how the link looks in some other article. And piping links doesn't fix it, either. This has all been discussed already.
I don't have to find sources. That's not on me. I'm not the one who wants to change anything. I don't have to clean up the article, either. The subject really doesn't interest me. What interests me is proper naming conventions, keeping euphemisms to a minimum, and not just unilaterally moving pages without consensus. That's all I'm here for. Kafziel Complaint Department: Please take a number 00:16, 21 November 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Actually, when you make statements like As I stated above, the dictionary definition is not pejorative, yes, you do. If a dispute arises over the content of an article, you can't just say "you're wrong until you prove me wrong" and stick your fingers in your ears. Both parties need to present the factual basis that they are working from and work together to resolve the issue. Your behavior in the earlier discussion on this point has not been constructive. That includes making allegations about the motives of other editors ([this] is really starting to look more and more like you are trying to make this fit some weird anti-Ubuntu agenda) rather than attempting to resolve a factual discrepancy that has been identified between articles.

We don't split pages up just because somebody somewhere doesn't like how the link looks in some other article - yes we do. This project is not divided into editorial sections which are "them and us". Factual consistency requires a holistic approach to article development and maintenance. If the editors of an article - and it doesn't matter whether it's Ubuntu, Uluru, or Uhura, related, unrelated, anything - can't reconcile the facts in that article with the facts in this one, and you believe the facts in this article to be accurate, you need to work with them to resolve the discrepancy, not ignore the situation outside your "territory". — Hex (❝?!❞) 18:06, 21 November 2012 (UTC)

Dude, seriously, stop. Just stop. I can't even go on trying to explain to you all the ways in which you are so hopelessly, unbelievably wrong. Fix the article or don't, I can't talk to you anymore. I'm literally losing my mind. If you feel the same way about me, that's fine - just stop talking to me and you never, ever have to hear from me again. Please. Kafziel Complaint Department: Please take a number 18:46, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
I can see now why your first two RFAs failed the way they did. Bye. — Hex (❝?!❞) 19:35, 21 November 2012 (UTC)

Carrying on[edit]

Just 0.02 on "advertising-supported software" -- this is also a value-laden term. The implication is that the advertising revenue is used to support the development and distribution of the software, when in actual fact it may simply be serving to deliver profits.

Secondly, when I find time, I am going to request dispute resolution on this issue. I tried already but admins didn't like the lack of a list of disputing parties. The funny thing about this one -- until now -- is that whilst it is a dispute, the conflicting parties inhabited different talk pages and weren't even willing to visit the other to address their difference of opinion. So I felt funny about listing them as having a "dispute". But some resolution needs to occur. It's an issue that quite probably pops up elsewhere on WP. A term is innocent until proven guilty on its own page, but when it comes to using that term elsewhere, it is guilty until proven innocent. It impacts on the usefulness of the encyclopedia (by limiting contextual linkage) and also makes the encyclopedia self-contradictory. I've given up trying to find a solution, but one needs to be found.--Russell E (talk) 02:37, 22 November 2012 (UTC)

Hello Russell. I came here without any pre-existing opinion on the topic from your post on the pump. Hold on a bit before taking this to dispute resolution stage. As I see it, a lot of the problem was due to this article being in a very poor state. I'm going to fix it up with the various sources referred to above. When that's done, let's see where we can take it. Following are some links about the relationship between Ubuntu and "adware", which we should discuss as a separate issue to the repair of this article. For one thing, the relationship between "adware" and affiliate revenue needs to be determined first. — Hex (❝?!❞) 13:07, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
Ubuntu 12.10 - ads or not?
"Affiliate" is a euphemism for a advertiser, and "result" or "link" is a euphemism for display advertisement. Particularly when it includes a picture and a price. Whilst some media outlets seem keen to propagate the euphemisms created by marketers, there are plenty of reliable sources where a spade is called a spade. (When it comes to "advertisment", that is. I'm yet to find 'any' secondary sources which label Ubuntu as "adware".)--Russell E (talk) 01:46, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
Quick reply - be very careful of using terms like "euphemism" and "calling a spade a spade". You're straying very close to POV territory. And you need to provide citations for those statements you're making there; if you don't, that's synthesis.
I'm going to be away from WP for the next day or so but will carry on after that. — Hex (❝?!❞) 02:18, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
WP:EUPHEMISMS --Russell E (talk) 03:07, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
Having found enough sources to resolve the first issue with this article, whether the term is pejorative or not (answer: it is and it isn't, depends who's using it), I've now assessed the links I provided you with above. There's no clear consensus anywhere over whether the affiliate search results in Ubuntu are advertisements or not, and so there is no justification at this time for describing Ubuntu as advertising-supported software/adware, only for mentioning that some sources have described it as such; and any mention of "adware" needs to specifically mention what kind. (E.g., the FSF describes it as "malicious".) The issue is now firmly best discussed at Talk:Ubuntu. — Hex (❝?!❞) 17:19, 4 December 2012 (UTC)

Disambiguated and split[edit]

Following adding a large number of references to the section addressing each use of the term, I've split this article into Advertising-supported software and Adware (malware). When the term adware is presented in the lede for the former, and it is made clear that it's a contraction for the longer term - there's no conflict. I've also made sure that each of the two articles has a section discussing the differing usages of the term. — Hex (❝?!❞) 16:43, 4 December 2012 (UTC)

I reverted the splitting of the article because looking through the resultant articles, I'm not seeing a strong need for two different articles, and the sources themselves don't seem to warrant it either. In fact the resultant article Advertising-supported software notes that "Disagreement over the boundaries of the two forms of software, and how precisely the short term applies to either, is common" If reliable sources don't have a clear separation between the two, I don't think Wikipedia should ignore that and form its own separation, unless there's something I've overlooked here. Given that there's sometimes a very fine line on which one any given piece of software would fall under, perhaps it should be discussed in a single article, since the two articles created devote more prose into explaining the difference between the two than actually addressing the subject itself. - SudoGhost 16:45, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
  • The need for two articles is painfully clear. If you read the archives of this talk page, there's been disagreement here over the definition of the term since 2005. That means something is wrong.
  • The reliable sources refer to two different things using the same word. The split articles carefully define each of the two meanings and cross-relate to each other. They "devote more prose into explaining the difference between the two" because it's extremely important to clarify the difference. There's not much in each on the subject itself because they're stubs! You did see the stub templates, right?
  • Leaving both meanings under the same title, "Adware", creates an unacceptable conflict between the two camps using the word, and will only lead to more disagreements in future on other articles of the nature demonstrated in discussions above this one. Look at the discussion above about whether a split is necessary; it's completely confused because most of the participants have differing opinions on whether "adware" is or isn't a pejorative term, when in fact it is and isn't.
I worked long and hard on resolving this interminable argument. Please don't throw it in the trash (including my updates to the article text, which only existed in the split versions) with a knee-jerk reaction. I mean no offense by that. — Hex (❝?!❞) 17:02, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
I appreciate that you worked on the content, I don't doubt that for a moment. But bold edits sometimes get reverted, that's part of the process of improving Wikipedia. However, there's been disagreement over the definition of the term since well before 2005, but that's not a Wikipedia-specific disagreement, the fact that the disagreement exists should be reflected in the article. There is no set definition of the term, and the lines between the "two" definitions you proposed vary wildly. It's not a black and white thing but rather a very grey concept, and I think the solution is to document that grey, not to try to cordon off different "preferred" meanings. - SudoGhost 17:10, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
I know about BRD, yes.
As I noted above, I took specific pains to document the grey area issue, presenting it in each of the articles - as you pointed out. That came with a fantastic citation that specifically covered the difficulty. The split didn't assign any "preferred" meanings, it reflected current usage, as reflected in the citations. It made very clear that adware and advertising-supported software are synonyms - even though it is extremely difficult to find a reliable source that specifically defines "adware" in the sense of advertising-supported software. So I was being generous to those who use it with that meaning - if I were to assess this by our standards of reliable sources alone, "adware" would only exist in the pejorative sense. Try doing a Google search for "adware -malware -spyware".
The status quo is totally unacceptable; it makes it impossible to link to the specific meaning of advertising-supported software - a term that is firmly defined by numerous reliable sources - without arriving at a page with an enormously value-laden title that implies something different.
Let's break it down. You know as well as I do that we operate by reporting secondary sources. I've located sources for the following assertions:
  • advertising-supported software is a business model
  • advertising-supported software is sometimes called adware
  • there is a form of malware called adware
  • the form of malware called adware is ill-defined
What specific assertions are you making by restoring the status quo, and what sources do you have for them? — Hex (❝?!❞) 17:38, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict)I noticed the pains taken by each of the two articles. The result, however, was that each of the two articles dedicated more prose into trying to justify the split than actually addressing the content itself. Google searches are not reliable sources, we can't justify an article's split based on specific search criteria. The search you described is a poor reflection of reliable sources; if you type "what is adware" into Google, for example, you get a very different picture, as you would be entering "adware definition -wikipedia". Entering these terms into Google, it is no longer "extremely difficult" to find reliable sources that specifically define aware in the ad-supported sense. - SudoGhost 18:24, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
The "specific assertion" I am making is that these two subjects are not mutually exclusive, which is what splitting the article is suggesting. That adware sometimes contains malicious code and is a concern to people does not mean that adware that contains malicious code is a separate topic mutually exclusive from any other form. The sources you used on the Adware (malware) split do not define Adware in this mutually exclusive way,[11][12] but rather reinforces the point I'm trying to make. These references you used don't suggest that Adware (malware) is in any way different than Advertising-supported software. Reliable sources don't reflect this "there is a form of malware called adware, and it's not part of any advertising-supported software business model" assertion. - SudoGhost 18:37, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
The FTC source clearly indicates that there are differing versions of "adware" with different connotations. The reliable sources that discuss advertising-supported software - as produced at length in the article you casually threw away instead of attempting to fix - do not define it as anything but a business model.
Anyway, I no longer care. I made a difficult and sustained effort to fix this article, and nobody else is interested in doing anything but retaining the status quo and having arguments. So, whatever, I'm gone. — Hex (❝?!❞) 14:06, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
Bold edits get reverted, that's part of editing on Wikipedia. The reliable sources do not support any such split; there are indeed sources that describe adware as a business model, but this does not support splitting the article because many, many sources say that adware, which is a business model, is sometimes used in a malicious way or in a way that is unwanted by users. This malicious way is not somehow "not a business model" when reliable sources make no such distinction (especially if this is the FTC source you're referring to, which comes nowhere close to "clearly indicating that there are differing versions of "adware" with different connotations", and certainly not in any way that would warrant splitting the article in such a manner). - SudoGhost 15:07, 9 December 2012 (UTC)

Ambiguous wording[edit]

"Programs have been developed to detect, quarantine, and remove advertisement-displaying malware, including Ad-Aware, AdwCleaner, Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware, Spyware Doctor and Spybot - Search & Destroy." Are the list items examples of "Programs [that] have been developed to detect..." or examples of "advertisement-displaying malware..."? If the answer seems obvious to you, you probably already knew the answer. The point of articles like this is to provide information to those who do NOT already know. The fact is that many "bad" malware programs masquerade under helpful-sounding names similar to the ones listed, so it can't even be argued that the answer is obvious from the names. The section needs to be reworded because at the moment it is ambiguous.

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