User:Tubezone/Dead Parrot Analogy

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The Dead Parrot or Beating a dead horse scenario in Wikipedia discussions occurs when parties in a discussion or dispute continue an argument despite facts, precedents, consensus or policies that clearly indicate the outcome of a discussion can not possibly end as they wish , for example, when an article is clearly unverifiable, a hoax, or the subject is clearly either notable or not notable by consensus standards. In some cases the participants grasp at every possible straw and drag in every possible potentially applicable Wikipedia policy to justify their side of an argument (such as keeping or deleting an article, making a policy change, etc) to the point of absurdity, try to inject arguments about the validity of policies or guidelines into inappropriate discussions (Articles for Deletion discussions are not the place to discuss the validity of guidelines), make nonsense, unprovable or "personal experience" claims about the validity of an article's subject, respond to points raised with obvious nonsequiturs, and engage in rhetorical tautology (ie: repeating the same point over and over) in the same fashion the shopkeeper in the Monty Python Dead Parrot sketch continues to insist that his customer's parrot is alive when it clearly is not.

A Dead Parrot argument is a request or demand to put an end to a debate comes up when the fate of an article or outcome of a discussion is clear and the arguments are progressively getting more desparate to the point of silliness or absurdity, ie: the dialogue is becoming analogous to the conversation in the Dead Parrot sketch. In some cases administrators will call an end to an Articles for Deletion discussion under the so-called snowball clause, however they are typically loath to do so unless the discussion is completely one-sided or the discussion is becoming populated by vandals or sockpuppets.

When involved in the losing side of a discussion such as this, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that it's only an encyclopedia article. Deletion of the article does not delete its subject, or delete all internet references to it. Deletion is not a personal rejection of you, your beliefs, lifestyle, favorite subject, or company, but a mere dispassionate conclusion that standards that have been agreed to by a general consensus of Wikipedia editors are not being met by an article. Resorting to silly or extreme arguments, or reposting the same point over and over, not only is of no help in your arguments for saving or deleting an article, but may diminish your own credibility in the discussion at hand or in future discussions. Administrators are not going to throw standards out the window because of exteme or silly arguments, or sympathy for your love or distaste for the subject at hand. In the case of the probable deletion of an article, consider if the article you wish to keep can be brought up to the Heymann standard, if it can, be bold and do it rather than resorting to desparation arguments. If it can't, it's best to back off and resign yourself to accepting that the discussion will reach its obvious conclusion.

Often the argument for retaining an article is that inclusion in Wikipedia makes it easier for people to find information on a given subject, which is not what Wikipedia exists for: one can put the same information on a private web page, blog, MySpace page, etc, and it will still turn up on internet searches. Wikipedia documents subjects that are already notable, Wikipedia is not a publicity or notability creation engine, or a repository of data for web spiders to crawl, for obscure subjects. Making an argument that a Wikipedia article makes it easier for fans/friends/customers to find a subject actually works against an argument to keep an article. In many cases topical Wikis exist for many subjects that are too obscure for Wikipedia, and those Wikis often specialize in documenting even the most obscure and trivial subjects covered in a given topic. If a subject builds in notability, it can have its Wikipedia article restored: this has happened in a number of cases, an article deletion does not mean the subject will never appear in Wikipedia in the future... but the restored article can not be the same text as the deleted version, and notability must be asserted in the body of the article. The best method to counter an argument that a subject is not notable, is always to be able to demonstrate unequivocally, with proper references, that the subject in question really is notable.

When an article is kept, it's quite possible that later changes in policy or consensus guidelines may result in a different outcome in the future, Wikipedia standards are constantly evolving, and as a general rule are becoming tighter and tending towards standards that result in a better organized encyclopedia. Many articles that appeared to be speedy, but silly, keeps in the past, such as the proliferation of poorly defined lists, are now recieving greater scrutiny.

Here's the dialogue of pertinent parts of the Dead Parrot sketch, note how the absurdity escalates:

Mr. Praline: I wish to complain about this parrot what I purchased not half an hour ago from this very boutique.

Owner: Oh yes, the, uh, the Norwegian Blue...What's,uh ...What's wrong with it?

Mr. Praline: I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. He's dead, that's what's wrong with it!

Owner: No, no, he's uh,...he's resting.

Mr. Praline: Look, mate, I know a dead parrot when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now.

Owner: No no he's not dead, he's, he's resting! Remarkable bird, the Norwegian Blue, idn'it, ay? Beautiful plumage!

Mr. Praline: The plumage don't enter into it. It's stone dead.

Owner: Nononono, no, no! He's resting!

Mr. Praline: All right then, if he's resting, I'll wake him up! (shouting at the cage) Hallooo, Mister Polly Parrot! I've got a lovely fresh cuttlefish for you if you show...

(owner taps the cage)

Owner: There, he moved!

Mr. Praline: No, he didn't, that was you hitting the cage!

Owner: I never!!

Mr. Praline: Yes, you did!

Owner: I never, never did anything...

Mr. Praline: (yelling and hitting the cage repeatedly) HALLOOO POLLY!!!!! Testing! Testing! Testing! Testing! This is your nine o'clock alarm call!

(Takes parrot out of the cage and thumps its head on the counter. Throws it up in the air and watches it plummet to the floor.)

Mr. Praline: Now that's what I call a dead parrot.

Owner: No, no.....No, He's stunned!

Mr. Praline: STUNNED?!?

Owner: Yeah! You stunned him, just as he was waking up! Norwegian Blues stun easily, major.

Mr. Praline: look, mate, I've definitely had enough of this. That parrot is definitely deceased, and when I purchased it not a half an hour ago, you assured me that its total lack of movement was due to it being tired and shagged out following a prolonged squawk.

Owner: Well, he's...he's, ah...probably pining for the fjords.

Mr. Praline: PINING for the FJORDS?!?!?!? What kind of talk is that? Look, why did he fall flat on his back the moment I got him home?

Owner: The Norwegian Blue prefers kipping on its back! Remarkable bird, id'nit, squire? Lovely plumage!

Mr. Praline: Look, I took the liberty of examining that parrot when I got it home, and I discovered the only reason that it had been sitting on its perch in the first place was that it had been NAILED there.


Owner: Well, of course it was nailed there! If I hadn't nailed that bird down, it would have nuzzled up to those bars, bent 'em apart with its beak, and VOOM! Feeweeweewee!

Mr. Praline: "VOOM"?!? Mate, this bird wouldn't "voom" if you put four million volts through it! He's bleeding demised!

Owner: No no! He's pining!

Mr. Praline: He's not pining! He's passed on! This parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! He's expired and gone to meet his maker! He's a stiff! Bereft of life, he rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed him to the perch he'd be pushing up the daisies! His metabolic processes are now history! He's off the twig! He's kicked the bucket, he's shuffled off his mortal coil, rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-PARROT!!