User talk:Karanacs/Outline RfC draft

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search


This RfC will be used to determine community consensus for outlines. Potential resources to gain information:

Possibly, this should be extended to be a discussion of navigation articles within mainspace. Taking from Quiddity's post on dbachmann's talk page[1], I can see broadening this to include indexes and lists of X topics. In my opinion, glossaries, timelines, and year articles may be useful for navigation, but they also have the capability to become complete articles used for purposes other than navigation; I don't see outlines, indexes, and Lists of X topics articles as being able to be more than a navigational aid. Thoughts? Karanacs (talk) 17:19, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

  • I recently created archives 1, 2, and 3 for Wikipedia talk:Outlines because it had reached nearly 250kb. Checking in here, I saw the link above to a "Points" section but a search of the page history and earlier page versions didn't turn up that section title. If someone else can find and update the link for the intended discussion, please feel free to remove this post. — Athaenara 04:28, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
    Thanks, I appreciate the thoroughness of the effort and notification :) Just fyi, I had used an {{anchor}} tag in one of the threads to link to a list of bulletpoints that was halfway down - I've changed it to a normal subheading now, as that seems potentially clearer, in hindsight. -- Quiddity (talk) 05:10, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
That's great — and you're welcome! — Athaenara 04:16, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
There could be some problems with putting lists into an index space as there is at least one type (Wikipedia:Disambiguation#Set_index_articles) that may contain information as well - although it occupies a grey area between lists and disambiguation. I'm also getting a gut feeling that this would have such wide-reaching implications that it might need to be a separate Rfc. As a sideline (re namespace for types of article), there has been some talk in the Help Project of moving all instructions, how-tos and tutorials into the HELP: namespace, they are all over the place at the moment! (note this is just an initial fleshing out of where they ought to be really directed at new articles, but it is intended to lead to an rfc and possible tidy up of the project namespace upon consensus). Just that they could be part of the same Rfc as both would need considerable community consensus. I don't know if there might be any more namespace type moves out there... Lee∴V (talkcontribs) 20:35, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
I don't think that we ought to mix navigation aids and help articles into one RfC - both topics are likely complex enough to need seperate opinions. Karanacs (talk) 20:38, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
Absolutely, these discussions are complex enough that I'd want to break them down, not group them together. I mean there is a case for reviewing navigation aids as a whole, rather than just outlines. The big issue here AFAICS is exactly where/how outlines fit into an overall navigation system. My view is that a separate namespace for lists (incl outlines and indices) should only be a last resort, as I think there's plenty of scope to formally incorporate structured lists (aka outlines) as a nav aids in article namespace. Question: do we need to define outline specifics before we get to that more general issue? It's like a chicken/egg thing... mikaultalk 21:43, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
Well there is the issue of the lead, if that is to be part of the makeup of an outline article, it would be hard to argue it shouldn't be in article space as, like set indexes it could contain creative content (unless these move with it).Lee∴V (talkcontribs) 23:36, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
There seem to be 3 main objections to Outlines - Title, Namespace, Scope/structure. I currently believe (tentatively) that if we answer the questions about Namespace, the other two will be a lot clearer.
I have no major pull towards any solution - my only overriding concern is information-loss.
(My minor subjective bias's are towards the old title of "List of basic X topics", simply because it upsets less editors; and towards keeping everything in the current namespace, simply because getting a new namespace implemented is going to be exhausting (both immediately for the devs, and for everyone else for years to come if people continue to argue about what does or doesn't belong in Mainspace). But I'm happy to let anyone demonstrate that a consensus exists. Consensus and clarity is the goal.) -- Quiddity (talk) 00:06, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
  • I've tried to bring up a few key examples in the ongoing discussion at dbachmann's talkpage (linked above). I'd really really appreciate any insights anyone might have concerning those examples and questions. (answer here, so as not to overwhelm his talkpage).
  • Karanacs has responded in his intro here, which I appreciate. Karanacs: As followup questions I would ask: What is the division - the ability to be turned into an referenced article (or listarticle)? Because we can find sources for the Outlines/Indexes/Topiclists, but not for the "Lists of lists" which are purely Wikipedia-centric. Secondly, How do disambig pages fit in? (presumably just IAR/grandfathered into mainspace, along with the Main Page, which suits me, but needs to be clear).
  • I'll copy the timeline of the few examples I've researched, as well as the overview of what all exists, into the RfC projectpage here, as they seem like key confusions. -- Quiddity (talk) 00:06, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
I think we should ignore disambiguation pages for the purposes of this discussion. They are essentially the "parent" article of a hatnote and I think they are a very special case. In my opinion, the division ought to be content, not just references. Does the article/list have the potential for becoming a fully-fleshed out overview of available research on a topic? Does the article/list have the potential for serving a purpose other than navigation? Karanacs (talk) 14:15, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
(Disambig ignored for now. I've made some working notes on the projectpage, and updated them a few times. Hopefully that isn't too overwhelming yet. Maybe even making things clearer?!?)
The point where a List becomes an Annotated List seems like a confusing point. Can we use Lists of mathematics topics and Outline of cell biology as our discussion examples, perhaps? If they were a plain list of article titles, they would clearly be a navigational list - however they have annotations and structured sections, giving actual topic-insight from the page alone. That Outline could possibly be considered a structured Glossary...?
(As background: Lists of mathematics topics was a Featured List (from 2005-2007) until the Outline WikiProject tried to use it as an example for why Outline of geography should be considered for FeaturedList status. (That backfired, and pissed off everyone involved.) -- The other example, Outline of cell biology, was mostly created by User:Earthdirt, and I'm just going by his userbox qualifications (Masters degrees in Education and Biology) that it is of high-quality). -- Quiddity (talk) 21:05, 23 October 2009 (UTC)
(Addendum: The extremely experimental {{Infobox outlines}} is also being tested at Outline of cell biology currently. It's not necessarily permanent, but it might have the potential to be a part of a solution (?). However, that's a different topic).) -- Quiddity (talk) 06:34, 24 October 2009 (UTC)
My view is that outline articles are a form of content fork, since their title ("Outline of..") is not the recognised name used by the world at large to identify their subject matter in accordance with WP:NAME. For instance Outline of geography is a content fork from the article Geography, which is a defined and recognised article topic. The lack of notability for the article Outline of geography itself suggest that it fails WP:NOT#DIR. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 21:02, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
I agree. It seems this process has been hijacked, obfuscated, conflated with accepted and supported navigation tools, and left for dead. See my comment at the bottom of this page that has not been addressed. Outlines are poorly named and trying to impose a poorly conceived system on the rest of wikipedia without asking or toleration. Verbal chat 22:01, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
We're just waiting for Karanacs to get back to the topic. She was busy with arbcom matters and christmas. I reminded her last week, and hope for a response soon.
This system has been around since 2001. The other navigational systems have their own detractors (some people dislike our graphical timelines, some people dislike the topic indexes, some people dislike the glossaries, etc, etc (I'm using "dislike" as a non-specific umbrella term). hell, some people even dislike our category system!).
I (always) agree that many of the outlines are poorly conceived and should eventually end up deleted or merged. The majority have potential though, to be useful to a significant set of readers and editors.
Just a few more days/weeks of patience, would be most appreciated. -- Quiddity (talk) 22:16, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
The problem is that being "useful" or "significant" are not a recognised basis for the inclusion of standalone articles, whereas notability is. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 08:40, 22 January 2010 (UTC)
These aren't standalone articles like List of Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom though. They are closer to pages like British incumbent leaders by year or Lists of rivers. (what could be called "navigational lists")
The name is quite standard too, see outline of geography -wikipedia (google) - the 1st result is from the University of Wisconsin, and the 4th result from the U.S. Department of State. This also shows that there is a good possibility of easily sourcing many of these. -- Quiddity (talk) 20:40, 22 January 2010 (UTC)
I disagree. The terms "outline of geography" may be mentioned in various sources, but unless there is significant coverage that address the subject directly and in detail, then the rationale for inclusion is purely subjective. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 09:33, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

Number of mathematics articles[edit]

Wikipedia:WikiProject Mathematics/Wikipedia 1.0 says 6700 articles but does not give an accurate account of the number of mathematics articles, it only lists articles which have had a wikiproject banner manually placed on their talk page.

Wikipedia:WikiProject Mathematics says that automatically generated List of mathematics articles contains approximately 23000 articles. Charvest (talk) 01:57, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

Ah, yes, that matches up with the instructions at Template:Maths rating. Fixed on projectpage. Thanks. -- Quiddity (talk) 03:08, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

Outlines (scope)[edit]

The scope of this RfC should be limited to outlines, and not discuss other lists, portals, indexes, glossaries etc. Verbal chat 08:16, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

I think it has to also include "List of whatever basic topics"; the outline project seems to consider these types of lists to be outlines by another name. It looks like the majority of the articles in the "Index" category are actually outlines or lists of whatever basic topics. I don't think it is possible to discuss outlines without also discussing these. I think that the "possibly" category - glossaries, timelines, etc. - should not be discussed. Karanacs (talk) 03:17, 25 October 2009 (UTC)
The "List of basic X topics" are the outlines. That's what they were called for a number of years (as explained in the "History of an example outline" section). The set has grown(**), but all the outlines used to be named "List of basic X topics". - Please help rewrite it, if that isn't clear.
The decision to rename them all (to "Topical outline of X") was made at this Village pump (proposals) thread in June 2008 (though with vastly insufficient feedback, a perennial problem). The decision to then rename them to "Outline of X" was made independently by TT, which I complained about at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Outline of knowledge/Archive 2#Name of this set of pages. (Yes, he has a loooong history of 'boldness'... which sometimes works out well, sometimes not). I'm trying to not bury the projectpage with links to prior discussions - tldr is already a big enough problem. But feel free to ask for clarification on anything, I can usually dig the relevant argument out of the archives. -- Quiddity (talk) 18:27, 25 October 2009 (UTC)
(**)The set has grown. How big should it be/get? This is the issue of scope.
Personally, I've always advocated a very much smaller set, covering just 'top-level' topics. I've suggested before that we use the existing directories (such as WP:CORE and WP:VITAL and the others, or List of academic disciplines) to restrict/guide the growth. I believe a lot of the pages (outlines/lists) are a bad trend into overabundance (Outline of James Bond, Outline of chocolate), but the editors who have been writing them obviously disagree. Adding to the complexity: there were already more than just the 'top-level' when I arrived at Wikipedia -- eg Outline of critical theory (née "List of basic critical theory topics") has existed since 2002, and was recently merged with List of critical theory topics (not 'basic') which existed independently since 2004.
So, scope. Opinions vary! I think this issue would really benefit from an RfC, separately from the "namespace" issue. I'd hope to get the feedback of wikiprojectLibrarians and wikiprojectV1.0 members particularly. -- Quiddity (talk) 18:27, 25 October 2009 (UTC) - edited 00:43, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

This RfC seems to take the biases of the "outline project" as the status quo and their views as correct. That is the problem this should be addressing. I cannnot support this current wording, which is also far too long. It is not at all neutral. Verbal chat 09:39, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

I'm opposed to any restriction based on scope. If a subject has enough information (or enough coverage in Wikipedia) that an outline would be useful to readers, then editors should not have to worry that such an outline would be AfD'd because it wasn't high enough on the tree of knowledge. Please don't deny editors the right to build outlines on their favorite subjects. The Transhumanist 01:07, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

The scope should be outlines specifically and only, anything else would be distracting and not what was proposed. Verbal chat 20:38, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
The question was, "what should the scope of outlines be?" As in, how to we determine what the cutoff is, for whether a topic warrants an outline/list-of-basic-topics? See subthread directly below. -- Quiddity (talk) 23:59, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
Any and all hierarchically structured stand-alone lists. The Transhumanist 02:53, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

Ideas for scope guidelines requested[edit]

This is being discussed again at Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 73#Scope of "Outline" articles. I suggest we list possible ideas for "scope guidelines" here, for potential inclusion in the WP:Outlines page.

  • If the topic is one of the articles in the various "core/vital/top" listings; best summarized at {{Core topics}}.
  • If the topic can reasonably include at least 30-50 separate articles. (Nihonjoe's suggestion)
  • If the topic is larger than can be completely accommodated in a navbox template.

Additional ideas strongly encouraged. A few examples might be helpful, but let's try not to tangent into discussing the flaws of individual outlines. -- Quiddity (talk) 19:52, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

I've asked for consensus on the Outlines Project talk page with a link there to this page. Marco polo (talk) 15:39, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Agreed that a definition of scope is sorely needed, I think the third, If the topic is larger than can be completely accommodated in a navbox template, would be the most preferable, as it in a way defines the outline as fulfilling a need for the topic that cannot be done otherwise. To me, outlines belong logically to WP:CLN and are a complement. Minnecologies (talk) 19:43, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
I would support Minnecologies's suggestion. A long navbox can handle 38 links. This seems like a fair minimum for an Outline. This is within the range of 30–50 links that Nihonjoe has suggested and that I have seconded. Marco polo (talk) 00:02, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
So what are we going to do with these thoughts and hopeful consensus? I'm not the most fluent in administrative procedures and am curious as to how this is going to help the outlines' legitimacy in the upcoming RfC and future of the project. Minnecologies (talk) 21:01, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

Comments from The Transhumanist[edit]

The lead grossly misrepresents outlines as "certain articles whose sole purpose is to be a navigational aid".

Outlines do not have a sole purpose, and navigation comes third. THIRD! "Navigation aid" is only one of the many applications of outlines.

The 2 main purposes of outlines have to do with content presentation...

First, outlines present content - what a subject is comprised of, including all or part of the information the subject is made of. Outlines may present topics, facts, descriptions, and all manner of other types of details. Outlines on Wikipedia are a hybrid of topic and sentence outlines, evolving through their development from the former to the latter. Topic outlines just present subtopics, while sentence outlines present statements. With enough statements, you've presented an entire subject.
Secondly, outlines present relationships - they show what is related to what, presenting their subjects' content in a structured format which indicates relationships based on the arrangement of information in the structure. That is, the structure itself conveys information. This makes outlines both easy to comprehend and fast to read.

WP:Cfork is such a hot issue pertaining to outlines precisely because outlines are content media.

It is clear that the author of the RfC is not qualified to write it, since she shows either a disturbing lack of understanding of outlines or a strong bias against them.

The Transhumanist 01:10, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

Feel free to edit the statement for. Hipocrite (talk) 10:06, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

"Deletion" in reversespeak

The RfC opens with "This RfC is designed to determine whether community consensus exists for the inclusion of certain articles whose sole purpose is to be a navigational aid. In particular, elements of the community have disagreed on the existence of articles known as Outline of X or List of basic X topics."

What the hell????

The existence of articles is the jurisdiction of AfD, not RfC.

The Transhumanist 00:33, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

There is consensus that RFC is the best avenue forward at this point - attempting to derail this to another venue will not be productive. Hipocrite (talk) 10:07, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
TT, Hipocrite is right, just go with the RfC. You say there is consensus for them, and if thats correct then an RfC will show it. Highfields (talk, contribs) 16:36, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

RfC is the wrong approach

If someone wants to get rid of outlines from article space - by either deleting them or moving them - then the burden is upon them to propose that in an appropriate venue: as a move proposal at the Village Pump or as a nomination at AfD.

The Transhumanist 00:39, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

This is attempting to gauge larger-scale consensus. The pump is to alert people to things like this RFC - a pointer will be placed there. AFD does not scale to large scale changes like this. Please don't attempt to derail this process - it will go forward. Hipocrite (talk) 10:08, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

Ready to launch?[edit]

Are we ready to launch this into WP-space and open it for comments? Karanacs (talk) 18:29, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

2 core problems from my perspective:
  1. The other pages that share the same objections (detailed at User:Karanacs/Navigational pages RfC draft) need to be made more prominent. Lists of lists, Lists of topics, Indexes, and items like Year articles (1901, 1901 in archaeology, 1901 in architecture, 1901 in art, etc), are also completely unsourced, or non-notable as article titles. I don't think it is beneficial (possible?) to consider these page types separately from each other. Hence, I think the other "Navigational pages" RfC should be first.
  2. The other potential solutions aren't mentioned at all, so this currently presents a false-binary choice. (The other potentially-good solutions are explained at the other RfC. Specifically: 1) Leave in mainspace but tag with __NOTCONTENT__ or a banner/tag that clearly marks them as 'different' from regular articles (like disambiguation pages do). 2) Move to a new namespace such as Index:... or Navigation:...)
For outlines in particular, and all the navigational page types in general, I'd support one of those 2 currently-unmentioned options. The alternatives (leaving in mainspace as they are now, or moving to portalspace, or moving to projectspace) are just too problematic, and the last 2 are akin to 'sweeping under the rug rather than dealing with properly'. -- Quiddity (talk) 20:53, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
I think we need to focus on Outlines first before discussing what to do about other types of "articles". Otherwise, I think we'll muddy the waters, because some people may consider "year" articles as a similar navigational aid, and others (me included) feel they serve a different purpose. I can't see getting consensus for anything if we include so many different types of "articles".
As for other options, perhaps we could add another option to "Inclusion of outlines in articlespace " for 'Support inclusion if outlines were somehow differentiated from articles - and if that got consensus we could later argue about how (_NOTCONTENT_ is not currently supported, I don't think). Karanacs (talk) 21:06, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
This is about outlines, and the scope should be clear. Outlines are not part of wikipedia's navigation system, and this RfC should be about whether they should be added. This should be kept to Outlines as they are currently outside wikipedia process. We should keep it clear so as not to muddy the waters, and to avoid the accusations of a misleading RfC which does not address the issue under dispute. Currently the RfC not well presented. Verbal chat 21:34, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
How would you present this differently, Verbal? Karanacs (talk) 22:16, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
I have to agree with Verbal, this should only be about outlines. Do a fair comment about the pros and cons of outlines. Mostly I see complaints about them because the editors take main articles and copy and paste them. There are other problems too. I don't see how they are used to navigate, it seems they are kind of like a nutshell of the subjects. --CrohnieGalTalk 12:27, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
I think we need suggestions on what the wording ought to be.... Karanacs (talk) 14:23, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
I agree, and would greatly appreciate some more specific feedback (or direct edits) from Verbal and CrohnieGal (and anyone else watching).
I wish we could disentangle the content-aspects from the editor-aspects, somehow, as that is the most contentious part of it all. The majority of criticisms are over the actions of certain editors. I completely agree that The Transhumanist has made some very confusing/contentious edits - I'm dismayed by the slew of odd redirects he created (eg [Glaciers of ...]), and many of the mass-renames he's made. He's doing what he thinks is best, but it's not always having good repercussions.
Even more strongly, I'm opposed to the strong promotion he has been giving these pages. To get analogical, I think of them as a very promising "egg", whereas he is advertising them as a "fully developed chicken". He's doing this in order to get more participants, which is a good intent, but I believe the prominence of the pages being promoted (eg at the top of Portal:Contents) entails that they should be of a high quality before being moved out of draft-space.
I also believe the scope should be restricted (to something like the Vital Articles list, or similar), as I wrote about at Wikipedia talk:Outlines#Failed and above at #Outlines (scope), but TT disagrees, and I don't think anyone else has specifically commented on this aspect.
In reply to CrohnieGal: When we first started cleaning up the existing "lists of basic topics" in 2005/2006, I was considering them as reference cards for each topic. In that sense, they can be both a learning-aid (or nutshell, as you put it) for core vocabulary/articles, and a navigation-aid, in that they give a structured/hierarchical list of the articles that Wikipedia contains on a given topic (hence they were most recently renamed after "outlines"), much like "lists of lists" do (eg Lists of people).
I'll leave it at that, so as not to overwhelm the discussion more than necessary :) -- Quiddity (talk) 21:05, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
Note: I've added your proposed alternative response to the 'Articlespace responses' section, and a clarifying-example link to the Portalspace 'Statement against' section.
Input: Should we prompt any editors to give some specific feedback and to make their own edits? (Either those above that haven't replied yet, or some completely uninvolved editors?) The content is currently mostly by Karanacs and myself.
Proposed addition: The idea of a new namespace has been raised numerous times, both in relation to Outlines, and in regards to other types of list. I believe it should be given as one of the available options, but I'm not sure how to work it in. Thoughts on all the above would be appreciated. -- Quiddity (talk) 22:29, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

Cut and pasting from articles to outlines[edit]

I've left yet another reminder at Wikipedia_talk:Outlines about the project getting its house in order about its attribution problem, lest it be judged on its continued failure when this RfC eventually commences. Knepflerle (talk) 14:07, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

Working on it. Everyone, please see Wikipedia talk:Outlines#Fixing accreditation for instructions on how to help. -- Quiddity (talk) 18:47, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
(this has all been completed now FYI. Minnecologies (talk) 20:48, 2 April 2010 (UTC))

There is some reluctance to maintain these article until this RfC is over. Can we pick an achievable date in the very near future for this to go live, and make a concerted effort as a group to get it up and running by then? Knepflerle (talk) 10:07, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

A deadline only makes sense if work is done to meet it. We need more of the detractors/objectors of Outlines to give feedback and editing help. E.g. Verbal has expressed dissatisfaction with the wording numerous times, but hasn't offered any specific alternative wording or solutions. I can't see this going anywhere unless they do give more input; if they don't, there will be claims of bias in the first responses to the live-rfc, and everyone will end up ignoring its results unless it suits them... :( -- Quiddity (talk) 18:47, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

I don't know if I missed it but there needs to be something in this RFC about cutting and pasting to make an outline. [2] See Outline of water which just went through this. This c/p stuff is still going on without being done at least properly. Putting a notation in the edit summary of where the material came from is just not good enough. Comments? --CrohnieGalTalk 14:33, 14 March 2010 (UTC)

That recent edit by Stefan is being done properly. He included a specific edit-summary stating where it came from. That's what Wikipedia:Copying within Wikipedia says to do~!
There is nothing special about the outline project doing this. It goes on throughout Wikipedia. If someone needs an excerpt for a WP:Summary style paragraph they often copy it from the {{main}} linked article. Entire articles, like credulity, have been constructed this way.
The only thing the outline did differently, was it did it on a wide-scale for introductory paragraphs, and didn't leave proper edit-summaries (actually most editors don't, but the outline project got "called out" on it, so now we're endeavoring to fix things). You said at my talkpage, "Editors just cannot take the work of others and copy and paste it as their own." But it is not a matter of "as their own", as nobody "owns" the content - it is all CC-BY-SA/GFDL licensed.
In summary: Once the old instances have been properly attributed, that aspect of it is no longer a concern.
However, Verbal and yourself and I, seem to agree that it is simply not a good idea for other reasons - the introductions are often too long, and often aren't suited to List style articles. Personally, I agree that short introductions are vastly preferable. But that's an issue of Outline's structure/content. [I'd love it if we finally get around to discussing how to improve things; but currently, this RfC seems to be focused on whether or not to destroy things, or how to brush them under the rug so that they doth not offend...] -- Quiddity (talk) 20:01, 14 March 2010 (UTC)
When more editors were interested in all of this there were multiple things being discussed that this RFC needs to address. One was whether outlines were needed as a navigational aid along with whether they should be in mainspace. Also complained about was that the outline editors were taking lists and making them into outlines. Some said that the outlines in some areas were incorrect or unneeded, I believe it was geography and math but not sure and don't have time to try to locate where I saw it. As you say, the lead in some that I've seen are way to long. These are just a few things I remember off the top of my head that this RFC should address. I'm not for or against removing these at all. I just didn't like the way it was being done. A lot of them were done without even get a consensus at the talk page to move them as an outline from a list. When it was noticed and someone said something they were blown off for the most part. Thanks, --CrohnieGalTalk 13:43, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

Solutions we support as possibilities[edit]

There are currently 3 potential solutions, (as far as I can tell)

  1. Outlines being moved to portal namespace, or a new namespace.
  2. Outlines being marked in some way as "not-an-'article'/mostly-navigatory" like disambigs are, and left in mainspace.
  3. (?) Being renamed back to "List of basic X topics" maybe? or a Vast trimming and scope-reevaluation? or something else? (? I'm forgetting something, and need more coffee?)

and of course 4) They all get deleted. (But hopefully nobody is seriously pursuing that goal anymore.(?) At the most, 2 or 3 editors have suggested it before, and nobody has recently.)

I'd consider 1 or 2 as sensible options. I don't know what anyone else is thinking, as nobody is being particularly communicative. Clear/consise feedback here, and above at #Ready to launch?, would be useful necessary (and appreciated) to move this forward. -- Quiddity (talk) 22:38, 14 March 2010 (UTC)

How are disambigs marked today??? I see nothing except a category Disambiguation pages, same as outlines have Outline as a cat, I find no exception in policies that states e.g. that disambigs do not need references and so on, where is this exception described? --Stefan talk 00:19, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
They're marked with a {{Disambig}}, and references are not ever used on them per WP:DAB#References and WP:MOSDAB#Individual entries. Longstanding since forever. -- Quiddity (talk) 00:48, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, never saw that, then option 2 can be handled in the same way. --Stefan talk 02:11, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
Support 2: 1 is not useful unless searching is changed (or at least if 1 is chosen I will not add more content to outlines unless they are as easy to search as mainspace pages). 3 is a separate topic, do not really care that much what name they have, but think outlines is the best option as of now. --Stefan talk 00:19, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
A new namespace would be acceptable to me if it is included in searches. And since that can't be guaranteed, I can't support an RfC on a new namespace at this time. The Transhumanist 03:55, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
Support writing an RfC on #1 - The outline opposers will never go for discussing #2 first. I suggest an RfC be written up for #1 first, and if that doesn't result in a move, write up #2 as an RfC, and so on. I thoroughly support having an RfC or proposal on each of the options posed above (one proposal at a time). I've started a revamp of the RfC draft, focused on #1 above. I do not favor moving them, but I do support discussion on it, so we can get the matter resolved, so outline developers can get back to work (or pay their respects and move on). Those favoring the move should begin building the "Statement for the move" section. I've done some grammar fixes to the lead and statement for, but for the most part I'm working on the statement against the move. I agree with Stefan that if outlines get buried in portalspace, I won't be working on them again until the search problem is fixed (which will probably be never). The Transhumanist 03:55, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
  • All outlines renamed as lists, and where lists exist content should be merged. Outlines which are stripped articles, or duplicate lists or templates should be deleted. Or moved to their own wiki (like simple english) so I never have to think about them again. Verbal chat
    Which specific old (or new) name do you endorse, and why?
    (For example: the original title was Economics basic topics in 2001, then it was moved to List of basic economical topics in 2005, then to List of basic economics topics in 2006, then to Topic outline of economics in 2008, and then to Outline of economics in March 2009. Then you moved it to List of economics related articles in May 2010.)
    Bear in mind that there is a completely separate set of articles that are plain indexes, eg List of economics articles. These other articles are exhaustive indexes, they are not structured, and are not selected lists of "basic" information. E.g. Compare List of mathematics articles with Outline of mathematics.
    Thanks. -- Quiddity (talk) 23:59, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
    • Each article would have to be looked at. None should involve "outline" as it is ambiguous etc etc. Follow the community consensus at WP:LIST. A possible technical solution: a toggle which keeps page structure and only shows wikilinks, as outlines are essentially articles with text removed. Most should be deleted as redundant. Verbal chat 10:10, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

Minor compliment[edit]

I just wanted to say that I like the section headings of "I support (specific action here)". This seems like a sensible approach that should substantially reduce confusion from mis-labeled or mis-categorized !votes. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:40, 16 April 2010 (UTC) (who is not watching this page)


What exactly and distinctly needs to be discussed and decided and worked on...? The problems are as follows (afaik). Please read the whole thing before replying to the subsections, as it's an interlocked problem... -- Quiddity (talk) 20:49, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

Content problems[edit]

There are a few problems with the way these lists are being created:

  1. Lead section copying, and external link section copying.
    I agree this is a bad idea, and we should not do it, and we should remove the ones that are there.
  2. Section headings
    These should not include the foo of the topic. At Outline of Finland, we should use "Geography", not "Geography of Finland".

These minor issues can (and should) be worked on, whilst we discuss everything else. -- Quiddity (talk) 20:49, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

There is also the ridiculous over use of templates (leading to the "Glaciers of Gabon" nonsense), the massive overlinking that goes on in these articles, the misleading piped links, the general lack of references, the duplication of extant articles/lists, the choice of section titles and standard naming that follows no set guideline (apart from the OOKs own, which has no justification), ... Verbal chat 11:53, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Verbal, but the specific question is a content issue, and if we ever get enough participation to draft a decent RFC, I think this is too specific to be addressing. Karanacs (talk) 13:42, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

Selection criteria or scope[edit]

Discussed above at #Ideas for scope guidelines requested, where everyone who has commented so far has agreed on "If the topic is larger than can be completely accommodated in a navbox template." as a suitably restrictive selection criterion. This would mean Outline of Google and Outline of life extension are probably not large enough to warrant an outline.

Does that seem acceptable to everyone else, and can we add it to Wikipedia:Outlines? -- Quiddity (talk) 20:49, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

Yes, sounds a good guide that still allows for editors judgement. Lee∴V (talkcontribs) 10:56, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
That should be added now, but I don't think it will change much. Those pages should be deleted now. Unfortunately I feel TT will fight any AfD as an attack on his entire project. However, in future, and for this RfC, the question of whether these "articles" which lack any form of community approval should exist at all must be addressed. Verbal chat 11:50, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
I think that is still extremely vague. Navbox templates aren't necessarily supposed to include a "complete" listing of articles that relate to a given topic, but instead provide an overview of core topics. It is unlikely that any navbox will ever include all the links at Outline of Texas, nor is there any reason for them to be there. The navbox would include the high-level links, and the articles linked to in that could include further navboxes to delve into that topic. Karanacs (talk) 13:46, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
"Core topics" is exactly what these ListOfBasicTopics/Outlines were intended to be listing. They're not meant to be exhaustive indexes of everything related to a topic - that's what the Category:Indexes_of_articles are for.
(However, some of them are getting very large, and I don't know what we would now classify something like Outline of Buddhism as. It's incredibly useful, but not a core-topic-list anymore...) -- Quiddity (talk) 18:53, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
You mean they are redundant? Verbal chat 19:17, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

Naming convention[edit]

Title - Some editors still object to the use of the word "Outline" (due to ambiguity). Here are the relevant data points:

  1. We've tried many titles in the past, and each has problematic aspects.
  2. Some editors prefer the original formulation ("Foo basic topics" or "List of basic foo topics"). The main objection to those was also ambiguity: "How do we decide what constitutes 'basic'?"
  3. There is precedent for the use of the word "outline". See [3], [4], [5], [6], [7], etc; but especially the example of the Encyclopedia Britannica which has had an entire volume (the Propædia) dedicated to their Outline of Knowledge since 1974 (see articles about it at jstor, theatlantic,, etc)

So, we could either leave them named "Outline of foo", or we could rename them all back to "List of basic foo topics", or we could invent something new. I think both titles are fine (both are ambiguous, but both are also understandable). However, if it will help stop these almost-pointless arguments, then I suggest we mass-rename them all to "List of basic foo topics", and then in the distant future we can make a proper and leisurely move-proposal. Yes, no? -- Quiddity (talk) 20:49, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

Reading the above I had already jumped to the 'outline of foo topics' as an idea, so fully agree on that one. Lee∴V (talkcontribs) 10:57, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
We should integrate them into the normal WP:LISTS and then remove "outlines" altogether. The whole "basic ideas"/"outlines" concept is flawed in an electronic encyclopaedia where this should be handled by categories or an extension of the categorisation system. The "precedents" are few and have never received much use or praise, the EB had to remove theirs from the main encyclopaedia for example. In that respect we should follow their example. The name outline is not only ambiguous, but misleading (the main article is the outline) and certain editors had an unfortunate penchant for punning titles. These are not the only problems, there is also the massive duplication of effort and general harm to the project, etc. Solution: Rename to standard lists, if list already exists then merge, delete those which are simply the parent article minus prose, and then have a ban on new "outlines" being created. Verbal chat 11:48, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
Regarding the EB, they did not remove theirs at all. They created it to replace the plain index, but reinstated the plain index after there were complaints. The Propædia (Outline of Knowledge) still exists today as a core part of the EB. Look in any library, damnit! -- Quiddity (talk) 18:35, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
Yes, they removed it and replaced the plain index. That is what I meant. I didn't say that they didn't still produce it as a separate volume. Something we should follow. Perhaps even in a separate wiki. Verbal chat 18:54, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
There was no "removal" involved. It's been a separate volume, continuously since 1974. -- Quiddity (talk) 19:11, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
Secondly, the main article is described as the "Overview", see Portal:Contents/Overviews. -- Quiddity (talk) 19:11, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

This is something that we need a lot more input on. For those who think that the entire concept is flawed and should be removed from the encyclopedia, discussing this now seems like putting the cart before the horse. Karanacs (talk) 13:48, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

What about deleting them?[edit]

Karanacs stated above: "For those who think that the entire concept is flawed and should be removed from the encyclopedia, discussing this now seems like putting the cart before the horse."

But it's not like putting the cart before the horse, because there is a forum dedicated specifically for removing pages from the encyclopedia, and the opposers to the set of outlines have opted not to nominate them as a whole for deletion there. The burden for proposing deletion is upon those who wish the thing deleted, and the established procedure for such proposals is to post them as nominations at Ariticles for Deletion. The opponents of outlines will not nominate the set of outlines for deletion at AfD because the chances of the community deleting outlines in such a frequently visited forum is almost zero - because the deletion notice would be posted at the top of every outline article (over 500 of them!), compared to RfC notices buried on talk pages and templates.

Also, outlines have a very good track record at AfD. Almost every outline nominated for deletion at AfD has survived. There was even one outline that was resurrected at Deletion Review from being deleted years ago. And so the cart remains perfectly intact behind the horse.

One option for opposers is to try to go around AfD. But trying to circumvent the AfD process by having an AfD discussion in a lower-traffic forum is likely to result in a major debate at Village Pump Policy about forum shopping to delete while avoiding AfD, wasting even more editors' time. If editors want outlines deleted, they should be required to nominate them for deletion at WP:AfD according to Wikipedia's well-established deletion policy.

The Transhumanist 23:34, 23 July 2010 (UTC)


I believe the Navigational pages RfC draft covers this best. It's complicated, and I've done my best to try to make it clear. Read and think about it!

We have a large variety of navigational page types. Some editors are horrified by indexes, some by glossaries, some by outlines, some by year articles (1911), and some by topic lists. And some by our categories. All of them have points that can be criticized, and all have redeeming features. People are diverse, and the technology of our site is still developing, and hence the diversity of navigational pages. -- Quiddity (talk) 20:49, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

Nope, I completely oppose the naming and bias of that RfC. This is supposed to be about outlines, not the topic of navigation in general. Outlines are not part of the community accepted navigational system, so to lump them in together hides the issue and gives them a legitimacy they do not have. I know this is not your intention, but it is the effect, and I cannot support it. Verbal chat 20:56, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
Hopefully, when Verbal wakes up, he'll have a chance to re-examine the linked page (and the rest of the subsections here) with a clear head, and possibly rewrite or strike the above (and my reply). I'm going to move that page, to lessen the chance of confusion in the future (as he agreed at the talkpage there). -- Quiddity (talk) 00:02, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
In case it gets missed, I'll emphasize this 2005 diff from what is currently called [Portal:Contents] (and used to be called [Wikipedia:Category schemes]) which has always been linked from the main page. There, the Basic topics (Outlines) is the fifth link down. They are a longstanding part of our navigational system, no matter how much anyone may be currently soured towards them! That diff is from long before TT or I started contributing to this region of the site. -- Quiddity (talk) 00:19, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
I think that Quiddity's draft is much too broad. A lot of people disagree on whether timelines, for example, are navigational pages or regular lists. The same with year articles - many (some?) of these are being rewritten into prose articles and their use as a navigational tool is only a very small part of that article. I think that if we try to get people to focus on all of those disparate types of pages at once we'll end up with useless data. Karanacs (talk) 13:51, 12 July 2010 (UTC)


Note: Please please please keep the separate problems separated. This is about articles, not editors. Dismissive generalizations (or plain hatred) are not helpful to moving these disagreements forward. -- Quiddity (talk) 20:49, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

I'll reply to the rest when I have more time, it's very late here. Best, Verbal chat 21:01, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

Thank you, Quiddity, for trying to refocus attention on this. I think it's imperative that we first focus on what to do with outlines - and not delve into side discussions on what to do with other types of navigational pages (those may warrant their own RFCs). I'd limit this to two basic questions - where should outlines live, and what types of subjects warrant outlines. Perhaps we could bring in the 4 suggestions from User:Quiddity/Navigational_pages_RfC#Possible_solutions and then have some potential choices for outline project scope. Karanacs (talk) 14:50, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

You keep forgetting whether outlines should exist at all. Verbal chat 18:55, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
I'm assuming that would be one of the possible scope options - everything from "No outlines" to "outlines for every article of B-class or higher" Karanacs (talk) 20:08, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
Don't, you'll give me B-rated nightmares. ;) Verbal chat 20:13, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
Their existence should be discussed and decided at AfD, not RfC. RfC simply does not get the level of exposure and participation as AfD, and therefore RfC would not be a fair venue in which to decide deletion. Verbal's selection of RfC as a deletion venue is an extreme example of forum shopping. The Transhumanist 23:05, 23 July 2010 (UTC)

One issue per RfC[edit]

Quiddity, I believe you desire to cover way too much in a single RfC. Please keep it simple.

By far the biggest complaint, and the complaint by the most vocal disputant of outlines (User:Verbal), is the name of outlines. So, the first RfC should be on whether or not to rename them.

The Transhumanist 22:58, 23 July 2010 (UTC)