Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)

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The policy section of the village pump is used to discuss proposed policies and guidelines and changes to existing policies and guidelines.
If you want to propose something new that is not a policy or guideline, use Village pump (proposals).
If you have a question about how to apply an existing policy or guideline, try one of the many Wikipedia:Noticeboards.
This is not the place to resolve disputes over how a policy should be implemented. Please see Wikipedia:Dispute resolution for how to proceed in such cases.

Please see this FAQ page for a list of frequently rejected or ignored proposals.

« Older discussions, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141


Criteria for inclusion in Births and Deaths sections of Wikipedia date articles[edit]

Per previous discussions over at Wikipedia talk:Days of the year, it seems that there is some level of support for some kind of inclusion criteria for what articles to include on the Births and Deaths sections. There are some concerns that these sections are too-Western centric (i.e. people from North America or Europe are over-represented).

The question now is: should we have some kind of guideline for inclusion in Births and Dates articles? Or is the status-quo fine? In my case, my pet proposal is that a proposed inclusion criteria would be similar to what's currently done at WP:DYK, where no more than half of each set can be about US-related topics. Though of course, other editors are free to propose other proposals here. Narutolovehinata5 tccsdnew 03:16, 28 January 2018 (UTC)

  • Just axe these sections. They're useless trivia. KMF (talk) 04:12, 28 January 2018 (UTC)
I agree with KMF that this is trivia. There is no possible way to develop an objective criteria for inclusion, and any volunteer time wasted on this would be better spent actually improving the encyclopedia. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 05:10, 28 January 2018 (UTC)
If you're reading the Wikipedia article about a particular day of the year, I would surmise that probably you are very much in the market for useless trivia! CapitalSasha ~ talk 05:18, 28 January 2018 (UTC)
With the exception of a few incidents which are frequently referred to by their dates (e.g September 11 attacks), or dates which represent holidays on the Gregorian calendar (e.g Storming of the Bastille, which is the source of Bastille Day), all data on date pages are trivia. I see no reason why it's any less trivia that the Titanic sank on April 15 than that the actress Emma Watson was born on this date. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 07:59, 28 January 2018 (UTC)
  • The best option in my opinion would be to branch out "Born on ..." and "Died on ..." into separate articles (many of these lists online, but lots of misinformation, and none that are verifiable), maintained by bots and linked to on the DoY pages. This would reduce editor time spent to practically zero, does away with arbitrary inclusion criteria, and makes sure the info is still there for people who want it. The only objection that I've come across is that this could be done by category instead, but this makes it a nightmare to sort by year, and prevents the brief summary of what the people were notable for. ‑‑YodinT 12:19, 28 January 2018 (UTC)
  • I think the inclusion could be based on quality of linked articles. For example, limit inclusion to articles that have 500 words of pure prose and have no major clean up tags. Renata (talk) 14:44, 28 January 2018 (UTC)
That makes sense for a internal stuff...but that's not exactly an encyclopaedic inclusion criteria? That's the same problem with Narutolovehinata5's proposal - "than half of each set can be about US-related topics." is fine for internal inclusion, but not for an objective encyclopaedia. Galobtter (pingó mió) 14:50, 28 January 2018 (UTC)
Well, Wikipedia is mature enough that truly notable people generally have bios that are pretty decent. Of course, there are all kinds of exceptions and anomalies. But I think it would be very useful to have some sort of arbitrary criteria based on article quality to avoid lengthy discussions on who is more notable. Renata (talk) 03:56, 29 January 2018 (UTC)
In my view a notability criterion would be relevant, but that may be different from an article quality criterion. Many highly important people from (e.g.) the 18th century have short, underdeveloped articles, while many largely irrelevant sports or music (mainly US and UK) people from today have lengthy well developed articles maintained by fans. So a quality criterion developed along lines of development of article, would not solve the problem raised at the start of this post and in fact may even worsen it. Splitting off list of births and deaths on this date as Yodin suggests would not be perfect, but would at least largely solve the problem. This not in the least because such lists would allow much more entries, without overwhelming the rest of the entries on the day article (thus taking the sting out of discussion there). Arnoutf (talk) 07:11, 29 January 2018 (UTC)
  • It's simple. Include every single individual who was born/died on any given day. The Rambling Man (talk) 07:34, 29 January 2018 (UTC)
@The Rambling Man: Wouldn't such list articles (assuming the sections get split, as proposed above by some users) end up being very long and potentially falling afoul of WP:IINFO? Narutolovehinata5 tccsdnew 13:15, 29 January 2018 (UTC)
Policy has nothing to do with it. It's too unweildy. As a quick Fermi approximation, Wikipedia has 5.5 million articles. If 10% of those were about people (not an unreasonable guess) that'd be 550,000 biographies here at Wikipedia. We'd guess about 1/365 would have any random birth or death date. That's approximately 1500 people per day born, and 1500 people per day die (a bit less, since some of those people haven't died yet). Aproximately 3000 lines of text just to keep track of birthdates and deathdates is unreasonable. --Jayron32 16:11, 31 January 2018 (UTC)
  • I don’t know if this is possible tech-wise, but what would be helpful to the reader would be to group “on this day” entries into sub-lists... non-birthday events that occurred on the day go in one section... birthdays in another (I would even divide the birthday listings up into sub-sub-sections by profession groups: Performing arts, business, politics, etc). This would help readers USE the lists more efficiently... to more easily find the information they are looking for. Blueboar (talk) 11:35, 29 January 2018 (UTC)
  • Could this be better handled by categorifying the data? That way, the category "Born on XXXX" would automagically be populated. Surely there is some better semi-automated way to handle this better than relying on people randomly coming by to add a name to a page. --Jayron32 15:11, 29 January 2018 (UTC)
    • See above: Categories don't allow readers to see a brief summary of each person, or even display which year they were born. Also, if you wanted to try to sort these categories by year it would be problematic and very counterintuitive (even if you add leading zeroes to account for years < 1000), B.C. dates would still be sorted alphabetically (so 1 BC first, 300 BC last), followed by A.D. sorted alphabetically (1 AD first, 2017 last). If not, then you end up with just an unreadable list of names sorted alphabetically, something I doubt any of the readers (for example those mentioned above by CapitalSasha and Od Mishehu) would be interested in. With Wikidata, it should be straightforward to get a bot to maintain these lists as articles, rather than resorting to categories of use to neither man nor bot. What do you reckon? ‑‑YodinT 16:17, 29 January 2018 (UTC)
I'm against this, primary because I fear it would have potential to creep over to the "years" article, in which the inclusion of everyone that has a wikipage is very useful. I also glimpsed at two random dates in January and it did not seem that outrageous, when you consider the attempted scope of the article. (Granted this was on the desktop version) We could include tools to make it easier to navigate however on mobile,but I'm not in favor of limiting the amount of people that could be there. --Deathawk (talk) 22:37, 29 January 2018 (UTC)
I would say that, in line with some others here, we should get rid of these sections; they seem irrelevant to information about the date (so most people on the page for a given date probably won't care about this information) and it's inherently too hard to come up with an objective standard for who should and shouldn't be included. Perhaps a set of categories for people who were born or died on a given date would be an improvement (i.e. Category:People born on January 1, etc.) Every Morning (there's a halo...) 00:34, 30 January 2018 (UTC)
I think much of this debate comes from a fear that these pages will get too long too quickly and will become out of control. This, for the most part, is unfounded, as the pages are edited by humans and most people will not actually have time to edit these in such a way that it gets unmanageable. And if they do, we can split it off into a separate article. I agree with a sentiment explained already in this threat that the people who go into a date article probably are looking for a list of who was born and who died on that day. What I'm saying is, I don't think this is a feature that our readers are annoyed by, so much as editors are, and we should be in service to the reader. --Deathawk (talk) 02:07, 30 January 2018 (UTC)
I agree with Deathawk's position. It is trivia, but the reader looking up a date like January 30 probably is looking for this kind of trivia. Coming up with DYK-like restrictions for it seems to serve editors more than readers, IMHO. Double sharp (talk) 05:56, 30 January 2018 (UTC)
There has to be some way to manage these lists. Right now, Category:1980s births has approximately 15,000 people per year. Given that everyone born will die, and that Wikipedia continues to exist, that's roughly 1,000 new entries per date every ten years. That's untenable. The argument that this won't happen because people won't do it strikes me as flawed because that's not a guarantee that it won't happen, and it wouldn't be hard to write a bot to populate those lists or for one determined editor to do so. The fact that it hasn't happened yet is probably due more to the fact that these lists are currently curated, even though we don't have clear guidelines. Personally, I think it'd be best to create a new article People born on (x date) and leave a tiny subset of the most notable (determined perhaps by restricting it to a certain number per article or by set criteria) on the actual date article itself.
As to the other arguments, I agree that these lists are largely trivia, but that does seem to be the purpose of the DOY articles, and I’m okay with that. I don't think a category suffices because it doesn't include the brief descriptions and because categories are merely alphabetical and not chronological. -- irn (talk) 14:16, 3 February 2018 (UTC)
  • A summary of my opinion:
  1. These sections are of value and are the kind of thing people expect to see in an article about a given year or date.
  2. They should not be allowed to become too long. 100 names in each section should be the absolute limit.
  3. An effort should be made to ensure a spread of nationalities, occupations, and historical period.
There will be a lot of work needed to establish criteria but to me it seems essential that we make the effort. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Deb (talkcontribs)
  • If nothing is done we'll have to put up with seeing the Births and Deaths sections grow to enormous length – I recently saw someone going through methodically adding all the footballers from a particular country, and we have no rule against this. I've estimated potentially 3,000 names under Births for each day. Otherwise we need criteria for "super-notability" to go on these lists. Something on the lines of Deb's suggestion may work if we have subsections for each date with really tight and unarguable eligibility, such as "Monarchs, presidents and prime ministers born on this day", "Nobel prizewinners born on this day", "Olympic gold medallists born on this day" ... then "... died on this day", all chosen to ensure Deb's "spread of nationalities, occupations, and historical period": Noyster (talk), 17:19, 3 February 2018 (UTC)
I like that suggestion a lot. The unarguable eligibility for super-notable subsections seems a little difficult to me, though, when dealing with entertainers and sportspeople. (Michael Jackson and Pelé come immediately to mind as examples.) I think it should be doable, but we might need to elaborate the criteria elsewhere and just label the subsections "Entertainers" and "Athletes", for example. -- irn (talk) 17:42, 3 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Any notability criteria is likely to be subjective and devolve into protracted discussions over personal preference of notability, to the detriment of time spent actually improving the encyclopedia. I suggest adopting the type of standard used at "On this day - born/died" which is (I think) B-class articles or above. This would encourage editors to improve their favourite biographies to B-class to get them included on the day page, and would also be an objective standard. I have seen editors going through the day pages removing names which they personally consider non-notable and it's very subjective of course - "not her, she's a porn star and that's not on" etc etc. It should also be easy to get this automated if it's pulling on the pools of B, A, GA and FA articles only. MurielMary (talk) 09:39, 4 February 2018 (UTC)
B-class isn't exactly a objective criteria..anyone can change ratings.Galobtter (pingó mió) 09:44, 4 February 2018 (UTC)
  • I really like the incentive for editors to improve the articles. While it might not be a perfect solution, I think it would address the concerns of editors who work on DoY articles, in that the lists won't become unmanagable (for at least the next decade or so), and we shouldn't allow the potential fixing mentioned above to prevent a good idea from being implemented. It also seems to follow the pattern of WP:ITN, in that it's not just about "more or less notable", but quality of their coverage on Wikipedia. Would love to help with an improvement drive to address WP:BIAS on this. ‑‑YodinT 12:39, 4 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Just tossing out an idea here... If we really want to base inclusion on article quality, then perhaps the criteria should be “good article” status. “Good article” status is a more defined process which means the article has been reviewed and has achieved a substantive quality standard. The down side is that some notable subjects may not be listed (if the article about them is poorly written) ... the up side is that this would encourage editors to work on these articles, and bring them up to “good article” standards. Blueboar (talk) 13:37, 4 February 2018 (UTC)
    • The snag with this is - what do we do if, for example, "Michael Jackson" has not achieved GA status? Deb (talk) 09:39, 5 February 2018 (UTC)
      • Work on the Michael Jackson article and GET it to “Good article” status? Blueboar (talk) 11:17, 5 February 2018 (UTC)
  • There are 6,490 biographies classified as GA and above,[1] making about 18 per day of the year. No Thomas Jefferson, no Mussolini, no Beethoven, no Mozart ... All these are B's and I'm starting to think we may have to go with B-class and above, recognising the flaws. I'd have preferred to base it on importance of person rather than quality of article, but neither Top-importance nor Vital articles will yield nearly enough names, and the difficulties of establishing any other criterion of importance are obvious: Noyster (talk), 11:10, 5 February 2018 (UTC)
I'm thinking limiting it to B articles might work quite well. Deb (talk) 11:44, 5 February 2018 (UTC)
The problem I see with limiting this to a certain class of article is that it's not exactly user friendly. I imagine that the majority of editors adding content to these pages are relatively inexperienced to Wikipedia, and would be unaware of what a "B class article" means. It would be devastating for them to come and have there edit reverted. I could imagine some editors who might prove useful to the project being turned away from it as a result. It's just too much CREEP. One thing that might work is instead language that encourages the inclusion of "high class" articles as opposed to underdeveloped ones. A good example is how Wikipedia: Unusual Articles, states that the articles should be of "decent quality" but does not further expand on what that means, as a result the editors somewhat police themselves. --Deathawk (talk) 03:41, 6 February 2018 (UTC)
"Decent quality" is rather subjective, and, if editors got together and put a definition on "decent quality" I suspect they would just be re-inventing the wheel - WP already has definitions of quality in the Stub/Start/C/B/A/GA etc scale. I think In The News has a definition of "decent quality" for inclusion in their corner of the main page which is something like "no orange tags, all statements cited, no copy vios of images" but this is a pretty low bar and I think using something this minimal wouldn't go far to reduce the quantity of articles on the day pages. What I've noticed at In The News is that someone nominates an article for inclusion, someone else tags it with an orange tag, then the nominator gets to work fixing up the article, the orange tag is removed and it gets published on the main page. Good for the encyclopedia to have all that effort going into improving articles. MurielMary (talk) 10:48, 6 February 2018 (UTC)

I still maintain that this is problem mostly imagined. Personally I find it a bit ridiculous to have a Wikipedia article for every day of the year, but I don't really see it as problematic and if people find it interesting I don't mind either way. Having said that if you include a list of every date and have a listing of birthdays and death dates for the page, then it stands to reason that you are going to get a lot of listings . However this is the purpose of the page and it is fulfilling that roll. To somehow modify that list, you are now making it actually less useful, and it's falling farther and farther from the purpose. --Deathawk (talk) 20:17, 6 February 2018 (UTC)

@Deathawk: There are over 1.5 million biography articles at the moment, that's more than 4,000 births for each day, plus deaths, with more being added all the time. If we don't attempt to curate them, they would quickly reach article size limits. I would personally agree that complete lists make sense, and aren't a problem, but they would have to be split from the main pages. But either way, we've got three options I suppose:
  1. No births & deaths on the DoY pages (and optionally splitting the lists into separate articles).
  2. Having a list without the names of people that very few readers would have interest in (e.g. a very obscure mid 20th century sportsman compared to, say, Alexander the Great) – again, this could be done in conjunction with separate lists, but doesn't have to be, as at present.
  3. Ignoring the DoY articles, allowing them to fill up, quickly becoming very slow, to the point of being unreadable on mobiles, and eventually reaching the absolute article limit, preventing editing, etc..
A fair number of editors are trying to prevent #3 from happening, but it's a complete pain without guidelines that would make the process easier (and hopefully automated, to free us up to do more positive editing!). I guess you're not actively trying to prevent this from happening, but opposing it on the grounds that it's imagined makes me think you don't do much editing on DoY pages? Either way, it seems that for the first time in a long while we're finally pretty close to reaching a consensus – would be great to reach the point where a clear guideline proposal could be made. ‑‑YodinT 21:53, 7 February 2018 (UTC)
A bit late to the discussion, but the original question was whether the pages were too America-centric. I've been attempting to correct this by deliberately adding people from around the world. A problem that comes up often is that many of these are stubs, or need content from another wiki. Add to that the new requirement that dates of birth and death need good Wikipedia references, and it's a lot more work to edit these pages with quality content.
For the record, I guess I'd go with option 2 above. There's a lot of interest in "born on this day" and "died on this day", so I think births and deaths are relevant. Natalie Bueno Vasquez (talk) 06:23, 8 February 2018 (UTC)

As for the proposals above which suggests that all articles that are mentioned in Births/Deaths sections need to be at least B-class, I'm not sure it would work in filtering out systemic bias; if anything, it could only help worsen it. Some articles on even the most well-known Western people are at C-class or lower, meaning that they'd have to be left out; on the other hand, from experience, articles on non-American or non-European topics tend to be of a lower quality as well, meaning that even very popular names wouldn't be mentioned. So while article quality could potentially work as a standard for inclusion, it also has its drawbacks and might not solve the problem at all. As for the suggestion of simply making separate list articles and listing all births/deaths there, that would be wildly impractical: such articles would be way too long. Narutolovehinata5 tccsdnew 07:37, 8 February 2018 (UTC)

Lists of births & deaths could easily be broken down (either by the people's roles as suggested by another editor above, or by century). ‑‑YodinT 09:58, 8 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Cut births and deaths entirely. This sort of navigation can be done on en-wiki via categories. Searching this sort of question is best done via Wikidata. Chris Troutman (talk) 01:40, 17 February 2018 (UTC)
  • I would support removing those sections completely. Besides the constant stream of non-notable people who get added to them, it's really questionable how useful that trivia is. Make it a category so that people can use cross-cat tools to find whatever intersection they're looking for. If we have to keep these lists, split them off into "List of people born on X" type articles (and then delete them as trivia...) Matt Deres (talk) 18:21, 20 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Please don't axe the "list of people born on this day" sections. Please don't. Keep them the way they are (or split them into a new thing). I strongly, STRONGLY SUPPORT Option #2. This "pointless trivia" is the exact type of thing that someone searching for a page about a given day of the year would want to see. Natalie puts it well above: there's legitimately "a lot of interest in "born on this day" and "died on this day", so I think births and deaths are relevant." Paintspot Infez (talk) 02:51, 1 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Isn't this the sort of thing that WikiData should be able to cover - i.e. queries such as people born on 1st Jan 1900, footballers who died in Feb 1901 etc? DexDor (talk) 06:35, 1 March 2018 (UTC)

Some observations, in part to provide a summing up, & in to offer some :

  • IMHO, the consensus is leaning towards keeping this list. (Disclaimer, I favor keeping it, so YMMV here.)
  • It has been proposed that we limit the number of people in these lists to 100. Or some such number.
  • Assuming we limit the number to 100, this means we would need to compile a list of almost 37,000 more than notable people. (To be precise, between 36,500 & 36,600 depending on how many notable people we wish to include for February 29.) Of course, this list has already been started: take the names of people already in the Days of the year, & add/subtract from that. (From glancing at January 30, the date Double sharp mentioned above, it appears that a lot of professional athletes will be purged from this list.)
  • Any such list of more than notable people would need to be balanced out between the various categories, such as "politicians/royalty", "religious figures", "writers/poets/playwrights", "artists", "sports", "military" & (the inevitable) miscellaneous. IMHO, having set percentages will force people towards adding only the more important figures in these categories. (And might add a little more encouragement to improving articles.)
  • Any such list will need to add a lot more people who are not from Europe & North America. (Glancing at January 30, I only found 3 Japanese people, 1 Brazilian pro athlete I mean 4 Japanese people, 1 Brazilian pro athlete, 1 Vietnamese king, & 1 president of El Savador -- & no other people from Asia/Africa/South America. I would be surprised if no other notable people from those parts of the world were born on that date.)
  • Having worked a lot on historical articles, I can confidently predict that any such list will be heavily weighted towards more recent names. It is difficult to find the years various notable people living before AD 1000 were born or died in; finding the day of birth for one is the equivalent of winning millions in the lottery! (It would be nice to find a way to indicate the approximate year a more than notable person was born or died in, but for whom more precise information is lacking. But that desideratum is tangential to this discussion.) -- llywrch (talk) 18:03, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Suggestion - why don't we have this done by categories, which is what they are for? A bot could add Category:People born on 27 November to everyone with that birthday. A bot could similarly add Category:People who died on 11 June to everyone who died on the 11th of June. It's one or two additional categories per biographical article, but some have hundreds anyway. Then you can just click to that category if what you really want is to see who was born on a particular day. Having 5-6000 articles in a category is not an issue at all. You could have a direct link to the two categories on each date article (so 1 January would have a See Also pointing at Category:People born on 1 January and Category:People who died on 1 January, and so on. Fish+Karate 12:29, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
    • We don't create categories for trivial or anecdotical similarities between articles. Years of birth and death indicate the period in which someone lived: day/month of death indicates nothing. That Farzad Bazoft and Charles Harrelson share the same day and month of death is a meaningless coincidence. Please don't create such categories. Fram (talk) 13:21, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
      • It's just a suggestion. Your view on someone's day/month of birth/death being meaningless is just that: your view. Fish+Karate 14:29, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
        • Well, no, it's not "just my view". Apart from pseudoscience like astrology, there is not really much meaning to be found in the coincidence that people died on the same day (considering that we only have 366 such combinations to start with). Feel free to show me wrong, but please don't dismiss someone else's point as "just" their view when you don't have any actual evidence that it is actually meaningful. Thisis not some random objection, but the essence of categories, which should be, according to Wikipedia:Categorization, about "essential—defining—characteristics of a topic" (and further "A central concept used in categorising articles is that of the defining characteristics of a subject of the article." See WP:TRIVIALCAT for more on this. "Note that this form of overcategorization also applies to grouping people by trivial circumstances of their deaths". Fram (talk) 14:59, 15 March 2018 (UTC)

Quick comment on the numbers here. @Jayron32 and Yodin: the number given by Yodin of "over 1.5 million" is probably from the value given at Wikipedia:Version 1.0 Editorial Team/Biography articles by quality statistics - Jayron32's guess of 550,000 was a bit out, and in any case there is no need to guess, any well-designed website or database would have these statistics available, and with a bit of work it is possible to maintain statistics like "number of biographical articles". The current value at Wikipedia:Version 1.0 Editorial Team/Biography articles by quality statistics of 1,558,032 articles is still only an estimate though as: (a) not all biographical articles are tagged as such on their talk page by the WikiProject Biography template (the number untagged is a bit hard to estimate); and (b) not all the articles tagged by WikiProject Biography are 'single person' biographies - that 1,558,032 figures includes a lot of articles about musical groups, and other 'group biographies'. Another estimate is to do some sort of count over the categories and subcategories of Category:Births by year. Number of living people (again, if tagged correctly) is at Category:Living people, currently 852,728. There may be other ways to do these estimates that are more accurate. (Over time, I think the proportion of biographical articles has remained fairly steady at about 20-30% of the whole encyclopedia, as measured in terms of number of articles. What is more surprising is that living people make up over 50% of those articles.) Carcharoth (talk) 12:34, 16 March 2018 (UTC)

Rfc: Change default <math> to be inline[edit]

Unanimous opposition. Primefac (talk) 18:41, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Should the "default" <math> be changed to inline in the future?--Debenben (talk) 22:47, 6 February 2018 (UTC)

Background information[edit]

Some time ago I did a little survey in the German Wikipedia on how to resolve several problems with the current markup for inline and block equations. The solution with the most support was turning "default" <math> into true inline equations, equivalent to <math display="inline"> or <math>\textstyle and using <math display="block"> or a new shortcut notation like <math block> for block equations, replacing the current :-indented markup.

Since technical limitations of the current math extension prevent several types of block-formulas from using the new notation and/or such a conversion would negatively impact the appearance on certain devices/browsers, this Rfc does not propose to implement such changes immediately. If this Rfc is successful, the intention for such a change should be written into Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Mathematics along with a recommendation: For formulas that are not block equations but still look better with large symbols, editors should specify \displaystyle explicitly instead of relying on <math> being displaystyle by default.

Some problems the proposed solution might solve in the future[edit]

Display options in the VisualEditor (here with German descriptions).
  • "default" exists for historic reasons and backwards compatibility. For most purposes "default" without further modifications like : indentation or \textstyle is technically wrong.
  • Using <math display="inline"> or <math>\textstyle for each inline formula makes the source code difficult to read and type.
  • New editors are confused by the "default" layout. They expect one notation for inline and one for block formulas with the inline markup using textstyle by default.
  • Some editors might not be familiar with the textstyle and displaystyle commands since they are used to LaTeX, MathJax etc. choosing it automatically.
  • Some editors do not bother to select textstyle explicitly, especially if there are only marginal differences e.g. vs .
  • Editors using the VisualEditor cannot create block formulas with : indentation and can get frustrated trying to get a comparable layout example
  • : is a definition list that creates invalid HTML and can be annoying for screen readers. It also creates its own paragraph <p> which is technically wrong and leads to inappropriately large separations in some browsers/devices.
  • Having two markups for block formulas, i.e. :-indentation and display="block" parameter creates inconsistent layout. For most browsers/devices the visual appearance of both is only similar in the English Wikipedia due to common.css.
  • The optimal layout of block equations depends on other layout choices such as placement of figures which can be different for mobile devices. Editors should not hard-code those choices manually e.g. by number of :-indentations. Instead, indentation would be with respect to the surrounding text without creating surplus indentation if block equations are chosen to be centered.
  • Some more advanced features such as a referencing/numbering system for block equations and automatic line breaking require a clear distinction between inline and block-equations.

Some alternatives to this solution[edit]

Alternatives that were discussed in the survey:

  • creating new HTML-tags or keywords for inline and block equations and <math> retaining its behavior,

a solution which got slightly less support and people indicated that they regard it as the second best choice only. Alternatives that got mostly oppose-votes were:

  • keeping the :-syntax for block formulas and trying to work around some of the issues
  • solutions that involve templates

Some technical problems that hinder implementing the solution[edit]

If people are interested I am happy to write and discuss these further. I don't expect much progress here and it is only worth discussing if the general intention of the proposal receives enough support.

And last but not least: I don't have any experience with Rfcs and the conventions here. Feel free to change things I did wrong and notify people that might have some opinion on this matter.--Debenben (talk) 19:56, 5 February 2018 (UTC)

@Debenben: We discussed this topic recently. Please review WP:Village pump (policy)/Archive 138#RfC: Accessibility versus convenience in indentation. --Izno (talk) 20:20, 5 February 2018 (UTC)
And especially, the discussion I started at WP:Village pump (policy)/Archive 138#Math block display. --Izno (talk) 20:22, 5 February 2018 (UTC)
@Izno: You are right, I should have mentioned this previous Rfc. I got a ping from user:Whatamidoing (WMF) because I discussed the issue with him a year ago [2] and I also left a comment. I had the impression that the closing statement "Final note, since much of the opposition was related to the mode of resolving this screen-reader compliance problem, rather than the underlying idea of addressing the problem in the first place, it's of course all right for someone interested in the discussion to formulate a new proposal without waiting for days or months to pass." referred to my comment. Therefore the above focuses on addressing the problem without providing a technical solution. A possible technical solution (also solving other problems) would have been [3] but it did not get enough support. Still, if this proposal gets through it might encourage Media-Wiki developers to do something about it.--Debenben (talk) 20:52, 5 February 2018 (UTC)
I added the Question and RFC-template to the above in order to get more input.--Debenben (talk) 22:47, 6 February 2018 (UTC)

Survey: Change default <math> to be inline[edit]

  • Oppose. Surveys of English Wikipedia editors on English Wikipedia policy have no jurisdiction over Wikimedia technical formatting issues. The actual solution is up to the developers, but even if we wanted a survey of readers and editors to suggest better directions for the allocation of the developers' time, the correct place for that would be meta because this affects all Wikimedia sites not just this one. But regardless of all that, this proposal would break the formatting of all displayed (on a line by themselves) equations on Wikipedia. That's a lot of damage in exchange for very intangible benefits. —David Eppstein (talk) 23:42, 6 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Changing is not a good idea, there must be 100000s or more pages that would need to be altered. It would cause such a huge mess, including in the knowledge of the people that use the tag. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 00:47, 7 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose unless benefits are clearer. Xxanthippe (talk) 01:47, 7 February 2018 (UTC).
  • Oppose. In principle this would have been a good idea, but formatting is already entrenched. Among many proposals to do with math formatting that English Wikipedia could decide to approach devs with, this has very minimal benefits. Sławomir Biały (talk) 11:16, 7 February 2018 (UTC)
Some remarks: For the survey in the German Wikipedia I did a rough estimate on the numbers of affected block-formulas: There were in total 237 779 occurences of math tags (in the main namespace), among those roughly 55 435 block-formulas. A simple algorithm similar to the one implemented in the old MathJax rendering mode or the one still existing today on scholarpedia, transforming all : indented math tags on its own line (without anything except for a space or punctuation mark) into a block formula would recognize around 82% of them correctly. The others have different number of indentations, text-elements or labels on the same line. They would get "broken" (meaning that they get an unconventional, less beautiful layout) and need to be marked as block formulas manually or by a bot using a more sophisticated algorithm. I guess there would be a slightly higher percentage of block formulas on the English Wikipedia and the total number would roughly scale with the article count.
For all those oppose votes I would be interested in their preferred solution. As I said, the alternative of introducing new tags (something like <imath> <dmath> <ichem> <dchem>) and avoid breaking the current math formatting had only slightly less supporters. A similar solution that involved creating a new markup for inline formulas was proposed on phabricator around 2012, but blocked due to the lack of community support. The WMF has no view on the issue, currently all development and maintenance of the math extension is done by one volunteer.--Debenben (talk) 14:00, 7 February 2018 (UTC)
I think the ideal solution would be to implement \( \) and \[ \] as math delimiters. This would also solve the most recent problem of the non-accessible way that Wikimedia interprets the colon operator as part of a definition list, when the colon is used for indentation of inline equations. Sławomir Biały (talk) 19:47, 7 February 2018 (UTC)
That is probably the dream of every mathematician and LaTeX fan. It would need an equally strong concensus and I would be concerned that other people don't like it. Like: If you ask for too much you don't get anything.--Debenben (talk) 15:58, 8 February 2018 (UTC)
On the contrary, I think the approach solves a lot of problems we've been having lately. Offer the developers and editors a solution and they might implement it. Think big! Sławomir Biały (talk) 19:41, 8 February 2018 (UTC)
Just as a more "stupid" idea: What you suggested would already work today: \(\sum_{n=0}^\infty \frac{x^n}{n!} \text{this should become inline}\) and \[\sum_{n=0}^\infty \frac{x^n}{n!} \text{this should become block}\] if one would simply write something like
$("head").append("<script type=\"text/x-mathjax-config\">MathJax.Hub.Config({'HTML-CSS': {preferredFont: 'STIX', webFont: 'STIX-Web', mtextFontInherit: true}, 'SVG': {mtextFontInherit: true}});</script>");
$("head").append("<script type=\"text/javascript\" async src=\"\"></script>");
into Mediawiki:Common.js. --Debenben (talk) 21:40, 8 February 2018 (UTC)
Fairly easy in principle to implement, I'll grant. Sławomir Biały (talk) 01:16, 9 February 2018 (UTC)
True. I improved the configuration a little:
$("head").append("<script type=\"text/x-mathjax-config\">MathJax.Ajax.config.path['mhchem'] = ''; MathJax.Hub.Config({TeX: { extensions: ['mediawiki-texvc.js', 'AMSmath.js', 'AMSsymbols.js', '[mhchem]/mhchem.js'], equationNumbers: { autoNumber: 'AMS' }, mhchem: { legacy: false }}, displayAlign: 'left', displayIndent: '2em', 'HTML-CSS': {preferredFont: 'STIX', webFont: 'STIX-Web', mtextFontInherit: true, linebreaks: { automatic: true }}, 'SVG': {mtextFontInherit: true, linebreaks: { automatic: true }}, 'CommonHTML': {mtextFontInherit: true, linebreaks: { automatic: true }}});</script>");
$("head").append("<script type=\"text/javascript\" async src=\"\"></script>");
I think cloudflare wouldn't mind if we use their servers since they get an easy way to track all readers, but it probably violates some guidelines. Does anyone have access to something like a Wikipedia-toolserver that he can spare, so we can have our own cdn? I would be really looking forward to present some of the new features:
  • Working math also for devices like Ipads (In case someone is interested delivering the good news to the poor guy [4])
  • Working textmode, especially for all languages that don't use latin charakters
  • Working mhchem package
  • Copyable formulas, proper HTML
  • Fully editable in the VisualEditor (unfortunately the alpha version is lacking support for the visual formula editor)
  • Support of automatic referencing and numbering, support for linebreaking, support for missing commands like \middle
  • Support for defining macros, linking websites, popups etc. (Some of those features should probably be disabled in production)
  • Great user support, if you find a bug and report it at Github you probably get a patch within days
--Debenben (talk) 18:55, 9 February 2018 (UTC)
Ahh, and I forgot: An excellent accessibility explorer, where you can navigate through the formula with arrow keys and any average screen-reader can read out the generated text piece-by-piece.--Debenben (talk) 19:01, 9 February 2018 (UTC)
@Xxanthippe: I wanted to avoid a lengthy explanation because I was hoping for other peoples comments to highlight some of the current problems. Since this is not the case and you explicitly asked for the benefits to be clearer, I will attempt to illustrate some of the bullet points above:
A lot of inline formulas use the "default" layout, usually because the editor did not bother to specify it or is not familiar with the \textstyle command. For example if I write , then for me, if I use a standard setting in firefox in combination with the svg rendering that most people get, the expression is just a little bit too large to fit into a normally spaced line, therefore the spacing of the lines in the text is not equal but a little bit different. For most people this is only the case for larger operators like . This can be avoided by using the correct inline formatting, either by adding \textstyle or the parameter display="inline", resulting in or . If you happen to have a browser/device where the example already uses a little bit too much space, then for you there will be more inline formulas that would get fixed by the change than those that get broken. Of course adding an additional \textstyle or the parameter display="inline" for all inline formulas would already be possible today. However the wikitext would become increasingly hard to read. In the survey I used the example of w:de:Satz des Pythagoras having three sentences with seven inline formulas each, where you don't want to clutter the source code with \textstyle or display="inline" parameters for each of them. Pythagorean theorem has a similar amount of inline formulas, however they are, probably due to other deficiencies, not using math-tags. That is what I wanted to express with the flawed "slightly higher percentage of block formulas" comment above. If you had a math extension were formulas are copyable, look good etc. for everyone, then you would want to use inline math for each of them. With the proposed change, editors could forget about \textstyle or display="inline", because it would have the correct formatting by default. This is the behavior people outside of Wikipedia would expect and how it works in LaTeX or any other typesetting system. The reason it is different in Wikipedia is, that originally the math extension was not designed for inline formulas, but as a replacement for images and ascii-art block formulas. Because a lot of mathematical expressions cannot easily be obtained with normal HTML-characters, editors also used the math extension for inline formulas, even though it did not have proper size or alignment for the text (and today this is still a problem, at least for a lot of browsers/devices).
Since the original idea behind math was to create images, and you would want to be able to use those images for example in tables etc., it did not have a proper layout for block equations either (and today this is also still a problem). Editors used the : markup because it is the easiest. However it is part of a definition list markup and produces invalid HTML. As far as I know it gets indented in every major browser, but in principle the layout of a definition list can be anything and the behavior of an invalid definition list is undefined. When I select "print this page" in firefox, everything indented with : gets printed with a large font size, which I guess is due to broken definition lists. An average screenreader would tell you for every :-indented block-formula that a definition will follow, which I guess can be annoying, especially in the middle of a sentence. The other thing that is wrong is the paragraph <p> that gets created, which means that there will be a space before and after every block formula that matches the space of a new paragraph in the text and depending on the browser/device can be inappropriately large. It is also semantically wrong, because the whole point of indenting or centering block formulas is to show readers that the early line-break is not a new paragraph, but just for accommodating a large expression that cannot easily wraparound into the next line. With the proposal above, those 82% of block formulas (or whatever the exact percentage on the English Wikipedia is) would get proper HTML like the one you get on websites like math.stackexchange that is not broken, does not abuse definition list markup or create a new paragraph. The others would get proper HTML if they get fixed manually or with a bot.
Another problem concerns editors unfamiliar with the wikitext or LaTeX markup. I cannot tell first-hand, but only from looking at strange edits of new accounts or when they ask for help. Imagine you are unfamiliar with wikitext-markup. Then you would assume that you can use the VisualEditor to edit mathematical articles. You effectively cannot because you can't add :-indentations or change them. However you would not know what those indentations are. You click on an equation that is clearly an inline equation and it will show you that it is "default". Maybe it begins with \textstyle - a command even some mathematicians or physicists don't know because normally it is not needed in LaTeX. If you click on inline - nothing happens. If you click on "block" you generally get a block formula that is centered (and the English Wikipedia uses commons.css to make it indented, solving this issue and creating different problems). If you want to edit another block formula - it is also "default". If you create a "default" formula yourself you cannot get it indented. With the proposal above this would get fixed, because there would only be one inline and one block option to choose from, and if you add a new formula and don't select anything it would be a correct inline formula. If you select block formula, it would become a true block formula. I believe it would especially help people not familiar with LaTeX because they could use the formula editor of the VisualEditor, since the formula is rendered or the error message is shown immediately. They also wouldn't need to search for a formula they want to edit in the source code, where you often rely on searching for generic LaTeX commands or words somewhere next to it.
These are the main points. As you can see from the bullet points above, there are some other (in my view minor issues) that would get solved. There is also a whole bunch of things problematic with current usages of the display="block" parameter which I have not touched. Since this fortunately only concerns 165 pages at the moment I have left this out for now.--Debenben (talk) 15:58, 8 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose anything that would break the formatting in thousands of existing pages. Maproom (talk) 08:07, 9 February 2018 (UTC)
I don't know what I did wrong: I did not expect only support votes, but I expected some comments and discussion on the issue. I'll try to discuss with myself the comments so far:
  • Its a global issue: True. The purpose of this Rfc is to gather feedback directly from editors affected by such a change that can be used (e.g. in a discussion on meta) to supplement the feedback I got from German Wikipedia and Wikisource editors. So far I get the impression that the English Wikipedia editors just don't care.
  • It's up to the developers: As I pointed out, I had a discussion with Whatamidoing. For now it seems, the WMF does not have any resources to spend on working out a solution or fixing some of the problems.
  • The proposal breaks a lot of block formulas: True, although I think "breaking" is a strong word for a less beautiful layout for some equations which is compensated by a more beautiful layout for others. I respect people that do not want the existing articles to change at all. For the math tag this essentially means it cannot get fixed (unless someone can come up with a miracle solution nobody has thought of so far). Consequently this translates into the alternative, which is support for introduction and migration to a new notation.
  • It causes confusion among the editors: I would say this proposal would rather reduce the confusion. The argument of creating even more confusion was the main reason why at the German Wikipedia this solution was preferred to the alternative of creating a new notation. Editors can continue to use "default" in the text and get the proper inline formatting. If one is worried by a solution that would treat the indentation markup as a modifier as opposed to also replacing those 82% with a bot: This is not part of the proposal and (in my view) can be discussed after it is decided if the current <math> notation should be rescued or not.
  • The benefits are unclear: This could be a reason why people don't want to vote on the issue, but please leave a question or comment, this would help others to make up their mind.
  • Introducing \( \) and \[ \] as math delimiters: A great solution. Some background: The two delimiters are the minimal set of LaTeX commands required to get all necessary features. For those that wonder about commands like ref, eqref etc: They can be used inside the delimiters like it is done for align today, which, from a LaTeX (and MathJax) point of view is correct, only a bit more complicated than necessary:
The example
one \label{thefirstlabel}\\ 
two \label{mysecondlabel}
as a fraction 
\frac{\eqref{thefirstlabel}}{\eqref{mysecondlabel}}=\frac{ne}{tw} \label{theresult}
does not make sense. Also, equation \(\ref{theresult}\) does not show that \(\ce{H2O}\) means water.
When adding the javascript above to common.js and removing the syntaxhighlight it already works today. The drawback: This is similar to what was proposed around 2012. I am especially worried that it will be me, having to convince people that mixing the HTML-like wikitext notation with LaTeX commands is worth it and that at the end of the day I have wasted even more time with discussions and achieved nothing.
  • A question which did not come up: What does it have to do with MathJax? In principle nothing, because all the problems mentioned in the bullet points are caused by the notation and don't get solved by a new rendering system. I wanted to show how other websites handle it, that Wikipedia is essentially the only website with these problems and some features necessary for being able to convert all current block-formulas. There is some hope: The Mathjax-Node spin-of currently generating the svg images and MathML in Wikipedia will be eaten up by MathJax version 3.0 in the future, creating the possibility that some developers take the opportunity to get MathJax 3.0 fully implemented in MediaWiki.
--Debenben (talk) 16:14, 12 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose for reasons given. I have not done much (any?) editing along these lines, but would have little or no objection to a new format if it has any clear benefit, even in moderately unusual situations, but not as a new default. It would have to be a newly added facility and would be up to those benefiting, to discover the documentation. JonRichfield (talk) 05:14, 14 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose in favor of helpsheet or templates. As noted above, the users can be advised to insert the "\textstyle" to show an inline, text-styled formula, as could be noted on a helpsheet page. Also, consider creating simple templates for users who search for common templates to format typical table or formula patterns. A template could be written to force inline format of a formula in parameter 1 as in: {{#tag:math|\sum_{i=0}^\infty|display="inline"}} to show: where the limits i=0 to would display after the sigma summation symbol. Templates have enormous power to simplify work for new users, but people keep deleting such smart templates for sketchy reasons. -Wikid77 (talk) 22:47, 28 February 2018 (UTC)
Thanks for your suggestion. I believe you are suggesting to use something like {{tmath}} that sets display="inline" automatically? The main drawback that I see with the solution is that one cannot use the usual LaTeX markup like {{tmath|\frac{1}{\sqrt{|f(x)|}}}}, but instead one has to write {{tmath|\frac{1}{\sqrt{\vert f(x)\vert } } }} to avoid clashing with the template markup, or is there a way to avoid this? There was a similar suggestion some time ago: Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Mathematics/Typography#Consequences_of_a_lack_of_consensus_concerning_inline_text_style_mathematical_formulae, but it seems like the initiator has given up on the subject.--Debenben (talk) 16:56, 1 March 2018 (UTC)

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

Change to the wording of Wikipedia:No original research[edit]

Diff. Comment by @Chris troutman: "While you're probably right, I don't think it's appropriate to change the wording of a policy without consensus.". I didn't think I really changed the meaning, but I can see the point, so lets see if there would be consensus. Alexis Jazz (talk) 04:54, 17 February 2018 (UTC)

  • I'm not opposed to the addition, although I think some wordsmithing might be needed since the following sentence about something being attributable versus being attributed better appears immediately following the point about Paris. I would like to see if there's consensus for this change. Chris Troutman (talk) 04:59, 17 February 2018 (UTC)
    I would oppose it, but for a rather nuanced reason. The "citing the sky is blue" trope is too idiomatic at Wikipedia to carry meaningful policy weight; there's an entrenched, old debate over the specific idiom to the point where we have competing essays, Wikipedia:You don't need to cite that the sky is blue and Wikipedia:You do need to cite that the sky is blue and the nuance is that sometimes you do actually need to cite the obvious and sometimes you don't, and context (not policy) will tell you when. I think the OP made a good-faith clarification, but the Paris, France example is sufficient and unlikely to carry the cultural baggage that the "sky is blue" idiom just does at Wikipedia. --Jayron32 05:05, 17 February 2018 (UTC)
@Jayron32: Okay. I didn't really make the edit to clarify it though, it just seemed like the most sensible way to put WP:BLUESKY in there. Any suggestions to link BLUESKY, or should it not be linked at all in the policy? Or should BLUESKY be changed to FRENCHCAPITAL? Alexis Jazz (talk) 05:11, 17 February 2018 (UTC)
I don't think you should link anything there, the meaning of the sentence is plain and unambiguous and doesn't need further elaboration. --Jayron32 05:13, 17 February 2018 (UTC)
I wouldn’t link to WP:BLUESKY without also linking to WP:NOTBLUE. So best to not link either. Blueboar (talk) 10:56, 17 February 2018 (UTC)
Something else to consider... the reason why "The capitol of France is Paris" is a good example to use in the NOR policy isn't so much that the truth of the statement is obvious... but that (as a statement) it is extremely verifiable. There are literally thousands of sources that could be cited to support it. In other words, it is the fact that the statement isn't original research that is obvious. Now... "the sky is blue" is also quite verifiable (and thus is not OR)... but... the counter argument (that the sky isn't actually blue) is also quite verifiable. So it does not make for a good example to use in our NOR policy. Blueboar (talk) 13:13, 17 February 2018 (UTC)
  • I don't see the addition adding to the policy. In general, the shorter the policy, the better, and any addition that doesn't add context or explain the policy better is superfluous. Making it longer just to add a link WP:BLUE seems pointless since that information page isn't about original research, it is about citations for things that are obvious. Dennis Brown - 13:33, 17 February 2018 (UTC)
  • As for the proposal, I suppose it wasn't the best idea.
As for France, @Blueboar: I am starting to have some doubts. How would you source the fact that the capital of France is Paris? Sure, you could link some maps. But that's not exactly an authoritative source. You could link, that may be slightly better but still not the source. On the Paris article the statement "By the end of the 12th century, Paris had become the political, economic, religious, and cultural capital of France." is backed up by a 2010 city guide. Um. It seems to trace back to "Clovis the Frank, the first king of the Merovingian dynasty, made the city his capital from 508." which looks like an uncited fact. (although I suppose it'll be found in "Paris, des origines à Clovis" cited all the way at the end of the paragraph) I now actually do wonder what a proper source for the statement "The capital of France is Paris" would even look like. My best guess would be it's codified in law somewhere. I wouldn't mind if Wikipedia linked that law, even if only for historical purposes. Alexis Jazz (talk) 15:43, 19 February 2018 (UTC)
Alex... just about any modern atlas could be cited for “the capitol of France is Paris”... it is also mentioned in numerous encyclopedias, dictionaries, almanacs, newspaper articles, tourism guides... etc. etc. etc. this isn’t the kind of controversial fact where we would require a high end scholarly source (but if someone insisted, I am sure there are plenty that could be cited). Blueboar (talk) 18:30, 19 February 2018 (UTC)
How about a source for this statement: "There was no hurricane anywhere in Modesto California yesterday." North8000 (talk) 18:50, 19 February 2018 (UTC)
@North8000: You would probably use something like as a source for that, although that only proves it wasn't that windy. In general you can't prove a negative. A source for "The capital of France is Paris" could be given, but a source for "There is no God" can't be given. Have some tea. Alexis Jazz (talk) 19:27, 19 February 2018 (UTC)
@Alexis Jazz: But that would be O/R / synthesis to derive my statement from that  :-). My example was kind of whimsical, but we had a real life issue like that. An otherwise-RS made an error (or poor choice of words) and called a public figure something that was somewhat negative but obviously in error, so blatantly untrue that (like my hurricane example) that no source is going to cover to say the opposite and refute it. Some POV folks liked the obvious error and used wiki-policy to keep it in. North8000 (talk) 22:44, 19 February 2018 (UTC)
@North8000: Now I'm curious what exactly you are talking about. What is it? Alexis Jazz (talk) 01:34, 20 February 2018 (UTC)
@Alexis Jazz:It was a painful old dispute that was formative in my wiki thought process that I really don't want to go back to, but the statement was that Ron Paul (the guy advocating trade with Cuba) is an isolationist. I think the mis-statement came from him being a non-interventionist. I learned a few things from that. One is that even genuinely wp:"reliable" sources can be unreliable on a particular topic. The second is that sources don't cover implausible statements that practically nobody is making. Such as my hurricane statement. North8000 (talk) 11:51, 20 February 2018 (UTC)
@Blueboar: So citing another encyclopedia for a fact is acceptable? Did not know that. I won't insist on a source, but I wondered what it would look like. I mean, if we were to cite an atlas you could ask the atlas people "so how do you know?", you ask whoever they mention how they know and eventually you should arrive at some actual source. I wondered what that might be. Alexis Jazz (talk) 19:27, 19 February 2018 (UTC)
Well, a lot depends on the specific encyclopedia and the specific fact... but yes... just about any published general encyclopedia would be quite acceptable for verifying which cities are national/regional capitols. As for what the citation of an atlas might look like... it would look something like this:[1]
  1. ^ The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World (14th ed.). HarperCollins UK;. 2014. p. 23. ISBN 0007551401. 
(note: I don't have an actual copy of the Times Atlas in front of me, so I did make up the page number - just for the sake of giving an example... obviously if I were formatting an actual citation, in an actual article, I would take the time to look up the actual page to cite). Blueboar (talk) 20:41, 19 February 2018 (UTC)
Thanks for your answer and information on citing another encyclopedia. What I actually meant though with "what it would look like" was if you would ask the atlas people how they know, they point (for example) to the map makers and you ask them how they know, they point to some database and you ask the people who made that how they know.. And in the end I guess you will end up with a law or similar I think? And what does that law look like. For "The United States is a nation" for example, I think you'll end up with the United States Declaration of Independence. But I don't know what you would get for "The capital of France is Paris" and that's what I am curious about. Alexis Jazz (talk) 01:34, 20 February 2018 (UTC)
That would be a primary source, which policy says we should avoid when possible WP:PRIMARY. At the time, there wasn't universal acceptance that the Declaration of Independence established the United States as a nation, so it is not irrefutable. Some people might say it is the Constitution or some other document that established the United States as nation, and some might say that the Second Continental Congress had no legal right to declare independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain (the British certainly disputed it at the time). Thus we need WP:SECONDARY WP:RELIABLE sources to verify that the United States is a nation. As for Paris, I'm just not sure. What makes you think that Paris is the capital of France? Right now, the source in the Paris article is Le Parisien and, on the face of it, I can't consider that source to be completely impartial. Jack N. Stock (talk) 01:59, 20 February 2018 (UTC)
@Jacknstock: I can't thank you enough for your response. No seriously, I can't. The thanks system is broken. And you are absolutely right. I think Le Parisien is pulling our leg when they say Paris is the capital of France. Everybody knows Paris is in Denmark. Alexis Jazz (talk) 12:22, 20 February 2018 (UTC)
IMHO, this aversion to citing primary sources sometimes reaches a phobic & impractical extent. If one needs to cite an authority to state that the Athenians (& allies) defeated the Persians at Marathon, why not cite Herodotus directly instead of a secondary source? Those secondary sources will rely on Herodotus for that fact. (As for the consequences of this battle, yes a secondary source should be cited to substantiate an opinion.) As for an authoritative source proving that Paris is the capital of France, has anyone here considered there might be an administrative French law establishing just that? (Which one, I don't know. I would contact a French embassy for that fact. That is, unless anyone reading the article will get cooties because a primary source is being used.) -- llywrch (talk) 18:25, 6 March 2018 (UTC)

Just a reminder: You (the individual editor) should not revert anything unless you personally object to its actual content. Your objection can be quite minor, but it should be an objection that you actually hold. This is actually our formal policy on the subject of updating policies: "you should not remove any change solely on the grounds that there was no formal discussion indicating consensus for the change before it was made. Instead, you should give a substantive reason for challenging it and, if one hasn't already been started, open a discussion to identify the community's current views."

One of the reasons for this is if you revert something because of your guess that some other, hypothetical editor might object (or because you don't think that WP:NOTBURO should be a policy), then the BRD-based resolution process is going to be broken. Those conversations tend to go like this:

Bold editor: So why do you object to this change? How can I improve it?
Reverter: I don't.
Bold editor: So why the heck did you revert it?
Reverter: Aren't you supposed to get written permission first, before making a change?
Bold editor: Not according to WP:POLICY. Not according to WP:NOTBURO. Not even according to WP:CONSENSUS.
Reverter: Well, someone would probably object. I'm sure there's something in every change to a policy that would bother someone.
Bold editor: Well, nobody actually did object, did they?
Reverter: I dunno. But someone told me last year that I had to get consensus for my change, so you have to get consensus for yours.
Bold editor: <screams>

Let's not have that, okay? If you personally don't believe that a change makes a page worse, then please (please!) let the reverter be someone who actually does hold that POV. Then the bold editor actually has a chance at finding out what's wrong with the proposal. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:39, 24 February 2018 (UTC)

RfC: update to banning policy for repeat sockmasters[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
  • Summary--The proposed policy change has a near-unanimous consensus and the amendment to the policy is thus Approved.
  • Details--
    • It's snowing rampantly over here and given the advertisement of this discussion at multiple prominent venues, there does not seem to be much rationale in keeping this open for any longer span of time.
    • As to the finer nuances of the wording:-
      • The word de facto shalln't be introduced in the policy-write-up.
      • GreenGiant's slightly-tweaked wording also fits nicely.
    • There has been an idea to introduce a parameter at Template:Sockpuppeteer to identify banning under the purview of this policy-change.That may be tried out.
    • To re-iterate two salient themes of the discussion:--
      • The CU evidence must be publicly documented.
      • Socks tagged solely on basis of behavioural evidence will not be considered under the purview of this upgradation.
  • Signed by ~ Winged BladesGodric at 07:19, 9 March 2018 (UTC)

After being pointed out by Newyorkbrad at AN earlier that we might want to find a streamlined way to deal with community bans for repeated sockmasters to avoid what has become a recent trend of seeking formal bans for them at AN, I began workshopping some language with other users, and would like to propose the following additions be made to Wikipedia:Banning policy:

Editors who have been found to have engaged in sockpuppetry on at least two occasions after an initial indefinite block, for whatever reason, are considered de facto banned by the Wikipedia community. Publicly documented CheckUser evidence should typically be involved before a user is considered banned in this way. Users fitting this criteria are subject to the same unban conditions as users banned by community discussion.

Administrators should typically place a notice at Wikipedia:Administrators' Noticeboard alerting the community of such a ban as well as place Template:Banned user to the master's user page and add the user to any relevant Arbitration Committee sanctions enforcement list.

The terms of the proposal would make it so that after three indefinite blocks, a user is considered de facto banned under the banning policy. TonyBallioni (talk) 19:31, 20 February 2018 (UTC)

  • Comment – "this criteria" should be corrected to "this criterion", the correct singular. "Criteria" is plural. Dicklyon (talk) 05:34, 23 February 2018 (UTC)

RfC !votes[edit]

  • Support as proposer. Common sense alternative that codifies existing practice on unblocks in these scenarios, and will cut down on the threads at AN. The second paragraph being the standard form of enforcement, but distinct from the core of the proposal which in the first paragraph. TonyBallioni (talk) 19:31, 20 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support A return to the way it used to be. This used to be codified into policy years ago, something to the effect of "Any user which no admin would unblock is considered de facto banned, and subject to the same restrictions as any banned user". Somewhere along the line, the common sense of that thinking was replaced by stupid worthless bureaucracy. It's time we returned to the notion that we don't have to vote on everything, if someone has been shown the door and can't stay away, they're just not welcome anymore. --Jayron32 19:38, 20 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support This will end the need for threads at AN and AN/I about these editors. MarnetteD|Talk 19:48, 20 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support - The AN/ANI threads like this are ridiculous and only serve to give recognition to the trolls. Anyone who is socking to the point of being blocked on sight doesn't need a community discussion for us to know that they shouldn't be here. -- Ajraddatz (talk) 20:29, 20 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support GMGtalk 20:31, 20 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment I would support if that second paragraph were removed. You want administrators to notify the community via AN whenever an editor is found to have engaged in sockpuppetry twice? That wouldn't reduce the number of ban threads, it would greatly increase them. Sro23 (talk) 20:57, 20 February 2018 (UTC)
    • Sro23, it depends on the situation, this was seen as a positive during the brainstorming as a way to keep accountability up. Obviously DENY is in play here, and the second paragraph was tweaked because of that. Looking over the AN threads, the comments I received on my draft of this, and other comments I received off-wiki, people prefer that there be some accountablility here, and that the tagging here fall under admin accountability, even if it is mainly clerical.
      I thought of this earlier today, and I think in practice the implementation would be somewhat like the requirement to notify for ECP or AN/RFC: a transcluded subpage could exist that archived quickly, but allowed for more public viewing of actions here. I don't think this is something that would be necessary for the random trolls and copyvio people who have made less than 100 edits, but would be something we want for vested contributors who later turn out to be sockmasters in order to promote transparency.
      As I said during the drafting, a lot of these concerns are about specifics of implementation that can be dealt with on a more practical level after the RfC by bold edits. The feedback I got was that people wanted a streamlined system that was also accountable. I think this is the best way to accomplish both of those goals, and think that there are ways to address your concerns. TonyBallioni (talk) 21:08, 20 February 2018 (UTC)
    • The WP:AN thread would consist of "I blocked XXXX the sockpuppet of YYYY and put a banned tag on YYYY's page as this is the 3rd instance of socking by this indef blocked editor. Putting here in case anyone wants to review." That is about it. It won't be a long drawn out discussion. Maybe a few editors will say "looks good", or if I have screwed up, they will say so. Tagging like this should be an admin only thing, and subject to WP:ADMINACCT, thus we need reporting. Dennis Brown - 13:48, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support per the clarification below and subject to it only applying once enacted and not retrospectively. Mjroots (talk) 21:22, 20 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support per Jayron and applying a sudden outbreak of common sense. And I'd rather see a dozen "Notification" threads then yet another "Let's discuss this but we all know how it's going to happen and then hopefully there will be a snarky close which I will chuckle at" thread. ~ Amory (utc) 21:24, 20 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support would reduce the number of pointless noticeboard discussions. Hut 8.5 22:16, 20 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support: Much faster process than opening a discussion at AN or ANI. — MRD2014 Talk 00:47, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support Considering TonyBallioni's reply to my question below.--Jetstreamer Talk 00:56, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support, but suggest using a parameter in Template:Sockpuppeteer to indicate banned status, rather than slapping around separate templates. GABgab 02:35, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support. Time to stop wasting time with these people. ♠PMC(talk) 04:57, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support The latest 3 or so banning discussions on AN proved that something like this is long overdue, because the pile on support is just symbolic since no reasonable editor can argue against enacting such ban on prolific socks and recidivist vandals (cf. Dysklyver speedily closed ban discussion). I also agree with GAB's suggestion, to add parameter to {{Sockpuppeteer}} to indicate this kind of auto-ban. The traditional {{banned}} then can still be used where the discussion did indeed take place, since this proposal is not proposing abolishment of ban discussions completely. –Ammarpad (talk) 06:33, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support Avoids the ANI thread of horror. !dave 06:51, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support It will save a lot of time and frustration. How to deal with articles started by those sockpuppeteers and sockpuppets? The Banner talk 11:07, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support - time the process was streamlined. Not that banning will stop the socking - like it didn't with Kumioko's WMF ban (Ha! I actually met that guy) - but it will be easier to close the SPIs they cause and range block them. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 11:13, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support - This solves a couple of problems, including the perpetual AN ban discussions for editors who are already banned, as well as answering the question about automatically reverting edits of their socks. Rarely do we really need a de jure ban discussion for prolific sockmasters, so this would reduce the paperwork for what is always blindingly obvious. Dennis Brown - 13:39, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support - This sounds reasonable and will hopefully free up admin attention to other priority topics. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 14:55, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support - Each time a thread is started we're essentially giving recognition to the trolls/socks, Doing it this way is not only quicker but also we're pretty much DENYING any sort of recognition, 110% support. –Davey2010Talk 16:41, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support per nom and pretty much everything written above. -Ad Orientem (talk) 16:47, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support for the reasons given above. These come up more than occasionally at Category:Requests for unblock and I believe this proposal will help clarify such cases. I don't particularly see a need to post a nice at WP:AN but I believe we expect such notices would be literally that, a notice where typically nobody needs to comment. So, fine, I can see the value. :) --Yamla (talk) 18:11, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment I have been myself treating a couple of sockmasters that they are "on verge of getting sitebanned".[5][6] This proposal will make things easier but I disagree with "CheckUser evidence should typically be involved". Banned editors like Colton Cosmic have been socking with IP [7] and CheckUser won't help you there. D4iNa4 (talk) 18:26, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose. If CU evidence is involved, they should be CU blocked, not community banned. Note that any such community ban would be appealable to ArbCom, as private information (CU evidence) would be involved. ~ Rob13Talk 18:32, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
No, BU Rob13, CU don't make policy, they just provide us with the information we need to help us in our decisions to block and/or ban. A 'CU block' is only where private information, such as linking a name to an IP is not allowed, but in many banning cases, the socks have already done that for themselves. And of course, try as they may, Arbcom do not make policy either - they implement it. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 00:09, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
I don't care at all about that, obviously. It doesn't change ArbCom's workflow at all. It does make it impossible for individual CUs to lift blocks on long-term sockmasters without community consultation, but they don't do that anyway. What I do care about is that now almost every CU block ArbCom reviews will also (technically) be a community ban. That's going to cause drama that no-one really wants to deal with. ~ Rob13Talk 02:12, 27 February 2018 (UTC)
Neither group makes policy, but the existing blocking policy allows CheckUsers to make any block based on CU data a CU block. The data they based the block upon is the private information you reference. The Arbitration Policy allows ArbCom to review the appeal of any block or banned user. We choose not to review community bans except in the presence of private information. As noted earlier, CU data is always private information, so any block or ban based on CU data can be appealed to ArbCom. ~ Rob13Talk 01:34, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
I raised the option of making CU blocks effectively bans in an earlier discussion. The RFC takes nothing away from existing CU blocks that involve private date, but is for removing the unnecessary bureaucracy of ban discussions on publicly known sockmasters where a CU Admin has confirmed that 2, or more, accounts are linked. Mixing CU blocks involving private information with this discussion muddies the waters. Blackmane (talk) 03:43, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
@Blackmane: The point of a community ban is to force community review before the editor is unblocked. That is the only purpose of a ban, since our policy treats banned and blocked editors otherwise the same. In the case of CU blocks, those blocks can't be lifted by the community, and so a community ban is pointless. Note that individual CheckUsers essentially never lift CU blocks for reasons other than mistakes; they just let ArbCom handle it. ~ Rob13Talk 16:59, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
Not entirely true: ArbCom does have the capacity to review CU blocks and bans involving private information, nothing would change that. ArbCom already might be involved in the reviews of every CU block that is also reviewed by the community: nothing here would change that either.
You are wrong, however, in saying that it is not normal for the community to review CU blocks. It is relatively standard for a blocked user to make an unblock request via UTRS or even on their talk page, a CU to review it, post results, and then it be brought to the community for discussion. These are all examples of CheckUser blocks reviewed by the community: [8], [9], [10], [11], [12]. This addition has no impact on the ability of ArbCom to review a CheckUser block. What it does do, however, is require that in situations where a user has block evaded multiple times, that short of an appeal to ArbCom, they must have community review.
If this is already standard procedure for non-ArbCom reviewed CU blocks, then all we are doing is codifying it, which is a good thing as it makes sure these reviews are consistent. If it is not already the standard procedure, then it is also something that the community clearly wants as this has near unanimous support. Nothing here impacts ArbCom's abilities to review blocks. All it does from an unblocking angle is make procedures clearer for CUs and admins who are dealing with requests made on user talk pages or via UTRS. If what you say is true that all CU unblock reviews should be handled by ArbCom and people see this as an making it harder to be unblocked short of a direct appeal to ArbCom, then it would also be good for you as it would encourage them to make an appeal there. TonyBallioni (talk) 23:50, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
@BU Rob13: The purpose of the RFC iss to define the practice around editors being indefinitely blocked, but not by a CU. If a CU comes along and makes the call to levy a CU block, that changes the block conditions to those governed by the CU block policy, and would be at the discretion of the CU admin. This RFC has no impact on that. What is being set up here is a process whereby editors who are indefinitely blocked by non-CU admins and who have been caught socking, with the assistance of a CU admin, are considered banned, but not as a CU levied block. The block would remain a non-CU indefinite block just that the conditions around that block would now fall under the banning policy. I'm not sure where the confusion is. Blackmane (talk) 03:17, 23 February 2018 (UTC)
For clarity, CU blocks would fall under this, but the ability of ArbCom to review them would not be impacted. This simply cuts down on the pointless ban discussions and sets a procedure for when a user has not specifically appealed to ArbCom, but has appealed on their talk or via UTRS (which any search of the AN archives shows is not out of the ordinary.) TonyBallioni (talk) 03:37, 23 February 2018 (UTC)
Cuts down on the discussions by initiating a discussion for every single editor blocked twice for socking? This will increase discussions, given the reporting requirement at AN. I'll reiterate that CU blocks should be used if CU evidence conclusively proves socking. Given the requirement for "publicly documented CheckUser evidence" before implementing a ban of this type, that's your whole use case. ~ Rob13Talk 03:39, 25 February 2018 (UTC)
@BU Rob13: there is no requirement to report the ban at AN (and I can see reasons not to). This is about the basics - anyone who is caught twice socking while being indef blocked is deemed community banned. Full stop. No discussion needed, no tagging needed - that is the plain mathematical outcome. Three strikes and you are out. Whoever wants to do the tagging/reporting/recording is fine, but if the sockmaster repents and tries to request an unblock, then the administrator that is considering to pull the trigger should be aware, even if the editor was not tagged, that they are actually community banned (and there may be reasons to actually not make it public (deny the trophy), as there may be reasons to actually hold a community discussion even though this policy applies (award the trophy)). And although CU blocks technically fall under this, 'Publicly documented CheckUser evidence should typically be involved' (my bolding) leaves the possibility open for clear WP:DUCK cases where there is no true CU evidence (needed). If someone returns as a mallard, as a ringed teal, as a common scoter, as a golden cascade, ánd as a hook bill, they are still definitely socking more than two times - and hence would be considered community banned, and a discussion on WP:AN would have the same effect as that: the regular consensus to consider the editor community blocked (and hence would need community consensus or ArbCom to get unblocked). --Dirk Beetstra T C 10:16, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Support Seems like a sensible way of streamlining the process. --Malcolmxl5 (talk) 20:03, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support — Per nomination, and other support votes, would greatly streamline the process.
    Regards, SshibumXZ (Talk) (Contributions). 20:42, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support – I've never really understood the need to request a community ban for these kinds of editors. The administrative state of affairs changes only marginally, if at all, before and after the decision to ban. As this proposal is designed to cut back on such proposals at the admin noticeboards, I suppose I support this in principle, though I'm not sure whether even Template:Banned user is necessary per WP:DENY. Mz7 (talk) 21:03, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support I cannot understand BU Rob13's opposition (as in, I'm reading his words but can't make out the meaning). Anything that closes the door on ne'er-do-wells is a good thing, private information be damned. Chris Troutman (talk) 02:04, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
    • @Chris troutman: I'm saying that CU blocks already close the door. You're building a second door and then shutting that one. If the original door were to open, the fact the new door is closed would be irrelevant. Perhaps I'm straining the analogy, but I think it actually works fairly well; if ArbCom accepted an appeal of a CU block, we would also lift the community ban. This is adding a bunch of process wonkery that is completely irrelevant to any end results. It has no effect but to increase bureaucracy, make a bunch of pointless threads at AN, and waste the time of editors who could do good elsewhere. ~ Rob13Talk 17:02, 22 February 2018 (UTC) Fixing ping: Chris troutman ~ Rob13Talk 17:03, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
BU Rob13, this is beginning to divert from the essence of the proposal. As I read it, the RfC not intended to endanger the 'power' vested in you (or others) in giving you the CU bit or you being an Arbcom member. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 18:34, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support As I was involved in a small way with the drafting of the RFC, my support is obvious. Blackmane (talk) 03:45, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support - I'm one of those editors who almost always !votes in favor of a formal ban for such editors, feeling that an understood de facto ban was just not enough, and a formal ban give a little more protection to those deleting the contributions of those editors. I'm happier with this, although I don't think the phrase "de facto" needs to be in there, as what is being proposed is essentially a formal ban under X circumstances. Nevertheless, I support this, as the formalization of a de facto ban in policy makes it a formal ban, and therfore no longer de facto. (I hope that wascomprehensible.) Beyond My Ken (talk) 05:13, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
    @Beyond My Ken: Perhaps I understand you. "De facto" should not be in this proposal and should be removed now. Because what usually happens is that a repeat sockpuppeteer (Like Dysklever example above) is usually de facto banned once they accumulate like 2-3 entries at SPI and that's why discussion to turn the ban into de jure is usually closed speedily as enacted. Now if this proposal passes, then it will effectively triggers de jure ban automatically at second instance of socking which is as effective as any ban enacted after AN discussion. Therefore since ban enacted after AN discussion is not de facto but formal this one too is not de facto but formal. But if the proposer is aware of this and still meant it to be de facto then still we need to discuss the real formal ban at AN. And from the impressions of everyone above and the intent of the proposal (as I understand it) is to stop the needless and largely symbolic ban discussions at AN which are time waste and even dignifying to the recidivist sockmasters whom we should WP:DENY. –Ammarpad (talk) 07:39, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
    @Beyond My Ken and Ammarpad: to borrow a line from BMK's talk page, this is a crowdsourced horse. I mainly drafted it and got feedback on certain points in order to craft language that I thought would be a consensus version that everyone could get behind when put to an RfC, even if they had minor quibbles. The de facto language was wanted by some because it made clear that there had not been a discussion. I don't think it necessary, but I also don't see the harm. The language is clear that WP:UNBAN applies to these cases, which is the only functional difference between an indef block and a ban. Because that is the case, the distinction between de jure and de facto ban is no existent in terms of actual impact. The only difference is whether a discussion has been held. TonyBallioni (talk) 14:19, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
    I can live with it, I was just pointing out a logical inconsistency. Better to have it than not. Beyond My Ken (talk) 00:56, 23 February 2018 (UTC)
    Agree too, it is an improvement, though not as I expected. So under the current system, a repeat sockpuppetter is usually seen by the community as banned both through despising their actions and how they respond in banning or unblocking discussion about them. But this practice is not codified and not written anywhere, and that's the essence of this proposal to codify and give written recognition to this accepted practice. –Ammarpad (talk) 06:40, 23 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support proposal in spite of believing its verbiage can be improved. It is sufficiently sound and no time limits prevent improvements from coming about later; over time.--John Cline (talk) 20:51, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support - The less long and useless threads, the better. RileyBugz私に叫ぼう私の編集 00:07, 23 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support with minor tweak. "De facto" means that it's not codified; that's like saying "When someone's found to have gotten three indef blocks for sockpuppetry, he's officially been unofficially banned." But the point of the proposal is great. Almost never do we need to have those ban discussions, because such users are almost guaranteed never to be unblocked without a long and careful discussion. And in the situations where we do need those discussions, it's because the user's somehow less obvious (e.g. making appeals on UTRS) and might get unblocked by someone not aware of the situation. Such users should never be unblocked without a discussion, so let's make it official that they are to be considered banned and that we can place a template indicating "banned user" onto the userpage, to ward off ignorant unblocks. Nyttend (talk) 05:02, 23 February 2018 (UTC)
    • I'm fine with the tweak removing de facto I think there has been enough feedback on that point here to suggest it isn't necessary, and the wording at the end about facing the same unban conditions as those banned by community discussion makes it clear that there wasn't a discussion. Also, agreed, on all your points. TonyBallioni (talk) 15:02, 28 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support wording and implementation can always be tweaked, but the idea is right - avoid unneeded ban discussions and show baby-sockmasters that they are sitting on the ejection seat. Agathoclea (talk) 15:19, 23 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Easy support Makes perfectly reasonable sense. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 11:50, 24 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support per TonyBallioni and further it saves time to avoid Ani discussions and clearly a way to steamline the process.Pharaoh of the Wizards (talk) 16:37, 24 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support I was actually thinking about this the other day; it makes it easier to go to sites like Fiverr, Upwork etc. and go "this user is indefinitely community banned on Wikipedia, please remove their paid editing services from your site". jcc (tea and biscuits) 19:11, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support. This strikes the right balance between protecting the project and allowing for mistakes by users acting in good faith. Thryduulf (talk) 13:03, 28 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support per Nyttend. --NeilN talk to me 14:57, 28 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Comments. I didn't know this existed until now, hence my belated comments. First, the language. Simpler: "Editors who have created two new socks after an initial indefinite ..." I don't know what exactly "publicly documented CheckUser evidence" means. I assume that a CU has to be involved in the blocking of the two new socks, but does the finding have to be confirmed or "technically indistinguishable"? Can it be likely? Possilikely? Seems fairly ambiguous to me and likely to lead to interpretation issues. Finally, there are two uses of "typically" in the language. Both strike me as weasely-problematic. When should a CU not be involved? When should admins not place a notice at AN?
  • Second, problems other than language. If the community decides to unban a sockmaster who was CU-blocked, at least one CU has to consent, and the community cannot "force" consent. Also, many cases are created where the master is stale from the outset. That means the puppets can never be connected technically to the master. How would that work with the CU requirement?--Bbb23 (talk) 15:20, 28 February 2018 (UTC)
  • A CU does not have to consent. A CU needs to be consulted to provide evidence that the blocked user has abided by WP:SO or whatever terms the community feels should have been met to qualify for being unblocked. Checkusers, like admins and ALL other users with advanced permissions, are servants of the community and do not hold power over the community. They have extra tools so they can be useful, they do not hold extra powers so they can override community decisions. --Jayron32 15:25, 28 February 2018 (UTC)
  • The community would first have to change policy. See WP:CUBL. Right now, the community cannot unblock a CU-blocked account without CU permission. Otherwise, all CU blocks would be subject to review by the community. Besides contravening policy, it also alters fairly long-standing practice. I have of course seen on a few occasions the community give advice, particularly in the case of WP:SO.--Bbb23 (talk) 16:10, 28 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Nope. That policy does not say that the community cannot override a checkuser. That policy says that a single administrator acting alone should not undo a checkuser block without first consulting with that checkuser. Nowhere does that policy grant checkusers the superpowers you say that it does. It also does not say that checkusers must consent to the unblock, merely that they are consulted. We do this all the time with WP:SO discussions. I can bring up a hundred such discussions at AN, where a blocked user requests an unblock claiming they have been good, someone pings a checkuser, the checkuser gives their input based on their CU tool, and then the community discusses unblocking. They don't need permission or consent to unblock. Just information the checkuser is able to give them. Again, you have stated something which is neither backed up by written policy or practice. If YOU want to give checkusers more power than the rest of the community, YOU'LL have to change that policy. Because that policy at once both confirms what I said, AND contradicts your assertion that the community is somehow beholden to the whims of a checkuser when they make decisions. --Jayron32 18:28, 28 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Bbb23, these are very good questions, and I'll try to answer them: Re: publicly documented CheckUser evidence, that just means that it has to be on-wiki and stated that the master is confirmed (or very likely). Admins should not go around putting banned templates on users just because they see a CU block template in a block log. Re: your unblocking concerns, nothing here would give the community the ability to undo a CU block. The language would require that someone who has block evaded twice and is seeking a SO go through community review after a CU has consented to an unblock.
    The most practical impact here outside of CU blocks would be for users that CU has confirmed or has come back as very {{likely}} for but the CU has not blocked and requested behavioral evaluation: these would not be CU blocks.
    The typically language re: AN would be for DENY situations, similar to tagging. I also anticipate that For cases such as mass use of throwaway accounts or the copyvio socks with less than 100 edits we frequently get there wouldn't be a community demand for it. What the language is intended to do is provide oversight of the process and allow comment if an admin has applied the policy wrong in situations where an unblock/unban is likely to be potentially controversial: users who have good faith somewhat significant contributions, are likely to make an unblock request, and where the community would like to be consulted before an unblock is made. This would also impact users who are indefinitely blocked before hand, are confirmed to be socking, but the indef is not converted to a CU block (different CUs have different practice on reblocking in these cases).
    In terms of the typically in front of CU evidence, the only situations I could think of would be ones like DisuseKid, where the master was stale, but they eventually admitted it and we had CU evidence to tie his other socking together. I think I answered all of your questions there, sorry if I missed any. TonyBallioni (talk) 16:36, 28 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Tony, thanks very much for your responses. The only two concerns I have left are probably in the minor category. First, it sounds like even if there are a bunch of accounts that are CU-blocked for socking and tagged, if there's no SPI, there's no "banning". Sounds a bit inconsistent with the intent of the policy change. Second, although your clarifications are great, it would be better to make changes to the wording so there's no ambiguity. At the same time, maybe it's only me being too picky, and I do understand that any substantive changes to the wording are problematic in terms of the previous voting, which has been going on for a while. As for wordsmithing tweaks, I think Green Giant's below are excellent.--Bbb23 (talk) 18:10, 28 February 2018 (UTC)
  • @TonyBallioni: read my comment above. I had also raised the issues with this proposal. I had also mentioned that there are banned editors who are using IP address for sock puppetry and CU won't help you there. This proposal can potentially encourage meat puppetry as well. I think you need to modify your proposal and just ping all involved editors after you have modified it. I am sure they will support it. Sock puppetry violations must fall under violation of WP:SOCK, not heavily depending on the circumstance that is "confirmed" abuse by CU. D4iNa4 (talk) 18:13, 28 February 2018 (UTC)
  • @Bbb23:I agree with your points, and think that they could probably be addressed with a footnote as to what publicly documented means (I would consider a CU tagging a master as confirmed ad public documentation as it is on-wiki, and was actually thinking of when I had seen you confirming masters in unblock declines when I used that wording. The point is to prevent admins from playing guessing games or tagging solely based on behavioral evidence)/ Same goes for wordsmithing and minor tweaks for clarity: that normally happens after a major policy RfC close to take into account the feedback from the discussion. As I mentioned to BMK above, I shopped this around to a lot of people to get a consensus version, and things written by committee tend to have clunky wording. I appreciate your feedback on this a lot.
    @D4iNa4: the point of this proposal isn't to document every type of user we want banned or even to necessarily discourage sockpuppetry. The people who it applies to are likely going to sock anyway. The purpose here is to clarify a current ambiguity in the unblock policy and to cut down on the pointless AN ban discussions for LTAs that have become a trend of late. I think the wording works fine for that, and the tweaks that we are talking about are pretty minor and can be worked out in practice. I don't see a need to change and reping everyone at this point. TonyBallioni (talk) 19:02, 28 February 2018 (UTC)
  • @TonyBallioni: Sounds right to me. Thanks for your patience!--Bbb23 (talk) 19:09, 28 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support but I would suggest tweaks of the wording (underlined and struck out solely for highlighting the changes):
Users who have been found to have engaged in sockpuppetry on at least two occasions after an initial indefinite block, for any reason, are considered effectively banned by the Wikipedia community. Publicly documented CheckUser evidence should typically be involved before a user is considered banned in this way. Users fitting this criteria are subject to the same unban conditions as users banned by community discussion.
Administrators should normally place a notice at the Wikipedia:Administrators' Noticeboard alerting the community of such a ban, as well as place Template:Banned user on the master's user page, and add the user to any relevant Arbitration Committee sanctions enforcement list.
Green Giant (talk) 17:15, 28 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support - Way back when I first started editing, this was standard practice. For repeat sockmasters with few if any positive contributions, you didn't need a formal ban discussion; you could just add a "banned user" template to their user page and be done with it. Sometimes the formalities are a waste of time. Kurtis (talk) 18:25, 28 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Looking above I know I'm probably swimming against the tide here.. I share some concerns about the wooly nature of the language being proposed ("found ... after an initial indefinite block...", "...CheckUser evidence..."). I am concerned that this imposes bureaucratic obligations on admins ("Administrators should typically place..."). However I am also concerned by the additional bureaucracy that a blocked user must be paraded in front of an admin noticeboard, before unblocking, where they will typically be condemned to wait "two years" or similar by a permanently angry mob. I prefer the previous situation that Jayron32, Kurtis and others mention above, that a user is banned unless an admin is willing to lift the block. Sometimes admins acting almost unilaterally, using their good judgment in line with policy, is a good thing. I have no problem with getting rid of the banning requests posted to admin noticeboards, but requiring discussions on the admin noticeboards either at the time the block or in order to unblock is not an improvement, IMO. -- zzuuzz (talk) 18:57, 28 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Pile on support. At the moment editors can go on socking until they lose enough patience of editors that we finally (after 20+ socks or so) get a rather useless formal AN banning discussion. If you want to return to editing, get your main account unblocked before we get this far. --Dirk Beetstra T C 08:30, 1 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Support the first paragraph per WP:DENY, not so much the bureaucracy creep in the second. Bishonen | talk 10:06, 1 March 2018 (UTC).
  • Support. -- Iazyges Consermonor Opus meum 03:28, 2 March 2018 (UTC)
  • (Summoned by bot) Support. Makes perfect sense. Bellezzasolo Discuss 11:14, 2 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Support: CU indefinitely block and/or even global lock is already banned for them, it is ridiculous and waste of time to give them the AN/ANI threads attention on the discussions, for unban as per WP:SO need to via their talk page and AN/ANI threads on the discussions, as IMO. SA 13 Bro (talk) 11:44, 2 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Support the principle. The wording is a little ambiguous here and there and I'll post a Q about this below. Ben MacDui 18:55, 2 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Support mainly for the WP:DENY factor. A discussion at a drama board for such cases is unlikely to be helpful, and the issue should be dealt with in a cool and semi-automated fashion. Johnuniq (talk) 21:56, 2 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Support This is a good idea: it will turn the longstanding convention of such editors essentially being de-facto banned into a more formal ban. Nick-D (talk) 22:04, 2 March 2018 (UTC)
  • 'Support Seems sensible, and not WP:CREEP when it merely strengthens existing practice. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 23:59, 2 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Support. Of course. - CorbieV 19:57, 3 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose Users like Slowking4 who have only evaded their block on good faith should not be considered "banned", and a block is a preventative measure, if an evading editor doesn't repeat the behaviour that lead to the block this is a punitive measure that doesn't help improve the encyclopedia. This entire proposal is punitive and only serves as instruction creep. --Donald Trung (No fake news (Articles Respect mobile users. 00:18, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
    • It is impossible to block evade in good faith, as this is explicitly against one of the strongest community consensuses, and ignoring it is essentially saying “Fuck you” to the community. TonyBallioni (talk) 00:34, 6 March 2018 (UTC)

RfC discussion[edit]

  • Question "The terms of the proposal would make it so that after three indefinite blocks, a user is considered de facto banned under the banning policy" - this applies only to sockmasters yes? If an editor had three indefs for other reasons, they would not fall foul of this, would they? Mjroots (talk) 21:16, 20 February 2018 (UTC)
    • Mjroots: No, they would not. That was my simplifying the wording to surmise the impact it would have re: socking and block evasion, not part of the actual proposal (which is in green). The simpler and more precise way of putting it would be: any user who socks twice after being indefinitely blocked is de facto banned. Thanks for the question. TonyBallioni (talk) 21:20, 20 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Question I'd tend to support, but why there should be two occasions after an indef block? Wouldn't it be enough with just one? Sockmasters are warned about their behaviour, especially after a CU.--Jetstreamer Talk 23:10, 20 February 2018 (UTC)
    • Jetstreamer, well for one, I don't think we could get consensus for de facto ban on the first occurrence of socking for block evasion, and so I wrote the proposal for what I thought would pass, but on top of that, we recognize that users fuck up. There are users like DrStrauss, who got CU blocked, and then tried to clean start, and got blocked again. He made a mistake, and I know for a fact that there are many admins and functionaries, and likely some ArbCom members who would probably be willing to unblock him after a CU gave the all clear without needing the whole ceremony of an AN appeal (and I say this as the editor who filed the SPI on him), and if you opened up a ban conversation on him now, it would likely fail at AN.
      Nothing in the proposal prohibits admins for taking blocks to AN for review, nor does it prohibit users from asking for a ban at AN if there circumstances that would warrant it before two occasions of using socks to block evade. It just sets a clear criteria for when the conversation isn't needed. TonyBallioni (talk) 00:08, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
    • Furthermore, in some cases users forget to log on and get blocked because it is believe they are socking. It's bit harsh to drop the banhammer in that case. Others may lose their password and create a new one account but neglect to create the link between the two. Various permutations on these sorts of things will happen, especially to new users. The proposal allows for some level of AGF. Blackmane (talk) 03:48, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment - while I support the merits of this proposal, I do believe that where it says "... to have engaged in sockpuppetry ...", sockpuppetry should be piped from Wikipedia:Sock puppetry#Inappropriate uses of alternative accounts as: "sockpuppetry", to remove any confusion as to whether or not Wikipedia:Sock puppetry#Legitimate uses are meant to be part of the cumulative threshold for banning; perhaps they are?--John Cline (talk) 06:09, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
    Can you come up with a single legitimate reason to use a sockpuppet to dodge a valid block? --Jayron32 13:39, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
    By definition, if you use a 2nd account for legitimate reasons, it isn't a sock puppet, it is an alternative account. The term sock puppet is only used (or should only be used) when describing the use of an alternative account for abusive purposes. No further explanation should be needed. Dennis Brown - 13:42, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
    yep, that is what i was going to say. nonissue. Jytdog (talk) 16:54, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
    No Jayron32, I can not. Was there something in my comment that led you to ask such a question? Dennis Brown If the term sock puppet should only be used to describe the use of an alternative account for abusive purposes, why does our policy on sock puppetry have an entire section on legitimate uses? I merely suggested, in light of the policy oxymoron, that the raw term has the potential of being confused whereas piping the term, as described, allayed that potential at the cost of added clarity. If it's a nonissue, it's a nonissue raised in good faith. I'll rest on that.--John Cline (talk) 18:16, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
    Yes, John. In a discussion about people using a second account to dodge a block on a first account, you brought up the point that are legitimate uses of second accounts. I was questioning the relevance of your point, since I have not, in 12ish years at Wikipedia, ever seen a situation where a person who was blocked on a first account ever had a legitimate excuse for then using a second account. So, I get that there ARE legitimate uses of second accounts. None of them are relevent to this discussion, which involves someone first being blocked, THEN using a second account, THEN being blocked again for that and THEN using yet ANOTHER account. I was struggling to understand a scenario where that qualified as, "any confusion" over "legitimate uses". --Jayron32 18:27, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
    Thank you Jayron32. I understand your dismay in the context described. I disagree, however, that such context ought be intuitively gleaned from the proposal as written. Found to have engaged in sockpuppetry on at least two occasions after an initial indefinite block does not unequivocally mean the engagement in sockpuppetry occurred while the indefinite block was active. It could as easily mean sockpuppetry that commenced after the initial indefinite block had been successfully appealed; I would argue that the ban provision is best served by allowing for both eventualities, as it is written. I assure you that if the proposal had said: found to have engaged in sockpuppetry on at least two occasions, circumventing an active block (or something similar) I'd not have commented as I did. Cheers.--John Cline (talk) 20:40, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
    Actually it seems to me John Cline has hit on an important point here. Isn't this policy only intended to cover editors who sock while indefed blocked? I mean if someone gets indefed and then is unblocked, and then later, perhaps much later, is socks twice for reasons unrelated to ban evasion is this policy intended to cover that? As worded it seems it does but I'm not sure if that's the intention. After all it excludes people who sock twice but have never been indefed. Nil Einne (talk) 00:00, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
    If someone block evades twice involving CU data, it is highly unlikely they will not be indef'd. This doesn't cover people who haven't been indef'd, as well, they aren't indef'd, so it makes no sense to go to unblocked to banned immediately. This is focused on block evasion after an indefinite block. TonyBallioni (talk) 00:08, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
    To follow on, Jayron32's reply also asserts, if I may paraphrase, that this proposal intends only to weigh on indefinitely blocked sockmasters who are subsequently indefed again for socking anew to evade their initial block, and then found evading sanctions once again from yet another sock still. While I believe this is the requisite criteria intended for triggering a ban under this proposal, you can not expect ambiguous verbiage like editors who have been found to have engaged in sockpuppetry on at least two occasions after an initial indefinite block to adequately convey that premise.
    Unless you expect users downstream to refer to this discussion for understanding, IIMO that the proposal's text ought to be reworked to reduce confusion and improve clarity. "At least two occasions" does not exclusively mean "two unique sock accounts", one account can certainly be found to have engaged in sockpuppetry on two distinct occasions and nothing currently written suggests the occasions (or sock accounts) must emerge sequentially, as given in Jayron's reply, with the first sock evading and being blocked before the second sock publishes its first evasive edit. Thank you all for considering my regards, or for ignoring them with civility and kind manners. I am beholden either way. Cheers.--John Cline (talk) 20:41, 22 February 2018 (UTC)

    @TonyBallioni: But that's precisely my point. The proposal may intend to cover only those situations, but it doesn't as worded. An indef as we all know (or should know), does not have to be permanent.

    For example, as worded if an editor is indefed, perhaps due to WP:competence as a 13 year old who shows behaviours not atypical of 13 year olds, and then 4 years later makes a standard offer request and is unblocked. And then 5 years later, with a clean block log since the standard offer, gets angry over something and gets blocked, foolishly socks in a very obvious fashion a single time and then stops and after their (we can presume extended) block expired comes back. And after another clean 8 year history they get angry and get blocked again and again foolishly sock again in an obvious fashion, they are basically community banned per this proposal.

    However there is a strong chance this user hasn't been indefed in 13 years (half their lives) in such a situation. So they're community banned without an indef block during the socking. And despite the fact they've actually been in good standing for a substantial portion of their editing history (or their lives). And their socking was 8 years apart, with nearly all of that time the user being in good standing. Our only saving grace here is that the proposal does say that CU evidence is normally needed and I imagine CUs will often not bother with either socking but that seems unnecessarily complicated. (Especially since you don't really have to change the story that much so that CUs may have been involved.)

    The proposal doesn't say the indef block has to be concurrent to the socking. Or that it has to be active. It just says the editor has to have been indefed before the socking. Even if we exclude cases where the indef is considered unjustified, I don't see how it's clear from the proposal that it excludes cases where the editor was rightfully indefed before, but is no longer indefed when the socking occurs.

    An indef block doesn't magically disappear when the block is removed. They indef block may no longer be active, but I'm fairly sure most people would agree that the editor was indefinitely blocked. (To give another example, if editor A is running for admin or whatever and another editor asks about their previous indef block and editor A says they were never indefed because they were unblocked after 4 years, editor A's RFA is liable to crash and burn.) I mean they don't have to have even been blocked during either socking incident. The only reason I included blocks in my example was because socking (i.e. abusively using multiple accounts) while not blocked tends to be worse.

    Nil Einne (talk) 12:48, 28 February 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I think we have to rely on admins who are dealing with SPI and unblock requests having common sense. The natural understanding would be that the indefinite block on the master account needs to still be active. TonyBallioni (talk) 13:43, 28 February 2018 (UTC)

It's not common sense that you're speaking of, it's specialized experience and knowledge. Or perhaps I haven't got a lick of common sense because I frankly can not comprehend the angst over saying what you mean. Why in the wiki-world would you prefer saying "on at least two occasions" if in fact you mean from at least two additional socks? Because the beautiful people will understand; really? I apologize for being a bit comely, and do regret commenting as I did. I should have just jumped on the bandwagon, and come across like I had common sense too. You won't read another stupid comment from me. Cheers.--John Cline (talk) 15:07, 28 February 2018 (UTC)
There was no intention of calling anyone stupid, it's just that most admins who handle unblock requests aren't going view it in a hyperliteral way. The reason for the choice of wording was because this isn't sock three times, it's indef+two occurrences block evasion. The first block does not need to be for socking, and the wording of two additional socks is problematic as it relies on the number of accounts, not the instances of it happening. TonyBallioni (talk) 19:05, 28 February 2018 (UTC)
And at the very top of that section, it points to the two main Categories for legitimate alternate accounts, and goes on to say why it ISN'T sock puppetry to use accounts for the following reasons, ie: "These accounts are not considered sockpuppets." (emphasis mine) So it couldn't be more plain. It is logical to explain what is (top section) and what isn't (bottom section) in the same article, since people throw the term "sock puppet" around. I go into greater detail in the essay Wikipedia:Dealing with sock puppets, which I started after working at SPI for a year. To call multiple accounts "socking" requires a showing of ABUSE. Dennis Brown - 18:23, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
Thank you Dennis Brown. I acquiesce to your expertise in this regard. Cheers.--John Cline (talk) 20:40, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Question: What do we mean by "CheckUser evidence should typically be involved"? Is it enough if it is involved at one stage in the process (in which case the ban could be enacted for a final infringment without CU involvement) or does it mean that CU evidence must be involved for every accusation of sockpuppetry? Or what? Apologies if this is dealt with somewhere above. Ben MacDui 18:55, 2 March 2018 (UTC)
    • @Ben MacDui:: this was brought up during the brainstorming. It is worded this way because SPIs don't always involve CU data every time. A frequent pattern is "Behavioral case #1, behavioral case #2, CU case on #3 to check for sleepers and an underlying range", where a CU may tie new socks to the ones in the original reports. I get a lot of the ambiguity concerns, but part of the reason for that is to try to allow admins and CUs a small bit of flexibility here in cases where WikiLawyering is going to be likely if there is ever an unblock appeal. TonyBallioni (talk) 00:38, 3 March 2018 (UTC)
      • @TonyBallioni: Thanks for your reply. I am aware that SPIs don't always involve CU data and what I am concerned about here is not so much wikilawyering by the mad and bad as the potential impact on an SPI behavioural investigation. Let's say an editor is indef blocked for non-socking behaviour some years ago. They return and are caught out by CU for some naughty but fairly minor socking infringment. Time passes, they make productive contributions and then are accused of having socked again but the clerks can't offer CU because one or other of the accounts is stale. Behavioural cases are sometimes not at all clear cut so I am assuming a possible advantage of the vague language is that if an admin finds this additional socking proven that they are at liberty to block, but not ban the editor on the grounds that "Administrators should typically place a notice..." does not mean that "Administrators are instructed to place a notice..." and that leeway exists in cases where the balance of the editors contributions might weigh against the likelihood but not certainty of socking abuse. (I can offer you an example of something like the above if you wish.) If this flexibility is intended then I am fully supportive. Ben MacDui 12:51, 3 March 2018 (UTC)
      • @TonyBallioni: I get the impression from the comment below by Dirk Beetstra that such flexibility is intended. On the other hand, if it isn't, I'd appreciate a reply. Ben MacDui 19:14, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
        • Sorry I missed this. Yes, flexibility is intended. We don't always need bureaucracy and while the clarity here is good for unambiguous cases, the principles in the banning policy that already exist In the event an indefinitely blocked editor has continued to be disruptive and no administrator is willing to unblock, they are considered de facto banned, this proposal, and IAR show cases where an administrator could use their judgement to determine that the conditions are met. I expect in these cases, if it is an established user, the notification at AN would be important for review. I hope that makes sense. TonyBallioni (talk) 19:18, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Question: What do we mean by "Publicly documented CheckUser evidence"? Doesn't WP:CHECKUSER say even if the user is committing abuse, personal information should if possible not be revealed? Hawkeye7 (discuss) 23:59, 2 March 2018 (UTC)
    • @Hawkeye7:: see my response to Bbb23 above. There was concern by some that this could lead to people going around banning users just by seeing a CU block and without the evidence presented on-wiki. Basically, a CheckUser should make a public connection between, via an SPI, by tagging a page, or confirming on a user talk or other public forum. It was worded as "publicly documented" to allow for it to include cases outside of SPIs (CUs will often comment at AN or on user talks if pinged for a block review). As I said to Bbb23, I think this can be handled via a footnote. TonyBallioni (talk) 00:38, 3 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Early Close? I think we are getting pretty close to the point where this could be closed w/o controversy given the extremely lopsided consensus and the fact that it has been open for over a week. I'm involved so I'm not going to do it, but I honestly see no realistic likelihood of a dramatic shift in consensus. -Ad Orientem (talk) 01:08, 4 March 2018 (UTC)

Question/test case[edit]

I would rather this stay open because I have some questions, specifically about needing CU results. For an example, see Category:Wikipedia sockpuppets of Masoom.bilal73. This sockpupeteer is extremely obvious. In short, they suck at block evasion, every one of these is a  It sounds like a duck quacking into a megaphone to me situation. That being the case, I’ve never bothered to CU them. So, they wouldn’t be banned even thought they’ve been blocked about 15 times under as many identities? Beeblebrox (talk) 21:46, 6 March 2018 (UTC)

  • They wouldn't be impacted by this, but briefly going over their unblock requests, I also find it very unlikely that any admin would ever consider unblocking or even taking an unblock request to AN as I haven't seen a half serious unblock request from them once. This isn't meant to outline every situation where someone should be banned, just a narrow set of circumstances where the community has decided that a ban conversation is not necessary. Dennis Brown was the one who proposed the CU requirement if I recall correctly, and it was meant to make this conservative so we don't have good faith editors subject to unban requests based solely on one admin's behavioral judgement call.
    Consider the scenario of an indef'd user who does not block evade, but has two socks blocked solely on behavioral evidence: this could reasonably be addressed in an on-wiki unblock or UTRS appeal without the need to go to AN, especially if there was evidence against socking that UTRS would be better to handle than AN. The CU part is a bit of a safety net in those cases. Reasonably where this makes the most practical difference (other than cutting down on the AN discussions) is for the users who have been blocked with a mix of good and disruptive contributions, and continue to block evade. This would require an unblock discussion in addition to consulting with a CU, which is already common practice, but just formalizing that. TonyBallioni (talk) 22:17, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
I should have explicitly mentioned this as well: to be clear, I am definently in favor of the overall concept and the idea behind it, ending unecessary ban discussions. I’m just not wholly convinced that CU needs to be involved every time. Beeblebrox (talk) 00:45, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
Yeah, I get that, and it's something I struggled with when drafting and taking feedback into account. Like I said to Bbb23 above, I think there are some cases like DisuseKid or others where we don't necessarily need a CU on the original master, and this is why the wording is a bit fuzzy (and requires posting to AN for review). I was trying for a step forward that could get very broad consensus rather than a controversial but might pass proposal. I agree there could be tweaks as we get more experience with it, but think this is a step in the right direction. TonyBallioni (talk) 00:51, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
And I would argue that is the function of the word 'typical' in the description. I would say that if we would bring this editor to AN for a CBAN discussion, the !vote would likely be just as anonymous as for any other where there is proper technical evidence to link the editors (and CUs sometimes don't have technical evidence, but go for the same duck-test), and that we would want to avoid said AN discussion. I don't think that we should hook the proposal too strict to checkuser evidence. I would consider that any editor who gets an indef block, and then evidently socks two times in evasion of their initial block are plainly CBANned. I would however imagine that on weaker ducks the number of socks would possibly increase, to the discretion of the tagging admin. --Dirk Beetstra T C 09:48, 7 March 2018 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

RfC: Coverage of mass shootings in firearms articles[edit]

Should articles about firearms include information about mass shootings?–dlthewave 17:11, 21 February 2018 (UTC)


After several recent mass shooting events, edit warring has taken place over whether or not an article about a specific firearm model should cover the weapon's use in mass shootings. This has been centered around various AR-15 style rifles, but the argument could apply to any firearm used to commit a crime.

There is also disagreement over whether or not AR-15 style rifle should include information about the category's prevalence in mass shootings, which has received significant RS coverage.

Relevant WikiProject Firearms essay

"In order for a criminal use to be notable enough for inclusion in the article on the gun used, it must meet some criteria. For instance, legislation being passed as a result of the gun's usage (ex. ban on mail-order of firearms after use of the Carcano in JFK's assassination would qualify). Similarly, if its notoriety greatly increased (ex. the Intratec TEC-DC9 became infamous as a direct result of Columbine). As per WP:UNDUE, "Neutrality requires that each article or other page in the mainspace fairly represent all significant viewpoints that have been published by reliable sources, in proportion to the prominence of each viewpoint in the published, reliable sources.". Therefore, the addition of said information should be limited to a simple link in the "See also" section."

Relevant talk page discussions

The first three discussions were consolidated to Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Firearms#Use of AR-15 Style Rifles in Mass Shootings. The centralized discussion has developed significant support for an RfC outside of WikiProject Firearms.


Editors should be aware that there is some confusion surrounding the AR-15 name. "AR-15" is a trademark of Colt and technically only applies to the Colt AR-15. However, many manufacturers produce their own generic versions based on the same design, and these are often referred to as "AR-15" by the media and general public. Within Wikipedia, AR-15 style rifle covers the general category of weapons that use the AR-15 design. The article was recently moved from Modern sporting rifle and the two terms are used somewhat interchangeably. Efforts to reduce this confusion is outside the scope of this RfC.

Survey Questions

Two questions, pick one answer for each:

  • 1. Should an article about a specific firearm model include information about its use in mass shootings?
    • A. Do not include
    • B. Include links to notable shootings in the "See Also" section (Current WikiProject Firearms essay)
    • C. Include a paragraph-style section
    • D. Evaluate how much to include on a case-by-case basis
  • 2. Should AR-15 style rifle include information about the category's prevalence in mass shootings?
    • A. Do not include
    • B. Include only statistical data
    • C. Include a paragraph-style section
    • D. Discuss at Talk:AR-15 style rifle Option added 27 Feb 18

Straw-poll: Coverage of mass shootings in firearms articles[edit]

  • Situational: 1. C | 2. C - In the case of the AR-15, I am convinced that a neutral paragraph can be forged. These paragraphs should only be added if the school shooting in question has had an impact on the gun, or new regulations have been put forward as a result. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 17:19, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The current guidelines are sufficient. If a particular instance changes it, then we decide then. For example, the Douglas High shooting may, in fact, lead to legislative changes that result in the use being particularly notable. Currently, it has not. So the rush to make this change is premature. Slow down. Many editors I see trying to put this everywhere (dare I say spam it) seem to be more driven by something other than a desire for accuracy. And whether or not well-intentioned people incorrectly use the term AR15, using a Ruger AR-556 doesn't belong in the article about the Colt AR15. Niteshift36 (talk) 17:27, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Depends (1D and 2C). More specifically:
    Please ping me if anyone has any questions about my comments here; I won't be watching this discussion. ansh666 18:10, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
    (Changed 1C to 1D, since we're using that now. ansh666 03:14, 23 February 2018 (UTC))
  • 1C if indeed that coverage is there. (Impugning others' motives, not a good thing.) If someone holds up a bank with a gun of a certain type, or shoots their neighbor with it in some dispute, that's never going to deliver the coverage necessary: that coverage needs to specifically address the weapon, and political discussion about the weapon will help--et cetera. This is nothing new.2C but duh, we're going to need a bigger paragraph. And, as I indicated below, the Colt AR-15 article should already include a brief summary of what weapons based on it have been used for. Drmies (talk) 18:21, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
  • 1C/2C Assuming that sufficient reliable sources exist to craft NPOV text then Wikipedia needs to address the issues brought up by the sources. I would not consider lots of articles consisting of mere mentions that a given weapon/class of weapons were used to be 'sufficient' in this context. - Mere mentions in sources are sufficient for mentioning and linking the weapon/type from the event article but we should avoid back linking that would result in "this weapon was used in list of events" sections. Jbh Talk 18:31, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
    I guess this is the same as the 'D' options that are being discussed. What I am against is any wiki-project guideline that relegates reference to criminal acts to a 'See also' if there are sufficient, detailed sources to support more. I also am opposed to laundry lists of crimes being placed in the articles. In other words - follow the sources per Wikipedia's content policies, not per some wiki-project local consensus. Jbh Talk 15:04, 28 February 2018 (UTC)
  • 1 = A...2 = A Oppose addition of crime and mass shooting content --RAF910 (talk) 18:36, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
    Its no secret that guns are used in crimes and mass shootings though. If for example an AR-15 is modified due to an event then it would be notable enough for inclusion as an effect on how the gun is used going forward. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 18:40, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
    Yes..."Its no secret that guns are used in crimes and mass shootings though." In fact it's such common knowledge that there is absolutely no reason to even mention it in these articles. Like knives, we all know that they are used in crimes. In fact, world wide knives are the weapon of choice for criminals and killers, but we don't mention it in every knife article, do we.--RAF910 (talk) 19:32, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
    If a type of knife is modified or banned as a result of a deadly event then yes of course we would mention it per WP:N. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 21:59, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
    OK, since were going down the rabbit hole anyway...I recommend that this policy be applied to all knife, weapons, vehicle, aircraft, anaimal and anything else that could possibly be used to commit crimes and kill people pages. We can call it "WP:Murder, Death, Kill". for short--RAF910 (talk) 22:14, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
    We already do that... under aircraft types we have accidents and notable incidents, under car types we have recall mentions. The point is when people are killed and the killing device is changed to make improvements then it is noted. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 23:39, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
  • 1A 1D - 2B 2D - But it all depends, if a shooting took place and the specific model of AR used is important it should be mentioned on that models page. If it is general that an AR was used but the model is not mentioned or notable it should be on the AR-15 style rifle article. More specifically for individual models eg. Colt AR-15 and the like information should only be included if it lead to legislation or similar. An example would be Port Arthur massacre (Australia) where the Colt AR-15 was used and kicked off the legislation to ban guns. PackMecEng (talk) 18:49, 21 February 2018 (UTC) Updated vote to 1D & 2D after discussions PackMecEng (talk) 16:37, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
  • 1C iff the sources warrant it for the specific model, otherwise 1B, or at least a link the use of AR-15 style rifles in mass shootings (rather than individual shootings). 2C should most definitely be done. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 18:52, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
  • 1C and 2C. Especially 2C. The amount of coverage that the AR-15 has gotten in relation to mass shootings (whether rightly or wrongly) is way too extensive to ignore. It'd actually be a WP:NPOV and WP:DUE violation NOT to include it.Volunteer Marek (talk) 18:56, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose - any changes to the current policy (noted as "1B". This !vote is not based in any political ideology, (not "anti-gun" or "pro-gun") but simply the projects guidelines, such as WP:NPOV. If we start adding "paragraph-sized entries" to the articles of any firearm, or firearm type, brand or maker involved, these articles will quickly fill up with huge "mass-shooting and other related incidents" (or "Controversy") sections that will outweigh the remainder of the entire article. I'm not seeking to suppress this info in any way. These mass-shootings and other types of firearms-related incidents almost always have their own articles here already. Lengthy, detailed articles that always include extensive information about the firearm(s) used and links to the related pages of the firearm, it's type, brand and/or manufacturer. That is sufficient. (most of this I've already posted elsewhere, but I will add; there is nothing stopping anyone here from writing an article about "the use of "AR-15 style rifles" in mass-shootings", and linking it to every related article; mass-shootings and other related incidents, and articles about the firearms, related firearm types, brands and makers, etc. Just a thought. - theWOLFchild 19:13, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
  • 1A, 2A (usually) These events are not related to the specific gun models. If an event impact sales, regulation of the specific gun model, or variant gun design (as in TEC9) - then that would ge a reason to cover it in the model. We do not usually document individual use cases in weapon articles - it would become an unmanageable list for some.Icewhiz (talk) 19:29, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose as existing guidelines are sufficient, and this should be decided on the article talk page. We can't foresee every possibility, so to set a hard policy or guideline that dictates the content of an article is wrong minded. This is an issue of CONTENT, and guidelines shouldn't be getting this specific on what to include. That is what editors are for. Dennis Brown - 19:59, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Existing guidelines (1B) are sufficient. What will be notable a year from now is hardly discernible today. See: WP:CrystalBall. Meanwhile, we should not conflate all firearms. Besides, a decade ago, every rifle used criminally was an AK47. Even if it wasn't. Now, every rifle used criminally is an AR-15, even if it isn't. The Firearms Project guidelines are sufficient. And, when something becomes notable, then more than a mention becomes important. Miguel Escopeta (talk) 21:27, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
  • 1-D This seems like an obvious case-by-case basis and any hard rules are just going to create poor articles. Let the editors decide through talk page consensus whether it needs to be mentioned and how much to mention. As an aside the current guideline (1-B) is the worst option. See alsos should not be used to shoehorn links into articles. AIRcorn (talk) 21:54, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Generally opposed to making sweeping editorial decisions on an untold (and many as yet unwritten surely) number of articles. This should probably be decided on a case-by-case basis. GMGtalk 21:58, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Existing guidelines are sufficient. Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 22:47, 21 February 2018 (UTC) Clarify: General policies and guidelines, i.e. those unrelated to this specific topic area, are sufficient. - TransporterMan (TALK) 02:01, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment Currently, these decisions are not being made on a case-by-case basis. When attempts are made to add mass shooting information to an article, the WikiProject Firearms guideline essay is often cited as a "policy" that prohibits anything beyond a "See also" link. –dlthewave 23:11, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
  • The guideline needs to be looked at by the community then, remember that this isn't confined to just the United States in terms of English speaking scope. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 23:32, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose as I also feel the existing guidelines are sufficient. Springee (talk) 01:06, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
  • 1A, 2A per COATRACK. Please leave your politics on your end of the keyboard. Chris Troutman (talk) 02:06, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Exactly, and how do you reconcile disallowing a particular aspect of a subject irrespective of how much coverage that aspect receives with Wikipedia policy and guidelines. IAR "because politics"? — Rhododendrites talk \\ 06:27, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
  • 1C and 2C according to notability. Articles on firearms such as Carcano Rifle, AR-15, Röhm RG-14, etc. that have been used in significant crimes should WP:DUE-ly contain coverage of those crimes. (How is including a couple sentences about the crime - in an article about a type of weapon that was used in a famous crime - being "political"?????) - LuckyLouie (talk) 04:13, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
  • 1A, 2A. I agree with Chris Troutman. These articles should remain Apolitical.--Limpscash (talk) 05:17, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
  • The beauty of Wikipedia's policies and guidelines is that they are apolitical (actually, it's fraught to say that, so let's say they try to be apolitical). We cover a subject according to how reliable sources cover a subject, without imposing our own opinions (political or not) about what aspects of the subject must be covered or must not be covered. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 06:29, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose (1A/2A) - I am, personally, an extremely strong gun-control advocate, but I don't see where it serves any encyclopedic purpose to list in every firearm article what mass shootings it was used in. However, a specific article about "Mass shootings using X firearm" would be a different matter, and I would support the encyclopedic value of such articles, which would then reasonably be listed in the firearm article's "See also" section. Beyond My Ken (talk) 05:19, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
  • 1C/2C' - After further consideration, changing my vote. Beyond My Ken (talk) 01:31, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
  • 1A under the assumption the individual manufacturer's execution of the generic design did not impart any particular advantage or disadvantage in the event(s) described. & 2C If the rifle truly fits within the definition (given the potential problems of using a prototype designation to describe a forked spectrum of improvements which may not be evident to many writers focusing on casualties rather than causes.) The truly important part of the description would be why executioners have chosen this rifle as opposed to a different method of killing (vehicle ramming attack, fire, poison, pressure-cooker bombs, blades, arrows, clubs, etc.) or a different type of firearm (shotgun, handgun, machinegun, semi-automatic rifle, lever-action rifle, bolt-action rifle, pump-action rifle, mortar, etc.) The paragraph should focus on features (sales volume, distribution of ammunition, ease of concealment, weight, range, accuracy, cartridge energy, bullet design, magazine capacity, reloading method, etc.) making this firearm more effective than other firearms (or merely more available than more effective firearms) and the factors making the targets uniquely vulnerable to attack by firearms, as opposed to alternative killing methods, unless firearms are simply more widely portrayed in the popular press as the preferred method for mass killing. Since an appropriately meaningful description might be interpreted as a how-to article on mass murder, we might better keep the description in the event articles to avoid identifying inappropriate uses of inanimate objects. Thewellman (talk) 07:01, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
  • 1D - ????????????????? How is this not the !vote of every experienced editor in this thread? Coverage of aspects of a subject is based on the weight/prevalence of those aspects in the literature about the subject. Simply because a gun was used in a particular event doesn't mean it should be included. If a great deal of coverage of the subject/gun is about particular ways in which it has been used, that should be included. And everything in between. Both 1A and 1C (and to a lesser extent 1B) are blanket rules that have no connection with the rest of Wikipedia policies and guidelines. We don't ban a particular aspect of a subject when that aspect comprises a major amount of the subject's coverage, and we don't include specific instances of a subject['s use] just because they exist or because it's true. That it was used obviously doesn't need anything more than a mention, if that, but in some cases there's in-depth coverage of the particular weapon used, analysis of a weapon used in multiple attacks, etc. As such 2C is clear in that instance given the incredible amount of sourcing on that aspect of the subject, but that doesn't mean it should be included in all cases. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 06:17, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
  • To be clear, regarding "How is this not..", I see that some have objected to this RfC and/or expressed opinions along the lines of 1D -- I'm just surprised to see so many 1As in general, and 1Cs without heavy qualification (the sort that basically turns it into 1D). — Rhododendrites talk \\ 07:21, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
Because 1D effectively says "this whole debate must be repeated in every mass shooting talk page". This is a poor use of editors' time. Maproom (talk) 07:33, 24 February 2018 (UTC)
This is a debate about a general rule, not a specific instance. Each case needs to take the sourcing into account, and saying exclude vs. link vs. paragraph ahead of time is problematic. That said, to be clear, implied in my 1D is that sometimes it will call for 1C and sometimes it will call for 1A. I'm reading some of the 1C arguments, however, as perhaps operating under the assumption that if 1C is not selected, each individual case will be swarmed by people who don't acknowledge 1C is even a possibility. I don't have enough experience to know if that's true, but based on the fact that anyone at all has voted for 1A for a general rule lends some credibility to that idea. Still, I'm not going to build an assumption of bad faith into my !vote. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 23:49, 28 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose any prescriptive outcome of this RFC. Complete WP:UNDUE consolidation of ill-defined information used in an attempt to draw a conclusion via WP:SYNTHESIS or make some kind of political point. Who decides which incidents get listed? Why stop at the model of rifle... why not go to gun and make a section of all shooting deaths? Do you see the inherent absurdity that this proposal can be extrapolated to? I get that people are in the midst of a bit of hysteria on this topic, but wikipedia is not here to "right great wrongs". We're here to be informative, not influential. -- Netoholic @ 08:17, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
  • 1D I do not see why there must be a general guideline, nor why a project-based essay must be treated as such. Mass killings should be covered in a specific article if they are given significant mention in literature about that topic. That's all. Obviously, for a good many gun types, that means a paragraph; for a good many others, it means nothing at all. Vanamonde (talk) 08:47, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
    • I agree with Vanamonde. There should not be a specific rule at all, it is already covered under existing policy and guidelines such as WP:DUE and WP:RS. This is WP:CREEP, and could create a temptation to WP:BITE. Naturally, people will be curious about a firearm that is used in a mass shooting, and it seems reasonable that they will expect to see some mention in the article. If they don't see it, they might add it. If such an addition is not WP:UNDUE and is well-sourced, there's no reason to remove it. On the other hand, there's no need to impose a formula so that every firearm article has an identical prescribed section on its use in crime. How can we ignore all rules when there are so many of them? Jack N. Stock (talk) 09:07, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support 1 C - When RS coverage of the weapons used exists, it belongs in the article.E.M.Gregory (talk) 12:48, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose as I really do not see why this is relevant. It may well be verifiable, but seems to me we are making a special case with guns (after all do we do this with makes of knives or swords?). In fact I do not think (as I imply) that I do not see why this is ever relevant to a make of gun.Slatersteven (talk) 16:25, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
  • 1D, 2C this should be determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on the coverage and sourcing for particular weapons and particular incidents. In general, I think if many of the sources about the weapon draw attention to its use in an event then this should push towards including a brief description of the event in the article. On the other hand, if the only sources making the link are descriptions of the event that merely mention the type of gun used, then the event shouldn't be brought up in the gun model's article. In the case of AR-15 style rifles, I think the number of sources specifically about them and their use in mass shootings has probably reached the point where this connection should be mentioned in the article itself. Red Rock Canyon (talk) 16:48, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
  • 1C, 2C The fact that civilian access to AR-15 pattern rifles is politically controversial is just that, a fact. That controversy doesn't wash away when you spin off daughter articles dedicated to specific brands. The Colt AR-15, is clearly an AR-15, it's a progenitor of the design. Yet some are arguing that policy issues around AR-15s generally shouldn't be mentioned in the Colt AR-15 article if the sources never specify a brand. This is not NPOV. Geogene (talk) 17:08, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
  • 1A, 2C (with limited discretion on individual articles) We shouldn't mention that John Wesley Hardin or Billy the Kid used a .44 Colt, we shouldn't mention the Dirty Harry quote on .44 Magnum, and we shouldn't mention mass shooters on page about that specific brand of firearm. For lack of a better term, it's "negative promotion", and we should avoid it the same way we would avoid including normal promotion. I do feel it's absolutely necessary to talk about the general trend on AR-15 style rifle. power~enwiki (π, ν) 17:24, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Unless the incident had relevance to the gun (i.e. legislation, design changes, etc.), it is generally well-intentioned WP:Coatracky to gather individual criminal events in the gun article. According to Gun_violence_in_the_United_States, Approximately 1.4 million people have been killed using firearms in the U.S. between 1968 and 2011. Even if you try to limit it to events with 'major news coverage', it's just a permanently growing craplist. Just because the gun is important to the criminal-event topic doesn't mean the criminal-event is important to the gun topic. Alsee (talk) 22:46, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
  • 1D, 2C. AR-15 style rifle in fact redirects to modern sporting rifle. If the category is broad like that, then discussion of the use of modern sporting rifles in mass shootings is appropriate, as Assault weapon (but not Assault rifle, for good reason) contains political and legal information about the previous ban. The use of AR-15 style rifles in mass shootings is a subject gaining substantial RS coverage and it should be mentioned. For 1, however, I think the decision should be made on a case-by-case basis. For example, Charleston shooting mentions the Glock 41 but the Glock article does not. Carcano mentions the Kennedy assassination and probably always will. Roches (talk) 00:08, 23 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Do like everything else and require coverage in reliable secondary sources. Do the secondary sources deem a specific shooting an important incident in the history of the firearm? Remember that news reports are primary sources, and most journalists are not reliable sources for this subject: reliable secondary sources in this field are scholars publishing well after the fact and relying on primary sources like news reports. This will weed out the political/coatracky type stuff without excluding the occasional momentous incident. Nyttend (talk) 04:56, 23 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Please clarify "C. Include a paragraph-style section", do you mean a simple reference to each such crime in paragraph form such as is currently the the case in Modern sporting rifle or do you intend that a paragraph be added per crime, or somewhere in the middle? Cavalryman V31 (talk) 06:53, 23 February 2018 (UTC)
Dlthewave, as the nominator please can you clarify the above? Cavalryman V31 (talk) 11:17, 26 February 2018 (UTC).
The format used at AR-15 style rifle and SIG MCX is what I had in mind for most firearms: List the most notable shootings and briefly discuss legislative changes or other significant effects, with links to more in-depth coverage. However, AR-15 style rifle could include a longer Cultural Impact section similar to AK-47. –dlthewave 13:27, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
1C & 2D. A discussion about a specific page's content belongs on that page's talk page. Cavalryman V31 (talk) 14:26, 26 February 2018 (UTC).
  • Our existing polices are not broken and do not need fixing. The particular policy that applies here is WP:UNDUE, and this particular situation is described in WP:COATRACK. --Guy Macon (talk) 16:47, 23 February 2018 (UTC)
  • WRONGLY POSED QUESTION: There cannot be a general solution to this question, since the sources about the weapon in each case will have to determine whether the coverage of use in specific events is notable enough to include. It is completely wrong to seek to get a general across the board solution for this. Policy very clearly tells us that the SOURCES are what guides us in determining what is sufficiently relevant to include in the article. We do not need a general decision on this.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 16:46, 23 February 2018 (UTC)
  • 1D but the option feel for 2 is not there. In general, just because X was part of a crime does not necessarily make X notable, nor does it need to be the case to call out the crime on the article about X if it is already notable. X here can be anything - a firearm, a vehicle, software, whatever. However, if it is the case that X is specifically talked about after the crime where people are calling for legislation, regulation, or if the manufacturer takes steps specifically in response, etc. then the event can be named. A good example, Discord (software) was called out for harboring alt/far-right servers which were use to organize the "Unite the Right" rallys that became violent. In direct response, the developers affirmed new TOS and kicked out those servers. Same logic applied to guns. As for the second question, this is where we need sources that discuss broadly the number of crimes that the specific weapon has been linked to and if that has become a point of contention for the weapon. Just because the gun has been named as the weapon in numerous crimes, it is SYNTH to argue for a paragraph about that unless we have reliable secondary sources making that criticism about the gun. This is a case-by-case decision, and not listed among the options. --Masem (t) 16:57, 23 February 2018 (UTC)
  • 1C / 2C , based on existing guidelines. I would also recommend specifically rejecting the current WP:GUNS section on the topic which has been used in the past to specifically exclude such material from articles based on project-specific consensus, including in very notable cases. For example, the use of Colt AR-15 semi-automatic rifle in the Port Arthur massacre led to the enactment of the National Firearms Programme Implementation Act 1996. Under the present WP:GUNS content guide, this would only warrant a "See also" link. Other samples:
In contrast, here are two prior RfC which concluded with "Include":
I see such a project-specific consensus to be not conducive to building a neutral encyclopedia. K.e.coffman (talk) 08:11, 24 February 2018 (UTC)
  • In as much as this question has an answer, it's clearly 1D/2C, but it's rather disappointing that this is being presented as if it's some kind of overall question about inclusion of trivia, when actually it's all about trying to play down the role of assault weapons modern sporting rifles in mass shootings. That might be what the NRA want, but we are a neutral encyclopaedia and right now the main reason people are interested in that article is that it is the weapon of choice of American mass shootings. Which is to say: mass shootings, since almost all of them happen in America. If anyone is looking up the article on the AR15 right now it is almost certainly to answer the question: why is this weapon front and centre in the current debate over gun control in America. It's kind of hard to answer that question without discussing it, which is of course precisely why the NRA came up with its always-too-soon narrative on discussing gun control. We should have a policy page: Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not NewspeakGuy (Help!) 09:00, 24 February 2018 (UTC)
    • We must take care to avoid the narrative of the gun control lobby as well as the narrative of the NRA. For example, we know that some terrorists/mass murderers use guns, we know that some terrorists/mass murderers use bombs, and we know that some terrorists/mass murderers use trucks. Yet our article on Mercedes Benz doesn't mention the many times that brand of truck was used in an attack, and our article on Vehicle-ramming attack and our articles on individual vehicle-ramming attacks don't appear to mention what kind of truck was used. Nor do we ephasise what kind of explosive was used in the making of the bombs. Yes, some guns are better or worse choices for shooting up a school, but it is also true that some trucks are better or worse choices for plowing into a crowd. The ASR15 is front and center in the current debate over gun control in America because the gun control advocates want to make that particular weapon illegal even though other weapons are just as capable of being used in a school shooting (for example, a sawed off semi-automatic shotgun would be far more effective at such close ranges). If we are to be a neutral encyclopaedia, we should not let the pro-gun or anti-gun lobbies decide what the narrative is. --Guy Macon (talk) 09:37, 24 February 2018 (UTC)
      • I agree with all of this but would throw in a consideration of WP:RECENTISM. If just now the debate is above banning the ASR15 due only to the recent school shooting, it might be too soon to consider including it because of the nearness of the event. If in a month that debate is still going, then that issue has legs and inclusion is reasonable per Guy's logic related to UNDUE/WEIGHT and staying neutral. But if this debate evaporates in a few weeks, it might not be appropriate to include. On the other hand, if the ASR15 has a history of people wanting to ban it after shooting events like this, then its reasonable to discuss that as a whole. (I just had to do similar with video games after Trump's statement this week; games have been attributed in several past shootings including Sandy Hook - though here, no specific games, just the form in general). --Masem (t) 14:31, 24 February 2018 (UTC)
  • 1C or 1D (which probably amount to the same thing, because use in a mass shooting is likely to have attracted a lot of RS about the gun) and 2C. These articles are subject to the content policies like any other. Therefore, if a gun is used in a mass shooting and there is coverage in RS about the gun as a result of that, it belongs in the article, preferably in its own sub-section. If there's a lot of coverage it belongs in the lead too, per WP:LEAD: "It should ... summarize the most important points, including any prominent controversies." Wikipedia:WikiProject Firearms#Criminal use should be rewritten to reflect policy. SarahSV (talk) 19:08, 24 February 2018 (UTC)
  • 1C/1D I would surmise by extrapolation reading Derringer perma-link, and the prominent picture concerning its most famous killing. As for question 2, go to the article talk page where all the sources can be discussed and have consensus decide based on those. Alanscottwalker (talk) 19:52, 24 February 2018 (UTC)
  • 1C, 2C - we include exhaustive lists of notable incidents for aircraft, I don't see why notable incidents involving specific firearms should be treated any differently. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 12:16, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Case by case. The key point is how much was the specific model discussed by reliable sources in reference to the shooting. If reliable sources merely mention that shooter happened to use this model, but didn't go into detail, and imply it might as well have been any other of a dozen models, we probably do not want to mention it at all; they might as well mention the kind of car the shooter drove up in. If reliable sources say the impact that the shooting had on the company or sales of the model, we might want to have a sentence. If reliable sources state or imply that the specific item was an important factor in the event (like the bump stocks in the Las Vegas shooting), then we want a paragraph or more. --GRuban (talk) 17:06, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
  • 1C, 2C - Mass shootings are highly notable, and the weapons used are highly noteworthy. There may be rare exceptions to 1C, for example where a firearm is so generic and common (e.g. Glock n) or several firearms are involved, but some did not have a significant role in the shooting. Notably, some of these firearms articles read like product brochures and are overly-dependent on primary sources from the manufacturer. Adding information about how products are used (or misused) would tend to make the articles more well-rounded and compliant with WP:NPOV.- MrX 🖋 22:38, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
  • 1D, 2D Both depend and should be on a case by case basis. Emir of Wikipedia (talk) 22:51, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
  • 1D but that will often lead to 1C: If the weapon is an unremarkable part of mass shootings, and is indeed not remarked upon then lesser levels of coverage are warranted, but if RS either highlight the fact that the weapon is either a common part of said crimes, or an enabling factor in their commission, then we should have in-text coverage of that fact. With regard to the AR-15, 2C is probably the lower limit of coverage, given the abundant RS coverage of both the weapon's role in shootings, emerging coverage of effects of its shooting velocity on mortality, and the need to also cover legislative initiatives to control it specifically. In any case, the notion that societally important products should be discussed on Wikipedia primarily in the way they are sold, marketed, and collected, and not based on their larger social impact belies the purpose of a general encyclopedia.--Carwil (talk) 16:44, 28 February 2018 (UTC)
  • 1D, 2C Each should be evaluated on its own merits, but it's clearly justified in the AR-15 style rifle case.--Pharos (talk) 23:36, 28 February 2018 (UTC)
  • 1D, 2C There is no policy or guideline that constitutes a blanket ban or restriction on including this information. Even the oft-cited essay at Wikiproject Firearms includes a caveat: "In general, WikiProject Firearms goals are to work on improving the quality of project-tagged articles without imposing WikiProject Firearms guidelines as mandates." Inclusion and level of coverage should be considered on a true case-by-case basis, regardless of any local consensus that has formed at another article. Edit 3/3/2018: Additionally, Wikipedia:WikiProject Firearms#Criminal use should be changed to reflect the outcome of this RfC.
"AR-15 style rifle" would benefit from a Cultural Influence section similar to AK-47, as well as a mass Shootings section. This is a relatively undeveloped article with plenty of room to discuss its characteristics and the reasons for its popularity along with its use in mass shootings. If this is referred to as "America's rifle" and one of the "most beloved and most vilified rifles", not to mention its role as a "sporting" weapon, then surely there's a story to be told here. That said, our coverage of mass shootings should reflect the significant weight given by reliable sources. The prevalence of AR-15 style rifles in mass shootings has received significant coverage, and this is the appropriate place to include it. –dlthewave 01:42, 1 March 2018 (UTC)
  • 1D, 2C Generally, a case-by-case decision is preferred. In the specific case of the AR-15, I think there is definite cause to include it, with RS such as this NYT article clearly emphasizing that this gun in particular is a preferred weapon of mass shooters in the US. Regards SoWhy 11:24, 1 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Generally not - 1A, 2A, the existing guidance (and firearms essay shown above)seems generally sufficient. The article on any mass killing should list the weapons in the infobox as a key part of the event detail and how it happened. But it would be WP:OFFTOPIC at the weapon article as that is not information about the weapon and is not actually specific to the weapon where the killings could just as easily have taken place with some other make/model. Las Vegas used AR-15; Orlando used Sig-Sauer and Glock 17; Aurora used S&W, Remington shotgun, and Glock 22; Columbine used TEC-DC9, High-point carbine, and a couple of shotguns. The assault-gun ban was for features of weapons and not specific models. I could perhaps see the firearms essay being tweaked to add that if there is some unique feature about the weapon such that only it could have been used, or if the weapon is specifically singled out in a law just for that weapon then it should be mentioned. But to put in a mention at the weapons seems more advocacy than encyclopedic. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 04:40, 2 March 2018 (UTC)
  • 1A, 2A. The specific weapon used in a shooting is unimportant trivia. Go ahead and add it to the article on the shooting, but unless there is something very special about the weapon used (e.g. the shooter used a 3D printed gun because no other was available) there is no reason to keep a list of when the weapon was used. It could just as easily been substituted for any other gun. Natureium (talk) 15:42, 2 March 2018 (UTC)
  • 1D/2D - Anything other than a !vote for case by case decision is probably motivated by POV. (Invited randomly by a bot) Jojalozzo (talk) 03:14, 3 March 2018 (UTC)
  • 1C/2C. Various specific models or types of weapons have been characteristically used in specific types of crimes--not exclusively, but either as a usual element , or as what is in popular opinion --or popular imagination-- a usual element, just as in military service specific models or types are typically used for various purposes. The use of the model name cannot be understood by the reader without knowing such connotations. Guns are normally intended for use, and the use is part of any article about them. DGG ( talk ) 05:16, 3 March 2018 (UTC)
  • 1C/2C. This seems the most sensible solution to me. Guns are used in crimes may be "common knowledge" but actors act in movies is common knowledge too and we'd never have an objection to listing an actor's filmography, no matter how small the role. Step away from the whole gun argument. If some person, place, or thing, kept appearing on the national news for various incidents, would there be a strong argument for ignoring those incidents? The Boeing 757 article mentions it was one of the models used in the 9/11 attacks. It's not an indictment of the plane, it's not political. I think by the same token notable crimes where this gun is used should be included, in a neutral, but intellectually honest manner. — Preceding unsigned comment added by ForeverZero (talkcontribs) 09:20, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
  • 1C/2C. Special interest projects should not be able to dictate the tone of coverage for the entire encyclopedia. An encyclopedia article about anything, a toy, a gun, an appliance, a movie, should include the cultural and historical context or else it is just a Wikia fan page. Gamaliel (talk) 17:24, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
  • 1.C / 2.C, or as a second choice any other option but A, provided of course that reliable sources of sufficient depth exist for such content. The use of certain types of firearms in mass shootings (or other high-profile crimes) is an important element in what I understand to be the current discussion about gun regulation in the US, as covered by many reliable sources, and as such is part and parcel of a complete article about the topic. I see certain parallels to our policy WP:WAF concerning fiction: we want to cover our topics from the perspective of the real world, and not only from a "fan interest" / "in-universe" perspective. Sandstein 13:12, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
  • 1A / 2C. Rationale:
    1A per WP:NOT#INDISCRIMINATE, WP:NOT#ADVOCACY, WP:NPOV, WP:NOR, etc. The principal, obvious reason some people want to include this stuff on a per-model basis is anti-gun advocacy and to lead the reader to an opinion against the firearm in question. Shall we also include statistics on how frequently the model is used for hunting of particular game? How frequently it is used by private citizens to thwart crimes? How many police departments use it on a per jurisdiction basis? How frequently it is implicated in accidental injuries? How often it is used by suicides? (etc., etc.) If you answer is "no", then thank you for confirming that the mass-shootings thing is just PoV pushing. 1D could also work, but the answer is going to almost always come down to 1A anyway. Exceptions would be rare, e.g. the Uzi was the subject of intense public debate in and of itself, but this is quite rare.
    2C because we "teach the controversy": as a general (though poorly understood) class of firearm, there is noteworthy public policy debate, in multiple countries, about restrictions on AR-15s or even banning them entirely (though much of it is pointless and unrealistic – manufacturers would simply develop a similar modular platform; the appeal of the AR-15 is its modularity, its adaptability, which has nothing to do with "assaultness", an emotive nonsense concept made up by the anti-gun crowd to scare people).
    — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼 11:53, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
  • 1D 2C - It would be ridiculous to remove this information when there is so much press coverage and proposed legislation specifically mentioning certain gun types. However, including that a certain weapon was used by Charles Manson in the weapon's article seems like trivia to me, to just pull an example out of my butt. Nessie (talk) 15:03, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
  • 1C / 2C - A neutral, extremely well-sourced, SENTENCE has been forged and rejected with a spurious edit summary, and the deletion has been identified by an admin as tendentious editing. DS warnings have been issued. That edit should be restored.
Our existing policies are sufficient to deal with this matter, if the stonewalling on the article is broken by topic banning several tendentious editors. Otherwise it's a battle zone and time sink.
The lack of mention has already caught the attention of the media, to the embarrassment of Wikipedia:
False requirement: "These paragraphs should only be added if the school shooting in question has had an impact on the gun, or new regulations have been put forward" is not a policy-based requirement, but one created by Wikipedia:WikiProject Firearms, and as such has no legitimacy as it violates several policies. Tendentious editors have created that ad hoc rule. They have no right to use it in article space, and even thinking that way is wrong. -- BullRangifer (talk) PingMe 05:07, 16 March 2018 (UTC)
The Verge article and the NW article which simply says "The Verge said..." are simply poor articles. The Verge writer gets basic facts wrong and mischaracterizes many events and takes quotes out of context. The article's speak to the poor reporting standards of the author more than anything else. Springee (talk) 11:41, 16 March 2018 (UTC)
  • 1C / 2C - The discussion of the use of particular firearms in mass shootings is absolutely appropriate, as it speaks to their technical capabilities. For example, in the Las Vegas shooting, we learned a great deal about the characteristics of rifles when used in conjunction with bump stocks. Further, remember that future mass murderers rely upon Wikipedia too. If you remove information about mass shootings from firearms articles, how will they be able to make an informed choice of weaponry? Cinteotl (talk) 06:41, 16 March 2018 (UTC)
  • 1A/B and 2C - Pretty much WP:MNA. A lot of this content comes from recent events, and political opinions around gun control. So we don't have the gun control argument on every single gun talk page we should keep the bulk of the content on these incidents on articles dedicated to them, and at most post a link that directs us to the incident. The generalized article should only contain generalized information on the subject. --Kyohyi (talk) 13:58, 16 March 2018 (UTC)

poll update[edit]

Collapsed per request. Discussion has been moved to Wikipedia talk:Village pump (policy)#Firearms/Mass shootings RfC: Poll update discrepancies until discrepancies are resolved.

Threaded Discussion: Coverage of mass shootings in firearms articles[edit]

Just a quick question on item 1. Is it asking if information should be included on say the Colt AR-15 article even if it was not a Colt AR-15 used but another AR type rifle? PackMecEng (talk) 17:24, 21 February 2018 (UTC)

No, I would consider that to be a separate discussion –dlthewave 17:57, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
On second thought, I would consider that to be part of item 2.
  • It would be undue to include the complete list of murders and massacres committed with AR-15 type rifles. But it would be disingenuous to not have a single mention of the ubiquity of the AR-15 type rifle in the Colt AR-15 article. And the whole Kleenex/paper tissue argument is just a red herring: you can't have an AR-15 type rifle without the original AR-15; not mentioning it (prominently, in the lead, since it is that well-sourced and that important) does no service to the reader and is intellectually dishonest. We do not need to defend Colt, and including a neutrally written paragraph is no attack on Colt, who I am sure are well aware of this matter. It is our job to inform the reader about where these guns come from and what their relation is to the "original". Drmies (talk) 18:16, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
  • I just want to state for the record that I oppose the idea of putting a list of school shootings in the "See also" section for gun articles. The event in question either had an impact on the gun or it didn't. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 18:33, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Didn't we have this discussion at some time in the past? What was the results of that discussion? I'm sure there's an old RFC out there that was about this exact issue. If someone remembers it as well, and knows where to find it, reading it may give some insight into the existing community consensus on this. --Jayron32 18:54, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
That is a significant part of the problem here. Every now and then, a small groups of editors have discussions on various talk pages which often result in a "local consensus", that they then try to rely on when making edits to other pages. Edits that often come in conflict with the "local consensus" established by yet another small group from a different talk page. We need a one-time, centralized discussion with a solid community-wide consensus that can also be written into the guideline (or policy), so that going forward, we can actually rely on that guideline or policy, and not another local consensus cooked up by a yet another small group of editors. At least 3 such discussions started on 3 different pages. They were closed and directed to the talk page of the project that the articles fell under the scope of. There was a discussion going there, but suddenly, it seems we're having it here now. - theWOLFchild 19:38, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
@Jayron32: Here's a relevant RfC that was held on a Talk page of a firearm article: Talk:Ruger_Mini-14#Rfc:_Add_major_incidents_to_article?. The result was "Include". K.e.coffman (talk) 23:39, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
I recall that one, it was close. Here is another recent RfC. The result was exclude. The results were also close. [[13]]. Here is a related RfC about adding use in crimes to automotive pages. Interesting that since it was about automobiles instead of guns, the results were strongly against inclusion.[[14]] In that RfC, claims of censorship were made as were WP:NOTE. Both are effectively addressed by the idea that not everything has to go in every article. No material is being excluded as it appears in the articles about the topic. Springee (talk) 01:05, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
These two RfCs mentioned directly above (by K.e.coffman & Springee) completely validate my previous comments about conflicting local consensuses. Any group of 5 or 6 pro-gun guys can put together a pro-gun consensus on a particular issue on one page, while at the exact same time, 5 or 6 anti-gun guys can put together an anti-gun consensus on another page, about the same issue. This is one of the reasons we have projects, and the appalling lack of faith and baseless accusations of bias have basically negated the very project that covers this topic and now we're having debates all over the place. What's next? - theWOLFchild 01:54, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
  • If it wasn't a Colt AR-15 then no, it shouldn't be mentioned. We have a parent article about AR-15s (which seems to be changing names quite often) then we have this article about one particular model. If the crime didn't involve this model why would we even consider linking the two. It's like linking James Dean to the Mustang he didn't drive to his death. Springee (talk) 19:24, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
  • To me, trying to pin people down would go against our WP:Editing policy by imposing a global rule where it should depend on the circumstances and the consensus of editors. Thus I would stick with my original opposition. Dennis Brown - 00:23, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
  • @Masem: the reason question 2 doesn't have a "maybe" option is that it deals with only one article (which currently, but not for much longer, resides at modern sporting rifle). ansh666 02:25, 24 February 2018 (UTC)
  • If the information to be included in the generic firearm article doesn't describe the why as explained above, I would change my response to 2B since mere identification seems comparatively trivial. I am concerned about the preponderance of reliable sources treating mass murder as a macabre competition by describing events as a US record or annual record. Professional and amateur contenders are differentiated by exclusion of events like the My Lai Massacre and the Waco siege. Perhaps the next step will differentiate individual achievement from team participation events like the Columbine High School massacre or the 2015 San Bernardino attack. This competitive focus may encourage individuals with self-esteem issues to seek recognition by achieving a higher body count using similar methods. Thewellman (talk) 20:11, 24 February 2018 (UTC)
Why? Why do we discuss jello shots in Jell-o, it's something people do with it that RS talk about. Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:12, 24 February 2018 (UTC)
I don't understand the basis for comparison. I suppose we discuss jello shots in the Jell-o article because there does not appear to be a separate article for jello shots, while this discussion involves potential duplication in the event article and the firearm article. Thewellman (talk) 00:24, 25 February 2018 (UTC)
No. We also discuss jello shots in Gelatin dessert -- we discuss many (most?) things in more than one article because that's how encyclopedic topics work. And really, you don't understand, it's something people do with it that RS talk about. Alanscottwalker (talk) 00:41, 25 February 2018 (UTC)
Some may not understand the value of links to avoid a duplicated description at every mention of an unfamiliar term, and separated sources without Wikipedia's spectrum of information may require independent discussion because of a lack of linking options. I acknowledge the benefit of a separate description if sources describe firearm characteristics significant in the context of that event, but I consider a simple tabular link adequate if sources merely identify the firearm. Thewellman (talk) 22:39, 25 February 2018 (UTC)

  • FWIW I have closed an RfD on a number of AR-15-related redirects. ~ Amory (utc) 22:24, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
@Amorymeltzer: I think you meant to post this in the AR-15 discussion below. –dlthewave 21:29, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
Indeed. Moved. ~ Amory (utc) 21:38, 6 March 2018 (UTC)

Coverage of mass shootings: RfC wording & prior RfC[edit]

  • Comment -- I have concerns about the structure of this RfC and the language used, which can lead to misunderstandings. For example, [[Relevant WikiProject Firearms [[Wikipedia:WikiProject Firearms#Criminal use|guideline]] is presented as a guideline. This is, in fact, a project-specific essay and does not supersede actual policies and guidelines, such as WP:NPOV or WP:NOT. This language has been included in the RfC and several !votes (emphasis mine):
  1. B. Include links to notable shootings in the "See Also" section (Current WikiProject Firearms guideline) (language in the RfC)
  2. Oppose - any changes to the current policy (noted as "1B")
  3. Oppose. Existing guidelines (1B) are sufficient.
Some of the resulting votes are therefore subject to varying interpretations. For example:
  • Oppose: as existing guidelines are sufficient, and this should be decided on the article talk page.
this could be read as "Oppose, use WP:NPOV instead" or "Oppose, use WikiProject Firearms guideline" (I think it's the former, but if you look at vote #3 above, it's also an oppose based on a "guideline". ping @Dennis Brown: for clarification.
The selection of prior discussions also appears to be limited. I therefore suggest that:
a. the language in the RfC be changed to [[Relevant WikiProject Firearms [[Wikipedia:WikiProject Firearms#Criminal use|essay]] & "B. Include links to notable shootings in the "See Also" section (per Current WikiProject Firearms essay)"
b. this past page-specific RfC be added to the section on "Relevant talk page discussions": Talk:Ruger_Mini-14#Rfc:_Add_major_incidents_to_article? permalink. I believe that the RfC is relevant since it addressed the same question.
Ping @Dlthewave: as the author of the RfC to see if these two changes can be made. I don't think we should be conflating project-specific recommendations with community policies and guidelines. K.e.coffman (talk) 23:25, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
Thanks for the suggestion, I've made the requested changes. –dlthewave 23:53, 21 February 2018 (UTC)
So, after numerous editors have posted !votes with attached comments in the RfC straw-poll, the wording of the RfC is now going to be changed? wow... - theWOLFchild 01:59, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
    • I've already clarified above. This kind of hamstringing goes against WP:Editing policy, which is a policy. Let editors decide on a case by case basis. Twice I've been asked to explain, but my objection is much simpler than it is being made out to be. Dennis Brown - 02:31, 24 February 2018 (UTC)

Possible Wikipedia:Canvassing[edit]

K.e.coffman added this notice to the Wikipedia:Fringe theories/Noticeboard.

RfC notice: Coverage of mass shootings in firearms articles

An RfC relevant to this project has been opened at:

Interested editors are invited to participate. --K.e.coffman (talk) 01:23, 22 February 2018 (UTC)

Thanks, but... how does this relate to fringe theories, which are the focus of this noticeboard? Shock Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 01:25, 22 February 2018 (UTC)

I too wonder..."how does this relate to fringe theories, which are the focus of this noticeboard?"--RAF910 (talk) 02:16, 22 February 2018 (UTC)

@Shock Brigade Harvester Boris: I've been advised by a WikiProject Firearms member in this discussion that nothing stopping you from posting notifications on the "WP:NPOVN or WP:VP" talk pages, or anywhere else for that matter, to involve as much of the community as possible. I assume various noticeboards qualify as "as much community as possible". However, I'd be happy to remove the notice if there's a concern. K.e.coffman (talk) 02:24, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
No concern at all. My first thought was that there might be some kind of fringe/conspiracy angle to the RfC that I had missed. So I was a bit puzzled but now see that you simply were casting the net as wide as possible. In any event accusations of canvassing are off the mark. I can't see how participating at WP:FTN implies a view one way or the other on issues like gun control, or favored firearm brands, or anything else related to the RFC. Shock Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 02:36, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
I was the one that made that comment. That was of course, in support of having the discussion on the project talk page where it belongs in the first place, and where it had been moved to once already, (3 times actually), and where it had already begun, and where several editors had already contributed. I made that comment in response to your claims that editors from the Firearms Project were "biased" and that it wouldn't be possible to have a fair discussion there. But the discussion has since been moved (yet again) to this page, (though I'm not entirely sure why, possibly to quiet your concerns and accusations I suppose). So now that that the discussion (and RfC) is on "neutral ground", your multiple notifications are needless and indeed bordering on canvassing. You've also posted notices at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Crime and Criminal Biography and Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Death. Where else are you going to post notices? "WikiProject:Mothers Against Guns"? At what point could one be considered "getting carried away" with all this? - theWOLFchild 03:28, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
I have not participated at all in this little kerfluffle but it's hard to imagine those notifications as canvassing. Why would participants at either of those two projects be biased one way or the other on the subject of this RFC? Shock Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 04:22, 22 February 2018 (UTC)

If you suspect canvassing, you should follow the process at WP:CANVASS. Bring it up on the user's talk page and take it to ANI if it continues. This is not the appropriate place to discuss.–dlthewave 04:31, 22 February 2018 (UTC)

User:K.e.coffmans notice to the Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Crime and Criminal Biography is appropriate, because we are talking about crime. His notice to the Wikipedia talk:WikiProject United States seems reasonable, because this is a major issue in the U.S. right now. His notice to the Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Death is a stretch, but I can see it. His notice to the Wikipedia:Fringe theories/Noticeboard, I wonder about that one myself. Also, there’s nothing wrong with shining light on this matter here and asking involved editors for their opinions. That's what we're suppose do here.--Limpscash (talk) 05:51, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Posting to the Fringe and Paranormal noticeboards can be a form of canvassing. For example, Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/John Traynor (Royal Marine) was posted at Wikipedia:WikiProject Deletion sorting/Paranorma. Traynor was a Lourdes pilgrim, an ex-soldier from Liverpool crippled by a wound during WWI who announced that he had been miraculously cured at Lourdes in 1923, an era when pilgrimage to Lourdes was a mass phenomenon; a mainstream Catholic religious practice. The Traynor story turned out to be unusually well sourced; SIGCOV in both popular and academic books and in major newspapers ongoing for over a century. Yet when I began to clean up and source the page, I was assailed by accusations of "adding sources written by believers into the article that support fringe claims. This is a problem for WP:Fringe." Similar attacks on Young Earth creationism, a religious beliefs that is mainstream in some Muslim and Christian circles, but Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Is Genesis History?, about a film supporting Young Earth creationism, was posted at fringe. It is, of course, an "theory," with no support among scientists. The problem is that the debate was not an evaluation of notability. After it was posted at Fringe theories/Noticeboard, editors arrived who treated the AfD as a debate about ""A fringe subject... inside the creationist universe.", asserting that "The fact that it is a film promoting a fringe theory and not an article about the theory itself doesn't really change anything." which as closing editor said, shifted the discussion to the question of "do we apply the notability standards for fringe theories (which require sources independent from those associated with the theory), or for other subjects like films (which just require reliably sourced coverage independent from the subject itself, i.e., the film)?" As with the current AfD Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/The Spark: A Mother's Story of Nurturing Genius, the point of posting an article about a film, a book or a Lourdes pilgrim to the fringe or paranormal' boards appears to be to draw the attention of true believers who take up the cudgels, against Young Earth creationism, against ways of conceptualizing autism, against Lourdes water, against the lack of effective gun control. In other words, for a certain range of issues, posting at fringe and/or paranormal is effectively a type of canvassing that brings out holy warriors to join the crusade against... whatever is intensely disliked. They rush to articles posted at these boards and iVote delete without - as is very clear at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/The Spark: A Mother's Story of Nurturing Genius - arguing that editors should IGNORE ALL RULES, in comments that too often show that they have not read the policies or the sources that they cite. E.M.Gregory (talk) 11:11, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
In this case, however, the post at FTN was NOT canvassing. It was a simple notification, phrased in neutral language. Blueboar (talk) 11:34, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Posting on a noticeboard unconnected with the topic of the AfD can be a form of canvassing if the point of posting there is to attract a group of editors likely to share the posting editor's perspective. User:K.e.coffman has responded that there is no bar on posting to noticeboards, but has not explained his reasons for posting to this particular noticeboard, and, as I explain above, it such postings can skew discussions.E.M.Gregory (talk) 14:04, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
In order for requesting outside input to be canvassing, it has to be done with the intent to selectively recruit participants to sway the result one way. Maybe on some subjects simply alerting the fringe noticeboard could be canvassing, but I can't for the life of me guess what bias regulars on the fringe noticeboard would bring to this particular discussion. The topic is completely unrelated. That certainly makes the decision to request input there odd, but it was a completely neutral notification that the discussion exists. Unless you have an argument about how this particular instance constituted a deliberate attempt to fill the debate with anti-gun editors, calling it canvassing would really be assuming bad faith on K.e.coffman's part. Your argument amounts to: "It happened before, so it's also happening now. He hasn't explained himself, therefore he's clearly up to no good." Red Rock Canyon (talk) 20:32, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
I have been volunteering at the Fringe Theories Noticeboard for several years. Can someone please tell me what my political position should be, and what things I should "intensely dislike", because I didn't get any instruction in that regard. - LuckyLouie (talk) 23:35, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
I think you are expected to be against fringe weapons, and in favor of mainstream ones. So no mention of mass murders in any article about Tesla’s “death ray” (or even “Tesla style death rays”). ;) Blueboar (talk) 02:58, 23 February 2018 (UTC)

Page move request notice[edit]

User K.e.coffman has moved Modern sporting rifle to "AR-15 style rifle" without first seeking consensus. As a controversial and contested page move, made while related discussions were actively taking place (including here, hence this notice), the page has been moved back and a proper page move request has now been posted. Please see Talk:Modern sporting rifle#Requested move 22 February 2018 for more information, and if you wish to participate in the page move discussion. - theWOLFchild 03:03, 22 February 2018 (UTC)

@K.e.coffman: - You should take some time to cool down, this is the second thing I have seen you involved in here. Just hope the editing isn't getting to you is all. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 03:09, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
I agree this is a controversial move, as were the edits to change the article scope without consensus. These should be reverted pending a full consensus discussion. These are not the same topic; a sporting rifle is a rifle used for sporting. AR-15 is a specific firearm platform, used for sporting, hunting, defense, military, police, and other rifle types. Also "AR-15 style rifle" is ungrammatical (missing hyphen from compound modifier "AR-15-style"), but such a modifier is potentially confusing, since it has two different kinds of hyphens in it, the first being part of a model name. It also doesn't make any sense, and strongly implies to the reader "rifles styled to look like AR-15s but which are not". — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼 12:08, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
@SMcCandlish: This been discussed and resolved at Talk:AR-15 style rifle/Archive 1#Article Title. Consensus was to move to AR-15 style rifle. This is outside the scope of the RfC, so please bring any concerns to the article talk page. –dlthewave 16:13, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
If it's quite recently been argued over, I won't re-open it so soon. I suspect others will realize the rename was a bad idea and do a re-RM at some point anyway. — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼 22:29, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

Two Roads, One Path: COI Edit Request System vs. WP:AFC[edit]

Background information:

  • In 2011 the Pat O'Keefe article was created. The article concerns the life and times of a boxer who lived during the roaring twenties. The article was created by an editor who placed very general information upon it, such as the birthdate, name, etc. Very general claim statements. Over the years, the article never grew beyond a few sentences at most.
  • Fast forward to today, where a relative of the boxer (who has an announced and recognized COI) has written a brand new article (which I'll call the draft version). They would like this draft version to supercede the current article (which I'll call the LS, or long standing version). They have been using the COI edit request system in the attempt to place the information from the draft version into the LS version. I have two questions here:
  1. The LS version, since the day it was activated, has never undergone any kind of formal review process, such as WP:AFC. Its texts have never been examined in detail, nor has any other details, large and small, been vetted through the lense of the AFC process. With this new draft version, isn't now the best time to place this draft in front of that process, in order that it might receive all those benefits, carried out by editors experienced in the AFC process?
  2. Is submitting the draft version for COI edit requests an appropriate use of the COI system? I had thought that edit requests were to be actionable directives placed before the community in order to quicky review and approve information into already well established and functioning articles where a COI presence was indicated. It is rare for a COI edit request to involve the entire article. Is the proposal to re-write the article within the intended scope of the COI edit request system?

Thank you for your attention, and I look forward to reading your responses. Spintendo      19:13, 2 March 2018 (UTC)

  • As there is an existing article, it should not go through AfC. We would have to delete the existing article, and move over (which we won't do), or delete the existing article, and then undelete it, to have a history merge so that we can have the history of the article in case someone want to revert the changes. I'll save you my rant on the issues that are involved with AfC and COI (tl;dr, it is a system that has structural advantages to being a COI editor rather than a non-COI editor.), but there would certainly be more eyes on it in mainspace, and it doesn't fuck up the article history. It should be done through the COI system, and changes be proposed incrementally (as I highly doubt the entire draft is ready for publication). TonyBallioni (talk) 19:21, 2 March 2018 (UTC)
Thank you for the information Tony. Spintendo      20:53, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
Some kind of process/system would be useful. Many CoI editing requests are not for creation but for modification, and it can take significant work on the part of editors willing to get involved. See for recent example. When there's not such a neutral, experienced editor available, what usually happens is either: A) permissible changes by a conscientious CoI editor doing it right are rejected out-of-hand by a drive-by respondent to the edit request, usually on the vague basis of "no consensus to make the changes". This is actually problematic under WP:EDITING policy; no one has to get permission first to improve an article here. Or, B) non-neutral edits which should not be made, and were written by a PoV-pushing CoI editor who is not doing it right, get approved willy-nilly by someone who didn't bother to read them carefully, and this is of course a problem under WP:NPOV policy.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  12:15, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

Discussion about the phrase "manned mission" and weight of sources[edit]

Talk:Human mission to Mars#Requested move 5 March 2018

Is "manned mission" a gender-neutral term, and how much weight do we give to NASA's style guide? -- Netoholic @ 03:03, 6 March 2018 (UTC)

Predicting the outcome of US Elections[edit]

Please join the discussion of how NOTCRYSTALBALL should be applied to predictions of US election outcomes. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 14:50, 6 March 2018 (UTC)

Discussion about replacing CSD G6[edit]

There is currently a discussion at Wikipedia_talk:Criteria_for_speedy_deletion#Proposal:_Replace_G6_with_explicit_finite_criteria about replacing CSD G6 with more defined criteria. All are invited to participate. TonyBallioni (talk) 00:35, 8 March 2018 (UTC)

External links from talk pages to potentially infringing content[edit]

It recently came to my attention (thanks to Fram) that the common practice of linking to YouTube videos and similar user-generated content from talk pages, where the copyright status of the linked content isn't 100% clear, may be disallowed by WP:COPYVIOEL and WP:COPYLINK. I think the policy is heavy-handed and deserves to be reevaluated, and in my view should narrowed to apply only to article space. If this requires WMF's consent then sobeit, but getting the community's reaction would at least be a good place to start, if for no other reason than to get WMF's attention.

At least as applied to good-faith links from talk pages, the policy is extreme and reflects an outdated analysis of copyright law. It's settled law at this point that linking to infringing content does not create liability, except potentially in very narrow circumstances that don't apply to Wikipedia (i.e. profit-driven encouragement of copying, a la Piratebay). WP:COPYLINK cites a single court decision from 1999 that's widely viewed as an outlier. And the sentence in WP:COPYVIOEL, "Knowingly directing others to material that violates copyright might be considered contributory copyright infringement," is outdated. The ALA article the sentence relies on, which the ALA has actually taken down, didn't take into account any court decisions after 2000, when Internet law was still in its infancy. The law in this area has come a long way since 1999-2000 and our policies should be adjusted to reflect that.

Beyond the legal issue, restricting links on talk pages in this way is simply extreme and unnecessarily inhibits discussion and the development of the encyclopedia. I can't count the number of times I've used external links from talk pages to unvetted content to assist in research efforts or to advance an argument. We can't reasonably be expected to assess potential copyright issues every time we link to something for internal discussion. --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 19:31, 8 March 2018 (UTC)

Where there is possible fair use involved, I could agree that we should not be strict on links. But regardless of the question of linking, we can enforce stronger than US rules to, for example, disallow any links to a clearly non-fair use video (eg a full upload of a copyrighted movie without any transformative elements by the uploader). From the video games project, we have to be viligant against pirate bay-type sites, illicit key generation sites, etc. that we take away from articles and talk pages all the time but we don't want WP to be seen as complicit on the copyright vio. That may be stronger than case law, but it is a good reason to be stronger than case law. But when you get to things like research papers published on by the authors, despite the fact they had seemingly given copyright to the journal, that's a gray area - wouldn't use as an EL in an article but would be reasonable to help on a talk page since one can argue the fair use there by the researcher. --Masem (t) 19:54, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
Fair use isn't really an issue. Linking is legal, so there's no need or reason to invoke a legal defense, especially one as squishy and misunderstood as fair use. Of course our policies can be stricter than the law requires; what I'm saying is that in this case it serves little purpose and is detrimental to the project. If talk pages are being used as Piratebay-style clearinghouses for infringing works, then certainly that can and should be forbidden, though I'd think that would be sufficiently covered by WP:NOTHERE. I'm talking here about links included in comments permitted by our talk page guidelines. --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 20:26, 8 March 2018 (UTC)

@DrFleischman: the title of this section is misleading. No-one is prohibiting links to user ‘’’generated’’’ content. This is linking to data on, e.g., youtube that is not user generated, but to material that is hosted on, e.g., youtube in violation of copyright. I would ask you to make that clear in the title.

Bringing in a fair-use argument is a red herring. If the material that we link to is fair use on the external site, it is not a copyright violation on that site. In that case we are not prohibited to link to that (at least, if we put it in a fair use context).

Youtube however carries material in violation of copyright. Youtube takes such material down. That is material that is not fair use on youtube, and hence it is also not fair use for us to link to it - we link, like The Pirate Bay, to material provided by someone who is not providing the material under a fair use rationale, but is providing material in violation of the owner’s copyrighted. Whether ‘’we’’ would discuss it in context and could claim that through our discussion of the material is fair use, the material we link to is not fair use but a plain copyright violation.

Linking however to the original would be fair use, and that is ‘’always’’ the existing solution. That will result sometimes in ‘linking’ to material that is not available online. Although I can see that that is inconvenient, unfortunately it is a fact of life that we have to live with some inconveniences - we will have to load the DVD, sit through the first 45 minutes of Frozen until she finally sings ‘let it go’. —Dirk Beetstra T C 12:15, 9 March 2018 (UTC)

I fixed the heading; it wasn’t my intention to mislead. In any case, no offense, but your understanding of copyright law is way off the mark here. The main point is that good-faith linking from Wikipedia to potentially infringing content is perfectly legal regardless of whether the linked content might be protected by fair use or any other copyright defense. So there is no reason or need to perform a fair use analysis. It’s unreasonable and unnecessary to expect editors to conduct a fair use analysis before linking to other websites. And no I’m not just talking about YouTube. I’m also talking about things like copies of research papers, paywall newspaper articles that are re-posted to discussion forums or blogs, etc. That sort of content is infringing and not fair use, but linking to it for the purpose of improving Wikipedia is beneficial and perfectly legal. We should allow it. ————— Preceding unsigned comment added by DrFleischman (talkcontribs)
@DrFfleischman: But that is not what is discussed in that policy. What is discussed there is linking to material that plainly violates copyright, not cases that may or may not, or may be fair use. If I rip a DVD of a current movie, and upload that on YouTube, I am infringing the copyright. I am not allowed to link to that copy from Wikipedia, and YouTube will take it down. It is not your responsibility to check whether what I uploaded is a copyright violation, but if you notice, or if someone tells you that it is a copyright violation, then you should remove the link, and you should not add that link again. All the other cases that you mention have nothing to do with infringing copyrights and are legal to link to. Question is whether it is ethical to do so in some of the cases, and I will continue the argument that it is in all cases not necessary to link to material that violates copyright, so why specifically bother.
I do think that WMF has reasons to have that policy more restricted than maybe needed, and that this should first be consulted with WMF, as I doubt that any consensus here could trump WMF legal (again, I could bring an ad absurdum argument here). --Dirk Beetstra T C 16:24, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
Ah, I think I see the cause of our disagreement here. WP:COPYLINK and WP:COPYVIOEL have key differences. WP:COPYLINK only says not to link "if you know or reasonably suspect" that the linked content is infringing. WP:COPYVIOEL has much stricter language and says that when linking to sites like Scribd, WikiLeaks, and YouTube, "due care" should be taken. But as I look more closely, it appears that WP:COPYVIOEL, which is part of WP:EL, is just about external links from article space, not about links from talk pages. So maybe this is a non-issue. --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 18:10, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
There is a bolded part in WP:ELNEVER .. though the guideline applies in general only to content, that part applies throughout wikipedia, per the underlying policy.
I don’t understand why you, Dr. Fleischman, are so insisting about this after you linked to wat is very likely a copyright violation in such a frivolous way - there was nothing even remotely fair use in that link, and you could have easily given credit to the original, and I think that user:Fram rightfully removed that use. This has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with what is maybe not illegal for you to do, I hope you understand that. I am waiting for the first editor that agrees with you. If this subject is so important to you, then please have the curtosy to watchlist the pages where the discussion is going on, at least while the discussion is running. —Dirk Beetstra T C 19:29, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
You are poisoning the well and personalizing a good faith discussion. You are actively misrepresenting WP:ELNEVER, which doesn't say anything about "throughout Wikipedia." You are also using your misunderstanding of the law as some sort of cudgel to attack me personally. I do not appreciate this one bit. Have a nice day. --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 00:47, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
ELNEVER says without exception, WP:COPYLINK is specifically stating not to link to works in violation of copyright. I am not misrepresenting anything. But seen some recent discussions the issue seems to be that we want to be allowed to anything outside of mainspace, for whatever reason. I have early on said that thisis notgoing to change unless WMF changes it, we cannot do anything without that, it is moot. —Dirk Beetstra T C 05:40, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

I think we all agree that we can't set a local policy that violates WMF policy or the law. As there are several court rulings regarding linking to copyrighted content and the possible contributory infringement by the linker, I think we should get WMF Legal to opine on the matter. If they say "never" than that rather curtails the discussion. Likely the answer will be what it typically is with copyright questions: "it depends", after which we can then discuss how we want policy to reflect that; rather than going back and forth about what is or isn't fair use, we can focus on what does or doesn't fit with NFC as it pertains to ELs. CrowCaw 22:38, 9 March 2018 (UTC)

First off, this is not about NFC; NFC explicitly says, "Note that citation sources and external links raise other copyright concerns that are addressed in other policies." And the answer to the legal question is not "it depends." Other than someone subverting Wikipedia talk space and by turning it into a clearinghouse for pirated works (which is clearly prohibited by WP:NOTHERE), linking to infringing content is perfectly legal. But that's something WMF Legal will decide for itself. How does one ask them to opine? (I am not watching this page, so please ping me if you want my attention.) --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 00:33, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
It may be legal, but should we do it? NFC is an example of a policy where we go far beyond what "legally" is allowed because we want to make freely available content. Since that all of WP can be copied, thus making the presence of al link to purely copyvio material, it seems in the same vein to steer away from such links so that the text can be used by anyone. (The legality of linking to copyvio material is not universal around the globe) --Masem (t) 05:44, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
That is actually what I think is the reason behind the more strict 'legal rules' that WMF set in this respect, than what is 'in real life' legal/illegal. --Dirk Beetstra T C 07:01, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
It doesn’t matter if it’s legal. What matters is what our policy says, which is pretty clear: we don’t link to copyvios. Full stop. The legalities are something for lawyers to figure out. The advantage of our policies (which on copyright are often stricter than required) is that you don’t have to be a lawyer; you just have to follow the policy. We are free to prohibit linking to possibly copyvio works, and we do. What courts would say if someone brought a suit doesn’t matter: we don’t allow it. TonyBallioni (talk) 13:35, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
While I agree with this stance, there is a concern I have that we don't want WP editors being arbitrators of determined "possible copyvio" works. We can easily tell a link to a full copyrighted movie posted by a random user on YT is a copyvio link and remove it, but on the other hand, a user's review that includes clips of a movie is a grey area for both copyright and our use. We do want users to be vigilant and remove links that are to true copyvios, but not those that are in the grey area. --Masem (t) 14:26, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
I get your point, but I typically prefer the precautionary principle in use on Commons, and think it makes sense here as well. Perhaps a better way to phrase than possible copyvio is “reasonable odds of copyvio” or something of the sort. We don’t want our editors being IP lawyers, which is one of the reasons our policies are so strict: it’s easier to follow clear policy than the nuances of intellectual property law, and we want to discourage editors from attempting to play copyright lawyer. TonyBallioni (talk) 14:37, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
Its pretty clear if you look as a whole WP:PRJC "Editors may not violate copyrights or harass anywhere on Wikipedia. " - Wikipedia:Copyright violations "Copyright infringing material should also not be linked to." - WP:ELNEVER "Knowingly directing others to material that violates copyright might be considered contributory copyright infringement.This is particularly relevant when linking to sites such as Scribd, WikiLeaks, or YouTube, where due care should be taken to avoid linking to material that violates copyright. " - WP:ADMINH "Editors are entrusted with the responsibility of upholding the integrity of Wikipedia while adhering to intellectual property rights, such as avoiding plagiarism, respecting copyright laws", pls read over Contributory Infringement--Moxy (talk) 13:19, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

One thing I will add that recently came up was this Feb 2018 result in a NY District court, that rules that embedding tweets could be considered copyright infringement. No, it's not US case law yet, but it would definitely impact how we treat ELs (since we have full control over them). --Masem (t) 14:26, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

Legally speaking there's a world of difference between embedding content and simply adding hyperlinks. Recent court decisions are split on whether embedding content can constitute copyright infringement. They are not split on hyperlinks (again, with the exception of PirateBay-style profit-driven encouragement of pirating). (I am not watching this page, so please ping me if you want my attention.) --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 17:15, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
"Europe's Court of Justice rules that hyperlinking can infringe on copyright". The Verge. Retrieved 12 September 2016. . —Dirk Beetstra T C 04:35, 13 March 2018 (UTC)

While this was ongoing I ran into Copyright aspects of hyperlinking and framing. To me, that appear to be very similar cases as linking to a possibly/likely copyvio (and there it is in a context of news, here it is sometimes even frivolous use). (But I likely don’t understand ...). The part that I cannot get my head around is why it is even needed to link to a possible/likely, if not plainly clear, copyright violation. To me the whole question whether it is not illegal is completely moot, it is plainly unneccesary (avoiding stronger words). As linking to (possibly/likely) copyright violating material is simply disallowed by policy, I would suggest that such material gets blacklisted on sight if it gets mis/abused (also to avoid it accidentily appearing in content space). —Dirk Beetstra T C 19:57, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

Allow some categorization in disambiguation pages (or within redirects to them)[edit]

I would like policy and/or style guidelines to be changed or clarified to be allowed to categorize disambiguation pages (or redirects to them), in certain cases.

Perhaps the problem is that some of these disambiguation pages could/should be WP:Disambiguation#Broad-concept articles, and perhaps one solution is to indicate that via {{dabprimary}}.

First case[edit]

Brainless is a WP:disambiguation page, nevertheless I wanted to add the following categories:

  1. Category:Nothing - no brain
  2. Category:Pejorative terms for people - see wikt:brainless

Alternatively, I could a) create a redirect (with the categories) named Brainless (pejorative) and b) redirect it to a disambiguation page, then c) add the redirect (to self) as an entry in the disambiguation page.

My attempt was reverted here, because "this is a dab page". It was not helpful - hence this policy request.

There are several preliminary questions. As a WikiGnome, I try to populate both preexisting categories with words already used in titles of Wikipedia articles. How important is it that such words are placed in those categories, especially as Wikipedia is not a dictionary?

The ideal solution is to write up an actual Brainless (pejorative) article, rather than a redirect, but I'm a poor article editor (for now) which is why I prefer to remain a gnome - perhaps simply indicating it as a broad scope article would do. I thought my solution (categorizing in a disambiguation page as it didn't belong in any actual article) was a good example of WP:Ignore all rules for improving Wikipedia, but it doesn't help against "prickly" editors - hence this request. See also WP:Manual of Style/Disambiguation pages#When to break Wikipedia rules.

Note that if the disambiguation page had a "(disambiguation)" in its title (because the main article was about another primary use, I would either need the redirect form, or the original article should have a section stating that the naked word happens to be a pejorative. This is certainly the case for many songs with one word titles, e.g., Mindless used to redirect to Mindless (film) but I turned it into a dab - that is not always possible. PS. I'm drafting a broad-scope article to replace the mindless dab.

Second case[edit]

Disambiguation pages are not articles, but they do complement categories and list articles - they are a recognized source of (non-article) navigation, e.g., WP:Disambiguations are cheap. Sometimes, it is useful to treat them as lists of names. For example, in an article (&category) about various ways of grouping/labeling things, I have

Kinds of Groupings - weak Equivalence classes
Category Class Kind Group Type Tier Level

Each header of the table is a category, while all the entries are dabs. However, I wish to categorize these dabs under the header category, e.g., under Category:Category (grouping)

Now these dabs would not be of wide scope, but can I categorize them? I haven't read anything specifically prohibiting this, but more experienced editors have used this as an excuse to revert.


My categorizations and redirects are currently being questioned and/or reverted, so please invite User:DexDor and User:Marcocapelle to comment on this proposal. I believe the question of whether a new category that I had created should remain, is independent of whether some dabs can be categorized (often into prexisting categories that I had no involvement in). Dpleibovitz (talk) 20:00, 9 March 2018 (UTC)


  • I'm entirely confused by what you're asking. Natureium (talk) 20:46, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
    Can I categorize DABs? Some editors don't allow this. Policy is not clear. Dpleibovitz (talk) 21:20, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
    WP:DBC is pretty clear to me: Disambiguation pages are not articles and should not be categorized as such. Maybe you are referring to some other policy? --Izno (talk) 21:29, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
We categorize articles by the topic of the article - i.e. a category is a list (or set, if you prefer) of articles about a particular topic (plus there are maintenance categories - either hidden or on talk pages etc). Dab pages, by definition, are not about a particular topic so shouldn't be in article categories.
The OP of this thread has been doing some categorization edits that are strange (to say the least) - some non-dab examples where he appears to be categorizing a page based on a completely different meaning of the title are [this] and [this]. Quite frankly he should stop being a nuisance and take some time to learn how things work in Wikipedia. DexDor (talk) 21:47, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
(ec) I agree with DexDor that a disambiguation page is "about" an ambiguous term rather than a topic. Sometimes all the entries happen to have a common theme, but often they do not. For example, it's tempting to add Symphony No. 1 to Category:Lists of symphonies. However, the term has other uses. That dab page quite properly contains a ballet, an orchestra, a play and two albums and is hence not a list of symphonies. It's even more tempting to add Symphony No. 2, which today happens to be a list of symphonies. However, that's not its purpose, and the categorisation will quietly become incorrect if Symphony No. 2 (book) ever becomes a best seller. Certes (talk) 21:59, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
Oppose categorizing disambiguation pages other than as disambiguation pages. If, by their contents, they are susceptible to further categorization, then they may be candidates to be converted to set index pages or broad concept articles. bd2412 T 22:25, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
While this is correct, if we want to allow readers to access symphonies by number, the alternative is to have a List of Symphonies No. 2 which either replicates substantially all of the dab page, or is transcluded thereon, or is a redirect to a section. I think this is what the OP is getting at. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 12:51, 14 March 2018 (UTC).

I understand the policy. I was giving two examples where I believe that exceptions to the policy can be made and to update that policy accordingly. This discussion is whether the exceptions make sense. Moreover, if there is a better way to accomplish my improvements to Wikipedia, I am all ears. DexDor is generalizing and cherry picking. I will present a broader picture. The following DABs (which he recently reverted) had been categorized under Category:Pejorative terms for people and some also under Category:Nothing: Fuckwit, Dull, Dork, Daydreamer, Buzzkill, Brainless, Bore, Bonehead, Blockhead, Bad Seed, Absurd, Careless, Drab, Dingbat (disambiguation), and Airhead. Some of these clearly indicate that the term is slang/pejorative, but had not been so categorized. In others, I added such an entry. Note that most are single word entries and that single word (or two word phrase) is known to be pejorative.

Personally, I think that in these cases, categorizing these DABs by WP:Ignore all rules is better then not. That is the question in this policy request - ideally the rules can be improved. DexDor, seeing all of these, he could have been more WP:CIVIL and suggested alternative solutions. I do agree with his Airhead revert (a primary topic) as Airhead (slang) is properly categorized and redirected to Airhead (disambiguation). The other cases don't have a (disambiguation) page - they are one. Cold fish doesn't exist, and I could create it as a DAB with one entry to Cold Fish, but perhaps this last one is a good example where a section in the Cold Fish article could be added stating the the term 'Cold fish' can be used as a pejorative - perhaps in a see also section with a link to wiktionary? Ultimately, are these categorizations useful, and rather than telling me what I cannot do, I would like to know how to go about doing so properly?

One of my first suggestions might meet most objections.

  1. Create "phrase (pejorative)" and redirect it to dab "phrase" or "phrase (disambiguation)" if it exists. Categorize the redirect, but not the dab it points to.
  2. Update the dab with an entry for this new redirect. Note that this would be circular.

This solution is imperfect for Cold Fish. Dpleibovitz (talk) 22:56, 9 March 2018 (UTC)

If you want to make all these "Foo (pejorative)" redirects, the disambiguation pages would be inappropriate targets for them. We don't redirect unambiguous terms to disambiguation pages. We have Lists of pejorative terms for people, and probably have specific individual lists hosting the intended meaning of these terms. Compare how Frontal (anatomy), Anterior (anatomy), Posterior (anatomy), and Dorsal (anatomy) all redirect to Anatomical terms of location. bd2412 T 23:40, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
Dullard is in Category:Pejorative terms for people. Dull, quite correctly, isn't. There is an argument for creating Dull (pejorative) as a redirect to an article (not to a dab), putting it in the category, and listing it on dab Dull, though I don't think we should do that because this is an encyclopedia rather than a dictionary. But Dull itself is a navigation page listing things with the spelling D-u-l-l, such as a Scottish town and a musician, and is not about the insult. Certes (talk) 00:06, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose, it is already obvious in the above discussion that this proposal is going to lead nowhere, but let me add that I think the fundamental problem is that proposer has lost sight of the purpose of the categorization system as a tool that connects related content with each other. With a particular emphasis on the word "related" (discussions with proposer about this aspect, see e.g. here and here) - and on the word "content" (i.e. no dab pages, no redirects) - which is subject to discussion here. Marcocapelle (talk) 11:35, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose cases like Brainless, where the categorization is with other articles and based on a WP:DICTDEF (in this case one not included in the article). I'm neutral on categories intended primarily for DAB pages. power~enwiki (π, ν) 01:22, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
  • For the article Cold Fish I have added a hat-note, pointing to Wiktionary. For the disambiguation page Brainless I have added a Wiktionary tag. A short definition could be added to the top of the dab page, this is often done. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 13:00, 14 March 2018 (UTC).

RfC: Is it encouraged to have references for key or complex plot points in plot sections?[edit]

Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Writing about fiction

Is it encouraged to have references for key or complex plot points in plot sections? Bright☀ 12:58, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

Spam on talk pages[edit]

I'm not sure why this is the first time I've noticed this, but I have found some spam on a talk page. I'd like to remove it but thought I would ask for advice here first. I searched the archives and have not found this question. Thank you ahead of time for your answer(s). Please ping. Best Regards, Barbara (WVS)    07:19, 11 March 2018 (UTC)

User talk pages and article talk pages are different. If the spam is on an article talk page then you can remove it per WP:NOTAFORUM. If it's on a user talk page, you should ask the user to remove it. But if you are fairly sure the person who placed the spam is evading a block you can remove it per WP:EVADE. If the spam is horribly disruptive you can ask an administrator to exercise a Wikipedia:Revision deletion. If you can be more specific, I might be able to help further, Barbara (WVS). Binksternet (talk) 07:43, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
Thank you for the quick answer. The spammy content is on the talk page of Vulvar cancer. Barbara (WVS)    07:46, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
The comments at Talk:Vulvar cancer are not a problem. They could be regarded as spammy but they are good-faith attempts to promote a related cause without any disruption. Yes, that's a misuse of a talk page but it's very inconsequential. I could archive them if wanted. Re user talk pages, often spammers post stuff and are not seen again. If the user is not active, just blank any user page with spam. Johnuniq (talk) 07:59, 11 March 2018 (UTC)

ACTRIAL Post-trial Research Report posted[edit]

The Autoconfirmed article creation trial (also known as "ACTRIAL") has been running on English Wikipedia for the last six months, starting in mid September 2017. During the trial, article creation was limited to users with autoconfirmed status, meaning they had made at least ten edits and the account was at least four days old. Non-autoconfirmed users who tried to create a new page were redirected to a landing page, which encouraged them to create the article in the Draft namespace.

There's been a long-standing desire in the English Wikipedia community to run ACTRIAL since 2011, and last year, the Wikimedia Foundation Community Tech team worked on fulfilling this request.

The Community Tech team worked in partnership with community members from English Wikipedia to set up ACTRIAL as a research project, measuring the impact of the trial on three key areas: new editor activity and retention, the quality control processes (particularly New Page Patrol and Articles for Creation), and content quality.

Researcher Morten Warncke-Wang designed the study, collected and analysed data, and has just published the ACTRIAL Post-trial Research Report on English Wikipedia. The report presents the key findings, and makes suggestions for both the Enwiki community and the Wikimedia Foundation to consider. We hope that this report is a productive contribution to the ongoing discussions about new users and quality control.

We're looking forward to seeing what people think about the findings, and having lots more conversations about these issues. Please feel free to comment on the report's talk page, or ping us in the on-wiki conversations, wherever they emerge. :) Thanks! signed for User:DannyH (WMF), User:Kaldari & User:Nettrom. -- DannyH (WMF) (talk) 00:10, 14 March 2018 (UTC)

  • First, a thanks to DannyH (WMF), Nettrom, and Kaldari, all of whom did excellent work and navigated a sometimes tense relationship with volunteers. I think the results are overwhelmingly positive, and suggest that we should make the trial permanent. I've started drafting an RfC, that I plan to take to the community within the coming weeks so that we can discuss the results of ACTRIAL and come to a consensus on how to move forward.
    As Primefac and I have talked about the changes seen at AfC and NPP offline, something that he and I both have said (in private) that I don't think is captured here is that even with the shift to AfC, we see a net positive for the encyclopedia: NPP and AfC now are running very low on the backlog of newly created pages that are very old: this is the numeric point that we both use in looking at the respective NPP and AfC backlogs, rather than raw numbers. Thanks to the work of new page patrollers we now have successfully cleared the backlog past the Google index point, and the AfC backlog of very old drafts is also sitting very low. For the first time in a long time, the community has successfully achieved a state where all new content has been reviewed before hitting Google. This is something we should be proud of as a community, as it moves us forward to our strategic goal of being the most trusted source of knowledge. A big thanks to everyone who helped make ACTRIAL successful, both on the community side, and the foundation side. TonyBallioni (talk) 00:22, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
    +1 ✅ Atsme📞📧 17:14, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
  • As one of the pioneers of ACTRIAL way back in 2011 and having relentlessly campaigned for it to be carried out ever since, I would also like to join TonyBallioni in thanking DannyH (WMF), Nettrom, and Kaldari and their team. With regard to the en.Wiki community, and its users who are active in maintaining a clean encyclopedia, this has been the most important, objective, and helpful piece of research provided by the WMF in recent years. I echo TonyBallioni's comments and look forward to a closer collaboration with the Foundation in the future. Thanks also to everyone in the community who supported this trial. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 17:24, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
Kudpung, TonyBallioni and Atsme: Thank you, that means a lot to us. :) -- DannyH (WMF) (talk) 17:29, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad we got to show that it's actually possible for the WMF and the community to collaborate and learn from each other. Also we can't forget to thank MusikAnimal for doing a lot of the preliminary research, MaxSem for doing the development work on ArticleCreationWorkflow, and TonyBallioni for helping to mediate the more contentious discussions. And thank you Kudpung for shepherding this whole process. Kaldari (talk) 20:30, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
I too am very pleased with the way this project has now worked out, and I hope it is an indication of things to come. Well done everyone concerned! All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 11:28, 16 March 2018 (UTC).

Why are Paralympians less notable the Olympians?[edit]

Why is it that every person who has ever competed at any Olympics winter or summer is entitled to an article; even if they only competed in one event and were only at the Olympics to make up the numbers. Some Olympians are selected by national authorities and get a place through filling of a continental quota. This is hardly the best way to become notable. Simply entering the Olympics should not be notable if the same is not extended to the Paralympics. I cannot see how notability can be granted for all Olympians ever no matter what. Where as Paralympains are only notable if they are a medalist.

This is not a paper encyclopedia and there should not be an arbitrary distinction between Olympians and Paralympians everyone should have an article or the rules should apply equally across both. What is the reasoning behind the rule that Paralympians must be medalists to be notable? This seems to be a distinction without a reason and purely arbitrary. The rules should be consistent across Olympic and Paralympic athletes. WTKitty (talk) 00:13, 14 March 2018 (UTC)

It essentially comes down to what is covered by sources. A LOT of sources (be they sports media covering the current games, or historians covering past games) cover the “regular” Olympic Games in depth... and all but ignore the Paralympic Games. We base our coverage (Notability) on that coverage. In other words, if there were more sources writing about Paralympic games and athletes, wikipedia would have more articles on Paralympic games and athletes. Blueboar (talk) 00:48, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
There sources are there and are ample. A great deal of work has been done over the last decade, and historians and media now produce ample resources. The Paralympics are not ignored. Notability is not an issue. The distinction is purely arbitrary and there is no reason for it; it is just a historical quirk, like the fact that porn stars have a special status on Wikipedia. Wikimedia supports the creation of articles on Paralympic athletes. Note that it only means that Paralympic athletes are presumed notable only if they have won a medal; WP:GNG still applies, and there is no restriction on creating articles on worthy Paralympians. So WTKitty, if you want to create an article go right ahead. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 01:18, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
For the majority of Paralympians before 1976 or so (and many in the 1980s as well), you will be hard-pressed to find good sources. The same goes for early Olympians (pre-1920), and the push should not be to lower the bar for Paralympians, but to raise the bar for Olympians. And even now, Paralympians routinely get a lot less coverage than Olympians, just like ijn many countries, the Paralympic Games as a whole get a lot less coverage than the Olympics. And of course, getting a medal in Paralympics is relatively easier than getting one in the reular Olympics, as the number of participants per discipline is generally a lot less. As an example, Austria at the 1980 Summer Paralympics: 48 participants, 45 medals. We have for example an "M. Petschnig" winning a silver medal (Advanced metric round open medalists). According to NSPORTS, he may get an article and is presumed notable. I haven't been able to find any further information on him though (well, he presumably is named Manfred, or at least there is a para-archer Manfred Petschnig listed in one other database). For any medalist at the 1980 Summer Olympics, finding sources is easy enough (the equivalent archer from the regular Olympics is Boris Isachenko). But for Paralympics this kind of even basic coverage is still missing, even for ones generously but mistakenly "presumed notable" at NSPORTS. Fram (talk) 11:29, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
It does not mean that articles cannot be written about paralympians, just that notability must be established through coverage in reliable sources. Olympians on the other hand are assumed to be notable, that is, the assumption is that sufficient sources exist to write an article. TFD (talk) 02:13, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
It’s actually a half step below that. Yes, we do start with the assumption that sources covering Olympians are extremely likely to exist... but on occasion, a diligent search for sources does turn up empty. On the rare occasions when that happens we admit that the Olympian is not in fact Notable enough. We have deleted articles on Olympians... not many, but a few. Blueboar (talk) 10:47, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
Eh... that may be giving a little to much credit. It'd be probably a little more accurate to say that the WP:NSPORT is overall one of the worst offenders as far as setting a standard that is often well below WP:GNG, and probably many thousands of such articles should therefore be rightfully deleted if we were to perfectly harmonize our policies. However, most people who have a strong opinion about it (like yours truly), also realize that it was a fait accompli a long time ago, and it's not worth the time trying to fight back the ocean, when you could be doing literally anything else that improves the project more than deleting a bunch of one line stubs with tremendous effort, mixed results, and tons of resistance. GMGtalk 11:11, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
Which I guess is what Notability is a guideline, not a policy. TFD (talk) 11:29, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
Well, SNGs are supposed to be a useful heuristic for whether a subject is likely to meet GNG. Some time ago we forgot that bit, and just decided to make them a replacement for GNG in special cases. It doesn't help any that NSPORT outright contradicts itself on the matter when comparing the lead there to the "Applicable policies and guidelines" section. Either way, lots of "articles" for which no actual article can be written, and not much to do about it in any practical sense. GMGtalk 12:53, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
Same reason they get less TV time.. it's sad, but it is what it is. Also we are FAR FAR away from having articles on all Olympians. Usually only if they have won medals in the olympics themselves, or in world/continental championships or multiple medals in national championships are you likely to be guaranteed to find an article on olympians. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 11:23, 14 March 2018 (UTC)

Request for comment[edit]

Re: Template_talk:Infobox_officeholder#Religion=_restoration_and_guideline_for_usage In short, restore Religion= tag, as it seems improper to simply remove it, and instead of leaving its usage to random form, construct a guideline for the tag's proper usage. -Inowen (talk) 08:54, 15 March 2018 (UTC)

Another RFC? Didn’t we just have one? Blueboar (talk) 12:11, 15 March 2018 (UTC)

Ben Shapiro[edit]

Is an American firebrand whose page has existed since 2004 - he's 33 years old! His page includes more text than Einstein and his infobox includes this link - [{{]Conservatism US[}}], which itself is an entire library of Conservative history and proselytiseing. Is this not politicization of Wikipedia? Ben Shapiro is a noisy young man with an opinion - not a library of Republican conscience. Why does the "Conservatism US" category exist at all? I have deleted the link on the Ben Shapiro page but anticipate fierce reaction. Are we an encyclopedia or a political platform? Support needed on the Shapiro page. MarkDask 18:36, 15 March 2018 (UTC)

What's your question? Natureium (talk) 18:38, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
There is some irony in your calling him a noisy man with an opinion in what seems to be a rant you've posted on a Village Pump page. Killiondude (talk) 22:02, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
The fact that Wikipedia covers individuals of various political persuasions does not make Wikipedia politicized. Given his politics, and their significance to his biography, that article is clearly going to focus on conservative content. We have Category:Conservatism_in_the_United_States for the same reason we have other categories, to aid anyone in finding articles on almost any theme. The length is likely a result of enthusiastic authors, possibly over-enthusiastic authors. Making improvements is a routine matter of editing. If there is a dispute then a policy question might arise. Alsee (talk) 10:33, 17 March 2018 (UTC)