Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)

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AfD culture[edit]

I have been participating in AfD for a few months now. The culture of deletion is becoming rather aggressive. Is anyone else experiencing this? Is there any way that we can look at policies to help slow down the process?

My suggestions would include:

  1. requiring AfD nominators to do WP:BEFORE. I've found quite a few articles nominated with so-called "no room for improvement found" as the reason for AfD and I and a few other users are able to find reliable sources within hours (or minutes on Google nonetheless!)
  2. give articles breathing space. Several new articles have been up for AfD. This is especially problematic when we have a new user who doesn't know about putting up a template to indicate the article is still under construction.
  3. create additional criteria surrounding topics that are more difficult to research, such as areas where there is a language barrier or where history has ignored the achievements of various groups based on race, culture, religion/lack of religion, gender or non-conformity.

I know this has been discussed in the past, but I think it needs to be discussed again. I just witnessed a new user give up over an AfD. (See Malissa A. O'Dubhtaigh: which I'm not saying necessarily meets GNG, but it wasn't given time and the user was handled brusquely.) Wikipedia is about amassing all human knowledge, as I see it, and all voices should be welcome and feel welcome. The aggressive culture of deletion is frustrating even to most hardened editors.

Any suggestions out there? Thanks! Megalibrarygirl (talk) 14:10, 9 October 2015 (UTC)

Megalibrarygirl I would be loathe to work on this article because the lawsuit involved, which stretched out ten+ years, appears to be the only source. There was a name change during the process and since there are no sources to guide us, how can we be sensitive to the preferred name of the party. Further, in reading the suit, the party has felt her medical privacy was not protected. While I encourage diversity and would wish that Wikipedia did as well, this particular article seems like an invasion of privacy. SusunW (talk) 15:02, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
But that being said, the culture of deletion on here is ver frustrating. If one must check boxes and give rationale to even post a picture, it baffles me that anyone and everyone can nominate an article for deletion without the skill to weigh notability or do any sort of research beforehand. I cannot understand why improvement rather than deletion is not the key. SusunW (talk) 15:05, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
While you can see my postings on deletionism above, I'm not even sure it's a culture. What I've seen is the positive practice of a few people "patrolling" for vandalism and other negative stuff turn into "I'll delete every new page and let the admins/other editors sort it out." Given the effort involved in getting something into Wikipedia these days, such intellectually dishonest activity discourages nearly anyone making a new article. With some of the articles I commented on in AfD, the creator would ask simple questions about the rationale for the deletion and get absolutely nothing, except the odd "per nom." Once the drive-by deletion happens, the editor in question almost never returns. My favorite had to be an article that was discussed in AfC for ages. Someone took responsibility, wrote the page, and had it marked for deletion essentially as soon as it was submitted. This is how Wikipedia actively drives away contributors.-- (talk) 15:51, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
@Megalibrarygirl: I would like to echo the above suggestions and well as emphasize Wikipedia:CSD: unless the article created meets said criteria, don't nominate it for speedy deletion; if it is up for deletion, calmly let creators know tips and give them time to improve the article and send words of encouragement, maybe an encouraging emoticon along with the words. (talk) 20:54, 9 October 2015 (UTC), I like that idea. I really think we need to nurture editors more often. I was on Wiki for a long time before I felt confident enough to edit, let along create my own articles. It is intimidating. Megalibrarygirl (talk) 21:32, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
Thank you. Yes, It can get intimidating during the time before editors become more confident. (talk) 22:09, 9 October 2015 (UTC)

The culture of "bigger and more is better" has been proven troubling to reputations again and and again. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 21:01, 9 October 2015 (UTC)

Agree entirely with TRPOD. Wikipedia is not and has never been "about amassing all human knowledge"; it has a very specific remit to only cover material which is demonstrably covered in multiple independent non-trivial reliable sources, and admins deleting material which doesn't fit that remit are acting entirely correctly. As this is an absolute core policy of Wikipedia, there is no realistic prospect of any discussion ever changing it as long as Wikipedia remains in its current form. ‑ iridescent 21:06, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
There is no absolute requirement for multiple sources even today. GNG does not say that: "generally", where it appears in GNG, means "most", not "all". Also, it is the sum total of coverage in all sources which must be non trivial. James500 (talk) 10:05, 23 November 2015 (UTC)
I'm not saying bigger is better. You're right, all human knowledge is impossible, I was being hyperbolic in my attempt to describe why I think it's important to have diversity in Wiki. Thanks for calling that out--I should write more concisely sometimes. However, what I am worried about, and why I brought up the topic is that I think that there really is a deletionist culture. I've observed a pattern over time, and so have a few others on WikiPedia:WikiProject Women/Women in Red. For example, I have run into plenty of AfD pages where the nominators often say they've done WP:BEFORE, when they clearly haven't. Sometimes, the nominator will even say they have additional information, but because it's "not in the article," the article should be deleted. I understand that editors want others to follow through and add information when they say they will, but just because someone else didn't add that info, why can't you add it? I only tag articles when I don't have time to add the info myself. If I see an article with a tag, I fix it. It doesn't take long. Why aren't we doing that more often? Megalibrarygirl (talk) 21:32, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
The obvious answer; because you have 3458 active editors (with "active" defined loosely as 100 edits in the last month), of whom 580 are admins, dealing with 5 million articles, and it's not reasonable to expect us to do everyone else's work for them when they can't be bothered to do it themselves. If you haven't already, it's a salutary exercise to look at the new pages backlog; those highlighted in yellow are the ones that nobody has looked at. "If you see an article with a problem, fix it" is a laudable aim, but completely impractical unless Wikipedia can drastically grow its editor base or throttle the article creation rate; the former has resisted every effort to address it, and every attempt to address the latter has been vetoed by the WMF. ‑ iridescent 22:08, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
That is nonsense. No meaningful attempt whatsoever has been made to increase the number of editors, active or otherwise. Quite the opposite has happened. The editor retention problem is caused by excessive deletion. The only way to increase the number of editors, active or otherwise, is to reduce deletions by performing corrective surgery on the (unsatisfactory) deletion processes and (vague and questionable) deletion criteria. James500 (talk) 10:05, 23 November 2015 (UTC)
I totally get what you are saying Megalibrarygirl. I don’t see anyone asking the admins to do everything. I do agree that there is a “get rid of articles” culture on here and have pointed out on more than one occasion to those who say “I would vote to keep if someone would edit the article” that good prose is not a requirement. Then there is the ever popular “editor doesn’t appear to be active” (isn’t that own?, who cares if the creator is active?), and “I see no better improvement” (because if the article is complete and notability is not debatable why would anyone need to improve it?) Seems like a lot of whining and little action on the part of some. Usually I just fix what I see that is problematic. I have rarely asked an admin for anything. What I see is a small group of people, who don't appear to be admins, who nominate every file they can for deletion. I also see a trend of an unwillingness to make Wikipedia an inclusive or welcoming platform, which will result in poor retention. Nothing is written in simple, straightforward or friendly language. (Admittedly, after a year, I still don't know what 1/2 the acronyms that are bandied about mean, and I don't think I want to). Group A and Group B are forever opposing each other as well as any ideas for improving the overall performance. I try to avoid all the drama and save what articles I can. When it gets too stressful, I walk away or just go silent. — Preceding unsigned comment added by SusunW (talkcontribs) 00:29, 10 October 2015
Absolutely! I started this discussion because I believe we can change things. The place to create change is through discussion. I have spent time in the backlogs working to source tagged articles. With the amount of female bios at a measly 15%, I try to source as many as I can in order to at least satisfy GNG. I understand the frustration with many created biographies, but many are actually notable...just because the nominator knows nothing about the topic, doesn't mean no notability. Case in point: looking at new articles, hardly any are women, and the ones who are, are often sports figures or models. Interestingly, a female sports figure with 1 reference often gets an AfD pass, but not other women. Something's off with that. I want to see things change. Let's see what we are able to do. For example, how can we get hard data to support what I and others are observing? I might think there is a problem, but I'd prefer numbers to "it seems." Megalibrarygirl (talk) 01:08, 10 October 2015 (UTC)
I was active last year for a few months in AfD discussions, and it bothered me deeply that most of them were about notable subjects, but nobody involved in the AfD discussions looked for RS to establish that. That is grounds for a stub tag. That is grounds for doing the work yourself before nominating. I found myself working long hours every day to save articles from deletion, regardless of the topic (I don't care about role-playing games or "onomastics", but I worked to save those articles anyway), and in the end there was only one I couldn't save. This onus has to be placed on the person nominating the article for deletion. So many of them talk about "your" article instead of seeing all articles as "our" articles. Megalibrarygirl, I agree with you completely on requiring WP:BEFORE in order to nominate an article for deletion. iridescent, "it's not reasonable to expect us to do everyone else's work for them when they can't be bothered to do it themselves." This is not "everyone else's work." This is our work. Right there is the problem. We are a community with a common purpose, not factions of "us" who do the work and "them" who don't. And we can never say why someone stopped working on an article (or "can't be bothered"). I think we would have more people participating if this was not such an adversarial environment. We don't have enough admins and people working clean-up, but we certainly do not have enough people doing the work to save good articles from the excessive AfDs for notable subjects that just need a quick Google search.
We are not supposed to "own" articles as editors, but I think we all know that people do. They will revert everything that did not originate with them. Try editing an article for a popular progressive rock album. Or worse, try starting a new article on any music album. It's often an exercise in futility to contribute and make meaningful changes. I got worn down. In AfD discussions I felt beaten down. Nobody tries to help articles before nomination, and discussions are full of competing acronyms, as if they were etched in stone, and everybody (myself included) is convinced they are right. But again, I rescued several articles from deletion, all but one. Had I not taken the time to provide the RS for notability, no one else would, and they would be gone. Then when someone decides to start a new article and sees that a previous version was deleted already, how likely are they to continue? A stub tag (or other tag) is enough to tell readers the article might be a little iffy. If editors have time to patrol and nominate AfDs, they could instead use that time to improve things. More editors might stick with it without all that unnecessary struggle. WP is always a work in progress, and that means a certain percentage of our articles are always going to be stubs under development. "It's been a stub for years," I heard. "What have you done to change that?" is my question. The answer is always the same: nominate it for deletion. Sorry about the tirade. If things were more cooperative, WP would be a lot more rewarding, and a lot more diverse. Right now we have a selection bias - editors who are willing to put up with the struggles are the ones contributing. Dcs002 (talk) 03:16, 10 October 2015 (UTC)
👍 Like Dcs002 I think you about covered the problem. It is exhausting. Mostly I work on women because as a member of several Wikiprojects on women, those are the alerts I see. But I recently saved a multiple award winning French male architect, and a couple of movies which I have never even seen or heard of because they came into my viewing range. I don't go to the Afd page, it is too overwhelming to think of all the files that have been nominated. Maybe there are indeed a lot that aren't notable, but in my experience most that I have worked on just needed sourcing and a little TLC. SusunW (talk) 03:53, 10 October 2015 (UTC)
I also agree with Dcs002 and SusunW. I want to see the culture change. The same people are nominating articles for deletion without doing WP:BEFORE. Also, I love the way that you emphasize that it's not about us vs. them... it's about all of us creating a better resource. I think that deletion is especially problematic because others took time to create something and other editors are trashing the creations. Please note, I'm not saying that EVERY article needs to be kept! But let's exercise more care. Let's see what we can do to create a better environment for newbies and let's work on the AfD area. It shouldn't be exhausting or frustrating. How can we do that? Who do we need to get on board with looking at this? Megalibrarygirl (talk) 17:54, 10 October 2015 (UTC)

While I would agree that there are many self-proclaimed deletionists active in Wikipedia and some good material gets discarded, not all all deletion-related discussions are groundless. Just a look at recent nominations reveals some obvious problems. An article about a video game which is entirely unsourced and contains very little information. A film-related trope pointed by Roger Ebert that may be notable but has otherwise received very little coverage. An article about a local police department in Alaska with not much material to cover. Articles about music performers and bands with no particular level of success (two album releases at best). A minor organization which was briefly in the news in 2007 but has not had any coverage since. A Star Wars-related podcast that got some positive comments a few years ago, with no evidence of lasting influence.

Unsourced articles might have potential for growth, but some are only of interest to their creators and others are potential hoaxes. For example, Wikipedia:List of hoaxes on Wikipedia lists examples of hoax articles that went unnoticed for years. An article on "Jack Robichaux", supposedly a 19th-century serial rapist, existed for 10 years before someone questioned his existence. "Pikes on Cliffs" was an article on a 16th century house with both historical significance and a related legend. It took 9 years before some people realized this article was fabricated. More embarrassing for Wikipedia is that some hoaxes are pointed out by newspapers critical of our accuracy.

Meanwhile, images that get deleted often are tagged for copyright issues. This includes book covers, album covers, screenshots, etch. All to avoid potential legal troubles for Wikipedia. That something is available does not make it free for use. This can get very frustrating when searching for some image that can be found everywhere except Wikipedia.

While habitual deletionists may get annoying, indiscriminately accepting any contribution may be the wrong idea. Dimadick (talk) 23:06, 10 October 2015 (UTC)

Absolutely no one on this thread has advocated for "indiscriminately accepting any contribution". I believe that each person has agreed that GNG with RS should remain the norm. The issue is the "rush to delete". If it harms no one (i.e. is not a biography of a living person) there is time to review the article and fix any problematic areas. There is certainly time to communicate with the creator and try to mentor them through the process, as well. If one does not have the skill to search for sources to improve an article, then they also do not have the skill to evaluate whether it is notable and should not be allowed to propose it for deletion. (And we can tit for tat all day about deletions - I fixed Pakistan's trade secretary today who was prodded. Clearly notable, government bio, took about 10 minutes to add sources, at most). SusunW (talk) 23:35, 10 October 2015 (UTC)
Dimadick, I agree with your entire post. I also saw many articles that were blatant advertising for investors and bios for clearly non-notable people (including one by a kid that broke my heart to !vote down, along with everyone else - I hope he eventually understood). While I was participating in AfD discussions, I don't recall seeing a discussion for any recorded work that I would not consider notable under WP:ALBUM, though there was the occasional local band with their own page, and I think they were usually written by fans. I could be wrong with my memory, but I recall about half of the articles on the AfD list being clearly articles that should be deleted, and half being either blatantly notable with inadequate sourcing or questionably notable. My belief is that it hurts us to delete articles because notability is questionable, so I guess I'm an inclusionist.
But the biggest problem, IMO, is the attitude of absolutism in AfD discussions. There is no discussion. Too often there is an acronym cited and an entrenched opinion. When I have fixed articles, or even tried to fix them, I have perceived an attitude of resentment and on many occasions warnings that "we" were just going to delete the article anyway because somehow they knew, without looking for sources or viewing my changes, that there was no way an article or subject could be "made" notable (made, as opposed to being notable). Sorry, another tirade. I guess my experience was more frustrating than I remembered, and maybe I've been carrying some emotional baggage for a while. Dcs002 (talk) 00:37, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
@Dcs002: I think you're spot on. It's a big encyclopedia, and there are a couple of great folks in AfD, but I would say that that there is this notion among many AfD editors that things like notability are these platonic sorts of things -- abstract ideals which a topic either does or does not embody. Also, if an article creator dares stand up for their work (few do), that's a paddling deleting. So, while we must assume good faith, people should try to acknowledge non-extremist views about notability and such.-- (talk) 01:28, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the wake-up call. I need to say that not everyone in AfD discussions was as obstinate as I described. (They were just the ones that made it such a miserable experience.) There were many thoughtful editors as well, and the closers were always very thoughtful and considerate. Dcs002 (talk) 07:49, 11 October 2015 (UTC)

FYI, the same culture exists throughout the XfD spectrum. Sometimes it seems that certain editors are more interesting in amassing stats for how many of X they successfully nominate for deletion. I have participated in a few of those discussions, and sometimes agreed that deletion was needed, but only after doing my own research on the nominee. I don't see how anyone can possibly research all of the nominees for deletion, and vote on every one of them, within the span of just a few minutes, but that's what some people seem to manage. Etamni | ✉   04:35, 12 October 2015 (UTC)

Ok, several of us here agree that we have a problem. What is the next step after we're done preaching to the choir? What action can we take? What remedies are available? And more importantly, who wants to stick their neck out and take charge of that action? Dcs002 (talk) 06:52, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
I'd suggest starting with Megalibrarygirl's initial proposal to require more work be done before a nomination can go through, echoing SusunW's points about adding files. There is also something to be said for enacting and enforcing a temporary freeze (perhaps a week) on nomination of new articles except where they need to be speedied. —⁠烏⁠Γ (kaw), 07:58, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
I just saw this. The entire aggressive attitude of deletionists has been baffling to me for years. They do not seem to be motivated by logic, even when the debate points are overwhelming them. I understand there is a lot of junk out there that needs to be cleaned up, but once the substance of an article is established, a reasonable person would back off. You can see the wave of reasonable people switch their "votes" (I know they aren't really votes, but they are). These deletionists do not back off. They fight to their last breath trying to get legitimate content deleted. I have publicly suspected there is some accrual of brownie points for the most scalps. Worse yet, sometimes they find a corrupt administrator to back them up and they win, forever dooming a valid subject to the perceived WP:SALT, even if not specifically administered. What shocks me the most is how uninformed these people are. They dabble in subjects they do not understand, dismiss sources that are the top of their field, and do not do the required research WP:BEFORE posting their attack. Frustrated as I am about the cases I've seen lost, I have a pretty good record of successful defense when I get involved. I see some names over and over, pushing repeatedly against . . . facts. There should be a penalty for bringing too many unsuccessful (the only way to categorize unfounded) attacks on articles. Once they reach a quota, they should be prohibited from making another proposal for a period of time. If they continue to lose, add to that length of time. You'd think they would learn, but some just won't get it. At some point, ban the serious, serial abusers from ever making another proposal for deletion. Trackinfo (talk) 09:05, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
Given that a large cadre of editors on Wikipedia could be categorized as deletionists, I think any steps taken would have to be modest and incremental. If we can get away from the culture of deleting most every new page straightaway for others to deal with, that would be a serious start. Some of my thoughts are: 1) require Prod'ing first, and only allow a second user to AfD, not the initial prodder 2) Make filing an AfD at least as hard as uploading an image. Lots of questions about "have you really done WP:BEFORE? and have you tried improving this page." 3) Prevent articles that have had a favorable AfC outcome from getting immediately AfD'd 4) Require each nomination to, if at all possible, bring up specific actionable items that could make the page suitable. I'm sure there are lots of better ideas out there, but beginning to talk concretely is a good start.-- (talk) 01:02, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
@Etamni: you said certain editors are more interested in amassing stats for how many of X they successfully nominate for deletion.
I also made the same observation, noting that it only takes seconds for nominators to initiate a deletion discussion which requires at least three complicated edits:
  • Creating a new page for the deletion discussion
  • Notifying the creator of the page of the deletion discussion
  • Putting a banner on the page nominated for deletion
  • Adding a welcome template Ottawahitech (talk) 15:47, 17 November 2015 (UTC)please ping me
You missed transcluding the AFD page into the list, but it actually doesn't require any complicated edits at all. Instead, it requires three quick and simple steps:
  1. Go to Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-gadgets and turn on Twinkle (this only has to be done the first time).
  2. Go back to the page and choose "XFD" from the new WP:TW menu.
  3. Fill in the form and click the 'Submit query' button.
Twinkle will do all the other steps for you. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:17, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
Thanks user:whatamIdoing — this is really useful. I wonder though, why it is not mandatory to notify page creators that the page they created has been nominated for deletion if it is that easy and takes only seconds? why do some nominators, and in particular wiki-admins, resist notifying page creators? (See for example user:Good Olfactory here and User:TexasAndroid here) Ottawahitech (talk) 14:34, 23 November 2015 (UTC)please ping me
There is little point in notifying an inactive editor, and little need to notify a highly active one. Also, the question of whether the subject is suitable for its own article isn't really a question that requires the participation of the first name in the editing history (which, in the case of pages that began as redirects, isn't necessarily the person who wrote the article). WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:54, 23 November 2015 (UTC)
Ottawahitech, because notifying the first editor is an unnecessary hand-holding duplication of work. If a user is truly interested in whether or not their creations are nominated for deletion, all they have to do is use their watchlist, because it already is mandatory to tag the nominated content with a template. Good Ol’factory (talk) 21:02, 23 November 2015 (UTC)

I have also noticed a tendency among many editors to nominate articles for deletion (or even tag them for speedy deletion) when that was clearly inappropriate. This means that either other editors must spend time they could have used to create or edit articles contesting the nomination, or the nominator gets their way and the article is deleted. I would strongly support an additional dialog being required in order to nominate articles (or other kinds of pages) for deletion. A grace period of perhaps 12 to 48 hours before a newly-created article could be nominated for deletion might also be good, in which case articles with serious problems such as copyvio could still be dealt with ASAP via speedy deletion. I haven't yet decided how I feel about the proposal below. (Incidentally, for those wondering about the motivations of over-enthusiastic deletion nominators, I have seen it suggested that they might view AfD as akin to a video game where their goal is to rack up as many "kills" — that is, deletions — as possible. I don't know how accurate that idea might be, but it seems it might be plausible for at least some nominators.) —GrammarFascist contribstalk 07:48, 24 October 2015 (UTC)

  • @GrammarFascist: I agree. Also, many wp:XfDs attract very little attention, leaving the page creator, if they are still around, to be the only editor to cast a Keep vote. Sometimes the nominator very conveniently forgets to inform the page creator. It’s rare but I have seen wp:Admins deleting pages that had no "votes" (other than the nominator's implied vote). Ottawahitech (talk) 10:18, 14 November 2015 (UTC)please ping me
    There are not votes at XfD! They are comments, sometimes the rationale speaks for itself and the admin deletes the article. Mrfrobinson (talk) 02:40, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Except that it is a vote. [1] Keep: 50; Delete: 22; Merge: 13; Redirect: 4. --MurderByDeadcopy"bang!" 05:49, 26 November 2015 (UTC)

I disagree with some of the confrontational language in this discussion (not from the OP) and the simplistic labelling of fellow editors as "inclusionist" or "deletionist". That's an unfortunate trend in most of the recent AfD-related debates, and such an approach isn't really helpful to solve eventual flaws in a collaborative manner (I am certainly not claiming, that everything is perfectly OK with AfD processes and notability guidelines). WP:AGF includes editors with differing opinions too - just saying. Aside from that general observation: the suggested grace period of n days for new articles sounds like a good suggestion to move forward (and should be relatively easy to implement), assuming we would exclude clear issues like blatant promotion, serious BLP concerns and large unfixable copyvios from that handling. The proposal below should be declined. Such (relatively few) instances of persistent nominations, that are not based on policy, should be handled case by case: either by talking with the nominator of such problematic cases (instead of talking about them), or by improving unclear notability guidelines. GermanJoe (talk) 14:19, 8 November 2015 (UTC)

I don’t believe the use of such terms is confrontational. I am an wp:inclusionist and I feel slighted onWikipedia because of it. Ottawahitech (talk) 16:49, 12 November 2015 (UTC)please ping me
  • Maybe we are being too harsh on creators of new articles. But I don't think it's right to force BEFORE down people's throat. It doesn't seem wholly fair to me that editors have to try and fix really bad articles; many of which are clearly unfixable. Until relatively recently, I was a deletionist. I nominated dozens of articles for deletion...most of which hadn't been created by new editors, but rather editors who created a whole lotta of articles in big bunches. pbp 17:07, 12 November 2015 (UTC)
@Purplebackpack89/C: Is there something wrong with creating a whole lotta of articles in big bunches? From my inclusionist vantage point I see tons of editors who add very little to wikipedia:mainspace, but effortlessly rack up an impressive edit-count which gets them the desirable mop/Admin status through the wp:Request for Adminship process.Ottawahitech (talk) 17:45, 16 November 2015 (UTC)please ping me
@Ottawahitech:: Oftentimes, articles created in big bunches are poorly sourced or poorly written. Also, TBH, I see people AfDing a lot of articles in hopes of gaining adminship to be a relatively minor issue: not only are the people who do that relatively few in number, but most of the people who nominate a lot of articles for deletion have rubbed enough people the wrong way to preclude them ever having a mop. Oh, FYI, my name's Purplebackpack89, not Purplebackpack89/C. User:Purplebackpack89/C is a redirect to my contributions because there wasn't enough room in my sig to include Special:Contributions/Purplebackpack89. pbp 18:40, 16 November 2015 (UTC)
@Purplebackpack89: you said: articles created in big bunches are poorly sourced or poorly written but isn’t this how wikipedia became the great resource that it is today? When I looked at the page history of articles that were started in the early 2000s they invariably provided little detail and had no references but given time they now form the backbone of wikipedia which draws the world’s attention. No? Ottawahitech (talk) 15:05, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
@Ottawahitech: Setting aside the issue that Wikipedia 10-15 years ago doesn't have the rules it does today, do you believe that Wikipedia's initial article mass came primarily from editors creating new articles very quickly, like maybe 10-15-20 in a period of a few hours? Or do you believe that the creation of thousands and thousands of stubs was the result of a myriad of editors each creating a few articles, often over long periods of time? I cannot condone "drive-by creation" where people create many articles in a short amount of time; I really have to say it takes a minimum of an hour to write an article of any kind of quality (of course, that time includes finding and reading the references put in the article). Remember that in between the editors creating all those articles and today, Wikipedia was thought of as the scourge of the internet, not because the articles were short, but because they were unsourced and inaccurate. Even today, I still think it would be beneficial if the project was forbidden from creating new entries for a time, and forced instead to improve quality of articles. pbp 16:11, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
@Purplebackpack89: I Have to research to see how many editors there were in the early years, but if I remember correctly it was a fairly small number compared with the number of articles they produced, meaning they each created a large number of articles, on average.
As far as [creating] 10-15-20 [articles] in a period of a few hours? I have heard that more recently many articles were actually started by a BOT, not a human. Ottawahitech (talk) 20:32, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
@Purplebackpack89: Here is the official statistics table I found at Wikipedia:WikiProject Editor Retention:
Interesting to note that the average daily number of new articles has declined from a high of 2,132 in Jul 2007 to a low of 734 in Sep 2015, while the number of editors roughly doubled. BTW there are now 848 articles nominated for deletion through AfD outstanding discussions, many if not most, of which have been re-listed for lack of participation. I bet once other XfD deletions are counted we could be talking about thousands of nominations for deletion. Ottawahitech (talk) 03:11, 21 November 2015 (UTC)please ping me
Did you consider that there is a ceiling of articles? Yes there are always new notable subjects however a vast majority of subjects have articles about them already. The key is ensuring quality over quantity now. Mrfrobinson (talk) 00:57, 22 November 2015 (UTC)
That is not even close to being true. The vast majority of notable topics have no article. We can't even match the coverage of old 'premier' general encyclopedias like the 1911 Britannica or the 1885 Dictionary of National Biography, let alone the vast number of works with a narrower focus. James500 (talk) 01:24, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
I agree with Mr. Robinson, @James500:. Most of the articles that should be created have. And whereas we may not have as in-depth coverage as Britannica 1911 or Biography 1885, I think, if you looked, you'd find that nearly all the entries in those tomes have entries here. pbp 15:50, 26 November 2015 (UTC)
I did check. We are missing a huge chunk of the 1885 DNB. See the missing articles wikiproject. James500 (talk) 16:56, 26 November 2015 (UTC)
We are? Because when I thumbed through Epitome 1, I got maybe 450 bluelinks and less than a dozen redlinks, most of which were for articles that appear at slightly different names. Wikipedia:1911 Encyclopedia topics also notes that every single 1911 encyclopedia topic has an article. pbp 17:13, 26 November 2015 (UTC)

I oppose all attempts to make WP:BEFORE mandatory. Experience has shown that it is primarily used as a weapon to attack deletion nominators. It is commonplace for keepmongers to claim a nominator hasn't looked for sources, when it is in fact just a disagreement over the suitability of what trivial and marginal sources there are. Most of BEFORE's checkbox style hurdles are not relevant to the majority of AfDs anyway. Really, all that is expected of nominators is that they produce a coherent argument for why an article should be deleted. Reyk YO! 12:28, 23 November 2015 (UTC)

@Reyk: you said Most of BEFORE's checkbox style hurdles are not relevant to the majority of AfDs anyway so I wonder if you would elaborate:
  • What checkbox are you talking about?
  • Why do you say that they are not relevant to the majority of AfDs? Ottawahitech (talk) 17:17, 25 November 2015 (UTC)please ping me

Some version of BEFORE should have been made a (behavioural) guideline long ago, for the sake of clarification at least, but many of the steps it requires are compulsory under other policies and guidelines anyway. I think I should point out that some deletionists are in the habit of falsely accusing those !voting "keep" of not looking for sources, when it is in fact just a disagreement over the suitability of what non-trivial non-marginal sources there are. I cannot actually recall any instance of a 'keepmonger' doing the same though, although some deletionists may be in the habit of deliberately pretending to be blind, claiming that no sources whatsoever exist, when they obviously do, and demanding direct links (urls) to sources that come up immediately with obvious search terms in GBooks, GNews, GScholar, JSTOR, Highbeam, etc, or are even cited in the article, that they must be able to see (unless they really are blind), in order to waste time and be obstructive. James500 (talk) 01:24, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

I agree James500 and Ottawahitech that WP:Before is very important. I have personally been involved in several AfD's where once a good search was done, turned up that the article was indeed very notable. Anyone who can't be bothered to do WP:Before is doing Wikipedia wrong since we're supposed to be building an encyclopedia with verifiable information. If you can't verify that the article is non-notable, how can you even nominate it for deletion in good faith? Megalibrarygirl (talk) 00:40, 26 November 2015 (UTC)

Wikihounding (WP:HOUND) of inclusionist editors is a fact. There are deletionists who will identify an editor whom they consider inclusionist and then follow that editor around the project, typically in small groups, though they have a talent for getting opportunists to help them now and again, systematically opposing and obstructing everything that they do. The wikihounding does not stop at XfD, as the deletionists will rack their brains to come up with other complaints, frequently absurd, which serve as a proxy for inclusionism, and as an excuse to keep following. The wikihounding is typically accompanied by other misdeeds, such as personal attacks and other off topic comments, canvassing and meatpuppetry. They target one editor at a time in an effort to isolate that editor from other inclusionists. They certainly intend to make editing impossible for that editor, and they probably hope to make editing so unpleasant that he will simply retire. Only a person with superhuman eternal patience could continue editing in the face of this kind of campaign. I know for a fact this happens. It is a fact. James500 (talk) 05:29, 26 November 2015 (UTC)

@James500:, re: your Wikihounding claims: 1) There are often editors who have made dozens of poorly-sourced articles, in which case it makes sense to take a close look and their contributions, and to admonish them for creating poorly-sourced stuff, and 2) To say that inclusionists have never done anything wrong is not entirely accurate. There are inclusionists who flood AfDs with "keep" votes. There are inclusionists who try to have deletionists blocked. pbp 15:50, 26 November 2015 (UTC)
That isn't the sort of scenario that I am talking about. I'm talking about people being hounded, for example, for expressing perfectly reasonable policy based opinions that the deletionists simply did not want to hear. And some deletions should be blocked. James500 (talk) 16:56, 26 November 2015 (UTC)
And there are people who do that to deletionists... pbp 17:13, 26 November 2015 (UTC)

Wikipedia doesn't want you! How Deletionists are making sure Wikipedia Isn’t awesome. When articles such as this are being written... Wikipedia we have a problem!!! --MurderByDeadcopy"bang!" 17:29, 26 November 2015 (UTC)

  • Some blogger can't write vanity articles about himself and friends, and has a long multi-page hissy fit about it. Meh. Reyk YO! 20:50, 26 November 2015 (UTC)
  • I agree with that smart, articulate blogger... and disagree with you! Meh. --MurderByDeadcopy"bang!" 20:55, 26 November 2015 (UTC)
  • The only part about that essay that is really part of the situation is noting that's definition of "notability" is not 100% consistent with the standard English definition, but there's been perennial attempts to find a better name without any success. We have come to be short to say "So and so's not notable" without actually saying "So and so's not notable, as defined by WP:N", which can be confusing to new users (though here, this writer was not a new user by their admission, so I've got a hard time understanding how they never had to encounter WP:N before). That's something to work to improve for all involved. But past that, they are mistaken about the purpose of WP, as we're not here to document important people, we're not a who's who, but a tertiary source that summarizes other sources; we're here to document what reliable sources say about people (in the case of BLP), and if no reliable source covers that person, regardless of their importance in their field, then we can't either. --MASEM (t) 21:10, 26 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Nothing on is consistent, WP:IAR! What I see here is three gigantic problems
  1. Wikipedia is actively making writers mad. Writers write... so I foresee more bloggers writing about their experiences on Wikipedia... oops!
  2. Eventually, the only writers willing to stay in this atmosphere are paid editors.
  3. It's an excellent way to run off new editors fast. So Wikipedia needs to decide, "How few editors does it need to survive?" Or, "Is all that donation money eventually going to go to paid editors after most of the volunteer editors are gone?" Because that's what expect will happen along with paid ads. It's only a matter of time. --MurderByDeadcopy"bang!" 21:41, 26 November 2015 (UTC)
Deleting articles may cost us editors. Keeping bad articles certainly costs us readers. For every blogpost like the one you've cited (and I admit that one does trouble me a little; mostly because I think 2-3 unimpeachably reliable, independent sources should be sufficient), I could easily find ten from the era when there were no rules and Wikipedia was a haven for misinformation. And article deletion is hardly the only thing that has sent editors away, @MurderByDeadcopy: Many editors just leave because real life gets in the way. pbp 21:57, 26 November 2015 (UTC)
@MurderByDeadcopy: Thank you so much for providing the link to Wikipedia Doesn’t Want You, as well as alerting me and others to this thread a few days ago. If anyone is interested here are the links to both AfD discussions mentioned in the article:
Ottawahitech (talk) 04:52, 27 November 2015 (UTC)please ping me

Nobody has given anything except their impression of the sense of "culture of AfD", so it is hard to comment. Firstly, "no consensus" at AfD results in keep, unlike WP:ONUS inside an article, which results in removal of content, which is already a bias against the "deletionists" (totally misleading label). Secondly, it is by no means clear that having a separate article is the best way to work towards the goal of "sum of all knowledge". Knowledge must also be presented in context. Articles can often be merged (or even better, not created in the first place, because they are needless or POV forks) to give context and relate it to other articles. Thirdly, many BLPs are barely disguised attack articles. See this for an example. They are better off deleted than existing. Fourthly, if something is deleted "too soon" it can always be created later. Fifthly, there is no evidence that deleting articles is a major cause of editor attrition. I would bet that many more edits of newbies are reverted than articles deleted, because article creation is a rather high barrier to surmount. Kingsindian  21:36, 26 November 2015 (UTC)

Thank you for your comments, @Kingsindian:. I agree with them. pbp 21:57, 26 November 2015 (UTC)


To solve the issue with disingenuous *fD nominations, done without proper research. After an editor has had made ten unsuccessful *fD nominations they are blocked from making any new *fD nominations for a week. After an additional five unsuccessful *fD nominations, they are blocked from making *fD nominations for two weeks. After an additional five unsuccessful *fD nominations, they are blocked from making *fD nominations for a month. After an additional five unsuccessful *fD nominations, they are blocked from making *fD nominations for 2 months. After an additional five unsuccessful *fD nominations, they are blocked from making *fD nominations for 6 months. After an additional five unsuccessful *fD nominations, they are blocked from making *fD nominations for a year. After an additional five unsuccessful *fD nominations (that would be 40 unsuccessful AfD nominations, an obvious, disruptive pattern, over almost a 2 year period of time), they are permanently blocked from making *fD nominations.. Trackinfo (talk) 21:53, 16 October 2015 (UTC)

@Trackinfo: That's an intriguing proposal that I happen to think is a good idea, but I think it may be a stretch since it's an after-the-fact sort of thing and since it may be seen as new policy. From my short stint in AfD, it seems to me it may be wiser to address the problem before it happens and more editors are railroaded out of Wikipedia. Only a handful of folks in AfD even make a pretense of following WP:BEFORE, marking pages within moments of their creation. They should have to go through a multi-step questionnaire of the type used for image uploads or new-user page creation to ensure they're complying with the policy that already exists. Few people could argue with enforcing existing policy. -- (talk) 23:12, 17 October 2015 (UTC)
What I am proposing is a system to enforce policy. With a penalty awaiting, it might make some people think twice about an un-researched nomination. It might also make them learn better Google search technique. I am constantly confounded by low quality editors who make strong statements in an AfD argument * this is all I could find. When I add a dozen sources, that not only demonstrates the error (malicious or otherwise) in their statement, but should also advertise their incompetence in doing research. On many articles we are starting equally with our feet flat on the ground, they don't know the subject they are attacking, I don't know much about the subject I am defending. It shouldn't be about heroism to rescue the article. If they actually cared about the content on wikipedia, it shouldn't be an adversarial process. It should be plainly that anyone can see the subject meets wikipedia standards and deserves to be here. Trackinfo (talk) 09:17, 26 October 2015 (UTC)
I hate to even mention this, but those who object to wholesale deletion might want to consider checking RfA nominations for deletion history, and voting accordingly. I'm fine with the deletion of material that violates WP:COPYVIO and WP:BLP (assuming the problems cannot be fixed with a scalpel -- or chainsaw), and also material that is overly spammy or otherwise clearly meets the speedy deletion criteria, but most other issues with articles can be fixed by editing the article, rather than by deletion. RfA is already a confused mess, but denying the mop to those who prefer deletion over correction of issues might make a difference. Someday. Etamni | ✉   03:23, 5 November 2015 (UTC)
  • @Trackinfo: This seems to penalize a) people who nominate a lot of pages for deletion, and b) people who just get unlucky. Also, it makes it seem like the only reason deletion nominations fail is because BEFORE isn't followed (and IMO, that's OK; BEFORE is onerous and need not be mandatory). As such, I'm going to have to oppose this. pbp 17:26, 12 November 2015 (UTC)
It certainly is aimed at people who make frivolous nominations. That IS a problem. There is a crowd who do it for sport, which apparently prompted this discussion long before I got involved. I hate to suggest a remedy, but if there is legitimate cause for a failed AfD not to be counted against the nom, perhaps the closing admin can make such a notation to the record at that time. As with any penalty, it needs to be applied with reason. Elsewhere I do criticize other editors for their ineptitude in performing a Google search. Perhaps I have to high an expectation of intelligence from wikipedia editors. But WP:BEFORE at least demands that they lift a finger. I've had the statement on my page for a long time. I am upset with those who attack articles they do not understand. So spend a moment reading before you attack. If you completely miss the first time, perhaps a more refined search is necessary. And hey, if you find sourcing that the posting editor didn't mention, add in a proper source. Help the wikipedia project. Do something good with your time. There are a lot of other people inconvenienced by a single person initiating the AfD or *fD process. Do so with purpose. Uninformed, incompetence is not a good purpose. Trackinfo (talk) 06:57, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
No comment on this proposal, but I strongly agree with this particular statement. —⁠烏⁠Γ (kaw) │ 08:17, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
"But if there is legitimate cause for a failed AfD not to be counted against the nom, perhaps the closing admin can make such a notation to the record at that time." I hope you realize how insanely bureaucratic you're making everything. I also think your most recent statement is far too harsh on nominators of AfDs. I think it's wrong to tell people they have to spend their time sourcing articles, and this proposal comes too close to doing so. pbp 13:49, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
Furthermore @Trackinfo:, I still say that you're ignoring the myriad of reasons an AfD can be closed as keep. It can be closed as keep because of a disagreement of what's a source and what isn't. pbp 13:58, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
So in your statement, you are saying you do not believe in WP:BEFORE. You expect that you (or any other nominator) has all the knowledge they need in their own brain and do not need to use any assistance to determine if an article is legitimately valid or not. That's not the way wikipedia works. We depend on WP:V. That certainly should expect that someone who posts an article should do so with sources, but we all realize that is not the case. Particularly novice editors don't know how to add sources. It doesn't mean their content is not valid. it means they have not adapted to the format of wikipedia contributions. So when you see an article on a subject you don't recognize, what would you do? I know everything, so nominate it for an AfD, right? WP:BEFORE says you should lift a finger, do a little research, find out if this is legitimate. So after learning that a subject is legitimate, then you go on to nominate it for AfD, right? Preposterous. You now know it is legit. Fix the d#$! article. Sure there are borderline cases of notability, which will generate arguments. Even then, if you are consistently on the losing end of the argument, you need to adjust your criteria before you inconvenience all the other editors who have to do research and comment. The point being, if you are a consistent Loser, then there is a problem with your standards for nomination. You have a decision making problem. You can't recognize good from bad. We have disputes all the time on what content is valid. Ultimately somebody has to step in and make the final decision, that the consensus results are . . . And that person is ultimately the best judge also to answer the question; Was that nomination well-founded, in good faith, a marginal argument? Did hidden new evidence come in to sway the case? Or if not, that the *fD was made without BEFORE research, in bad faith and was a waste of time for all involved. Trackinfo (talk) 23:36, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
People often post things that aren't in line with policy: gossip, non-reliable sources, random stuff based on speculation, BLP violations. The end result is that we fix the problem and tell the editor they need to do what policy requires, we don't say we should require that someone who see something based off facebook should conduct their own WP:BEFORE examination and see if a reliable source also says the same thing before we remove that content. -- Ricky81682 (talk) 11:07, 14 November 2015 (UTC)
@Trackinfo: You're looking at BEFORE in the wrong way. What you're basically saying is that if somebody wrote a poorly-sourced article, I (or any other article patroller) have to spend my time trying to fix it, above and beyond not just nominating it for deletion, even if it's clearly beyond hope. You're being really cavalier with the time of me and other deletionists. You can't, and shouldn't, force people to spend their time a certain way. Furthermore, you assume that anybody who gets up to the thresholds you mention is a "consistent Loser". If you nominate 100200 articles for deletion, and fiveten of them are kept, you have a 95% correct rate...and you still face punishment in your proposal. pbp 13:51, 14 November 2015 (UTC) I fixed your math, PBP. Cheers. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 16:17, 14 November 2015 (UTC)
First off, who is making 200 nomination at a time? What kind of quality editing are they accomplishing in that rush? If an editor is making that volume of *D's how could they possibly consider the validity of each article? What they are doing is throwing their few seconds of consideration, into a pile that now become a headache for a whole bunch of editors to spend time to consider. Maybe they found a treasure trove of bulk bad articles by the same editor. Is that something that requires individual AfDs or can that be taken to a bulk discussion about the group. And yes, there have been editors who have deliberately overwhelmed the process by doing exactly that. Essentially I don't like an entire category, so they nominate every article in the category. So in general, I think it is inconsiderate to the wikipedia community to submit that many nominations or even to have that many in play. You can't possibly give each nom its due attention. Trackinfo (talk) 21:47, 14 November 2015 (UTC)
Who said anything about "at a time"? The way your proposal is worded, @Trackinfo:, you could be sanctioned for ten failed RfDs ever. Let me ask you a question: Do you have a conception of what percent of AfDs are closed as delete and what percentage are closed as keep? And therefore, how many RfDs a particular editor would, on average, have to amass before he had ten that failed and hit your first sanction? At an absolute minimum, you need to link the number of failed RfDs to either a) a particular time period, or b) a number of total RfDs started, though I'm not even sure your proposal is salvageable even when you do that. You also scoff at starting many distinct RfDs all at once, but there are situations where that is appropriate. pbp 22:47, 14 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose Disruptive AFD nominations can be determined and it's not based on a count. For example, there's a massive number of deletion regarding biographies of the world's oldest people. Are they disruptive? If you look at the current ones, they are coming up keep. If you look at the archives, you'll see that they were all deletes, then redirects and now keeps, but the votes are exploding in volumes from editors who haven't edited here in years (and based off messageboards and the like on the subject). Been a decade of ARBCOM sanctions and the like for that fun. Ultimately, someone who nominated five articles a week ago will look like they're in the right, today they are disruptive. That's not a way to settle things. -- Ricky81682 (talk) 11:07, 14 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose - It is the article creator's responsibility to include reliable sources to verify the article's content. It is the article creator's responsibility to ascertain whether the article subject is notable with significant coverage in multiple, independent reliable sources. It is the AfD nominator's responsibility to perform the WP:BEFORE homework to see if there are obvious online references that support the article subject's notability. It is the burden of AfD "keep" !voters to demonstrate the subject satisfies the notability and other suitability guidelines for a stand-alone article. This proposal turns those responsibilities upside down, and reverses the burdens of responsibility. And I am happy to compare my AfD record -- as a participant, nominator, and occasional article rescuer -- with anyone. I am neither an inclusionist nor a deletionist; I am an editor who believes strongly in enforcing the notability and other suitability guidelines as they were written and as they were intended, so that Wikipedia may continue to grow as a serious online reference and encyclopedic resource. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 16:34, 14 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Whatever those who are Opposing here is just laughable. It's a deletionists market on Wikipedia so ten unsuccessful *fD nominations will never happen. What I'd be interested discussing is just how all those pro-deletionists expect to keep writers on Wikipedia since everyone here already knows exactly how to get rid of them! Also, AfD nominators are not doing the before work and no one on Wikipedia has a clue to what is and what isn't notable. What AfD has become is a haven to harass editors. --MurderByDeadcopy"bang!" 20:09, 16 November 2015 (UTC)
    • @MurderByDeadcopy: I ask the same question I asked of Trackinfo above: are you aware of the ballpark percentage at which AfDs pass? Your comments would suggest it's in the 90s, and it isn't. I also think you've over-estimate the amount of improper and bad-faith AfDs. pbp 20:24, 16 November 2015 (UTC)
      • I didn't actually put any % amount to the number of AfD's that pass, but you did which frankly suggests that that number could be 89%. My point is the ease with which an article gets deleted. In order to attempt saving an article one must explain their reason in full, then get cross examined multiple times along with being belittled, plus personal attacks, and followed all over Wikipedia while a vote to delete needs no more than a per nom explanation and viewed as heroic. --MurderByDeadcopy"bang!" 21:15, 16 November 2015 (UTC)
        • @MurderByDeadcopy:@Trackinfo: The % of AfDs that are closed as kept is actually closer to 30%, which puts the delete rate at about 70%. That means, on average, you'd only need to AfD 33 articles before you have 10 deletions that fail. (BTW, since you two are making such broad generalizations, you should be familiar with this stat). Also, not only do you exaggerate the behavior of deletionists, you make it seem like anybody who votes "Keep" is a saint. I've seen legions of bad "keep" rationales at Wikipedia. pbp 22:13, 16 November 2015 (UTC)
          • Putting up two numbers without more facts is meaningless. Are these numbers based on all AfD's since the beginning of Wikipedia? Because I'm more interested in the past year since I believe AfD has changed greatly over time. I also consider anyone who votes a "Keep" vote a gutsy move on Wikipedia since it's quite apparent that anyone who does so gets to be openly and unrelentingly harassed by all who vote delete. But I don't believe that is something you can possibly understand since you've only voted "Keep" once two years ago in 2013[2] which puts your delete stats at 98.6%! --MurderByDeadcopy"bang!" 23:57, 16 November 2015 (UTC)
            • I think your tool is off; I count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 times just since 2013. Also, it's not as gutsy as you seem to think...why don't you count in the last week how many AfDs were kept, since you only care about the here and now? Get some real figures instead of just going with your instinct. pbp 05:01, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
              • Seems like your statistics are suggesting an arbitrary randomness to Keeps. Maybe that would be the case with thoughtless *fDs, which is exactly what we are trying to prevent. Perhaps I can't relate. I've been editing for over 8 years and in that time I have accumulated zero failed *fDs. Of course, I've spent a lot of time on the other side, fighting off bad *fDs, into the thousands. That's a lot of effort, for a lot of bad nominations, each one of them that could have been solved the same way I saved them, by googling the subject of the article, finding sources usually in the first page (some have too much non-reliable social media at the top so I have to go deeper) and posting them. I've lost a few, mainly on notability grounds because even though you can post a lot of sources, it devolves into opinion. The key issue is, a lot of these articles were originally poor posts by the original editor. Many were novice editors, others were inconsiderate bulk editors who just didn't spend the time to back up the content they were posting. Sure the original editor could have done better, but we can't expect that of novices. Certainly I'd like to retrain the bulk unsourced stub posters. But do their failures mean wikipedia content, the subject of the article, needs to suffer? Isn't a valid stub superior to a red link (we know nothing about this subject), non-existent link, or worse yet, a subject with perceived salt from its one time deletion due to a poor original poster? Those are the ramifications of deleted *fDs. We are building a knowledge base. But that concept does not succeed if legitimate content is deleted thoughtlessly. We are supposed to be editors. The meaning suggests there is thought behind what we do. Trackinfo (talk) 21:49, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
                • The problem, @Trackinfo:, is that you're arguing that novices (and bulk editors) need to do less work at the same time you're saying noms need to fix articles instead of nominating them for deletion. You're unfairly shifting work from one (or two) group to another group. As for "isn't a valid stub superior", that depends. Remember that if it isn't sourced, you don't know if anything in it is true/legitimate. We shouldn't leave unsourced stubs up for eternity on the off chance somebody is going to source them. pbp 15:50, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
I am not pinning extra work on a "group" of people, that is what an improper *fD does. I'll separate the two categories of problem editors. The novice, yes, they should be given a pass, They don't know better. You as the lone, experienced editor arriving on their poorly written or poorly sourced article have a choice to make. 1) Do nothing, as your predecessors have done. I assume you are too activist to let that go. 2) Directly nominate it for *fD; in one lazy step turning your casual observation of a poor article into a problem for the handful of people who notice it in the *fD listings over a few weeks of the process. Finally some admin needs to sort through the mess of comments and improvements to the article and decide what to do with the article. 3) Or you can do a google (or search engine of your choice) search and find out about this subject. You will then know if it is BS (and if its BS, find a way to speedy it and save everyone the problem). If it is legitimate, then you, with your new knowledge and experience as an editor can fix the article. Now it doesn't need to bother other people and the problem is solved. Your little bit of effort saved everybody else their time and trouble. The only time something needs to go through the process is if it truly is a marginal subject. I would go further to suggest, you ought to know the broader subject surrounding the subject in question, to know how it relates. Is this a necessary definition. Is there more to hang onto this subject? If you don't know what you are talking about, butt out. Go back to step 1. The other problem editor is the bulk editor leaving lots of stubs. I believe in cross-referencing. So someone leaving a string of stubs is still helping the greater good. If they are unsourced, that person needs a good talking to. We do have talk pages for that purpose. But because they created a poor article about a valuable subject does not mean it needs to be deleted. I've found a bunch of editors who create stub articles about names in lists of similarly related prose. Each of that cast of characters has a claim to notability based on their participation in something that puts them on that list. A few seconds of google answers this question. In that process, what do you have in your hands? A source. Copy, paste and now the article is sourced. Better yet, now you know something that is not posted on wikipedia. Write some prose, fill in the blanks. You made a handful of edits, improved wikipedia and saved everybody else down the line, the extra work doing the same steps you should have done. And seriously, the amount of time it takes to do that is probably less than all the proper steps to submit an *fD. WP:BEFORE solves everything. Needlessly submitting something to *fD shows your laziness, ineptitude and/or your feckless attitude towards both wikipedia and your fellow editor. Trackinfo (talk) 22:23, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
@Trackinfo: Setting aside the fact you essentially want to completely dismantle the *fD process and fill Wikipedia with loads of unsourced and potentially inaccurate information, you consistently overestimate the amount of time spent by people because an *fD is created, while at the same time consistently underestimating the amount of time it takes to fix articles. Fixing articles take a lot of time, and deletionists should not be required to do it. One of the principles of Wikipedia is that editors get a choice of what they are allowed to edit, but you want to take that choice away from deletionists. pbp 13:45, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
That is a complete misrepresentation of what I am saying. Where have I EVER encouraged unsourced articles? I am saying exactly the opposite. When you find an unsourced or poorly sourced article, WP:BEFORE says to do the simple step of researching the subject before you blindly cause other people the trouble of dropping it into *fD. I can state from having done so thousands of times myself, its not that hard to do. Yes, you can choose what you choose to edit. What you should not do is choose to make an uninformed nomination for a *fD. So after googling the subject, having learned something about the subject and evaluating its worth, now it is your choice, to do nothing (which doesn't help wikipedia), to be stupid and nominate legitimate content for *fD, or to copy/paste the source into the problem article. If you choose to be stupid, stupid by ignoring facts that are now on your screen, your laziness is causing trouble for all the editors who follow you. By this proposal, yes, I want to penalize editors for deliberately choosing to be stupid. *fD should be used to get rid of the garbage that is too well done to speedy. None of this discussion is about keeping garbage. Unless you are already an expert, most nominators are NOT, you don't know what you are doing until you have done WP:BEFORE. Trackinfo (talk) 17:36, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
              • First off, these stat's and numbers issue is what you interjected into this conversation, not me. The above paragraphs only proves my point which is that numbers can be thrown around indiscriminately in a hugely meaningless way. But what I do interpret about all these numbers is a clear-cut way to dodge the issues I have with AfD's.
              • Second, my main points are the ease with which AfD's get deleted... and the enormous difficultly it is to save an article once it gets nominated. The environment one faces in just attempting to save an article from deletion. The harassment, personal attacks, hounding, vengeance, and the issue that the more actual facts one finds that an article should be saved, the more the deletionists double-down into some sort of backfire effect. Deletionists win by badgering and threatening editors who attempt saving an article until they are completely exhaustioned knowing that they can (and will) re-nominate the article at a later date. --MurderByDeadcopy"bang!" 22:05, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
                • Keep in mind what you are stating above are all arguments generally refuted as arguments to avoid at AFD. There are some editors that nominate articles at AFD willy-nilly which might be questionable, but there are also editors that rapidly create articles with no effort to justify why we should have articles on those topics. The process is self-correcting. Also, I strongly caution against calling people nominating articles at AFD as "harassment". Yes, there have been cases of an editor being petty or going after another editor and nominating articles in bad faith, which is edging on harassment no doubt. But editors that are nominating articles at AFD in good faith, that's far from harassment. --MASEM (t) 03:06, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
                  • Of course, it's not all AfD noms! Nor do I see rapidly created articles - that sounds like a relic from the past (unless it's a bot). What I'm referring to is the generally accepted environment within AfD along with my own personal experience of being hounded and tag teamed until I was run off even attempting to rewrite an article to save it. Odd thing is, I was finding actual facts for that article, but I've since learned that the more evasive and elusive my reasons to "keep" an article are, the better the odds become that that article gets kept (well, until its next nom anyway). --MurderByDeadcopy"bang!" 04:35, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
                    • Without having diffs or links to AFDs to know what you are considering hounding and tag teaming (which I have seen before but it is a rarity and usually obvious enough when it happens). More often, it is a newer editor that feels that editors are ruining their work by nominating it for AFD and fight tooth and nail and consider any opposition (read: deletion) as an afront and bitterly complain, when those opposing/!voting "delete" are well within policy to point out such problems. --MASEM (t) 04:41, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
                      • Now that I've been tried and condemned (but I'm not surprised) I see zero reason to continue this conversation so, Have a nice day! --MurderByDeadcopy"bang!" 05:09, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
                      • @Masem: you said More often, it is a newer editor that feels that editors are ruining their work by nominating it for AFD and fight tooth and nail and consider any opposition (read: deletion) as an afront and bitterly complain, when those opposing… are well within policy to point out such problems.
                      • What in your opinion should be done in such a situation when a new editor is fighting tooth and nail to save "their" article which does not conform with wiki-standards? Ottawahitech (talk) 14:35, 18 November 2015 (UTC)please ping me
                        • Encourage them to use draft or user space to develop the article first, or use WP:AFC to help see if the article proposed is appropriate, instead of jumping in feet first and getting burned when they haven't spent time understanding our processes. --MASEM (t) 15:20, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
                          • @Masem: you said Encourage them… but this is easier said than done: here is an example of what happened to new editor User:WhitetTara
                            • The article she(he?) wrote about Filiz Cicek was deleted 3 times thru a wp:speedy: twice as “No explanation of significance” and a third time as a ‘’Unambiguous copyright infringement: no evidence of notability’’
                            • Between Feb 1, 2014, 5:28 - Feb 5, 2014 s/he expended enormous effort to try in good faith to figure out what the problem was, but apparently gave up and left wikipedia after her last edit.
                            • Here is what users like me who do not possess wiki-admin-eyesight can see about User:WhitetTara:
                              • Live edits: 32
                              • Deleted edits: 120
                              • Total edits: 152.
                            • all in the span of 3-4 days. Ottawahitech (talk) 16:59, 18 November 2015 (UTC)please ping me
                              • Looking at the article and user talk page, this is probably a bad example: WhitetTara appeared to have a connection with Filiz Cicek (based on the user's talk page), and had basically created the article with a copyrighted resume, and while the user claimed to have gotten permission from Cicek to use it. The last deleting admin did try to work to help provide information, so it wasn't an unanswered cry for help; the page was userfied, the user informed and then... it was never acted on. I don't see that as being chased off, just more.. frustration? even though everything was teed up to help. Mind you statements like this do not inspire me that WhitetTara's purpose was wholly to build an encyclopedia, and that often happens at AFD that people thinking they are coming to WP to right great wrongs have to justify keeping articles at AFD that fail to meet standards. Again, not a failure of the system, but the nature of editors wanting instant gratification instead of learning the ropes. --MASEM (t) 17:15, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
                  • @Masem: you said I strongly caution against calling people nominating articles at AFD as "harassment"...But editors that are nominating articles at AFD in good faith, that's far from harassment
                  • It may be in good faith and still feel like harassment to the party on the other side. Since you ask for a concrete example let me offer up one of mine. I have been doing work in an area of Wikipedia that, in my opinion, is in a mess, namely Patient Protection and Affordable Care in the United States. When talking about this area, understanding terminology like Platinum/Gold/Silver/Bronze plans is crucial. But in 2014 two of the redirects that I created for these terms were nominated for deletion. The other two also disappeared even though I did not receive a notification(IIRC) for the nomination.
                  • I tried to participate in the deletion discussion in good faith, but felt I was mocked by the participants, or at least this is what it felt like since I could not follow what the other participants were talking about. Ottawahitech (talk) 14:49, 18 November 2015 (UTC)please ping me
                    • Looking at the AFDs, both the articles you created and the AFDs are all being done in good faith : you felt the terms needed separate articles, other editors disagreed, and when it was clear two of the four were set for deletion, a closing admin hit the other two. Nothing in the discussion looks like anything close to harassment, but simply what was a different between what you thought might have been notable and what community standards are, and that's not always a straight forward thing. I disagree in how the terms were deleted rather than redirected to a section on the PP article as they seem like reasonable search terms, but that's far from anything that any editor should take to be harassment or the like. There is a reason we encourage new editors to make their articles in draft/user space first so that they can learn the ropes of how we expect articles to be constructed, but a lot of editors want instant gratification, jump right in and get into a mess that they might take personally. --MASEM (t) 15:20, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
                      • @Masem: So you believe it is not insulting to use these words: Delete per WP:SOAPBOX. A Gold Card or Gold Plan is not worth the plastic it is embossed on. Ottawahitech (talk) 05:11, 19 November 2015 (UTC)please ping me
                        • It's not insulting to the editor, which is what I would expect if we're talking harassment. It's dismissive of the importance of the gold plan concept, but there is no attack to the editor in question. If that was a prolonged attitude over a long discussion there might be something to act one, but not one comment in one AFD. --MASEM (t) 05:26, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
                          • @Masem: So when one accuses you of using Wikipedia as a soapbox or means of promotion — that is not insulting???!!! Ottawahitech (talk) 05:56, 19 November 2015 (UTC){{Bigplease ping me}}
                            • In the context, no it's not. It's commenting on the contribution and not the contributor. It might be a bit harsh but that's far from violating any civility lines. If it was clear it was a new editor with good faith intentions, one might suggest expanding on SOAPBOX, but that's far from required. --MASEM (t) 06:00, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
                              • I think that the SOAPBOX claim may have been a little harsh; frankly it sounds like that editor is himself standing on a SOAPBOX. But that one contribution is hardly indicative of all comments at AfDs. pbp 13:45, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
                                • Certainly, WP has a whole can do a bit better at AFD discussions to avoid it being alphabet soup that newcomers may not understand (also taking a soapbox position on a talk page like AFD is not anywhere close to an issue as if it was written into a mainspace article; there's little actionable about it) But then when people cry that those that nominate AFD should engage in BEFORE, I can point that we should have new editors engaging in reading all relevant policies before creating their first article so they can prevent it going to AFD. And that won't happen; WP is geared towards having no such requirements. At the end of the day, all we can do is encourage more courtesy at AFD, but that's difficult if impossible to enforce. --MASEM (t) 15:28, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
                    • I agree with Masem. The redirects you created are not analogous to the average article that ends up being deleted. Redirects are not articles: they operate on a completely different set of rules. The reason your redirects were deleted wasn't people believed "bronze plan" didn't mean a health care plan; it was because people believed "bronze plan" didn't only mean a health care plan. pbp 15:50, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
  • I'm with Masem and pbp on this as well. When a redirect gets nominated in a deletion discussion, it's necessary to give an opinion on the redirect's utility, and it's human nature to take offense when someone suggests deleting your work but that's what happens here sometimes. Those comments are not directed at you, they're commenting on the page. SimonTrew's might have been easy to misinterpret but believe me, his comment was not directed at you: pages can be soapboxes too. Also, sometimes RfD is a silly place, don't take it too seriously. Ivanvector 🍁 (talk) 16:44, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
  • @Ivanvector: You said user:SimonTrew’s [comment] might have been easy to misinterpret but believe me… Since you are vouching for him it sounds like you personally know Si Trew? Ottawahitech (talk) 01:45, 20 November 2015 (UTC)please ping me
  • @Ivanvector and Ottawahitech: I have no idea why my name is being brought into this. Anyway, Ivanvector and I know each other only through the RfD pages. However it would probably be fair to say Ivanvector has a good measure of my editing and reasoning style. Si Trew (talk) 02:47, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
@SimonTrew: Your name was mentioned here because you alluded to my edits as promotional. As I told user:Masem (see above) I felt you were mocking me during the deletion discussions here and here. BTW thanks for pinging me. Ottawahitech (talk) 11:08, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
I believe this is a problem present in many XfDs where a small group of editors are doing all the nominations, forming the discussion, and closing it as well. It appears there is little effort to locate subject matter experts to opine. Instead these XfD-insiders form a social clique with their own private rules where many nominations do not even state which guideline had been contravened by the page creator. This is certainly true in wp:CfD which unfortunately I am more familiar with than I care to, but appears to also be common in other forums such as wp:RfD. No wonder that the target editors of these XfDs feel outnumbered. Ottawahitech (talk)please ping me
Ottawahitech, I want to take your criticism seriously, because I've observed such behavior at CfD as well. There seem to be many unwritten standards that live only in the minds of active editors there. Now, mind you, in a consensus-driven project, that's not too far off from the way it should be. Write the standards down so they can be discussed and amended as necessary; it stars with patterns that may be interpreseted as "cliquish".
That said, your implication of some sort of conspiracy at RfD is worrying. Yes, we're among the most active editors at RfD, so it's not unreasonable that we communicate amongst ourselves and hold a lot of the institutional memory around there. But we've also all worked to write down the standards of RfD, especially at WP:RFDO. I explicitly started that page to describe how RfDs usually go, not to prescribe how they should go (compare to WP:AFDP).
You are welcome to become an RfD regular too. We'd be happy to have you. You'll get a better grasp on these issues, and you'll have more opportunities to make arguments for change where you think it's needed. But please don't spend your time trawling talk pages like that. You'll do better for the encyclopedia doing almost anything else. (And for what it's worth, I've had occasional off-wiki contact with some of those editors on other issues, but RfD is discussed in venues that are open to everyone. Transparency is very important to me.) --BDD (talk) 15:34, 23 November 2015 (UTC)
@BDD: In regards to But please don't spend your time…You’ll do better for the encyclopedia doing almost anything else — this is exactly what I am trying to do, add content, but the actions of many other editors who are flooding my user-talk-page with notices of nominations for deletion, have given me pause about the effectiveness of my contributions. Ottawahitech (talk) 21:52, 23 November 2015 (UTC)please ping me
@BDD: to this day I have no clue why four useful (to readers) redirects hit the bit-bucket and since you said we’ve also all worked to write down the standards of RfD, especially at WP:RFDO I went ahead and looked at WP:RFDO to see why my redirects were deleted, but I still don’t get it. Can you please help me out? BTW thanks for pinging me. Ottawahitech (talk) 06:35, 25 November 2015 (UTC)
Ottawahitech, is this really all about one RfD that didn't go your way? If so, I strongly encourage you to simply walk away. I will answer your question, though.
WP:RFDO is not a one-stop shop, and I hope I haven't represented it that way. The "official" word on redirects is at WP:RFD itself, above current listings, in the Guiding principles of RfD and When should we delete a redirect? sections. Please note also that because I was a closer of that discussion and not a participant, I'm not the best person to ask about the rationale behind the delete arguments. But I think the idea was that those redirects could confuse readers looking for something else. There are several "gold plans" mentioned on Wikipedia, and since none of them have standalone articles, it's not clear what would be the most notable of those. There's very little discussion of the plan types at the ACA article—which is probably appropriate—so we're talking about balancing a chance of being slightly helpful versus a chance of obscuring other topics readers could be seeking. I suspect that redirects such as Gold plan (Obamacare) or Gold plan (Affordable Care Act) would not be considered problematic.
I will not be watching this page further; the formatting is topsy-turvy, and the discussion is simply too large. You're welcome to discuss RfD at WT:RFD, and I again encourage you to be a regular participant there. You're also free to contact me on my talk page. I hope this helps. --BDD (talk) 16:02, 25 November 2015 (UTC)
Honestly, it can be good to have a healthy skepticism about one's own contributions. I can think of one editor in particular, not to pile on, who would've saved a lot of us a lot of work. Be bold, yeah, but if a bunch of your contributions are ending up deleted, best to be a bit conservative and responsive to the implicit criticism. --BDD (talk) 22:04, 23 November 2015 (UTC)

(edit conflict) I'm sorry, Ottawahitech, you're astonished that a group of editors who frequent a common area sometimes talk to each other? What the hell? Yeah, sometimes we talk about things. So what? Grow up, and drop the stick. You had your opportunity to provide input as did everyone else; that's how discussions work, and it is none of our fault that you didn't speak up about your concerns with the process at the time, or we would have done a better job of explaining our rationales to you. Don't ping me to this discussion again. Ivanvector 🍁 (talk) 15:40, 23 November 2015 (UTC)

  • @Ottawahitech: This is a rather worrying accusation especially since editors at RfD do explain their reasons if they are politely asked for it. We also have differing opinions (here's a live RfD demonstrating that) so I can't see how you view RfD as a monolithic clique. I'm sorry but I think we are no longer having a civilized discussion with all these accusations and unfair generalizations. --Lenticel (talk) 01:02, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
  • @Purplebackpack89: You said it was [deleted] because people believed "bronze plan" didn't only mean a health care plan So are you saying that it is OK to delete any page that may have an ambiguous title, because if this is what you mean there will be very little left in Wikipedia whose audience is global. No? Ottawahitech (talk) 01:35, 20 November 2015 (UTC)please ping me
  • @Ottawahitech: Please read WP:PRIMARYTOPIC. If there are multiple articles with the same or similar titles or topics that are both relatively well-known, a redirect to just one of them is inappropriate. Instead, there should either be a disambiguation page, or nothing at all. But we're on a tangent ATM. pbp 01:56, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
  • <resetting indent> @Ottawahitech: I really don't know why you feel mocked by that Rfd given it's probably one the least dramatic and more light hearted Xfd's. If I'm going to use your civility standards, I can argue that you're the one mocking me and my research skills. Personally, I just see it like we're just searching from different parts of the globe. --Lenticel (talk) 02:14, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Every one of my user boxes was because of experiences I faced at AfD so it can't be Wikipedia's least dramatic spot. So, yes, deletion has become an evil place! --MurderByDeadcopy"bang!" 17:17, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
  • @Ottawahitech: My thoughts on your remarks sort of mirror both BDD's and Ivanvector's; I offer you to become more active in RFD to become more familiar with its process, but at the same time, recommend you drop the stick in trying to form some sort of bad faith accusation based on the fact that some of a noticeboard's regulars discuss subjects amongst each other. If the latter did not happen, given that such editors have the most knowledge of a noticeboard, no improvements to improve the functionality and processes of a noticeboard would probably never happen. In fact, regarding RFD, thanks to RFD regulars brainstorming and discussing amongst each other, WP:RFDCO now exists. Wikipedia is a WP:CONSENSUS-based project, and what your accusations are akin to trying to claim otherwise. (That, and if you are trying to reach all recent RFD participants, you probably should have mentioned Tavix and Rubbish computer; Godsy too, but they are already aware of this discussion.) (Also, I'm a bit surprised I was mentioned as a RFD regular, especially given my recent transition from participation in RFD and becoming quite more active in WP:FFD. I'm waiting until the flood of nominations of redirects from Neelix dies down a bit before I go back to being active on RFD.) Steel1943 (talk) 17:04, 23 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose - "Disingenuous [X]fD nominations, done without proper research" ≠ "Unsuccessful [X]fD nominations", the latter being very vague. Assuming "unsuccessful" to mean resulting in keep (more applicable to XfDeletions than XfDisucssions because the nominator generally suggests deletion in the former): some XfDs are close calls that result in keep and users shouldn't be afraid to make nominations of that nature. Also the proposal as written is very punitive in the sense that it would never reset (10 "unsuccessful" [X]fD nominations over 10 years would result in being blocked from making any new *fD nominations for a week by this wording, which I doubt is the intention). I've thought it over and whether it was a pure automated process or one requiring user input, it would be quite unreasonable, which I can elaborate on if needed.Godsy(TALKCONT) 17:02, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose as well. The deletion forums are an important function of the project. Editors shouldn't be afraid to list in them. Editors who make obviously frivolous nominations can already be admonished or blocked for it - for egregious cases, go to WP:ANI. I think making this kind of bright-line rule regarding "failed" deletion discussions is an especially bad thing. Also, deletion discussions don't ever really "fail", that's an unfortunate viewpoint of the process - deletion discussions test community consensus, they don't ever really fail. Ivanvector 🍁 (talk) 17:52, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose I wouldn't want to sanction anyone for doing what they think is right. I have to assume good faith and hope that those who are doing AfD are generally doing it because they think it's best for Wiki, not to get scalp points. That said, I do disagree with a number of AfD's and I spend a lot of time trying to fix the articles I think are worth saving. I don't think anyone should be "forced" to do anything, but it is very important to do WP:BEFORE. Notability does not depend on the sources actually being in the article--only that they exist somewhere, so all the editor has to do is take a look... hopefully also using a database and see if the person is notable. If the article needs sources, tag it if they are too busy to fix the article. I don't see why so many articles are up for AfD when a quick WP:Before shows the person is notable. Another problem is that many people nominating AfD's obviously don't have access to databases and perhaps they are unable to tell if something is notable because the information is behind a paywall. Perhaps an answer to WP:BEFORE is to require that editors have access to databases before they are allowed to nominate for AfD. Megalibrarygirl (talk) 17:43, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
I just wanted to add that Megalibrarygirl is over at AfD often enough to know what's actually happening in that arena. AfD does oftentimes come across as some video game where one tries to rack up the most kills! The three most inappropriate reasons, to me, that AfD's end up there is first, because of don't like whether it's either the subject or the editor. Second, is a lack of knowledge about the subject itself. The third one is not interested in fixing the problems within the article. That last problem is going to continue to grow rapidly. At one time, (from what I can deduce) articles on Wikipedia could be started with a simple paragraph which then other writers would add to that article. However, today, an article must be fully fleshed out, like turning in an essay for a final exam. Why would anyone want to put that kind of effort into an article only to not only not receive credit for such an article, but have others add erroneous information? Certainly, not me. I'd rather create my own website and stick it there. Heck, there's even plenty of free spots to put it. What I see is Wikipedia losing its most valuable resource here - its writers! --MurderByDeadcopy"bang!" 18:58, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
@MurderByDeadcopy: I don't think people expect articles to be complete or face deletion. But I do think they expect them to be sourced or faced deletion. As for the "other people adding erroneous information" argument, a) other people editing "your" article is something you've just gotta live with in a Wiki, and b) the odds of erroneous information being added are much greater if an article stays around. I know you consider people not fixing articles to be a problem, but I'd counter that forcing people to do a particular activity is also a problem. People should always have a choice between fixing or not. pbp 23:12, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
I don't think people expect articles to be complete or face deletion.
A. I disagree. Seeing article drafts like this[3] getting rejected is baffling to me. That isn't some beginning paragraph or two to an article, that article is pretty complete which should be signed and owned by the writer so that they can be acknowledged for their hard work. Putting that kind of work into getting an article on Wikipedia is exactly why writers aren't staying here. As you've stated, you have to accept that anyone can edit "your" article on Wikipedia and I have zero issue with that premise as long as that exertion isn't surpassed by unreasonable expectations - at which point, I believe, the writer should/will take their creations elsewhere to get the full credit.
B. It's odd that you suggest that believe in forcing people to do a particular activity since I've never recommended anyone be "forced" to do anything and was basically agreeing with Megalibrarygirl who also had said the same thing. However, by nominating articles for AfD that shouldn't be there, but instead should be fixed, it is "forcing" people to do a particular activity or allow said article to be deleted for no other reason except that the nominator wasn't willing to do the work themselves. Either tag the article or fix the article or ignore it, but don't send it to AfD which then "forces" somebody else to fix the mess! --MurderByDeadcopy"bang!" 19:51, 21 November 2015 (UTC)
@MurderByDeadcopy: The AfC you cite a) was rejected for being unsourced, not incomplete, b) probably wouldn't have been rejected had a different reviewer reviewed it, and c) wasn't an AfD. Also, nobody is forced to fix an article at AfD. You can just let the article be deleted, after all. pbp 20:31, 21 November 2015 (UTC)
Never said that draft was in AfD nor did I say anyone "had" to fix anything, however, suggesting that an article be allowed to be deleted that shouldn't have been nominated to AfD in the first place doesn't sound accurate either. I have also decided that this conversation is going nowhere, at the moment, so you can have the last word here. Have a nice day! --MurderByDeadcopy"bang!" 20:48, 21 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose since learning how to participate on XFD noticeboards can sometimes be trial and error, and banning an editor from participating due to such criteria wholesale is akin to assuming that all editors who do so are bad-faith editors trying to cause disruption, and that could not be further from the truth. Steel1943 (talk) 17:04, 23 November 2015 (UTC)
  • oppose BEFORE may have had its place when wikipedia was starting out. Wikipedia now has more than 5 million articles. Given that most of of them are shit and many downright harmful, BEFORE has outlived its usefulness and certainly entrenching it in this manner is unhelpful to the project. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 01:38, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Support in principle, though I'm not sure about the numbers. Editors should not only be prevented from making plainly wrong nominations. They should also be discouraged from making controversial ones (the sort that end in no consensus or a close call), as those are the biggest time sink and nuisance ever devised. They are much worse than the nominations that get snowballed. Editors should be made very afraid to make those kind of borderline nominations. The more afraid they are, the better. I do not like borderline nominations. I don't think it matters whether they are doing it in bad faith or not. I am inclined to think that the ability to make AfD nominations should be earned, so I have little problem with this. James500 (talk) 02:04, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose: Much as the proposed policy is well intentioned, there appear to be several issues with it.
  • It does not deter new editors whose articles are nominated for deletion from leaving, instead deterring all editors involved with XfDs.
  • It fails to take proportion into account: if somebody is 99% accurate and they nominate 1000 articles for deletion, thy would be blocked. A user who created 1000 articles would likely be praised, and so to should users who contribute substantially to other areas, provided they use WP:BEFORE and don't nominate articles immediately after their creation.
  • It is too bureaucratic, with too many blocks, quantitative regulations and different stages. It is either serious misconduct, or it isn't.
  • It leans towards the idea that voting Delete, No, or Oppose to anything on Wikipedia is intrinsically negative, when the decision either way should be what is ultimately best for the encyclopedia.
I can imagine that some AfD nominators are working towards a "high score" that in reality does not correspond to actual improvement of the encyclopedia, but this is a wider problem in Wikipedia: for example, I've heard it being said that some editors are unnecessarily reporting users to AIV and UAA.
It is extremely unfortunate that what is no doubt a large proportion of new editors are leaving Wikipedia, and will continue to leave, as the articles they create are nominated for deletion, but I do not believe that this policy will help.
Are new editors creating their first article offered a link to "My first article" when they start creating it? Hopefully this could help, along with more weight being placed on "My first article" when users are welcomed. Having said that, sources should always be searched for before an article is nominated for deletion, and a reasonable amount of time should be given for new articles to be created: if the creating user writes something like "A start" in their edit summary I add the "Work in progress" tag for them.
Rubbish computer (HALP!: I dropped the bass?) 03:18, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

close as unfinished (draft)[edit]

I would keep it simple, just allow reviewing administrators to block editors indefinitely for AFD nominations that are absurd. But this doesn't address the real problem: AFD is some how in an incredible hurry (which is pointless) but more importantly it forces the closing administrator to reason in absolutes (within this time). The solution: Encourage/allow administrators to close as "unfinished" which moves the articles to draft space. (As closing them is now easy we can Leave AFD's open indefinitely.)

By having the option to close as draft the admin can chose quickly knowing there wont be any negative implications. If he doubts between delete or draft it is safe to move it to draft or delete it, if he doubts between keep or draft it is safe to move it to draft or keep it. The doubtful cases then sit far away from the current line between keep and delete.

note: I've looked at the pending reviews one time and it was incredibly hard to judge if a topic is worthy of an article or not. You get things like: Professional sports person. No one can be expected to divide those into keep/delete in a remotely consistent way. But even if one could. After one great accomplishment it is nice to have the draft article. Much nicer than having garbage in mainspace or deleting worthy topics. (talk) 15:58, 12 November 2015 (UTC)

Before we had draft space, it was somewhat common for discussions to close as "userfy" - pages would be moved into a user's space to continue working on them if they weren't quite ready for mainspace. I called for that result in discussions where consensus was that the topic met inclusion standards but the article quality was poor. Poor quality of course is not a valid deletion rationale but sometimes consensus is imperfect. I don't follow AfD much any more so I don't know if pages often get moved to draft space or not, but it is available as an option. Ivanvector 🍁 (talk) 17:09, 12 November 2015 (UTC)
And those userified articles don't get touched, sit around in draftspace until someone finds them years and years later. I'm sure it may exist but I have yet to see a single userified article bounce back and become a live article again. It's still an option though and with draftspace, that's another option. There's still DRV which often gets calls to restore article that have been deleted based on new information. For those reasons, I understand why AFD would be more deletionist as nothing is ever really dying. If there is actual a red link that was proposed as an article but listed with nothing, went through AFD and deleted, it can always be restored though a number of mechanism provided that someone with the interest to create it provides the sources. However, as someone who works with a lot of userdrafts and new drafts, the general view is "if you created it and put up some statement, you must have gotten it from somewhere and there's 100% chance it'll be easier for you to recall where you got it from than demand that other people do it for you." That's why drafts that don't get edited for six months and aren't worthy of becoming articles get deleted (although almost a third probably get extended at least once or twice which is basically a year without any actual work on it). -- Ricky81682 (talk) 10:55, 14 November 2015 (UTC)
After digging a bit I do see a few move to draft votes. wp:afd argues an article may be kept and improved, merged, redirected, incubated (draft), transwikied (copied to another Wikimedia project), renamed/moved to another title, transcluded into another article (or other page), userfied to a user subpage, or deleted per the deletion policy.
Perhaps we could also come up with a guideline for linking to the draft articles from mainspace. We could make purple in stead of red links. I can usually be bothered to drop a link to a usable source on a talk page but writing a whole article that will/must probably be deleted is not very appetizing. Being able to find the page in a place where it appears to be useful would help a lot. (talk) 12:15, 14 November 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I would have no objection to adding an additional outcome to those presently available, i.e., a new "move to draftspace" version of "userfy". I would object strongly to having open-ended AfDs; if, after a week or three of being listed at AfD, there is no consensus to keep an article, the AfD needs to be closed. Open-ended AfDs would be a bureaucratic nightmare, effectively permitting a flawed article to remain in article space indefinitely. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 16:42, 14 November 2015 (UTC)

Moving to draftspace is the new "incubate" option. The incubation pages aren't around anymore. -- Ricky81682 (talk) 01:54, 15 November 2015 (UTC)
It doesn't matter if it takes a long time to work up the article after moving to draft: it will help build good-faith with newer editors. Keeping editors is very important and it's really scary to new editors when their articles are AfD'd after the editor put a lot of time and effort to write them. I think we need to be respectful of others' work and feelings. Megalibrarygirl (talk) 17:48, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
I agree with the sentiment but I have found few editors who start off by creating articles that stay on for more than just watching their own articles. The new editors that I think will actually stay probably started off like me, by doing little things like grammatical errors and fixing small problems. Those who's first (and sometimes only) edit is to post a new article I rarely see stay here to work on other articles. Either way, I've been more inclined with taking A7 articles and moving them to draftspace so that there's at least a chance for the editor to work on it. My biggest goal right now is to get WP:ALERTS to figure out some way to get WikiProject onboard with drafts that are G13 tagged or more importantly, that get moved into Category:AfC G13 eligible soon submissions where they are sitting for a month prior to G13 eligibility. That's really the best time to save the newest articles, plenty of time and every little edit resets it for a length. Those are the ones that a decade ago would be the one-line stubs (which seems to be falling out of favor and too aggressively sent to AFD for my view). -- Ricky81682 (talk) 03:25, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
I have seen WP:BEFORE being misused many times as an excuse to shoot down AfDs of American subject. Mainly due to the point that often is claimed that one reliable source is enough to prove notability in case of American subjects while non-American subjects nee several reliable sources. The Banner talk 16:12, 15 November 2015 (UTC)
WP:BEFORE can't be used as an excuse to shoot down an article. It can only be used to show that there is relevant information that leads to notability being established. Megalibrarygirl (talk) 00:40, 26 November 2015 (UTC)
Megalibrarygirl, Alternatives to Deletion and WP:BEFORE are Deletion Policies. They are NOT optional and anybody nominating an article for deletion is required to follow these POLICIES which the nominating editors rarely, in my experience, do. I agree with many Afd's but I see a lot that don't deserve it. Cheers! {{u|Checkingfax}} {Talk} 00:55, 26 November 2015 (UTC)
WP:BEFORE is not used to shoot down articles, it is used to shoot down AfDs by ignoring/dismissing the research done by the nominator. The Banner talk 21:23, 26 November 2015 (UTC)

Revisiting MOS:IDENTITY in articles about transgender individuals[edit]

This proposal revisits MOS:IDENTITY as recommended in this recent proposal. How should transgender individuals be referred to in articles about themselves?

  1. Any person whose gender might be questioned should be referred to by the pronouns, possessive adjectives, name, and gendered nouns (for example "man/woman", "waiter/waitress", "chairman/chairwoman") that reflect that person's latest expressed gender self-identification. This applies in references to any phase of that person's life, unless the subject has indicated a preference otherwise.
  2. For any person whose gender might be questioned, use the pronouns, possessive adjectives, name, and gendered nouns that reflect that person's latest expressed gender self-identification when discussing events that took place after the individual's gender transition. Use the pronouns, adjectives, name, and gendered nouns that correspond to the individual's previous gender presentation when discussing events that took place before the individual's gender transition.
  3. [Removed per neutrality. Functionally equivalent to option 2. However, the options remain numbered as if this option had been kept.]
  4. Whatever the rule for a biographical article about a transgender individual, move that guidance from WP:MOS to WP:MOSBIO (this option is not exclusive with any other option above)
  5. For any person whose gender might be questioned, use the pronouns, possessive adjectives, name, and gendered nouns that reflect the predominant usage of reliable English-language sources. Give more weight to sources published after the transgender individual has gone through a transition or has "come out." If the sources do not show a clear preference, use the forms preferred by the individual, if there are reliable sources indicating this preference. For historical events, look to reliable sources that describe those events, again favoring post-transition sources, but include both names where failing to do so is likely to cause confusion.

This does not apply to articles that merely mention transgender individuals in passing; that is covered here. 18:10, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
@Darkfrog24: Adding a third option and pinging those who've already participated (only the one who presented the proposal in this case).Godsy(TALKCONT) 21:09, 11 October 2015 (UTC)

Because your option was functionally identical to option 2 but contained non-neutral language, I have removed it. Your beliefs about why Wikipedia should support option 2 belong in the discussion section and in your own comments. Darkfrog24 (talk) 00:19, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
Discussed below and on my talk page. I'm alright with it being dropped as an option. The intention was to make pointing out the sex of a subject for clarity in an appropriate manner reasonable per the guideline.Godsy(TALKCONT) 02:04, 12 October 2015 (UTC)


  • Option 1 (keep current rule) (but add the word "name") Many trans men and trans women say that they remember having feelings of being the gender to which they later publicly transitioned even when they were small children. It seems to me that a trans man always was male in a way and that a trans woman always was female. If it becomes clear that this is not the case as more trans men and trans women tell their stories, we can always change the rule then. Darkfrog24 (talk) 18:10, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 4 (move guidance to WP:MOSBIO)WP:MOSBIO is much better equipped to explain how to deal with this in the lede, and in subsequent uses in the body of the article. Once that is accomplished WP:MOS#Identity should for transgender indivuals be confined to whatever results from WP:VPP#Clarifying MOS:IDENTITY in articles in which transgender individuals are mentioned in passing. --Francis Schonken (talk) 21:14, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 3 - Per MOS:IDENTITY, In such cases [of gender identity], give precedence to self-designation as reported in the most up-to-date reliable sources, even when it doesn't match what's most common in reliable sources. Unprecedented authority/leeway is given to subjects to control the gender identity and language used in this encyclopedia to describe them (as it is currently popular within modern language and the mainstream media). Everything else plays by a different set of rules and isn't determined by how the subject may feel. Sex and gender, and their corresponding language were once synonymous, but that is no longer the case. The sex of a subject is a fact that is quite useful/helpful when researching or reading about them, and it should be clarified.Godsy(TALKCONT) 22:04, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 1 (keep current rule). This is the most respectful way to refer to trans people at any stage of their life. If specifics in the article require clarification about a person's birth-assigned sex, that can be provided without changing their currently-preferred pronouns. Option 3 as currently worded (males produce sperm, females produce ova) is biased and erasing of intersex people. Funcrunch (talk) 22:39, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 5 I see no good reason why this case should be a drastic exception. Wikipedia is not the place to form social norms, rather it is the place to report them. If most sources follow a person's expressed preferences, so should we. If most post-transition reliable sources use the gender identity that a person had (or was publicly thought to have) when the events occurred which made the person notable, then so should we. In short, follow the sources wherever they lead, and if they have a clear consensus, that is all that matters. Where sources are divided, then and only then look to the preferences of the person involved. DES (talk) 23:20, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 5, with Option 2 as a second choice, and Option 4- as option 3 has been removed (I thought the language was reasonable, perhaps it could have used some adjustment [done a bit hastily]), Option 5 is a bit better overall, so I won't pursue restoration of option 3. My rationale above also fits with this option, so I won't reiterate it here.Godsy(TALKCONT) 00:32, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
    Not that you aren't within your rights to support more than one option, but did I make a mistake, Godsy? Was there some way other in which it was different from option 2? Darkfrog24 (talk) 00:43, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
The intention was to make pointing out the sex of a subject for clarity in an appropriate manner reasonable per the guideline.Godsy(TALKCONT) 01:59, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
Expanding my preference above.Godsy(TALKCONT) 18:31, 22 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 2 (use the gender/name at time of event) and Option 4 (move to WP:MOSBIO). We should continue with that longstanding practice of typically calling people by the names (and, by extension, genders) that the public knew them as at the time of the events in question (example: Muhammad Ali, formerly Cassius Clay). davidwr/(talk)/(contribs) 00:42, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 1 and 4 Let's keep up with the times. PeterTheFourth (talk) 01:56, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 2 (use the gender/name at time of event) - Option 4 would also make sense in this case. Fyunck(click) (talk) 02:25, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 1, mostly. Overall, it provides a better guide, although there are cases where explaining context more in-depth are going to be necessary, and practice in the style of option 2 covers those better. In particular, I disfavor option 5 as appearing possibly unnecessarily difficult to maintain. —⁠烏⁠Γ (kaw), 02:32, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
    • I didn't want to strike my comment since I still substantially agree, but it's no longer strictly accurate. Many of the responses below put forward compelling arguments in favor of option 2, so I've moved myself firmly there. My secondary comment about option 5 remains. I continue to have absolutely no opinion with regard to option 4. —⁠烏⁠Γ (kaw), 21:25, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 5 and 4 per WP:RIGHTGREATWRONGS and to remain consistent with WP:UCRN. To quote the latter: Wikipedia does not necessarily use the subject's "official" name as an article title; it generally prefers to use the name that is most frequently used to refer to the subject in English-language reliable sources. This includes usage in the sources used as references for the article. If the name of a person, group, object, or other article topic changes, then more weight should be given to the name used in reliable sources published after the name change than in those before the change. --Ahecht (TALK
    ) 02:51, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
    I also want to add that even if we decide to keep the current wording, that it should be tweaked to read "that reflect that person's latest expressed gender self-identification as indicated in reliable sources". With Caitlyn Jenner, for example, there was a rush by certain members of the LGBTQ community who assume that all transgender people have the same preferences as them to change all the "he"s in the article to "she"s as soon as she revealed that she was transgender. However, at the time, Jenner had expressed a preference for male pronouns to be used until the name change was announced. --Ahecht (TALK
    ) 03:02, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 1 But might need some tweaks to handle non-binary people. While we don't necessarily use the official name in cases where the common name is different we are talking about people here and we tend to afford BLP a higher degree of respect. "Misgendering" a trans individual can be seen as an denial of who they are and likewise for for any of our trans* editors and readers. While I have this page on my watchlist and saw it that way, I was also pointed to this discussion by a post to my talk page. PaleAqua (talk) 03:07, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 1. This is the only respectful way to handle individuals who transition. As PaleAqua says, misgendering - or "deadnaming" - an individual can be incredibly harmful. I don't care if the majority of sources say X or Y or Z, we refer to individuals by their self-expressed gender identity, and the fact that major newspapers didn't get the memo isn't a reason for us to tear it up. We rely on reliable sources to AVOID being shitty to living people; let's not use them as an excuse to be shitty. Ironholds (talk) 03:21, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Options 2 and 4 - My take is to favor historical accuracy tempered with sensitivity for subject's expressed preferences following the subject's public gender transition. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the subject's preferences should govern pre-transition events to the extent the subject was not notable pre-transition. As for persons who are notable for pre-transition events, such as Caitlyn Jenner (f.k.a. Bruce Jenner), we cannot re-write the history of the Olympic Games or major gender-based sports records, nor should we attempt to airbrush history. That's Orwellian and contrary to simple historical accuracy. As for placement of the revised TRANS guideline, this guideline should never have been placed within the Manual of Style, and should be firmly anchored within the biography article guidelines of WP:BIO, where we can expect the focus to be on WP:BLP and related policies and guidelines with an emphasis on high-quality reliable sources, not tabloid grist and pro- or anti-activist agendas. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 03:28, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 1. Going by the sources is usually fine, but the best source for personal details like gender identity, sexual orientation, and religious affiliation is the subject. If a reliable source said that the pope is a Protestant, I would like to think that we'd have the good sense to disregard it. Likewise, if a reliable source misgenders a person, we should ignore it. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 03:30, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 2 Describing the pre-transition life events with post-transition name and adjectives would be misleading, in that it would imply the spouse of the earlier time was in a homosexual relationship, or that a unisex sports team or sporting competition was coed, or that a military unit was coed. It could make someone who served in the military in a male role "The first woman to win a Congressional Medal of Honor". It would have a man giving birth and a woman being a sperm donor. In many cases it will be possible to avoid gendered pronouns in the pre-transition phase, by simply using the person's last name instead of "he" or "his" or she" or "her," as in Alexander James Adams, where "he" and "his" are only used in the later male identity . For Caitlyn Jenner we might say "Jenner fathered children" rather than "She fathered children." We might alternatively say "Caitlyn Jenner (then Bruce Jenner) won an Olympic medal and fathered a child." The Christine Jorgenson article says "she" was drafted in 1945 and fought in World War Two, leading to the impression that US women were drafted into combat forces in 1945, replacing earlier versions of that article which used "he" for the WW2 experience. Edison (talk) 03:44, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Options 2 and 4—per Dirtlaywer1. I have complete respect for the issues and complexities, but at the same time, we can't change past history either. I understand that there are more emotional issues at stake, but this is very similar to any other name change. A biography of a woman should properly refer to her by her maiden name pre-marriage and her married name post-nuptials when dealing with past history in context. Edison's examples are also very illustrative of my position. Imzadi 1979  03:47, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Options 4 and not 5 - I'm sufficiently torn between 1 and 2 to yield to others. But I've read 5 three times, still don't follow it, and suspect many other well-intentioned editors won't either. And I agree, WP:MOSBIO is the natural home. Barte (talk) 04:27, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
    • The basic intent of 5 is simply "follow the sources" all else is merely intended clarification. It was written on the spot when I saw this RfC didn't include any such option, and it didn't have the Pre-RFC polishing that others did. No doubt the wording could be improved. DES (talk) 16:30, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 5. - So much for "Wikipedia is not a bureaucracy." Carrite (talk) 04:34, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 1; we should respect people's self-identification. One caveat, though: Not all individuals who transition define as having been one gender their entire life -- there are some people who legitimately see their transition as a decision to change gender (and therefore see their pre-transition selves as having been a different gender, rather than being misgendered.) In situations where that's unambiguously the case, respecting their self-identification means using different pronouns pre- and post-transition. I'm fine with the 'default' being to use the most recent pronoun throughout absent some clear otherwise from the article's subject, though. --Aquillion (talk) 05:03, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 1; though we could add some language indicating that the article should be clear, without undue emphasis, on the name and gender presentation in use at any given time. Looking at Brandon Teena as an example, it uses Teena (the post-transition surname) and "he" to refer to the subject throughout, while being clear on the name and gender presentation. Trying to adjust the subject's name and pronoun throughout the article to match the presentation at the time period being described would be extremely confusing; it would be "Brandon/she" for most of one paragraph, then switch to "Brandon/he" for a sentence and a few subsequent paragraphs, then "Teena/he" for the remainder of the article.--Trystan (talk) 05:39, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 2. I understand that this is a delicate issue, and I certainly respect a person's right to identify as whatever gender he or she wishes. However, I agree with the above comments that we can't simply rewrite history in order to be more sensitive to someone's feelings. Caitlyn Jenner was not the first woman to win an olympic medal in a men's event. Bruce Jenner won that medal as a man, and trying to imply in an article that it didn't happen that way is a blatant misrepresentation of fact. Rreagan007 (talk) 06:37, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 2 seems like the most straighforward and less likely to confuse readers. It presents a middle ground that makes sense to me, and avoids the absolutist approach of option 1. Option 5 is worded confusingly IMO, and that would make editors' jobs harder with little benefit. --Waldir talk 09:17, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 5 Following reliable sources is always a good idea. (In general, if you find yourself opposing reliable sources, you've probably taken a wrong turn somewhere.) I don't see any reason to limit it to articles about the subject, either; the wording of option 5 would work excellently for coverage of transgender people in any article. Sideways713 (talk) 10:43, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 1. The fact that sources (and society) are often dismissive of a person's identity or a person shares aspects of their identity judiciously - doesn't mean it isn't real or didn't exist. I don't think it has anything to do with historical accuracy - for example, Jenner competed in men's sports, but it doesn't mean she identified as a man. This can be stated rather simply without erasing the fact that her identity as a girl/woman actually existed from childhood. If a person had any other characteristic that was only publicly discussed later - we wouldn't make believe it didn't exist at the time because of "historical accuracy". This isn't just a matter of "feelings", it's a matter of de facto recognition that our traditional model of gender is being challenged by the lived experiences of actual people who cannot be sorted into these (quickly eroding) ideas of "man" and "woman". TMagen (talk) 10:48, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 1. I don't really see any need to change things drastically. Disregarding the fact that most transgender people still subconsciously identify as their gender even if they haven't come out, using changes in pronouns would most likely confuse the reader. The reader might think we were talking about different people, and the first name change would just be bizarre. Johanna (formerly BenLinus1214)talk to me!see my work 14:08, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 5. This is how we deal will every other dispute about which names to use in an article, and adopting it will bring the instructions at MOS:IDENTITY into line with our other policy and guideline pages (rather than carving out an exception to those policies and guidelines, as is done now). Note that in most cases, adopting this will result in Wikipedia using the "new" names and pronouns (since modern sources tend to be sensitive to such things, and will use the "new" name and pronouns once a change has been announced). Blueboar (talk) 15:37, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 2 - The first option seems to be an attempt to re-write history, which appears to be contrary to the purpose of an encyclopedia. I understand what #5 is attempting to do, but as other editors have said, it is pretty confusing, #2, while less explicit, will basically accomplish the same thing, except in very particular sets of circumstances, which can be handled on those article's talk pages. But would not be adverst to #5 if more folks feel it is more specific and not confusing. Onel5969 TT me 15:41, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
    • The basic intent of 5 is simply "follow the sources" all else is merely intended clarification. It was written on the spot when I saw this RfC didn't include any such option, and it didn't have the Pre-RFC polishing that others did. No doubt the wording could be improved. DES (talk) 16:30, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 2 for historical accuracy. Binksternet (talk) 16:11, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 1. Follow reliable sources: as with religion and sexuality, the most reliable source for gender is the person. Current understanding, from brain studies etc, is that in most cases a trans man was never a woman; it is as inaccurate to write an article as if she had been one as to write an article as if "John was attracted to women until he came out as gay at 24" or "diseases were caused by miasma until circa the 1880s, when germs began to cause them". Second, referring to trans people by names or pronouns that disregard their identities causes harm (refs here), which is especially problematic with BLPs. Third, switching names is confusing, esp. if the surname changes as with e.g. Fallon Fox. Imagine a writer who transitioned in 2002 from Jane Doe to John Fox: "Jane Doe wrote the film after a fight with her sister.[ref: fight was in 2000] John Fox said later he considered it 'one of [his] best films in the genre'.[ref: said that in 2003] ... Doe won one Emmy in 2001 for her work on That Film, and Fox won a second Emmy in 2003 for his work on Another Film." Fourth: credit things to the people who did them, using the most up-to-date names for them; fixating on attributing things to whatever strings of letters sources at the time used, instead of to the flesh-and-blood people, is odd. (But I agree with Trystan: if we need to, we can be clear, without undue emphasis, on the name and gender presentation used at a given time.) -sche (talk) 17:09, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
    • I'm wary of option 4; centralizing biography style guidance in one place is desirable, but splitting trans style guidance into two places seems undesirable; we'd also have to be careful how we worded the identity-related guidance that remained in the MOS: currently, the MOS says "do X, except in trans cases do Y" (an appropriate exception — as Darkfrog notes, the world treats trans name changes differently from other name changes, so it's appropriate for us to); if we moved "do Y" to a subpage, we'd have to leave careful wording behind lest the MOS' claim that it trumps its subpages be used to say "well, 'do Y' doesn't count anymore". -sche (talk) 17:09, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 5. We should follow the sources, per WP:V. Tevildo (talk) 19:34, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 5 per WP:No original research. Use in Wikipedia should reflect the sources. Too often people in Wikipedia make assumptions about individual's preferences. It is best to leave the research to reliable sources rather than making new rules to permit crowdsourced original research, as in option 1. Blue Rasberry (talk) 19:51, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
    Who said anything about "crowdsourced original research"? Option 1 is the latest expressed desire around identity - in other words, the most recent statement from the subject. Your approach would say that someone tweeting their preferences, if used to justify a change, would constitute users "making assumptions", which is not the case. Ironholds (talk) 20:00, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 1 (keep current rule) A person's own statement trumps all other sources. Hawkeye7 (talk) 20:51, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 1 (keep current rule) Just as we accept people's self-identification when it comes to religion or sexual orientation, so we should do so when it comes to gender identity. Furthermore, any other practice would conflict with the "high degree of sensitivity" required by BLP. The claims about "rewriting history" are unconvincing and poorly reasoned. Saying that Caitlyn Jenner was a man when she won her Olympic medal is not a neutral or uncontroversial claim - it is one that relies on a contestable conception of gender, one that privileges biology and outward presentation over the person's feelings of being female (or male). On other conceptions of gender, Jenner may have always been female. (I am using Jenner as an example - I obviously cannot speak for whether she regards herself as having been female back then. But many trans people certainly do take that view.) Neljack (talk) 22:24, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 2 I agree with Dirtlawyer1 and Edison. When writing historically, it will likely be most clear to the reader if the article uses the person's publicly presented gender identification at the time; using a gender identification from later (sometimes much later) in the person's life smacks of historical revisionism and may inadvertently make or imply false statements about other people involved in that phase of the person's life. While the person may have privately identified in a manner different from their public presentation for some time before the change in public presentation, we normally cover public events rather than the individual's private life and thus should generally follow the public presentation. For portions of the article covering both time periods I'd say to use the latest public gender identification. I don't have issue with avoidance of gendered language entirely where that is possible without unusually awkward language, as long as it is clear on the name and presentation in use at the time. Anomie 01:51, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 2 (very strongly support).  I believe very strongly that in referring to such people we should use the pronouns, names, etc. which correspond to the time of the event being discussed.  I believe Edison  makes the best arguments against some of the other options, including the possibility of Wikipedia articles appearing to:
falsely imply that a heterosexual had been in a homosexual relationship
falsely imply that a unisex sports team or military unit was coed
incorrectly suggest that a man had given birth or a woman had been a sperm donor,    and
incorrectly suggest that women are or have ever been drafted into the US military.
I'm all for respecting the expressed wishes and feelings of people; but not at the cost of rewriting history.
I'm also against any option that calls for imitating the style used predominantly in reliable sources.  What will happen is some editor with an agenda will shop around until he finally comes up with two or three sources that use his preferred style.  Then another editor will locate four or five sources using a different style and "trump" the first editor.  Etc. etc. and the next thing you know we're having disputes, edit wars, and unnecessary RfC's.  Such an option would also undoubtedly result in some articles using one style and other articles using a different style, resulting in a total lack of uniformity and consistency within Wikipedia.  Option 2  would prevent all that, and it would do so without rewriting history.
Richard27182 (talk) 12:07, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 2 It appears to me that Option 2 is both the most respectful to the person (and good for WP:BLP reasons) and to history. As an example, it makes no sense to say that Caitlyn Jenner won the 1976 gold medal, because she was known as Bruce at the time, is (as far as I know) still listed as Bruce Jenner in the official IOC records, and as Caitlyn would have been ineligible to have joined the male field anyway. Therefore, it seems that using the pronoun that they were referred to before the transition is in no way wrong but historically and technically accurate, and using the pronoun that they now identify as after the transition is accurate. Vyselink (talk) 16:59, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 2 & 4 I would say that Wikipedia being a tertiary source, one that bases itself off of reliable secondary sources, should only reflect what we know. Not what people want. Wikipedia is not a place to change history in favor of how people feel. We don't remove sourced libelous information about people (no matter how much they want it changed), why would we change their historical public identity? Jcmcc (Talk) 20:39, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Keep current rule. We shouldn't try to fix what isn't broken, and this is something that could lead to a raging mess of BLP violations very quickly if watered down. Options 2 and 4 basically take our BLP policy out and shoot it as applied to transgender people. The Drover's Wife (talk) 01:06, 14 October 2015 (UTC)
  • May possibly vary on an individual basis, but largely Option 2 and Option 5. This issue has come about because of Caitlyn, fka Bruce, Jenner. It is ridiculous and disorienting to say that "she" won such-and-such an award in Men's _______ (especially when his clearly male form and face is plastered all over the media and cereal boxes). It just doesn't make sense. I think it may possibly be acceptable to refer to, say, Wendy Carlos as "she" throughout his/her article (he didn't compete professionally in men's sports), but even then, Carlos's successful public career was almost entirely as Walter, so even then I'd go with "he" prior to transition. We should always go with what the person publicly identified themselves as at the time. If they don't change their public identity until late in life, that's not Wikipedia's problem. Softlavender (talk) 05:20, 14 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 1 There is no such thing as neutral ground here. This is basically the ideology of gender essentialism against the ideology of gender constructivism. I say go with the option that values an individual's choice over a doctor's assumption. To do otherwise would constitute cissexism. - MellowMurmur (talk | contributions) 13:12, 14 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Not option 2. It is very confusing to use different pronouns to refer to the same person within the same article. —Granger (talk · contribs) 20:26, 15 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 5 – this is wikipedia: we're supposed to follow the sources. Also, I think I'm for Option 4 (move to WP:MOSBIO) as well, though I don't feel as strongly about it. --IJBall (contribstalk) 05:48, 17 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment. The American Society of Copy Editors discussed this at their 2015 convention in April.[4] There was no consensus there. Whether or not "they" and "their" should be used as singular forms is currently an open question. There's a good chance this will be settled at ASCE 2016, and then it will make it into the AP Stylebook. Then we'll have a reliable source to follow. Obsessing over this now may be premature. John Nagle (talk) 04:02, 21 October 2015 (UTC)
The singular they might one day end up as common usage for people who expressly wish to be referred to by neither male nor female pronouns, but that's not the case for most trans men and trans women. Also, while we can always run an RfC on the singular they again next year (or any year we please) I think it'd take at least a few years for the language to make the jump to singular-they-as-standard-for-genderqueer, and there's no harm in finding a rule that works for Wikipedia with the English language that we have right now. Darkfrog24 (talk) 19:12, 21 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 1 (keep current rule) per Ironholds's well-stated reasoning above. Also because anything else would be a violation of BLP policy, as it's slanderous to refer to a transgender person by their pre-transition name or pronouns, except in wording such as "Bobby Darling (born Pankaj Sharma)". As for option 4, is there some reason the text couldn't be on both pages? That seems the best way to ensure editors don't overlook this specific policy when seeking guidance. —GrammarFascist contribstalk 05:04, 24 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 2 per Dirtlawyer, Binksternet, et al. This option is the actual truth as told on a chronological scale and that is what we should be doing. We should not be taking anything that people who are the subject of an article say directly as fact...that is why we have our reliable sources policy. People would love to rewrite history and fudge their birth date to make themselves look younger or go back and rewrite their own articles to make themselves look better. My point being that we don't allow this for anything else so why make an exception here. Wiki's job is to tell the story as it happened...not skew the articles to placate revisionism.
     — Berean Hunter (talk) 12:49, 24 October 2015 (UTC)
  • I would support some combination of Option 2 and Option 5. Sex and gender is linguistically messy, and getting messier. Deferring to the subject's self-identification is not going to be realistic in every case, so making it a general policy is unhelpful. Reliable sources are going to be on the front lines of this, figuring out how to present gender identification in a way that is clear to the general population while respecting the needs of the subject. In the absence of my favored combination, Option 5. DPRoberts534 (talk) 21:18, 27 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 1 as all other options show bias and disrespect against transgender individuals. Beyond that, people supporting option 2 by merely saying it reflects truth or some actual history are making circular arguments. It assumes gender assigned at birth is objectively real until the subject transitions gender. The term 'transitions gender' isn't even defined in option 2, but the term seems to assume there is one point in time where a person goes from one gender to another. Is this point when the person first realizes their identity themselves? Or is it when they out themselves to friends and family or does only outting oneself to the broader world count? Or is someone's gender transitioned at some other point entirely? I don't know what is meant to be implied by 'gender transition' but enough people and sources will see transitioning as a process and not just one fixed point in time. Option 2, in any interpretation, will be making some non-universal assumptions about what constitutes a gender transition. Option 2 also ignores that many people feel coerced to stay closeted for at least some period of time; just because someone is forced to hide or not believe some truth about themselves is not the same as that truth not existing. For example we generally don't assume a subject who comes out later in life as gay was a straight person up until the very point they come out. Option 5 seems odd since the most reliable source on how a subject perceives their own gender is going to be themselves. Rab V (talk) 20:12, 29 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 5. (I might favorably consider one more extreme) I do not advocate 'bias or disrespect', but transgender people's right to change their public gender identity does not extend into my head or my notes or past writings or Wikipedia. They are their new gender but they were the old gender, so far as the world was concerned. They may always have been the other gender inside, but a "boy" is what we see, what's written on paper, what competes in a boy's track meet. We should not revise "Manning listed his name as Bradley and sex as male on the recruitment form" into "Manning listed her name as Chelsea and sex as female on the recruitment form." There is no real contradiction in saying that Chelsea is a woman but as a young boy she identified as gay, etc. I also think that the convention of retroactive changes is going to fail when we start seeing people who change sex more frequently. There is a popular sort of cult in the 2040s where people are one sex from summer to winter solstice, the other on the return, and when either biological sex can be in either phase it's already confusing enough without rewriting the entire article! Wnt (talk) 13:00, 30 October 2015 (UTC)
comment: what Chelsea Manning wrote on her recruitment form is an entirely different question to her gender, however. If a Catholic in England prior to Catholic emancipation had claimed Protestantism in order to, e.g., become an MP, I hope that no one would suggest that we should refer to them in the article as being Protestant. Likewise, whether or not Manning said that she was male when she joined the army, and whether or not she was male when she joined the army are two entirely separate questions.
As for saying "as a young boy she identified as gay", the major problem with that is that the gender of the pronoun doesn't match the gender of the noun. We should in this case either write "as a child she identified as a gay man", "as a child she was identified as a gay man", or "as a child he identified as gay; she later identified as a woman" (yes, the wording of that last is clunky...) depending on which of these proposals we adopt...
(And saying that we shouldn't adopt a policy because of the hypothetical problems we may or may not have thirty-plus years along the line when people change their sex biannually is really tenuous if you ask me, especially since the proposal has nothing to do with sex organs (which is presumably what you mean) and everything to do with gender identity, which is currently believed to be broadly stable in the same way that sexuality is...) Caeciliusinhorto (talk) 20:50, 6 November 2015 (UTC)
  • No single rule Preference should be given to the best neutral reliable sources used for a claim about the person - if the reliable sources use a specific pronoun/gender then Wikipedia should generally follow the lead of the best sources. Where we are using multiple sources which use conflicting gender/pronoun choices, we should try to reflect the self-identification of the living person involved as best as the sources indicate. In no case should Wikipedia seek to be the arbiter of gender - we should, as always, reflect the best available neutral reliable sources. Collect (talk) 00:45, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
@Collect - How is this different from Option 5? Blueboar (talk) 17:08, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
Option 5 is a litany of internally self-contradictory possibilities. I suggest we use best available neutral reliable sources - and Wikipedia should not in any instance attempt to be the arbiter. Collect (talk) 15:42, 12 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 1: as pointed out before, anything else might push us into the realms of cissexism and the attitude that trans people somehow weren't trans before coming out. It would be quite easy to use wording such as "Caitlyn Jenner (then Bruce Jenner, prior to coming out as trans) won the 1922 race" that clarified the situation without misgendering people. Midnightblueowl (talk) 16:09, 11 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Something along the lines of Option 2. The only way to be simultaneously fair to both history and the person's right to identity is to use the identity that the person used at the time of the event in question. But we need to keep in mind: it is the identity that person used that we have to consider, not the "way they look", if we can source it. (Used identity means the one they either say they are, or filled on forms, etc. If a person "looked like a male" but it is known that person wanted to be called "she" at the time and wrote down "woman" at the time then we should use "she" as the pronoun, not "he", provided we can source it) If we cannot source it, then pronounless writing should be preferred, even if it is difficult, and if that is not possible, then as an absolute last ditch use singular "they". mike4ty4 (talk) 03:18, 12 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Avoid pronouns for historical material, then I support most of #5 + aspects of #2; and separately support #4. Re: Option 5 – This is the WP:COMMONSENSE and WP:NOT#ADVOCACY and WP:NOR approach. However, the "again favoring post-transition sources" that comes after "For historical events, look to reliable sources that describe those events", should be deleted, as it makes no sense. For historical events, do not falsify history. Regardless, of these political matters, just rewrite to avoid using pronouns for pre-transition events. It is not difficult and makes 90% of this incessant conflict just go away.
    Re: Option 2 – I could support it without "pronouns" and with the addition of #5's include both names where failing to do so is likely to cause confusion. Basically, I'm arguing for a merger of #2 and #5.
    Re: #4 (moving this to MOSBIO) – This should happen no matter what, but not totally; this is frequent and important enough a point that at least a summarized version of its key points should be retained in MOS-proper.
    Vehemently oppose option 1 – It is just language-change WP:ADVOCACY, will confuse readers, and will basically irritate every reader and editor who is not TG nor a language-change activist. It's a stick that needs to be dropped, then burnt with fire so it cannot be picked up again to beat this dead horse (or browbeat us all any further). Not all women prefer -woman occupational titles; probably a majority of them prefer neutral ones (chair/chairperson, etc.). I've also worked with a woman, Esther Dyson, who emphatically preferred to be called chairman (then of EFF's board of directors). This points out the inherent problem in #1: it's a bunch of well-meaning but misguided "ally" PoV pushing that proceeds from false generalizations. Even the ideas that all TG people have felt misgendered since childhood, that all of them have made a complete transition or want to, or that all of them feel their previous gender is a "deadname" are are offended somehow by references to their past that do not match their current self-usage, are all false and absurd. It's like supposing that a lesbian married woman with a wife, and who changed her name upon marriage, but was one married to a man several decades ago, is going to flip out if anyone ever mentioned her maiden name, first married name (to the husband), or that she was ever in a heterosexual relationship. It's frankly pretty insulting to an entire class of people, presuming that they're mentally and emotionally unstable and need activists to protect them from their own histories and from language.
     — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  15:37, 12 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 5, per WP:Neutrality, WP:NOR, WP:WEIGHT, WP:V and numerous other of our most central and critical policies reflecting longstanding community consensus. I appreciate the sentiment that inspired this rule and I think it's great that we're in a position to consider nuances like this when it was not so long ago that mainstream perspectives on transgender identities ran the gambit between denial and insult. But as a matter of editorial consistency, this rule should have been immediately recognized as unworkable for being too far in conflict with the practical necesities of encyclopedic tone and with our responsibilities as editors who are meant to be reproducing the perspectives of outside sources, not interjecting our own social consciousness on to the content. As a social, moral, political, and empirical individual, I without question embrace the notion that it is a matter of basic respect to acknowledge a person's selected gender identity where it is an important and clearly affirmative choice on their part, and I hope that the trend towards normalizing this manner of usage (in both everyday parlance and in the sources which may be of use to us here) continues to gather momentum. But as a Wikipedian, I am obligated by the most basic tenants of this community's objectives to set aside my personal perspectives and to instead faithfully represent common understanding of a topic, as represented in reliable sources withotu allowing my bias to influence it, no matter how socially beneficial or accurate I believe my take on the matter may be.
There's also a matter of equity in our approach to neutral treatment of individuals via BLP to consider here. Let's make no mistake here, what we have done in adopting this policy is to effectively announce "the gender identity of person A is more important than the ethnic identity of person B, or the religious identity of person C, or the national identity of person D, or the political identity of person D, ect. ad nauseum", because for all of those other classes of person, we utilize the standard of sourcing, not their assertions. And as well we should; that neutrality and propensity for removing ourselves from the equations of interpretation of a given topic is a critical need and strength of this project that is principally responsible for what we've been able to create here. By breaking with it, even for manifestly well-intentioned and respectful purposes, we have created a situation that unworkable within the greater framework under which we operate and a risky precedent that challenges the integrity of a principle we should all be very proud of. I don't like to use the phrase "slippery slope" much, because I think it is often abused by alarmists, but I think it is clearly appropriate in this instance. It pains me to say this, it really does, but on Wikipedia I must sometimes set aside my personal ideology and I don't think we can continue to indulge this experiment and support Wikipedia's core ideals and needs at the same time. Snow let's rap 03:03, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 5 In general, following the sources is the best option. Usually the sources are the most informative thing we have. Ignoring them for some Wikipedia rule will hurt when social norms end up changed again. Besides, we don't set these kinds of rules, the public does, and they follow the media more than us specifically. Swordman97 talk to me 03:27, 13 November 2015 (UTC)

Discussion (trans individuals in articles about themselves)[edit]

Pursuant to discussion on WT:MOS, I have notified the two WikiProjects which are directly concerned with this topic: Wikipedia talk:WikiProject LGBT studies (diff) and Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Manual of Style (diff). -sche (talk) 21:52, 11 October 2015 (UTC)

Thanks, -sche!
Please note that Godsy's option 3, which I have removed for neutrality reasons, looked like this:
As you can see, it's just option 2 + ideology. In my experience, adding anything but instructions and straightforward, practical explanations to the MoS (and even those sparingly) causes trouble. As for option 4, the idea of whether MOS:IDENTITY should either be copied to or moved to MOSBIO is a separate issue and best treated on its own. The closing of the previous RfC said we should revisit what the rule should be, not where to put it. I think option 4 should come out too. Darkfrog24 (talk) 00:19, 12 October 2015 (UTC)

Just as a friendly reminder to whoever closes this discussion: there are really two separate issues here, whether there is consensus to keep the status quo, and which alternative to use if we don't keep the status quo. Make sure to weigh those two issues separately, so we don't end up with options 2, 4, and 5 splitting the !vote and making it appear there is no consensus for change if there really is. --Ahecht (TALK
) 02:51, 12 October 2015 (UTC)

  • Comment. There should be Option 6 which is that a gender-changed person would be described in a historical manner when the time frame is historically appropriate. Thus, a person such as Wendy Carlos would be discussed as Walter Carlos, a male, when the time frame is the 1968 album Switched-On Bach, which was released before Carlos underwent a gender change. Binksternet (talk) 05:01, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
    @Binksternet: How would such an option be different from option 2? —⁠烏⁠Γ (kaw), 07:53, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
    Ah! I misread number 2 at first. You're right. Binksternet (talk) 16:11, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
    I'm still having trouble with Option 2. It's very confusing, and only allows for one gender-change. Can we simplify it? "Use the gender and pronoun that matches the subject's gender identification at the time of the events described." This would align with Wikipedia's manual on name changes: write the name used at the time. So, for example, Cassius Clay was born in 1942 (later Muhammad Ali). John Cougar Mellencamp recorded "Authority ong" (previously and later John Mellencamp). Bruce Jenner won Olympic gold medals (later Kaitlyn). If we treat gender change differently than name changes, then perhaps we're not mature enough to write about gender identity. Canute (talk) 02:42, 28 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Question - what I don't really understand is why is this being framed as a "style" issue in the first place? Which name to use in a given context is not a question of "style"... it's a question of fact. We have lots of policies and guidelines that deal with presenting factual information... WP:V (and WP:RS)... WP:NPOV (and WP:UNDUE)... WP:NOR (and WP:PSTS). ALL of them center on the idea that we should base what Wikipedia says on what the sources say. That is a fundamental concept for Wikipedia - We follow the sources. When sources disagree, we neutrally explain the disagreement. If doing so leads to a lack of uniformity and consistency in our articles... well... the real world is a messy, non-uniform and inconsistent place - our job isn't to attempt to make the real world less messy... our job is to help readers understand the mess. Blueboar (talk) 13:00, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
Primarily because that's where MOS:IDENTITY is located, probably because other identity issues have to do with small distinctions about spelling etc. (such as "Arab" vs "Arabic"). This discussion is about what the MOS:IDENTITY subsection on gender identity should say. Where those words should be located is a separate issue. If you want to start an RfC or other thread about moving this part of MOS:IDENTITY somewhere else, I'll gladly chime in, but I think it would be best to wait until these two threads are done. Darkfrog24 (talk) 14:28, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
@Blueboar:The name in use at any given time is a question of fact, but how to refer to someone once those facts are established is a question of style. For example, the article on Michelle Obama uses her married surname throughout without the least bit of confusion or anachronism as to what her name was at the time being discussed. We could also refer to her by her birth surname until her marriage, but there is no reason to read much meaning into which style happens to dominate in her biographies specifically.
For the gender of trans people, we should definitely have some sort of consistent approach. Tallying sources to try to figure out when the Brandon Teena article should switch from "she" to "he" would be difficult, and add no value to the reader. Looking at sources can verify that both Jane Smith and Jane Jones are trans women who publicly transitioned, and what their name and gender presentation was at any one time in their lives. But counting pronoun usage in those sources to conclude that Smith was always a trans woman, even before coming out, while Jones switched genders, isn't meaningful.--Trystan (talk) 14:41, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
The reason why we refer to Michelle Obama by her married name through out most of her bio article (we do mention her maiden name) is that this is what sources do... not because we made a "style" choice to do so. Few (if any) sources refer to her as Michelle Robinson... except in passing. This is unlike what happens with say Muhammed Ali... where a significant majority of sources still refer to him as "Cassius Clay" when talking historically. So... we use "Clay" when talking about that period of his life. Different articles, different contexts, different source usage... so different end results.
As for the pronoun issue... I would agree that pronouns are a style issue. However, what pronoun to use is a distinct and separate question from what NAME to use... since a woman can be named "Bruce", and a man can be named "Caitlyn". Pronouns are gender specific... Names are not... Names are subject specific. Blueboar (talk) 15:48, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
For our purposes (encyclopedia-writing), most English-language names are gender-specific. While it's possible for a man to be named Vivian, etc., that's going to rare enough to treat as a special case. Darkfrog24 (talk) 16:08, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
I disagree... I don't mean this as a personal attack, but it strikes me that the idea that names are gender specific is incredibly biased and non-neutral. It denies the self-assertion that Jenner was always a woman... even when she called herself "Bruce". Blueboar (talk) 16:29, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
Names are generally given based on the physical sex of a person at birth, so they're inherently bias and describe that, more than stating anything about the gender of a subject. It is traditionally this way because it was assumed they'd align, and their wasn't a distinction, which there now modernly is. The only way to fix that would be to disassociate all names with sex and gender, or to identify individuals by a different means until the age of majority. "The reason why we refer to Michelle Obama by her married name through out most of her bio article" is because she wasn't as notable before being the first lady or likely described in sources as often. This isn't the case with Jenner, as they were well known by their previous name and various sources commonly used it. I assume this is the case for Muhammed Ali as well, though I'm not as familiar with that case.Godsy(TALKCONT) 17:29, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
Okay, now we're getting a little out there. "Gender" has about five different correct definitions and "state of being male or female, sex" is the most common one. It's also short for "gender role" and "gender identity," but when talking about the distinction between sex and gender, in the most common sense of the word, the two terms align so that there isn't one.
And let's not get too worked up about sex assignment either. It's called "assignment" but it's better described as drawing a conclusion. Jenner's parents weren't diabolically conspiring to disguise her as a boy; they took a gander at her body and came to the perfectly reasonable belief that she was one. In something like 99% of the population, the conclusion drawn about a baby's gender and gender role and gender identity at birth turns out to be correct. A system of giving children gender-neutral names until majority would be overkill.
As for names and bias, given your track record, Blueboar I find it very easy to not take that personally. Let me ask you this: If names weren't gendered in the sense we mean here, then why would so many trans men and trans women feel the need to change them as part of their transition? Darkfrog24 (talk) 18:28, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
When I referred to "sex" above, I meant the scientific definition, which is: organisms that produce sperm carrying the XY chromosomes ("male") vs. organisms that produces non-mobile ova (egg cells) carrying the XX chromosomes ("female"). The link I provided to the sex article also describes it in this way. Even gender reassignment surgery cannot change this.Godsy(TALKCONT) 02:11, 14 October 2015 (UTC)
Yes, I know. That word is interchangeable with "gender" in most contexts. "What gender is that fruit fly?"/"It's male." Etc. The only real difference is that "gender" doesn't get a storm of giggles or stupid jokes.
However, if you're going to refer to gender in humans you must of course consider that it is generated not only by chromosomes. Biology, even the biology underlying gender in humans, is much bigger than that. It involves genes, gene expression, cell receptors, blood chemistry, brain chemistry, primary sexual characteristics, secondary sexual characteristics, brain structure and brain function, many of which are affected by epigenetic factors and environmental conditions. It is rare but perfectly natural for a body have some male traits and some female traits. We may one day find that Jenner and Wachowski really are biologically female in some ways. That's why I don't personally find it appropriate to use "biologically male" to refer to Jenner because we have one clue that suggests that it may not be so. Darkfrog24 (talk) 02:52, 14 October 2015 (UTC)
I suppose we'll have to agree to disagree. "... really are biologically female in some ways. ... I don't personally find it appropriate to use "biologically male" to refer to Jenner." If those discoveries are made, then it would be incorrect, but why speculate until such a time? "Biologically male" is an accurate description based on current knowledge. Simply calling a spade a spade, rather than going to great lengths and jumping through hoops not to do so, seems reasonable to me. It also avoids historical revisionism.Godsy(TALKCONT) 01:17, 15 October 2015 (UTC)
It's an WP:UNDUE descriptor, though, if the article already deals with a person's gender transition adequately (which articles about transgendered people should, where the gender transition is part of their biography in an important way), it isn't necessary to hammer the point home repeatedly that they used to be a different gender; unless one is trying to highlight the point that their former gender is "more valid" or normative when compared to their current, preferred gender. The problem with using qualifiers and additions to an article like "biological male" or "genetic male" or whatever, even if such facts were verifiable and true, is not their verifiability or truthfulness, it's the way the phrasing clearly indicates a non-neutral stance, which is that the gender being so highlighted by phrases like "biologically male" is somehow a person's "real gender", and that the person's self-expressed identity isn't earnest or valid. --Jayron32 01:29, 15 October 2015 (UTC)
It seems reasonable to me, and I'd be alright with it, but I'm not advocating that (unless reliable sources commonly do it for the subject). If the pronouns, possessive adjectives, name, and gendered nouns match their preferred gender, not their biological sex (based on the sex and gender distinction), I'm okay with it as long as factual accuracy (i.e. their biological sex is made clear in the article in the manner you suggested above "deals with a person's gender transition adequately") is maintained in a clear way for readers. I think it should also be made clear if the individual has undergone gender reassignment surgery, assuming its known and relevant (which should generally be the case). Both the aforementioned details are useful when researching a subject.Godsy(TALKCONT) 02:19, 15 October 2015 (UTC)
Why speculate? Probably the same reason you are. Oh I'm all for calling a spade a spade when you can actually tell. If you only looked at part of the handle, then it might be a spade but it might be a sledgehammer. And if its owner has been using it as a sledgehammer with some success...
It's great to care about factual accuracy, but then you must use actual facts and not just guesses. If you were to say "Jenner had male genitalia," then I'd say "Yes she did" because we know that "male" was put on her birth certificate and visible male genitalia are the usual reason why. But if you said "Jenner had male chromosomes" I'd ask "Was a karyotype done?" If you said "Jenner had male brain anatomy" I'd ask "Was an fMRI done?" The first of these things is a reasonable assumption but the other two are speculation, and all of them are important parts of a person's biology. Darkfrog24 (talk) 13:11, 15 October 2015 (UTC)
Re "style issue": "is this person trans?", like "is this person Muslim?", is a content question to be answered by sources (and in both cases, the most reliable source is the person, and Wikipedia requires self-identification). Once sources document that "A" and "B" denote the same person (whether trans or not), though, the question of whether to call them "A" or "B" is a style question. Even with Muhammed Ali, Wikipedia treats the question of whether to say "Clay" or "Ali" as a style rather than a content question, as can be seen from the fact that the article doesn't say "Clay did X in 1955 (ref: bio which uses Clay). Ali did Y in 1956 (ref: bio which calls him Ali throughout). Clay did Z in 1957 (ref: bio which uses Clay)." Instead, it changes sources that use "Ali" into "Clay" to obtain a consistent style. The decision to consistently use "Clay" rather than "Ali" in his early life was made because the fact that most sources use "Clay" was judged to outweigh factors that pushed in the direction of only using his current name; the crafting of MOS:IDENTITY indicates that for trans people, it has been felt that the factors pushing in the direction of "use the current name" (which are outlined above) outweigh the factors pushing for "use the previous name" or "normalize (Ali-style) on whichever name most sources use", etc. Perhaps this discussion will show that that feeling has changed, perhaps not. Note: a thing that is "just a question of style" is sometimes dismissed as unimportant with the implication that any answer is "fine"; it should be clear that isn't the case here; commenters above clearly feel this question is important and that not all answers to it are "fine".
Re names: as Darkfrog says, most names are gender-specific; in some countries such as Germany the law even requires names given at birth to indicate and match a baby's binary sex. Re "denies the self-assertion that Jenner was always a woman... even when she called herself 'Bruce'": Jenner also called herself a man at various times, e.g. when filling out forms, presumably including the ones that were necessary to get a driver's licence and the ones that were needed to enter the men's Olympics. Telling society that you are the person they think you are is a basic (not intrinsic, but common) part of being closeted and concealing who you really are because who you really are would be subjected to discrimination. -sche (talk) 19:15, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
-sche, do you have a source for that law in Germany you mention? I find that curious especially as that country now allows parents of intersex children to leave the sex marker blank on their birth certificates (though I've heard that move was controversial in the intersex community). Regardless, agreed that in many (if not most) countries, names do strongly signify gender, though what is considered a "boy" vs a "girl" name is changing all the time. Funcrunch (talk) 00:06, 14 October 2015 (UTC)
Our article on the subject (German name#Forenames) has sources. "The name must indicate the gender of the child." However, checking de.WP, it seems the situation may have changed recently. I'll look into it (and update the en.WP article if it's out-of-date) later. Btw, expanding on what Darkfrog asked — if names weren't gendered, why would so many trans people change names as part of transitioning? — I note that while German law in general does not like to allow name changes, it makes an exception specifically so that, as de.WP says, "transsexuelle Menschen [können] nach dem Transsexuellengesetz ihren Vornamen ändern lassen, so dass er der geschlechtlichen Identität (Gender) entspricht" = "transsexual people can, per the Transsexuality Law, change their first name so that it matches the sexual identity (gender)". (Oh, I notice we have an article on that law which mentions that German name#Forenames is indeed out of date.) -sche (talk) 09:20, 14 October 2015 (UTC)

There's two practical things we should probably discuss:

  1. When quoting text - which may predate the "coming out", what's best practice? E.g. if we want to quote a highly notable review of a musician's work, but they have since come out as transgender, what do we do about the use of their old name in the text?
  2. When should the old name be mentioned? I'd say it would usually be worth mentioning where the person had a significant career and/or notability under the old name - for example, Dee Palmer - but shouldn't be given undue prominence. At the same time, we don't want to confuse readers who may well be unaware of the coming out. This needs a delicate hand, of course, and the exact implementation may well hit a lot of practical considerations in some cases (e.g. where a large part or even all their career was pre-transition, how many times should one emphasise that photos are pre-transition? Should one rewrite all the quotes with brackets replacing the name, or is that too much alteration of the historic record? Should one simply note, at the first use of the old name in a quote that the article predates the person's transition? And, of course, there's also how to deal with the attacks - people like Chelsea Manning have it bad enough, but the attacks on their transgender status are probably not that notable - but if we have to write an article on early transgender pioneers, the controversies - however wrongheaded - could be very relevant.) Adam Cuerden (talk) 16:46, 23 October 2015 (UTC)
Quotes should not be altered, IMO. At most, if the reader might otherwise be confused, the other name could be inserted in brackets, as with other editorial additions to quotes (and as per MOS:QUOTE). But it would usually be better to mention the alternate name or names in prose outside of and prior to the quote. Then the reader will understand who the quote refers to. As to your second point, i think it first depends what name the article is using as primary. If pretty much all the reliable sources, particularly including those published after a person has "come out" or transitioned (or otherwise changed name) use the old name, then so should our article, mentioning the new name but not giving it undue prominence. In short there is no one-size-fits-all solution to these issues. DES (talk) 22:02, 27 October 2015 (UTC)

Option 5 in practice[edit]

The more I think about it, the more that I come to believe that option 5 would be a de facto option 1 in most cases.

For example, while there are more sources overall that refer to Caitlyn Jenner (formerly Bruce Jenner) as "he," almost all the sources published after Jenner's transition use "she," so refer to Jenner using female pronouns throughout her article.

Are we all interpreting option 5 the same way? Are there any of you who see it as a de facto option 2? Darkfrog24 (talk) 21:52, 28 October 2015 (UTC)

I think option 5 would result in the same outcome as option 2 in most cases... but not necessarily in all cases. The real difference is in how the outcomes are derived (option 2 giving weight to what the subject says, and option 5 giving weight to what independent sources say). And no.. I can't come up with an existing example of a situation where the two options will give different outcomes... however I can imagine a future situation where they might give different outcomes. Blueboar (talk) 00:24, 29 October 2015 (UTC)
@Blueboar: Option 2 is the one in which we disregard what the subject says and use pronouns that match whatever gender they were publicly believed to be at the time. Did you mean option 1? Darkfrog24 (talk) 01:06, 29 October 2015 (UTC)
Um... that's not how I read option 2 at all... As I understand the options, both 1 and 2 are based on the what the individual has stated (option 1 being based on what the individual has most recently stated, and option 2 being based on what the individual stated at various different times) ... Option 5, on the other hand, focuses on what sources state (with more weight given to more recent sources). The key difference between 5 and all the others is in what we look at when we make the determination.... should the determination be based on what the individual says... or on what sources say? In 5, we insert reliable sources between us and the individual. Blueboar (talk) 11:35, 29 October 2015 (UTC)
Because many of trans individuals say, "I always felt like I was really female/male; I just didn't say so/have it all figured out," or to summarize "My previous statements about my gender were inaccurate; ignore them."
The key difference that I see between option 2 and option 5 would be that option 5 would usually end up with us using the person's latest expressed gender even to refer to periods before their transition, a de facto option 1. Do you see option 5 as leading to using one set of pronouns before transition and another set after? Darkfrog24 (talk) 12:38, 29 October 2015 (UTC)
If we go with Option 5, I think we would USUALLY end up using the person's latest expressed gender even to refer to periods before their transition (since this is what modern sources tend to do)... but not ALWAYS (if the sources use different genders when talking about different eras of the person's live, so would we). Again... in option 5, it depends on what the sources indicate we should do. As I see it, the main difference between option 5 and the other options is that 5 is not focused on the outcome... but in how we arrive at the outcome. Blueboar (talk) 14:17, 30 October 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Blueboar is correct that option 5 focuses on how we determine the outcome, rather than a one-side-fits-all solution. It is also aimed at congruence with WP:COMMONNAME and many other Wikipedia policies where we follow sources to determine what we say. In practice, in many cases it might have the same effect as option 1, but where sources refer to past achievements with previous names and/or gender identities, then it would work more like 2, or where sources are split it might work more like the "both if relevant" option. In the case of Jenner, for example the many sources which discuss the Olympic and other Athletic achievements made while Jenner publicly identified as male will in many case use the name "Bruce" and male pronouns, which might lead to a "use both" outcome in at least part of our coverage of Jenner, but that would depend on a process of weighing the actual sources. Articles about individuals who transitioned or "came out" in earlier years might wind up with different outcomes, as perhaps for Billie Jean King. But the idea is that Wikipedia doesn't create facts or social change, it follows the reliable sources wherever they lead. If nearly all modern reliable sources adopt something like option 1 themselves, so would most Wikipedia articles. DES (talk) 15:42, 30 October 2015 (UTC)

This looks like it has a lot of moving parts. It might be simpler if we said "only use sources published after the transition" or if we spelled out "Follow the practice of sources published after the subject made public his or her of gender transition, even when discussing the subject's life before gender transition. (Example: Sources published after 2014 refer to Caitlyn Jenner as 'Caitlyn' and 'she' when discussing the 1976 Olympics, then do so as well OR Sources published after 2014 still refer to Caitlyn Jenner as 'Bruce' and 'he' when discussing the 1976 Olympics, so Wikipedia should as well, but sources published after [YEAR] refer to [NAME] as [NEW PRONOUN], so Wikipedia should as well.)" It would be even better to find an actual case. Darkfrog24 (talk) 16:21, 2 November 2015 (UTC)
so what about this example? Semitransgenic talk. 14:14, 10 November 2015 (UTC)
Since "s/he" and "h/er" etc. are not real words, Wikipedia should not use them. This is more of an overall language issue. Wikipedia's MoS should follow the English language as it actually is, not as anyone wishes it were. Right now, American English language does not have a gender-neutral, singular, third-person pronoun ("one" has fallen out of use). If that changes, we should of course update the MoS. Darkfrog24 (talk) 16:31, 10 November 2015 (UTC)
"they"? - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 10:50, 11 November 2015 (UTC)
The singular they has a long history of discussion on Wikipedia. My personal take is that it's too informal for an encyclopedia, but there are plenty of people who think otherwise. I personally have zero problem using "they" for general examples so long as the noun is plural, but I would not use it for one specific person. Darkfrog24 (talk) 21:37, 11 November 2015 (UTC)

Clarifying MOS:IDENTITY in articles in which transgender individuals are mentioned in passing[edit]

This discusses a clarification to MOS:IDENTITY as recommended in this recent proposal. Which names and pronouns should be used for transgender individuals in articles of which they are not the principal subjects and that discuss events that took place before they publicly announced their transition? In the following examples, the first article is about the men's Olympics and the second article is about a film.

  • PREVIOUS ONLY: Generally it is unnecessary to go in detail over changes in name or gender presentation unless these are relevant to the passage in which the person is mentioned. Refer to transgender individuals using the name and pronouns that they were using at the time of the event in question.
    Example: Bruce Jenner competed in the men's Olympics in 1976; he won a gold medal. Larry Wachowski wrote the script for his film in 1994.
  • CURRENT ONLY: Generally it is unnecessary to go in detail over changes in name or gender presentation unless these are relevant to the passage in which the person is mentioned. Refer to transgender individuals using the name and pronouns that correspond with their most recent publicly announced self-identification.
    Example: Caitlyn Jenner competed in the men's Olympics in 1976; she won a gold medal. Lana Wachowski wrote the script for her film in 1994.
  • ALWAYS BOTH: Generally it is unnecessary to go in detail over changes in name or gender presentation unless these are relevant to the passage in which the person is mentioned. Refer to transgender individuals by both names, concisely; use either name first, as needed.
    Example: Bruce Jenner (later Caitlyn Jenner) competed in the men's Olympics in 1976; he won a gold medal. Lana Wachowski (credited as Larry Wachowski) wrote the script for her film in 1994. (Use the pronouns which correspond to the name which is used first.)
  • BOTH IF RELEVANT: Generally it is unnecessary to go in detail over changes in name or gender presentation unless these are relevant to the passage in which the person is mentioned. Refer to a transgender individual by both names, concisely, if the previous name is relevant in the context of the article where the reference is made; otherwise, use only the current name.
    Example: Bruce Jenner (later Caitlyn Jenner) competed in the men's Olympics in 1976; he won a gold medal. (Readers may wonder why a woman participated in a men-only event, and including Jenner's previous name resolves this.) Lana Wachowski wrote the script for her film in 1994. (Readers will not wonder why a woman wrote a script.) (Use the pronouns which correspond to the name which is used first.)
  • ONLY THE MORE RELEVANT: Generally it is unnecessary to go in detail over changes in name or gender presentation unless these are relevant to the passage in which the person is mentioned. Use the name and gender identity most relevant to the context of the passage in which the reference is made. When it is unclear which one is more suitable, default to the identity that would be used in the main biography.
    Example: Bruce Jenner competed in the men's Olympics in 1976; he won a gold medal. Lana Wachowski wrote the script for her film in 1994.
  • OTHER (1) = DEPENDS ON CONTEXT: Use the name and gender identity that fits best in the context of the article where the reference is made (principle of least surprise for the reader). When it is unclear which one suits better, default to the identity as defined for the main biography. Generally it is unnecessary to go in detail over name and/or gender identity changes, unless these are relevant to the article where the name of the person is inserted.
    Examples: see Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style#Ninth draft (proposal 2)
  • OTHER (2) = PREVIOUS STRICTLY APPLIED, BOTH WHERE USEFUL: For historical events, refer to transgender individuals using the name and pronouns that they were using at the time of the event in question. However, when the scope of a word, even within a sentence, is not clearly limited to the past, use the present name and pronouns. Consistency is not particularly important. Both may be used at editors' discretion if it makes the article better to do so.
    Example: Bruce Jenner competed in the men's Olympics in 1976; he won a gold medal. His world record was broken in 1980, but her innovation of carrying a spectator's American flag on a victory lap continues to this day. Larry Wachowski wrote the script for her film in 1994. (The innovation is still her innovation; the film is still her film, hence it is her film, her innovation. Had her world record survived until 2015, then it would be her world record!)
  • OTHER (3): (please explain)

This does not apply to biographical articles about transgender individuals; that is covered here. 18:10, 11 October 2015 (UTC)


  1. Support This would be consistent with the way any normal name change is treated. A newly married woman can choose whatever naming convention she wishes to use. We accept that from the point in time that she makes such a declaration. We don't go back and rewrite her name into childhood. Transgender people should not have a special exception to go back and rewrite history, particularly when it goes against the core wikipedia policy WP:V. If public records at the time present a particular name, that is the name embedded in history for that event. If our married woman gets divorced and wants to erase her ex-husband's name, there are means to cross reference to the appropriate person but the historical name on the documents remains. Wikipedia provides that cross reference in directing the proper name to the current article which can clearly discuss the reason for the change, whatever it is. Trackinfo (talk) 18:40, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
    Except this is not consistent with the way any other name change is treated. We don't always keep the "previous" name... instead, we look and see how the majority of sources (written after the name change took place) handle the name change, and follow source usage. So... if the sources decide to "re-write" history, and use the "new" name in historical contexts, then we follow along and do so ourselves. If not, we don't either. Blueboar (talk) 21:13, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
    Take this as an example: List of Wimbledon ladies' singles champions#Open era where names evolve over time. Look at Evonne Goolagong in 1971 and 1972, Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1976 and beyond. Chris Evert in 1978, Chris Evert-Lloyd in 1979. Those were their names of choice at the time they entered the tournament. Trackinfo (talk) 21:26, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
    Both of these examples are cases where the person didn't drop any of their old name, they just added a new name. We definitely need, IMO, to allow us to explicitly link the old name to the new name when the person is better known by the new name. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 05:22, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  2. Support per Trackinfo. I could write out an opinion myself, but I'd pointlessly reiterate a lot of what they've already stated.Godsy(TALKCONT) 22:20, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
  3. Support - Though I could certainly see adding a footnote stating current status on first mention in an article. Fyunck(click) (talk) 02:22, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  4. Support. When we are discussing an event, a person named Bruce competed. Nobody named "Caitlyn" competed in the event. Caitlyn won a Women of the Year award. Not "Bruce". Grognard Extraordinaire Chess (talk) Ping when replying 02:15, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
  5. Support - Julius Caesar did not die in Rome, Italy, he died in Rome, Roman Empire. Historical events must not be rewritten with modern names. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Bobby Martnen (talkcontribs) 22:31, 23 October 2015 (UTC)
    Then we would be writing about the death of GAIVS IVLIVS CAESAR. Being clear on the name in use at the time to avoid anachronism is good, but so is including another name the reader might know of the subject by.--Trystan (talk) 23:44, 23 October 2015 (UTC)
    That is a different thing. "Julius Caesar" is the English Translation of "GAIVS IVLIVS CAESAR". We don't have an article called "History of Deutschland. Bruce Jenner is a completely different case, as someone English-speaking who changed their name. Another analogy is the Warsaw Pact. Warsaw is called "Warszawa" in Polish. If Poland decided to rename Warsaw "Miasto Walesa", we wouldn't rename the Warsaw Pact article "Miasto Walesa Pact", but the fact that Warsaw is called "Warszawa" in Polish wouldn't influence that decision. Bobby Martnen (talk) 18:31, 29 October 2015 (UTC)
  6. Strong support - Historical events must not succumb to emotional pity and the emotional weakness of human beings. Let's not ruin Wikipedia with our own emotions, let's make it a viable source, not a biased source. We can't lean towards transgenders, but we can't lean towards transphobes either.--AlHadeed (talk) 11:03, 1 November 2015 (UTC)


  1. Unacceptable Could almost live with it except that sometimes the context makes unavoidable to mention both, e.g. the lede of List of charges in United States v. Manning. For a tennis player comparison see the second paragraph of the lede of 2005 French Open, containing both Justine Henin-Hardenne and Justine Henin. --Francis Schonken (talk) 21:37, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
    An excellent example. Henin is referred to without the hyphenated name in the portion referring to the longer term (including after she divorced Hardenne). A historical time reference. Trackinfo (talk) 21:55, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
  2. strong oppose as completely contrary to BLP and multiple recent previous discussions. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 22:39, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
    With the constant insertion of female pronouns and names we have Transgender women marrying women and fathering children. Those have to be clear, repeat WP:BLP violations for all those other affected people due to wikipedia mis-reporting the identity of who they married or who their "father" was. The current identity is not the person who represented at that time.Trackinfo (talk) 01:00, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
    We have transgender women marrying and having children with other women? It's almost like gender identity and biology are two entirely different things. We do not have a duty to falsely represent the subjects of our articles because representing those subjects accurately might require a bluelink. That is, in fact, the precise opposite of our expectations for how content treats human beings. Ironholds (talk) 03:26, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  3. Totally unacceptable essentially per TRPoD. The idea that this is "just how we handle people" simply falls apart when you look at how content does, practically, handle name-changes - around noble titles, particularly - where we tend to consistently use either the title'd name or the non-title'd name and not switch halfway through. Ironholds (talk) 03:28, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  4. Comment Per the "treat transgender individuals like everyone else" argument, both Wikipedia editors and the wider world treat transgender name changes like a special case, and there's nothing wrong with the MOS reflecting that reality. If that ever changes, we can update the MoS then. Darkfrog24 (talk) 03:33, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  5. Strong oppose per TRPoD. To "treat transgender individuals like everyone else" means to call them by their preferred names and pronouns. Nobody I'm aware of goes around calling Michelle Obama "Michael" or referring to her as "he". (And if somebody has done that, kindly don't link me.) Besides, many transgender people are better-known by their post-transition names; with regard to Laverne Cox, for example, it would make no sense to refer to her by whatever her name at birth had been. —GrammarFascist contribstalk 05:37, 24 October 2015 (UTC)
  6. Oppose: Offends too many people, is insensitive, and leads to never-ending conflict.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  14:52, 12 November 2015 (UTC)


  1. Support I see this option as the best for getting in line with the GLAAD Media Reference Guide. It is also the best option for dealing with the issue of deadnaming. - MellowMurmur (talk | contributions) 12:57, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
@MellowMurmur: Letting an advocacy organization influence how certain groups are described is highly inappropriate and against core policies.Godsy(TALKCONT) 18:08, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
@Godsy: Can you be more specific? I do not see advocacy organizations mentioned in the article you linked. - MellowMurmur (talk | contributions) 11:05, 14 October 2015 (UTC)
@MellowMurmur: WP:NPOV for example. All encyclopedic content on Wikipedia must be written from a neutral point of view. GLAAD's own website states "Shaping the media narrative. Changing the culture." WP:RIGHTGREATWRONGS: We can only report that which is verifiable from reliable and secondary sources, giving appropriate weight to the balance of informed opinion. WP:ADVOCACY: Advocacy is the use of Wikipedia to promote personal beliefs or agendas at the expense of Wikipedia's goals and core content policies, including verifiability and neutral point of view. Despite the popularity of Wikipedia, it is not a soapbox to use for editors' activism, recruitment, promotion, advertising, announcements, or other forms of advocacy.Godsy(TALKCONT) 14:18, 14 October 2015 (UTC)
Aspiring to a NPOV involves representing disparate views, not excluding them. MOS:IDENTITY explicitly says that, when usage in reliable sources is mixed, use the terms that a group uses for itself. How could we do that without considering the recommendations of organizations like GLAAD on LGBT-related issues?--Trystan (talk) 14:36, 14 October 2015 (UTC)
@Trystan: Hopefully that wording will change with the two concurrent RfCs about MOS:IDENTITY (i.e. this one and Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 123#Revisiting MOS:IDENTITY in articles about transgender individuals). This issue shouldn't be treated differently from anything else, or made to be a drastic exception. However, you're correct, the current wording paints us in a corner regarding your last sentence.Godsy(TALKCONT) 15:51, 14 October 2015 (UTC)
To briefly clarify: "I see this option as the best for getting in line with the GLAAD Media Reference Guide." I'm objecting to getting "in line" (or in other words conforming) to an advocacy groups guidelines, as opposed to following reliable sources, as we do for everything else.Godsy(TALKCONT) 16:15, 14 October 2015 (UTC)
I am not a native english speaker and feeling a bit under fire here. Allow me to elaborate that I choose to mention the GLAAD Media Reference Guide here because it comes from people who have been spending a lot of time and energy on something very similar to what Wikipedians seem to be trying to do here. Namely figuring out best practices for writing about transgender individuals. What Trystan wrote sums up the intention of my contribution. The WP links you are offering seem to be dealing with how to write articles more than setting guidelines for what to say or not say at the village pump. - MellowMurmur (talk | contributions) 17:37, 14 October 2015 (UTC)
The links I offered (because you requested that I be more specific) do indeed deal with how to write articles, as does your suggestion. I've offered above how I feel we should alternatively handle it. We simply disagree, there is no need "feel... under fire", because we hold different opinions. Regards,Godsy(TALKCONT) 18:38, 14 October 2015 (UTC)
@Godsy: I believe these two proposals are only intended to deal with the gender identity subsection of MOS:IDENTITY. The text I am referring to, "if it isn't clear which is most used, use the term that the person or group uses", is in the general part of the guideline, and applies to all groups. (It used to be followed by an example of choosing between Jew and Jewish person.)--Trystan (talk) 01:27, 15 October 2015 (UTC)
@Trystan: In those cases, that may be a reasonable place to turn, as long as preceding text of the guideline (i.e. "When there is a discrepancy between the term most commonly used by reliable sources for a person or group and the term that person or group uses for themselves, use the term that is most commonly used by reliable sources") has been followed. I was confused by your characterization of the guideline above "when usage in reliable sources is mixed" which isn't the same as what it actually states.Godsy(TALKCONT) 01:50, 15 October 2015 (UTC)

Support ALWAYS BOTH[edit]

  1. Support This seems like it would work reasonably well. It's not at all rare for an actor to have "John Smith (credited as John A. Smith)" after their names. Darkfrog24 (talk) 18:11, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
    Poor example. We only do that when a name is credited differently from the commonly accepted stage name. When Marion Morrison started his career, he was credited as Duke Morrison. Once established, nobody every questioned him being credited as John Wayne. Trackinfo (talk) 21:14, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
    I mean that if we cite one of Wayne's earliest movies, we'd say "John Wayne (credited as Duke Morrison)." You know, I think the ALWAYS BOTH option should be a plan B. We should go with BOTH IF RELEVANT and then only switch to ALWAYS BOTH if there are too many fights over when it's relevant. Darkfrog24 (talk) 01:42, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  2. Support I would support this for any case were someone has become widely known by more than one name, in the interests of clear writing. It is much clearer to let readers know they may know of Lew Alcindor as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or that Leningrad is the same city as modern day St. Petersburg. While I don't think it is an egregious anachronism to say that Cary Grant was born in Bristol or that Michelle Obama attended Princeton, we should write in a way that both clarifies the name in use at the time and informs the reader they may know of the individual by another name.--Trystan (talk) 21:59, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
  3. Support Not just for transgendered people but for any proper name changes, where entity A is now know as entity B but at the time of point of coverage they were known as A. This option helps the reader in two ways: if they need to search for more sources beyond WP they will know what term to search for as at the time of the point of coverage, and when we are linking to the article on this entity, this will prepare the reader to recognize that they will be landing on a page with a different name but it is the same entity they clicked on. --MASEM (t) 22:10, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
    To be clear, I would think this only is when the sources or event is before the name change. For events/coverage well after the name change, the current name is sufficient by itself. --MASEM (t) 23:03, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
  4. acceptable (second choice) -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 22:42, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
  5. Weak support; acceptable as an alternative, but I feel that under some circumstances (especially if they're more famous under their new name or their change is well-publicized) it isn't necessary to include the old name. --Aquillion (talk) 04:43, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  6. Support (second choice). Sometimes the former name isn't relevant (this is true in both trans and non-trans cases, e.g. Princeton University lists "Michelle Obama" as a graduate, it doesn't use her previous name because it isn't notable/ relevant), so my first choice is "both if relevant (otherwise, only current)". Listing both names strikes a balance, a compromise, between listing only one name or only the other: it provides the benefits of the current name (crediting accomplishments to people under their most up-to-date names rather than fixating on old strings of letters; being recognizable to people who know only the new name; acknowledging the name change and thus avoiding misgendering the person and rejecting their identity; etc), and the benefits of the old name (reproducing whatever sources at the time said about a given event; being recognizable to anyone who knows only the old name). And as Masem notes, it avoids easter-egg links as would result if we used only former names in text (since in almost all cases the articles themselves are at current names). -sche (talk) 04:47, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  7. Support as a compromise Not my first choice, but acceptable. This option avoids confusion, and doesn't assume that a reader knows facts which in fact some readers may not know. DES (talk) 11:58, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  8. Support in all cases of name change (not just transgendered people) except where the change is merely adding a new part to the old name (e.g Evonne Goolagong/Evonne Goolagong Cawley) and/or removal of previously added parts (Justine Henin-Hardenne/Justine Henin). This shouldn't apply, however, in a list of then-unnotable people who come from a specific place or graduated from a specific educational institution, etc., such as the Michelle Obama example above. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 12:27, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  9. this is acceptable, though not my first choice. I don't like the MOS pushing us to add clutter to articles, and there are plenty of places where including both may not be the most reasonable option. However, there are many scenarios where this would work fine and not contribute to misunderstandings + it's better than many of the other options. Protonk (talk) 18:05, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  10. Support (as my first choice).  For articles where the person is not the primary subject of the article, I believe both names should be used.  This would give the reader the maximum amount of information, and without attempting to rewrite history.  (My second choice would be "PREVIOUS ONLY.")
    Richard27182 (talk) 12:16, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
  11. Support (as first choice), but avoid pronouns: The examples given for this option are severely faulty in using "he". Rewrite to avoid the necessity to insert a pronoun that may be insensitive to subject, and which will cause never-ending strife from language-change activists. Usually one can either merge two short sentences in a way that obviates a need for a pronoun, switch to a neutral pronoun with a non-human referent ("this record", not "his record"), or repeat the surname (if it has not changed). Generally, and certainly in both of these examples, the names before and after the public change are both relevant, if for no other reason than to prevent any reader confusion or ignorance about who is being written about. And crediting persona B with the works of persona A is philosophically problematic, confusing to readers, and violates the norms of crediting.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  14:56, 12 November 2015 (UTC)

Support BOTH IF RELEVANT[edit]

  1. Support This seems to be the best option to me. EDIT: We should use this rule on a provisional basis. If there are too many fights over what's relevant and what's not, then we auto-switch to ALWAYS BOTH. Darkfrog24 (talk) 18:11, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
  2. support under the proviso, ALWAYS includes the current with previous if relevant/necessary-- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 22:41, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
  3. Support, with caveat I would put the current name first, as in "Caitlyn Jenner (then Bruce Jenner)", and use the person's currently-preferred pronouns. Funcrunch (talk) 22:48, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
    Support, with different caveat - it will rarely be relevant, so care should be taken to avoid presuming relevancy where there was none as seen by reliable sources at the time. For example, in an article about the 1976 Olympic Games, there is no obvious relevance to referring to the decathlon winner as any name other than Bruce Jenner or as any gender other than male. Had the events happened 30 years later, there might have been some relevance since, by then, the international sporting community was actively dealing with the issue of transgender athletes who were born male and wanted to compete as female. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs) 00:53, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
    You do understand that this option means "always use the current name and only use both if the previous name is relevant," right? Darkfrog24 (talk) 01:40, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
    Thanks, somehow I missed that. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs) 01:55, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
    That actually is what should be done. The current name should be the default, with clarification using the previous name only if there is a public reason for it (like, everyone pretty much knows what Jenner's name was when she won her gold, anyway, and the media and olympic records reflect it, etc.). TMagen (talk) 10:32, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
    There are transgender people that have done notable things prior to their transition and abandoned that life and name. Connecting them by this policy would be problematic. "John Smith invents widget, quietly leaves that life and transitions to Jane Doe. Wikipedia updates the widget article to reflect inventors new name/transition even though inventor left that life and name behind." Wikipedia should not be in the business of blindly connecting pre and post transition identities. Suicides have been attributed to such carelessness. --DHeyward (talk) 21:07, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
    That is an edge case I worry about. However, every option on this RFC is problematic with regard to that edge case: if the pre- and post-transition names aren't connected in visible text, there'll still be an (easter-eggy) wikilink (if the person is notable enough to have their own article). The question, for me at least, is thus: what's better as the general rule? And I think the answer is: acknowledging the current name visibly. The top of the MOS notes that there may be occasional exceptions to any of its rules. And on the talk page of an article of a widget company where someone was notable enough to be mentioned, but not notable enough to have their own article, you could make a compelling argument that the current name should be handled as one of those exceptions and excluded as WP:UNDUE. -sche (talk) 21:27, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
    @-sche: Context matters which is why I chose it. My concern is that there are dogmatic crusaders that care less about the individuals wishes than they do about their agenda. There will be persons that care less about what the individual wants and choose their own dogmatic view. Some of those will argue for pre-transition name only. Others will argue post-transition name always. The truth is that individual choices matter far more than ideology. If Caitlyn Jenner wants her children to call her "dad," we are in no position to oppose this. If she is aware of the infobox picture and chooses not to update it based on her business and personal goals, we shouldn't listen to ideologues that are furious when she is not. If she wants all present day references to use "Caitlyn" we shouldn't say "Bruce" where "Caitlyn" is preferred. We must be sensitive to context over ideologues because there is no universal response that is always correct. --DHeyward (talk) 07:15, 15 October 2015 (UTC)
  4. Support (first choice), preferably with Funcrunch's caveat. (1) This attributes things to people who did them using the most up-to-date names, rather than fixating on what strings of letters period sources used. Editors seem to find this intuitive in non-trans cases, e.g. Princeton University says "Michelle Obama" graduated from there in 1985 even though her surname wasn't "Obama" until 1992. (2) It avoids unnecessarily misgendering people, which jars many readers/ editors and is incorrect because scientific understanding from brain studies etc. is that e.g. a trans man was never a woman and one cannot accurately say "she did X" or "he was a woman until he came out at 23" any more than "John was attracted to women until he came out as gay at 24" or "diseases were caused by miasma until about the 1880s, when germs began to cause them". (3) Where a previous name is relevant/notable, this allows for it, so as to inform people who expect the previous name either based on their knowledge or the context (as in the Olpymic example, where the inclusion of the previous name clarifies why Jenner was participating in the men's competition), while also having the current name for the reasons above and because (especially younger) readers who know only a new name (especially of someone who transitioned further in the past than Jenner) will not recognize the old name and may not think to click a wikilink, if the person is even notable enough that one is possible (such links are easter eggs, anyway). Reasons 1 and 2 are why I prefer this to "always both". -sche (talk) 01:27, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  5. Support This places things into historical context but respects the person's current status. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 02:11, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  6. Support per Funcrunch, although in the given example and related situations, I would retain "(credited as Larry Wachowski)" since the name a credit appears under is generally going to be relevant. —烏Γ (kaw), 02:23, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  7. Support, although I would say that in the second case, the former name (but not the former gender) is relevant because readers might be surprised to see that Lana wrote the movie when the credits say Larry. --Ahecht (TALK
    ) 02:28, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  8. Support Seems the best option, though I agree with Funcrunch's caveat. While I have this page on my watchlist and saw it that way, I was also pointed to this discussion by a post to my talk page. PaleAqua (talk) 02:59, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  9. Support. They're all problematic in some way, but this seems like the least problematic. Some kind of note is probably required to explain non-intuitive situations, such as sportspeople. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 03:37, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  10. Support, although with several caveats. I would always give their current name precedence, so it would be eg. "Caitlyn Jenner (then Bruce Jenner)" or something similar rather than the reverse. On the other hand, I would want to define "relevant" somewhat broadly -- generally, if people are likely to be reading this section of an article or parsing a list looking for a specific name, then we should have the name there somewhere to avoid confusion. The main questions to me are "are there likely to be significant numbers of people who will read this looking for a specific name, and only know that name, even if it's out of date?" And, more generally, "are there significant numbers of people likely to be confused by this, whether because they're only familiar with the old name or whatever?" If so, we should generally have both names. --Aquillion (talk) 04:41, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  11. Weak support, without pronouns - I would suggest the name in use at the time is usually relevant - including how a writing credit for Lana Wachowski would have appeared in the work. I suppose there are a few cases where it wouldn't be, along the lines of "Lana Wachowski attended Oxbridge", where you don't really need to know the name in use at the time. I would remove the pronouns from the examples; it is trivially easy to avoid them when mentioning someone in passing. While it is an historical fact that Jenner was named Bruce at the time, the issue of whether she was always a trans woman or only became one when she transitioned will be highly contested.--Trystan (talk) 05:48, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  12. Weak Support I believe this option and "only the more relevant" are the most reasonable, but I'm more inclined to support the latter, since this one produces potentially unnecessary clutter, and redirect links would make the disambiguation clear in the latter. --Waldir talk 09:23, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  13. Support. The current name should be the default, and the previous name should be used for clarification, context, or any other reason that is important to understanding the content (for example, if all the sources are from the time, and refer to the person by the previous name). TMagen (talk) 10:35, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  14. Support, provided "current only" is the preferred option & 'relevance' is a higher standard than 'this is the name sources used at the time'. Protonk (talk) 18:07, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  15. Support, in that I think my cavaets on the previous option (the USE BOTH ALWAYS) amount to this at the basic level, or at least my opinion sits somewhere between these at a high level. I do stress that relevancy should be based on sources at the time if we are talking a date event, as to make sure the reader has a good awareness of search terms to do their own research as well, and common sense does come into play (ala the Michelle Obama example). --MASEM (t) 18:13, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  16. Support As others have pointed out, it will not always be necessary to use both names. When it is, the current name should be put first. I would write it thus: "Caitlyn Jenner (then known as Bruce Jenner). I include the "known as" because it's not that she was a different person then; she was just known by a different name. Neljack (talk) 22:32, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  17. Support parenthetical dual-naming as an appropriate style when readers' might otherwise be confused or draw false inference. Vannie227 (talk) 00:26, 16 October 2015 (UTC)
  18. Support with the specification (as Funcrunch and others suggested above) that the current name should come first, and the previous name be given as a parenthetical. Wording such as "Caitlyn Jenner (competing as Bruce Jenner) won that gold medal", to clarify why the previous name is mentioned at all, seems a good idea. —GrammarFascist contribstalk 05:26, 24 October 2015 (UTC)
  19. Support (as second choice), but avoid pronouns: The examples given for this option are severely faulty in using "he". Rewrite to avoid the necessity to insert a pronoun that may be insensitive to subject, and which will cause never-ending strife from language-change activists. Usually one can either merge two short sentences in a way that obviates a need for a pronoun, switch to a neutral pronoun with a non-human referent ("this record", not "his record"), or repeat the surname (if it has not changed). Generally, and certainly in both of these examples, the names before and after the public change are both relevant, if for no other reason than to prevent any reader confusion or ignorance about who is being written about. And crediting persona B with the works of persona A is philosophically problematic, confusing to readers, and violates the norms of crediting. I allow that in some cases (e.g. long lists of credits) it may not be necessary to include the second name, but in running prose we should usually do so. If you like, think of my position as being a clarified stand between the option I'm !voting on here, and the oen above this: "USUALLY BOTH".  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  14:56, 12 November 2015 (UTC)
  20. Support Seems like the option that would offend the least people. Also reduces discrepancies when referring to sources. Swordman97 talk to me 03:43, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
  21. Support: This generally seems to be the most sensible approach. Midnightblueowl (talk) 21:02, 16 November 2015 (UTC)


  1. This option seems more in line with WP:Trans?, already in use. Megalibrarygirl (talk) 21:35, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
  2. Support as long as the name is wiki-linked, this seems to be the most useful for readers, since it avoids cluttering the text while providing proper disambiguation to the current gender (either by using a redirect or a piped link). --Waldir talk 09:25, 12 October 2015 (UTC) moving my support to "DEPENDS ON CONTEXT" --Waldir talk 18:26, 17 October 2015 (UTC)

Support OTHER (1) = DEPENDS ON CONTEXT[edit]

  1. Support, for reasons explained at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style. --Francis Schonken (talk) 20:39, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
  2. I support using the most relevant names depending on the context. This is how we deal with choosing historical vs modern names in other articles... I see no reason why we should handle name changes that are due to gender identity any differently. Sometimes (mostly in list articles) we only mention one name (because only one name is relevant in that context)... but at other times (mostly in more sentence based articles) we give multiple names (because both names may be relevant in that context). In other words... this simply isn't an issue that can be resolved by one-size-fits-all ALWAYS THIS or ONLY THAT "rules" - It's a SOMETIMES THIS BUT SOMETIMES THAT issue, that can only be resolved by giving editors flexibility to reach a consensus. Which names to use (whether the "former" name, the "new" name, or both) should be determined on a case by case basis. I Oppose framing this as a one-size-fits-all "rule" with ALWAYS and ONLY "rules", because different solutions will be appropriate in different contexts. Context and source usage drive which names are used, not our own biases. Blueboar (talk) 21:07, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
    Tx! I knew this proposal wasn't too difficult to grasp. Tx again. --Francis Schonken (talk) 23:56, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
  3. Support a variant: Use #1:PREVIOUS ONLY unless context dictates otherwise "Refer to transgender individuals using the name and pronouns that they were using at the time of the event in question" unless context demands using both names or conceivably, in rare cases, the other name. In an article about the 1976 Olympics, the winner of the decathlon is Bruce Jenner, and the pronoun-gender is male. In an article or about famous transgender people, it could go either "Bruce Jenner (now Caitlyn) won the decathlon" or "Caitlyn (then Bruce) Jenner won the male decathlon" with a pronoun gender of male or female respectively. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs) 02:05, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  4. Support essentially for the same reasons as Blueboar plus the additional caveat that always- and only-types of rules sometimes result in absurdities. An article about the 1976 Olympics needn't go beyond mentioning the name (then) of the winner of a particular event. This is the name that will be in contemporary sources, and this is the name that someone familiar with the subject would expect to see. An article about transgender athletes would be an appropriate place to mention both names. An article about some recent event (post-change) where the same individual made an appearance or was presented an award needn't mention any but the current name of the individual who attended and, if relevant, the individual's gender (one place it is usually relevant is when an appropriate pronoun is used, at which point the gender is implied rather than stated). It might be a good idea to have a default option when it isn't completely clear from the context which option to use. Etamni | ✉   03:00, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  5. Support as a matter of historical accuracy balanced with common sense. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 03:37, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  6. Support for historical accuracy. The historical achievement was made using a certain name, and that name should always be connected with the achievement. Binksternet (talk) 05:06, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  7. Support as sources are likely to identify contextual relevance. There are no hard and fast rules and the individual will have different levels of difference to dead names. We should not presume hat someone wishes to be linked to the accomplishments of their dead name so context matters. If a person was previously a male athlete record holder and transitions, we should not presume that they wish to be known as a male athlete record holder. PC police are not the BLP police. --DHeyward (talk) 05:10, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  8. Support Just as usage in reliable sources (which we should follow without good reasons not to) will vary from case to case, so our usage should vary. In sports articles (excepting special ones like LGBT Olympians) it's enough to call Jenner simply "Bruce Jenner"; Jenner being transgender or her later name Caitlyn are not in any way relevant (indeed, repeatedly noting them would give them undue weight) and only serve to confuse things. (When she publicly announced her new name Caitlyn and identity as a woman, there were very unfortunate attempts by at least one editor to credit Jenner with records in women's athletics, sources not required.) In other articles it may be appropriate to use Bruce, Bruce (later Caitlyn), Caitlyn (then Bruce) or simply Caitlyn, depending on how relevant each name is. Sideways713 (talk) 10:12, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  9. Support Similar to option 5 above, we should generally follow the reliable sources. If there is any plausible confusion, we should give both names, putting the one favored by reliable sources in the context involved first. I mostly agree with Sideways713 above. DES (talk) 12:02, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  10. Support. Context is always more important than maintaining a single dogma. It would be ludicrous to say that Caitlyn Jenner won a medal in an article about the event in which the medal was won. Caitlyn Jenner didn't; Bruce Jenner did. This is making no comment on Jenner's gender identity at the time. It is simply stating a fact. The same with Lana Wachowski. Lana Wachowski did not make films before 2012; Larry Wachowski did. Again, that is making no comment on Wachowski's gender identity at the time. It is simply stating a fact. We do not practise revisionism on Wikipedia. -- Necrothesp (talk) 15:12, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  11. Support This does not happen enough to justify making hard rules. Check context and build precedents for more time. Blue Rasberry (talk) 19:55, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  12. Support There are obviously times when a new name is not relevant, such as in an article about a television series that ended 30 years ago. What has happened to anyone since then has little relevance to the series so there is no need to include the new name. What is important in such a case is what happened at the time. On the other hand, there may be cases where inluding both the old name and new name may be necessary. What to do in any case should be determined based on context. --AussieLegend () 01:52, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
  13. Context matters. In the case of the historical record of Olympic results, "Bruce Jenner" is relevant and making note of the decades later change to her current identity/name as Caitlyn is not. I view this in similar vein to athletes who compete under one name and later got married. The record is rarely changed retroactively. But this is only one example, and it is foolish to tie ourselves down to an all or none situation. There will undoubtedly be cases where such individuals are mentioned in passing, but for which the use of both names, a later name or a footnote will be important. But as a general rule, articles or lists that document the historical record should be left as-is. Anachronisms are unencyclopedic. Resolute 16:10, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
  14. Support From a historian's standpoint, all names are relevant to building the profile of a person; however, that being said, privacy issues must be taken into consideration, especially on BLP. We don't re-write history nor push POV. Name changes happen often with women in certain cultures and knowing all of the links becomes essential for building their timeline. On the other hand, there are times when people have chosen to disassociate with a prior life and those choices must be respected. There is no rule for all contingencies. Common sense, when the notability in life occurred, whether a prior identity is relevant or disclosure might cause harm must all be weighed. If one doesn't have the ability to analyze, mayhaps they need to leave that article for someone else to write, rather than creating a hard and fast rule. SusunW (talk) 16:56, 14 October 2015 (UTC)
  15. Support – bottom line, we need to go on what the sources at the time state. To take an example I just stumbled across, the credit for the CHiPs episode is for "Bruce Jenner", not "Caitlin Jenner", so in a situation like that, the credited name must be used. Etc. --IJBall (contribstalk) 05:39, 17 October 2015 (UTC)
  16. Support per the Principle of least astonishment, as long as the final recommendation is phrased as clearly as in the option description above, and not hinging too much in the "depends on context" part. --Waldir talk 18:28, 17 October 2015 (UTC)
  17. Support (second choice) per above.Godsy(TALKCONT) 19:05, 22 October 2015 (UTC)
  18. Support (second choice) I advocate for inflexibility above because this option calls for people being reasonable. In most cases, wikipedia editors can reach a consensus and reason outweighs WP:POV. And yes I have had some crazy arguments that haven't always gotten there, but the majority of the time, reason works. As the editor who wrote probably the majority of the content about Bruce Jenner over the last 5 years, starting from my own track career competing with Bruce. I have been dealing with this evolving situation around this article and its web of wikilnks for more than six months. The crew of POV pushing advocates have so driven opinion regarding this case, including the rewrite of the MOS we are dealing with here, that reason has gone out the window. Their opinion is that Bruce never existed and their desire is to wipe out the history of this person that is familiar to millions of people. If they succeed, it will lend more credence to the internet mantra, you can't trust wikipedia, more often repeated in full sarcastic tone "You can trust wikipedia." Give them an inch and they will take a mile. This less restrictive alternative will give them that inch. Trackinfo (talk) 22:07, 29 October 2015 (UTC)
  19. Support also judicious phrasing will generally obviate most problems. Having said that it will often be contextually necessary to mention the later name. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 17:36, 9 November 2015 (UTC).

Neutral on OTHER (1) = DEPENDS ON CONTEXT[edit]

  1. This would be preferable to "always the former" or "always the current", which are basically PoV-pushing WP:ADVOCACY of two opposing types. However it's basically a wishywashy pseudo-option that in actual practice will resolve to "usually both", the compromise between "always both" and "both when relevant", since both usually will be relevant. That is to say, everything on WP depends on context, so having an explicitly "depends on context" option here is like saying "I will breathe, but only if I'm alive". It's tautological hedging for no reason.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  15:06, 12 November 2015 (UTC)

Support OTHER (2)[edit]

  1. Just to be cussed I put up what makes the most sense to me, but only by a hair, I must admit. There is no especially appealing way to handle this bug in our language, but I think we should dissect even individual sentences to choose one or the other. Wnt (talk) 15:19, 30 October 2015 (UTC)

Oppose OTHER (2)[edit]

  1. Strongest opposed to this option. Any result like "His world record was broken in 1980, but her innovation of ...", or "Larry Wachowski wrote the script for her film" is unacceptable. Any reader not already intimately familiar with the subject (and remember that is about mentions in passing at other articles) will have no idea what this means. Each construction appears to refer to some other, unnamed, female person, and will be taken for an editing error, implying that something was accidentally deleted.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  15:12, 12 November 2015 (UTC)

Discussion (trans individuals in other articles)[edit]

Please give a better description to the option described as "Other 1". Georgia guy (talk) 21:08, 11 October 2015 (UTC)

Please feel free to do so yourself; add it as "OTHER (2)" – I might like it and change my !vote. Francis Schonken (talk) 21:18, 11 October 2015 (UTC)

Pursuant to discussion on WT:MOS, I have notified the two WikiProjects which are directly concerned with this topic: Wikipedia talk:WikiProject LGBT studies (diff) and Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Manual of Style (diff). -sche (talk) 21:51, 11 October 2015 (UTC)

The issue of using appropriate historical names impacts a lot of projects... so please alert more than just those two. For example, as can be seen from our using the choice of Bruce vs Caitlyn Jenner as an example, I think you should have alerted Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Sports (I have corrected the omission). We should give this as wide an audience as possible, so if anyone thinks a project should be notified, please do so. Blueboar (talk) 00:16, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
Excellent idea, BB. I also plan to hit up the bio noticeboard, and if anyone wants to get started on notifying the participants in the previous discussion, that'd be great. Just do it on their personal talk pages so we don't get any double-alerts. Darkfrog24 (talk) 00:47, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
I have just notified Wikipedia:WikiProject Television, since it affects that project as well. --AussieLegend () 02:28, 17 October 2015 (UTC)

The more comments I see on this the more I come to believe that BOTH IF RELEVANT would be the best choice, but ALWAYS BOTH is less likely to cause fights. I think we should adopt BOTH IF RELEVANT on a six-month provisional basis and then auto-switch to ALWAYS BOTH if there are too many fights or too much trouble. Darkfrog24 (talk) 01:43, 12 October 2015 (UTC)

  1. Question, suppose the person does not want to have explained about his or her transgender, has this been discussed before? Lotje (talk) 13:46, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
Oooh, I don't know. But MOS:IDENTITY has included the words "unless the subject has indicated a preference otherwise" for a long time. I don't see that it would be a big problem to add those words to this part of the rule too. Darkfrog24 (talk) 14:30, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not censored... if reliable sources discuss someone's transgender, so can we. While we try to respect the desires of the subject of an article, we are not limited by them. Blueboar (talk) 15:58, 13 October 2015 (UTC)
Blueboar has it exactly, though I'd add that it's fine to use the person's preferences where they do not contradict this. On transgender issues, the fact that it is polite to refer to someone by his or her preferred gender pronoun ordinarily wouldn't hold much weight, but because the jury is so far from being in on things like reliable sources, the biological realities underlying transgenderism, and whether this is a correction or a change, then it serves as a pretty good tiebreaker. Darkfrog24 (talk) 16:03, 13 October 2015 (UTC)

Hi Darkfrog24.  I agree with you when you write that "ALWAYS BOTH is less likely [than BOTH IF RELEVANT] to cause fights."  But I'm not so sure about your proposed solution of "adopt[ing] BOTH IF RELEVANT on a six-month provisional basis and then auto-switch to ALWAYS BOTH if there are too many fights or too much trouble."  After six months, who or what criterion would be making that decision?
Richard27182 (talk) 08:43, 14 October 2015 (UTC)

We look around and observe whether anyone's been fighting over it. I guess we could also ask the participants here to keep their eyes open. The good thing about hosting MOS:IDENTITY at the MoS is that a lot of the time, people post notices of disputes at WT:MOS. Darkfrog24 (talk) 13:58, 14 October 2015 (UTC)

I don't understand the purpose of the "Oppose ALWAYS PREVIOUS ONLY" category.  All the other categories are "support" categories; why does "ALWAYS PREVIOUS ONLY" have its own "oppose" category?
Richard27182 (talk) 08:46, 14 October 2015 (UTC)

Initially, no option had an 'oppose' section. However, enough people posted explicit objections / comments on the problems of that option that someone thought it would improve the readability of the thread to put those objections in a subsection. -sche (talk) 09:04, 14 October 2015 (UTC)

I know I'm not the first person to bring this up, but it's important and I think it deserves more attention than it's getting.  One of the problems with using the current identity only is potential conflicts with WP:BLP.  Suppose a female trans (while still biologically male and still publicly identifying as a man) had married a woman (let's say the fictitious Mary Smith).  If we must always use the current name only, then we would have to write "[trans current name] married Mary Smith."  Mary Smith may feel this implies that she is a lesbian, and if so, may feel insulted, maybe even libeled.  Our only real option would be to make no mention of the marriage at all!  How would the proponents of CURRENT ONLY propose to handle this kind of situation?
Richard27182 (talk) 09:11, 15 October 2015 (UTC)

I'm not a current-only supporter, but I do feel we should make a presumption in favour of current pronouns, so issue does come up. I'd say: "Prior to coming out as a trans woman, she married Mary Smith."--Trystan (talk) 13:37, 15 October 2015 (UTC)
A LOT depends on which article we are talking about... and who the subject of the sentence is. Is the "she" referring to the trans-gender person, or to the non-transgender spouse? In an article about the non-transgender spouse (Let's call her "Susan"), it is both inaccurate, and potentially harmful to say "In 1993, she married Mary Smith". Saying that implies that Susan is lesbian. I think we should say "In 1993, she married Joe Smith".
Now... if Mary is notable in her own right (and also has an article)... I think it appropriate to link the name "Joe Smith" to the Mary Smith article (where the transition from "Joe" to "Mary" should be explained). If Joe/Mary isn't notable (and thus does not have an article to link to)... then we have another question to ask... is the issue of Mary's current trans-gender identity relevant to Susan's life. It may not be... and if not, then there is no reason to mention it in the article on Susan. Blueboar (talk) 14:47, 15 October 2015 (UTC)
I think Trystan has it right. While generally it is not necessary to go into detail that a person is trans, briefly referring to it to prevent confusion is fine. Darkfrog24 (talk) 16:33, 15 October 2015 (UTC)
@Trystan: @Darkfrog24:
I think Trystan's  "Prior to coming out [emphasis added] as a trans woman, she married Mary Smith."  is a major improvement over my (deliberately constructed) worst case. However it still has a problem. It fails to rule out the possibility that, even though the person Mary married had not yet publicly come out as a trans woman, Mary may still have been totally aware of the situation. If she was not aware of the situation at the time, she might still find the statement offensive and libelous.
Richard27182 (talk) 00:35, 16 October 2015 (UTC)
I can see why someone might find the information "You married someone who later came out as a trans woman (so it is possible to construe that you were in a same-sex marriage depending on one's definition of the term)" offensive, but if it's true then it's not libelous. If these are living people, then we'd have to be careful (only say it when relevant, don't say "they were in a same-sex marriage" because that's interpretation and not fact, etc.), but it would fall under WP:NOTCENSORED. Darkfrog24 (talk) 01:05, 16 October 2015 (UTC)
[inserted  05:52, 16 October 2015 (UTC)]  Ping:@Darkfrog24:
This is a complicated subject and I probably wasn't clear enough in my posting.  What I meant was that if Wikipedia stated that "Prior to coming out [publicly] as a trans woman, she married Mary Smith," some readers might assume that Mary Smith likely knew the true gender identification of her own spouse even though the world as a whole did not.  But if Mary did not know of the "trans" gender identification of her spouse at the time of the marriage, then for those readers the article would be misrepresenting something about Mary. And she might see it as defamatory or libelous.  (I'm not sure if I just clarified my point or further obfuscated it.)
Richard27182 (talk) 05:52, 16 October 2015 (UTC)
We shouldn't imply she knew, but it is not our job to rule it out either. Not being a tabloid that delves without cause into the most private details of the relationship between spouses, there are very few situations in which we either would or could comment at all about what Mary knew and when. If we are presenting verifiable facts in a clear and fair way, it isn't defamation.--Trystan (talk) 12:41, 16 October 2015 (UTC)
I don't think telepathy is RS. I would say that the words as you've given them, Richard, don't imply whether Mary knew one way or the other. I also think you're overestimating how scandalous it is to be married to someone who later comes out as trans. Darkfrog24 (talk) 12:58, 16 October 2015 (UTC)
[inserted - 11:33, 17 October 2015 (UTC)] Ping: @Darkfrog24:  @Trystan:
The point I'm trying to make (not very well, I'm afraid) is that there are scenarios where it would be problematic if we have the MOS prohibit any mention of a trans's past name, or gender identification, or previously applicable pronouns.  For example we know that WP:BLP sets extremely strict standards for writing about  "any [emphasis added] living person mentioned in a BLP, whether or not that person is the subject of the article, and to material about living persons in other articles and on other pages, including talk pages."  Considering the previously discussed case of the fictional "Mary Smith," if Mary belongs to a very conservative religion that condemns transsexualism, and if the Wikipedia article could be seen by some as even suggesting the possibility that Mary had knowingly been married to a trans, I believe that that, in and of itself, would trigger WP:BLP issues.  I agree with Trystan that  "[T]here are very few situations in which we either would or could comment at all about what Mary knew and when."  But I believe that this is one of those very few situations where we do have to be extremely careful about what we write and avoid any possibility of giving the wrong impression, because of the sensitive nature of the issue involved.  For this reason (as well as other reasons), I feel that having the MOS require that all references to trans's must use only their current identification is not just impractical, but totally infeasible.
Richard27182 (talk) 11:33, 17 October 2015 (UTC)
No, you've managed to get that across. Given the response rate so far, I don't think you need to worry about ALWAYS CURRENT ONLY. It looks like some version of "use both" is going up there. Darkfrog24 (talk) 12:51, 17 October 2015 (UTC)
For what it's worth... here is my prediction: This round will end with the compromise of "ALWAYS BOTH" - which will resolve the debate at most articles. However, it will NOT resolve the debate at all articles. The debate will continue at articles where it simply does not make sense to use both (where simple common sense would be to use just one or the other) and where we discover that using both is problematic (such as where using both will create a potential BLP issue)... and in a year or two we will have to re-re-visit the discussion with a narrower focus on these few problematic situations. At which point, we will eventually end up with some form of "IT DEPENDS - USUALLY WE SHOULD USE BOTH - BUT NOT ALWAYS". Blueboar (talk) 14:19, 17 October 2015 (UTC)
Hi Darkfrog24 and Blueboar
I more or less agree with both of you; both concerning a likely outcome of this VPP/RfC, and also the fact that there will be times when "USE BOTH" would actually be inappropriate.  But please keep in mind that the Manual of Style begins with the words:  "This guideline is a part of the English Wikipedia's Manual of Style. Use common sense in applying it; it will have occasional exceptions."  I really believe that that should cover most if not all of the exceptions that might occur if we end up with "ALWAYS BOTH."
Richard27182 (talk) 09:19, 18 October 2015 (UTC)
You can tell people "It's just a guideline" from noon to night but in my experience they still treat everything in it as a hard and fast rule. That's why we have to be so careful about what goes into it. Darkfrog24 (talk) 14:43, 18 October 2015 (UTC)
Richard27182 (talk) 09:13, 19 October 2015 (UTC)
We actually did raise the issue of contacting transgender organizations (or at least transgender Wikipedians) when working out the wording of these two threads, but it was determined that the possible votestacking effect would outweigh the benefits of the insight that they could provide. At least one transgender Wikipedian has volunteered an opinion here anyway. Darkfrog24 (talk) 21:11, 15 October 2015 (UTC)

Was this not a formal RfC? Who/How/When is it going to be closed? -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 03:35, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

It is a regular RfC, but thirty days have passed and the tag has timed out. Formal closure has been requested. Darkfrog24 (talk) 17:15, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

Policy on contacting article subjects for information[edit]

From time to time, I find it useful to contact the subject of an article to ask if they can provide an image or identify sources for unsourced claims in their articles. I generally explain when initiating such contact how our COI principles work to head off any thoughts about editing their own articles, and I have usually found that if I get any response at all, the response is productive. However, I can see the potential for objections to contacting subjects. I was wondering if we have any policy or guidance on this subject (or if we should). Cheers! bd2412 T 15:47, 12 November 2015 (UTC)

I'd like to know this as well. I've considered making contact with the subjects of articles before, but always held off as I was unsure what the policies were.  DiscantX 03:07, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Even when an editor is contacting a subject of an article solely to help improve the article, there is no conflict of interest with Wikipedia (the common interest here is to create an encyclopedia) – the practice above helps verify articles, which contributes towards Wikipedia's purpose. Esquivalience t 03:14, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
    Esquivalience But are you aware of anywhere that such a policy has been written? If it doesn't exist, it could be useful for editors to refer to. We could even give guidance on how to go about it. In the long run it should result in more comprehensive content here.  DiscantX 13:59, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
    Why should something that obvious be written in a policy? Policy should only be written in cases where there may be some dissent. I can't see any difference between asking the subject an reading her autobiography, for example. Do you want a policy, that explicitly allows readers of an autobiography to write in an article about the subject of this autobiography as well? Grüße vom Sänger ♫ (talk) 14:53, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
    I believe you will find that the definition of COI has changed in the last year or two. The old idea was that if your interest was a good encyclopedia article, and our interest was a good encyclopedia article, then there was no "conflict" in the interests. This no longer appears to be the guideline. Instead, it takes the same approach as most legal systems: if you are closely connected to the subject, then you have a COI, even if all you wanted to do was revert vandalism or correct your birthdate. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:10, 21 November 2015 (UTC)
See WP:ERP and WP:COPYREQ. -- zzuuzz (talk) 15:00, 13 November 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Speaking as an editor who has communicated directly with BLP article subjects on several occasions, and in one case with the recently widowed spouse of an article subject, I must advise caution in such situations even though I have found such communication to be helpful in several instances. Communicating directly with subjects is not something new editors, or editors who do not have a firm grasp of WP:NPOV, WP:V, WP:RS, WP:BLP and WP:GNG, should attempt. Our fundamental policies regarding neutrality and verification and our guidelines regarding reliable sources should be explained to the subject at the outset of any direct conversation or correspondence with them. It is important that they understand that we cannot simply accept their say-so on pertinent subjects about their lives, but that we must source our articles with high-quality reliable sources per WP:BLP. Subjects can be very helpful in directing editors to reliable sources that may be found offline, or that might otherwise require special search parameters to find online. Subjects may correct spelling and birth date errors and provide reliable sources for such corrections, and sometimes provide useful information as to how we fill gaps in our coverage. That said, it is important to always remember that we are not newspaper reporters and we should not be "interviewing" subjects as a primary source for our article content; as Wikipedia editors we are supposed to use reliable published sources for our article content. If a subject can point us in the direction of additional reliable sources, that is usually a win-win for the subject and the encyclopedia.

That said, the danger of direct communication is that subjects rarely understand our policies and guidelines, and sometimes they have their own agenda. All subjects want "their" articles to be as positive as possible; no surprise there, but some will attempt to influence content in ways that more resemble an autobiography, a resume, a Facebook page, or family reminiscences. None of those are appropriate for an encyclopedia article. And some subjects, just like some editors, are kind of odd and overly sensitive about certain topics. I recently communicated with an Olympic medalist (and current college coach) who insisted that her article not use her full name, e.g., Sarah Elisabeth Smith (not her real name), but should only use her obvious nickname, e.g., Betsy Smith, and that the multiple reliable sources regarding her full name were completely wrong, including International Olympic Committee records, NCAA records, and graduation records from two major universities. Okay, so she doesn't like her full name, many of us don't -- so what? The subject went so far as to deny her full name was her real name. And that's not even much of a real issue, but it does provide a cautionary tale. When there is real conflict over article content, or when there is content to which the subject objects, it is far, far better to take such issues to the BLP notice board where such matters may be discussed by other experienced editors with a strong command of the relevant policies and guidelines.

Should there be a policy on direct communication with BLP subjects? Maybe. Maybe not. But someone ought to write an advice essay regarding the advantages and potential dangers inherent in doing so. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 15:05, 13 November 2015 (UTC)

Well thought out, Dirtlawyer1 - and I nominate you to write the essay. After all, what you've written above is pretty good start, and I personally can't see a flaw in your methodology, cautions, or positive aspects. Onel5969 TT me 15:21, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
I do think that any guidance would be useful, and I agree that Dirtlawyer1's comments above make for a good start. bd2412 T 00:37, 14 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Contacting the subjects of BLPs can have surprisingly positive results, including the release of their copyrighted images and photos. Nevertheless, I would not recommend it being done by younger, new, or non-native speaker users. Our primary objective next to providing content is to maintain the profile of Wikipedia as a serious piece of work. I've been appalled on many occasions by the quality of otherwise good faith communications made by New Page Patrolers to new editors. Teen-talk, 'Hey Bro!' and other cultural minority forms of English don't cut it with older academic readers or ancient stuffed-shirt Brits like me. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 10:43, 14 November 2015 (UTC)
If I am missing what I consider crucial information on a topic or BLP, I DO contact whoever I need to contact to get information, not about them, their book, their company or their opinions. My questions have always been, "Do you know of any sources that have been written about the topic?" and at that point let them know there is no guarantee that there will be an article on the topic, I am a volunteer and this is an encyclopedia. I even go so far to tell them that their opinion does not really matter, but if it appears in print somewhere, please let me know. At this time, I am working as a visiting scholar with the University of Pittsburgh and the whole point of having access to their online content IS to locate secondary sources. Now I have to readily admit, there is nothing I enjoy more than to hear about all the undocumented information there is to a topic-but again, I tell them that there is no way to include such information. If I did not contact my supervisor at the University who lets me know where the sources are, I would be very hampered in my editing. Barbara (WVS) (talk) 11:51, 26 November 2015 (UTC)

Original research and NPOV[edit]

Dirtlawyer1's argument is well thought out, but I'd like to expand my concern a bit further, especially regarding "it is important to always remember that we are not newspaper reporters and we should not be 'interviewing' subjects as a primary source for our article content." One of the primary reasons I've been reluctant to contact people is that it feels like original research. Sänger ♫ suggests that there should be no dissent in this case, but I think there could be, though it may not come from me. A plausible argument against contacting subjects is that it contradicts not only WP:OR, but also WP:NPOV. Contacting subjects of articles is bound to cause instances where the subjects try to insert themselves into the article. It's not a matter of if, but when. Considering the long standing controversies against paid editing and against editors editing pages about themselves, I think it would be prudent to ask if we want to purposefully invite people to do essentially this. There's a suggestion over at idea lab asking if we should allow original research, and the outcome seems to be a resounding no, so I think we need to differentiate between how someone asking the subject of an article for clarification, sources, or pictures is different from doing original research. To be clear, I'm in support of contacting subjects of articles, but I think the guidelines need to be clear and in line with existing policy.  DiscantX 12:10, 15 November 2015 (UTC)

I just wonder, what kind of bugaboo (I hope it's the right translation of Popanz) is being discussed here. It's, as always, nothing that could be lumped together and treated with a plain and simple solution, it depends on a) the subject and its ability to stay neutral and b) the editor and her ability to discern between OR, POV and sources and c) the relationship between those two. I'd ask an acquaintance about some facts in his article, and of course would ask, how this could be validated, if necessary. Of course I could not just write something because of his nice brown eyes, but that's a no-brainer. Why is this asked? Are some people eager to contact unknown persons for some input about their articles? Let it be. Or is it about asking people you know about some facts in their articles? Go on, but keep npov. OR and NPOV are enough, the rest is just common sense. Grüße vom Sänger ♫ (talk) 15:17, 15 November 2015 (UTC)
I agree with DiscantX's concern regarding original research problems per WP:OR, and I should have explicitly mentioned that policy in my cautionary comments above. Even in those circumstances where direct contact with a BLP subject may be appropriate and productive, original research is an additional concern and potential pitfall for the novice in an encyclopedia for which professional editorial oversight is absent and many articles have not received critical review by experienced and knowledgeable editors. I might also note that the same issues apply to contacting representatives of organizations for additional information as well, and the inevitable attempt by the subject to influence/slant the article content in a non-neutral manner may be more subtle, more sophisticated, and more systematic. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 15:21, 15 November 2015 (UTC)

Some suggestions for the volunteer who initiates this essay[edit]

Agree this is a subject worth addressing. I'll chime in with those who have had success requesting photos from subjects. Examples:

While I have often included some caveats, I haven't gone into the detail that dirtlawyer1 suggests. That leads me to two suggestions on this issue.

First, I think any such essay might be well served by distinguishing between requests for photos and request for other material which might be related to improving the text. I don't recall any situation where I have asked for a photo in which the supplier of the photo has then gone on to decide to directly edit the article. I hope it is the case that simply asking for a photo is unlikely to trigger that reaction, so the long list of caveats suggested are not necessary in a photo request. In contrast, I can imagine that reaching out to a subject and asking about the content of an article might be more apt to trigger the possibility that the subject decides to edit the article, and the longer list of caveats might be appropriate. I don't know that I'm right on this but, as someone who very often requests photos, I would not be happy with a guideline that suggests I should be providing a long laundry list of policies in a simple request for photo.

Second, I think there is value in suggesting that direct contact of subjects is something best left to experienced editors, I don't know that we can prohibit anything, but if the essay goes into some detail about what one ought to do when contacting a subject, it might well dissuade some newbies from attempting it early on. While I think that asking for photos is less complicated than requesting feedback about the textual material, I'd love to see some good advice given to editors in this situation. As an OTRS agent, I all too often have to deal with a situation where a newbie editor writes to a subject and asks for a photo to be used in a Wikipedia article, and the subject responds positively with a nice photo and a note that says it's fine to use it in a Wikipedia article. Experienced editors see the flaw in this and it is left to OTRS agents to clean it up. It would be much better if editors realize they needed to have permissions on file in almost all cases and use the standard forms.--S Philbrick(Talk) 15:53, 16 November 2015 (UTC)

You may also want to discuss matters such as working with the subject who decides to register an account, including matters such as OTRS authentication of the new editor's identity and COI matters such as making requests at the talk page versus actually editing the article. See Talk:Mansoor Ijaz for an exceptionally detailed example of the situation; somehow I encountered User:Mansoor Ijaz, who registered apparently because he decided that the article about him needed improvement. Because he was willing to authenticate, to provide access to tons of relevant sources, to provide photos, and to suggest major edits at talk instead of making them himself, we went from edit-warring over contents to a much-better-written GA. I'd never heard of him, so I wouldn't have known where to look for anything whatsoever to improve the article, but he was able to provide URLs for lots of online resources (if I'd doubted him, I would have been hesitant to use print sources that he supplied, but that wasn't an issue) from which everything could be written, and while he wrote most of the content, FreeRangeFrog and I vetted it and checked everything before it was added, so we could be confident that content was reflecting the sources accurately. Nyttend (talk) 05:24, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
  • I like to refer subjects of biographical articles to the following, quite instructive, newspaper article The day I downloaded myself --  15:31, 23 November 2015 (UTC)


I have watched over the years as ArbCom has assembled more responsibilities, yet the number of editors interested to serve has decreased and the community satisfaction with ArbCom has declined, in my view. You may agree with my assessment or not.

My proposal is that ArbCom should be strictly limited to resolve issues related to the behavior of administrators and functionaries only. If there's an issue with an editor, the community must work it out. We don't need to delegate our power of self-government to a small body of people who may, or often may not, do what we would want. The reason we need ArbCom is that when administrators or functionaries start behaving badly, somebody has to judge. Because there's no body to oversee ArbCom, other than the once a year election (soon! vote!) their power should be constrained as narrowly as possible.

For the moment can we discuss this. If it looks like there's any hope of a consensus, we could move on to an RFC. Jehochman Talk 00:00, 15 November 2015 (UTC)

  • I don't support this proposal, but I thank Jehochman for opening a debate about reform. It has been clear for several years that the committee isn't working, and every year brings new problems. I think we should create a dedicated page to discuss an RfC. Pinging Risker. I made some reform suggestions recently on the gender-gap mailing list:
  • People would be elected to the committee for two years, and not allowed to stand again for another five.
  • Arbs would not be given access to CU or oversight. The functionaries can do any necessary CU and oversight work. Functionaries would be elected by the community, not chosen by ArbCom.
  • Arbs must excuse themselves if asked, unless the request for recusal is clearly silly.
  • The mailing list should be used only in exceptional cases involving privacy or harassment; otherwise all Arb discussion takes place in public.
  • Abolish the workshops. They're used to continue the dispute or harassment.
  • Cases must be resolved within a much shorter time frame, or closed as unresolved.
  • For one year, as an experiment, we should maintain a list of experienced editors willing to do jury duty. Anyone brought before the committee can request a jury "trial". Jurors would be chosen randomly from the list. Any juror involved with a party should say no, and the next on the list would be picked. The parties would have the right to object to a certain number.
  • The Foundation should be asked to pay for an expert in dispute resolution to offer regular classes on Skype for any Wikipedian who wants to sign up.
SarahSV (talk) 00:25, 15 November 2015 (UTC)
  • I'm not really in favour of limiting the Arbcom's power, more interested in improving the quality of candidates. Also, I would like to see more clearly defined rues over what is admissible and what is not admissible as evidence - suddenly producing diffs long after they have grown cold and heat and context of the moment has been forgotten is wrong. Also this grabbing in defendants from the sidelines mid-case is ridiculous. I'ts my belief a lot of the Arbs are too young, but then what older sensible person would want the job? Giano (talk) 08:42, 15 November 2015 (UTC)
Yourself (also Giano, Sitush, Eric Corbett, SlimVirgin), should be running for Arbcom. The only way changes will come about there, is from within. GoodDay (talk) 15:23, 15 November 2015 (UTC)
  • comment - I agree that something needs to be done. Based on my own recent (and current) experiences, I sense a serious lack of something - perhaps it's lack of initiative or desire, or neither - can't put my finger on it. It may also involve time constraints imposed on arbs by RL. I really don't want to be critical without knowing more about the inner workings of the process. It certainly can't be an easy task to sift through all the diffs in evidence in order to get a realistic grasp of the issues, especially if it involves a topic in which you have absolutely no interest or knowledge. I've seen a lot of misinterpretation and rash judgements based on wrong impressions throughout WP, not just in DR venues. I agree that the workshop needs to go because it only adds to the confusion (and creates redundancy). What appears to happen once the involved parties have submitted evidence and completed their mock-ups (FoF and PD), the drafting arbs review them and prepare an official PD for the other arbs to weigh-in on. At that point the entire presentation is dependent on the interpretation of one or two arbs. As with any board or committee, you have the few who do and the many who don't which produces huge procedural holes and task overload on the few who do. It could easily result in the worst kind of decision-making, which any losing party will attest to in a heartbeat. 😆 I think all the arbs should review all the they will be making informed decisions based on their own perspectives. They should be able to ask questions during this phase as well. Anyway, those are just my initial thoughts and I would welcome an opportunity to be involved in helping to make it better. Atsme📞📧 23:58, 15 November 2015 (UTC)
  • The evidence in most cases is hard to read, so I can hardly blame the Arbs for not reading it carefully. This stems from a few years ago when word limits were introduced. It's much harder to write succinctly, so things are not explained properly, which means the Arbs are examining diffs without context. And people run out of words, so important evidence is excluded. Also, Arbs used to go out and look for evidence themselves (I'm thinking particularly of Fred Bauder), which no longer happens, so gaps in the evidence are reflected in the decisions. SarahSV (talk) 03:13, 16 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Minor issue, but important for procedure and parity - I would like to see much better use of templates which are standardised for each and every party, and not deviated from. Evidence was presented in the workshop about several editors, but these editors have not yet been named in the PD. Several of you will probably be aware of my concern that my (current) proposed FOF is markedly different from other parties. I propose that we should have a template at the proposed FOF stage for EVERY (sorry for shouting!) party named at the previous stage/s. The arbs then openly vote on the evidence presented and indicate this in the template. At the moment, we are seeing gaps in the PD which means that either it is still in draft form, or the drafters have unilaterally decided not to include some parties (unless this has been decided elsewhere by ArbCom, but surely then votes of opposition presented in a template would be better than simply presenting nothing!).DrChrissy (talk) 16:54, 16 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Another reform suggestion is that we start electing groups of Arbs, rather than individuals. Someone said above that Giano, Eric Corbett, Sitush and I should stand, and as interesting as that sounds, I can tell you that we would be a good committee, because we'd be able and willing to slice through the BS.
    But if you have a couple of members not able or willing, then you get deadlocked, and perhaps this is what's happening inside the committee – personalities who find it hard to work together; one or two members sending long emails to the mailing list; someone trying to be in charge, etc. Electing groups of editors who know they can work together might solve that. SarahSV (talk) 22:42, 16 November 2015 (UTC)

If AN/I were more efficient and did not wish "instant justice" so much (bans decided in 2 hours, anyone?), then I would suggest that AN/I decisions, for good or ill, should be binding on the AC and that they ought not by simple majority be able to overrule the AN/I decisions (I would suggest that such discussions of extended blocks or bans should then be extended to a full week at AN/I as a minimum - obviating the "small group" problems there seen in the past.) If we simply removed review of AN/I consensus from the ambit of the AC, we would cut a lot of the nonsense out.
Secondly, the AC should get rid of faux-legalese and unwieldy boilerplate from decisions.
Thirdly, the AC should function in favour of equity over all other concerns.
Fourth, any possible implication of partiality in any decision should be sufficient to have any arbitrator recuse - just like in real life.
Fifth, the committee should be restricted to only the "evidence" presented by those not on the committee (no - a recused arb should not "present evidence" as there is an implication that such an arbitrator may wield influence over any decision).
Lastly, the AC should be told their ambit does not include "making Wikipedia perfect" nor engaging in "kill them all" sanctions, nor, indeed, to think that they have an obligation to "do something, even if it is wrong." It is better to no nothing here than to do the wrong thing. Collect (talk) 23:10, 16 November 2015 (UTC)

Collect, I recommend that you also put your hat into the Arbcom election ring. GoodDay (talk) 00:47, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
  • The community has ample time to handle these situations before Arbcom becomes involved. I wouldn't be for changing that much honestly. There's room for a little change but they should continue to stand as the court of last resort. Note also that our pool of arbitrators comes from our pool of admins, generally. Fixing our issues with the election of Admins stands at least to help expand our pool of potential arbitrators.-Serialjoepsycho- (talk) 02:42, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose - terrible idea. Too many times we have seen incompetent decisions by admins based on ANI. Arbcom is needed in cases where the "community" has failed to resolve the cases, such as the long-term issues like Caflap08 and Hijiri88, or issues that are so bitter they require special sanctions ie Gamergate. Arbcom should take a look at all the history in the cases brought to them and see if admins have so far behaved appropriately or in fact contributed to the problem. What we need is more accountability for admins who suck not less. МандичкаYO 😜 02:08, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose The Neelix situation would be show us the real flaws. People are angry that after giving up the bit, ARBCOM chose not to continue the case but at least ARBCOM got to discuss it. If you barred that entirely, one could get out of ARBCOM entirely and avoid banning just by giving up the bit and besides, there are numerous problems that ARBCOM deals with that had or have nothing to do with administrative actions. -- Ricky81682 (talk) 12:05, 23 November 2015 (UTC)

WP:ERRORS section to request admin closure of tags added to front page articles[edit]

There was a merge tag on the top ITN article November 2015 Paris attacks before it was closed, with most editors opposed.

I propose that WP:ERRORS include a section for notifications of editors and admins watching the page to be notified of issues on pages linked from the front page to get rapid closure of issues affecting high traffic articles. -- Callinus (talk) 08:00, 16 November 2015 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Requests for closure already exists. Why do we need additional notifications? --Jayron32 17:44, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
The problem is that the ANRFC is heavily overused, getting lots of requests that don't need an admin to close them, and when you try to remove no-action-needed entries, you're liable to get reverted by someone who insists that action is indeed needed. An urgent request will be buried among the trivial requests. Nyttend (talk) 05:08, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
Most of the ANRFC questions are closed by non-admins, and the results in contentious cases are... let's say "variable". If you post to ANRFC, I recommend explicitly saying that it's a difficult topic and should only be closed by an an experienced admin who is familiar with the subject area. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:47, 21 November 2015 (UTC)

Exemption Doctrine Policy (EDP)[edit]

I would like to ask about the Exemption Doctrine Policy (EDP). Here we read that 'Non-free content used under an EDP must be identified in a machine-readable format so that it can be easily identified by users of the site as well as re-users.'

But while I see that resolution is fulfilled in the images, however I don't see that it is being accomplished either with excerpts from text or quotes. I do not know very much about policy, so, could someone explain to me why in those texts under an EDP with non-free content is not being identified in a machine-readable format? Thank you very much. Trasamundo (talk) 02:45, 22 November 2015 (UTC)

Any direct quotes we use are expected to be directly sourced. In addition, as we have text integrated more closely with normal prose it's much more difficult to track it that way. So arguably the citation is the requirement for including non-free text. --MASEM (t) 02:58, 22 November 2015 (UTC)
Therefore is it sufficient to put a Template:Cite book for example to the quote?. Isn't it? --Trasamundo (talk) 03:53, 22 November 2015 (UTC)
It's required and therefore sufficient. That said, keep in mind WP:QUOTATION and things like length, etc. --MASEM (t) 03:57, 22 November 2015 (UTC)
Also note the requirement for immediate in-text attribution of the quote's author per Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style#Attribution, in addition to a footnote. The only exception are cases, where the speaking person is blatantly obvious within context. GermanJoe (talk) 17:09, 22 November 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── There are, by the way, more than 50,000 files with no machine-readable license and most of them are non-free. There are additional ones with a machine-readable license but no machine-readable author, source, or description. It is obvious that we don't take our EDP seriously with regards to this. Finnusertop (talk | guestbook | contribs) 12:43, 23 November 2015 (UTC)

I expect that all of those non-free images are identified as being non-free in a machine-readable format, namely by being present in Category:All non-free media (and category membership is easy for a machine to read). I don't see any requirement that the author, source, description, or specific non-free license be machine-readable. Anomie 21:03, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
No, we have never required a template to show the license or the rationale, which we have previously determined in the post-2009 years that as long as it is known to the servers as non-free via being in this cat, that it meets the machine-readable aspect. While it would take far too much work to put rationales into templates, I would definitely think that we might want to consider normalizing all non-frees (and frees stories on to use a license template; while it is 50,000 such images, it's 1) not a task that requires priority so there's no need to rush it - one can do a few articles at a time and 2) it should be relatively easy to id what the right license is and add it in there. However, we'd have to decide as a community if we want to force this on the licenses. --MASEM (t) 21:19, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

Proposed Amendments to GA Criteria[edit]

Currently, the GA criteria do not take into account compatibility, for mobile app users. Mobile users get a lot out of the relevant wikidata item, that appears in small text below the search. This is greatly beneficial, as it allows the mobile user to select the right article quickly. To check whether this exists and even to create the data tag is very quick and easy. So my proposal is to add a point (7) to the criteria. This would read:

  • 7 Compatible: The article has a relevant wikidata tag.

For more information on wikidata, it can be found here. TheMagikCow (talk) 13:00, 22 November 2015 (UTC)

Comments or Amendments[edit]

The linked page says nothing about how wikidata helps mobile users. Please add more explanation here.Nigel Ish (talk) 13:10, 22 November 2015 (UTC)

A search from the app. Note the smaller font text under some listed items. That small text is from Wikidata.

TheMagikCow, is there a similar requirement for FAs? If not, then perhaps you should try starting there. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:53, 27 November 2015 (UTC)



  • All Wikipedia articles have a Wikidata item and as such it would be absurd to judge them against the existence of such an item. Wikidata is a Wikimedia project separate from its sister project Wikipedia, and by that virtue the quality of a relevant Wikidata item (ie. how many and accurate properties it has) can't be the criteria for assessing the quality of a Wikipedia article either (similarly, we don't judge an article against the quality of images on Commons either, but by what images are chosen to be displayed on Wikipedia). It also baffles me as to why is this issue pertinent to Good articles but not to Featured article criteria (FAC). It's worth to note that some accessibility criteria are already part of the FAC, as alt image texts are part of the image use policy Manual of Style that Featured articles must comply with. Finnusertop (talk | guestbook | contribs) 13:55, 22 November 2015 (UTC)
@Finnusertop: Would you support this in the FAC? TheMagikCow (talk) 16:20, 22 November 2015 (UTC)
@TheMagikCow: no, as I think it's questionable to include criteria concerning other Wikimedia projects to FAC criteria which should be about the content here on Wikipedia. I'm not convinced that mobile view is an accessibility feature that should have any special privileges either. Articles that are MOS compliant are likely to be displayed as they should on all devices, and as noted above, MOS compliance is already a part of the FAC criteria. Finnusertop (talk | guestbook | contribs) 16:27, 22 November 2015 (UTC)
  • It makes zero sense to determine the quality of an article here based on work done on another project. One could argue that articles here should have good quality Simple English version as well but it would be bizarre. That should be a drive that the people are Wikidata are focused on not something that's required here. If there's an interest in a cross-space drive to get FA and GA articles here to have an item there, I'd be for it. -- Ricky81682 (talk) 12:01, 23 November 2015 (UTC)
  • oppose - making an article appropriate for viewing on mobile devices is good criteria in concept, BUT that seems clearly more of a factor of the software and ap outside of any particular article rather than any formatting of specific content for a particular article. I dont use a mobile so I dnot know what doesnt translate well - maybe some tablizations or nondefault image sizing? but certainly, Wikidata doesnt help address that. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 02:02, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose - per above, this is a Wikidata issue (and to a lesser extent a software issue). If an article contains nonstandard markup that causes mobile view to break then it should probably fail, but that's somewhat different. Ivanvector 🍁 (talk) 16:55, 26 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose I'm all in favour of making things accessible to readers using mobile devices, but Wikidata is another project. Hawkeye7 (talk) 03:09, 27 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose If editors are nominating for a GA-status, then the source text's coding should already be set-up properly per MOS to make such things accessible to mobile users (much like Ivanvenctor's comment above says). I also agree with the above sentiments of "it isn't a WikiData article, it is a Wikipedia article, judge it by Wikipedia standards". Cheers, Drcrazy102 (talk) 04:20, 27 November 2015 (UTC)

Showing all sides of the Argument[edit]

I thought that when someone made a article they showed all sides of the conflicting beliefs of a object. Take Lucy... The Lucy article. The Fossilized Bones. A lot of people do not believe it. As for me, as I scroll through it, I did not believe a single word that said it was true, so just please show all sides of the argument. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Joshua Faggion (talkcontribs) 14:12, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

We reflect what the sources say, not our own opinions. Since there's not a single reliable source that considers Lucy (Australopithecus) a hoax (although there are some sources that question whether the remains are female), we're not going to fabricate them just to please you. If you can find a genuine source for legitimate scientists questioning the remains' authenticity, feel free to include it, provided you don't give such an obviously fringe view undue weight. ‑ iridescent 14:29, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
Also, Wikipedia does not report "all sides of an argument". I can make the argument that Lucy was made last Tuesday by my brother Jimmy in his basement, and he planted all the evidence. The argument exists because I just made it. However, I cannot now force Wikipedia to put my argument into the article under the guise of "representing all sides". Instead, what Wikipedia does is reproduce what reliable sources say on a topic. If reliable sources do not give any time to my argument, even to refute it, that means it isn't even worth mentioning. --Jayron32 15:46, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
Last Tuesday? I say Jimmy made it a year ago last Tuesday! Why is my opinion not reflected? Who are you to say I'm not notable? Blah blah blah. See WP:ENC. DreamGuy (talk) 14:28, 26 November 2015 (UTC)

use of same text in many related articles[edit]

I have run across one piece of boilerplate which is found used in a substantial number of articles. Ought this be turned into a template or something? ( Murals were produced from 1934 to 1943 in the United States through the Section of Painting and Sculpture, later called the Section of Fine Arts, of the Treasury Department. is found in over thirty articles) Collect (talk) 21:34, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

That would make it harder to copyedit the text to fit each article, harder to translate to other languages, and easier to screw up all 30+ articles at the same time. Is there any advantage to this? WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:52, 27 November 2015 (UTC)

Images of skulls on talk pages about recent fatal events[edit]

{{WikiProject Death}} features two different images of human skulls, one a photograph. Is it acceptable for such images to be posted on the talk pages of articles on recent massacres such as the Paris shootings, fatal aircraft cashes or other violent deaths? Please discuss, at Template talk:WikiProject Death#Images. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 15:58, 25 November 2015 (UTC)

For anyone else wondering about this, the banner for the death wikiproject was removed from Talk:November 2015 Paris attacks on 16:09, 25 November 2015; the banner can be seen in the revision just prior to that removal: permalink. Other examples can be found in the list of "Outstanding articles" at WP:DEATH. I might comment at Template talk:WikiProject Death#Images later, but first I'm wondering if there are any other examples of tasteless usage of the skull image. Certainly a skull should not be displayed on the talk page of an article covering a recent massacre. Johnuniq (talk) 06:18, 26 November 2015 (UTC)