Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)

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

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

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Note: inactive discussions, closed or not, should be archived.

Two edit filter RfCs: Modifying existing filters and enabling the block function[edit]

Please share your thoughts on two RfCs regarding updates to the edit filter guideline and enabling the extension's blocking ability. Sam Walton (talk) 18:13, 9 January 2016 (UTC)

RfC: Modifying existing edit filters[edit]

The edit filter guideline's recommended uses section currently states that edit filter managers should "generally be tested without any actions specified (simply enabled) until a good number of edits have been logged and checked before being implemented in "warn" or "disallow" modes." One concern that has been raised since the guideline was written is that filters which are set to the stronger settings can still be changed while in these modes; this can be just as damaging as mistakes are easy to make with regex, resulting in the possibility of blocking huge numbers of edits because of something as simple as missing a closing bracket.

Should the Edit filter guideline be changed to include the following text?:

Edit filters with the "disallow" or "throttle" settings enabled should not be modified without first disabling those settings temporarily. The filter should then be monitored for an amount of time deemed appropriate by the edit filter manager before the settings are re-enabled.

I'd like to add that this needn't be a long period of time; for most filters a few minutes to make sure that hundreds of edits aren't suddenly being disabled or something similarly drastic would be sufficient.

This would also apply to the block ability if the below proposal also passes.

Support edit filter guideline modification[edit]

  1. Support as proposer. I don't think this is a drastic change but it should help reduce filter accidents. Sam Walton (talk) 18:15, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
    I support a slight change in wording however, given the comments below, that edits should be tested rather than tested specifically via disabling of the filter. We could add a note for the testing methods (temporary disabling, batch testing, second test filter) or something later. Sam Walton (talk) 11:49, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
  2. Support I've seen more mistakes with modifying filters than creating new ones. For me this is one of the more strict clauses of the guideline. Just a side note that the batch testing tool can be a very close friend when it comes to modifying filters :) MusikAnimal talk 18:54, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
  3. Support Makes perfect sense and, frankly, I'm surprised similar wording isn't already in use. Etamni | ✉   18:59, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
  4. Support. I can't think of one good reason why the new language isn't a good idea. --IJBall (contribstalk) 19:26, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
  5. SupportChed :  ?  19:39, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
  6. Support reasonable. Keegan (talk) 19:59, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
  7. Support Makes sense. Armbrust The Homunculus 23:55, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
  8. Support, although I grant the strength of the oppose argument: when it's apparently an emergency situation, we should let this thing slide; we ought to add a statement to the end, "Filters may be enabled with these settings untested in an emergency, although editors need to be available immediately, watching for false positives and resolving them." Otherwise, it's a perfect WP:IAR situation (so what's the point of creating a rule when we can envision a good situation for ignoring it?), because when we need a newly created filter on an emergency basis, improving Wikipedia absolutely demands that we throw it in without testing it. But yes, when it's not an emergency creation, we shouldn't permit filters to do anything beyond tagging until they've demonstrated through tagging what they're going to do. Nyttend (talk) 14:27, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
  9. Support No software engineer worth a crap deploys anything without testing it first. NE Ent 22:37, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
  10. Support No software engineer who isn't worth a crap is a real software engineer. Robert McClenon (talk) 03:27, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
  11. Support, for the above obvious reasons. --Carnildo (talk) 02:33, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
  12. Support per above. Kharkiv07 (T) 03:54, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
  13. Support per the proposer. Thryduulf (talk) 23:00, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
  14. Support. Sounds like a great idea. APerson (talk!) 01:08, 20 January 2016 (UTC)

Oppose edit filter guideline modification[edit]

  1. Oppose - I think this should not be stronger than making it a consideration when changing the filter, but having a highly abusive editor getting free reign for some time to see whether there are no false positives after the change can be highly disruptive to Wikipedia, possibly resulting in hundreds of edits to be reverted if edit filter manager and culprit are active during different times. I would expect that edit filter managers that do 'break' a filter in a bad way will and should be admonished strongly (including possibly losing the right for some time), and I, for one of the edit filter managers, do expect that to happen to me if I would ever break a filter in such a bad way. --Dirk Beetstra T C 12:12, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
  2. Oppose. The proposed wording feels too strong to me. In the last two months, disallow filters as a group have been edited more than 120 times (on average about 2 times per day). Mostly such edits tweak narrowly focused filters to combat specific persistent vandals. During that time, I'm not aware of any screw-ups causing large scale problems. Such screw-ups do occur occasionally, but as a practical matter they are rare. If an EFM is properly using batch testing prior to saving any changes (and they absolutely should be) then major problems can be avoided. Adding the extra step to disable and reenable the filter before every edit seems unnecessary. Perhaps for some complex edits the extra effort is appropriate, but as a general rule it seems more like a solution seeking a problem. Dragons flight (talk) 20:47, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
    There was one incident in the past two months that I found to be rather bad... and it could have been noticed with batch testing, I believe. So perhaps that should be written as our bare minimum requirement. The other thing is we sometimes have "emergency" filters, for large-scale disruption, where we don't want the filter disabled for any period of time. Batch testing would be most appropriate here as well, and as Xaosflux said, a test filter could be used in parallel if need be.
    There was one other incident that happened in the past 6 months, where anonymous users were inadvertently disallowed from editing talk pages (as ~~~~ was disallowed). That was quite bad, but it didn't show up immediately. It got maybe 10-15 hits over the course of several hours, so batch testing may not have been as telling.
    So I guess overall, it's just a matter of checking your work via the logs. That needs to be obligatory, as the issue I think I'm seeing is not incompetence but overconfidence with edit filter management MusikAnimal talk 23:34, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
  3. Oppose. I'm all for prudent safeguards but, I don't believe this'd add much. We already point out in the lead and user right sections to exercise care when making adjustments as small mistakes can have a large impact. The interface also already has the syntax check tool to run on an inputted or existing filter's regex. This requirement would mean bloating the change logs/EFM activity levels to at least three entries for every change to these filters. (Incidentally, I wondered if the word "warn" was intended for the proposal rather than "throttle".) – (talk) 00:43, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
  4. Oppose this is the wrong way to do it. A better way is to make a test filter (sandbox) and use that for testing the modification.
    All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 18:21, 1 February 2016 (UTC).

Discussion of edit filter guideline modification[edit]

Not sure about requiring it to be "disabled" first, for example a parallel filter could be set to log only with the new change as a means of testing. — xaosflux Talk 19:43, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
Good point. I'd expect that most filter changes will be done without creating a test filter though, and this guideline change only says this 'should' be the case; it doesn't prohibit doing what you suggest, and no one's going to chase anyone down for doing it. Sam Walton (talk) 19:48, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
We don't need that bit about disabling, all we need to say is that the change is tested first. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 21:28, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
That's fair, I think I would still support the wording being that changes should normally be tested in some fashion, whether through a parallel filter, disabling first, or batch testing. Sam Walton (talk) 17:44, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
To the closer: It looks like there is/will be a stronger consensus here for this but with a slight change in the wording; namely that changes should be tested rather than explicitly tested via disabling the filter. Sam Walton (talk) 11:47, 20 January 2016 (UTC)

RfC: Enabling the edit filter's block function[edit]

When the edit filter was enabled on the English Wikipedia, the ability for it to block an editor who trips a filter was left disabled (see $wgAbuseFilterAvailableActions here); there were some discussions about the option around then, and there were two discussions (1, 2) prior to this RfC.

Currently the strongest setting for an edit filter on the English Wikipedia is to disallow the edit, where a user is restricted from making an edit if it trips a filter set to disallow. For some LTA users - to give an example - this can then become a game of attempting to navigate around the filter's settings by making a stream of slightly tweaked edits. When the user works out what they have to do to avoid the filter, they'll likely soon be blocked, the filter will be amended to fix the loophole, and they'll move to a new IP and start the process again. It could be extremely beneficial in this example to have the filter set to block the user upon their first attempt at making an edit, such that they have to switch IP before making just their second edit attempt, slowing them down and adding an extra layer of difficulty to the process. This is just one example of where the block option could be useful; there are many filters (for examples see 666, 673, and 674) which successfully (with 100% accuracy) target users who are always eventually blocked by patrolling admins, where this would save administrator time.

For this to be enabled, it seems the following changes should be made to the abuse filter configuration for the English Wikipedia:

  • $wgAbuseFilterAvailableActions[] = 'block' - Enables the block function
  • $wgGroupPermissions['sysop']['abusefilter-modify-restricted'] = true; - Restricts enabling the block function or editing filters where the block action is enabled to administrator edit filter managers
  • $wgAbuseFilterBlockDuration = 'indefinite' - Sets the block length for registered users to indefinite
  • $wgAbuseFilterAnonBlockDuration = '31 hours' - Sets the block length for unregistered users to 31 hours
  • $wgAbuseFilterAvailableActions = array_diff( $wgAbuseFilterAvailableActions, array( 'blockautopromote' ) ); - Disables the 'remove autoconfirmed' option, which is currently a restricted action

Blocks would be made by User:Edit filter (as specified by MediaWiki:Abusefilter-blocker; the account should be created prior to the first block automatically) and, as can be seen on meta, a customisable block description can be set (MediaWiki:Abusefilter-blockreason, which can take a second parameter showing the filter number). Blocked users, in addition to any warnings that are set in the filter, see MediaWiki:Abusefilter-blocked-display upon being blocked, which is again customisable.

The guideline would also need a section on the use of the block function, for which I would propose the following:

"The blocking function is extremely powerful and so may only be enabled for a filter which has received no false positives for the past 30 days or last 100 hits, and should only be used on filters where editors tripping the filter are always currently blocked manually. At least 3 administrators must agree that these requirements have been met, in a public venue such as the edit filter noticeboard prior to the enabling of this option. As with disallowing edits, a public post that a filter is to have the block function enabled is required, and the administrators who enable the setting or alter a filter with the setting enabled are considered responsible for its actions."

Should the edit filter's block function be enabled with the changes above, and should the guideline be expanded as described?

Support enabling block function[edit]

  1. Support as proposer. I've long felt that this would be a very helpful feature to have, and am confident it will only affect users we want to block. Sam Walton (talk) 18:15, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
  2. Support. There are certain things that should never be added and which are reliable indicators of users or IPs to block. I doubt we would want to use it much but there will be times when it comes in handy. I am thinking of my own proposal here where it is possible to define strings that have no legitimate use and are reliable indicators of the abuse we wish to stop. Coupled with review by a human to weed out any false positives then I think this is safe and desirable. --DanielRigal (talk) 18:24, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
  3. Support enabling with settings proposed, no opinion on the guideline The "use case" is laid out well and I trust the current EFMs with handling such a tool. I do have a caveat with the guideline which I'll note below.Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 18:30, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
  4. Support As I said in the discussions leading up to this RfC, I think adding blocking functionality to the toolset will work wonders toward combating long-term abuse. This will be a major deterrent for persistent sockpuppetry. With it I think we'll see many abusers give up, which means we can disable those filters, and just overall stop wasting our time chasing them down over and over again. The proposed precautions I think will eliminate major concerns. Our regular edit filter managers are quite good and I trust blocks will only be used where appropriate MusikAnimal talk 18:48, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
  5. Support. I have some concerns (raised below) but in general I feel that this is a good idea. Etamni | ✉   19:13, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
  6. Support. In practice, blocking filters should be rare and focused on persistent vandals, but I do think having the option would be useful. Dragons flight (talk) 20:53, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
  7. Support This will help control some kinds of trouble. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 21:21, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
  8. Support May be useful, but should be used with extreme care. --Dirk Beetstra T C 12:15, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
  9. Support as above. Sounds like a great idea - will save lots of time as well. SQLQuery me! 00:33, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

Oppose enabling block function[edit]

  1. Oppose - I can not support the use of non-human blocking. There are far too many exceptions to rules that "code" can not account for. — Ched :  ?  19:41, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
    Are you aware we have bot blocking already on enwiki? — xaosflux Talk 19:44, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
    No I was not - but I'm not surprised. The fact that it exists does not however, change my view on whether it's proper or not. But thanks for the info. — Ched :  ?  19:47, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
  2. Oppose for the same reason as Ched. I'm aware of the blocking bots, and aside from blocking open proxies, I'd still prefer block to be one of the few features in human hands. Blocks need to be able to be explained or defended by the person that made them if needed. Keegan (talk) 19:58, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
    Per the proposal, admins contributing to the filter are fully responsible for any resulting blocks. A "mistake" with the filter is not an excuse for an inappropriate block, and if the guideline is followed, mistakes should not happen MusikAnimal talk 20:58, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
    Of course they shouldn't happen, but they can happen. With a project this large and storied, our track record has shown that pretty well :) I'd rather a person make that mistake, 'tis all. Keegan (talk) 06:38, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
  3. Oppose per Ched and Keegan. I also have great doubts that our automated processes are faux-intelligent enough to distinguish between an editor "attempting to navigate around the filter's settings by making a stream of slightly tweaked edits" and a klutzy new editor making a good faith effort to make an edit they believe could be legitimate. The Big Bad Wolfowitz (aka Hullaballoo) (talk) 18:25, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
  4. Oppose Wikipedia explains nothing to new editors now. There is zero reason to create new and improved ways to run them off! (Unless, of course, that is the goal here?!) --MurderByDeletionism"bang!" 18:49, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
    @MurderByDeadcopy: Per the proposed filter guideline text, this would only be used on filters where there is a minute chance of false positives; the examples I gave have all been disallowing edits for over 6 months with exactly zero false positives. Sam Walton (talk) 11:56, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
    But . . . is 6 months enough time to comprehend Wikipedia's bureaucratic bloat? --MurderByDeletionism"bang!" 00:55, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
    @MurderByDeadcopy: What do you mean? Sam Walton (talk) 00:10, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
    New editors are not given any instruction here at all. New editors learn something only after they do something wrong. Half of all new editors never receive a "Welcome." New editors are never told that essays are not rules. So it is possible to edit on Wikipedia for years and not know about or even heard of certain rules. This is why I empathize so much for new editors since they, not only are oftentimes the only ones on Wikipedia who actually do assume good faith, but also get block for innocently going against some obtuse rule that nobody ever told them about! --MurderByDeletionism"bang!" 18:09, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
  5. Oppose. I believe humans need to be blocking accounts, because a specific individual needs to be accountable for doing so. I agree with HW, Keegan and Ched. There's a world of difference between automated blocks of known proxy IP addresses (for which we already get plenty of complaints, and because of which we needed to develop an account creation team), and blocking actual accounts. Risker (talk) 20:16, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
  6. Oppose per Risker (and transitively HW, Keegan and Ched). And especially MurderByDeletionsim. NE Ent 22:36, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
  7. Strong oppose - In a universe with perfect software writers, this might be worth enabling, but I haven't see perfect software writers around here, even on the payroll of the WMF. (Even with perfect software, I would prefer t human review. I certainly don't trust WMF developers, and don't know when I should trust volunteers to write perfect softare.) I won't trust a script to block people, and to require that they request unblock. That's just wrong. Robert McClenon (talk) 03:25, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
  8. Oppose The first example given is 666. For me this says "You may not view details of this filter because it is hidden from public view." The consequence would be people being blocked without the details being clear. The Kww case also indicated that there is inadequate oversight of edit filters and so their power should not be increased. Andrew D. (talk) 12:27, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
    If the exact rules were public, then it would be extremely easy for abusive users to sidestep them. This is part of the problem now - that they can work out what the rules are easily. SQLQuery me! 00:37, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
    @Andrew Davidson: Are you aware that since the Kww case we have introduced an entire new guideline, new noticeboard, and new mailing list to improve the oversight and use of the edit filter? Sam Walton (talk) 11:56, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
  9. Oppose: I've seen too many screwed-up automated processes (see: the endless problems with title blacklist false-positives) to trust this. --Carnildo (talk) 02:32, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
  10. Oppose mistakes happen all too frequently. We need an actual human being behind the block button. I know the proposal makes the filter creators responsible for all blocks, but what if they leave? What if they are on Wikibreak? Particularly for edit filters with some hidden behaviour, unblocks for very innocent false positives may become very tricky. Happy Squirrel (talk) 19:04, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
  11. Oppose I can not support the blocking of any account by an automated process. We need to have a human looking at the edits to see if they warrant blocking. -- GB fan 12:18, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
  12. Oppose I'm not ready for this yet, before a step this large is taken more oversight of the edit filter system is necessary. Kharkiv07 (T) 03:54, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
    @Kharkiv07: What aspects of the edit filter do you think need more oversight, and how could we achieve that? Sam Walton (talk) 00:13, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
  13. Oppose. I'm assuming that User:Edit filter is going to be set up as a bot. Bots malfunction sometimes. Can anyone else see the problem with this? Steel1943 (talk) 00:28, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
    No such user exists at this time. If I understand correctly, it would be a function of MediaWiki - the same function that already disallows the very same edits to the same users. SQLQuery me! 00:39, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
    From what I understand, User:Edit filter would be controlled by the extension and created upon the option being enabled here, not as a normal bot. Sam Walton (talk) 14:39, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
  14. I can see too many failure cases for this, even if it's a legitimate user reporting an edit in violation of such a filter, and getting slapped with an automatic block. Blocks should be imposed by a human admin willing to take responsibility for doing so, not an automated process. Seraphimblade Talk to me 18:36, 23 January 2016 (UTC)

Discussion of enabling block function[edit]

As an addendum to the proposal, there has been discussion here about automatic pinging of administrators involved in an edit filter with the block function enabled that makes a block, though those discussions are ongoing and not vital to the above proposals. Sam Walton (talk) 18:13, 9 January 2016 (UTC)

  • Putting my caveat about the proposed guideline here: One needs to consider the damage from not enabling a block function, including users being driven away by the troublemaker that is the filter's target. The guideline is a bit too focused on "false positive" blocks, which are the most important consideration/limitation in any blocking filter but not the only one.Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 18:30, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
    • @Jo-Jo Eumerus: I'm not sure I follow what you mean, could you elaborate? Sam Walton (talk) 19:17, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
      • The issue I have is that the guideline does not seem to consider the possibility at all that sometimes, blocking based on a filter with some false positives is necessary to avert bigger damage. I don't know if such things have ever happened here on Wikipedia but I have some offsite experience with aggressive vandals that engaged in wikistalking and attacking other editors to such a degree that some "collateral damage" was considered to be necessary to get rid of these vandals.Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 19:25, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict) While I support the concept, I have a concern about auto-confirmed users possibly being blocked for an indefinite term for triggering one of the selected filters. Just because everyone who has previously triggered a particular filter is eventually blocked, doesn't mean that everyone who ever triggers it will be. Take, for instance, a LTA case where a user continuously attempts to insert his/her own (uncommon) name into articles. The filter is created and the edits get blocked. Now we start blocking those accounts. And someone with that identical name becomes an international news figure. Dozens or perhaps hundreds (or more?) editors see a news story, type the name into Wikipedia and see there is no article (or they see a previously deleted article). They then create an article and try to save it, only to become blocked for their effort. This needs to be considered -- I'd rather just block the edit than have legitimate editors indef-blocked by accident, even where there are procedures for appealing. Etamni | ✉   19:30, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
    My recommendation would be (in this specific case) not to filter-block - it doesn't look like a serious case of disruption anyway. Beyond that, I already recommended that admins and editors regularly check the Abuse Filter block log to catch any false positives; perhaps this could mitigate/alleviate the issue.Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 19:37, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
Filter 673 was one of the filters used above as an example, and was in mind as I wrote the above comment. There is no way to know, at the time a filter is created, how common usage of the filtered term might change in the future. To indef-block auto-confirmed users for accidentally hitting such a filter is problematic to me. Other than that possibility, I'm fine with turning on the blocking options. Etamni | ✉   20:13, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
We do need monitoring of the filters to see what happens. Unblocks should be able to happen in under 31 hours, which could be the time otherwise selected for IPs. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 23:57, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
Generally speaking, if you block a user too early int heir career, they're probably gone by the time the unblock happens. Adam Cuerden (talk) 19:07, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Question Err, hypothetically, what happens if this tool is enabled and someone goes full rouge? HiDrNick! 15:19, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
    • Approximately the same amount of damage as can be done currently with the administrator toolset. Sam Walton (talk) 15:43, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
      • But much faster and more efficiently. --Carnildo (talk) 01:46, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
        • Not necessarily. If an admin wanted to cause damage to the encyclopedia they could do just as much without the edit filter's block function. At any rate, this seems like a line of argument that could be used to remove any of the administrator capabilities. Sam Walton (talk) 11:51, 20 January 2016 (UTC)

RfC on Wikipedia:Authority Control[edit]

The Template:Authority control is currently used on more than 450,000 articles. As described on Help:Authority control, "Authority control enables researchers to search more easily for pertinent information on the subject of an article". Which external sources are acceptable in the template? Fram (talk) 16:47, 25 January 2016 (UTC)


The Template:Authority control was created here in June 2009 (it existed already in the German Wikipedia) and moved to its current name in September 2010. Over the years, it got added to more and more articles, more and more sources got added to it, and it got integrated with Wikidata. Discussion over what sources to add was, as far as I can see, mostly limited to the talk page of the template, not to Help:Authority control or Wikipedia:Authority control, and no policy or guideline governing the template seems to exist.

Considering that the template gives the impression of being a list of special, approved sources, and that while the original idea was simply to have unique identifiers for each subject, it has morphed into a kind of reference pointer as well (to use a snippet from the lead of Help:Authority control: "[...]so that the information in the article can be easily cross-referenced[...]"), I think it is time to write down which sources are acceptable in it and which aren't. Fram (talk) 17:04, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

Wikidata approved sources[edit]

We can't simply rely on Wikidata to only provide pointers to reliable sources. While not included in Authority Control yet, Wikidata offers standard a FindAGrave link for every biography of a no-longer-living person. FindAGrave is considered to be avoided at nearly all costs on enwiki, as it is in general not a reliable source.

However, a similar (though perhaps somewhat better) source from Wikidata is already approved in the template and used on enwiki, even though it is also a wiki: MusicBrainz (which is specifically discussed and approved in the second paragraph of the lead of Help:Authority control). It was this link that caused me to discuss this at Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard#MusicBrainz and from there to start this RfC.

I don't think it is a good idea to link such specialized wikis (MusicBrainz now, IMDB and others next?) in a quasi-official template like authority control, and I think it should be restricted to some more centrally controlled, truly authoritative sources like national libraries and similar things, for which it was originally conceived. Fram (talk) 17:04, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

  • We already link to IMDb using {{IMDb name}} (and, indeed, to Find a Grave through {{Find a Grave}}). Putting the link inside {{Authority control}} would streamline things, reduce clutter, and reduce editor and template maintainer workload. You refer to "reliable sources"; I think you're under a misapprehension. AC is not providing "sources" in the Wikipedia sense. A closer analogy is "disambiguation". Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 17:27, 31 January 2016 (UTC)


  • I don't understand what you are proposing. To my knowledge, authority control (like persondata) is being removed from biographical articles as that function has been superseded by Wikidata. You propose to reverse this? You seem to complain that Wikidata is recording relationships that the en-wiki consensus opposes. You think this forum should reverse that? I agree, Wikidata's links to Find a Grave and the like are problematic. I think Wikidata is the better solution to both the authority control and persondata templates. I don't know to what degree en-wiki can block inputs by Wikidata that this consensus opposes. Perhaps the better solution is to force a change on Wikidata disallowing those links. Chris Troutman (talk) 17:47, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
    • It can well be that the template is being removed from biographical articles, but as far as I can tell neither of the pages about the template and the authority control mentions this. In fact, Template:Authority control says "this template should be added to all biographies, whether or not there are authority control identifiers in Wikidata already."

      For the sake of this discussion, I don't really care what Wikidata does, apart from the fact that the Findagrave example is quite telling in the difference in standards. What I want to discuss here is which parameters we (enwiki) want to display in our articles, whether fed by Wikidata or added locally is not important. If the solution to what we want is a change at Wikidata, then we will need to discuss our wishes there. But e.g. for MusicBrainz: there are thousands of pages (I think, hard to be sure) where the only authority control displayed through the template is the MusicBrainz ID. We can create a guideline that allows the removal of the template on such pages. We can also look for technical solutions to disable such links on enwiki. And we can discuss it witk wikidata to see what is possible (since they don't only cater to us obviously). Fram (talk) 18:38, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

      • What's being removed are the template parameters on enwiki, not the template itself, because the values that could be managed are better managed at Wikidata. --Izno (talk) 18:48, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
      • The MusicBrainz ID links should not be used as references (and any claims of such should be made in the references sections of articles where methinks few if any do appear). They are valuable as authority control but the content at the links is not necessarily notable nor reliable. The only reason there is any content at the link at all is to help people understand what the term means enough to be able to assign it to content (like our articles and those of others which might be useful as references). (talk) 17:51, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Wikidata and its community don't particularly care which values are displayed here or whether authority control as a template is being used on pages for which it's ill-fit. There may be users in that community who have an opinion, but not the wiki as a whole. --Izno (talk) 18:51, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Template:Authority Control should be restricted to links which actually do Authority Control; i.e. GLAM institutions and related parties with trained professionals making these judgements. Further, national authorities participating in VIAF should be hidden by default if VIAF is present, because the national authorities very, very, rarely provide anything that VIAF doesn't. Stuartyeates (talk) 20:07, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
    • I'd be opposed to anything that removed ORCID iDs from the template (note: I'm Wikipedian in Residence at ORCID]. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 17:22, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Fail to understand proposal "Authority control" is technical jargon that refers to certain library cataloging systems. On Wikipedia it means that and is coming to mean "connecting any Wikipedia article with an external resource by means of an arbitrary identifier taken from a collection of identifiers provided by an established third party". For both medical conditions and drugs there has been discussion about developing the authority control model. See talk pages at {{Infobox medical condition}} and {{Infobox drug}}. See Gout for a live demonstration of an infobox connected live to Wikidata, which is a related concept, and the creation of a "medical authority control" box at the bottom.
    If anyone wants to advance the concept, then I think medicine might be the place where one would find the most interest and feedback. Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:50, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
  • I agree with some of the other commenters that authority control is not designed for and should not be confused/conflated with reference sources (and as such need not be particularly notable even). The template is traditionally placed at the end of the article, usually within an "External links" section and not a "References" section, for a reason: they are not references. As another commenter pointed out, authority control is more like disambiguation (in fact many such authority controls are called subjects, terms and/or thesauruses, etc.). Like a dictionary term or index key, it is there to group material and could help you find related material on a subject (perhaps even reliable and notable content that could be used as a reference to substantiate an article's content) but it is linked in an article as much to find related material as to claim itself a part of that subject/group and be found too, e.g., the LCCN "sh85135917" authority control item is on the ketchup article as much to help find other information on ketchup as it is to claim the article is also about that topic. Little of what is at the LCCN will help many understand the history of ketchup (unless one is already are familiar with such under a different name perhaps), however, there are works that do talk about the history of ketchup that are linked to that term (try clicking on "LC Online Catalog" from there where you can eventually find things like Pure ketchup : a history of America's national condiment by Andrew F. Smith). Adding the right description (with good use of English words and terms) to an article, can also help an article be more easily cross-referenced but do we really need a policy on what type of words we use in such a description? Well we do have one. English Wikipedia should use English (which is a living language, changes quickly and is hard to define but we usually can differentiate it from other languages). Think of authority controls as subject-based indexing languages, not references. They are ways to group and connect content but not the content themselves. Linking to multiple such languages is useful in much the same way as our interwiki links are. (talk) 17:42, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
  • This IP understands the situation quite well. The purpose of {{authority control}} is to link an article to the entry for the same subject in various authority files, whether it's the concept of authority control itself, Hilbert spaces, or the Beatles — it provides immediate access to various professionally created databases of information related to the topic (without risk of getting confused with similarly named topics) as well as providing a portal into that topic's place in each database's thesaurus, giving a quick glance at broader, narrower, and related concepts as well as alternate names for the same concept. I don't particularly understand how Wikidata works, so I'm not clear how it fits in, but unless its actions are outright replacing the functionality of {{authority control}} and deprecating it, there's absolutely no reason to get rid of, or seriously restrict the current uses of, this template and the bibliographic integration that it enables. Nyttend (talk) 01:57, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

Should raster graphic be maintained when a vector graphic exists?[edit]

Is there a policy regarding what should be done with a raster graphic when it is no longer used on any page because a vector graphic had been made to replace it? Is the raster graphic saved for posterity and for future use even when the vector graphic is the superior option? Evan.oltmanns (talk) 13:33, 2 February 2016 (UTC)

Is the file housed here at Wikipedia or is it over at Wikimedia Commons? Because each site has it's own policies for image hosting, though images in use at Wikipedia may be housed at either location. WP:CSD#F1 indicates that lower-quality redundant images at Wikipedia may be deleted through the speedy deletion process. There is also the Wikipedia:Files for discussion process where deletion of such images can be discussed. I have no idea what Commons policy on this is; it may be different. --Jayron32 16:34, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
It also depends on the licensing (a policy concern). Regarding deletion outcomes on en.wp and commons, high quality rasters are sometimes kept because they might be useful/used internally for creating other derivatives, or because they've been around a long time and are popular at off-wiki sites (we're not just here for ourselves:), or because the layout/color/etc choices are slightly different that make it fit a different context. That is, if it's useful but not currently used, that might suffice to keep it. If you have a specific example in mind, let us know and maybe someone can give some informal feedback rather than firing up a formal deletion-discussion process. DMacks (talk) 13:57, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
@DMacks: The graphics in question are File:Navy Cross ribbon.svg and File:NavCrossRib.gif (I nominated for deletion). I am starting a project to improve such graphics and it seems that there will be many cases of this as I work my way through the list. Evan.oltmanns (talk) 14:38, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
For those playing along at home, at least this example is on commons, so I'll answer wearing my "commons" hat... A small gif that has been replaced by a public-domain svg is a pretty clear-cut "delete" on commons (fails commons:COM:SCOPE, the reasons I mentioned above). From a process perspective, might be easier to replace a bunch of them and then do a bulk DR rather than separate DR for each one. That's a pretty common approach for some other sets of icon/logo-like files, leading to deletion without much ado, lately. DMacks (talk) 21:43, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Forgot to mention: "thanks for doing this push for upgraded quality!" DMacks (talk) 21:44, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
WP:CSD#F1 indicates that lower-quality redundant images at Wikipedia may be deleted through the speedy deletion process.
That criterion "applies to unused duplicates or lower-quality/resolution copies of another Wikipedia file having the same file format" (emphasis added). It never applies to the type of situation cited (involving two different file formats).
CSD F5 applies when a non-free vector graphic replaces all transclusions of a non-free raster graphic, leaving the latter orphaned for more than seven days. In that case, however, the vector/raster distinction isn't directly relevant. —David Levy 23:01, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
If the raster image is at Commons and has one of the usual licenses, it doesn't make sense to delete it because a vector version is also there. Each of the two has its own strengths and appropriate uses beyond Wikipedia.—Anne Delong (talk) 00:22, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Feel free to indicate your use-case or other "keep" rationale at the discussion on commons for the file mentioned (here we are only having a metadiscussion that has no impact on the actual COM:DR process). DMacks (talk) 02:17, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
What can be said about the fact that selecting a resolution for a SVG actually renders it as a PNG? For those who might not know what I'm saying, if you look at the SVG page on commons and select one of the resolutions, you are presented with a PNG version instead of just a "magnified" vector graphic. Evan.oltmanns (talk) 03:41, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
The PNG that is generated from the SVG is often very far from optimised. For example, a grey-scale image is still rendered as full RGB, making it around three times larger than an optimised palleted or grey-scale PNG for no benefit. In the case of a large image, that can be a quite large increase in file size, sometimes dwarfing the number of bytes of the rest of the article in which it appears. If we wish to ensure that we make our articles accessible to readers with low bandwidth or expensive internet connections, there is a good argument for uploading and using an optimised PNG at the size required for the article directly, rather than relying on the Wikimedia software to re-render a SVG. --RexxS (talk) 21:22, 9 February 2016 (UTC)

Should we move full-length movies from article space to Commons?[edit]

Something that's occurred to me during discussions at Talk:Debbie Does Dallas (because of an ANI report): Why are we hosting full-length public domain movies in some articles when we have Wikimedia Commons for that and when WP:NOTREPOSITORY is a policy? It is, in effect, akin to hosting a whole book. I can start to see the argument "but the book takes up more article space than a windowed movie," but I'm pretty sure we have the capacity to do a windowed streaming book (akin to or plenty of other sites, if perhaps after a update). It's really not a technical issue (the code is out there), but a matter of focus. You don't need the whole movie to identify the movie, just a description, and if possible select stills or hopefully the trailer.

I'm not so much proposing that any new policy, but seeing what the consensus is on whether WP:NOTREPOSITORY means that we should replace full-length films from articles with a link to their location on Wikimedia Commons, and if not why. Such an arrangement could be useful for users with precarious bandwidth situations, like touch screen phones with limited data plans (no accidentally tapping the movie while scrolling and losing your internet for the rest of the month). Ian.thomson (talk) 16:02, 4 February 2016 (UTC)

  • I assume you mean "include video files" rather than "host"? We can't "host" any kind of video in article namespace, only in the File: namespace.Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 16:09, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Yes, I meant "showing the videos in the article," without regards to where the file is actually stored. Ian.thomson (talk) 16:41, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
  • In the general case (regardless of the content of the film as long as it has fallen into the PD or available under proper license terms), this is arguably what should be at Wikisource, as we would do for PD text information. would use snippets and can interlink to Wikisource for the film in full. Now, Wikisource would probably have Commons be the one to host the full file, but I don't know if that's appropriate or not; this is almost where we'd want a resource like , which prides itself on the dissemination of full, public-domain material, for that. I would say that should avoid including full movies (anything more than a few minutes) in articles and instead provide links for full material, though proper use of short clips would be appropriately in scope to support the text. --MASEM (t) 16:14, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
  • The files are not in article space. The files are on Commons (whether they are embedded in the artciles or not). If a user inadvertently starts the movie playing, they can easily stop it or leave the page. Right Hand Drive (talk) 16:34, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Why would movies be exempt from WP:NOTREPOSITORY? Ian.thomson (talk) 16:39, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Because there is nothing in that applies here? Perhaps you can explain which part of WP:NOTREPOSITORY is dircetly relevant. Bear in mind that the files are not in article space. Right Hand Drive (talk) 16:46, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Wow, you're really good at focusing on stuff you've read into what I said instead of what I actually said. We do not include source documents in other articles, and you've provided no explanation for why movies should be treated any differently than any other source document. Ian.thomson (talk) 16:49, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
If you could elborate on what part of that policy section applies to the situation at hand, I will consider your points. Right Hand Drive (talk) 16:55, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
What Ian.thomson is getting at is that, if we took the case of a number of free-license/PD images that are all at Commons all relating to the same topic, it would be a violation of NOTREPOSITORY to stick them all in a gallery on a WP article page. A handful, yes, plus a link to the Commons category to help the reader find more, but we'd not want to be the photo album. In the same manner, judicious use of one or two snippets or frames from a full film would be better than directly inserting the full film clip, though we'd still link the full clip somewhere. --MASEM (t) 16:56, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
As I have repeatedly explained to Ian.thompson is that there is no difference between embedding a "snippet" and embedding the entire movie. Unless and until the reader chooses to play the movie, all they see is a single frame. And in this case, no one is suggesting that there is a gallery of anything, just a single embedded movie. Right Hand Drive (talk) 17:03, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Technically you are correct, there is no difference practically between embedding a snippet and embedding the feature. But we're talking from more presentation and relevance context. Just because one can include the entire movie doesn't mean that helps the reader if our article is discussing a specific scene. Instead, we should embed the clip of that scene so that the reader doesn't have to spend time searching for that scene. We can still provide the link to the full movie in the article's endnotes, but there's little practical use for our readers to embedded an entire movie. Its the same logic with the gallery example. --MASEM (t) 17:16, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Yes, if we were talking about a specific case of an article discussing a single scene, it would be helpful to have a clip of that scene rather than the whole film. That is not what we are talking about. In this case, we are talking about an overview article on a movie. It might be useful to clarify whether thsi discussion would also apply to clips or just full movies. Right Hand Drive (talk) 17:24, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Including the full movie is still distracting if you aren't speaking to any specific part of it but just including it. We don't for example include all of the text of PD novels on articles about those novels, but do include relative snippets and the link to either Wikisource or Project Guntenburg. Same with audio recordings in the PD. That should be the same here as we are an encyclopedia, not a content repository, but noting other Wikimedia sister sites are meant as content repositories. --MASEM (t) 17:32, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Audio: We do include PD audio recordings, and I greatly enjoyed listening to Goldberg Variations and The Well-Tempered Clavier whilst reading about them. I don't think audio is a good comparison.
Distraction: I understand the nuance you're intending (that of an abundance of material, which ends up sidetracking or diverting the attention of the reader), but the ambiguity of the word makes it problematic (a thumbnail for a video could also be considered less distracting than an animated gif, if the thumbnail doesn't contain shocking material).
Repository: A good example is a PDF. It is stored at the Commons repository, but it might be embedded in a Wikipedia article, e.g. United Airlines Flight 175#Calls. We embed material when relevant, with a boundary somewhat based on quantity (which I think is generally related to extensive image galleries, which are a problem for page-layout and section-over-emphasis reasons).
Non-controversial video: For The General (1926 film), and One Week (1920 film), and hundreds of other great articles with Public Domain (long and short) video content, we need a solution that is better than a plain {{Commons}} box. Most readers won't realize that a full film is available behind that link, and will find Wikipedia less useful and less enticing as a result.
Controversial video: I don't have a good suggestion for how to handle these, beyond following Wikipedia:Offensive material and linked policies/guidelines, and improving those as necessary. I fear that the specific article/content used at the start in this thread, is colouring the input, and could end up damaging how we handle non-controversial content. HTH. Quiddity (talk) 20:40, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
As a note, the UA175 report is not embedded; you have to click to get to the full readable version, with only the front image embedded in the article. Further, that file is stored at Commons. Further, that report is still a link in the EL. So really, there's no issue with repository there. --MASEM (t) 23:10, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
  • In the same way that still images are helpful to the reader, movies are helpful to the reader. If we have an article on a movie which is in the public domain and available on Commons, it is desireable to embed the movie right in the article. The reader may or may not wish to play the movie, but that choice is left to them. Making the reader go to a different site (Commons) to see the movie is both an unecessary step for the reader but also takes them away from Wikipedia. This is not a god thing. Right Hand Drive (talk) 17:01, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Embeded films are a distraction; why would we want to encourage our readers to deviate away from the very pages which we spend so much of our time on? I suggest we stick to encyclopedia stuff and let YouTube deal with the videos. CassiantoTalk 18:14, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Being helpful to the reader is not the same as providing encyclopedic coverage. The goal on Wikipedia is to provide encyclopedic coverage via secondary sources. Primary sources—which the film is—are only generally relied on up to the point that encyclopedic coverage depends on them. Obviously if we have an article about a particular work and are in a position to provide free direct access to the work then it is helpful to link to it, and that is precisely what the "external links" section is for. Wikipedia's own guidelines instructs that we should provide the link in the external links section, stating "An article about a book, a musical score, or some other media should link to a site hosting a legally distributed copy of the work". Betty Logan (talk) 20:41, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
If we have an article about a work of visual art, we almost always include an image in the article, don't we? Are you suggesting that we should abandon this practice, remove the images, and provide links instead? Right Hand Drive (talk) 22:59, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
It's about how much information you are giving the reader. An entirety of a single work of art is very easy to take in as an embedded image; it's easy to reference in the text to highlight specific areas to the reader to help their understanding. With larger works, like books or films, it's far too much information to throw at the level of the article, though as an EL for those interested, they can view it as needed. We want them to focus on the sections that have received attention by secondary sources and that's best done not by giving them the entire work but the appropriate snippets. --MASEM (t) 23:07, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
  • I don't see how WP:NOTREPOSITORY compels us to remove useful and directly relevant video files. They are hosted on Commons, they can be added to articles unobtrusively, and they compliment our mission of the distribution of free knowledge. Per Quiddity, we can't hide them behind a Commons link and expect people to know they are there, or expect that merely offering a link is fulfilling our mission. Gamaliel (talk) 21:30, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Have you actually seen the link at Debbie_Does_Dallas#External_links? "Full film available at Wikimedia Commons" isn't exactly hiding the link and nobody has suggested we remove that. This is what people are objecting to. Betty Logan (talk) 21:57, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
I know what people are objecting to, but I don't think we should strip all movies out of the encyclopedia on dubious grounds on the basis of objections in a single article. Develop a consensus for a rule based on WP:ASTONISH for cases like these if you want. Gamaliel (talk) 22:31, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
A consensus was developed for this particular case at Talk:Debbie_Does_Dallas#Censorship_of_article. Maybe those who wish to challenge the existing consensus should file an RFC or something rather than simply edit-warring? Betty Logan (talk) 23:05, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
  • I think both the video and link should be posted for the DDD page. The video is fitting not only as source but also how and why it fell into public domain. The link goes to a page that offers more options to view or download for example. This should also apply at similar pages where the video has more than one reason to be posted such as court action and history, again like the DDD story/video. ContentEditman (talk) 22:03, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
  • As an aside, the supposed source used in the article for DDD being in the public domain actually says that VCX still claims copyright over it and is suing 113 anonymous pirates for infringing its copyright on Debbie Does Dallas by sharing the film on BitTorrent, and that it will take a further court case to determine its public domain status. Just saying. ‑ Iridescent 22:13, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
  • It seems like this is an issue for a Commons deletion discussion then. Gamaliel (talk) 22:24, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
VCX may own the copyright in countries where it is still under copyright and are perfectly within their rights to sue anybody illegally distributing film in those cases, but there is no doubt about its public domain status in the United States since a judge ruled that it was in the public domain. To assert their copyright claim in the US they would surely have to appeal that decision. Betty Logan (talk) 23:05, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
VCX were certainly still suing people in the US for copyright infringement well over two decades over the 1987 "thrust the film irretrievably into the public domain" ruling. IANAL but this is patently not a clear-cut case. ‑ Iridescent 23:37, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
In what way is it not clear cut? There is a court ruling that the film is in the US public domain. For the film to not be in the US public domain would require a fresh ruling. That is law 101. If you read VCX's court filing that is linked in the article they are suing people who are torrenting the film precisely because it is a worldwide distribution mechanism i.e. the illegal distribution of the film in territories where the film is under copyright is an integral part of the distribution network. Where it is not clrea-cut is Deep Throat: that film is more than likely in the US public domain too, but as yet there has been no courting ruling to establish it. Betty Logan (talk) 23:53, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
It's a lower court ruling; in fact, a ruling of the lowest level of courts that could hear the case. It's not actually binding outside of the court district in which it's applied; in this case, Eastern Michigan, or pushing harder, the Sixth Circuit. Sixth Circuit decisions are notorious for being overturned by the US Supreme Court. The Detroit decision isn't binding on the entire US, let alone anywhere else. Risker (talk) 04:43, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
This is a pretty straightforward case: both Deep Throat and Debbie Does Dallas were released without copyright notices, and both failed to address the problem within five years as required by copyright law. This would usually be enough for us to host the files on Commons. In addition to that though, the 1987 case was brought against VCX by a producer of DDD because they refused to pay him royalties: VCX's defence was that it was in the public domain in the US, and the judge ruled in their favor. This isn't a controversial ruling and I doubt you will find any legal opinion that will come to the conclusion that the film is not in the US public domain. The fact that VCX talks a lot about suing is neither here nor there. Betty Logan (talk) 06:20, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
  • To take a cleaner example, A Trip to the Moon is in the PD due to age, no question on that. The article uses 2 video clips of versions of that film, primarily to point out differences, and does have plenty of screencaps (all at commons) to help enunciate the encyclopedic nature of the text, and finally it includes a link to the movie at the Internet Archive (though it does look like there's full versions too at Commons). As such, there is no need to include an embedded version of the full film as it does not directly aid in the encyclopedic understanding of the importance of the film and its legacy. (eg I have never read War and Peace but I can read our article on it to have an understanding of why it is such a critical classical work) The link to the full video is a convenience link to help those who want to see it in full find a way to do so. This is an example that we should be following for any type of article about a work that is in the PD/CC-BY, regardless of it being text, audio, or visual. This is the importance of NOTREPOSITORY here. --MASEM (t) 22:58, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
I think you will find that there are not one but three complete versions of the movie embedded in that article (black and white, colorized, and a remake). If we follow this article as the example, we would embed the full movie in Debbie Does Dallas. Right Hand Drive (talk) 23:17, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
I was not considering the remake clip, but you are right they are otherwise full versions of the film; the captions suggested they were clips. And knowing that, I would argue that the full versions aren't helping there. The still images as given of the original and recolored (at the same scene otherwise) show the difference that is encyclopedic, and the full movies are more distraction and diffusing the information. --MASEM (t) 23:39, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
  • NOTREPOSITORY is a truly ridiculous argument for one to make to try and remove a single file. Sorry Ian, but your interpretation would offer carte blanche for someone to remove ANY file they dislike - be it an image, an animated gif, a short audio clip or a full-length movie. All should be treated equally simply as a file, and their merit judged exclusively on encyclopedic value. Even though I think you are well meaning in this case, I must categorically oppose your interpretation of this subsection of the WP:NOT policy. I also take issue with a separate argument made by others stating there is a (local) consensus to use only a link. My read of that debate is that the consensus was to use at least a link. From my POV, embedding the full file would be just as much in compliance as using an EL would be. Now, that being said, the fact that we can embed the entire video is not itself an argument that we should. Given we have the entire source available to us, we can freely use screenshots to convey important aspects of the film that are relevant to the article prose. That is something I would encourage an editor to consider, as the current offering of no images from the film is jarring, given how decidedly unusual that is when we have PD source material to work with. In that vein, if our options are the full video or nothing, I will favour the full video. Resolute 00:19, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
    • I think this actually is more along my lines of thinking, though I would still justify it under NOTREPOSITORY. With inline media in prose, we don't want just to drop pretty pictures or more information than what helps the reader connect to the topic, even if it is freely usable in the PD. A screenshot may be much more poignant than entire movie in context of the text it is presented with. We should still provide a link, somewhere to the full PD work, but we should be careful of what's put into running prose. --MASEM (t) 00:46, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Porn films should not be hosted on Wikipedia article space. Wikipedia is not a porn site and should not be hosting porn films. They can stay on Commons if they need to stay somewhere. By the way, this discussion regarding Debbie Does Dallas obviously needs a site-wide RfC, not a non-binding discussion with a misleading thread title hidden away on the Village pump. Please notify me on my talk page when such an RfC is begun. Softlavender (talk) 00:42, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
  • "Per the Foundation, controversial images should follow the principle of 'least astonishment' " WP:GRATUITOUS. I don't see any reason to limit films or videos or any other media beyond this. Is text really always preferred for an encyclopedia?
I'll note that WP:GRATUITOUS has gone against me in a couple of cases. On postcards, I've inserted a French postcard in the article and people objected. Also at Batting (baseball), the following classic was removed File:Animation of top row of Plate 279, Baseball; batting (4057432207) faster.gif. If those can be removed, I'd think DDD would likely also be removed. Smallbones(smalltalk) 01:19, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
I hope you can see why people objected in the cases you mention. I also hope that you can see why an article about a pornographic movie is different from an article about batting. Readers looking at an article about a pornographic movie should not be astonished to see pornography. Right Hand Drive (talk) 04:28, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
In the interests of transparency, Right Hand Drive (talk · contribs) was created on 14 September 2015 and has a total of 31 edits, all concerned with adding the film to the article. ContentEditman (talk · contribs) was created on 4 February 2016 and has a total of 5 edits, all supporting adding the film. Johnuniq (talk) 04:41, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
Yes and from September 14 until yesterday, there was no issue with the movie being embedded in the article. Incidentally, I'm told that this discussion is not about Debbie Does Dallas, but about a general issue with embedding movies in articles. This discussion has nothing to do with any concerns about the content of that specific movie. Apparently. Right Hand Drive (talk) 05:00, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
Well, then if we discount the recent SPAs, we don't have much a consensus to host the film or any porn film on WP, even in the non-binding non-public non-RfC threads with misleading titles. Softlavender (talk) 05:20, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
  • I'm sure a lot of things got mixed up here in an unhealthy way:
    1. First the DDD movie is hosted at Commons no matter how, thus "moving" the full-length movie from article space to Commons (as the title of this discussion section suggests) is utter nonsense. It's only what kind of clickable link is used: one that takes you from the mainspace page to a page on a sister project in order to view the movie, or one that displays a thumbnail (and would take you to another page depending on browser functionality). Basicly it is about whether or not a thumbnail is displayed in mainspace.
    2. Second "without shoving porn in readers' faces" (an argument used in the discussion at Talk:Debbie Does Dallas#Link to full film on Commons) is not helped by the WP:NOTREPOSITORY reasonings that recommend to only show snippets of key scenes, so for instance (from the 7th paragraph of Debbie Does Dallas#Plot) "Lisa offers Tony "anything" and she begins to fellate him, then Tammy joins in, and he ejaculates on Tammy's breasts." would reasonably be such snippet illustrating a key scene. No, WP:NOTREPOSITORY is not the way to go for the "without shoving porn in readers' faces" argument.
    3. In fact the WP:NOTREPOSITORY policy and guidance is quite unrelated to this discussion: in both options the file is hosted at Commons; in both options there is a single link to the file.
In general I'd rather support to have a "thumbnail" link in this instance, like for instance we do the {{listen}} link at the start of the Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565#Structure section, or the multi-page PDF (containing the entire primary source) as second media file in The Well-Tempered Clavier#Reception.
That being said, I think the Debbie Does Dallas article (the text content of the article) needs some work: for instance, one of the most remarkable "reception" topics of the film is about how it got in the public domain somewhat over a decade after its release: the info on that is rather sparse. --Francis Schonken (talk) 06:54, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
Bear in mind that this discussion is thoeretically about removing all full length movies from
  • Comment have to agree with Francis Schonken that this whole discussion is very confusing. I already pointed out in the ANI thread before this discussion started that AFAIK no one is suggesting we host it here on en.wikipedia. Amongst other things, there is no reason to when it's on commons. I guess it's possible there may be a porn movie which can't be hosted on commons due to not being public domain in the country of origin but which can be hosted here due to being public domain in the US and then we will have to debate whether to host such movies, but I don't think this is what people are talking about here. And has been pointed out by multiple people even if we do host one here, it's literally impossible with the current software to host a porn movie in article space, it will be hosted in file space. What seems to be most disputed is whether to embed the movie which is hosted at commons in article space. If that's what people care about, it would be good if they are clear that;s what they are opposed to. If people are opposed to even a link to the porn movie on commons then this is another thing and again people should be clear on that. If people feel that way but are fine with linking to it on somewhere besides commons (or conversely don't want any links), they should be clear on that as well. Nil Einne (talk) 07:17, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
I think some of the terminology is getting mixed up. Certainly the debate at DDD is strictly about whether the film is embedded in the article or just linked to. Either way the film is still hosted at Commons, and people are confusing embedding with hosting. Since nobody is suggesting we physically host the file over here I think we can assume that people mean "embed" when they write "host". Betty Logan (talk) 10:22, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
Yes, it should be pretty obvious that it doesn't make a damn bit of difference where the actual file is located, just where it displays. Ian.thomson (talk) 10:32, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
Actually for a lot of stuff it does. In fact, it was already pointed in the previous discussions that depending precisely on any filtering software, the software may or may not stop such movies being displayed if they limit all commons content. (To give an example outside wikipedia, if I embed a Youtube or whatever video on a website I run, and someone asks me to take it down I'll probably stop embedding or linking to it. However unless I uploaded it to Youtube, I have no way to take it down. In fact, if I lived in the US I might be willing to just tell the person to deal with Youtube and otherwise ignore the request.)

Anyway I think Betty Logan has further proven my point. It was clear from the start that the issue was about embedding vs link vs whether commons should host such films at all (which ultimately we have no influence over here on wikipedia) vs whether wikipedia should host such films (as mentioned, in most cases they will be hosted in commons but you can come up with scenarios where would be allowed to host them but commons policy would forbid them copyright related reasons and we could decide not to host them because they are pornographic films whatever commons decides to do).

For some reason, despite this being clear, people keep talking about hosting films in article space which is literally impossible and very confusing. Unfortunately this confusion over what people are referring to risks seriously damaging this RFC (because it isn't clear precisely what people want to stop), despite the fact to repeat for one more time, it should have been clear before it started since multiple people had already pointed it out the issue was never about hosting films in article space. Most people who are talking about hosting in article space probably mean they are opposed to embedding the movie in article space, but it's difficult to be sure, perhaps they meant they don't want commons to host such movies at all (despite us not having an influence over that) or perhaps they meant they don't want wikipedia to host such movies. Probably they're fine with linking to the commons movie but this isn't totally clear either.

And it isn't just "hosting" either. Just as bad are discussions about "including". At least showing seems to imply people are referring to embedding (although in the absence of the word "whole" or something similar it's also confusing since showing could also refer to simply showing clips or screenshots, you can't actually show the whole movie in an article you can simply embed it and people can play it). Including could mean a person is opposed to embedding the movie, or it could mean the person is opposed to linking to the movies on commons (or probably anywhere else).

Note that my original statement wasn't made in isolation, I've read comments suggesting some people don't want us to link to such movies on commons. In some cases a careful reading of what the person has said may enable any closer to understand what they want to do but I wouldn't be sure about all cases. This is why clarity on what you are referring to is always helpful, particularly when there are simple and accurate ways to refer to precisely what you want.

Ultimately unless people are clear on precisely what they want and don't want to do, this discussion isn't going anywhere useful. And I'm sorry for the long post but I don't see any way to make this clearer since this is the third time I've posted about it. (And as said, one time was before this thread had started.)

Nil Einne (talk) 17:11, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

  • This discussion is a hopeless jumble of misunderstandings of policy and technical details. It has predictably become a proxy war over the Debbe Does Dallas movie. Can I suggest that it be closed and the question reformulated sensibly (and without regard to pornographic movies)? Right Hand Drive (talk) 15:26, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
  • I agree this is nonsense. Having a picture display in an article doesn't mean the picture has been copied to Wikipedia! I agree we should close this -- and suggest that readers make their opinions about censorship heard at the Talk:Debbie Does Dallas. Wnt (talk) 19:24, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
    • I have no comment specifically on the censorship here (though I have my own ideas on how that should be handled in the specific case) but there is a separate idea that for any PD work of appreciable length (more than a minute or so) that is hosted on either or commons, do we embed the work fully in the article, or do we embed relevant clips/sections and provide links to the full work as ELs? There are both technical and content reasons to consider here, separate from what the actual nature of the work is. That's a policy level discussion that should be had. --MASEM (t) 20:17, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
@Masem: I don't see why or how to split such works into featured clips. I mean, to present one part as more important than the rest is in spirit a sort of original research; the dubious advantage it gives of flipping the reader directly to the good part is more than counteracted by the inconvenience of getting the rest. In this case, of course, featuring a clip of just "the good parts" would be, IMHO, abusing the censorship lobby a bit more than they properly deserve. Even if we want to direct readers to the good parts, it would better be done by text in the caption saying where they are in hours/minutes. If there is one single image (or a few) that has attracted sourced commentary, then that image of course can be included as a separate file in the article, independent of the video. Wnt (talk) 02:19, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
It's not OR to use clips or screenshots that are directly the subject of discussion in the article itself. For example, I gave the example of "A Voyager to the Moon" , and here, it would make sense to use a representative shot of the infamous "face on the moon", and shots comparing the original black-and-white to the colorized version, all the subject of discussion, but you dont need the entire film. If there is no specific discussion of any scene or the like, that's a good sign that we actually don't need to show any clips from the movie in the article, though screenshots (free) to help make the article look visually interesting is useful. It's free media so we absolutely don't have to be as careful as NFCC would require, but the same thought and considerations should be made before adding video/audio if it is really helping. We have to remember that the reader does not always have access to video or audio players, but image viewers are near-enough universal to be reliable. --MASEM (t) 02:30, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
@Masem: I looked up this example, and believe this edit to be beneficial. Readers of an article about an old movie probably want to know, early and definitively, that they can watch it - it makes their reading of the commentary more immediate, more likely for them to engage with it. However, there is a technical problem I would like to see an answer to: is there a way to set the display for the embedding I just did, so that when you look at it on the page before pressing Play Media, you are looking at the title page that was up before I made this edit? That way there would really be nothing at all lost by making this edit. Wnt (talk) 11:58, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
I don't know with how the MediaWiki software works if this is possible (I know other programs can set the key frame to display in lieu of video). This would help; I would also think it should help to include the time length of the prose-embedded movie file as that would also alert a reader if this is a short clip or a long feature. --MASEM (t) 14:59, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Comment I'm glad to see so much discussion of this difficult issue—I've added full-length videos to articles in the past, but have never felt sure such additions were really relevant to what Wikipedia is trying to do. In the case of old silent films like A Trip to the Moon, I think there are a couple other issues to consider as well:
  • Almost every silent film ever made was intended to be experienced with a musical score. Versions of such films on Wikipedia Commons are necessarily silent (for lack of a public-domain recording of a score for the film), so to call any of them "the complete film" is a bit deceptive: it's not the full experience which the filmmaker intended, and which you can get from any reputable home-video release of the film.
  • Preparing films, especially old films, for home-video releases is a complicated process that often involves all of the following steps: working with numerous public and private collections to determine what fragments/versions of the film survive; combining incomplete prints to reconstruct a complete version, often simply "as close to complete as possible"; restoring tints, tones, and/or hand-coloring missing from the prints in question; removing scratches and other film damage, using chemicals or digital tools or both; recreating title cards missing from the film; researching how fast the film was meant to be projected (i.e. how many frames per second); and compiling all this work into a DVD- or Blu-Ray-ready format. Much of this might be written off as sweat of the brow work, but can we really just rip a painstaking restoration from a DVD and write it off as public-domain? I honestly don't know. I wish there were a clearer policy at Commons about this.
Here's hoping the community can come to a good policy-based consensus about handling these kinds of video files.--Lemuellio (talk) 12:48, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
  • I guess so, yeah. Just answering the question in the section title ("Should we move full-length movies from article space to Commons?"). Here're my reasoning. (First of all, I'm assuming that moving a movie from the article to Commons also entails moving its position in the article from somewhere within the body of the article to the External Links section; that matters, to me, more than where the actual bits of the actual file are hosted).
  1. Doesn't WP:ARTICLESIZE come into play here? Anything that's in the middle of the article is part of the article. We don't really have a tag for "Here's a section of this article that's actually optional, you don't need go through it to fully understand the subject to the level appropriate for an encyclopedia article." We don't hide galleries of images or text using the {{hidden begin}} template and so forth, I don't think. So if it's in the body of the artgicle the assumption is "It's part of the article, you need to read/view/listen to it unless you'r OK with a partial article", whereas External Links implies "Here's some extra stuff, if you want to read/view/listen it for extra enrichment, go ahead". But making an encyclopedia article that takes 2 hours or whatever to get through -- that's a bit much, n'est-ce pas? I don't think WP:ARTICLESIZE exactly addressed this, but I think WP:ARTICLESIZE would start puking frogs if we told it we were making articles that took two hours to get through.
  2. But my real reason for opposing it is because I don't want us to host pornographic movies. Sorry, but porno trolls is why we can't have nice things. Maybe it would be OK have movies in articles, I dunno. But if we have movies in articles, we're going to have to have pornographic movies -- and I'm sure it can get way way way worse than Debbie Does Dallas -- and I don't think that's really a good idea. In an ideal world, editors of maturity and intelligence would be able to discriminate between appropriate and inappropriate media for a general-purpose encyclopedia used by the general public to host. But, as I'm sure everyone knows, trolls out for LULZ (or to embarrass and damage the encyclopedia) and their useful idiot friends hold the whip hand on that matter. So, no movies please, and if that means you can't include a useful and appropriate movie in your article, take it up with the trolls and their enablers, not me. Herostratus (talk) 16:50, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
Only commenting on your ARTICLESIZE point: embedded media (audio or video clips) do not contribute or count towards page size beyond the single image used to indicate that it is an embedded work (only until you click it does the actual media "load" and contribute to the number of bytes the reader uses). And to that end, the only advice starts to become to avoid using too many images or embedded media to overwhelm the bandwidth to the reader. As to the time to take to view the work if one is understand the article, that's a very valid point though not something ARTICLESIZE really gets into much; it supports the notion to use the most relevant clips rather than full length films to augment the text, with links to the full works if the reader needs to see it in full. It is the same concept why articles on classic works of literature don't require the reader to read the full work to understand the article. --MASEM (t) 17:25, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
Readers are not required to play embedded movies or video clips. Nor are they required to watch or listen to the entire thing. They can stop the file playing just by clicking on it again. The suggestion that all readers are obligated to play media files is ridiculous. Readers can decide for themselves whether or not to play media files. I suspect that most readers do not even read all of the text in any given article. Right Hand Drive (talk) 22:40, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
That second point might be the worst argument in favour of censorship that I have ever seen made on this project. Resolute 22:49, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
I think we're hearing a lot from people who think that really, providing information is a bad thing most of the time. Giving people access to public domain movies, whatever their provenance, abuses the sweat of the brow put in by commercial movie-makers, because the public needs to have firmly in their mind that video is inherently something they have to pay for... no matter what. Court decisions are inherently made for the benefit of owners, not the public. And better to defeat a thousand attempts to access content than to allow one that might cause someone to criticize, because after all, providing access to something someone thinks is bad is infinitely bad, but providing information people merely want is inherently worthless. A person, in general, needs to be redefined away from some religious woo-woo conception of free will and such, and considered rather as a substandard predecessor to AI that really only needs specific training for its particular job designation, so long as it has it, then be recycled because of course it can never be repaired or renovated. I am just tired, so tired, of people who only see in content the opportunity for control. Wnt (talk) 23:58, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

How many articles would be affected by a change in practice?[edit]

I think this discussion is a confused mess and a waste of everyone's time, but can anyone tell me how many articles have embedded movies? It would be good to have some idea of how many articles would be affected by a change to the normal practice of embedding public domain movies. Right Hand Drive (talk) 22:50, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

Let's move this to an RfC[edit]

See Wikipedia talk:What Wikipedia is not#RfC: amendment to WP:NOTREPOSITORY. Make your !vote there and a (hopefully fairly succinct and cogent) edit in the Discussion section. That way at least where we stand with WP:NOTREPOSITORY, which we've been arguing of the interpretation of and which is important to this issue, can be decided one way or the other.Herostratus (talk) 15:01, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

Other idea, let's promote Wikipedia:Wikipedia is a tertiary source to guideline[edit]

When we're tired of hearing what Wikipedia "is not", here's a stable formulation of what Wikipedia "is". I'd not tamper with the WP:NOT policy to insert things in it that are in fact covered better by the WP:NOR policy ("Do not base an entire article on primary sources, and be cautious about basing large passages on them") — but what might be beneficial is a guideline explaining the connection between WP:NOTREPOSITORY and WP:NOR's WP:PRIMARY. --Francis Schonken (talk) 08:13, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

I think it needs a little work on "llustrations and primary source material should not overshadow content based on secondary and tertiary sources" For example, even a stub article on a notable painting should include the image of the painting; I don't think anyone would argue that Wikipedia is improved by changing the thumbnail of the painting to a link to Commons. Adam Cuerden (talk) 13:16, 9 February 2016 (UTC)

RfC about embedded pornographic movie in A Free Ride[edit]

A hardcore pornographic movie has been embedded in A Free Ride since 2012. Rather than just remove the movie as was done at Debbie Does Dallas, I have started a request for comment. I assume that the results of that RfC will be useful in guiding actions at Debbie Does Dallas. Right Hand Drive (talk) 04:17, 11 February 2016 (UTC)

Guideline duplication (the potential for conflict)[edit]

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

I would like to raise the following guideline pages for discussion and community consensus:

What really concerns me is that these two guidelines cover essentially the same ground. Having two guidelines address the same issues is never a good idea... the potential for conflict is high. So... what should we do? Merge the NC page with its MOS counterpart? Depreciate one in favor of the other (if so, which one)? Something else? Please discuss. Blueboar (talk) 18:35, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

The MoS page does not deal with article titles, whereas the NCCAPS page deals only with article titles. This division of content has always existed, which is why we have a WP:MOS and the WP:AT policy. Regardless, this discussion is a duplicate of one already occurring, so I will close it and provide a link to that one. RGloucester 19:09, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.
No problem discussing this at WT:AT... those who would have responded here are encouraged to go there and respond. Blueboar (talk) 20:19, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

Requirement to cite a list item inline?[edit]

I've been looking for a guideline on this (I'm quite sure it exists) but can't seem to find it. When maintaining a list article, I've long believed that verifiability is satisfied by the existence of reliable sources in the target article, so it is not necessary to provide an inline citation in the list, other than for the types of material required to be cited where it appears listed at WP:MINREF. For example, in the list at 1650, it is stated that the Harvard Corporation was established on June 9, 1650. In order to verify this, a reader goes to the link and can see in the target article where there is an explanation of the association's founding in 1650, with an inline reference which verifies the date. I believe it is therefore not necessary to repeat the reference in the list, as the information there is already verifiable and repeating the reference does not add anything. Am I wrong? Ivanvector 🍁 (talk) 20:49, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

Forget what policies or guidelines might say. Citing in the list maintains the integrity of the list from a verifiability point of view. What if, for example, the linked article is changed and the citation no longer appears or is misrepresented. Do your own research to verify the cite in the article then copy it to the list. Try a few caste-related lists to understand why this is the best approach. - Sitush (talk) 21:10, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
@Ivanvector: I think it depends on the list. I agree with you that items in lists like 1650 should be adequately sourced in their parent articles. However, other types of lists, like List of allegedly haunted places or List of electric bicycle manufacturers or List of wealthiest historical figures should be sourced right in the list. That said, even in articles like 1650, it's a convenience for the reader to cite in the list. ~ ONUnicorn(Talk|Contribs)problem solving 21:59, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
There are list types where citation is required, this would include anything that involves possibly contentious claims and definitely BLP-related. For example, a list of LGBT people would absolutely need entries sourced, while a list of people from a certain city is far less contentious and likely doesn't. However, citations should be strongly suggested even for non-contentious claim-based lists. --MASEM (t) 22:09, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
The WP:CIRCULAR policy says: "Do not use articles from Wikipedia as sources ... Content from a Wikipedia article is not considered reliable unless it is backed up by citing reliable sources. Confirm that these sources support the content, then use them directly." Given that, if someone challenges an uncited statement, I think it's best to simply take the relevant citation from the related WP article and apply it to the list. AFAIK, citations in the list itself would be expected for an WP:FL.—Bagumba (talk) 22:44, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

Is it simply Wild West?[edit]

I'm looking at serious ongoing behavioral issues, and don't know where to turn. WP:ANI doesn't seem to work. WP:NPOVN doesn't seem to work (although i would encourage everyone to watch that page and check it often to help others who are asking for help!) I have found admins who act abusively, instead of helping. I'm seeing bad editing practices all over the place. I'm seeing people unilaterally, archiving talk page sections that they don't like, re-reverting that when it's restored, refusing to acknowledge that it's a problem, insisting that there is consensus when there is not, hatting talk page sections that they don't like (to shut down the dialogue), people calling other editors names all the time, people using bad dialogue (like strawman/misrepresentation and rhetoric in place of substance) and the like. I'm seeing gang-like editing behaviors, where several editors seem to work together to maintain a page in a certain point of view. I'm seeing serious takeover of Wikipedia without a genuine regard to the policies. I'm seeing so much absurd stuff going on that it seems Wikipedia (at least in some topics) is broken. There is so much edit warring instead of discussion. There is unilateral action with complete impunity. There is very little actual enforcement of policies. There is WP:POV RAILROADing. I'm sorry i can't be more specific, but i have been observing these things in general for too long now, and the arbitrtion and enforcement structures simply do not work. It's broken. There is too much pushing and bullying. Where is the respect for each other and for "the sum of all human knowledge"? Rant over. Had to get that off my chest, and hope to hear your experiences, similar or different. SageRad (talk) 21:48, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

I agree with this wholeheartedly. To be added to Sage's list, I am also perceiving an increased tolerance of editors inappropriately editing others comments - to my mind this should be a clear line with swift and strong action taken if that line is crossed. Relatedly, I am also perceiving an increase in AN/I cases being closed by non-admins. Non-admins can not take action in such closures, therefore all these closures end with no action being taken when they perhaps should. Perhaps the policy of non-admins being allowed to close AN/I discussions needs to be reviewed. I feel this would help in avoiding the Wild West scenario.DrChrissy (talk) 22:12, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
Yes, I noticed that too. I'm seeing a breakdown of Wikipedia. I think we've lost critical mass of editors with integrity and so the place has been taken over by pushy people with no scruples. Attempts at getting justice in terms of following policy seems to more often than not backfire into more bullying and pushing and ganging up and piling on. It's like Wikipedia has lost its immune system and at this point is even like it has an auto immune disease and attacks good people for doing the right thing. SageRad (talk) 16:20, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
@SageRad: See related Sanger item at WP:OTR.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  19:34, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
I think you need to be honest about your own role in degrading the editing environment, rather than blaming everyone and everything else. You didn't come here to help build a reputable online reference work; you came here because you were upset about an argument you'd had on someone's blog, and you wanted to use that person's Wikipedia biography to get back at him. Your actions demonstrated petty motivations, making your high-minded appeals to Wikipedia's foundational principles hypocritical, to say the least. You were then topic-banned by ArbCom for repeatedly casting aspersions against other editors and degrading the quality of articles and sourcing. You should probably be honest about that background, rather than leaving it for someone else to point out.

In the end, you're basically someone who joined a game, tried to cheat at it, got caught, and now you run around telling everyone how stupid the game is. The game may or may not be stupid, but your motivations are so transparently self-serving that they invalidate your criticisms. MastCell Talk 16:27, 9 February 2016 (UTC)

Wow, there you have aspersions, a level of attempted outing, lack of assumption of good faith, and lack of focus on content, and more. I actually meant everything I said above with full genuineness. It's borne of experience. I had a nasty learning curve in Wikipedia because I found myself in the thick of toxic editors with toxic practices. It could have gone a lot smoother. I really meant what I said above, now that I fully grasp the wisdom of the policies and yet see them being wildly disregarded so often. Please rescind your aspersion. This is not a game. Too many editors view it as such and act like it is a game but it's not. This is serious work. SageRad (talk) 16:33, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
No, it's just a hobby. WIJAGH, as in FIJAGH. Unless someone has a vested interest in what the content says, in which case those of us for whom it's a hobby have to spend hours of our time protecting the project, which is why it sometimes pisses us off a mite. Guy (Help!) 16:53, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
SageRad you said yourself here that you had a dispute with that blogger (and that statement makes it clear that you were violating WP:BLPCOI) and that is what got you blocked. There is no outing here; not even close. Just more self-righteous and self-deluded grand-standing. Jytdog (talk) 17:09, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
The things you describe are largely the inevitable result of the need to slow the decline in editor population. We must strike a balance between good behavior and editor retention. I believe that the balance is currently wrong, and I've for some time had this comment on my user page: How much disruption must we tolerate in the name of peace and editor retention? Something's wrong here. Change the balance and you will, regrettably, lose some productive editors who are unable to behave better. In my opinion, after the word got around that things had improved at Wikipedia, those losses would be replenished more than one-for-one by editors who were better behaved and, eventually, equally as productive. That's the strategy we'd be following ... if only I were in charge around here! Mandruss For President? ―Mandruss  16:35, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
I wish you were president. I believe there would be better retention of good editors if some of the worst offending editors received sanctions for their bad behaviors. Who wants to contribute their good work and energy when bullies will just come and kick down the ornate sand castles they build? SageRad (talk) 16:39, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
There are several talk page stalkers who lurk and attack when it suits their purposes, but rarely make content contributions. These individuals can be easily recognised. They should be identified as such and weeded out.DrChrissy (talk) 16:44, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
You're too hard on yourself. Some of your edits are fine. Guy (Help!) 16:54, 9 February 2016 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Look, we can have a constructive discussion here, or we can devolve this into yet another pointless pissing match. These are real issues and any participant's motivations are irrelevant. Debate the points made and refrain from making things personal, please. ―Mandruss  17:11, 9 February 2016 (UTC)

That said, readers of this thread might care to take a look at the comments being made on JzG's Talk page.DrChrissy (talk) 17:14, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
That said, - That said and ignored. Your comment simply pours fuel on the fire. Others' behavior does not justify yours. ―Mandruss  17:22, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
  • JzG's comment should be struck. They've been pouring fuel on the fire for so long on this site I was shocked to learn they are admin. --MurderByDeletionism"bang!" 20:34, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
Mandruss, I must respectively disagree with your statement that editor's motivations are irrelevant. This thread (not your comment) is becoming yet another case of WP:POV railroad where the motivations behind edits are the very focus of the Wild West problem. This is why I suggested people look at JzG's talk page.DrChrissy (talk) 17:33, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
Well good luck with that approach, which has been used countless times and never works except as a defensive strategy at ANI. If you wish to achieve meaningful change you need to stay above the fray. Just ignore any attacks (even clearly block-worthy personal attacks) and debate the points. ―Mandruss  17:41, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
Fair enough - point taken.DrChrissy (talk) 17:44, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
I do want to add that I have seen more and more cases in topic areas involving controversial, ideological issues that groups of editors appear to work together, often unintentionally, to maintain a specific viewpoint or eliminate counterviewpoints and rational discussions of such issues. Such groups will often rely on UNDUE, POV, and FRINGE to shut down such discussions or dismiss any counter arguments, which is not what these policies are meant to be used for for controversial subjects, as we are to document such controversies, not participate in them. These groups will often have editors that may not have, as we define it, a conflict of interest, but do have a vested interest to support a specific view or to refute a different view, which our guidelines caution people when they handle such articles. The problem that often happens is that it is difficult to separate this poor behavior from what would would normally be completely acceptable behavior in being vigilant against for a topic area that was being flooded by IPs and SPA accounts to include vandalism, false info, and BLP; this same behavior is generally needed to empower such users to combat unencyclopedic information. (case in point is the recent arbcom decision on the Indian/Pakistan topic area, where they empowered the 500 edits/30 days rule to avoid these type of accounts). There's a line here but it is very very fuzzy, and we're seeing acceptable behavior needed to handle the latter type of cases slipping more and more into other topic areas that are not as easy to deal with. There's no easy solution, since determining when this is happening requires throughout investigation of talk pages or direct experience in the situation, but there needs to be a better means to remind such groups of editors that page ownership is not acceptable practice for WP and cooperation with all editors particularly experienced ones are needed. --MASEM (t) 17:43, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Comment @SageRad: Sage, I'm wondering if between us we raised so many issues early in this thread that we have confused people. I think what we perhaps need to do is focus on just one of these. This is your thread and I am not attempting to hijack it, but I noticed you mentioned early on that you believe ANI is broken. I agree with you. Perhaps we should focus on this?DrChrissy (talk) 18:02, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
I'd like to keep it on the whole gestalt... and not about any particular person, as was said above by Mandruss. I think this issue of general critical mass / tipping point of integrity, is interesting. SageRad (talk) 18:36, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
On the one hand, I agree with User:SageRad that WP:ANI is broken, and I agree with SageRad that there is too much tolerance of uncivil editors. I agree with User:DrChrissy that there is too much tolerance of editing other's talk page comments, which should result in a caution to new editors and a swift block to non-new editors. However, SageRad is very off the mark in saying that they had a rough learning curve because they came into the thick of toxic editors with toxic practices. They came into Wikipedia as a toxic editor. Whether the other editors were toxic is another question. User:MastCell is absolutely right that SageRad came in with a very biased agenda, and then characterized advice from non-admins that their incivility could lead to a block as "threats" and other advice as "punches to the face". SageRad is right that we are too tolerant of toxic editors, including of SageRad. I agree that WP:ANI is broken, but would welcome comments from reasonable editors. I agree that editing of other's comments on talk pages should not be tolerated. Robert McClenon (talk) 19:40, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
Well if Robert McClenon himself feels the need to make this about individual editors rather than the issues, nothing more than an ANI thread in the wrong venue, I guess my pleas have been a waste of time. Enjoy the bickering and hat at will. ―Mandruss  19:46, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
I did make comments about the issues. I agree tht WP:ANI is broken, and would welcome comments from reasonable editors like User:Mandruss on what to do about it. I did agree that altering of comments to mislead should not be tolerated. In the case that the latter is done by an admin, I would suggest arbitration and desysopping. Robert McClenon (talk) 21:17, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
@Robert McClenon: I don't feel I can say how to "fix ANI", exactly; I don't think I'm well versed in what people feel is broken about it; but I do have a couple of strong opinions about ANI.
First, that User X's bad behavior should not be allowed to excuse or mitigate User Y's bad behavior, and it routinely is at ANI. "Two wrongs don't make a right" may seem trite or naive to some, but it seems essential to me.
And secondly, ANI should be strictly about behavior complaints. It should not be allowed to become content dispute, and it routinely is. The minute it starts to be about content, an admin should step in and nip that in the bud as wrong venue. If anyone then persists, it should be handled as disruption. For this and other reasons, I think ANI would benefit from having at least one admin "on duty" as a moderator at all times, based on a previously agreed schedule. They could do other work at the same time, but should be tasked with monitoring ANI closely on their watchlist.
That's about all I have to say about ANI. ―Mandruss  22:08, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
I think that the idea of having an admin serve as the moderator for WP:ANI is a very good idea. ANI is just a Wild West area. Your observation about two wrongs making a right is unfortunately often the case, and that if User X's bad behavior is argued as a defense against User Y's bad behavior, both should be sanctioned. (Whether by blocks, topic-bans, or what depends on the nature of the offense.) The moderating admin should be willing in cases of clear bad behavior to block and then close the thread so that it doesn't drag on. I will add that I don't think that filing parties at ANI intend to be bringing up content issues. In their excuse, they think that the failure of other editors to agree with them on content is a conduct issue (vandalism, POV-pushing, disruptive editing). That is a further reason for a moderator who will say, "Content dispute. Take to WP:DRN or use an WP:RFC. Closed here." Also, when two-way allegations of conduct drag on, a moderator should be able to formulate a proposal that can be !voted, such as topic-ban A, topic-ban B, topic-ban both. I agree as to moderation. Robert McClenon (talk) 22:52, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
So Robert, what should I/we do when an admin with many years experience has changed my edit to mislead. We are agreed AN/I is broken. I suspect that if I raised this at AN/I, the result would be that I will be blocked. What should I/we do to change this state of affairs?DrChrissy (talk) 19:50, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
Well either you fix it when you find it or let others fix it. A one time occurrence is not something that should be brought to ANI, if the behavior continues it should be brought to ANI and dealt with. The proper response is NOT to revert the fix so it stays in the altered state until the person who made the change fixes it. -- GB fan 12:25, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
Our [[WP:Talk page guidelines state "Never edit or move someone's comment to change its meaning, even on your own talk page (their emphasis). This sentence, or something very similar including "never", has been in the guidelines since at least 2010 so it is well established and non-contested. Why have such a strong statement if we are to then only say "oh well, once or twice won't hurt"?DrChrissy (talk) 16:51, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
Yes, it does say that. Our policies also say to never vandalize an article but we don't block someone for one act of vandalism. I never said "oh well, once or twice won't hurt". I said when you find that it has happened fix it or let someone else fix it and if the behavior continues to raise it at ANI. Very few things do we say one time is enough to bring someone to ANI, that is reserved mostly for repeat offenders. You revert and warn the editor to not do it again. Like I said before the correct thing to do is not revert a fix to what you don't want, like you did. -- GB fan 18:19, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
If I make a good point, it matters not if I'm making it to serve my own selfish, even illegitimate interest; it's still a good point; therefore my history is irrelevant, and to bring my history into it only serves to derail the debate. Discussions like this should go down as if all participants were here anonymously. (Note for the overly literal: I have used the first person merely as a device; I am not referring to myself.) ―Mandruss  20:22, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
  • I agree. There are way too many editors who would rather discuss an editor's individual history than expand on a good point. My personal belief for this is because those editor's who divert an idea into a new direction, fear change or the loss of power. And it's very effective because I can go back 3, 5 years ago, see editors discuss the exact same issues as now, but nothing's changed! --MurderByDeletionism"bang!" 21:04, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Indeed. Let's note that i've had some contentious relations with these folks who felt the need to come along and speak badly about and to me -- and not just about me but about their perspective about me -- and this is another illustration of exactly the point i'm trying to make here because these folks who are quite outspoken all over Wikipedia and act like heavies all over the place, in my opinion, problems at ANI and in the whole functioning of Wikipedia with integrity. I seriously want this to not be about specific people, but they did make it so, and tried to derail this dialogue, and so i must say they have a history with me and not a good one. Sure, they say i'm bad, bad, bad, i'm a bad boy... Fine... I disagree and it's basically gang warfare that you're seeing. There's a gang here. They've tried to make that point before and seem to have a chip on their shoulder for me -- but i say that i have integrity and edit according to policy, more than most i know.
This really does come down to reckoning, and it take a human sense with much observation and experience, to really get down to it. When it's person A saying there's a problem, and then persons B and C come along and say "No, A is the problem here!" but according to person A, persons B and C are part of the problem although person A didn't name specific people to begin with... it comes down to observations of edits and dialogue over the long-term. It's way too easy to play the discredit game, where multiple editors with a chip on their shoulder or an agenda come along and say something mean about editor A -- poisoning the well, introducing a prejudicial air to the dialogue, etc.... and that's not cool with me. Everyone has made some mistakes in their life, and we need to see who is willing to learn and to do better, and who is just constantly a problem and causing problems. And we must remember that opinions are from a point of view, as well.
And yes, i did enter Wikipedia in a toxic environment, and learned from some of the worst in terms of behavior, and learned to act like it's the Wild West -- you grow up in a gang environment and you learn you have to act tough. Only later did i see the wisdom of the policies and that we could work better if we cooperated and acted in a civil way. It can work. But it requires a critical mass to work. We need a critical mass of editors who speak up for integrity all the time. SageRad (talk) 21:12, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
I should clarify that I'm not taking sides in any disputes involving anyone present. Partly because I know nothing about them, partly because I don't care about them, and partly because they are irrelevant here, as I said above. If I make a bad point, I can be defeated by a strong counter to that point, still without bringing my history into it. I hope I've (finally) said everything that I meant. ―Mandruss  21:17, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
I appreciate that, Mandruss, very much. That is the way i would like it to be, as well. I intentionally did not name any specific people or topics or articles, so that we could have a general discussion about the gestalt of the functioning of Wikipedia, and not devolve into mudslinging. Having said my piece in self-defense, i am done with specifics and back to general observations. I know you have no history with me and i don't expect you to have an opinion of me. SageRad (talk) 21:20, 9 February 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Hopefully we can all be learning and evolving together, and not polarizing all the time against each other. Hopefully people who have had past issues can evolve to work better with each other. SageRad (talk) 21:37, 9 February 2016 (UTC)

SageRad, if Wikipedia is "broken" then it has always been broken. There never was a period of time where peace and harmony and civility reigned. You look at arbitration archives around 2005-2007 and you'll find major problems going on and unqualified editors becoming admins and going to town, blocking their "enemies". By perusing Wikipedia history you'll find that a lot of problems that used to exist are no longer the serious issues they were years ago. There have been improvements. I know that ANI is much better now than when I first became a regular editor in summer 2013 where editors would often come to discussions with pitchforks and torches. I think at some point I think you have to accept that you have Wikipedia was never some harmonious haven of writing articles, cooperation and exchange of open information, Wikipedia is flawed and has always been, just like any human being or any organization is flawed because it is made up of imperfect individuals. Expecting people, on the internet of all places, to be kinder and more thoughtful than they are in their off-line life is unrealistic.

I think you also have to accept that you are approaching this issue the wrong way. An individual, even a few organized individuals, can not change the culture of a group. People are who they are and no amount of posting on noticeboards will change that. Your best option is to focus on realistic, doable changes to policies that you think might lead to improvements, run an RfC and try to get a consensus to see if your argument has the support of the community (or at least those that choose to participate in an RfC). Yes, this takes time and effort but even Jimmy Wales can not wave a magic wand and make Wikipedia suddenly change overnight to the idyllic community that you hoped it would be. I'm not saying that this is good or bad, it's just the nature of how slowly organizations change, especially decentralized groups like the Wikipedia editing community. Liz Read! Talk! 22:03, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
That. As I understand your complaint, you're unhappy at the open nature of Wikipedia and want a centrally enforced "constitution", but changing the internal structure of a project with between 3000—100,000 participants (depending on how you measure it) isn't something that will just happen because you say you're unhappy; you need to propose an alternative, and then convince a majority that they'd be better off with the alternative. As Liz correctly says, it's worth bearing in mind that despite the shrillness of the critics, Wikipedia at present is probably the least dysfunctional it's ever been. ‑ Iridescent 22:09, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
  • The above two comments are seriously wrong. That's the classic just give up. Should the middle class and poor in the USA also give up and sign over what little income they have left to the 1%er's? --MurderByDeletionism"bang!" 22:27, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
  • I think Iridescent's point is that complaining is easy, but changing things would take work and thoughtfulness. That is different from telling someone to "give up". Stellar analogy, though. MastCell Talk 01:34, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
  • It would be much easier for me to agree with your point were it not for that big arrow! --MurderByDeletionism"bang!" 03:49, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Unless your monitor is exceptionally wide and your default font exceptionally small, the big arrow should be pointing at Liz's last sentence (I'm not saying that this is good or bad, it's just the nature of how slowly organizations change, especially decentralized groups like the Wikipedia editing community.), a sentiment with which I concur wholeheartedly; fifteen years of inertia isn't going to shifted just by wishing it so, and if you want major changes you need not only to identify the nature of the changes you want made, but identify a means of getting them implemented and a means of persuading people that doing so will be worthwhile. Make the quote Philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point, however, is to change it if that suits you better. ‑ Iridescent 17:42, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Why, yes my monitor is indeed exceptionally wide, and my default font is exceptionally small (6 pt)!
Here are some identified changes I'd like to see implemented.
1. Stop admin elections. Instead editors are automatically admin based on length of time (which should be within one year or less) and number of edits. Take the power away from the fascist few. Give it back to the masses and it will not be the big deal that it is right now.
2. Make it easier to lose admin rights. Wikipedia doesn’t need tenured admin. Admin rights should be something an editor loses, not something an editor fights to win.
3. Create clear rules to follow, not excessive bloated essays that have other bloated essays that counter each other. Can’t be more than 10 or 12 rules. (Even AA only has 12 steps!)
4. Greet all new editors with the rules they need to follow.
5. Anyone using cuss words gets an automatic 48 hour ban their first use. Thereafter, that editor will receive an one month ban.
6. Create a bot so that whenever one’s editor name is mentioned, the editor is notified.
7. If a subject is true and can be verified by reliable sources, it stays. Stop with the esoteric value judgements which is based on one’s knowledge (or lack there of) of a subject.
8. Eliminate the COI witch hunts. All editors show up with personal biases & POV’s. Spend that wasted time on making a neutral article. Readers only care about facts.
9. Put warnings on all medical articles.
10. Add links at the top to the best ranked sites for all the science topics. Wikipedia owes this much to the public since Google is now defaulting to Wikipedia. (Which is worse than being bought and paid for, it’s called being used!)
11. Create friendlier warnings. Do they really need to look so hyperbole? Like someone’s about to be maimed? Especially since they’re really meant to bully rather than warn?
12. Everyone gets one account only! IP’s will need to create an account if they want to edit.
13. A mass reprieve for all banned editors. This would exclude those globally banned.
14. Change page patrol to page approved.
Thanks for asking! --MurderByDeletionism"bang!" 16:31, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
I'm sure you don't actually expect that 14-point wish list to pass as a package. Pick one that you feel is high is importance and stands a decent chance of passing, argue for that (a separate subsection would help), and leave the other 13 for other days. Otherwise the discussion is going 14 different ways, and nothing gets accomplished. ―Mandruss  17:21, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Sort of a package deal like congress? Why not! Wikipedia needs big changes. This site has been spinning its wheels for quite some time now while not addressing issues.
fyi - If editors don't believe there is something growing more amiss with Wikipedia, check out, "The Knight Foundation grant: a timeline and an email to the board." --MurderByDeletionism"bang!" 19:23, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
@ Mandruss - a very friendly reminder - I think it is frowned upon to include a user's name in your edit summary.DrChrissy (talk) 18:17, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
  • While there are some things that are part of the "unfixables" that Wikipedia will always have as long as we have the tagline "the encyclopedia anyone can edit", there are problems being raised here that have becoming more troubling in terms of "cliques" around controversial topics that are being used to quell proper discussion. Normally, in the past, things like dispute resolution or AN/I would be venues to at least engage in discussion when such problems occurred but as identified, I've been seeing more cases of these groups on controversial articles refusing to engage in dispute resolution, and if these groups include long-standing editors, AN is often hesitant to get involved. Mind you, the number of such cases is trifling small compared to the number of other disputes that happen every day and that are resolved as harmoniously as we can expect on WP, but it still exists and becoming more evident. And I think some of this is being influenced by the global situation in the world that align with the social conflicts that are happening across the globe and the change in media's role that work against our purpose as a neutral tertiary work (I've describe this in depth about a month ago here on VPP). --MASEM (t) 22:44, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Seems more like as the years go past, the attempts to deal with particular personality problems have yet to be resolved. For the ones who complain about never ending chaos here, you do realize that you can always WP:FORK the entire contents of the project and create your wiki-encylopedia with whatever rules and ideas you want, right? If your ideas create a better encyclopedia, I say go for it. Otherwise, is there an actual policy discussion or proposal here? It seems like it's just "oh this place is so terrible now." -- Ricky81682 (talk) 04:28, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
There is some substantive discussion occurring in this thread, contribute to it or not as you wish. If you want to play the wrong venue card (which is played with great selectivity, I've noticed), go ahead, but this discussion has a place somewhere on the site (and not consigned to user space). I'd be happy to relocate the entire thread. ―Mandruss  12:03, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
I think one of the general areas that is being discussed here is civility. I edit in several areas and it amazes me the difference in civility in some topic areas. I have been in the situation where after taking an incivility-bashing from groups of editors who have followed me, I have moved to editing another area and despite the subject being (potentially) contentious, the editors there have behaved with total respect and civility. So, although this is not about individual editors, it is about like-minded (incivil) editors who see what others get away with, repeat this, the precedent is then set and suddenly we all have to tolerate it.DrChrissy (talk) 12:52, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
I agree this is also what I've seen. Editors that behave as we'd expect in a friendly, cooperative manner in most other areas are a different type of person in a specific article or topic area, and this usually seems to be the result of having some type of interest in that specific topic. As as I've noted, when this is from established editors, it's hard to convince AN or others that something is out of place, often sweeping such confrontations as "a bad day" (which everyone has, no question, but makes it hard to have any action taken against such editors). --MASEM (t) 18:00, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
Is there an opportunity to share these best practices in civility across communities and projects? Something along the lines of, "Hey, here's how we work and what our interoperation of civility have meant for our project." Followed by a simple checklist of what works? Maybe we can raise the tide for all boats without having to rely on Mom and Dad enforcing good behavior? Sorry for having more questions than answers. :) Ckoerner (talk) 22:41, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
At least at my experience, these lines where civility is an issue don't align with WikiProjects, though individual Wikiprojects may have had to deal with internal problems on one-off bases, and the Signpost often features Wikiproject spotlights that ID these things. The situations I see generally fall outside the individual coverage of Wikiprojects. --MASEM (t) 23:53, 10 February 2016 (UTC)


It's easy to be civil and it's easy to not be a bully, if you're committed to doing so. It's easy to edit according to policy and to hold ourselves to high standards of integrity, if we want to. I also edit in areas that are extremely civil, and it's a wonderful experience. I want that same level of integrity and civility in other areas that are contentious, but there does not seem to be the critical mass of editors willing to stand up for civility and principles as there needs to be to change the general culture. There is instead impunity and gang behavior. Many good editors have been intimidated out of editing in such areas, and have stated so explicitly. When you do try to use ANI or NPOVN or other structure which are supposed to be the next-level way to address it, they typically result in no action or blowback action against the person making the appeal. Therefore, the system is broken in certain areas where there is contention. I think we can foster a critical mass of integrity, and the first step in doing so is to name the problem. The second step is to step up and address it. Stand up for what's right, even in small things. If an editor is repeatedly deleting other editors' comments on talk pages, isn't that a signal that they don't have the innate integrity needed to function well in discussions of possibly contentious topics? If another editor is consistently name-calling, acting bully-like, being emotionally abusive, etc... that's a signal that they are probably a source of problems. Other editors may react in the moment sometimes to those centrally problematic editors, and that's to be expected. They even know how to bait, how to get others to blow up and then use that as ammo against them. There is this stuff going on. This stuff is toxic, and drives away good editors who really do want to apply the policies like NPOV and RS to to correct goal of writing a good encyclopedia useful for the human species. SageRad (talk) 15:05, 11 February 2016 (UTC)

I support your reasoning in principle. But, as I've said recently, one's opinions count for nothing if they prefer to remain silent, and intimidation tactics work. I strongly suspect that a large majority of editors would do anything to have a better working environment—anything except stick their head up so it can get chopped off. I don't think that's going to change, we can't repeal human nature, so there's no solution short of an outside entity (WMF?) stepping in, assuming control, and overriding the vocal and aggressive minority. I don't see that happening, so I'm pessimistic about such ambitious and idealistic goals. I feel we can make significant improvements in the culture with changes like what I suggested at 22:08, 9 February 2016 (and even those would be difficult to pass), but I don't see us achieving any more than that at this point. ―Mandruss  15:33, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
As somebody on the other side who has been described as a bully, not by anyone in this discussion, I would like to put the other side's point of view. Many discussions seem to go on and on and on over matters where the sources are pretty clear but those arguing against them think there is some great injustice to fix, and they simply will not stop. That is where we get pointers to various WP: like great wrongs and flogging dead horses from. Yes there is some bad behavior sometimes but it is often because of exasperation because these 'polite' editors continue to disrupt Wikipedia. In my opinion it is they who drive new editors away and make things unpleasant for people who just want to edit Wikipedia according to the policies and produce a good encyclopaedia with a neutral point of view that goes by the sources and their weight. More than just dealing quickly with people who have been uncivil to each other what I really would like is a way that editors who flog a dead horse just get toned down or excluded from topics quicker rather than the endless recursive stairs of the process for content disputes. Dmcq (talk) 16:07, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
I don't see you as "on the other side" from me. I think we should have a far more aggressive block schedule. If one hasn't cleaned up their act after three blocks, what they and Wikipedia need is for them to receive an involuntary 5-year sabbatical to work on themselves. They are a net negative to the project, full stop. I think we'd be surprised at how many misbehavors would change their ways if they knew that their continued editing rights depended on it. ―Mandruss  16:11, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
However, I have seen cliques that stand perhaps too much behind policy as to refuse to engage in any discussions that require nuanced considerations of policy, recognizing that some policies need to have more weight than others for certain topic areas. Most commonly that I've seen is the use of UNDUE and FRINGE to eliminate counter-discussion about a topic that is contentious. Policies are meant to be flexible; there are times where editors are encouraged to and should use UNDUE/FRINGE to remove minority/fringe counterpoints (particularly when it comes to BLP), but there are times where there is need to be more accommodating if we are to remain neutral on a contentious topic. But instead, sometimes these cliques stick to the policy like glue and refuse to consider their flexible nature in areas where they need to be flexible; whether this is just a mechanical application or intentional usage to uphold a specific POV, it can be very difficult to tell, but in either case, these groups need to work with editors that bring these questions forward in a cooperative manner. It creates elitism which is not helpful for the project as a whole. And again, this type of behavior is very much a long-term phenomena, and very difficult to identify as an outsider to the conversation, or even to guide outsiders to the most relevant points. --MASEM (t) 16:25, 11 February 2016 (UTC)

More than one account question[edit]

I know when someone has more than one registered account (I do not), they have to note that on their user page... What about an IP? I've only just now realised that sometimes I edit from my IP (we're talking less than 50 edits between now and July 2014). It's just whenever I get kicked off after being logged in for 30 days and then edit without noticing. Once I notice, I log in but... do I need to have that IP listed on my user page? Thanks in advance.Cebr1979 (talk) 21:58, 9 February 2016 (UTC)

Considering that there are IPv6 users whose addresses change at least daily, and that is not seen as a problem as long as they don't exploit the changes for bad-faith purposes, my opinion is that you needn't worry about it. Just behave yourself. ―Mandruss  22:54, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
You may want to read WP:Sock puppetry again. You aren't actually required to link your accounts if you use multiple. It's just strongly recommended because if you don't, it may come across that you are using these multiple accounts inappropriately. Particularly if there's a risk you may interact with the same editors or edit the same articles. (If you don't link your accounts and edit the same articles or get in to problems with the same editors, this is likely to be a problem.) Linking to IPs would follow a similar concept. If you're only editing via IPs is a few times when you accidentally edit logged out you probably shouldn't worry about it (unless perhaps the edit was likely to be particularly controversial or misunderstood), but if you do it regularly, you should consider linking to avoid problems if you don't have privacy concerns. If your IP regularly changes, you could link to IPs in the ranges you normally use. Nil Einne (talk) 17:20, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
See User talk:SMcCandlish/IP for one way to do this. I transclude that user-template in my talk page.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  19:51, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
Well, I think you should go see about WP:Revision deletion, which can hide your IP address as a contributor for those revisions. If you don't know who to turn to, may I suggest you go to CAT:REVDEL? ElectricBurst(Electron firings)(Zaps) 21:23, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

Wikipedia in Galileo's time[edit]

This question requires an understanding of history of science as well as of Wikipedia's policies. The page User:Guy Macon states that "If Wikipedia had been available [...] in Galileo's time, it would have reported the view that the sun goes round the earth as a fact, and Galileo's view would have been rejected as 'original research'." Is that true? Wikipedia:No original research "refer[s] to material—such as facts, allegations, and ideas—for which no reliable, published sources exist." Galileo Galilei had already published in his lifetime, and even the Roman Inquisition concluded that it could be supported as a possibility. If someone had written: "There is an alternative view, which is possible, but defies the Bible", or even written an article about that world view, would that really have been 'original research'? --Microsoft User 2016 (talk) 17:49, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

See WP:FRINGE; at that point in time, Galileo's theory was a counterpoint to "established" fact that the sun revolved around the earth, and a minority opinion, so at best it would have had a short section in an an article about an Earth-centric view of the solar system, and expressed as a counter-theory but definitely not as fact. What is fortunate is that Wikipedia is dynamic, and that if popular thinking does change, and "long-established" theories are dismantled when new theories are proven to be more appropriate, we can reflect that. --17:57, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
A fascinating question! Leaving aside the fact that my user page simply quotes WP:FLAT, would we have allowed heliocentrism to be treated as non-fringe? I think not. Depending on exactly when "in Galileo's time" refers to, we could have had reliable sources showing that Galileo himself had recanted.
BTW, if anyone wants to move this to a more appropriate village pump or refdesk and leave a link here, I upport that idea. --Guy Macon (talk) 18:11, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
By the way, since User:Guy Macon refers to WP:FLAT, the idea that in Columbus's time (a little more than a century before Galileo) it was commonly thought that the Earth was flat is not true. The Ptolemaic heliocentric view, held by scholars, included a round Earth that the planets went around (not a rotating spherical dome). The idea, especially in the United States, that Columbus argued with King Ferdinand's wise men about the shape of the Earth, is a literary myth invented by Washington Irving, better known today as an author of ghost stories. Columbus argued with King Ferdinand's professors about the size of the Earth. The professors were right. They said that he would either run out of food and water, because the ocean was too wide, or he would run into unknown land. He ran into unknown land. I have my own theory as to why he thought that the Earth was smaller, but it is original research. Robert McClenon (talk) 22:52, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
It is true that many peasants probably believed that the Earth was flat, but both scholars and sailors knew that it was round. In this case the scholars knew its size and the sailor was wrong. Robert McClenon (talk) 22:52, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Why Wikipedia cannot claim the earth is not flat AKA WP:FLAT is quite specific in saying "If Wikipedia had been available around the sixth century [BCE], it would have reported the view that the Earth is flat as a fact and without qualification." The flat earth was indeed the prevailing view in the sixth century BCE. See our article on Flat Earth. Our article on Myth of the flat Earth covers the modern misconception regarding belief in a flat earth during the 15th century CE. If Wikipedia had been available in the time of Columbus or Galileo, we would have correctly identified the earth as round but would have considered the theory that the earth rotates around the sun as a fringe theory. See our articles on Geocentric model, Tychonic system, and Heliocentrism. --Guy Macon (talk) 03:50, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
Now I'm confused. Does "fringe theory" mean it's "original research"? --Microsoft User 2016 (talk) 16:53, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
(E/C)Yes indeed, a very interesting question. I have often thought about this in biological terms with a much more recent example that has occurred in our (well, mine at least!) lifetime. It used to be thought that animals behaved for the benefit of the species. This means that the earliest ideas of the WP:Selfish Gene theory would have been considered "fringe". However, selfish gene theory is now considered as the mainstream scientific. It would have been wonderful to watch this unravel on Wikipedia.DrChrissy (talk) 17:14, 11 February 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── FRINGE is often used in a way that allows some people to impose their point of view on Wikipedia contrary to the weight of sources. This is an excellent thought experiment, because it shows how the "mainstream" beliefs are sometimes wrong. Wikipedia is NOT a "mainsteam" encyclical, despite some people's assertions to that end. There is an essay called MAINSTREAM, but essays are not policy. I could write an easy that says Wikipedia is a caterpillar. It would be wrong. FRINGE is used too often in contradiction to RS and NPOV in attempts to lawyer toward orthodoxy. This is not good. This is actually very harmful. Good sources are good sources whether they are "mainstream " or not. "Mainstream" is aligned with the establishment power structure, so if we allow Wikipedia to be forced into mainstream alignment, that is an establishment political capture of human knowledge. It's no coincidence that too much of Wikipedia in so called "controversial" topics feels like an Inquisition. It sort of is the imposition of establishment beliefs in the record of human knowledge, and it's a moral crime. SageRad (talk) 18:13, 11 February 2016 (UTC)

Of course not a caterpillar – Wikipedia is obviously a centipede, seeing how policy discussions here often are encumbered by The Centipede's Dilemma. — Sebastian 19:50, 11 February 2016 (UTC)

Of course bunk is bunk and whacked conspiracy theories are whacked conspiracy theories. There are problem editors and there are bad sources. But the safeguards against these dangers have gone too far and have enabled a lockdown of many topics and articles into an establishment agenda point of view. The policies are excellent. The FRINGE guideline has been used like a McCarthyism against whatever certain editors declare is "fringe" and thereby it enables a kind of ideological imposition that contradicts the actual policies. SageRad (talk) 18:19, 11 February 2016 (UTC)

What topic has been locked down to an establishment agenda point of view? Wikipedia is a big place and there will be surely be cases where somone has used FRINGE too enthusiastically. However, there are many more cases where FRINGE has been essential to limit the damage of POV edits that seek to inject FUD into mainstream topics. Johnuniq (talk) 22:26, 11 February 2016 (UTC)

Proposal for the film manual of style[edit]

Hi I've been trying to get a draft going to implement a change in wording of the production section in the film:MOS for awhile now. I put up a Request for Comment a couple days ago but so far only two people have commented on it. I would be interested in if you all would take a look and vote. The discussion can be found here Thank You. --Deathawk (talk) 05:43, 11 February 2016 (UTC)

Opinions requested[edit]

Please take a look at User_talk:Fortdj33#Please_explain. I'd like to hear the opinions of other editors on how MOS:DAB should be applied in a case like this one. Urhixidur (talk) 17:49, 11 February 2016 (UTC)

Knowing how time zones are often abbreviated (e.g. Europe time instead of Central European Time is very frequently used when talking with UK people), it is in my view likely Christmas time is used for the Christmas Island Time zone (CXT) (Although some support would be nice. If this is the case it is likely someone (especially a non native speaker of English) may type in Christmas time in Wikipedia looking for the time zone of the island. It would definitely help the reader to find it on the disambiguation page. In fact, if such usage is not uncommon this is exactly what MOS:DABNOENTRY suggests to do.
In any case the Christmas time disambiguation page is a weird page as it basically is a disambiguation page for the Christmas holiday season - and a zillion song titles that are about the Christmas holiday time. So basically it does not disambiguate as everything is about the holiday season. (the exception to this of course being the time zone). Arnoutf (talk) 18:47, 11 February 2016 (UTC)

Public Accounts[edit]

Last year, the Public Account Movement ( caused a stir on Wikipedia, before being driven underground. But we did not cease to exist. We believe that Public Accounts, which anybody can log into and use, will succeed in making Wikipedia into a fairer place for all. What do you think? We want to talk about Public Accounts. --The Public Account Movement Is Back! (talk) 23:58, 11 February 2016 (UTC)

A short rant about article problems[edit]

This edit sums up the root of many problems I see within Wikipedia. It was clearly added in good faith by someone wanting to improve the article, but it violates several content policies or guidelines (sorry, I can never remember which is which), including MOS:LEAD, WP:NOTNEWS, WP:RECENTISM and WP:V. You've all seen examples of what this leads to if nobody is watching the article; you get a whole load of unreadable chaff like "On 10 September 2010 we did this .... On 24 October 2012 we did that .... On 1 April 2015 we did the other", and so on and so on. But the IP hasn't actually done anything wrong per se other than just demonstrate inexperience with the project, which as we all know is not a crime.

The correct solution is to get a reliable source for the claim (not hard) and move the text to the relevant section in the article (not hard either). However, this action took me about 2 minutes, while hitting the "revert" button takes 10 seconds, including the time to write "rv unsourced" or (even worse) "rvv" in the edit summary - and since fixing up articles is harder work than hitting the "revert" button (or worse, the "block" button), it's small wonder that there aren't enough people around to do it. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 10:13, 12 February 2016 (UTC)

I agree 100%. There has been an influx of "On such and such a date the New York times reported". In some cases articles have turned into chronological timelines of news reports. Mrfrobinson (talk) 10:52, 12 February 2016 (UTC)