Wikipedia:Village pump (idea lab)

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The idea lab section of the village pump is a place where new ideas or suggestions on general Wikipedia issues can be incubated, for later submission for consensus discussion at Village pump (proposals). Try to be creative and positive when commenting on ideas.
Before creating a new section, please note:

Before commenting, note:

  • This page is not for consensus polling. Stalwart "Oppose" and "Support" comments generally have no place here. Instead, discuss ideas and suggest variations on them.
  • Wondering whether someone already had this idea? Search the archives below, and look through Wikipedia:Perennial proposals.
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# as used for numbered lists[edit]

# at the starts of lines makes a numbered list, as is well known. But how can I make the sequence of numbers start with 0 rather than 1? Anthony Appleyard (talk) 16:14, 10 September 2017 (UTC)

Draft of proposal regarding WP:OR and terrorism[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.


  • Terrorism-related pages, especially lists of terrorist events, are plagued by original research and synthesis by editors. On list pages, often list entries are made where the source does not support the label of "terrorism" (e.g., [1], [2], [3], [4], [5]). Other times, the mere mention that ISIL, Al Shabab, or the PKK are suspected appears to prompt editors to add events to the lists, even if terrorism isn't mentioned (e.g., [6], [7]). The issue here is the assumption that all acts by these groups are, by default, terrorism and not some other form of violence such as insurgency, guerrilla tactics, etc. This assumption, while perhaps often correct, still constitutes original research as it is the editor making the connection, not the sources. Currently, the lists of terrorism incidents address this latter issue by including "attacks by violent non-state actors for political, religious, or ideological motive".
  • Related, articles about events often are labeled "terrorism" without proper sourcing or prematurely. This prompted EvergreenFir to make WP:HOLDYOURHORSES because breaking news and first responders too often mislabel events in the initial aftermath. The mere rumor of someone hearing Allahu Akbar sends news reporters and editors into terrorism-labeling mode long before such information is verified by investigators. Examples are the initial reporting on 2011 Norway attacks and 2016 Munich shooting.

Proposed solution: Address this issue by amending WP:OR (or similar policy?) to require:

  1. Reliable sources explicitly label an event or related individuals as "terrorism" or "terrorist" in their own voice or that Reliable sources report that some official related to the investigation of the event (e.g., mayor, police chief, government spokesperson) has used the label "terrorism" or "terrorist". I am hoping that VPIL can help determine exact wording.
  2. Cases where terrorism is "suspected" should be labeled as "suspected" by Wikipedia as well until this suspicion is officially confirmed or denied.

Comments: We understand that carving out a specific topic for special attention in policy pages is undesirable to some editors. However, we believe this deserves special attention because of (1) the seriousness of the label "terrorist", (2) the persistence of the problem across multiple articles, and (3) the contentiousness of the topic vis-a-vis politics and religion. We already have discretionary and general sanctions related to this area (WP:ARB911, WP:ARBAP2, WP:TROUBLES, WP:ARBPIA, WP:GS/ISIL), demonstrating it is a perennial topic for disputes. As such we believe that this broad topic warrants specific attention by Wikipedia policy. The goal of this proposal is to provide clarity to editors and to establish a community norm regarding the application of the label "terrorism".

Signed, EvergreenFir and Doug Weller; Posted by EvergreenFir (talk) 18:40, 12 September 2017 (UTC)

Anyone have any suggestions? EvergreenFir (talk) 20:10, 15 September 2017 (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.

Let editors ask for review?[edit]

I recently noticed on another editable website site that when you try to save your edit there is a prompt like "Ask another editor to review this edit?". I thought this was a marvelous idea. I was a new editor there and the editing was quite complex so I could really relate to the feeling of uncertainty that a new editor feels. When the site asked me to ask another user to review my edit, it felt nice and it was a great way for me to signal that I was uncertain if I'd done something right and I needed help until I get more familiar with the editing on the site. It also tells other users that even if I screwed up an edit that I was participating in good faith. I think such an idea might really work well at Wikipedia too. Perhaps a proposal might be to have by default all edits by IPs and new accounts asking if the editor would like such a review. We'd also have to think about how we'll handle these requests; so ultimately we'd have to upstream a proposal to Mediawiki as a feature request, but what are your general thoughts on the impact on users? Would it help them? Help reader retention? New editor uptake? Etc. Jason Quinn (talk) 15:15, 14 September 2017 (UTC)

The idea sounds good on paper but who will actually review those edits? We already have a review system at WP:AFC which is extremely backlogged, not to mention all other reviews that need to be done. I'd love to see this idea in action but unless the Foundation starts employing reviewers, there will likely not be enough people to handle such requests in a timely fashion Face-confused.svg Regards SoWhy 16:02, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
This idea is really, really good. I can see no drawbacks at all of this idea, and I completely agree with all of the upsides you mentioned. If someone can work on this, that would be awesome. Maybe we could start with a default-on gadget that sends an API call off to a toollabs tool, which logs the edit in a database and makes it visible to a dashboard that volunteers would look at? (I also disagree with what SoWhy said - AfC and all of the other "review" systems that he brings up are for the page creation process, which is necessarily heavyweight. But looking at individual edits would be lightweight, so the backend systems should be correspondingly simple and not complicated.) Enterprisey (talk!) 00:08, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
Not a technical editor but it seems like implementation might be similar to the (likely abandoned) WP:Deferred changes project, where tagged edits will appear at Special:PendingChanges. Rolling out this feature should be done cautiously to prevent pending changes from being severely backlogged, though. Perhaps someone could even finish the deferred changes project while working on this, though that seems unlikely. Darylgolden(talk) Ping when replying 05:29, 16 September 2017 (UTC)

An anti-WP:SOAPBOX task force/notice board?[edit]

The below is transposed from Wikipedia talk:What Wikipedia is not: it got a fair amount of support there (and do please read that conversation), but I'd like to take it a 'level up' and transform it into a concrete proposition, so any input and help would be appreciated.

Since Wikipedia is (one of) the world's most consulted website-references that 'anyone can edit', that makes it a prime target for anyone seeking to WP:SOAPBOX-'broadcast' it. I've seen this a lot in my ~13 years here, but have seen little done to counter it.

It takes a contributor/admin with a lot of patience and experience to see a widespread, organised 'slow attack' pattern any given conflict (because where there's soapboxing, there's most always conflict), but most are too busy/'here and now'-focused to see any larger pattern, and any admin intervening towards the end of such a conflict will find an unreadable talk-page mess almost impossible to unravel, which makes one tend to take claims at face value and only deal with the behavioural aspects of the situation, and this too works to the soapboxers' advantage.

Most of the tactics used to impose and 'enforce' non-WP:V is a 'slow attack' that often passes under the radar (and over the head) of beleaguered admins and Wiki in general. Namely:

  1. Refusal to engage in discussions over challenged content *
  2. Off-wiki networking *
  3. 'Us' and 'them' behaviour *
  4. Poisoning and 'drowning' debate *
  5. Targeting the opposition *
  6. Multiple accounts and frequent name-changing *

While soapboxers learn from their successes and failures, Wikipedia does, too, but soapboxing seems to be still both above and below Wikipedia's mostly 'here and now' radar. But if some patience-laden people conscious of this trend were to populate a task force or notice board dedicated to countering it, it might focus and streamline efforts in that direction, as well as raising vigilance against future occurrences. TP   20:10, 17 September 2017 (UTC)

  • Comment - While I don't object, we also already have WP:NPOVN for point of view issues (including soapboxing) and WP:COIN which can also be used in cases of self-advertizing. We also have WT:WPSPAM where people experienced with link spam can add links on a list to be automatically reverted, or add a pattern to a blacklist. —PaleoNeonate – 21:21, 17 September 2017 (UTC)
Thanks, I've seen these, but they seem to be efforts to treat 'here and now' dilemmas; soapboxing campaigns are often both discreet and long-term (one instance I was involved in (countering) lasted a decade). TP   21:28, 17 September 2017 (UTC)

Second chance for requested articles[edit]

Wikipedia has Wikipedia: Articles for deletion, and it is not all uncommon for an article to go through a second nomination for deletion there. Wikipedia also has Wikipedia: Requested articles, and some requests - such as the request I made some time ago for an article called "Parametric data" - have been there a long time. Would it be possible to have a box in the requested articles box called "Second requests?" I do not know how long articles can remain at Wikipedia: Requested articles without been removed, but if articles cannot remain there indefinitely, this idea might help Wikipedia. Vorbee (talk) 15:47, 19 September 2017 (UTC)

There was an old project called Wikipedia:Articles requested for more than a year that has apparently become defunct. That's unfortunate. Personally I think the whole "requested article" process could be greatly improved. For example, it should track the original poster, the date posted, allow for a longer description, have a way to add suggested sources and/or signed comments, flag when a request is older than some interval, and have a process to remove completed or non-notable requests. Right now it's too informal and subject to vandalism.
As for parametric data, isn't that covered by parametric statistics? Or do you have something else in mind? Praemonitus (talk) 22:13, 20 September 2017 (UTC)