Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)

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

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

« Older discussions, 117, 118, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137

Adding a consensus to NPOL[edit]

I have recently encountered a draft about a politician for lost an election and which is not notable. However when arguing with the creator, I have realized that our stance on sources related to elections is simply not covered in policy or guidelines. Could this be fixed?

@Primefac: told this person: The "significant independent coverage" that is required for these individuals must be from outside the political sphere to show that they are independently notable from the campaign.

In my opinion this sums up the consensus well, yet I can only find the following to support it, from WP:POLOUTCOMES; "Losing candidates for office below the national level who are otherwise non-notable are generally deleted. They are not moved to user space for fear of establishing a precedent that any premature article about an as-yet-unelected candidate for office can be kept in draftspace pending election returns, effectively making draftspace a repository for campaign brochures (see Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Siân Gwenllian.)"

WP:NPOL is totally useless for this, as it does not say such politicians are not notable (instead points to the GNG), nor does it deal with the issue of which sources are acceptable. WP:ROUTINE is not detailed enough to be directly usable, as it only mentions events, and WP:BLP1E does not mention elections or politics. I know it is possible to draw a inference of the consensus from these guidelines, but there is nothing that directly covers the issue of the sources.

It could be argued that they are only passing mentions, as they focus on the circumstance of the campaign, and would not otherwise mention the individual, but this is not defined in guidelines either. Sources related to a person, which do discuss the person at length, but which are doing this for the purposes of covering an election campaign, are clearly not usable per WP:ROUTINE. This is not made clear in WP:ROUTINE, in the absence of something being made clear, it is simply my interpretation of the guidelines.

Consider the draft creator has said things like: "Thanks for providing your logic. However your phrase "outside the political sphere" appears to be your personal interpretation of the criteria about "independent, reliable sources", no? There is also guidance about "non-trivial / non-merely-directory-like details" of the news coverage. The Cairns Post (newspaper) & Sydney Morning Herald (newspaper) & 4CA (AM radio) & ABC Far North (FM radio) both offered multiple, independent, reliable, in depth coverage of the campaign..." and "I will now quote the sentence I wish you would acknowledge: Just being an elected local official, or an unelected candidate for political office, does not guarantee notability, although such people can still be notable if they meet the primary notability criterion of "significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject of the article". Why are Wikipedia editors so intent to judge the content of sources. Just check for the above qualities (only) please!!" (see my talk page).

If I have missed some glaringly obvious guideline that covers this then I apologize in advance. Α Guy into Books § (Message) -  12:18, 23 September 2017 (UTC)

Please provide a link to the article in question... It is impossible to comment meaningfully without reviewing the specifics of the case. I gather that there was some media coverage... so a lot depends on what the media coverage about him/her says. We would need to review the sources. Certainly a losing politician can be considered notable (example: Jimmy McMillan) ... but that does not mean that all losing politicians are considered notable. We have to judge each case on its merits. Blueboar (talk) 14:26, 23 September 2017 (UTC)
The article in question is Draft:Kurt_Pudniks Skinduptruk (talk) 14:56, 23 September 2017 (UTC)
  • I would like to clarify and expand upon my statements (which I still stand by) on the draft and my talk page. WP:POLOUTCOMES is a better essay than WP:NPOL because it better describes the losing candidates. In any election cycle there is bound to be a significant amount of coverage about all parties involved - after all, how else would be public know who to vote for? However, all of this coverage pertains to one "event", meaning it falls under the second point of WP:BLP1E. This is why I requested that there be independent reliable coverage of Pudniks from outside the election cycle - it would show that he's more than just a guy who failed to get elected. Primefac (talk) 16:08, 23 September 2017 (UTC)
I think it more accurate to say that the coverage all relates to a chain of events (the campaign) culminating in one event (the election). I'm not sure that BLP1E was intended to apply to this.
This may be my US outlook on elections... but I doubt anyone from the US would apply 1E to a US election - where we first have primary elections and then the general election ... each of which could be considered separate "events" (even though they are part of the same overarching political process)... as well as numerous campaign rallies, debates, fundraisers, etc. (which could also be considered separate "events"). Blueboar (talk) 18:49, 23 September 2017 (UTC)
Reddit is not a credible & significant source that is independent of the subject of the article (me, with CoI declared on my user page on 17 Aug 2017 - Aguyintomagazines has been emailed about this)! I wish wiki editors spent more time pondering policy than muck-raking unreliable internet forums (admin Spez has admitted to editing posts at will). By the way, on a serious note, the basic error in Primefac's judgement above seems to be the phrase "independent of the subject of the article". You are reading that as independent of the topic of politics. I think the intent was sources written by authors whom are independent of the person the article is about! With due respect, may I explain that it was quite significant for a candidate in Far North Queensland to get a story in newspapers from southern Australia. ie. No other Qld Greens' candidates got such cover in the 2016 campaign (that I can find). Aus rough humour aside, please accept my sincere thanks you for your interest and time to explore this point of policy. Skinduptruk (talk) 10:22, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
Has the proverbial cat got your tongues?? 😸 Skinduptruk (talk) 00:36, 1 October 2017 (UTC)
On User_talk:Chrissymad#please_define_.22in_depth_coverage.22.3F.3F Chrissymad offers many pigeon holed opinions re the sources, but sadly misses this policy point entirely. Where can I get a fair review around here?!
Aguyintobooks, Drewmutt, Blueboar, Primefac
Skinduptruk (talk) 15:46, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
I would argue that Chrissy's breakdown of the references illustrates exactly why the draft continues to be declined. I'm not sure what policy point you're referencing, since the first line of WP:42 quite clearly says significant coverage, not "two dozen sources that might happen to mention the subject." Primefac (talk) 15:54, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
Skinduptruk What point have I missed, exactly? CHRISSYMAD ❯❯❯¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 15:59, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for the prompt reply. Please point me to where "significant" is defined? I can only find "not mere mentions" as policy guidance. The point I think you missed: editors are meant to only check against wiki policy, in this case, multiple, reliable, independent, significant (aka not mere mentions) coverage. Instead, you just keep testing these definitions. Please quote policy, or propose / argue the case for your subjective decisions re these aspects listed above. Have a nice day! Skinduptruk (talk) 16:08, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
You defined it yourself - "not mere mentions". Nowhere on Chrissy's list do I see anything that meets the very list you just now posted. Primefac (talk) 16:18, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
I am with Primefac on this, but will add that basically the current consenus on the meaning of policy is against the inclusion of this article at his time given the current sources. By all means you may be featured on Wikipedia at a later date,when you are more notable and you may want to collect sources for this. And perhaps petition a biographical dictionary or reliable author to feature your biography in a book, but failing that, and failing actually being elected. sorry. Dysklyver 19:15, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
Please define "mere mention"? With examples of other bios on wiki? Is this consensus an offline discussion or...? I think we are looking at the same SMH link and not agreeing. Mere mention was meant to guard from directory listings. The SMH was a professional reporter & sitting member of Qld Parliament, yet you called it "puff piece / interview" which seems very harsh! Also please re-read above on unelected candidates. A Den Jentyl Ettien Avel Dysklyver made an error saying "and failing actually being elected" Skinduptruk (talk) 23:50, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
Another editor, another assertion over & above wiki policy! The theme that is developing here, is that wiki policy asks for objective review of the source, not a subjective review of the content of the source, yes? 🤔🤔🤔 Skinduptruk (talk) 00:09, 16 October 2017 (UTC)


Actually, Skinduptruk, your starting point is wrong. The English Wikipedia's "rules" aren't a collection of laws that have to be followed, and everything else must be ignored. See WP:NOTLAW and WP:IAR for just two of the written policies that say this.

But: as an editor who has worked on notability guidelines for years (and years), let me help you understand the point. When you're trying to determine whether a person qualifies for a separate article, then the goal (see WP:WHYN) is to see whether it would be possible to write a decent article (not just a few sentences) while only referring to high-quality, independent, secondary reliable sources. If you can't do that, then it will be impossible to comply with WP:NPOV (which requires that an actual majority of the article about a person be based on source other than the person – since an article that's 90% based on the person/company/political organization's own sources wouldn't really be "neutral").

So a handful of "mere mentions" won't help much towards that goal, will they? It doesn't matter how many sources say "Alice Expert is the head of BigOrg"; if that's all the sources say, then you'd only end up with one short sentence in that hypothetical independent-source-based article.

If you're looking for mechanical rules of thumb, then look for at least two WP:Independent sources that contain multiple consecutive paragraphs about the subject (not including quotations from the subject), ideally 500+ words directly about the subject. Your target is to be able to write at least 10 non-redundant, encyclopedic sentences based entirely on independent sources. If you can reach that target, then your subject will be almost AFD proof. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:28, 17 October 2017 (UTC)

Straw poll on the current view of WP:NOT#NEWS[edit]

Recently I proposed a change at WT:NOT which related to WP:NOT#NEWS (Wikipedia is not a newspaper) which was taken through an RFC that closed recently here (permalink to that) It closed as no consensus, but I would recommended reading the !votes and discussion of that, as it highlights a currently growing issue on, how are we supposed to handle current events/news.

A key factor is the current fate of Wikinews. It is, as mentioned several times in the discussion above, effectively a dead project, stuck in a catch-22 problem to get people to use it. There is clearly both editor desire and readership interest to see current news provided in a wiki-style, and has generally done well before in covering current events. But events over the last few years (particularly over the last 2 years) have created a lot of editor tension and behavioral problems related to current event coverage (given what passes by AN/ANI/ARBCOM and various policy noticeboards), and highlights the differences between what an encyclopedia is and what a newspaper is. Their goals aren't fully mutually exclusive but there are several conflicting goals. WP:RECENTISM highlights many of these issues.

So I figure that to try to resolve this is to at least start with a straw poll, not designed to establish any immediate change in policy or guideline, but only to see where the current perception is of how should be handling NOT#NEWS. Testing the wind, to speak. To that, there's principle three options to consider to get an idea where an editor/reader's interest in this may be as to determine the preferred method to go forward, if needed.

  1. The current situation for NOT#NEWS is fine or only needs some small adjustments. This might include defining a guideline to help with writing current events articles (akin to WP:Writing about fiction), but likely no change to policy.
  2. NOT#NEWS should be more strongly enforced, and limiting our current event coverage. This might include stronger enforcement of WP:NEVENTS, additional policies relating to NOT#NEWS, encouraging/putting more current news articles to draft space, pushing more content/editors to Wikinews, and the like.
  3. NOT#NEWS should be less strong enforced, and expanding our current event coverage. This might include outright removal of NOT#NEWS, adjusting how NOT#NEWS and NEVENTS are written and handled to allow more news, effectively merge Wikinews in, and the like.

As this is not an attempt to find a solution right now; I would fully expect that any proposed idea that comes out of that would be under a full Wiki RFC to consider before implementation. So a straw poll is best here. I would request you simply !vote in the appropriate section below, keeping threaded discussion to the provided discussion section. --MASEM (t) 16:23, 25 September 2017 (UTC)

Option 1: WP:NOT#NEWS is working as is[edit]

Or: The coverage of current events on is about right or only needs fine adjustment

  1. What should happen is the creation of a taskforce who routinely checks on news items that don't have longterm impacts. We should be posting items our readers are interested in, without our readers, this is all pointless, but I agree that some things which are instantly recorded as "news" may not have such a long-term impact as to be considered encyclopedic for a long-term view. This is a natural conflict between (say) an "in the news" section and a paper encyclopedia which records genuinely uber-notable events. We should not divest our readers of the things they want to see just because of some snobbish and contrived criterion. The Rambling Man (talk) 20:24, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
  2. First choice. Each time I've tried to get articles deleted for violating NOTNEWS (such as Richard Matt) the AfD has gone nowhere - and on each occasion, in hindsight, the judgment of the community has proven correct. There are a good number of editors who like to write about current events and overall I think they do a good job and provide useful articles that bring readers to the project and enhance Wikipedia's reputation. In the discussion at the NOTNEWS talk page there was a great deal of "it's terrible" comments but little in the way of specific examples of a need for change. Coretheapple (talk) 21:25, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
  3. I'm not seeing the need for stricter enforcement, and I doubt the practicality of trying to stamp out current events articles. Wikipedia will be what Wikipedians want it to be, and this is what they want it to be. If that doesn't jibe with NOTNEWS, then jettison NOTNEWS. Beyond My Ken (talk) 21:32, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
  4. stricter enforcement will not be useful/effective. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 21:35, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
  5. First choice. --Jayron32 14:04, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  6. The folks who are busy AfDing current events article are generally not busy AfDing old-current-events articles from 10+ years ago. Why is that? Because human nature enjoys working with current events, be it inclusionist or deletionist. It's just a manifestation of what people want to work on and how. For those AfDing the old articles, they will need more justification than citing the NOTNEWS alone, like if there has been longer term impacts, consequences of the event. -- GreenC 14:18, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  7. First choice. -- E.M.Gregory (talk) 21:03, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  8. First choice. NOTNEWS, properly applied, strikes a fair balance between keeping encyclopedic material and avoiding the truly mundane topics that also get news coverage. The problem is that there is not much guidance, and too many people think that NOTNEWS is carte-blanche to delete any articles about current events. Wikinews is dead and its writing style is anathema to Wikipedia's. Whether we like it or not, Wikipedia's article on a breaking news event is often the most complete, up-to-date, and unbiased coverage available, which is why so many readers come to us. We should be helping those readers, not hindering them. ---- Patar knight - chat/contributions 20:49, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  9. First choice. petrarchan47คุ 18:08, 28 September 2017 (UTC)
  10. It is working as it is. The "news articles" are relevant for Wikipedia. So the question here is: should we wait a year or two or longer with writing an article on the topic (since that would be the amount of time needed until the entire investigation and law system is done) or should we write an article on the event and update it. And as we clearly can see: there is a) an interest from Wikipedia users and editors at keeping it the way it is and b) there are enough editors editing it, so the information is from reliable sources and updated very quickly. The "current event" at the head of the article is pointing out, that information can quickly change. The product is actually quite good. Of course we could wait - but that would make Wikipedia less useful (who cares about the event in 5 years from now!?) and the articles would get worse, because less users would edit them.--Albin Schmitt (talk) 14:58, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  11. First choice, lets work on the fine things first before going into major changes. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 14:59, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  12. First choice. We're never going to get this perfect, when an event is fresh knowing whether it will get persistent coverage over time, etc., is a matter of judgment. On the whole, I think we do okay, I see as many things that appear errors of inclusion as errors of exclusion. --joe deckertalk 15:08, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  13. You're clearly forum shopping, looking for a result that will justify your predetermined solution. No evidence that the policy is a problem other than a few disgruntled editors who won't WP:DROPTHESTICK. Wikinews is dead, editors and readers come here for encyclopedic looks at current topics. They have already spoken loud and clear and have been doing so for years. Gamaliel (talk) 15:17, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  14. I've been working around current events on Wikipedia for 10+ years. During that entire time there have always been people who think we spend too much time covering the news, and there have also been people who think we should do more to cover the news. Personally, I think we get the balance about right most of the time. If I had to choose in the moment, I would probably err on the side of more news articles rather than less. We can always go back and clean-up / delete the less significant news stories later. However, in general, producing a lasting encyclopedic summary out of major breaking news is one of the things we are actually quite good at. This should be encouraged, and for the most part I think it has been. Dragons flight (talk) 15:19, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  15. Disagree with the way this poll has been presented and hope it will not be used as any form of consensus. I don't think a problem has been properly framed – to base it on Wikinews being a "key factor" seems completely out of step with what most Wikipedians do with current events. Wikinews is irrelevant, hasn't been a factor and shouldn't be a factor. As User:Gamaliel alluded to, I cannot avoid thinking that this being the third massive discussion about this (one, two, and this) in as many months is counterproductive and asking the same question over and over again in hopes of getting a different answer. Instead, I'll assume good faith. But I must say this is quite taxing while not really moving the conversation forward. -- Fuzheado | Talk 18:45, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  16. I agree that this appears to be forum-shopping, with essentially the same issues raised with slightly altered language. Even before this is over an effort is being made to generate "observations" i.e., consensus on specific points. Figureofnine (talkcontribs) 18:54, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  17. Seems fine; what should happen is not the creation of new rules, but rather than enforcement of our current ones. And I agree with other editors who say that this "straw poll" was not properly presented. Neutralitytalk 12:28, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
  18. I don't see any problem with the current balance; some people are quick to create articles, other people are quick to nominate them for deletion, and there is senseless and futile knee-jerk reaction on both sides, which tends to settle over time into more reasonable results. We'd also need a demonstrated consensus to change anything anyway; we can't just legislate from on high to target the articles we want deleted at AFD. postdlf (talk) 15:10, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
  19. First choice Gandydancer (talk) 15:25, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
  20. Seems to be working about right the way it is. Some people abuse the guideline to try to get rid of stuff they don't like, but regardless of what happens everything sorts itself out in the end through discussion and becomes obvious with (or without) WP:SUSTAINED coverage. Truly notable subjects will continue to get coverage, and those that are only covered for a short time will get deleted eventually. People on both sides need to realize that there is WP:NORUSH. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 13:14, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
  21. Sure, support aswell. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 02:27, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
  22. Theb alance seems to be working well--as judged by the trend decisions at AfD, there is general agreement on the boundaries, tho sometimes sharp disagreement in specific cases. No change in rules will eliminate that sort of disagreement. DGG ( talk ) 16:49, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
  23. Our status quo agreement per RS is the way to go. No need to restrict any further. --QEDK () 19:30, 14 October 2017 (UTC)

Option 2: WP:NOT#NEWS should be more strongly enforced[edit]

Or: should have significantly less coverage of current events

  1. We definitely need to be stricter. Blueboar (talk) 20:11, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
  2. Per the fact that WP:TRUMPSCANDALAFD is pretty much standard these days and it can go any way you want. A lot of the keep or no consensus AfDs eventually end up deleted the second go round or merged. Creating clearer standards than the GNG for current events is important, and NOTNEWS is the obvious first place to start with clarifying what is and isn't acceptable to include in Wikipedia immediately. Also, per my comments below, the biggest issue with not enforcing NOTNEWS is that we spend an inordinate amount of time having to deal with enforcing BLP policy amidst shouting and screaming that because something is so notable it must not be covered by BLP policy. This could be avoided both for the good of the encyclopedia and for the subjects of the articles if we encforced NOTNEWS more strongly. TonyBallioni (talk) 20:17, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
  3. and this should include daily and weekly updates of sports tallies, film takings and so on. Here we are just acting as a mirror site riding on the websites that specialize in those types of information. Concurrently the main page "in the news" section should be scrapped, it's like a pile of last week's newspapers: Noyster (talk), 23:00, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
  4. I think we could strengthen and clarify these guidelines a bit. Kaldari (talk) 00:09, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  5. NOTNEWS needs to be stricter. I don't like inclusionists claiming that a piece of Trumpcruft deserves to be included because it has a couple reliable sources. KMF (talk) 00:50, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  6. I would support allowing for an inter-wiki redirect for these topics, to aid in enforcement. Hurricane Harvey was obviously notable as it was happening, but even there it would be better to have people do live updates of that page on Wikinews. With SUL there's no editor burden to editing on a different Wiki domain. power~enwiki (π, ν) 01:07, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
    Wikinews is largely a failed project that doesn't really report on any of the major news events that we are discussing here. Just pointing that out as an example of why the interwiki links wouldn't likely work. TonyBallioni (talk) 01:51, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
    I'm not familiar with the details of why it failed, but I'm aware that it's mostly dead. Pointing editors from en.wikipedia to it (for certain topics) would need to be part of a plan to revive it. power~enwiki (π, ν) 02:46, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  7. Above points taken on Wikinews and the inanity of repeated "current event" AfDs. I don't know what good additional "rules" will do here, but I do think it would be smart to funnel/interwiki our less encyclopedic topics into Wikinews articles, or at least reach out to the English Wikinews editors to see how the content may be transferred fruitfully. (Has anyone reached out?) On the other end of the predicament, I think better enforcement of summary style for new topics makes for better encyclopedic coverage. Standalone topics tend to collect all kinds of overly specific detail and tone unfit for a general audience. czar 03:05, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  8. As per Tony. While I agree with the Option 1 comments that stronger enforcement of WP:NOTNEWS as a whole in the moment isn't realistic and at times can be counterproductive, there are certain aspects of it (for example WP:BLP as Tony says) which are IMO incredibly important. And although more bureaucracy is really not the best way to deal with anything, I think that it could be useful to have some sort of review of current events articles a certain amount of time after creation to determine if it meets the notability criteria that can't be determined while it's still in the normal news cycle (WP:SUSTAINED, for example). The ideal solution would be for people to wait before creating articles instead of having them nominated for deletion immediately and then having those discussions closed with a "wait and see" type result, but that really isn't going to happen. ansh666 08:57, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  9. For reasons of notability and BLP. Fram (talk) 12:06, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  10. And this can be enforced as soon as admins discount the "wait and see" tactics inclusionists employ at AfD. This has become the most popular rationale to keep an article when it fails the actual substance of WP:EVENTCRIT. Or discredit the "easily passes GNG" votes which is not the case on a news event. Another thing we need consensus for is converting WP:RAPID to an essay; it contradicts itself and has no basis on notability yet inclusionists use it as a safeguard for deletion.TheGracefulSlick (talk) 16:56, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  11. My idea for stronger enforcement would perhaps involve changes to policy for a, presumed, "immediate" forced merger to existing articles of breaking news, say to last for at least a week or two - perhaps with a breaking news merger noticeboard and project, and a simultaneous allowing of a "draft" article that is indexed. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 20:50, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  12. Wikipedia has stupidly encouraged the hoi polloi to reflexively come here to post their own truth, aided and abetted by the overenthusiastic among us who seek to write about every current event. Not only do many of these creations fail notability criteria, we give their subjects short shrift by parroting the contemporaneous screed from mere journalists. Chris Troutman (talk) 00:58, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
  13. News coverage of current events is and should be treated as primary sources. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. While we err on the side of more coverage by allowing some articles to rely mostly on primary sources, events that are entirely and solely sourceable to news media should not be covered by Wikipedia. This is why we made Wikinews. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 02:00, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
  14. Per Mendaliv and other above. Whether Wikinews is functioning or not, it doesn't change the fact that we're an encyclopedia, not a news outlet. Ealdgyth - Talk 14:12, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
  15. Too many people think if it was in the papers it must be notable. Many things are in the papers becasue they are interesting and satify people's thirst for something to engage their interest - which sells papers - but they are not notable in the scheme of things. The internet has made all this information so much more readily available but run-of-the-mill events have been happening for millenia. One only needs compare the ratio of recent events recorded here to the similar events that happened 30, 50 or 100 years ago. This encyclopedia is fast becoming the Readers Digest version of online newspapers. ClubOranjeT 19:40, 28 September 2017 (UTC)
  16. I am not sure we can actually enforce NOTNEWS anymore, as people have become used to Wikipedia being pretty good (and a lot better than Wikinews) at covering current events. However, I think we should at least try. As a first step, maybe we can replace the "In the news" section of the Main Page by a link to Wikinews? —Kusma (t·c) 21:26, 28 September 2017 (UTC)
    @Kusma: For what it's worth, that has been proposed before and shot down because of inactivity at en.wn. ―Justin (koavf)TCM 22:22, 28 September 2017 (UTC)
    @Koavf: I think our ITN section is one of the things that cause inactivity at Wikinews. —Kusma (t·c) 08:56, 29 September 2017 (UTC)
  17. We should be stricter with this, especially given the recent influx of political articles being created preemptively. Jdcomix (talk) 17:16, 29 September 2017 (UTC)
  18. I think the basic problem here is that Wikipedia operates on an idiosyncratic definition of secondary sources that includes news reports. Everybody outside Wikipedia regards news reports as primary sources, so we should do the same, and follow our basic principle of basing articles on genuine secondary sources, which can include some content published in newspapers, such as profiles and background articles that look at events over a long term, but not contemporaneous news reports. (talk) 19:48, 29 September 2017 (UTC)
    1. I agree with 86.17 on the "secondary source problem": WP:Secondary does not mean independent. However, I think it's a bit more complicated than that. WP:PRIMARYNEWS covers some of the differences between a primary news source (e.g., eyewitness news reports) and a secondary source that is published in a newspaper (e.g., news analysis). WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:16, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
  19. Per User:Noyster (great reasoning)....but trying to enforce that would be daunting....endless editwars and RfC's. --Moxy (talk) 19:58, 29 September 2017 (UTC)
  20. I agree with several of the points in the comments above, ultimately boiling down to "I support the existence of WP:NOTNEWS for the reasons we have it in the first place." In the interest of thinking about enforcement strategies, I'll say again that this seems like a perfect use of the draftspace. See, although Wikinews hasn't done so well, Wikipedia does sometimes cover news well (that doesn't mean we should be doing so, of course -- I'll bet we could do lots of the things from WP:NOT well). Because many of the subjects do turn out to be notable, I see no reason why we shouldn't use the draft space to capitalize on short-term interest for the benefit of the long-term article. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 02:02, 30 September 2017 (UTC)
    That's an interesting observation about draft space. My experience of it has been that it is used as an excuse to delete articles about topics that don't qualify for deletion under policy and that should be developed in main space where they are visible to potential editors, as has always been a central part of the wiki process, but this seems like a valid use of that space. (talk) 09:52, 30 September 2017 (UTC)
  21. To abandon or weaken NOTNEWS is a counsel of despair IMO. I hope to have time to leave a longer post over the next few days, but believe we should clarify (to ourselves at least), that we are notnews for good reasons. These include that we undertake a longer-term responsibility to the subject, to give the more complete and rounded picture than that revealed in yesterday's headlines. I agree that it would be nearly impossible to put a 'full embarge' on news articles, and many of the 'big event' ones are well-written and accurate surprisingly quickly. However, IMO, it is a simple mathematical inevitability that the more we become simply a 'news archive', the less we will have any encyc. character or purpose. Pincrete (talk) 11:22, 1 October 2017 (UTC) … … ps I endorse the "is fast becoming the Readers Digest version of online newspapers" comment above, I wish I'd thought of the analogy! Pincrete (talk) 11:28, 1 October 2017 (UTC)
  22. Stricter. I agree with Pincrete. BLP is a major issue, as are the seismic changes (hm, is that hyperbole) in not just American but other countries' resulting in a large number of new articles, as mentioned above, and new editors with no knowledge of our guidelines and often SPAs. Doug Weller talk 14:02, 1 October 2017 (UTC)
  23. Same fix I've proposed before, which is a policy WP:Criteria for Speedy Incubation which is like WP:CSD.  A new criteria allows a breaking news article to be moved to draftspace, with the mainspace title being salted for 7 to 14 days.  An AfD in progress gets procedurally closed WP:NPASR.  The problem I'm seeing is that AfDs are spinning their wheels analyzing notability with a moving target.  As I posted yesterday at DRV, the problem pushes forward to other forums when decisions are made based on moving-target notability.  Unscintillating (talk) 20:24, 1 October 2017 (UTC)
  24. Stricter. I'm glad to see this straw poll because I've often wondered about WP:NOTNEWS myself. While Wikpedia is fast becoming a gutter press, some of the more serious news items also belong on Wikinews. I don't know how we can achieve this. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 00:32, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  25. Stricter. There is far too much insertion of trivial news events, commentary about our subjects and lengthy quotations. It gets in the way of knowledge. I am developing a solution. Join me. - Shiftchange (talk) 00:55, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  26. Stricter. Too many articles are being created which have a splash in the news with no lasting notability. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 14:57, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  27. Agreed. Creating lasting enyclopedic articles with proven information backed by references in solid reliable sources is something the wiki system does (perhaps suprisingly) very well. Mimicking the National Inquirer and TMZ, not so much. Andrew Lenahan - Starblind 17:13, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  28. Definitely. And in particular the insistence on lasting interest in a subject is widely disregarded. Mangoe (talk) 22:04, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  29. There is definitely a problem of people with WP:RECENTISM forgetting that we want encyclopedic knowledge, not blow-by-blows of unfolding events simply because they are sourced. That can range in the short term of a few hours or events happening over a day or two. Sometimes, an event is going to take a longer time to determine whether it's truly a significant event or not. Lawsuits are a good example of the latter where they came take time, sometimes years, but you get people pushing to things like ambulance chasing suits to articles because a newspaper reported that someone got sued (as opposed to the court decision that establishes the encyclopedic value). I'm not sure how we can stress that Wikipedia takes the long view even more though. Kingofaces43 (talk) 22:25, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  30. I am mostly in sympathy with this view. Many articles about recent events are simply summarized news reports, often contemporaneous to the event, with little or no long-term view. It's basically a news feed. On the other hand, at the beginning stages, a summary of the various news reports is the only thing known about the topic, and many people come to Wikipedia to get a decent overview. It's something Wikipedia does passably well, though there are many distortions involved. My instinct is that Wikipedia should not be summarizing news; that's not its job, and BLP issues also frequently arise. Kingsindian   02:12, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
  31. Example: Every time someone who works for Big Company A tweets a stupid thing and gets fired, people run screaming to Big Company A's article to tack it on or to create a "Controversies" section. Wp:NotNews needs to be beefed up to be a bulwark against the headline-of-the-moment news cycle. TheValeyard (talk) 04:08, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
  32. Stricter. As I often try to parse bias, as opposed to going into edit wars, the "value" of perceived editors over recent events ends up in clear bias and conflated news items, with loooooong talk pages of arguing what is notable or noteworthy, when in reality, if they waited an hour, they'd get confirmation or an RS. I just supported an AfD for "reactions" for the Vegas shooting, because it was full of "my prayers and sympathies"... from Mariah Carey, for example. Just as I support removing conjecture on weapons used, etc., if Wiki is to read like an Encyclopedia, then something that has hard fact that will be released in the coming days or even hours, including wild speculation from people not on the scene is actually the currently supported way to do it on the 2017 Las Vegas Strip shooting. In fact, the name of the page itself is a bit wonky, because it wasn't on the strip and didn't target the strip. (And actually was performed within confines known as the South Strip, which makes a bit of a difference geographically.) As an encyclopedic entry, it would be named something like Jason Aldean Concert Shooting or Route 91 Harvest Music Festival Shooting. Alas, someone had to rush it to Wiki and rush to slam in a bunch of conjecture and unrelated facts. Trying to bring sanity to edit wars when that happens is nigh impossible. Avoiding the mess in the first place would be ideal. Seola (talk) 05:36, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
    I should also add, like others mention, when an event may or may not be notable waxes and wanes. There are a great many stub pages of events that no one can remember and no one looks for. I come across them and try to clean them or if I can't, I nom for AfD. And invariably, some random editor comes by and insists that nothing on Wiki should ever be removed because it was justified "at the time". There is just too many of these junk articles as it is. Putting up stricter guidelines would avoid errant words, phrases or sentences that also often happen when edit wars are going on, especially when vandalism is missed, because so many edits are happening at once.Seola (talk) 05:40, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
  33. Wikipedia's structure makes it far too easy for any user to create an article about the latest minor controversy, meme, or viral incident without meeting criteria or consensus that the page should exist, while far too hard to remove an article that shouldn't be here. The proliferation of news sites that piggyback on each other's work without independently providing notability undermines the GNG and in turn the project as ephemeral topics all have their own low-quality articles. We should also encourage more summarizing into main or related articles, rather than permitting subarticles to be made for so many little things. (See also: also the awful "International reaction to..." quotefarm articles). Reywas92Talk 06:22, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
  34. Realised I hadn't actually !voted. Per my comments elsewhere and below regarding current news coverage. Only in death does duty end (talk) 10:12, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
  35. It should be more strongly enforced, but in an even-handed manner that treats similar situations similarly, rather than in an ad hoc or partisan manner. I’d suggest that we more strongly discourage material about recent news that relies on primary sources, including newspaper opinion pieces and blog posts that have not been deemed worthy of mention in reliable secondary sources. We could also discourage material about recent news that names people who are expected to remain non-public figures. If we carve out particular areas like this for special treatment, then we can make good progress toward enforcing NotNews in a way that isn’t apt to change e.g. when the political shoe is on the other foot. Anythingyouwant (talk) 23:35, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
  36. An encyclopedia does not need any of the transiently popular "stories". Rentier (talk) 23:58, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
  37. As as been said, we want to report the controversy, not to be art of it. One of the main issues are probably a nees to clarify notability (say a election result is immediatelly notable, some fact about the latest shooting may be or not - and we should play on the safe side). That WikiNews is not active (or not) is not a reason to have news(ish) articles here. If we have no "news" here, probably WikiNews would work better - better connection / linking to and from may benefit all: editors and readers of both tendencies. "Sell" it as "the wikipedia of recent events", link to it for day-to-day timelines, and so on. - Nabla (talk) 18:27, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
  38. Only choice. This also works to counter systemic bias in favour of northern hemisphere, western news. Stifle (talk) 15:56, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
  39. Absolutely. Recent news articles are too often irreparable messes created with the presumption that an AP/Reuters report parroted by half a dozen news portals constitutes eternal notability, and hijacked by editors with a chip on their shoulder who edit war until the subject (doomed to "no consensus" on AfD) falls into oblivion a few months later. I think Wikipedia would do better without the product of such labour. DaßWölf 18:25, 14 October 2017 (UTC)

Option 3: WP:NOT#NEWS should be less strongly enforced[edit]

Or: should have more expanded coverage of current events

  1. Weak support here - I dislike the current push against current events, but I don't think that we should fully become like a newspaper (i.e. we should take into account the lower reliability of reporting on current events and require more sources than usual to pass notability for current events). RileyBugz会話投稿記録 18:24, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
  2. It'll be what it's going to be, and if that doesn't align with NOTNEWS, get rid of it. Beyond My Ken (talk) 21:34, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
  3. Support. The problem with "NOT#News" is that a) it is a badly written policy, like all of WP:NOT, because it is all written as part of a list of negative things rather than as a direct statement of policy, and b) none of its "enforcement" (i.e. taking out articles about things because you dislike them politically, which is what that means in practice) has anything to do with what it says. Conversely, when you see a blindingly obvious violation of the text as written -- like the list of current watches and warnings in Hurricane Maria, temporary content that is being taken out the moment it expires, complete with a special disclaimer at the top of the article -- nobody seems to give a damn. I say if you have a dog that can't hunt and can't point and can't fetch but it can sink its teeth into every car tire, neighbor and postman that goes past, it's time to think about getting rid of the dog. Wnt (talk) 11:54, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  4. Second choice. The problem with WP:NOTNEWS is that it is over-used by people who think it means "If it is reported by newspapers somewhere, it is AUTOMATICALLY not appropriate for Wikipedia." which is fantastic over-reach. News coverage does not disqualify or invalidate Wikipedia content, and yet I would (unscientifically estimate) that WP:NOTNEWS is envoked more than half of the time as a deletion rationale rather than as style guidance. --Jayron32 14:06, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  5. I guess this is my second choice too, thank you Jayron32 for reminding me of that option. I agree with Jayron32 that NOTNEWS is overused, and if any changes are necessary they should be in that direction. Coretheapple (talk) 14:35, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  6. Second choice per Jayron32 and Coretheapple. NOTNEWS should work as it is, but it often doesn't. ---- Patar knight - chat/contributions 20:58, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  7. Second choice. The problem with WP:NOTNEWS is that it is over-used by people who think it means "If it is reported by newspapers somewhere, it is AUTOMATICALLY not appropriate for Wikipedia." To this I want to add that our readers expect certain kinds of news stories to appear on Wikipedia, and that is no bad thing, not least because it has long seemed to me that the urge to add a bit of information to a breaking news story - or even to start an article on a news event, seems ot sometimes be an entry point for new editors. Of course, more editors would be the best solution to this and many problems and the nasty aggression on exhibit seems to drive editors away. I think one solution is for editors to hold off bringing articles to AfD on NOTNEWS rationals for about 3 months, a waiting period would reduce the Sturm und Drang factor.E.M.Gregory (talk) 21:02, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  8. Support—Current events are a way to capture editing energy and to rapidly compare developing information. It's one of Wikipedia's unique contributions to global knowledge, based on the fact that it's the only near-real-time encyclopedia. There should be strong enforcement of standards (BLP, V) on current events stories, but patient evaluation of notability for borderline cases. The quick but byzantine disputes over notability during a highly charged time pose emotionally charged questions that new editors are not ready for: are these atrocity victims significant? will that protest affect the course of the state? We're better served having editors focus on sourcing and information gathering than on debating these questions. And we're better off having started articles of borderline permanent notability (e.g., this article on Egyptian protests by midnight of 25 January 2011) Then, after a short-term time window (7 or 14 days, perhaps), evaluate notability and keep, delete (if of poor quality), or export to Wikinews (if not notable).--Carwil (talk) 18:52, 28 September 2017 (UTC)
  9. Weak support. The problem with WP:NOTNEWS enforcement right now is that it often causes highly-trafficked articles to be nominated at AfD, with editors spending their efforts arguing for or against deletion instead of trying to improve content viewed by many people. This reflects badly on Wikipedia, and visitors may also perceive Wikipedia to be heartless when they see a large rectangle on top of an article about a significant news event that may or may not be notable. It can be argued that this may be a good opportunity to introduce casual visitors to the world of Wikipedia, but emotionally charged discussions about whether a news topic is WP:N notable or not, often before there is enough time for long-term coverage to be developed, is not an image we want to present to prospective editors. Whether that means NOTNEWS needs to be changed is debatable, but it is best to benefit the most readers efficiently, and ugly AfD discussions right in the face of readers aren't going to accomplish that. feminist 14:51, 29 September 2017 (UTC)
  10. Support, with Option 1 as a close second choice. (I notice that the introduction includes "This might include outright removal of NOT#NEWS" as part of option 3 – I would strongly oppose that; what I'm agreeing with is "expanding our current event coverage".) Anything which receives significant coverage should be included in Wikipedia. Readers are not everything, but I think the deletion of reliably sourced content receiving high traffic is a shame when it occurs. Obviously volunteers are allowed to direct their energy anywhere they want, but I think it is suboptimal when we waste time on long AfD discussions instead of improving the article, or large efforts deleting things rather than creating them (in the specific case of well-sourced articles on recent news stories). Per the eloquent arguments of RileyBugz, Carwil, Coretheapple and feminist. Bilorv(talk)(c)(e) 20:14, 29 September 2017 (UTC)
  11. Support per Bilorv; similarly, Option 1 is fine as well, but there's no need to outright remove NOT#NEWS. I think a good metric for news stories - as hinted at by The Rambling Man - is "will this be interesting in 10 years time, or even 100 years time." But... actually quite a bit of seemingly transient news IS relevant, and will still matter 100 years later. There've been plenty of AfDs on content that, if it had happened in 1927, would still be a fascinating slice of life of the times - maybe even just that this was considered relevant, even if it blew over eventually. (Like... if 1927 KLM Fokker F.VIII crash was as well-built up and sourced as 2006 New York City plane crash (which was AfD'd on NOTNEWS grounds), that'd be great! SnowFire (talk) 09:26, 30 September 2017 (UTC)
  12. Support WP:NOTNEWS should be removed per WP:CREEP and WP:NOTLAW. It is obviously our policy and practice to cover items in the news, including breaking news. The way in which we do this is best covered by other, existing guidelines such as WP:UNDUE, WP:N, WP:OR, WP:SUMMARY which address the issues more clearly. Andrew D. (talk) 12:56, 1 October 2017 (UTC)
  13. Support per Andrew Davidson. Current events is a significant aspect of Wikipedia's mission, as recognized by the "in the news" section of the main page. Those who wish to turn this into the Britannica are blind to the realities of the way the project works. Figureofnine (talkcontribs) 15:19, 1 October 2017 (UTC)
  14. Full Support.--Albin Schmitt (talk) 14:59, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  15. Support IMO Wikipedia provides an enormous public service by covering news, even (or especially) hot breaking news like Las Vegas Strip shooting. We have not historically had a problem with people putting unconfirmed or incorrect information in such articles; they are usually carefully monitored and vetted by experienced editors. My own experience is that a Wikipedia article about a current event is usually more accurate than any single news report. I'm not saying to abolish NOTNEWS - we don't and shouldn't cover everything as soon as it hits the press - but we should recognize that sometimes it is our duty to our readers to cover this kind of information in a timely fashion. --MelanieN (talk) 23:02, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  16. Support WP:NOTNEWS is generally employed to give teeth to WP:IDONTLIKEIT. The best time to find reliable sources is before link rot sets in. I have found that many articles nominated for deletion under WP:NOTNEWS still have appreciable traffic ten years later. Leaning towards supporting Andrew D.'s suggestion of abolishing WP:NOTNEWS entirely; but it certainly should be added to WP:AADP Hawkeye7 (discuss) 20:17, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
  17. Support Agree with MelanieN that breaking news articles are closely monitored and poor-quality content is quickly removed. Our community does a remarkable job of sorting out verifiable facts as they become available and quickly building a high-quality article. We're not running out of space, so I don't see a reason to delete articles simply because they are old news. –dlthewave 23:00, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
  18. Support If it is reliably sourced, there is no reason why we should not have an article. Verifiability concerns I can respect, some news stories are covered in a way that are guaranteed to give a distorted picture of the subject and thus leave an article that can never be accurate (e.g. BLP1E type), but for many events this is not the case. As to 'will this be important in 10 years?', who cares? If you don't want to write articles on things of no lasting importance, you don't have to --but if I want to, let me. Antrocent (♫♬) 04:24, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
  19. Support as first choice – Verifiability is the reason we have notability standards. It is very easy to verify information on news items, as there is heaps of news articles about them. I do agree though, that articles made extremely quickly after a news break, articles every time Trump says something, and news reports should still be permitted as part of WP:NOTNEWS. J947( c ) (m) 21:59, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
  20. Support NOTNEWS is redundant with WP:N. Smooth alligator (talk) 19:57, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
  21. Support Used as an excuse not to cover current events. People expect us to cover current events and we do a generally okay job at that. Of course we do not break stories but that does not mean we should not summarize notable stories. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 02:26, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
  22. Support NOTNEWS as currently implemented is detrimental to Wikipedia's mission. It is fine as written, but people act like it should overrule GNG when it comes to covering events. The best use of NOTNEWS is to balance against article notability for routine coverage of local events and against the recentism of giving undue coverage to minor events in news cycles as well as regulating Wikipedia's tone. I largely agree with Hawkeye7, and would like to add that its invocation is often about proving a point rather than supporting free knowledge. Winner 42 Talk to me! 15:29, 14 October 2017 (UTC)

Threaded discussion on NOT#NEWS[edit]

On NOTNEWS, I think that the main issue that people have with it is the notability of recent events. I think that we all agree that Wikipedia should not be written in a news style. But, we don't agree whether recent events should ever have a chance of being notable (until a week or so after) or whether we should just increase the number of sources needed for notability. RileyBugz会話投稿記録 18:32, 25 September 2017 (UTC)

No, notability is not the main issue. The main issue is that current events are magnets for BLP violations: even if they are notable they are also normally UNDUE and all sorts of other BLP issues, plus a massive suck on the community's time in making sure that BLP is enforced on a highly visible page and figuring out what to do with the content. TonyBallioni (talk) 20:20, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
I wouldn't necessarily eliminate notability from this. Inappropriate assessment of notability based on volume of news sources can lead to a too-narrowly defined article on a news topic that does happen to be the subject of much recent news, but where the potential for BLP violations (among other issues) may and has arisen in the past. (eg Dismissal of James Comey to me is indicative of what's been happening here). --MASEM (t) 20:28, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
Oh, I agree notability is one factor here. It is not the primary danger in my mind, though. The encyclopedia is not harmed by keeping a non-notable event around for a few months before it gets sent to AfD again and merged or deleted. The encyclopedia and real people are harmed when we can't make up our mind on BLP issues and problematic statements under BLP policy keep getting inserted or we have articles created like the first Pissgate article (which was deleted. I'm also not sure if we should even have that redirect, but thats another matter). I think we need to acknowledge that there are several factors in play here, notability being one of them, but it is not the factor that has the potential to do the most damage. TonyBallioni (talk) 20:33, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
Agreed on all points. --MASEM (t) 20:40, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
I see two problems: first, we act as if we were in competition with other sources, so there is something of a "scoop" mentality about getting the story in quickly even if it is wrong. That isn't historically how encyclopedias functioned, and I would almost suggest that we should specifically forbid writing about things so soon after the event. But second, too many people simply do not understand why news stories are published. We have to spend way too much time prying out slow-news-day and click-bait fluff, even when the article in question is years old any there's abundant evidence that nobody ever cared after that. Mangoe (talk) 22:10, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  • EEng, I know you had a list of people who had asked to be notified if there was going to be a discussion about enforcing NOTNEWS. I'm notifying you since you probably know where the conversation is. TonyBallioni (talk) 18:46, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
The ping-me list is at User_talk:EEng#Shaping_a_proposal. I'm not sure I can commit to this discussion at this time. I will say I liked someone's suggestion that if there's going to be an embargo of some kind on breaking news, the right form for it might be that a breaking-news topic shouldn't get its own standalone article for X days or weeks i.e. breaking-news content should, at first, be new content in some appropriate existing article, and only after X days/weeks should it be considered for its own article. The beauty of this is that there will typically be many eyes on the existing article, who will help keep UNDUE, BLP, and similar problems under control.Any after the X waiting period, notability for a standalone article will be much clearer. EEng 23:33, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
  • No we didn't. It is a very different question, about exactly how should NOT#NEWS be taken, not a new principle for NOT#NEWS. As the closure of the discussion put it, there is a question of exactly what NOT#NEWS means nowadays. --MASEM (t) 22:00, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
  • OK, let's see how different this one becomes. Coretheapple (talk) 22:06, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
  • Sort of. This conversation about our encyclopaedic treatment of breaking events was simmering below and at the surface of the RfC and surrounding discussions. Masem identified the issue three weeks ago, during the proposal of this straw poll: Whether [the RfC] closes as failed or no consensus… the disconnect related to the core NOT#NEWS policy is still evident and should be addressed…. I would characterise Masem as passionate about NOTNEWS, and in implementing performing the RfC closure I felt certain this proposed poll would go forward; perhaps that expectation affected my framing of the close. Apologies to community members sick of this topic. It's... historically contentious. Snuge purveyor (talk) 08:30, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  • One commonality with the recently concluded discussion is that the wording is problematic. Option 2 is that NOTNEWS "should be more strongly enforced" or that " should have significantly less coverage of current events." To do that would seem to require not enforcement of the existing rules but change in the policy. So that option would appear to incorporate two separate outcomes. One could argue that NOTNEWS is already strictly enforced. Coretheapple (talk) 12:55, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  • Which is the whole point of this straw poll. the RFC even before it was closed (though the close re-affirmed what I saw) gave no clear indicator how the majority of editors felt about NOT#NEWS, with both directions having been presented. This is meant to simply determine if and by how much of a change in policy is needed, but makes no attempt to say what that could be because its impossible to know what has a likely chance of gaining consensus. --MASEM (t) 13:29, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  • But that's precisely my point. Sure some folks are going to be explicit. But when people stop by and says "yeah I'm for option 2" without saying what they want to happen, how is that to be interpreted? Option 2 provides two dramatically different outcomes - enforcement of the existing rules or changing them. If people are silent on these alternate outcomes, how do you read their minds? Coretheapple (talk) 14:13, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  • You can't, but the whole point of a straw poll is to get a quick idea of an opinion, and determine how strong the various opinions to see what type of action might be appropriate to suggest. If one option "wins" by a landfall, then there's clearly a means to consider new policy or the like towards that. If instead it just "wins" by a few percentage, I would say a massive policy change is out of the question. I do point out in the intro that results could range from adjusting existing P&G to creating new policy to eliminating some policies. --MASEM (t) 14:18, 26 September 2017 (UTC)

@Power~enwiki: The problem with Wikinews is a catch-22. It requires editors to use to fill it with news stories, and then there needs to be awareness that it exists so that people coming to WMF projects for news coverage use that instead. If no one knows about it, it's hard to draw editors to use it. If editors don't use it, it gets no visibility and people don't know about it. It's not dead-dead, articles are still created for it, but its very clear that editors and readers presently believe is the place to find news articles, and Wikinews is basically a ghost town. --MASEM (t) 13:34, 26 September 2017 (UTC)

Oftentimes I see an AfD on a recently created article on a recent event (say, a terrorist attack) with people saying things to the effect "keep, meets GNG" and "delete, NOTNEWS". Typically these end up as "keep", I am not sure if there is a general feeling on how such cases should be treated. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 14:41, 27 September 2017 (UTC)

2017 Las Vegas Strip shooting and List of terrorist incidents in October 2017(and its kindred) are examples of the problems we have with editors seeing something in the media and adding it immediately. Every rumour gets added as soon as it hits the web, no matter how dodgy the source. Doug Weller talk 15:45, 2 October 2017 (UTC)

Are RS and BLP insufficient to deal with this problem? If they are not being sufficiently enforced, the problem won't be solved by adding another policy that won't be enforced. Gamaliel (talk) 17:23, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
Technically between the existing NOT#NEWS, RS, and BLP, these should be kept in check (that's the whole point of WP:RECENTISM, but as sometimes breaking news articles get swayed on being "popularity contests" in the number of voices supporting something outweigh those arguing for established policy, to which part of that is something I'd attributed to a lax treatment of NOT#NEWS by long-time editors, and admins. There are a lot of other factors though that contribute to this too, it's not just a NOT#NEWS issue, but better adherence to NOT#NEWS would help alot. --MASEM (t) 17:44, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
It's also the speed at which these articles are edited. I haven't looked but I know that the right wing media had a different, innocent (but liberal) subject named as the shooter and his name was the main name on Google for a few hours. I hope it didn't get into any of our articles. These articles also attract a lot of new editors who don't have a clue and are quite happy to argue. Doug Weller talk 17:50, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
@MelanieN: for a while yesterday Facebook and Google were presenting a conspiracy theory naming someone uninvolved as the shooter. I haven't checked to see if this poor guy's name ever go into our article (but I will), but such instant responses to breaking stories, particularly when often done by new editors who don't know about reliable sources or care at times, can be damaging. Doug Weller talk 08:00, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
@Doug Weller: Please do check; I'd like to know. I will be very surprised if our systems failed that badly. In the time I have been involved with the article, we have been concerned with whether and how to report that false news incident as false news; it seems finally to have found a home under "Social media". My hunch is that if anyone had inserted that story at the time, it would have been removed almost instantly as poorly sourced. --MelanieN (talk) 14:29, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
@MelanieN: I used Wikiblame and went back through 1500 edits, but it looks as though it wasn't added. If it had been added, I wouldn't be surprised if a copy of that version showed up somewhere else. Doug Weller talk 14:34, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for checking. I have actually been very impressed with what a good job we do on breaking news stories like this. To me it proves again the saying, "the trouble with Wikipedia is that it only works in practice. In theory, it can never work." --MelanieN (talk) 14:45, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
P.S. I looked all through the talk page archives and can't find that anyone ever even proposed adding that false report. There were a few other wild conspiracy theories proposed at the talk page, but they were quickly shut down and never got into the article. The only false thing that went into the article is that some people, before the article was protected, inserted "Muslim" or something similar to describe the shooter. Removed almost instantly. We have strong systems. --MelanieN (talk) 14:54, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
User:Doug Weller, the first item in the list you cite is the Marseille stabbing. In fact Fr police are at present very equivocal as to whether this incident is terrorist or not French interior minister Gérard Collomb said: “It might be a terrorist act, but at this point we can’t say so with certainty”. Of course no such uncertainty is mentioned in 'our' list, and the likelihood of it being even reported widely if the story has an anti-climatic end (if, for example it was simply a conventional murder), so any update probably won't be incorporated in our article or list unless it is 'dramatic'. I believe this identifies the real danger of 'news' articles, which are the 'peripheral stories' and list entries with too few watchers, rather than the big events like 'Las Vegas'. A particularly silly example is recorded here, where WP on two seperate lists recorded a terrorist plot that simply never existed. Failing to 'update' is the norm, rather than the exception in this topic area, with dozens of articles that I know of ending "police arrested X suspects", (but how many were ever convicted of anything?) . I don't know what we do about it however. Pincrete (talk) 13:06, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
Hell, that was User:Gianluigi02 that I recently blocked for 72 hours for similar edits. Doug Weller talk 13:31, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
Another editor put it into another list, where it stayed even longer (20-ish months) and many other editors cheerfully reinstated (and sometimes embellished) it on the first list, claiming it to be "well-sourced". The list article was so full of SYNTH and over-statement that even I did not notice it for a long time. It was a NOTNEWS argument that finally killed it. Pincrete (talk) 14:43, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
Some points to reply to in regards to @Gamaliel and @Fuzheado in their !votes about forum shopping and Wikinews. First, as forum shopping, this is not the question that was asked at WT:NOT about NOT#NEWS. That was a very specific proposal about how much commentary should be in news articles, which during the course of it, it became clear the bigger "issue" is how NOT#NEWS is to be treated, period. That was a point made in the closure of that previous discussion , so it is not forum shopping because this is asking a very different, and much larger question about our relationship to breaking news, in the first place. Second, the Wikinews issue, I fully agree that Wikinews is dead, the problem is, there was nothing in place that designed as the defacto place that news would go with Wikinews being dead. There's nothing that says WMF needs a sister site that handles news. Maybe it might seem to be practice to have news on WP, but that's a change from NOT#NEWS that never appeared to have been processed through by consensus. The point here is thus to establish if that practice does have any type of consensus, and update policies and guidelines as needed. If the practice is fine, then that needs to be written into policies and guidelines; if not, then we need to fix how it is being practiced. --MASEM (t) 19:57, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
@Masem and Gamaliel: - Regarding this: "there was nothing in place that designed as the defacto place that news would go with Wikinews being dead." Er, you don't need a formal pact, agreement or interface on where one starts and one begins. In fact, Wikipedia existed for years before Wikinews ever came to the scene, and there was never anything formal about Wikinews does X to the exclusion of Y on Wikipedia, nor should there be. Regarding what you said, "that's a change from NOT#NEWS that never appeared to have been processed through by consensus." The practice is the consensus! It has been this way for years and years, and only now are you surfacing this as some sort of illegitimate mode of operation that needs an overhaul when there is no real desire to do so. Frankly, it's puzzling and borderline patronizing when we as a community have done very well with creating articles as news breaks and serve the public interest. Forget the old notions of "this bin is news" and "this bin in history" and never the two shall be comingled. The great thing about Wikipedia is that it blends these two seamlessly in a way we've never done before, so why make that harsh and artificial distinction? Nobody puts Wikipedia in a corner! -- Fuzheado | Talk 20:52, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
Just because it's practice doesn't make it a community consensus, particularly if the change is slow and not immediately obvious. I agree that we probably have been running current event articles for several years that would seem to go against the rub of NOT#NEWS, but this wasn't an issue until events of the last couple of years, principally driven by the US election, which has created a unique political and ideological battleground in the world as a whole that never had been present prior to this, and eventually filters down into The "practice" of rapidly pushing current news, while seemingly okay before, has created an endless stream of behavioral problems, much less issues with how news intersects with key content policies, because of what current news typically ends up being. That's not sustainable, unless we either establish the practice as having consensus, or adjusting our policies and guideline to reflect which way the community would want to see this. There is no question that some news today can eventually become an encyclopedic topic tomorrow, and thus it makes no sense to wholly chase off news coverage on WP. But to what level we cover breaking news and migrate that into an encyclopedic topic is a question that really needs to be answered in this current political and ideological environment. --MASEM (t) 21:59, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  • I think the most useful thing would be a straw poll or survey trying to identify what -- if any - kinds of content should be excluded under NOTNEWS. I think a lot of people will say "nothing -- if there is an RS it comes into WP". I am curious if we can get consensus around anything. If we can, then NOTNEWS should be narrowed to that. If we cannot find anything then NOTNEWS should be removed from NOT. But the first step is to try to get people to identify what they think NOTNEWS does exclude. Nobody replied at my query at NOT; how do you feel about trying that here Masem? Jytdog (talk) 05:28, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
    @Jytdog: We can get specific consensus for certain limitations; this particular change simply hasn't been made to WP:NOTNEWS. --Izno (talk) 12:39, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
You have more confidence than I do that we will find anything left of this policy in what editors actually do. There is a very strong strain of "it is in a source so we include it" out there. Jytdog (talk) 12:42, 3 October 2017 (UTC)

Neither Wikipedia nor Wikinews are set up to work well with current events and breaking news stories. Here's why:

  1. Immediacy. I used to contribute at WikiNews but found it immensely frustrating, because the whole thing is so very slow. You can write a couple of unreferenced sentences on Wikipedia, tag it as a stub, and publish it immediately. Straight away it's visible to readers, and you can continue working on it - making it longer, adding sources and images etc, as can other editors. This is the way other news outlets work - they publish a "breaking news" article that's usually just a sentence or two, then add content as more information becomes available. But not Wikinews. On Wikinews there's no concept of breaking news, of the importance of publishing first and editing later. Every single Wikinews article has to be reviewed by somebody else before it's published. With so few users on that project, it can be several days before your "breaking" news article is even looked at. News by definition has to be "new". It's crazy that we can publish something to Wikipedia with immediate effect but not to our newspaper sister project.
  2. Original research is allowed and very much encouraged on Wikinews, but obviously not on Wikipedia (and rightly so). To work as a news source, original research is important. The eyewitness report, the first-hand account, the reporter on the ground, the direct interview - these often make for the best news articles but they have no place in an encyclopaedia. This is something Wikinews gets right and that Wikipedia would fail at if the decision was made to replace Wikinews with Wikipedia's current events section.
  3. Editorials and opinion pieces don't stand a chance with the NPOV policies that exist on both sites. NPOV is vital for every encyclopaedia article and is rightly one of the central pillars of Wikipedia policy. We want Wikimedia sites to be neutral and welcoming to all, so we don't want our newspaper project to have a strong overall political leaning as many regular newspapers do. But opinion pieces and reporter blogs are now an important feature of just about every news source out there, and the key is to allow points of view to be represented in them provided they are balanced (i.e. one piece "for", another "against", resulting in overall balance) and clearly marked as an opinion piece and not a news article.
  4. Edit conflicts. The Wikimedia platform is great for collaboration over a long time, but bearing in mind the importance of immediacy mentioned above, big breaking news stories really need to allow multiple editors to work on the article in real time, in the same way as a shared Google Drive document/spreadsheet. That's a massive technical hurdle to overcome, and currently some way off. (See mw:Parser_2011/Real-time_collaboration and mw:Extension:TogetherJS)

For me, the biggest barrier by far is that first one. WikiNews needs to change the way it works dramatically and fundamentally if it is to succeed. But if Wikinews does the job it's meant to do, we can then look at strengthening the NOT:NEWS policy here on Wikipedia. Meanwhile we have a mess on our hands and I don't think any of the proposals in this RfC will remedy that. WaggersTALK 14:13, 4 October 2017 (UTC)

  • My 2¢ Based on my admittedly anecdotal experiences at AfD and elsewhere I'd say that NOTNEWS is so widely ignored that it is about a half step away from being WP:HISTORICAL. I don't like it. Point in fact I am appalled by it. But it is what it is. Maybe it's time to just admit that it's on life support and talk about pulling the plug. -Ad Orientem (talk) 21:59, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
    • That's part of why I opted for this straw poll to see if that was a viable option. The current stances suggest otherwise (edging to make NOT#NEWS enforcement stronger presently), meaning we should be looking to find ways to fix issues with how AFD handles new news articles without being bitey to newcomers, among other things. A lot of AFDs I see on news events comes down to editors thinking "lots of immediate coverage" == "notable topic", despite both NOT#NEWS and WP:N saying otherwise, and AFDs are unfortunately easy to swing by sheer numbers of !votes. --MASEM (t) 22:20, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
      • The !votes so far are as close to a lack of consensus as I have ever seen. The far more lopsided sentiments in the NOT discussion were termed "no consensus" long before the close, so I find your "edging" characterization interesting in light of that. Coretheapple (talk) 23:06, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
        • Might have missed some, but taking out duplicates and second choices it appears to be a dead heat, 38 in favor of strengthening, 38 keeping same or weakening, at the present time. Figureofnine (talkcontribs) 17:41, 14 October 2017 (UTC)


  • Comment. Its pretty obvious that the issue is not with NOTNEWS, but with the total failure of the Wikinews project to attract a sustainable editor base. Rather than whatever you hope to achieve here in this RfC, you should consider the bigger picture. For example a simple change to the Wikimedia software to add a namespace called News: could deal with the problem and revitalise Wikinews at once, some news items worthy of long term inclusion in the enclyopedia would be simply moved to mainspace via a method similar to AfC, news items would exist on wikipedia as a kind of draft, but still be indexable and accessible. Simultaneously dealing with the NOTNEWS and Wikinews issues in one action. To avoid issues with removing Wikinews, all news articles would be editable via Wikinews (which would still exist as a portal) and on Wikipedia, where we would no longer have to fret over which news stories will be relevant later on. This whole system is more in line with Wikipedias 'lagging behind' verifiability policy, and avoids splitting editors into unsustainable over-localised communities. Α Guy into Books § (Message) -  21:30, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
Aguyintobooks, the article creation has become a total mess as is. Right now, we have 1500+ articles pending review via AfC. A bunch of articles, including some articles about current events, get deleted from Wikipedia because they fail to meet encyclopedic standards. Currently, we have WP:ACTRIAL running for six months. Merging Wikinews into Wikipedia would make matters worse. We would expect more articles created and then deleted for failing to meet the standards. Also, what about 20+ other Wikinews language sites? This year, Dutch Wikinews is reopened. --George Ho (talk) 00:59, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
No. Replicating the AfC model is not the way forward. The future of how we handle new content in in limbo pending ACTRIAL/the followup RfC, and the current policy fights over the draft space are popping up all over my watchlist, and I never seek out doing anything with the draft space. Making current events AfC/Drafts 2.0 is a battleground waiting to happen. TonyBallioni (talk) 01:10, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
I also thought of this as a possible solution, but yeah there are too many problems with similar processes currently for it to be feasible. Maybe if we ever get AfC and drafts and all that stuff figured out, this could be a good idea. ansh666 09:00, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
@Aguyintobooks: The problem here and at Wikinews is the same problem: there seem to be a lot of people who want to wave around policies to try to interfere with free-licensed work about news. If you do work on Wikinews, it is very likely to be thrown away - that's why no one does. Even if successful, it will be a locked snapshot, not a comprehensive review of a phenomenon. Now I don't know the motivation of any specific person, but I think on average we should look at the myriad legal embattlements and legislative setbacks of news aggregators to see that the ever-shrinking media industry might be exerting some push-back against its competitors. I mean, if the encyclopedias had done the same back in 2001, Britannica would be making as much money as Microsoft! But on Wikipedia there is a never-ending stream of editors from other topics who just wade in and start editing without regard that we're not supposed to be able to put current events in context. This raw ignorance is our foremost strength. Wnt (talk) 18:47, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
  • The statement "the total failure of the Wikinews project to attract a sustainable editor base..." is entirely true. The reason for that is that the entrenched editor base is mostly lazy and opposed to helping new users integrate their contributions in a useful manner; rather they see it as their duty to eradicate all new user contribitions that don't meet the extremely strict standards that have taken years of experience to develop. It's the expectation that all brand new Wikipedia users are born fully formed like Athena from the head of Zeus, and that any new contribution which is not already FA-quality is to be deleted within seconds of its creation with little to no explanation of the problem, and absolutely no attempt to improve such substandard contributions. What kills new user retention is primarily a culture that treats them all as enemies until they have proven themselves not to be. --Jayron32 14:11, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
    Mea culpa. Misunderstood the OP's original point. My response makes no sense. Carry on. --Jayron32 15:09, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
Your point is perfectly valid though, having ~2250 pages of policy is one thing, expecting new users to understand it all is another.  --- Α Guy Into Books § (Message) -  21:27, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  • Truer words were never spoken. I have been here for 3 years, and I feel as though I have just begun to get a grip on the morass of policy in the handful of areas where I most commonly edit. To me, editing feels like a deadly video game were partisan gangs try to kill you as you wander through an uncharted swamp without a compass trying to avoid the arcane booby-traps that editors set to get you banned.E.M.Gregory (talk) 21:38, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
    Large systems always grow in procedure as the numbers grow. At some point communication breaks down and a policy is made to hold the signal. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 21:58, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  • I think E.M.Gregory's point in his !vote about current events articles being an entry point for new editors is a good one. People have an interest in current events, readers like them, and they add value. A win-win all around. Coretheapple (talk) 22:30, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
    • We definitely do not want to be too restrictive on new editors, and we want to encourage them to participate, but at the same time, current event articles can be touchy, and already a large subset of them fall under the post-1923 US politics Arbcom DS, where it's not the best for a novice to be making unsure edits compared to other pages. There's definitely a balance needed. --MASEM (t) 23:13, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
      • You mean, post-1932, right? George Ho (talk) 23:14, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
Realistically all events were current at some point, and there are going to be more people interested in an event at the time it happens than some years afterwards, but a balance has to be struck somewhere, especially for events where the available information changes rapidly.  --- Α Guy Into Books § (Message) -  23:17, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
Everything was current at one point or another but the online media quickly shares stories saying essentially the same thing; you never had that in 1932. Editors need to understand that journalists report one thing, and we, who are not journalists (some like to believe they are, however), have a different criteria for our content. If we were more patient, most current events would reveal their importance in a few weeks and speculation would be replaced by verified facts. Perhaps we can move current events to a draft space for a week or two and then access if it established a historic or societal importance after that time has passed.TheGracefulSlick (talk) 00:32, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
"most current events would reveal their importance in a few weeks" A few weeks? I think you mean a few years. Secondary source analysis (see WP:ANALYSIS) has to take place well-removed from the event. We shouldn't be writing about any presidential administration until they're a dozen years out of office. I could argue we shouldn't have any entries about living people, at all. It's still too early to write about the Gulf War, let alone the Invasion of Iraq in 2003. But of course, Wikipedia exists as a playground for wannabe writers to shout out their narrative. Wikipedia's crass inclusive approach to keep the donations coming in results in shoddy entries written by fanboys and cranks. Had we emphasized article quality over article quantity we might have built our gamification around writing responsible entries rather than the vomiting of words into multiple overlapping pages. Chris Troutman (talk) 01:09, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
Chris troutman I actually agree with you more than you probably realize. In fact, I really need your perspective for some of the articles I nominate for deletion! I was trying to bring about some sort of middle ground: no consensus will exist, instructing us to wait years for notability. Many editors like putting their "I'm a journalist" caps on and writing an often inaccurate load of drivel we are forced to call an "encyclopedic article". Unless more editors like you participate at AfD, I doubt we can initiate a serious movement to rid Wikipedia of news.TheGracefulSlick (talk) 02:15, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
@TheGracefulSlick: I'm your huckleberry, but I've hurt my AfD record by tilting at these windmills to prevent Wikipedia from being a free-for-all. I recognize Wikipedia isn't a serious endeavor, despite my desire for it to be that. Chris Troutman (talk) 02:26, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
Whether or not our articles are "inaccurate loads of drivel" (I think not), at least we still have copy editors and can spell, which is more than can be said for most of the professional media outlets that people have to resort to for far less comprehensive, partisan, and hard-to-find reviews of news events if they can't find them on Wikipedia. Wnt (talk) 10:44, 29 September 2017 (UTC)
Realistically whether our news articles are relevant depends greatly on the quality of our editor base, there is the inherent problem that news is closer to original research and harder to verify than an encyclopedic topic, and the issues presented by the accepted facts changing is always an issue. and the obvious issue that wikinews is always behind everyone else (as it is based on other news, which for news is really a disadvantage. Not a disadvantage faced by wikipedia. The strongest core concept of wikinews is that is a neutral aggregate of content, A wikinews article should always be more complete than any other single piece of coverage. A den jentyl ettien avel dysklyver 11:32, 29 September 2017 (UTC)
  • I want to emphasize the points made above by User:Carwil and User:Feminist. Feminist is correct to flag the negative impact on the project viscous attacks on new editors get socked with at AfDs on big news stories. And Carwil is surely correct that energy is better put into improving articles at the moment when they are drawing attention, to which I want to add that I, personally, go to WP as an efficient way to get up to speed on a breaking political or culture wars firestorm. I expect the article to exist. And it often leads me to go take a moment to expand one of our many old, sad, neglected articles on a neighborhood, institution, think tank, publication, or individual involved in the breaking news event.E.M.Gregory (talk) 18:24, 29 September 2017 (UTC)
    • Excellent points. postdlf (talk) 22:39, 5 October 2017 (UTC)

Some observations[edit]

I'm going to note a few common themes that I'm seeing in the !votes here as they come - I'm not suggesting they are immediately actionable, that they have consensus, or the like, but they open up some reason and points of discussion why we're at this impasse on NOT#NEWS and how to proceed on that. --MASEM (t) 15:02, 29 September 2017 (UTC)

  1. Handling of current events articles at AFD is an issue - both from those there !voting "Keep per GNG" (asking larger questions about news reports, bursts of news, and notability per NEVENT/GNG) and those !voting "Delete per NOT#NEWS" (more reflecting of how strong NOT#NEWS should be enforced). There should be a middle ground recognizing that DEADLINE is also a factor in addition to NOT#NEWS. --MASEM (t) 15:02, 29 September 2017 (UTC)
I see no such common theme at present. Coretheapple (talk) 18:46, 29 September 2017 (UTC)
Concur with Coretheapple; no consensus has appeared. Moreover, the problem with WP:DEADLINE is the reality that creating articles when a significant event is breaking news is among the few proven techniques to overcome our endemic shortage of editors, because when an EVENT is notable enough to support an article, many editors show up and usually create pretty solid articles before the news cycle ends. There is all the time in the world to delete, but the existence of fingers willing to build the article evaporates rapidly.E.M.Gregory (talk) 19:40, 29 September 2017 (UTC)
I question whether 'breaking news' articles actually recruit new editors. Certainly they attract IP's and a few 'newbies' (some of both are quick learners and great to have around, and some are huge liabilities) to edit on that particular article, but is there any reason to believe that news articles actually recruit long term editors? This has not been my experience. Pincrete (talk) 11:01, 1 October 2017 (UTC)
Agreed, but just to elaborate a little, the comments here should speak for themselves and editors should not be providing an ongoing play-by-play that purports to summarize the positions of multiple editors at any given point in time. Even if so far there was an actual consensus or overwhelming view on a particular subject,, that would have to be viewed in conjunction with whatever else is said. Let's not fragment and tilt the discussion, please. Coretheapple (talk) 20:24, 29 September 2017 (UTC)
My only point here is that regardless of the straw poll, there is a valid concern of problems of how NOT#NEWS is handled (for or against) at AFD on recent news articles. I can't tell you how that has to be fixed, yet, but the AFD angle (whether we are talking retention of an article or deletion) is an issue of concern. --MASEM (t) 18:01, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
News articles on current events are primary sources, and primary sources have little weight in a notability (AFD) discussion. If the only reason to keep the article is 'its been in the news recently' then it lacks notability and so should be deleted. Only in death does duty end (talk) 12:06, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
I think that there is a certain consensus for a stricter application of NOTNEWS as it applies to BLP violations. RileyBugz会話投稿記録 19:07, 30 September 2017 (UTC)
Seems more logical to apply BLP to BLP violations. Figureofnine (talkcontribs) 16:04, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
There are frequently times where good RSes do publish things that we would normally consider BLP violations, like the rush to name suspects. What happens far too often is editors will see that name in good RSes, and believe it is appropriate to add right away to the articles, as they don't see it as a BLP violation (because RSes back the naming). But for us, that generally is the case until some time has passed to know how much importance the suspect's name is to the situation, as per BLP. BLP is not 100% consistent which is where situations like this come up. --MASEM (t) 18:01, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
Yes, it's terrible how the media refers to [name redacted] as the shooter in the Las Vegas massacre. Figureofnine (talkcontribs) 23:39, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
That's not where the problem arises. I distinctly remember during Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that in the first few hours, the name of the brother of the actual shooter was named as the shooter in several RSes, only because his ID was on the shooter's body. Obviously it all got sorted out in the end, but if we had included his name at the time, that would have been a major BLP problem. That's an example of a situation with BLP is at odds with massive coverage by RS. Even with the LV shooting, I know several of the early articles this morning named a possible accomplice to the shootings, but that was quickly ruled out by police. Properly, our article does not mention this person at all despite that RSes still mentioning the name. Furthermore, and this is more a sign of the times, but there were tons of false stories that floated around on major RSes, some intentionally false. (I could also point out the situation with Tom Petty today as yet another example of this). BLP is supposed to prevent issues with that, and in the long-term it does, but in the short term there has to be more awareness of why we have NOT#NEWS towards this end to help protect BLP from misinformation. --MASEM (t) 23:57, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
I just don't see the need for yet another layer of rules, based upon the supposition that RSs may not "get it right" now but may "get it right" down the road. That would put articles in a straitjacket, and would be subject to all kinds of abuse and conflict. Our BLP rules are already strict and more than sufficient. What you describe as a "problem" is simply a fact of life, not just for current events articles but all articles, even articles on ancient subjects, as the RS sources shift and change in their perspective. All we do is reflect the RS sources. That does not create a BLP issue a all, but rather is a mirror to the reality of the sourcing. Figureofnine (talkcontribs) 00:32, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
It's not a "fact of life" that we needed (or for that matter still need) 240 posts so far in the Tom Petty article. It's only a fact of WP, apparently, that people cannot be trusted to get caught up in the what will prove to be a passing and unimportant episode of misinformation. Mangoe (talk) 02:01, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
Another datapoint showing that BLP is not sufficient to deal with NOT#NEWS violations: Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct allegations - an article based only on that allegations were made and some of those aftereffects on Weinstein, but going into far too much detail for what is yet to be even a legal charge against him. --MASEM (t) 13:43, 15 October 2017 (UTC)
Yet another datapoint is how swiftly your AfD of the article was closed as a speedy keep, without a single supporting !vote. You seem to have a narrow view of NOTNEWS that is extreme and out of step with the community. Figureofnine (talkcontribs) 16:22, 15 October 2017 (UTC)
I feel the need for written clarification of BLP as it applies to current events. Many unproductive discussions and edit wars could be avoided if we had something that explicitly stated "we do not refer to something as a murder/homicide/assault/attack until there is a conviction." This may already be covered by the existing policy, but it should be written in a way that can't easily be misinterpreted or misrepresented. –dlthewave 22:53, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Unfortunately, none of this is new. for a non-recent example of an article where NOTNEWS was totally ignored... see University of Florida Taser incident (of "Don't tase me, bro" fame.) Worth reading the discussions that took place about why that article should be kept. 17:54, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  • There is a lot of inappropriate assumption that media are necessarily reliable as a class, when the reality is that in the extreme short-term, they really aren't that reliable. It is typical of breaking news stories that initial reports aren't reliable: they're usually somewhat right, but they are often revised more or less drastically in light of later reports. I see no reason why something calling itself an encyclopedia should be chasing this. Reliability of accounts is something that is achieved over the long term, when the matter has been sifted through. Quick response media really cannot be taken to be that reliable until others judge them so, and that takes retrospection and therefore time. Mangoe (talk) 20:40, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
  • I'd suggest that a more important need, one that no one has addressed, is to update "news" articles after the initial hubub has died down and the pageviews and editor interest has ebbed. That is an issue not just for articles on recent events but for all kinds of articles. "Orphaned" and neglected articles, sometimes bearing maintenance tags for years, are a serious problem in the project. Coretheapple (talk) 14:05, 6 October 2017 (UTC)
    • It is a serious issue, which is why a possible solution is to create a space that is on and comes up in search results so that current news is there, and excepted to follow all content policies, but serves as a means to incubate news content such that if it doesn't turn out notable once the initial coverage has died down, it can be deleted, merged, or otherwise placed in context of something else. (Obviously notable stories can be brought into mainspace without question). It's like a Draft: space, but it needs to be more integrated with mainspace, and should have more formal processes to remove content that hasn't yet been transitioned to mainspace so they don't linger. Whether this has to be an explicit "News:" space, or management of article tags, I don't know, but it would meet both sides of the matter. (And there's a lot of cavaets, this by no means a formal proposal for this). --MASEM (t) 14:24, 6 October 2017 (UTC)
      • No, that would be like trying to light a campfire with napalm. A simple problem requiring a simple solution: greater energy expended after an article has lost its high visibility status. Not just news articles but, for instance, articles on corporations that have undergone scandal. BP comes to mind. Coretheapple (talk) 16:38, 6 October 2017 (UTC)
        • No. Better to head off the crap to begin with - and it is crap always filled with the personal predilictions of the Wikipedia editors because there are no sources who have reflected and weighed - just the personal prejudices of Wikipedians - and it is absolutely no public service to be a news aggregator. Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:36, 6 October 2017 (UTC)
        • Not really. Once an article has lost its high visibility status in the news, we should be reviewing it per NEVENT/GNG for notability and appropriateness. Some will clearly stay, some should be merged, and few should be deleted. That achieves the same thing of then being able to tag those that are key to gain more eyes to improve, resummarize, and work in later sources after the initial burst of news, rather than let them stagnate. New developments on existing articles are less a problem, save for far far too much proseline in many cases, since we're not questioning the basic notability of the original topic. --MASEM (t) 22:28, 6 October 2017 (UTC)

Not News and Reliable Sources conflict. The strictest definition of "not news" will mean that even if there are reliable sources, inclusion should be banned because Wikipedia is not news.

I believe the solution that reliable sources is a higher priority than not news. This is because if there is something truly historic but it doesn't have reliable sources, it cannot be put into Wikipedia. However, something that has reliable sources, even if we think it is news, is more worthy.

The biggest problem is that there is no editorial board and professionally trained editor in chief to make decisions. That is the wikipedia way. AGrandeFan (talk) 20:42, 11 October 2017 (UTC)

Why is it important to have articles on breaking news?[edit]

This is, to me, the undiscussed question. From my perspective, I can see three reasons not to have such articles:

  1. They create notability issues because of the implication that anything that has been published about at all is notable, which our principles have said isn't true. Getting rid of them is laborious.
  2. They present accuracy issues because the real sources are unstable (and often enough unreliable) and because the tendency is for the article to freeze at the point where someone lost interest. One has to hope that someone comes back after things quiet down and potential sources have had a chance to take a longer view and sort out all the various reports (which, BTW, could on some level be taken as primary sources, when it comes to that), but often enough it doesn't happen. It's pretty common that, in the long run, The World decides the event was unimportant and doesn't get around to sorting it out beyond ignoring it.
  3. They present readers with a choice: who should your read for breaking news: the news, or us? Shouldn't the answer be, "well, not us, for now"?

I see some sentiment of "well, it gets sorted out in the end." I don't think that's true, but even to the degree that it does, aren't we performing a disservice until it does? Mangoe (talk) 16:46, 12 October 2017 (UTC)

A few reasons I'd offer:
  • We are instinctively drawn to "citizen journalism", which is enabled by the MediaWiki platform, the WMF, and the general polices we have. It also fits well within WP due to inter-linking and a cadre of templates and tools to help build these articles. The "citizen journalism" is more in effect in the last several years due to several factors (read: Trump) that has drawn more eyes and more potential breaking news topics.
  • We have had several successful breaking news articles developed on WP without much fuss and with high quality from the start, and WMF has praised that approach in the past, validating it. However, these examples all tend to be examples of major disasters (earthquakes, international terrorist attacks, etc.) where most of the reporting is objective so editors aren't fighting or pushing specific content. However, applying this same model to other stories (eg anything dealing with the Russia interference in the US elections) tends to cause more problems. There is a place for certain types of breaking news stories, but not every breaking news story needs to be in WP the moment. Most breaking should wait until we know we're into the long-tail of the story, and thus can have a more holistic view of the event to write for WP to know if it is appropriately notable, and how to structure the article and views and opinions associated with it, as to avoid OR and POV with trying to cover from the instant start.
  • Where citizen journalism was to be established by the WMF, Wikinews, has failed, but the drive to write and read breaking news articles persists. It has migrated to based on the previous models where breaking news has worked well, but when all breaking news is reported on, it seems to cause no end to problems. We could admit we are now WikiNews and adopt policies to reflect that, but from the current state of this straw poll, that's not a likely solution. --MASEM (t) 17:06, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Regarding #1: I think that the objection here is poorly framed, in that the implication that is not merely that anything published is notable, it is that anything which is published in sufficient depth in the proper sources is suitable for inclusion in Wikipedia in some manner. Requirements of sourcing are universal, and don't "go away" merely because sufficient time has not passed since the event. The fact that something happened yesterday or last year or 1,000 years ago does not change the existence or non-existence of sufficient source text. If the source text is sufficient, what more is needed?
  • Regarding #2: This is an issue which is true for all sources, and for all text across Wikipedia. It isn't unique to new news. Accuracy at Wikipedia is only as good as interest, and we have thousands of articles on old subjects which are based on outdated, inaccurate, or outright false information right now. That is not restricted to new stories. It's not a good thing, mind you, but it's also not a problem unique to recent events, which means setting some artificial time limit on when a topic becomes "eligible" for Wikipedia wouldn't fix the problem.
--Jayron32 17:00, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
When we do it well, we do it really well. Sources of breaking news are not merely cited, they are in-line attributed "The town sheriff was reported on CNN as saying it was almost certainly the work of werewolves." Meanwhile we often find news outlets are quoting each other and rumour as fact.
All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 22:36, 16 October 2017 (UTC).

Food for thought[edit]

It seems to me the point of NOTNEWS is to weed out overly detailed summaries of events. Some events can only be described by such, and the litmus test appears to be that if that's what it takes to elevate an event to Wikipedia-style coverage, it's not worthy of inclusion here. To be frank, the policy seems fine to me, but then, what do I know? I won't add it above because I feel like there's something missing here, something I don't quite have the time to wade through the discussion to see. I think NOTNEWS also transcends merely creating new articles for things, as it also dictates what we add to articles we already have. Such articles' subjects have already been vetted to be describable on a more notable, more general level where it's more about impact than merely, "This happened." What we must think of when we add something to Wikipedia, especially concerning the tense sociopolitical climate of the last few years, is whether anyone outside of our sphere would care. Would someone in Uganda care about Trump's latest gaffe? After awhile, are a certain person's gaffes even worthy of tracking, or are they simply the noise that person makes as they walk by? Especially with the rise of social media and, sigh, Twitter, meme-ifying things has reached critical mass to the point that we must ask what even makes a meme anymore. Things that trend don't always deserve to trend, and wouldn't trend again once the event in question was over. If the world has largely moved on, if the world doesn't care about the specifics, then we should move on too, and we shouldn't care either. And if we choose to cover newsworthy-but-questionably-Wikipedia-worthy things, we have to tie it into a greater whole. Understandably, anytime a President goofs, it reflects on his character, so one could make the argument that whatever seemingly boneheaded thing Trump just did deserves to be covered, even mocked, by Wikipedia. But we must also ask whether such a mistake, if it were even one to start with, reflects on his Presidential qualities. Would he be any better at his job if he were never prone to such a thing? That's difficult to answer, but now I'm rambling, so my point there is that smaller, less-notable things have to truly, and of course verifiably, be tied into a greater whole that adds to the depth of our coverage of a subject. Article length or the cumulative data of coverage by a particular WikiProject are not enough to assert such depth. Therefore, my understanding is that this policy is intended to help us trim the fat off topics, or fight harder to prove why we should care and how the fat is actually a valuable part of the cut of meat, so to speak. Zeke, the Mad Horrorist (Speak quickly) (Follow my trail) 03:51, 13 October 2017 (UTC)

Narrowing down the poll[edit]

It seems that there might be a consensus to increase how BLP applies to recent events. Therefore, I propose a poll to see whether people would be ok with having BLP modified so that the suspects in incidents in which people were killed would not be put in to article until 3 or 4 days after the incident. If you would support this, but with some other time limit, please say so and please say what time limit. RileyBugz会話投稿記録 20:19, 5 October 2017 (UTC)

  • Oppose. Moratoriums like this are arbitrary and impossible to enforce, and of little to no relation to the confidence we have in the validity of what reliable sources report. With some events, the facts are immediately clear and never in dispute, with others years may go by without official consensus on who did what. We should follow the sources in either case and discuss our concerns in relation to each topic. postdlf (talk) 20:31, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Huh? There is no consensus to do anything at this point except continue this pointless exercise. Coretheapple (talk) 21:29, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I agree that BLP should be modified but it would be best to tie it to an event such as an arrest or criminal conviction. I've seen countless discussions over whether or not we can identify a suspect who has been charged but not yet convicted. We should answer that question and apply it consistently everywhere instead of discussing it repeatedly on Talk pages. –dlthewave 22:12, 5 October 2017 (UTC)

Rename the Notability guideline[edit]

  • The dictionary definition (according to Google Define - based on the Oxford Dictionary):
noun: notability

    the fact or quality of being notable.
    "the village enjoys a notability out of all relation to its size"
    synonyms:   noteworthiness, momentousness, memorability, impressiveness, extraordinariness;
    prominence, importance, significance, eminence;
    fame, publicity, renown, notoriety, stature, media attention/interest
    "the village has always enjoyed a notability out of all relation to its size"

        a famous or important person.
        plural noun: notabilities
        "a Fleet Street notability"
        synonyms:       celebrity, public figure, important person, VIP, personality, personage, notable, dignitary, leading light, star, superstar, name,
        big name, famous name, household name; lion, worthy, grandee, luminary, panjandrum;
        informal: celeb, somebody, bigwig, big shot, big noise, big cheese, big gun, big fish, biggie, heavy, megastar;
        informal: nob;
        informal: kahuna, macher, high muckamuck, high muckety-muck
        "the enterprise enjoyed the patronage of notabilities and aristocrats"
        antonyms:       nonentity
  • Our definition (simplest definition - WP:GNG):
"If a topic has received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject, it is presumed to be suitable for a stand-alone article or list."
  • Issue: Any word we could use would cause a similar issue, as all words have a established meaning already, notability is sort of close to our usage, so nothing seems better.
  • Possible Solution: Invent a new neologism specifically for this purpose. Or, change an existing word to show it is not being used with its normal use - example: Wikinotability, or Wikirelevance (adding Wiki to the word makes it clear we are using it for a specific purpose. Like how we are an encyclopedia called Wiki - pedia. showing how we are better than a normal encyclopedia. This could be taken further to: Wikiability, or Wikivance, these are clearly created to be diffrent, rather than just adding Wiki. We have alreaady done this with words such as 'Wikilinks'.
The only disadvantage is that people would need to read the policy to know what it means, so it would require editors to use more Wikilinks to allow easy reference, this could be solved by a template (like {{WPN}} which would subst: a wikilink in place without having to type it out in full.
Dysklyver 08:31, 1 October 2017 (UTC)


  • Oppose any change, obviously; as clear a solution to a non-existent problem as ever I've seen. The actual definition of "notability" used at WP:N (worthy of notice) tallies with the actual definition in the OED as opposed to "Google Define - based on the Oxford Dictionary" (Noteworthiness, distinction, prominence; an instance of this). There are justifiable discussions to be had over some of the terminology used by Wikipedia, such as "reliable", but "notability" is clearly the best word to use to describe "de we consider something notable?". ‑ Iridescent 08:58, 1 October 2017 (UTC)
I assume you are aware that the notability policy is stated as being the requirement for sources, rather than the subject being 'worthy of notice', for example: My granddad was a highly prominent judge, community leader of distinction etc, definitely 'worthy of notice', yet there are no surviving reliable sources that mention him at all. According to your definition, he would pass WP:N.
My argument is primarily based on WP:WHYN, which is relevant reading and explains how the WP:N policy is based on WP:V, the requirement for WP:N does not include the requirement for something to be notable (which is an exact synonym of 'eminence & fame'). This is a separate consensus often used at the same time.
Your assertion here is based primarily on a relented consensus based on WP:NOT (don't include everything that is verifiable as Wikipedia is not a indiscriminate collection of information), this is not part of the notability guideline itself, although it could become so given it's widespread use.
Your comment only reinforces the point that the notability guideline is often confused with the actual definition, and that it needs to be dealt with, I would not put this forward if it were a non-issue. Obviously you can easily understand the guidelines, as most people posting on this board do, but this is not clear to newcomers. Dysklyver 09:31, 1 October 2017 (UTC)
WHYN is not part of the guideline as such.  Historically, people had the idea to make WP:N a content guideline, but the idea doesn't work.  The idea is circular reasoning, that a topic is notable if there is an article for it on Wikipedia.  The idea also competes with our core content policies, including DEL7 within deletion policy.  Unscintillating (talk) 10:46, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
How is WHYN not part of the guideline? It certainly is part of the guideline, since it is included in the guideline page, and is there by consensus. There is nothing on that page that says - "this is not part of the guideline" or "this is only FYi". This is the kind of stuff that confuses new Wikipedians, not the word "notability". --Steve Quinn (talk) 02:59, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose, I don't see how/why another word, or a neologism would be clearer than a particular reading of an existing term. I know there is sometimes confusion when something is borderline notable, but I don't believe this would help, since the 'confusion' is often caused by editors preferring their own definition to WP's. Pincrete (talk) 11:45, 1 October 2017 (UTC)
  • see [1]. Dysklyver 13:08, 1 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Attempts to rename "notability" basically are perennial proposals that have never gone through because of how ingrained the term is here. --MASEM (t) 13:13, 1 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Do I wish we had come up with a different title back when we created the guideline... yup. WP:Notedness (for example) would have more accurately described the concept that we were trying to express - that a topic needs to have been already noted by sources, as opposed to the topic being "worthy of notice"). However, that is water long under the bridge. It is too late to change the title now. A rename would cause more confusion than it would resolve. Blueboar (talk) 13:57, 1 October 2017 (UTC)
I suggest seppuku.[FBDB] EEng 22:06, 1 October 2017 (UTC)
Dying for change....ClubOranjeT 01:09, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support - are you all blind? this is fooling new Wikipedians, I was fooled until recently. Suggestion, change to "Sourceability" - ZLEA (Talk,Contribs) 20:08, 1 October 2017 (UTC)
  • I'm blatantly canvassing for contributions to my stub essay WP:Noted not notable. EEng 22:44, 1 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Noted is still "crap", its literally meaning is well known; famous. noted define, I prefer basic Wiki-Notability. Dysklyver 22:48, 1 October 2017 (UTC)
  • "Wikinotability" might work.  I tried using lower case "wp:notability" for a while, but more recently I've been using "Wikipedia notability".  That would be another proposal to rename the guideline, too, WP:Wikipedia notabilityUnscintillating (talk) 10:59, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  • We could spell it backwards, ytilibaton (ybaton for short), and maybe then every sportsperson who walks onto a professional field will have to do just a little more to earn their ytilibaton. Randy Kryn (talk) 12:03, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
    • On a side note, sports-specific guidelines for league-based sports do not presume that all professional players meet English Wikipedia's standards for having an article. Only players from specific leagues (either by name or by their level of competition) qualify for this presumption. Additionally, sports-specific guidelines explicitly defer to the general notability guideline, and so the existence of an article can be challenged on the basis that the general notability guideline is not met. Admittedly it is a difficult matter to prove, given English Wikipedia's lack of a deadline to complete articles. isaacl (talk) 03:30, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Notability is already part of the culture and seems adequate. —PaleoNeonate – 02:00, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - I agree that "notability" serves our purpose. A change to a neologism is a good idea, but it is no better than "notability". Too bad this idea for a neologism didn't win the day when the content policies and WP:N were morphing and flexing many years ago. "Notability" is ingrained in our culture. If in practice we were drifting away from what we do now then this would be grounds for a change.
And has been pointed out, "notability" is no better or worse than any other word - because they all have common definitions. New Wikipedians should not have a problem with this if they take the time to read WP:N all the way through and even study it for more than five minutes, and click on some of the wikilinks there. And I like the fact that we are in agreement with the OED definition. Steve Quinn (talk) 02:38, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
  • As coincidence may have, I just received a query on my talk page asking if a topic was now "noticeable enough" and had "significant attention" to have the article restored I deleted a while ago. That plus comments I regularly see at AfD indicate that "notability" may indeed be ambiguous enough for people less familiar to mistake it for "famous" or the like (fame often implies to coverage by non-reliable sources, so it isn't exactly synonymous). I don't know is "sourceable" is necessarily better though. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 15:03, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - A lot is going on right now in terms of policy change discussions here, this shouldn't take priority. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 15:17, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment The OED definition of "notable" has been mentioned above "Worthy of attention or notice; remarkable." [2]. defines "notable" as:
  1. "worthy of note or notice; noteworthy"
  2. "prominent, important, or distinguished"
  3. "a prominent, distinguished, or important person" [3]
It seems to me this is what we strive for while editing on Wikipedia. It does not seem to be a mistake that "notability" was selected. ---Steve Quinn (talk) 04:06, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support - "Inclusion criteria" would be a much better way of describing what we currently call notability. -- Ajraddatz (talk) 00:02, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
    @Ajraddatz: being notable isn't our only "inclusion criteria" (e.g. WP:V is also an inclusion criterion), perhaps something else? — xaosflux Talk 00:36, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
    It might make sense then to merge the two into a page entitled "inclusion criteria", i.e. to meet a certain standard of importance and to have reliable sources confirming that standard. Now, I have no expectation of the community wanting this to happen. But "notability" is one of those words we love to use here (along with "need" at RfXs, as if anyone needed any advanced permissions) that I don't think accurately reflects to the public what we want it to. When we say the subject of an article should be notable, we mean that the subject should meet a certain guideline of importance that we have established in order to be included. Notability as an idea is heavily subjective, and using a word or phrase that better reflects the fact that we have established a guideline by consensus would seem ideal to me. -- Ajraddatz (talk) 05:03, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
    How about "Importance" - sort of the same problem as notability, it is not easily "measured" though. — xaosflux Talk 02:35, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
    Xaosflux, this feels like the appropriate spot to insert my standard complaint that people misunderstand that the GNG is not about importance, it is about verifiability (WP:V). The SNGs are about importance (WP:NOTINDISCRIMINATE), and any real notability reform will be in a direction that leads us towards a more robust system of subject-specific criteria that help us determine notability/importance, with the GNG serving really as a test of WP:V. TonyBallioni (talk) 03:00, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose I understand the intent behind this proposal. There are frequent conversations where editors have to explain the difference between wiki notions of notability and wider understanding of that term. That said, wiki-notability is merely a subset of general notability with a tighter and (slightly) more-objective definition. This is a common feature of the English language and creating a neologism to bridge the gap won't solve it. We'll still be explaining what "Wikiability" or whatever means to others. Eggishorn (talk) (contrib) 02:53, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose pointless as of now because we are still working out the tensions within WP:N between the GNG and the SNGs. Until we have a system like I described in my reply to Xaosflux above, the notability guideline will continue to be in tension with itself because it is a guideline trying to explain how we apply two independent policies. Notability is a trade term within Wikipedia, and there is no need to change it until we further refine our guidelines for inclusion. TonyBallioni (talk) 03:00, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. If it ain't broke... -- Necrothesp (talk) 13:30, 17 October 2017 (UTC)

RFC on Film MOS[edit]

I would like to invite you to comment here --Deathawk (talk) 05:26, 5 October 2017 (UTC)

Change suicide references to remove criminal allusion[edit]

The woman who wrote the article below makes a good case for not using 'committed/committing suicide'. I suggest changing all references to suicide to something that no longer relates it to a crime. — Preceding unsigned comment added by ServelanBlake (talkcontribs) 15:50, 5 October 2017 (UTC)

No objection. "Completed suicide" is an odd-sounding neologism, but "died by suicide" is neutral and understandable. I expect the change could be implemented in existing articles by AutoWikiBot: Noyster (talk), 18:59, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
I'm afraid I don't see why the use of "committed" matters. Which transitive verb we use doesn't change what implications, legal or otherwise, are raised in a given context by the fact of suicide. postdlf (talk) 19:13, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
Agreed. I've seen this language before several times and while it's nice if it helps her understand her brother's death, it's not like anyone else has some preconceived notion that "committing" suicide makes it a crime anymore than "committing" to a football team or a spouse is a crime. There are all kinds of scenarios where we say "committing" outside of crimes. Plus, someone may well think that suicide should be a crime and there are plenty of places where it is. ―Justin (koavf)TCM 19:37, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
I'm opposed to using Wikipedia for language reform, however well-intentioned. As long as the sources keep saying "committed", there should be no general proscription against it in Wikipedia. --Trovatore (talk) 19:41, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
Strong oppose as per Trovatore. power~enwiki (π, ν) 21:33, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
Strong oppose. I don't object to editors using or encouraging this, but I do object to mandating specific usage project-wide. –dlthewave 22:03, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
Oppose... I don't think the phrase "committed suicide" implies a crime. One can also "commit an act of heroism". Blueboar (talk) 22:15, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
Not finding these arguments persuasive.
You may find the odd counter-example but to "commit" an act mostly has a negative connotation. My Concise Oxford says "Be doer of, perpetrate (crime, sin, blunder)..." so in saying "commit suicide" we are employing a non-neutral description. Whether or not we ourselves take this negative view of a deed, it's still non-neutral.
And as for (reliable) sources, we draw on these for our facts, not necessarily for our precise wording.
I didn't read the OP as asking to make any specific usage mandatory, but politely suggesting a change to one specific non-neutral usage: Noyster (talk), 07:49, 6 October 2017 (UTC)
@Noyster: "Commit" a sin/crime is no doubt one of several connotations of the word but when someone "commits" code to a repository, I don't think of it as criminal. Again, I don't think any of us in common speech think that since someone "committed" suicide, he "committed" a crime but conversely, there are places where suicide is a crime. Whether we are claiming some criminal intent or not, it's a quirk of the language that this is still by far the most common way in English to say that someone killed himself (other than possibly "he killed himself" but that is also ambiguous to accidental deaths) and I think simply does not have the connotations the author of the above piece claims, even if they actually did have that basis etymologically. ―Justin (koavf)TCM 08:07, 6 October 2017 (UTC)
Wholly agree with you, Justin. Also, just to clarify, if the death occurred at a time and in a place when suicide was a crime, would normal procedure not be to preserve that wording anyway, as being historically more accurate? Martinevans123 (talk) 08:56, 6 October 2017 (UTC)
I also agree. "Committed suicide" is a normal English formulation, and "commit" does not always have criminal connotations. One can commit to making a delivery by a deadline, for example, or be committed to a psychiatric institution, neither of which carries any connotation of anything criminal at all. Someone also brought up committing source code, another common use that implies no crime or wrongdoing. Seraphimblade Talk to me 21:01, 6 October 2017 (UTC)
I agree that we don't need to follow RSs for precise wording. That's not the point. The point is we shouldn't use WP for language reform. Let's assume for the sake of argument that it would be better for the language to change to avoid the word "commit" here. That's not Wikipedia's role. We follow general (high status) usage; we don't promote it, no matter how high-minded the reasons. --Trovatore (talk) 07:32, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
How do you reconcile that with Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Words to watch? ―Mandruss  09:02, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
I don't see any attempts at language reform being promoted in that guideline. --Trovatore (talk) 10:11, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
Well I fail to see the distinction. That guideline says we should avoid the use of certain words regardless of what reliable sources say. How that is somehow not under your language reform umbrella is lost on me. Is the difference that "commit suicide" is such a common phrase? ―Mandruss  10:24, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
WP:WORDS clearly says that there are no forbidden words or terms on Wikipedia. Yes, the words and phrases outlined in that guideline should be used with caution, but they can still be used when appropriate. Blueboar (talk) 10:40, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
@Mandruss, yes. A simple web news search for commits suicide shows it to be common usage. While some words have specific connotations in some contexts, this only has those connotations when used in the context of sin or crime. In this context it's context only suggest that they completed the act of suicide. I'm going to commit this thread to memory before it gets committed to the archive where I'll never find it again. ClubOranjeT 10:55, 7 October 2017 (UTC)

Mandruss, the difference here is that the motivation appears to be to change the English language at large. Some people don't want Wikipedia to say "commits suicide" because really they don't want anyone to say it. That's not style, that's political correctness. Wikipedia should not be used to promote that. --Trovatore (talk) 20:07, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
Several commenters here don't seem to perceive a difference between "committing an act" and "committing something to a place or object". And I don't see the proposal as trying to right some great linguistic wrong, like mandating "xe/xir" or something that isn't already an accepted usage. I see it as raising the question "are we using a neutral description in our articles?": Noyster (talk), 15:11, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
We are not here to WP:RIGHTGREATWRONGS, not that I think the phrase "commit suicide" constitutes a "wrong", and we are not expected to WP:ADVOCATE for anything, not even the Right to die. Bus stop (talk) 16:07, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. This was very recently discussed in depth at WT:Manual of Style/Words to watch with no consensus that "committed suicide" implies in a crime. The word "commit" has many meanings in English, and the phrase "committed suicide" is the normal, everyday, idiomatic expression in English, with many alternatives being awkward or dwelling overmuch on the exact cause of death (which can also trigger WP:NOR problems).  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  22:02, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose as "commit" is the most common way to say it. It may or may not be a crime, but commit does not imply either way, it means that the choice has been made and cannot be reversed. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 09:22, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - following the OP's logic, every edit to Wikipedia would be seen as a criminal act... COMMIT (SQL). Cabayi (talk) 09:46, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment A commitment can be seen as a deed which is not necessarily criminal. A marriage is an example of a commitment is it not, even if it is not mentioned, it's still a deed. A commitment to suicide doesn't imply criminal, simply a deed weather good or bad.--NadirAli نادر علی (talk) 20:37, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose commit is a perfectly normal word which in no way implies criminality. --Jayron32 20:41, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Clear widely used phrase which is normally accepted as neutral. Alsee (talk) 09:52, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment. What bothers me at times is not the phrase but when it is written as if it were a certainty. Often the actual documents are more circumspect, and so at times I think it is better to say presumptive suicide, ruled a suicide, etc. The reason why this seems important to me is that I tend to believe that dumb people commit murders, smart people commit suicides... Wnt (talk) 17:09, 15 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. On Wikipedia, we use the English language as it is used, not as we might want it to be used. There is nothing wrong with saying "committed suicide". -- Necrothesp (talk) 13:28, 17 October 2017 (UTC)

Stable Consensus Version of an Article[edit]

I hope that this isn't considered a stupid question. In a content dispute, sometimes an article has been more or less unchanged for a long time, and then it is modified, and one or more other editors agree with the change, but some editors disagree with the change, and cite WP:EDITCONSENSUS and argue that the article should be restored to the stable consensus version. In the cases that I have in mind, there no longer appears to be a current consensus, but editors who favor the previous version of the article refer to the previous version as the stable consensus version. My question is whether there is a policy or guideline that I have missed that overrides or should be weighed against Consensus Can Change to take history into account. That is, is there a policy or guideline about historical consensus, which is apparently what is really being invoked by editors who oppose changes to an article.

We agree that, in the situation where one editor changes an article without prior discussion, other editors may revert the edits, and discussion is necessary. In the situation that I have in mind, which I have seen several times, after discussion, two or more editors support the new version, and two or more editors support the old version, and call it the stable version or the consensus version. Is there any policy or guideline that I have missed that gives special weight to a historical consensus version, and so must be balanced against changing consensus? My own thought is that, in such situations, the best answer is often a Request for Comments, which establishes a new consensus. I haven't found a policy or guideline that states that a historical version should be given special treatment as a stable consensus version. Have I missed something, or have other editors missed something? Robert McClenon (talk) 20:57, 6 October 2017 (UTC)

You are correct in that in general there is no stable version as such - unless there has been some sort of discussion where a point has been threshed out - which includes RfCs. Featured Articles would be considered de facto stable versions as WP:FAC functions as a detaile discussion or review that comes to a consensus, (hopefully) having discussed all aspects of an article. This is true also of Good Articles to a degree. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 21:05, 6 October 2017 (UTC)
Per WP:Consensus, “In discussions of proposals to add, modify or remove material in articles, a lack of consensus commonly results in retaining the version of the article as it was prior to the proposal or bold edit.” This is especially true if the prior version had a clear consensus. That version is supposed to remain in place absent a consensus to change it plus a consensus how to change it. Of course, a bold, unchallenged edit creates a new consensus. Anythingyouwant (talk) 21:36, 6 October 2017 (UTC)
Perhaps I wasn't clear, or perhaps the replies are about other situations than I am describing. An article was stable for a period of a few years. Then, in case A, an editor came along and deleted a section. Another editor restored the section, and another editor deleted it. More editors favored keeping the section deleted than favored restoring it. Editors who favored restoring it called it the stable consensus version, but the consensus was purely historical, because the section no longer had current majority support. In case B, two editors came along, and substantially rewrote the article, with new references. Two editors complained, saying that changing the article away from the stable version was disruptive. So my question is: In either case, do the editors who want the original version restored have a policy-based argument for restoration? Robert McClenon (talk) 02:11, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
In case A, “More editors favored keeping the section deleted than favored restoring it.“ If that amounted to a consensus for deleting the section then there is no policy-based argument AFAIK for restoring the original version, unless perhaps there was a recent extensive RFC or the like. But, if there are not so many more editors who favor deletion as to amount to a consensus, then there is a policy-based argument for restoring the original version, because “a lack of consensus commonly results in retaining the version of the article as it was prior to the proposal or bold edit.” In case B, if the two editors who complained were only complaining that there was no consensus without explaining why they disagreed with the actual edits, then arguably there was in fact consensus for the edits, see Wikipedia:Don't revert due solely to "no consensus". On the other hand, if they also disagreed with the actual edits, so as to make consensus nonexistent, then there is a policy-based argument for restoring the original version, because “a lack of consensus commonly results in retaining the version of the article as it was prior to the proposal or bold edit.” IMHO. Anythingyouwant (talk) 02:37, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
Robert McClenon can you point out the discussion in question. There should be more relevant policy and guideline reasons being cited than just status quo. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 04:06, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
See . It appears that two editors wanted to restore the section, and said that it was the stable consensus version, and that multiple editors supported its removal. I was officially neutral but did not see any policy basis for restoring the section based on history or consensus. Robert McClenon (talk) 14:27, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
As mentioned, the policy says “a lack of consensus commonly results in retaining the version of the article as it was prior to the proposal or bold edit”. To me, this means there must be some extraordinary reason to allow changes to the article without consensus for those changes. Were it otherwise, one could just as easily add completely new material that lacks current consensus, as delete old material that lacks current consensus. Anythingyouwant (talk) 03:38, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
First, what is an extraordinary reason? Second, in the case in point, it appears that four or five editors supported removal of the section, and two editors favored restoration of the section. At the time of the controversy, there was something closer to a consensus for removing the section than for keeping it. So my question is whether the fact that the section had been there for a year or more in itself resulted in a historical argument for restoring it. Am I explaining the situation clearly, or should I explain it differently? Robert McClenon (talk) 18:19, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
A clear BLP violation would be an example of an extraordinary reason. Moreover, if there is a current consensus against a previous stable version, then nothing in policy or guidelines requires preservation of the previous stable version, unless some special reason exists (e.g. the previous stable consensus resulted from an RFC, or changing the stable consensus version would violate BLP, etc.). You also discussed other scenarios, e.g. "there no longer appears to be a current consensus" or "In case B, two editors came along, and substantially rewrote the article, with new references. Two editors complained…." and in those other scenarios there is no current consensus to change the old version so the old version is supposed to be restored per WP:Consensus. Anythingyouwant (talk) 19:50, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
User:Anythingyouwant - I don't understand. What you say isn't clear. Are you saying that the historical version should be restored, or not? Actually, you appear to be saying both that the historical consensus should be restored because it was the old consensus, and that "no consensus" is not a reason for reverting. Is there a guideline that gives weight to historical versions, even when there is a majority for a change, or is there no such guideline? Where is the guideline that says that "stable consensus versions" take precedence over a change in consensus? Robert McClenon (talk) 00:54, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
In case A, the majority of editors wanted the section deleted. Should it be restored because four over two is not enough of a consensus to override a stable historical version, or should the new consensus be accepted? (I assume that we all agree that an RFC would establish a new consensus that overrides the history.)
In case B, as a matter of fact, there was extended very lengthy inconclusive discussion (a filibuster). The editors who had rewritten the article said that the rewrite was more consistent with what scholarly reliable sources said. It was my judgment that the complaining editors waited a long time after the rewrite before complaining, and as a result the new version had become the stable version, but I still haven't seen the light about "stable consensus versions". Robert McClenon (talk) 00:54, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
I do not want to comment about whether there is a current consensus in your case A or your case B. I merely said that IF there is not current consensus then the old version should normally be restored per the policy that says “a lack of consensus commonly results in retaining the version of the article as it was prior to the proposal or bold edit”. I don’t see how I could be any clearer than that. Anythingyouwant (talk) 01:35, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
I'm still confused. Where is the guideline that says that "stable consensus versions" based on history should be preserved as an alternative to consensus changing? Robert McClenon (talk) 00:54, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
I am aware of no guideline that uses the exact phrase you quote. Anythingyouwant (talk) 01:35, 9 October 2017 (UTC)

I am not sure either "side" in the disputes described can really claim a true consensus. A true consensus requires a fairly broad sampling of editors (I would say you need at least 10). I would suggest that you take the specific disputes to a wider audience (file an RFC) and see if that wider audience can break the deadlock. Blueboar (talk) 01:26, 9 October 2017 (UTC)

I don’t agree that “true consensus requires a fairly broad sampling of editors”. One unchallenged editor can be a consensus. See Wikipedia:Silence and consensus. However, it’s true that an RFC can create a more weighty community-wide consensus that takes precedence over local consensus. Anythingyouwant (talk) 01:39, 9 October 2017 (UTC)

WP:NOTMEMORIAL and victim lists in tragedy articles[edit]

Currently, WP:NOTMEMORIAL states that "Wikipedia is not the place to memorialize deceased friends, relatives, acquaintances, or others who do not meet [the requirements at WP:BLP]". Many, including myself, have interpreted this as prohibiting lists of victims in the articles of tragedies. However, many others disagreed, and in June 2016 there was a discussion as to whether to add such a list to 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting. In the closing statement, it was suggested that while there is a precedent to include such lists, such precedent may conflict with NOTMEMORIAL, and a separate RfC should be held about the general interpretation of the NOTMEMORIAL and to determine whether or not a list of victims violates the policy. Indeed, local consensus for 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting was "to allow the list untill it is either removed to a separate article or a higher level consensus abolishes the use of such lists acrosss wikipedia" [sic]. The full closing statement by Maunus is below for reference:

I count 22 !votes to include vs. 16 to exclude. However, several arguments for excluding are temporary opening the possibility of having separate page listing the victims. The argument against is WP:NOTMEMORIAL, which suggests that wikipedia should not memorialize people who are not themselves notable biographic subjects. Arguments for allowing, suggest that WP:MEMORIAL does not apply to embedded lists in articles, and point out the precedentfor having such lists in other articles about mass shootings. I think that there is a conflict between WP:MEMORIAL and the existing precendent, but this should be addressed in a separate RfC about the general interpretation of the WP:MEMORIAL. In such an RfC i would vote to exclude lists of victims in articles on mass deaths (especially given the inequal possibilities afforded different kinds of victims in different pats of the world), but in this case the local consensus regarding this article in specific is to allow the list untill it is either removed to a separate article or a higher level consensus abolishes the use of such lists acrosss wikipedia.

That brings us here. I propose that we add a line to WP:NOTMEMORIAL that would prohibit listing individual victims of tragedies if they do not meet our notability guidelines and/or WP:BLP. This would apply to not just lists, but general naming of non-notable victims as well, either in the article or as a separate article. This proposal, if approved, would also override any local consensus and precedents. SkyWarrior 04:53, 7 October 2017 (UTC)


  • Support as nominator. SkyWarrior 04:53, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support per WP:BIO1E and just generally out of respect. If all we can write about a person's entire life is that they died, we should not write about them. I've done a lot in my life, none of it notable, but if I die in a terrorism incident and that's the only thing you ever write about me, I will haunt your ass. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 12:24, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support. Naming non-notable victims is a horrible and blatant invasion of privacy (and WP:BLP), as well as a bizarre misuse of Wikipedia. Softlavender (talk) 03:07, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support More specifically, I agree there are times they are appropriate as to understanding whatever the tragedy was, but we should be considering those exception, with the rule to avoid inclusion of victim lists in general. Hence I support the general idea, just that we need the "with exception" cavaet. --MASEM (t) 14:12, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Conditional support, "I support the general idea, just that we need the "with exception" caveat" per Masem. Therefore wording should indicate ' ordinarily avoid', rather than 'ban' such lists. Per others, these lists fulfil no real purpose, except sentimental memorialising. Pincrete (talk) 15:01, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Not a fan of victim lists in general. SparklingPessimist Scream at me! 02:54, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
  • I'm not a fan of Pessimists so does that mean we get rid of you ? .... No ofcourse it doesn't, You either need to provide a better rationale other than WP:IDONTLIKEIT or strike the entire thing. –Davey2010Talk 21:02, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Not only is this a pretty blatant violation of WP:NOTMEMORIAL, there are WP:BLP concerns here. Unless these people are independently WP:notable, it's a dubious call to be archiving their names in our articles in this fashion; I don't think the value a list of names adds to understanding the substance and context of a tragedy (as an encyclopedic topic) is significant enough to justify dragging the identities of these people (and by consequence, their families) into an article. Needless to say, the equation changes with enough WP:WEIGHT in the sources--with the important caveat that weight in this instance means more than just a handful of sources repeating the names: there would need to be a certain baseline depth of coverage as well. And even then, we would have prose detail for anyone who is genuinely WP:DUE for inclusion, not a mere listing. Snow let's rap 06:52, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support, as general rule, allowing for exceptions, as others have already explained. - Nabla (talk) 20:57, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Support per Snow Rise. The case-by-case discussion should be limited to whether the victims are independently notable, and that is already a provision of this proposal. There is little need for case-by-case discussion about anything else. Those discussions invariably have more to do with interpretation of NOTMEMORIAL than about the specifics of the article, and article talk is not the place to have such discussions. Further, the notion that name-listing in RS is all we need to list these names is in direct conflict with WP:BLPNAME. ―Mandruss  19:18, 16 October 2017 (UTC)


  • Oppose. This should be handled case by case, not by a blanket global prohibition. Seraphimblade Talk to me 05:03, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Totally agree that this is something that is handled case by case. A full on ban would be ignoring situations that we simply can't anticipate today. Dennis Brown - 11:01, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Case-by-case consideration is the best way to go. The phrase "victims of tragedies" covers far too broad and far too diverse a population for the proposed rule. Eggishorn (talk) (contrib) 11:50, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose This should be handled case by case. At a minimum BLP1E (or similar) cases should be mentioned. If victims of a notable event are mentioned/listed as part of reliable coverage of said event, it makes sense that we mention them as well. A prohibition would go against the intention of WP:MEMORIAL. Agathoclea (talk) 12:11, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per above. postdlf (talk) 13:47, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per above. HastyBriar321 (talk) 02:27, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Seraphimblade. I'll also add that this is especially true if reliable sources have produced such lists. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 01:36, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose as per above - Should be done case-by-case, As noted by Agathoclea if they're mentioned in reliable sources = Include them, if not = don't. –Davey2010Talk 02:59, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per "case by case" arguments. Similarly oppose "name them if RS names them", and I certainly hope that doesn't make it into the close statement. RS almost always names them because their mission is very different from ours. As for the language at WP:MEMORIAL, name lists in a handful of news articles do not make the individuals notable; if they did, we would have bio articles on those individuals; there is only one notability threshold. ―Mandruss  06:46, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose weakly. (Summoned by bot) It has to be a case by case, anything else will just cause trouble, not guidance. L3X1 (distænt write) 16:13, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose . (Summoned by bot) Depends on the tragedy. Should not be a blanket rule, should be case-by-case. Coretheapple (talk) 15:34, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose If the names are verifiable / covered in reliable sources, then it could be part of the article. Each article should be considered on the merit of including such a list. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 09:19, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose I see no reason not to list where the subjects are verifiable with reliable source. Consider 1940 Canberra air disaster. Four of those killed are very notable indeed; the four aircrew are not. But I think the article is best served by their inclusion. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 21:28, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Case by case basis is needed. If they are mentioned in a reliable source I fail to see any argument against their inclusion. Nihlus 18:45, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose This issue came into sharp relief after the 11 Sept 2001 attacks (we eventually created an entire wiki which is now mothballed). I am in general cautiously against including lists of victims, particularly long lists, it adds very little. There are cases, though, where even non-notable names are relevant, for example where the names themselves indicate something of value. Even then this is best sourced and stated explicitly. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 22:24, 16 October 2017 (UTC).
  • Oppose. No need for a hard and fast rule. Sometimes it's appropriate to name victims; sometimes (especially when there are many victims) it isn't. Depends entirely on the individual case. -- Necrothesp (talk) 13:24, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - It would cause chaos to implement such a hard and fast rule across the board. Each article must be looked at individually. No hard and fast rule should be implemented across the board. Each article must looked at individually. If the list of victim names is included in numerous top-tier reliable sources, particularly for major tragedies such as mass shootings, then exluding the names would be non-sensical and a great disservice to readers. The names would obviously be noteworthy content. Including only basic, identifying information - such as name, age, and residence city - would in no way be memorializing victims. Memorializing would include things such as personal background details, tributes, anecdotes, quotes, and photos. For articles about mass shootings, consider this: the 10 deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history are, in order, the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, the Orlando nightclub shooting, the Virginia Tech shooting, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the Luby's shooting, the San Ysidro McDonald's massacre, the University of Texas tower shooting, the Edmond post office shooting, the 2015 San Bernardino attack, and the Binghamton shootings. All of them, except Las Vegas (which is currently in the midst of a discussion about this), include a list of the victims' names and, at the very least, their ages. This evidence makes clear that Wikipedia editors have repeatedly debated this issue and clearly established a consensus that a list of victim names should and will be listed in major mass shooting articles, and that its inclusion overrides any objections based on WP:NOTMEMORIAL, WP:BLP, and WP:OTHERSTUFF. 2605:A000:FFC0:D8:E8B0:35F4:5401:1C0D (talk) 15:16, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose—Most individuals who are killed tragically are not "independently notable." If they were, they could have their own article. The proposed policy misses what lists do. Among other things, lists can illustrate the discriminatory intent of a massacre perpetrator (École Polytechnique massacre); provide an illustration of the indiscriminate nature of violence, for example that a shooter attacked children; help describe the chronology and place where violence was applied (Haditha massacre); illustrate familial relationships among those victimized (Haditha massacre, again); and indicate the affiliations of those killed. It's possible that a truly random, or non-purposeful attack needs none of these things, but let's leave it to page editors to work that out. Moreover, lists provide a mechanism for a user searching for a given victim to find the tragedy in which they were killed. These objective grounds are in addition to concerns that encyclopedic text should offer at least the same human dignity to victims of tragic violence as their perpetrators.--Carwil (talk) 19:34, 17 October 2017 (UTC)


  • Mixed guidance - Alternative guidance might be "avoid listing names in mass deaths unless the individual names are commonly listed in accounts, or are otherwise notable" This seems an area where the precedent seems to sometimes list victims of shootings but not always, with no clear guide that I can see. Guidance might mention that larger events should not list names because it's infeasible and large enough that the individual names were not covered so do not meet WP:V or WP:WEIGHT. Examples University of Texas tower shooting, Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, and Columbine High School massacre, UpStairs Lounge arson attack. Versus Cleveland Elementary School shooting (Stockton), Oklahoma City bombing, 1975 LaGuardia Airport bombing, or September 11 attacks. Markbassett (talk) 04:54, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Mixed guidance, per Markbassett. We do have an issue to resolve, but should not over-reach.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  21:57, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Mixed guidance - I agree that it is improper to list the victims in cases of random mass shootings... but I do think the names of the victims are important to mention in cases where the victims were the intentional targets (i.e. where the killer was intentionally trying to kill specific individuals). Blueboar (talk) 15:13, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Mixed guidance - I would probably have agreed to support this proposal, but then there are cases where a simple list is notable and should be included. Perhaps the guideline is set dependant on the overall number of people, most higher-body-count incidents would also have a proportionally higher number of unnotable individuals. It could be that low-individual lists are allowed, medium-individual lists are collapsed (possibly in a template at the end of the page called "List of people killed in *x*"), and high-individual lists are excluded altogether? IJReid {{T - C - D - R}} 05:32, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Mixed guidance: Where inclusion of victims is necessary to understand a crime (motivation, sequencing, interaction with perp, etc), then they should be included. Where inclusion is not required to understand a crime, they should not be included. This means that in some cases all victims would be included, while in other cases some might be referred to obliquely or grouped, and in other cases few or none would be included. For the Las Vegas shooting, Campos appears to be the only victim critical to understanding the event.~Hydronium~Hydroxide~(Talk)~ 11:48, 19 October 2017 (UTC)


General discussion[edit]

Please arrange for the RfC format to be fixed. There are at least two problems with the layout:

  1. There is neither a signature nor even an unattributed timestamp for the opening statement. When building the RfC listings, Legobot (talk · contribs) copies from the {{rfc}} template (exclusive) to the next timestamp (inclusive). The next timestamp is in the "Support" section, so Legobot will copy that heading and the first !vote. If this appears in the RfC listing, it would be against WP:RFC#Statement should be neutral and brief, and could skew the responses.
  2. The text copied by Legobot includes a table; this is forbidden by WP:RFC#Statement should be neutral and brief as it breaks the listing entry.

Have a look at how the RfC appears at WP:RFC/BIO (Permalink). --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 19:09, 7 October 2017 (UTC)

Sorry about that, I think I fixed it. SkyWarrior 23:35, 7 October 2017 (UTC)

Please also note that the opening statement should be "neutral and brief [...] A long statement will make the list harder to read [...] If you have lots to say on the issue, give and sign a brief statement in the initial description and save the page, then edit the page again and place additional comments below your first statement and signature", per Wikipedia:Requests for comment. —Sangdeboeuf (talk) 17:15, 12 October 2017 (UTC)

Anti/Pro-Trump/other politician user categories and userboxes?[edit]

I'm doing this as a pre-emptive measure because there seem to have been quite a lot of user categories and userboxes that are being brought to the attention of both WP:CFD and WP:MFD. The earliest discussion I can find is Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2017 February 14#Category:Politically leftist Wikipedians, which saw both that category and an equivalent for right-wing Wikipedians get deleted. It seems that for awhile things were quiet, until we had this discussion, Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2017 September 4#Category:Wikipedians who are against Donald Trump, which also saw that category get deleted. I've nominated a category recently myself, but only one, and I didn't realize how widespread these materials are, or how much momentum this trend of nominating these things is gaining. There is also Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2017 October 6#Political support categories, which seems to be gaining a steady delete consensus (it's about user categories that specifically and unambiguously endorse candidates on both sides of the spectrum). Elsewhere, however, the solution is not so clear-cut, with many categories, in the view of users such as myself, expressing support for one sociopolitical viewpoint or another without using it to imply interest in collaboration with other Wikipedians in editing those same topic areas regardless of whether they personally agree with each other. Personally, my view is that these userboxes stand in clear violation of WP:UBCR, while the categories violate WP:User categories#Inappropriate types of user categories, namely "Categories which group users by advocacy of a position". This is not merely a fringe view either, as there's enough of us who think this way that it's clouding consensus on the issue, warranting broader discussion.

I believe the best way to go about this is to list examples of what might end up being discussed at either MFD or CFD. I encourage others to add to it, but within reason - this is not a substitute for discussion at either venue. Whether we decide to keep them or get rid of them, we'll likely still have to take it over there. It is not my goal to try to circumvent either venue; it is not merely about these specific examples or others like them, but the idea of them as a whole. I just want to nip this in the bud and give us some peace of mind. If you add something to this list, please leave a ping for the user who originally made it unless that user has already been pinged here.

Keep in mind that userboxes can also be categorized in a confrontational way, so on the face of it they may seem to express a message everyone can agree with, but in adding them to your own page you'll add a category you may not necessarily feel you belong in. Userboxes may be kept, but should be recategorized as the community sees fit. Feel free to point out problematic categorization wherever you see it.

{{Template:User alt-right foe}}

Paging Buaidh (talk · contribs). Zeke, the Mad Horrorist (Speak quickly) (Follow my trail) 14:02, 7 October 2017 (UTC)

I agree, political userboxes should not add a user to a "Left/Right wing" or "Anti-Trump/Clinton" category, but to a category such as "Users that support Trump/Clinton". - ZLEA (Talk,Contribs) 17:07, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
We shouldn't even have those, since they don't support encyclopedic collaboration (likely the opposite), and the Trump vs. Clinton matter is already over anyway.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  21:56, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Given that we are supposed to maintain a Neutral Point of View as editors, I don't think it appropriate to have any politically oriented user categories. Whether a user supports (or opposes) candidate X, Y or Z is irrelevant to writing and maintaining an encyclopedia.
And if we do decide to keep these categories, we should institute a topic ban to go with them... anyone who declares for or against a politician should be topic banned from editing articles that relate to that politician. Blueboar (talk)|
I hereby declare my strong opposition to Donald Trump and defy any editor to show that that has negatively affected my fairly active participation at Donald Trump since before the election. Just try a TBAN against me and see how far you get. Sorry but that's a non-starter. Besides, such a rule would do absolutely nothing for article quality, it would simply make POV editors keep quiet about their POVs. I agree that Wikipedia should be as apolitical as possible and editors should generally keep their political leanings to themselves (exception made in this comment for a good reason). ―Mandruss  18:02, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
You may have good intentions, but that's not a good idea. It presumes that any editor with any position strong enough that he/she mentions it on his/her userpage is automatically going to make NPOV-violating edits. This simply is not true, though. Master of Time (talk) 18:05, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
Interesting, I'd never heard that viewpoint before. That's certainly not what I'm concerned about, and it's not been the concern raised so far. What we're worried about is this causing schisms among editors, perhaps people refusing to collaborate with each other or getting to any degree antagonistic over issues as sensitive as political ones. Biased editing on related articles was definitely not something that crossed my mind. As far as the point you two are making, there's a difference between "Wikipedians interested in Donald Trump" and "Wikipedians against Donald Trump"; the earlier implies some sort of vested interest in actually bringing more information about him to the encyclopedia, aside from the more positive connotations "interested" tends to have, whereas the latter does not actually carry any implication of interest in editing in that topic area at all, making it a questionable use of userspace and category space. Zeke, the Mad Horrorist (Speak quickly) (Follow my trail) 21:08, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
I don't disagree with that. My previous comment was only about the TBAN-if-you-declare idea. WP:UBCR (emphasis theirs): "Userboxes must not be inflammatory or divisive." Inflammatory? Probably. Divisive? Definitely. ―Mandruss  21:19, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
I see. I don't know how I missed that part of Blueboar's post. My apologies. Zeke, the Mad Horrorist (Speak quickly) (Follow my trail) 21:34, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
A topic ban is definitely taking things too far. Concern over biased editing was not the spirit in which this RFC was started, and until now was not something I'd seen mentioned in discussion over this topic. As I said before, the concerns that folks like myself share is that it could foment discord among the userbase, making users reluctant to collaborate on certain topics or engage in certain discussions to avoid risking being antagonized for holding to one belief or another. Zeke, the Mad Horrorist (Speak quickly) (Follow my trail) 21:32, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
  • One, I hope we break out the rational arguments instead. Two, we can keep the petty mudslinging off the page. Zeke, the Mad Horrorist (Speak quickly) (Follow my trail) 20:55, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Well, don't try to control how people express their opinions and you wont be accused of thought police. If I have a userbox saying 'I think the US president is a racist homophobic imbecile' vs 'I support the Democrats'. You could make a credible argument the first would be disallowed under BLP but any restrictions on the latter would just lead to the knock on effect of people complaining about every political position. Users advocating for gender legislation reform? That's a political position, cant have it on the userpage. Users in favour of gun control? Political position. Users with anti-racism statements? Political position. Unless you are going to blanket ban per Blueboar above *all* userboxes, this will never fly - as there will always be someone who disagrees politically with something or other. On a basic level a userbox that professes support for the LGBT movement is both offensive and inflammatory to a huge number of people. I will enjoy watching you attempt to get rid of them. Just let me know so I can get the popcorn ready. Only in death does duty end (talk) 15:28, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
  • You are making valid arguments but using needlessly uncivil language. No one here is trying to be the "thought police". This RFC was not to enforce some kind of deletionist solution to the problem. I'll accept the outcome whichever way it goes. I simply believe this needs to be discussed as while we have reached consensus in some of the discussions I've linked, there appear to be many more that could end up at MFD or CFD sooner or later, and rather than bombard people with notices of discussions in progress, it would just be easier to find examples and reach some kind of consensus here to prevent needless discussions. Whatever outcome we achieve here will be replicated on the individual discussions, thus invalidating the need for them and saving us a lot of time & work. I have only made my own thoughts on the matter clear, I have made no attempt to control the discussion or enforce any kind of outcome - you made a blatant personal attack with that accusation. Try helping us achieve a consensus rather than getting confrontational. Zeke, the Mad Horrorist (Speak quickly) (Follow my trail) 19:48, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
  • You could have just made your arguments in your original post and not gotten confrontational at any point. It would have been a very welcome contribution to this discussion. Zeke, the Mad Horrorist (Speak quickly) (Follow my trail) 20:03, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
  • It's somewhat pointless to call something a personal attack if it wouldn't stand a chance of a sanction following a traumatic 10-day train wreck at WP:ANI. "Thought police" would not. But it's unhelpful hyperbole; if this is a proposal to "control how people express their opinions", WP:UBCR is another one that already has community consensus. We do put reasonable limits on editor self-expression here, or try to do so with incomplete success. ―Mandruss  07:45, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
  • That it wouldn't stand a chance at ANI is not the point, and in fact is evidence that WP:CIVIL is increasingly irrelevant because people ignore it knowing that most transgressions against it won't be punished since it would take too long relative to the degree of slight that occurred. It is a personal attack, it's a false accusation. How people react to it does not at all define what it actually is.
You do have a point that Wikipedia already does try to control what users say on it, though, and to see that, look no further than WP:FORUM, which mandates that we relegate discussion on talk pages strictly to being about improving the articles to which they are attached. To pretend we have "free speech" here is laughable because Wikipedia is a private organization that can enforce whatever rules it damn well pleases on those who use it, not an attempt at any form of government that would have such obligations towards its citizens. Zeke, the Mad Horrorist (Speak quickly) (Follow my trail) 02:31, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Zeke - I think other kinds for MFD would be (1) Coverage of something trivial and transient -- just momentarily viral on the internet and now no longer covered. In particular lately far too many articles about Trump (is it over 1,000 now?) where far far to many were some embarassingly trivial topic. (e.g. covfefe or high heels or hair or handshakes). Also MFD might be (2) Content present in more than 3 articles. I tend to think some of this was pasted into multiple spots and so winds up not a good fit to most places it was put. Markbassett (talk) 05:59, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Having thought about this some more, I realize that another important concern is the treatment of our userspaces as social media profiles, which are so often used merely as a platform for expressing and promoting points of view while refusing to be challenged. Ideally, I would think interests and tastes are not described unless they either 1) are used to imply where you're most likely to see a particular editor working or 2) could influence that editor's contributions in any way. Me personally, I've left a lot unsaid about me on my own userpage only because I did not see its potential to contribute to my profile as an editor. I have my own political opinions, but I don't see the need to express them here, largely because I don't intend to contribute to political topic areas if I can help it. But enabling these sorts of things might leave the door open for mere soapboxing of the kind that we see so often on Facebook - things people say only to be heard, not to actually make the encyclopedia any better for having said it or getting any kind of dialogue going. More often than not, they're intended for people to accept and start believing in without any response whatsoever. After all, our userspaces are not really part of the encyclopedia, and people have to take our actual article content with a grain of salt as it is. Why would a userspace rant be any more reliable? And would they necessarily be posted with an eye toward making the encyclopedia around which userspace orbits any better? Zeke, the Mad Horrorist (Speak quickly) (Follow my trail) 00:51, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
  • I agree basically that we should not have categories that classify editors directly into any political or ideological mindset, particularly if they are just adding a userbox to their page (the userboxes are fine in this regards). Far too much potential for abuse internally and externally there. Fully agree that there is a problem if a user-box automatically includes an editor into a category, since that is ripe for problems if the user box is edited to include other categories by presumption. I don't see a problem on a user-page or user-boxes as long as all necessary content and behavior policies are followed (eg no BLP violations, political messages should remain civil, etc.),since the user is controlling that themselves. I would probably make a case that editors should not use user-page content to cast aspirations against an editor, under WP:NPA, so that people should be free to express their views to understand their editing patterns. --MASEM (t) 15:40, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
That last point is important.... adding political user tags can give the appearance of non-neutral editing, even when the actual editing may be neutral (or at least attempting to be neutral). I am concerned that these tags will lead other editors to dismiss a valid concern ("oh, we can dismiss this editor's concern... he/she is not neutral... see, he/she even proclaims their non-neutrality on their user page!"). In disputes, these tags will encourage others to focus on the editor, and not the actual edit. Blueboar (talk) 16:47, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
That type of concern should be handled by behavior around those making a deal of a user-tag, and should be called out as completely inappropriate, approaching an NPA warning, as otherwise we'd be questioning the differential between what is a political position versus other sentiments expressed by user-boxes. If an editor has a user box that says "I support the far right", we shouldn't care as long as their behavior in editing is not solely informed by that stance, and they follow all expected behavior patterns for editors. That's a whole problem of identity politics that is dominating the real world but shouldn't be a factor in editing on WP, and should actually be called out when people use that against editors when editor behavior otherwise does not warrant. Obviously, if we find a case of an editor that consistently edits uncollaborative with the POV represented by a user-box, that's a different situation that should be handled in a different manner. --MASEM (t) 17:04, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
Agreed. POV-editing should be handled on a case-by-case basis, and I really don't think userboxes should ever come into play in that situation - in fact, my experience would tell me the editors with the greatest problems concerning their biases would be ones whose usernames are redlinks because they didn't come to build a userpage, let alone an encyclopedia, so they wouldn't know or care about userboxes. The editors who take the time to actually use them are, in my book, far less likely to cause that kind of problem. Zeke, the Mad Horrorist (Speak quickly) (Follow my trail) 03:21, 10 October 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────We really have no community consensus as to the role of p&g, a consensus that should form the bedrock for everything else. Some will say that p&g guide behavior, so we can speak of violations of it. Others say that p&g reflect behavior, and a p or g should be updated if there are enough editors ignoring it or unaware of it (in that case it follows that speaking of violations impedes the community's ability to form consensus). Ample support for both concepts can be found in policy and common practice. I have never understood how both can be true, but that's what we appear to have and it makes this kind of discussion problematic. This is "meta" and probably out-of-venue, so feel free to disregard or respond on my talk page (I would dearly love to understand this apparent paradox), but it also seems at the core of the frequent issues like this one. ―Mandruss  08:52, 13 October 2017 (UTC)

  • Categories are meant to allow easy access to topics that are connected. User categories are thus meant to allow to find users who share common characteristics which might be useful in improving the encyclopedia, broadly construed. So categories that group users by country, language, school etc. are good uses for categories, because you might need to find someone from country X, school Y, speaking language Z etc. Is there any need to find editors who support or oppose a certain politician? I can't think of one...
    Userboxes on the other hand serve a different purpose, they allow users to (positively) declare interests and (negatively) declare biases and thus are useful even when there is no reason to categorize such users. So a "Pro-Trump"/"Anti-Trump"/etc. userbox is definitely useful because it allows others to understand that some contributions might be tinged by a certain bias. Like Masem, I don't see a problem with that since contributions by people who take the time to declare their biases are usually made with more thought than by those who don't. Regards SoWhy 09:35, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
definitely useful because it allows others to understand that some contributions might be tinged by a certain bias. If I understand what you're saying, you have demonstrated the potential problem that Blueboar referred to above. I think we have more than enough false suspicions of POV editing held by people who fail to recognize/acknowledge their own bias, without feeding those people with ammunition for their ABF. Far from being "useful", it's both useless and destructive. ―Mandruss  11:30, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
I could certainly support userboxes ahead of user categories. Having too many on a certain subject might be something we look into solving, but that's probably another RFC. Userboxes are personal, and if this ends up changing the rules as to their content, that's fine too. If anything, we should look at it this way: Our policies on userboxes say one thing, but by and large, our userboxes, the things it supposedly governs, say a very different one, and the divide has only been allowed to grow over the years, especially these tense last few. It's obvious something needs to change there, whether any of us like the outcome or not. But categories definitely serve a different purpose on user pages compared to articles, which even serve a different purpose to those on talk pages, and so on. Being able to find someone based on potential political bias, if it is indeed helpful at all, has a far less obvious benefit than being able to find someone willing to make difficult blocks, provide copies of deleted pages, can provide some feedback on a much-needed topic area, or can potentially supply some good photography for a given subject. To put it simply, the categories define what a user can bring to the table of editing Wikipedia, and bias, one way or another, doesn't exactly have potential in that area. At best, it would merely show what might influence an editor for better or for worse. It wouldn't show some skillset this user has. Zeke, the Mad Horrorist (Speak quickly) (Follow my trail) 02:31, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
Here is a convenient way to find the editors who currently transclude {{User anti-Trump}}, just one of the many pro- or anti-Trump userboxes currently extant. I don't see much difference between the categories and the userboxes for the purposes of this discussion. Both have the same very real potential to impede the project's mission (building an encyclopedia), and both have little upside besides self-expression. In the end, Wikipedia is not a social networking site. This applies also to other divisive political userboxes such as {{User Black Lives}}, but I'm willing to limit scope for now. ―Mandruss  13:54, 14 October 2017 (UTC)

Downgrade Wikipedia:Reference desk/Guidelines?[edit]

On the page Wikipedia:Reference desk/Guidelines I propose replacing

 {{subcat guideline|editing guideline|Reference desk|WP:RD/G}}


 {{Supplement|pages=[[Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines]]|shortcut=WP:RD/G}}

This would change...

Category:Wikipedia editing guidelines

Category:Wikipedia supplemental pages

Reason: Wikipedia:Reference desk/Guidelines has never actually been approved as a guideline by the Wikipedia community, just by a few editors on the reference desks at the time it was created. See WP:LOCALCON. More importantly, there are editors on the reference desks who quote this guideline as permission to violate WP:TPOC. In several recent examples, other user's comments were deleted because the editor doing the deleting deemed them to be "worthless". Downgrading this local guideline to a supplemental page will make it clear that WP:TPOC applies when deciding what can be deleted. This suggested downgrade would not prevent deletions as allowed by WP:TPOC such as trolling and vandalism. --Guy Macon (talk) 21:14, 7 October 2017 (UTC)

The real problem is not the guideline - it's the inability, of some editors (me included, sometimes) to recognize trolling questions when they turn up. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 03:32, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
Actually, the real underlying problem is that, all to often, we treat the reference desk as an answer desk. We try to answer questions (based on our own knowledge) instead of helping the OP find the answer themselves (by providing actual references) ... and yeah... I am guilty of this myself. As for trolls... I find they get bored and stop posting if you limit your answer to: "See source X"... and refrain from other commentary. Blueboar (talk) 16:11, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
Blueboar, I agree that what you describe is the real underlying problem. Alas, I don't have a solution for it. If you can think of one, I would love to present a proposal that implements the solution.
I do however, have a solution for the far smaller secondary problem of editors on the reference desks who (mis)quote WP:RD/G and say that it overrides WP:TPOC. That solution is at the top of this proposal. Do you have any objections to me implementing my suggested change? --Guy Macon (talk) 18:47, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
You say "Wikipedia:Reference desk/Guidelines has never actually been approved as a guideline by the Wikipedia community, just by a few editors on the reference desks at the time it was created. See WP:LOCALCON." I would argue that the word "community" is more applicable to the Reference desks than to the rest of the encyclopedia. Therefore I think the problem is WP:LOCALCON. It needs to loosen up a bit in this instance. The Reference desks certainly are a part of the overall encyclopedia but a community and a very good community in my opinion has developed at the Reference desks including its own community quirks. It is watched over by knowledgeable and competent people and more than a few administrators. Bus stop (talk) 19:47, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
Disagree. We've had a rampant problem for years with every other wikiproject (and the RD is basically a wikiproject) declaring whatever they come up with to be a "guideline" without any input from anyone else, or any examination by the broader community. We have WP:VPPRO for a reason.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  21:54, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
Is the Reference desk "basically a wikiproject"? Are there articles within "WikiProject Reference desk"? Bus stop (talk) 23:07, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
I have an amazingly easy way to fix those issues. Don't answer unless you are providing a reference, either to a work or a relevant Wikipedia article containing multiple refs. Any responses not containing the above get removed on sight. Close all questions after 72 hours answered or not. Boom, disappearing chatforum, personal knowledge and extensive trolling. Only in death does duty end (talk) 15:11, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
So you would leave the neo-Nazi posts visible for 3 days? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 15:15, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
Anything clearly offensive/racist can already be removed under existing guidance. However the fact is we have plenty of articles based on subjects that are relevant to the neo-nazis, historical and current, so unless the question is 'How many jews can I gas with a mark 1 gas chamber' your question is meaningless without context. Trolls get bored when you stop playing their game. Only in death does duty end (talk) 15:33, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
And therein lies the problem. Your hypothetical is in the neighborhood of the types of questions he asks. And he never gets bored. He's been at it for yeas. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 15:42, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
Only in death offers a good suggestion, although a bit too dogmatically. It is possible that a constructive response might not contain a good reference. But it is a good suggestion that we should try to adhere too. I have my own suggestion. It is often not clear if an inquiry is a prank (trolling) or a question worth addressing. Therefore I feel it is virtually imperative that the person posing the inquiry must be available for dialogue. We are placing ourselves in a weak position when we allow an initial post to generate a volume of discussion without any further input from the initiator of that thread. They must be available for instance for questions from those trying to help them. If they refuse to be further involved, then it is a good indication that the thread should be hatted. The problem here is a battle of wits. We have to assume that we have the ability, through sustained dialogue, to suss out the intention of the person posting a query. It is my working assumption that pranksters don't have the intellectual rigor required for in-depth discussion of the "topic" that they've raised. The topic is often ill-defined. If they decide to change their question to a more focussed question, then fine, we proceed normally and try to help them get answers to their newly revised question. Bus stop (talk) 16:55, 9 October 2017 (UTC)

Support. It won't affect the wording or nature of the material in any way, but will avoid confusion between WP:P&G material that's been vetted by the broader editorial community, versus narrowly topical WP:PROJPAGE essay material that hasn't had the input of much of anyone but its authors.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  21:54, 8 October 2017 (UTC)

Oppose. The reference desks are not talk pages. They are reference desks as described at Reference desk. A reference desk is not an encyclopaedia, it is a way for the public to access the facility. It requires its own guidelines because it is a reference desk and not an encyclopaedia article or a page for editors to discuss improvements. Wikipedia is not a bureaucracy for a long standing guideline to be changed just because someone thinks some hoops haven't been jumped through. Dmcq (talk) 18:59, 14 October 2017 (UTC)

Comment. I honestly have no idea what the effect of this change is, nor the validity of the current guidelines. I should point out that their most overbearing use - efforts by a medical lobby to keep people from answering basic questions - won't really be changed because the same people will argue, at very great length, about how the general disclaimer at the bottom of the page means they should delete your question. As a guideline, literally taken, it is not a bad idea to tell people not to give advice (about anything - and the guidelines actually say that but only the medical lobby cares). Then it would simply be a stylistic thing and we'd provide references and ideas rather than being afraid to mention things we can think of. So I think it's mostly a matter of resisting the abuse of policy, rather than what the policy says. I find proposals like only in death's to be bizarre and completely undesirable -- the expiration time of postings has nothing to do with anything, but it's already too short to get decent answers for a lot of questions. And while editors should come with references in hand I don't think we can enforce that strongly because sometimes a suggestion without refs helps someone else jog their memory; I've seen it many times. Wnt (talk) 10:53, 16 October 2017 (UTC)

Well i do give advice sometimes - mostly of the form of if they had just stuck the title of the query into Google search they'd have got an answer much quicker and with less bother. :) It would be good though if some of the editors there could just either ignore annoying questions or just answer them with a reference rather than doing anything else. Rising to some troll is just stupid. Dmcq (talk) 12:44, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose The page has been stable and in use for the better part of a decade without widespread changes or objections. That's a consensus as one can get. --Jayron32 19:35, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
  • I Support the proposed change in tags, which I see as a "clarification" rather than a "downgrade". Also, I think we should consider the advantages of WP:NOTAG for pages like that. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:32, 18 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose The refdesks are talky, but they're not talk pages — they have a completely different purpose. There are indeed some common issues, and I wouldn't be opposed to incorporating WP:TPOC, the specific concern that seems to be at the top of Guy's mind. --Trovatore (talk) 08:50, 19 October 2017 (UTC)

Followup Proposal[edit]

WP:RD/G/M has the same problems as WP:RD/G, and is also being claimed to override WP:TPOC. Does anyone object to be downgrading this one to a explanatory supplement at well? --Guy Macon (talk) 22:05, 8 October 2017 (UTC)

If you seriously want to approve giving out professional advice, you should discuss it with the WMF first. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 22:52, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
  • To cut through all the blather here... the question seems to be simple: Should WP:RD/G be considered a) a "guideline" page or b) a "supplement" page? I suggest we hold an RFC here on the VPP to ask this simple question. Then we will know what the broader community thinks of it... and any question of Local Consensus will disappear. Blueboar (talk) 23:59, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
  • That's a really good way of stating the question. Much better than I could have done. Are there any objections to me posting an RfC on this? --Guy Macon (talk) 02:26, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
WP:TPO bullet 4: Off topic. This is one surefire way to derail a constructive discussion. ―Mandruss  12:41, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Come on, Bugs, why are you introducing Betacommand into every discussion Guy Macon is involved in? No matter how justified your emotions about that RFC might be, it has no relevance whatsoever here. Repeatedly bringing it up where it doesn't belong only distracts from the topic at hand, and is annoying. ---Sluzzelin talk 15:25, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
Sluzzelin, Bugs is heading toward a block for WP:HOUNDING. I am ignoring his comments and advise other to do likewise. Responding in any way only encourages more of the bad behavior.
Wikipedia being open to all, if you work on building the encyclopedia for any length of time, you have the possibility of attracting your own personal stalker who considers pretty much anything you do a personal affront, and who considers it their sacred duty to "expose" the person they fixate on. It's really quite pathetic, but for some reason they just can't quite seem to figure out why no one else sees their actions as heroic. --Guy Macon (talk) 03:08, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
That's for sure. I've got some stalkers that go back to 2009 or earlier. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 12:39, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
FWIW I see this discussion is at [4] - there is certainly nothing inherently disqualifying to Macon's positions overall because he's trying to rehabilitate an editor out of Wikigulag. Wnt (talk) 13:00, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Well there really needs to be an option to mark it as neither and mark it as an essay until its fit for purpose. Its not a useful guideline because its conflicts with TPOC. Its not a supplement because what it allegedly supplements actually says something different. Only in death does duty end (talk) 09:41, 19 October 2017 (UTC)
Technically, there is no conflict between the RD/guidelines and TPOC, because ref desk pages are not talk pages - they are project pages. This is why the ref desk pages have their own guidelines - TPOC does not apply to ref desk pages (I suppose, however, that it would apply to the talk page that is attached to every ref desk). Blueboar (talk) 10:57, 19 October 2017 (UTC)
Lets just say if its treated like a talk page, its a talk page. That its technically a project page does not give it a magical shield against the guidelines designed specifically for pages where editors interact in discussion. Although saying that, it would be easier to add a line to TPOC to indicate that it also applies to all pages whose primary purpose is discussion. Would you seriously argue at AN/ANI that TPOC doesn't apply there because they are project pages? Only in death does duty end (talk) 11:09, 19 October 2017 (UTC)
Ha, apparently someone got there first. Last line of the lead for WP:TPG (of which WP:TPOC is a subsection) "All guidelines here also apply to Wikipedia discussion pages, such as articles for deletion." - try arguing the ref desk isn't a discussion page ;) Only in death does duty end (talk) 11:13, 19 October 2017 (UTC)
But ref desks are not supposed to be discussion pages... their original purpose was to help editors find articles and sources that would answer their questions. We aren't supposed to discuss (or answer) the questions posted at the ref desks ... we are supposed to limit ourselves to pointing the reader to articles and sources ... so the reader can find the answers themselves. Blueboar (talk) 11:50, 19 October 2017 (UTC)
Well it doesn't go both ways, you cant claim its not a discussion page (when it clearly is - despite the intent) so TPG don't apply, while not actually doing anything to prevent it being used as a discussion page. Wikipedia policies and guidelines apply to 'what is' not 'what we wanted it to be in the beginning but it hasn't been for a long time'. Its currently a discussion page, so guidelines on discussion pages should apply. If you don't want it to be a discussion page, it needs to be *very quickly* have its focus changed. Only in death does duty end (talk) 12:09, 19 October 2017 (UTC)
Why "very quickly"? Is there a specific incident that demands we rush this? Blueboar (talk) 12:42, 19 October 2017 (UTC)


After the massive discussion at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Holly Neher (2nd nomination) and a few other AfDs in recent months, I think that clearer guidelines are needed as to when Wikipedia should have an article on a person based on media coverage of them before they turn 18 or 21. Malala Yousafzai and Prince George of Cambridge will obviously have articles, but almost every other case is controversial, and most guidelines are written with the expectation that they will be discussing adults. power~enwiki (π, ν) 15:11, 8 October 2017 (UTC)

Which guidelines assume that we're talking about adults? Anywa, while it's certainly true that most notable people only become notable as adults, there are certainly many exceptions. For example, Daniel Radcliffe was clearly notable once the first Harryu Potter film came out when he was 12; Chelsea Clinton was certainly notable at age 13, when her father Bill Clinton became the US president. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 03:38, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
Daniel Radcliffe was an actor and notable in his own right. Chelsea Clinton was a minor of no accomplishment who happened to have a famous father (at the time). WP:NOTINHERIT is very clear about this fallacious argument. Only in death does duty end (talk) 08:01, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
I think the best rule of thumb regarding if there should be an article on a minor or not is they are being covered due to their own accomplishments or is it related to the accomplishments of another. Radcliffe would have been independently notable reglardless of whether or not him family was previous famous whereas Clinton, at that time would have almost certainly been a virtual nobody if her did was did not enter politics.-- (talk) 02:36, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
Which somehow reminds me of the strange Bana al-Abed case... —PaleoNeonate – 03:14, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
power~enwiki - I favor a few lines for BLPMINOR at the Presumption of Privacy section. There does seem a norm of not having articles for minor children, such as the White House Malia Obama or Barron Trump, with exceptions for PUBLICFIGURE of entertainer or spokesperson and generally a desire to err on the side of caution. But I've also got to note defining 'minor' may be difficult as the legal permissions are gradual and the age involved varies by jurisdiction. Is it 14 when employment is legal, 16 when driving or marriage is legal, 18 when military service is legal, or 20/21 ? Cheers Markbassett (talk) 23:59, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
  • The BLP policy by default favours privacy. In practice we do take the privacy of minors very seriously, and while often it is unfortunately phrased in terms of notability at discussions, what we are really arguing is often: this kid has just received their 15 minutes of fame. Do we really want to invade their privacy for the rest of their (hopefully long) lives by creating an article that will be the first Google result for their name until the day they die?.
    I would support an addition to the BLP policy based on the WP:NHSPHSATH wording that would require prolonged coverage of a minor before they were included. This would fall short of a public figure standard, allowing us to capture biographies of minors that are significant but aren't necessarily public figures, while also taking an important step to protect the real life privacy of children. In terms of the question above, the definition of minor that I would use would be the age of majority in their country of residence. TonyBallioni (talk) 15:52, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Unfortunately, the issue is not "having an article", the issue is that of covering the minor anywhere in the encyclopedia.  WP:Deletion policy#Alternatives to deletion shows that notability is not a deletion issue when the topic is covered elsewhere in the encyclopedia.  The Holly Neher AfD cited the explanatory supplement to the deletion policy that states, "Unless there is a particular reason to delete a redirect, admins should feel free to interpret Merge and delete votes as Merge....An advanced editor who wishes to argue for a merge and delete should make clear why the redirect would be unacceptable."  Presumably that later point includes the closer.  IMO, the close should either have followed policy guidance and converted the delete !votes to merge !votes, or taken the implied IAR seriously and deleted the topic from the entire encyclopedia.  @Seraphimblade:Unscintillating (talk) 01:27, 15 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Never is WP:NOTINHERITED so literal: articles on minors do need to be looked at to see whether the sources writing about them really only care about the parent entity. That is obvious for Chelsea Clinton but might apply even in the Holly Neher case -- we are seeing a societal transformation in which even the Boy Scouts just started taking girls, so the decision of her school's team (which is what would be said to make her notable) is part of a social trend. A redirect to a general topic like like high school football may be in order, together with a brief description there, which may or may not include the name depending on whether it is useful. We should completely disregard concerns like those of User:TonyBallioni above where Wikipedia tries to trim its sails and tailor its coverage to be of putative benefit to someone by not making an unwanted search result. We have no idea whether this notability will be positive, negative, wanted, unwanted in the long run, and no responsibility for the actions of corporate vermin who fill their overpriced chairs looking up web history to discriminate over rather than looking for competent employees. What we know is that if search engines are permitted to exist for any significant part of this girl's life, which I don't even think we can take for granted any more, then what they do is their responsibility not ours. Above them it is - apparently - the responsibility of Xi Jinping and his emulators throughout the world to sift and adjust what information someone without a security clearance can find out about old news to be consistent with what is judged to be a Harmonious Society; if Wikipedia is to be censored we can at least demand it be done by paid men, not amateur wanna-bes. Our responsibility is to have whatever mention we provide as accurate and well-researched as possible, with the incidental effect that our hit is better than its rivals. Wnt (talk) 10:33, 16 October 2017 (UTC)

Discussion on "US" and "U.S." at WT:MOS[edit]

FYI: Pointer to relevant discussion elsewhere.

An RfC-like discussion is open at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style#Bold revision of "US and U.S." section. It started as a regular thread not an RfC, and has gone on to some length, with a lot of sources cited, and various compromise edits already having been made.

Rather than put an RfC tag on it at this late stage, or start a follow-on RfC, it seems more practical to just direct interest editors to the extant thread.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  22:22, 8 October 2017 (UTC)

RFC: add an example to the WikiProject_Advice_Pages "However" paragraph[edit]

Please see: (talk) 00:19, 9 October 2017 (UTC)

RFC: Proposal to allow Template Editors the ability to indirectly edit the Main Page[edit]

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
Unfortunately, this will have to be an early close per WP:SNOW, as consensus is clearly against this proposal as written. Most editors agreed that this proposal would extend the reach of the template editor right beyond the point that is appropriate. Some editors suggested alternative solutions, such as creating a new user right that unbundles the ability to edit protected pages. Respectfully, Mz7 (talk) 21:09, 15 October 2017 (UTC)

Following discussion at WP:AN#The Rambling Man and WP:VPP#Editing through protection, I'd like to propose a system which will give editors with the Template Editor privilege (TEs) the ability to indirectly edit the Main Page (MP).

There are five main templates that make up the MP. All of them are protected at admin level, and cascade protected. AFAIUI, it means that it is impossible to grant TEs the ability to directly edit the templates. However, it would appear that the is a way around this. If there were subpages of these templates, protected at TE level but outside cascade protection, TEs could edit them. Each template could take the name of the main template with /TE as its subtemplate name. An admin-level bot could then copy across any changes to the relevant template (it would also need to copy over any changes made to the main templates to the subtemplate). Thus allowing TEs to indirectly edit the MP without impinging on the cascade protection. This would increase the number of editors who are able to respond to issues raised at WP:ERRORS. TEs are obviously a trusted bunch of editors. The risk of vandalism to the main page would be very low, and any such instances could be swiftly dealt with by immediate removal of the privilege and other administrative action. Please indicate your support/objection below. Mjroots (talk) 13:02, 13 October 2017 (UTC)


  1. Support as proposer. Mjroots (talk) 13:02, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
  2. This is the way it is now, though I also would say no further change is needed. Click on "Edit source" for the Main Page and you'll see stuff like Module:convert at the bottom. So the template editors have permission to do things that can alter the Main Page. That said, the nature of the permission really is technical - it is given to people who know what they are doing and can nerve themselves up to altering templates with hundreds of thousands of instances with some confidence they can check everything in the sandbox first correctly and won't foul up all those pages. I don't think it would be a good idea to tie that to non-technical Main Page editing in any new way. because inevitably that will mean either some editors try to worm their way in who are not as technically oriented who could be trouble elsewhere, or else it will be harder for genuine template nerds to get the permission and help out where most useful. Wnt (talk) 10:56, 14 October 2017 (UTC) Per the comment below and the Friendly Manual, it appears I misunderstood how template editor status actually works. I think I'll shut up now. Wnt (talk) 21:39, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
    @Wnt: this is not true, in MOST situations it would be, however some pages (such as Main page) have an additional protection called "Cascading protection" with applies to everything transcluded on it, at full protection level. Trying to edit Module:Convert for example will show WARNING: This page has been protected so that only administrators can edit it because it is transcluded in the following pages (which are protected with the "cascading" option enabled). . — xaosflux Talk 15:12, 14 October 2017 (UTC)


  1. Oppose as not the purpose of the template editor user right. It is not intended to be given to non-technical editors as a way of getting around full protection via some convoluted scheme involving an admin bot. It's intended to allow technical editors to edit highly complex or highly visible templates which are at a very high risk of intentional vandalism or unintentional disruption by well-meaning but non-technical editors. Using template editor to allow non-admins to edit through full protection is some serious scope creep. ~ Rob13Talk 13:15, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
  2. Oppose per BU Rob13.--WaltCip (talk) 13:51, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
  3. Oppose TE is supposed to be for editors who have shown good sense and have very minimal behaviorial issues, not to sneak around editing one of the most visible pages in the entire encyclopedia. If we have Errors on the main page that aren't being answered, we either need to promote more trusted users to administrator (and get them to fix the problem) or create an appropriate permission for this specific purpose. Hasteur (talk) 14:06, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
  4. Oppose Per Hasteur. (Not saying we should add another user right though...) Just let admins handle main page issues, I have serious concerns with allowing template editors to edit what's shown on the main page. AdA&D 15:38, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
  5. Oppose as written, and point-of-order: this policy proposal doesn't clearly specify what policy or guideline is to be revised, and how. I'd need to see much clearer parameters on this hypothetical bot (including who is going to be responsible for its edits) to review this in more detail. Creating a new usergroup of protected-page editors (akin to the interface-editor groups on other projects) can be done (with the current software limitation that they would be required to have to have (protect) access (we could have policy specifying HOW they were allowed or not allowed to use it) - prior discussions have been shot down as too complicated as trusted editors that want advanced tools can just sign up for them at WP:RFA. My primary concern is that this bot task adds unneeded complication to main page maintenance. — xaosflux Talk 15:39, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
  6. Oppose. As a template editor myself, template editors are given the right for their competency in editing templates and not their judgement in general, so they have no more prerogative than any other non-admin to edit stuff that goes on the main page, which is (probably) cascade-protected for a good reason. It would be more logical to allow extended-confirmed editors to edit the main page, if cascade protection no longer makes sense for whatever reason. Jc86035 (talk) 15:56, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
  7. Oppose: Only admins can edit the main page but allowing template editors don't make sense. If they need to edit the main page, they should be trusted with admin tools. KGirl (Wanna chat?) 17:01, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
  8. Oppose - There are many with the TE bit whom I would trust to edit the front page, directly or indirectly. The vetting process, however, is currently insufficient an the bit wasn't originally setup to allow this particular group this type of access. If it were to be changed, you would have to review every editor with TE access and vet them over again. Dennis Brown - 17:35, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
  9. Oppose as written but support in spirit the idea of some trusted non-admin users having rights to edit the main page. This method seems a needlessly convoluted set of hacks. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 17:40, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
  10. Oppose something like this might be workable if the right was given to a special user group and the bot is carefully written, but template editors aren't chosen for the ability to edit the main page. There have been cases of admin accounts being compromised and vandalising the main page, and even one case of somebody becoming an administrator just to go on a vandalism spree, so I wouldn't rule out the possibility that someone might do this with the template editor right (which is a lot easier to get than adminship). Hut 8.5 19:16, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
  11. Oppose: Template editor right was designed for editing template-protected templates and overriding the title blacklist, not for editing the Main Page. —MRD2014 Talk • Edits • Help! 20:24, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
  12. Basically per Dennis. --Rschen7754 00:45, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
  13. Oppose, essentially per Dennis and Rob. The TE user right was not created to provide a convoluted way for some trusted non-admins to edit the main page. I agree that we've a problem here that needs solving: we have several users who the community probably trusts to edit the main page and its associated cascade protected pages, but that the community will not trust with other tools. The logical solution (which I have expressed elsewhere) is to unbundle the ability to edit full-protected pages, and hand the new user right to the main-page-content regulars who we deem trustworthy. Unless and until it is clearly demonstrated that this is not technically feasible, I will advocate for this position. To preemptively answer the objection that this would grant the ability to protect pages by transcluding them on to pages with cascade protection; true, but such an action would be abuse of the tool, and would lead to revocation of the right, just as with rollback or NPR. Vanamonde (talk) 08:16, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
    Even if we don't specifically use it on the English Wikipedia, I think unbundling the technical aspects of "change protection levels" and "edit cascade-protected pages" should be done to facilitate such a use case on any project. I'll create a phab request, likely will depend on developer strategy. — xaosflux Talk 09:40, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
    So apparently this has been requested for over 3 years and is stalled at phab:T71607 - feel free to subscribe and comment to get it pushed along! — xaosflux Talk 14:33, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
    @Xaosflux: Thanks for doing that: I've never commented on a ticket before, but I have done so now. I'm honestly quite surprised by the lack of demand for said feature: why are we unable to look beyond reducing protection vs doing nothing? Vanamonde (talk) 06:18, 15 October 2017 (UTC)
  14. Oppose per BU Rob and Dennis. This proposal appears to be an end-run to achieve special dispensation (largely for a single editor, it appears) for a purpose not at all covered by the intent of the permission and which the various persons who have this permission either may not be qualified for or should not have. Softlavender (talk) 09:33, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
  15. Oppose per BU Rob13. This goes way beyond the intent of the TE right and has little to no correlation to the requested change. Nihlus 15:54, 15 October 2017 (UTC)


  1. I've never felt that TRM specifically would be irresponsible with this right, so I think that in his case, I would NOT specifically object to his working on this as described (as an aside, he used to be an admin, and I've never quite agreed with the rational for his desysop...), but I don't know that as a general policy such a system is workable. On the question of "Would it benefit the encyclopedia for TRM to be able to do this work", I am an unequivocal support. However, sui generis solutions like this aren't really possible, as on the general question "should we create a system to let anyone do this..." I'm much less in support of. --Jayron32 16:51, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
@Jayron32: as you know, this did start off as a specific proposal to allow TRM to do his good work re ERRORS. From discussion it seemed better to widen the proposal. That said, a specific work-around that will allow named (trusted) editors to work around the protection has also been suggested. Will let this RFC run before I put forward a specific proposal for TRM. Mjroots (talk) 17:06, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
Creating special technical processes for the use of a single editor is not sustainable. Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/The_Rambling_Man specifically allows him to reapply at WP:RFA if he wants to be an admin again. — xaosflux Talk 17:52, 13 October 2017 (UTC)


  • Related suggestion perhaps: what if we created a separate userright to grant to trusted users which would specifically permit editing through the protections on the main page templates? I don't know if it's technically feasible, in fact I'm pretty sure it's not without involvement of WMF developers, but is it a feature worth asking for? Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 17:43, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
    The ability to edit a cascade-protected page bestows the ability to protect other pages (by transcluding them within the cascade stream) - thus why "Change protection levels and edit cascade-protected pages (protect)" is all the same permission. — xaosflux Talk 18:18, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
  • I think that the protection on the MP should be downgraded to extended confirmed, and the templates should be downgraded to semi. KMF (talk) 19:50, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
    No. Do you know what happens when vandals get their hands on compromised admin accounts? They usually attack the Main Page first (like in November 2016). There is a reason there is an edit notice for the Main Page that admins only see when editing the Main Page, which reminds them of this fact. If we downgrade the Main Page to extended confirmed, then we'd have to basically have to ask most of the Wikipedia community to adopt strong passwords and practice user account security across the board. And of course, that will also likely attract more vandals to build up tons of sleeper accounts at the 30/500 threshold, so they would be able to do a massive attack on the Main Page with all these sock puppets. Sorry, I would rather limit access to editing the Main Page than risk the most visible page on Wikipedia to be vulnerable. Zzyzx11 (talk) 03:07, 15 October 2017 (UTC)
    That could easily be changed to "Extended confirmed users! Yes, you!". BTW, template editors should be allowed to edit the MediaWiki namespace and subpages of Template:Editnotices. KMF (talk) 19:03, 15 October 2017 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion.


Over the past decade the guidelines on what constitutes an orphan article have been shifting - at least in some places. It used to be that an orphaned article had less than three incoming links from other articles (note, an orphan is a person who has lost one, or both parents). Initially disambiguations (set index articles did not exist then?) and lists did not count.

The following changes at least have since taken place:

  • September 2009 This change recommends adding orphan tags, only if there are no incoming links. The removal of phrase "less than three" was again by User:OlEnglish here, at 06:20, 11 October 2011. This seems to have been a BOLD move, but based on the idea that by redefining the problem we could make it go away (dealing with backlogs by ignoring them is not a solution in my opinion).
  • Now also disambiguations, set index articles and lists are considered sufficient incoming links.
  • Other places have gradually been edited to conform with these changes, but there are still places that do not - for example New Page Patrol.
  • WP:AWB has been changed to conform with the prevailing wisdom, which has changed over the years.
  • We also do not deal with (and never have, really) "walled gardens".
  • {{Orphan}} has become a "mostly invisible" tag.

Personally I think a more sophisticated method of monitoring incoming links might be appropriate these days, and as I said in 2010 " there is no intrinsic reason that some page should not be validly an orphan, and indeed many pages are only linked to from one or more lists." [Even so it was in 2017 trivial to create two new incoming links for Methuen Water Works, in that era claimed as non-de-orphanable.]

Given that the idea of de-orphaning was to "build the web", not to make sure that each page was reachable from every other, be it by means ever so circuitous, what do the panel think we should do in the future?

All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 22:13, 16 October 2017 (UTC).

  • If I had my way the {{orphan}} tag and everything associated with it would be deprecated completely. The people who take it upon themselves to tag articles as orphans appear unable to grasp the concept that because something is a niche topic and doesn't have many incoming links, doesn't mean either that it's not notable nor that the lack of incoming links is some kind of problem that needs to be fixed; "build the web" doesn't mean it has to be possible to navigate from every page to every other page, even if they're on completely unrelated topics, purely by clicking wikilinks. (Something with no incoming or outgoing links, on the other hand, is a problem.) Wikipedia does have many issues, but "it's difficult to get from 626 Notburga to Selina Rushbrook purely by following links" shouldn't be considered one of them. ‑ Iridescent 22:29, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
  • I agree with Iridescent. The mindless tagging and untagging takes more effort than just going in and adding links where they are appropriate, and it takes away from the pages that might truly be orphaned yet fixable. And as Iridescent said, not everything is going to be linked to a ton of pages and not everything needs to be either. Nihlus 22:54, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
  • As one of the people working at the Feb 09 orphan category, I disagree that the orphan tag is useless or unhelpful. Building the web isn't just for the sake of being able to get to every page from every other page - the intent behind building the web is to increase the amount of information available to the reader. I have found plenty of instances where investigating why something is tagged as orphaned has helped me improve Wikipedia. I apologize for not having diffs at the ready, as these are observations made over several months of de-orphaning work and it would be quite an effort to go back through thousands of contribs looking for specific examples.
Off the top of my head: I have found plenty of orphans that have actually turned out to be duplicates of better-linked articles; merge and redirection improves the main article and reduces confusion for readers. Many orphans are drill-down topics that would be appropriate to mention in parent articles but have not been for whatever reason, adding that information to the parent article (and linking the child) enriches it. I have expanded plenty of list articles with orphans, increasing the accuracy and utility of those lists. Many species and/or genus articles are orphans, which has prompted me to research and create taxonomy articles to fill the gaps. And finally, many are just plain useful articles that someone tried to link to but some error (typo or formatting difference causing redlink, newbie failure to wikilink, etc etc) caused the link not to work. (There are also plenty of articles in the backlog that need deleting because of promotional issues, lack of notability, and even ancient copyvios, so if tagging something as an orphan gets extra eyes on articles when they're far out of the NPP queue, I'm in favor of that).
All that being said, I think that one incoming link suffices to make something not an orphan. There's no sense demanding that everything be linked from a bunch of places; some things are really only related to one parent topic and that's okay. An orphan should be any page which has no incoming links from mainspace. Any single link from mainspace, be it lists, indexes, navboxes, "see also" sections, etc (with the exception of disambiguation pages) should be enough for us to accept that a page is not an orphan. I would support the deprecation of the "low-linked" articles categories if we confirm the one-article de-orphan criteria, since that would be redundant. ♠PMC(talk) 00:07, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
  • My only thoughts here are that if it is at all humanly possible, I would love it if AWB did not put articles in the "tag as orphan" workflow until 8 days after creation. Quite literally the practice I hate most on all of Wikipedia is when people who just got AWB practice how to use it by tagbombing articles with speedy deletion tags on them as orphans that need more categories. Putting an 8 day hold on the AWB part of this would help prevent tagbombing of new articles and stop watchlists from being clutted by useless edits that are going to be deleted within a few hours to a week. TonyBallioni (talk) 00:17, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
  • I feel the orphan tag serves an important purpose, yes there are some cases where there isn't going to be much to link too, but more often than not, I think that there is. Even more important than that. it gets people of thinking of ways that page could be incorporated into other articles, and investigating if there are options available. The tag should not be looked up as a badge of shame, but as a way by which many by many editors can help make the jigsaw puzzle of Wikipedia work. --Deathawk (talk) 05:51, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
  • support single link de-orphan criteria, (excluding redirects); not every topic has a lot that can link to it. Also support TonyBallioni's suggestion of a stand down period for new creations. What we need is other criteria to de-tag the >130k articles tagged orphan; perhaps after a certain period at least 1 (2, 3?) outgoing links is enough to auto de-tag it. ClubOranjeT 12:07, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
    • I take great pleasure in having never touched AWB, but I'm assuming this is something we can build into its default recommendations? I'd support a 8 day moratorium on AWB tagging any article because I don't think I've ever seen de facto NPP done well using AWB, but I'd settle for a delay on the orphan template as it is the one that is most frequently spammed by new AWB users. TonyBallioni (talk) 16:40, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
      • I think that a delay for both orphan and nocat would be appropriate. Whether or not the ideal delay is eight days is something that people would have to consider, but I am convinced that a delay would be helpful. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:21, 19 October 2017 (UTC)

Naming, when word X most commonly refers to subject A, but is also the only available term for subject B?[edit]

I've been trying to work out how Wikipedia policy is best applied to the article Catholicism (term), previously at Catholicism. Catholicism was fairly recently changed to be a redirect to Catholic Church, on the basis that the majority of people who search for or link to "Catholicism" will be looking for the Catholic Church (i.e. the church in communion with Rome).

However, the broader concept of 'Catholicism' - which is also employed by Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans, Old Catholics, and all sorts of other people not in communion with Rome - doesn't really have another word for it; and I'm struggling to even come up with a good disambiguation term. There's a proposal to move from '(term)' to '(concept)', which isn't great but at least a bit better - the article is specifically not about the term, which is covered at Catholic (term).

Is there a definitive answer on what to do when a term has been judged to most commonly refer to one topic (though is not the article title for it); but is also the primary term for a different topic? TSP (talk) 12:50, 17 October 2017 (UTC)

A hatnote on the redirect target page is the most usual solution to this problem. See, for example, Catholic Church, Cattle, August 8. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 05:06, 18 October 2017 (UTC)