Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)

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Is it time to place greater restrictions on AfD?[edit]

Deletion discussions remain one of the most hotly controversial parts of the project, but the bar for participation is lower than most other controversial parts of the project.

Bad faith nominations are a common form of harassment or POV-pushing, and while such nominations are rarely successful, there are no protections in place to prevent it from taking a toll on the victim (in cases of harassment) or taking a large amount of volunteer time (for harassment or for POV-pushing). Starting a deletion nominated currently requires autoconfirmed status (4 days + 10 edits).

Once the nomination is started, it's common for people associated with the subject to use social media channels to influence the discussion (whether to support or oppose deletion). New users who sign up just to advocate a position in a deletion discussion rarely take the time to familiarize themselves with Wikipedia's deletion-related policies and guidelines, leading to large numbers of low quality !votes that complicate discussions. In very rare cases, after discussions are already severely affected by canvassing, we semi-protect them. Canvassing creates a lot of drama, rarely helps a deletion discussion, and wastes a huge amount of time and energy.

Is it time to place greater restrictions on AfD? Three inter-related questions for the community. Please note that this is not a proposal, but a discussion to see if a proposal makes sense.

1. Should there be stricter requirements to start a deletion discussion?

2. Should deletion discussions be semi-protected by default?

3. If yes to either of the above, what is the best way to allow new users to participate productively (for example, using AfD talk pages)?

Rhododendrites talk \\ 22:10, 9 June 2020 (UTC)

Discussion (AfD restrictions)[edit]

  • Some context for why I started this thread: For years I've participated at AfD and have seen the problems caused by canvassing over and over again. So question #2 has long been on my mind.
    What has me thinking about question #1 took place over the weekend: a Wikipedian created an illegitimate sock puppet for the sole purpose of nominating for deletion three related articles: Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman, Corina Newsome, and Earyn McGee. It's not the first time I've seen people use AfD to nominate groups of related articles in bad faith, nor the first time I've seen it used to to target biographies of women or people of color in particular. It didn't take long to cause a stir on Twitter, etc., perceived as yet another example of systemic bias on Wikipedia.
    Of course, those of us insiders know that this was actually an example of process working in the end -- that this was just one illegitimate sock puppet causing trouble, and the articles had little chance of being deleted because it's "not a vote" and whatnot. Here's the thing, though: it's still damaging. Bad faith nominations are not only a huge time sink to the community, requiring people to make sure process does win out; it's also a terrible experience for the article creator/editors, it's a terrible experience for the article subject, and it's a terrible experience for anyone else who looks in and cannot be expected to see what we see. They see Wikipedia working on deleting a topic they care about, and cannot be expected to understand the "don't worry, it's not a vote, and process will win out" part that we might say to ourselves while grumbling.
    So I, for one, do think it's time to raise the bar a bit. How much to raise it is the big question as far as I'm concerned. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 22:10, 9 June 2020 (UTC)
On the last two of those, unless I'm missing something, that was an empty nomination ? I would say that admins should feel empowered to close empty or bad faith nominations, especially if they believe they may draw external involvement (Which should be taken as a given for any BLP for anyone of an underpresented minority on WP). If an experienced editor believes the article does merit deletion, let them open a fresh deletion discussion with proper rational (and there should be no penalty here if that's opened even the same day as the rapid closure of the previous one). We may not catch all the bad faith ones, if they are nominated with a reasonable cause (as the first of your three appears to be on a first quick read), but at least we shouldn't let the clear bad ones linger for the 7 required days and cause long term problems --Masem (t) 22:26, 9 June 2020 (UTC)
Right. Like I said, process usually wins out, but why is this permitted to begin with? How often do you see successful, good faith, policy-based nominations from new users, as compared to the kind of problems caused in this example? How many of those positive examples could be handled through other means (e.g. requesting an AfD at WT:AFD, PROD, etc.)? My central point about question #1 is about new users' nominations being a net negative, and that the negative effects probably reach further than most people would think, because we tend to think of AfDs as being behind-the-scenes projectspace business. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 22:32, 9 June 2020 (UTC)
I think the deep problem is identifying bad faith nominations. I worry that closing empty nominations is not a robust solution to the problem, because it doesn't take much for disruptive editors to learn how to give the appearance of a rationale. Just quickly looking back over the (all presumably good faith) AfDs I've participated in this year, the modal deletion rationale is typically one sentence along the lines of "This article does not meet the notability guidelines", and (very reasonably) nobody blinks an eye when that's written by an editor with a few hundred edits who stacked a dozen pages in AfD in one afternoon with identical rationales -- most of the time, that sort of deletion is just a user who spent a few hours helping to build the encylopedia by patrolling for non-notable pages, and decided they found several. So I worry that resting everything on an idea like "admins should delete any rapid string of AfDs by a new editor with empty/totally trivial deletion rationales" just moves the problem to a question of how to tell the difference between good faith (but perhaps rather lazy) tagging on the one hand, and disruptive trolling on the other. In this situation, for example, it seems reasonable to guess that with a bit more effort the person who started this AfD might have been able to write a persuasive appearance of a sincere deletion rationale, since they openly admitted to being a sockpuppet during the AfD (as was noted at AN). And that same AfD but with a policy-motivated deletion rationale would still have been subject to all the same canvassing, spam, and trolling. - Astrophobe (talk) 23:06, 9 June 2020 (UTC)
Empty nominations are easy. And given that most experienced editors know of the BEFORE process and how to nominate, I could see that when we have a sub-par nomination (no sign of prior research, maybe just claimed "person is non-notable", and a quick check of the target AFD page shows 20+ sources with clear reliable sources being used, they can do this rapid close and add something in their close "Any experienced editor, believing this was a valid AFD, may reopen/restart this". Heck, that's even better, just have the rapid close if the admin thinks it is a bad faith AFD, but if an experienced editor thinks it is valid, they can ask to have the nomination opened again on the admin's talk page, mimicking the process one uses to question the standard admin closure process.--Masem (t) 23:49, 9 June 2020 (UTC)
@Masem and Astrophobe: we need to be more nuanced instead of immediately calling this a "bad faith nomination" just because the nominator chose a sock-puppet account rather than their established Wikipedia identity. As someone who has recently been singled-out and targeted by a right-wing website for my involvement in blacklisting The Epoch Times, I can understand why someone wanted to shield themselves from the backlash of a self-righteous Twitter mob crying racism and sexism. --bender235 (talk) 13:57, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
I would never base a "bad faith nom" on the basis of the account only, unless I know that editor has some type of block/warning or the like specific on using AFD in that topic area or in general. (eg, someone that I know has a AP2 DS on them that they are not to make any edits in that area, and they nominate a topic clearly in the AP2 topic area, that's a bad faith). Barring knowledge of that, the only assessment of "bad faith" is the nature of the nomination and the actual sate of the page - is there a massive disconnect that indicates that this may be a POINTy or nonsense AFD that AFD doesn't need to waste its time with. I agree we should not judge the editor - IP, new editor, or experienced - otherwise in evaluating whether an AFD is good or bad faith normally. --Masem (t) 14:07, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
That is good to know, but I felt like having to emphasize it because the general conclusion in WP:ANB seems to have been along the lines of "three AfDs were started by sockpuppets accounts with a vengeance," i.e. not worth being taken seriously (I'm quoting Silver_seren specificly, but it was more or less the general opinion). --bender235 (talk) 16:20, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
I mean, if this solution I suggest is implemented, and one finds that a single user has been submitting several AFDs in a row that have been quick closed as these bad faith noms and suspects possible sock activity, by all mean then check to see if the editor is a sock. But the editor should not be pre-judged outside of any known DS/bans attached specifically to that editor's name if we all for evaluating bad faith noms. --Masem (t) 16:28, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
  • First off, I would be against semi-protection by default because many articles listed for deletion are from new editors, and they should be able to participate in the deletion discussions of their articles. While this doesn't always wind up for the best, I imagine locking them out of the discussion or bunting them to an unseen talk page would have even worse outcomes. However, I would be in favor of raising the bar for filing a deletion to extended confirmed, as virtually all new page patrollers will meet that standard easily, and it will create a significantly higher hurdle for bad-faith actors. This won't stop PROD or CSD tagging - but that's a feature, not a bug. Both are easily removed in cases of abuse, and let people that are not extended confirmed and still want to help address the worst new articles. The Squirrel Conspiracy (talk) 23:03, 9 June 2020 (UTC)
  • This is a good point. I actually intended to be less specific than "semi-protection by default" in order to allow for that one exception (article creators/editors weighing in), but forgot when it came time to hit save. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 23:35, 9 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Generally new users can't create articles either so this wouldn't be a problem but if their article is created through AFC then they may not be able to participate. Crouch, Swale (talk) 15:01, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Thanks for starting this discussion Rhododendrites, and I think it's worth reinforcing that this problem of targeted and high-profile bad faith deletion spam is not at all new, and that with the growth of conversations about Wikipedia across other major platforms, I expect this sort of canvassing to only grow more severe. Per the opening paragraph of the discussion and per The Squirrel Conspiracy, I expect that I would agree with a proposal to require a higher bar to begin AfDs. But requiring a higher bar to contribute to AfDs is, to my mind, much more complicated. On the one hand, I am really sympathetic to the argument that it would be dangerously discouraging to new editors. I remember vividly my early experience editing Wikipedia: I believed that about of whatever you do on this website will get rapidly undone for completely opaque reasons, with lots of giant paragraphs full of incomprehensible acronyms and links and all sorts of emphatic italics about how astonishingly bone-headed you must have been to write that content (I'm not saying that's the impression people were trying to give, just that that's how it often feels to very new editors). People absolutely should be encouraged to WP:BB from their very first edit, including writing pages from scratch, and if their page comes up for deletion they should be allowed to participate in the discussion on it. From personal experience I believe that good faith participation in AfDs by brand new editors who don't yet have a clue is a huge net good for the project, especially as a hugely important (if often unpleasant) learning experience for them. Nothing motivates you to wade deep into notability policy like trying to come up with an argument for why your afternoon of work shouldn't be undone. Having said all of that, not raising the bar for AfD participation leaves half of the problem we're talking about unaddressed: it means that canvassing good faith and constructive deletion discussions is still just as easy, whether you're trying to sway the discussion towards keep or delete. It's very easy to imagine a good faith editor questioning the value of a page about someone with tens of thousands of twitter followers and that person reacting by canvassing support, just as happened in this instance, in which case we would be in the same exact position that we're in now. So I would be very interested in discussing further policies that would allow people with a sincere connection to the page to participate, while ruling out the kind of canvassing that is already a very serious problem and that looks like it will only get more serious over the next few months and years. - Astrophobe (talk) 23:44, 9 June 2020 (UTC)
  • I honestly don't see it as a problem. Most of the time canvassing is obvious and the topics are notable. I actually got stuck into the project because I wasn't specifically canvassed, but I read something about whether something should be on Wikipedia off of Wikipedia. Not being able to participate may create a "walled garden" effect for the entire community. That being said, there is a bad faith nomination issue, it was obvious in the cases you mentioned, and we need to do a better job of a community of not defaulting to "no consensus" when a deletion discussion goes off the canvassing rails, but I don't really support increasing the standard threshold. For instance, this should be very unlikely, but there may be instances where a low profile BLP realises there's an attack page written about them here and needs to deal with it. I might be willing to support a specific action item, though, such as a flag when a non-extended confirmed user starts an AfD. SportingFlyer T·C 01:47, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
  • I would oppose these type of changes. Its hard enough to delete an article as it is. Think about it, it only takes one person to create a bad article, but many to have it deleted. And when we can't agree and the AfD is closed as "no consensus", it gets kept by default. This actually contradicts WP:ONUS where the person adding the material must get consensus, not the person proposing deletion. As for sockpuppets, that is not a issue exclusive to AfDs. They can show up in any discussion anywhere.--Rusf10 (talk) 02:07, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
  • can show up in any discussion anywhere sure, but in structured discussions they can be more disruptive. it's also a place where it's much less likely they'll be able to contribute positively. in an article talk page, there's at least an argument from the perspective of knowing the subject; arguing about notability is a bit more, well, technical from a procedural standpoint. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 23:52, 13 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Right, canvassing for keeps is a huge problem. And isn't that what Rhododendrites's suggested point 2 addresses? The way I read it, the problem you describe is a big motivation for that remedy. - Astrophobe (talk) 04:52, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
    I would even equate off-line canvassing by a subject or by a connected contributor to COI editing. Point 2 of the proposal would not take care of the issue (most of these accounts were autoconfirmed, just dormant), and probably has zero chances to pass at any RfC anyway.--Ymblanter (talk) 05:51, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Bender, are you suggesting that the three articles in question should have been deleted? That they are "Wikipedia shrine[s] for their personal vanity" in your book? Axem Titanium (talk) 07:39, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
  • I do agree with you that offline canvassing is essentially just COI editing. What I do not think is clearly true that most of the accounts in the recent spate of canvassed AfDs were autoconfirmed editors -- look at the two rapidly closed (and therefore actually readable) AfDs at Corina Newsome and Earyn McGee. Both of them were absolutely overrun by IPs and single-purpose accounts. It's easy enough to say that the suggestion as written here so far wouldn't perfectly solve the problem or is pretty much guaranteed to fail at RfC, both of which I agree with. More interesting is asking how we can tweak AfD to make it robust to these sorts of multi-front attacks from the outside, which have already been seriously disruptive and I believe will only grow more severe. It could very well be that the answer is there is no possible reform and we just have to live with this issue, but I don't think that's possible to conclude without some more discussion. - Astrophobe (talk) 08:14, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
  • I think if every instance of canvassing on twitter would result in a COI template appearing on top of the article, and potentially in an appearance of a paragraph explaining how he subject was canvassing on twitter then they will start thinking twice before starting canvassing. I agree that semi-protecting AfD would generally help (though not entirely) to this issue, however, it is not really desired from other points of view, and this discussion so far shows a clear opposition to this proposal. In addition, I have no idea what to do if (i) a Wikipedia editor canvasses other sympatheric Wikipedia editors outside Wikipedia (which happend a lot and in the past resulted in keeping clearly non-notable articles) and (ii) people are showing upat AfD and it is clear that they are correlated but the source of canvassing could be found. --Ymblanter (talk) 10:02, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
  • The really harmful perception that encourages canvassing seems to be that it's a straight up or down vote that everyone in the world has an inherent right to participate in. We already have Template:Not a ballot, but it's clearly highly ignorable for motivated people. I wonder if there is a template that is garish and intimidating enough to actually persuade people that canvassed votes won't work. Maybe a pop-up like some web sites have to discourage ad blockers, and an mp3 that autoplays a siren noise when you load the page ;) - Astrophobe (talk) 18:31, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
  • @Astrophobe: as Ymblanter correctly pointed out, a lot of the Wikipedians canvassed to those AfDs were inactive but established accounts. A rule limiting the participation of newly created accounts therefore wouldn't help. Of course, generally restricting sporadically active Wikipedians for !voting isn't a viable solution, either. After all, we are a project of volunteers and clearly not everybody finds time and means to contribute on a regular basis. It's just that in those particular three AfDs the canvassing was so blatantly obvious, with person after person basically copy-pasting the same rational referencing the rarely cited WP:BASIC over and over again. When I was looking for fellow veteran Wikipedians to intervene on the evening when all of this unfolded, Sulfurboy reassured me that "any admin worth their salt will see past meat and spa votes." Unfortunately that never happened. --bender235 (talk) 13:05, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
  • As I see it, there are two separate issues. One is people who have (almost-)never used Wikipedia before, who have no investment whatsoever in the site, either being unaware of our rules about things like canvassing and COI or having no reason to care about them. Anecdotally I think this is one of the most far-reaching problems confronting Wikipedia. I know that when I've tried to explain things like "you shouldn't write a page for your dad" to people in my life who don't edit here, the most common response is something along the lines of: nobody cares about Facebook's terms of service or Twitter's terms of service or The New York Times's terms of service, why should I care about Wikipedia's terms of service? It's easy to imagine that a bunch of the first-time editors who were canvassed into that discussion would tell you that the principle they were following in voting keep is more noble than abiding by Wikipedia's policies would be. That's the issue that I think there's room to fix. The second, separate, issue is people who actually are editors here, or who have been active editors in the past, who may or may not be breaking COI/Canvassing rules. I'm not interested in accusing anyone of anything so I'll just assume for the moment that is a problem that exists in the abstract. It's hard to imagine a policy-based solution to that problem other than sanctioning the user, because if somebody has an investment in the website and is ignoring policy anyways, then I definitely agree that we shouldn't adopt a suboptimal global policy to handle that; we have a whole other set of rules for user misbehaviour. So I see the former as worth trying to fix with a policy change, and the latter as just a matter of users breaking rules and all the various policies we have to deal with that. - Astrophobe (talk) 18:47, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
  • XfD is already biased too heavily towards indiscriminate inclusionism. We smile benevolently on keep vote canvassing, and allow personal attacks on nominators to pass without comment. Now here is a proposal to skew the conversation even further away from discussion of article subjects and contents and further towards lawyerly rules about who is allowed to talk. I am not in favour. Reyk YO! 08:42, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
I'm not sure I've ever seen an indiciation of AfD being a hotbed of indiscriminate inclusionism, nor indeed community encouragement (or at least, lack of notice or reticence) on canvassing of Keep votes. Nosebagbear (talk)
This suggests that there are areas where pretty much everything nominated gets kept, does not matter whether or not material is compliant with WP:GNG. Not that I strongly oppose this, and in some areas (such as localities) it probably makes sense, but this definitely backs up the inclusionism claims.--Ymblanter (talk) 09:51, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
Well, by its nature XfD tends to attract pages that ought to be deleted so in that sense it leans towards deletionism. But what I mean is that the lenience we show to misbehaving editors correlates directly with whether they voted keep. For instance, I once objected when some pretty blatant keep vote canvassing was allowed to determine the outcome of an AfD/DRV. All I got in response was blank looks and a (hopefully not serious) suggestion to counter-canvass if it bothered me so much. That's not advice I intend to take because, even if I felt like being unethical, a delete voter could never get away with it. I could give other examples of keep voters free to make insulting personal commentary and delete voters getting in trouble for backchat but of course if I did it would only be dismissed as a list of personal grievances. Reyk YO! 10:26, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
I could understand this position regarding #1, but #2 is much more likely to apply to canvassed keep !votes than canvassed delete !votes (at least in my experience). — Rhododendrites talk \\ 23:52, 13 June 2020 (UTC)
Call me a cynic if you like, but I don't see that ever being enforced consistently. Reyk YO! 12:22, 14 June 2020 (UTC)
  • So, I get both the base concern(s), but also the issue with SP - that the creator in particular is disadvantaged. On the thought of Extended-Confirmed to start an AfD - does anyone know what % of good-faith AfDs are started by non-EC users? That seems relevant here. It's a shame we don't have PC2 - this would be a great area for it. Nosebagbear (talk) 09:44, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
  • AfD needs improvement, for certain. Some kind of competency requirement for nominating articles could help, so could a quicker closing process for bad nominations. Unfortunately, it's hard for me to come up with a good way of accomplishing...Jacona (talk) 12:58, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
  • AFD will never be perfect and it is 100x more "friendly" than it was 10 years ago. Participation is lower as well. I see no benefit to suppressing participation any further and that is what more rules will do. Dennis Brown - 13:48, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
  • This would be solved if we had more mechanical and less subjective notability rules. Then it wouldn't matter who was being canvassed. We should repeal WP:N altogether and just amend WP:V to require two independent, in depth, reliable secondary sources for every article. Then AFDs will just be about whether there are two qualifying sources or not. If there are, it can have a stand alone page. If there aren't, no stand alone page. Simple and no need to discuss whether or not something is "notable". No SNGs to argue about. Basically, make GNG a hard policy and be done with it. Levivich[dubiousdiscuss] 16:21, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
    • We've seen editors try to work with more mechanical/objective application of notability "rules" , claiming things like "I have three sources, that's enough", but this makes things worse because now you have people gaming the system worse than what we see now. Also, this underminds the purpose of notability on WP, which is to reflect topics that are likely to be able to be fleshed out to fuller articles but need sourcing work to help get there, and because we have no DEADLINE, require the flexibility of judging what sourcing exists at AFD rather than rote rules to keep them. --Masem (t) 16:34, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
    • @Levivich: I disagree, because that would only further muddy the distinction between what's verifiable and what's notable. Those two are not the same, and while the existence of reliable sources (i.e., verifiable facts) is necessary for someone or something to be notable, they aren't sufficient. --bender235 (talk) 16:50, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
    • Going to echo Masem here and agree that this would be susceptible to gaming the system. Axem Titanium (talk) 16:57, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
      • @Masem, Bender235, and Axem Titanium: Thanks for your comments. To clarify, I am indeed proposing something radical: far more than "blurring the lines" between V and N, I'm talking about getting rid of that line altogether. That's why I'm not worried about "the purpose of notability", because I advocate getting rid of the entire concept of "notability". Let's face facts: 6,000,000 articles, and they're not all about important topics. We have hundreds of thousands of articles about athletes, songs, Pokemon characters, and all the rest. If the purpose of notability is to reflect topics that are likely to be fleshed out, well, then WP:N has failed miserably at that purpose.
        It's the entire concept of "notability" that is to blame: the notion that a topic has some property, "notable", that determines whether or not it should be in the encyclopedia, and we, as editors, are tasked with examining the topic and determining if it has this property or not. We act like notability is something we discover. It's not. It's something we invent. "Notability" is whatever we say it is; literally, whatever we agree to write at WP:N. If the purpose is to identify topics that can be fully fleshed out, there is no better way to do that than to identify if there are two good sources that we can use in the article. If there are two good sources, we can write an article about it that complies with V, NPOV, and NOR. If there aren't, we can't. This is the principle behind GNG, WP:THREE, WP:42, etc.
        We should embrace the fact that an AFD is not about a topic's inherent property of notability, but really just about whether to have a stand-alone page or not. We should have a stand alone page if we have the sources to support it. By making the "notability" simply a matter of "sufficient available sourcing: yes or no" and not about anything else, it will be harder, not easier, to game. Every keep !vote, to "count", would have to identify the two sources, and the entire discussion would be about whether the two sources meet WP:GNG criteria. The current system is already being gamed, and has been gamed, for a long time. Gaming is what led to this thread in the first place. Restricting the conversation to just be about the quality of sourcing and nothing else, will lead to less gaming, nor more. Levivich[dubiousdiscuss] 17:30, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
        • @Levivich: that's a radical idea, to put it mildly, and I'm afraid that completely eliminating the notion and threshold of notability would turn Wikipedia into somewhat of a repository for everything that was ever written, and every person that ever existed. I mean, I might be able to find a census entry and a birth announcement (two reliable sources!) of some 19th-century John Smith of Iowa, but what's the point of writing up an article recounting his dull biography of plowing the corn field from the cradle to the grave? At some point we have to be firm and say Wikipedia is just not the place for this. --bender235 (talk) 17:39, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
          Bender235, 6,000,000 articles says to me that Wikipedia already is a repository for everything that was ever written. Please note that I didn't say "two reliable sources", I said "two independent, in-depth, reliable secondary sources" (in other words, same as WP:GNG), so no, a census entry and birth announcement wouldn't cut it. Requiring two GNG sources for every article will reduce, not increase, the number of stand-alone pages. Of this much, I'm sure. What makes my proposal radical is that if it were implemented, millions of articles would be eligible for deletion, which are not currently eligible for deletion, because meeting GNG isn't currently universally seen as a requirement. Levivich[dubiousdiscuss] 17:57, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
          @Bender235: (sorry for the multiple pings), as one concrete example, under "my" suggested system, this AFD would have resulted in "delete" because there aren't two qualifying sources. Levivich[dubiousdiscuss] 18:27, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
          No matter how you slice it, WP:PROF almost certainly needs to remain a standalone rule. Many academics are worth having an article written about them despite never having appeared in a newspaper. Significant coverage in secondary sources is not a requirement; merely having one's research (a primary source, albeit a reliable one due to peer review) cited heavily by other papers is sufficient to meet the bar. And we can write an article on their work using mostly those primary sources, with the reassurance that they are reliable because they have been thoroughly vetted by the academic community. -- King of ♥ 19:01, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
          King of Hearts, if we did this, I would support having exceptions (specifically to the "independent" and "secondary" requirements), including PROF exception, as well as for other specific areas where there is a lack of independent or secondary sourcing, but where the community feels non-independent or non-secondary sourcing is nonetheless reliable enough to satisfy V.
          Instead of asking, at an AFD, "is it notable?", we ask, "is there enough verifiable information to support a stand-alone page?" A statement, to be verified, needs to come from a reliable source (a source with a reputation for accuracy), it needs to come from an independent source (or else there's a bias concern, usually), and it needs to come from a secondary source (to avoid OR interpretation of primary sources). For an entire page to be verified (or in other words, for a topic to be verified), we also need in-depth sources: enough content to fill a page.
          Even if the community adopts this view of verification, it can still decide that there are some topics, like PROF, where a "reliable source" need not be independent or secondary, and so exceptions could be made. This is also the sort of exception that could be made to address under-coverage of historically marginalized people and topics. Thinking of whether to have a stand-alone page as a matter of V instead of N is a better framework all around. And then, in AfD discussions, the only keep !vote that would count would look like "keep - [source 1] [source 2]", and it wouldn't matter if people were canvassed or IP editors or socks or whatever, because instead of counting votes, or assessing votes, we would just be counting sources and confirming that they meet "the test" and that there's two of them. Levivich[dubiousdiscuss] 20:26, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
    • I agree with those who argue that an uninterpreted WP:V is not enough of a basis for deletion policy, but I agree that notability has not served us well. The problem that deletion policy is there to solve is that there are forces out there that aim to undermine the encyclopedia, so we need to choose the ground that we can defend. The notability criterion is a solution: it says the topics we should have articles for are those on which good articles could be written. I have thought since 2006 this is wrong: the criterion we should apply is maintainability, not notability, and we should deal with articles as they are, not as they might be (although I am all for editors who transform bad articles into good ones during the AfD process). The events that convinced me of this led to this AfD: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Stephen Schwartz (journalist), an example of something then unmaintainable that I thought should have been deleted, although the subject was notable. More recently I have been bothered by how the WP:INHERIT criterion has frequently been used to delete high-quality, well-maintained, encyclopediac content; cf. Wikipedia:Deletion review/Log/2020 June 8 for the most recent example I aware of; there are have been better exmples. We should drop the abstract ideal of notability as the criterion we use and adopt the pragmatic criterion of maintainability that I think in time would lead to a more intuitive deletion policy. — Charles Stewart (talk) 06:45, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
Speaking as a proud simpleton who loves hyper-minimalist rules, I would support this, but it seems like a different (though of course related) proposal. - Astrophobe (talk) 18:37, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
  • I think one of the issues is that AFD, unlike a lot of other Wikipedia processes we think of as happening "in the background", slaps a big red notice on top of an article in articlespace. I'm not suggesting that we change this at all, but it is worth keeping this fact in mind when we discuss solutions. The notice demands your attention when you're on an article and even invites you (yes, you!) to participate in the deletion discussion. You can imagine that a new/IP user would feel confused if they're not allowed to participate at all at this point. Axem Titanium (talk) 16:57, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
    If a change were made, we could update the template accordingly. Levivich[dubiousdiscuss] 18:02, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
    This is a good point, thanks. If we enacted some sort of restriction like this, at very least the wording of that notice should be changed, but I'm not sure in what way. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 23:52, 13 June 2020 (UTC)
    I'm sure that banner is responsible for a good chunk of the hollow "keep" votes that show up for pop-culture articles. It stands to reason that if you're looking up the article for a particular thing, you beleive that particular thing should have an article. (Even if there's no particular policy-based reason for it to.) ApLundell (talk) 14:52, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Personally I would support automatically adding extended confirmed protection (30 days/500 edits) to all AfDs as they are created. Positive contributions from editors not meeting these criteria are incredibly rare IMO, and it would stop SPAs, socks, IPs called from social media etc. Number 57 17:46, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
    I agree with this suggestion. Article creators who are not EC can make their case on the talk page (along with other non-EC editors). EC editors can read those talk page arguments and take them into consideration in their AFD !votes. The closer can also take into consideration arguments made on the talk page. But it'll help keep the discussion more focused if only EC editors participated on the AFD page. Frankly, non-EC editors do not have the experience necessary to meaningfully contribute at an AFD, even if they wrote the article. And I say this as an editor who participated in AFDs before I was EC (and I shouldn't have, because I had no understanding of notability guidelines then [or now really]). Levivich[dubiousdiscuss] 18:01, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
  • I would like to see some facts here. How many AFDs in the past month/year can we reasonably classify as being disruptive in the senses concerned in this proposal? I would say that if that number is less than 5 or 10%, I don't see a need for systemic change. --Izno (talk) 18:13, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
  • What happened in the AfDs mentioned above is being repeated at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone now. What happens on Wikipedia doesn't stay on Wikipedia. With every AfD like this, someone on Twitter will be more emboldened to post their vanity shrine on Wikipedia. EC protection will really help in cases like that. TryKid[dubiousdiscuss] 22:21, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Will editors who are not admins be able to nominate articles for deletion? Hawkeye7 (discuss) 23:52, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
Under these suggestions anyone who is extended confirmed could nominate AFDs. Personally I would support limiting nominations and participation to extended confirmed users and the article creator because it would give more time to block the sockpuppets who seem to zero in at AFD whether they are nominating or voting, imv Atlantic306 (talk) 00:20, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
I agree with Atlantic306. Mccapra (talk) 12:01, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Under normal circumstances I think our AfD process works fine and don't need adjustment - usually no or minimal disruption and no need to protect the AfD until something problematic happens. For example, I recently dealt with an case where an article creator was blocked during an AfD of their article and suddenly brand-new accounts showed up to !vote. SPI, checkuser, semi-protected just because of the sockpuppetry, bam - dealt with. What we need to have a process for is cases like these, which are the exception rather than the rule - demonstrable and widespread off-wiki canvassing that turns the AfD into chaos (a flood of mostly-new users using non-policy-based arguments). I think semi-protection is the right call in most cases, but what do we do if there's demonstrable canvassing of experienced editors, for example? creffett (talk) 00:45, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Some of the examples listed above are quite extraordinary, I agree with bender235 that “something” needs to be done before this becomes the normal. Whilst it would not deal with bad-faith nominations and canvassed inactive users, perhaps upon presentation of evidence of off-Wiki advocacy, !votes be restricted to extended confirmed users and !votes already cast by non-XCON users be struck/deleted. Cavalryman (talk) 03:42, 11 June 2020 (UTC).
  • @Cavalryman: actually what upset me the most in these Twitter canvassing campaigns is the piggybacking on a social justice cause. People weren't just told to vouch for the notability of some hashtag activists, they were sent here to fight supposedly systematic sexism and racism in Wikipedia and its entire community (see [1], [2], [3]). And sure enough the majority of canvassed !voters came waltzing in crying racism right away without even bothering to consider the arguments presented up to this point. That's what concerns me the most. Apart from slandering the Wikipedia community unjustly, it makes certain subjects and topics toxic to a point where our usual (bureaucratic) processes can no longer be applied. Who wants to be the Wikipedian permanently branded as a racist in the Twitterverse simply for questioning the notability of a social media starlet? The nominator of AfD/Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman stated that he/she created a sock puppet rather than use his/her established account to avoid online harassment, and perusing the comments and replies of the self-righteous Twitter mob above, I don't think that was a stretch. To me, this whole incident and its likely future copy-cat versions are worrisome. (And just to show that I am not exaggerating, here is a now-deleted tweet by MethanoJen singling me out by name, simply for questioning whether her newly created Category:Black geoscientists doesn't fit our existing category pattern.) --bender235 (talk) 16:39, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
    Please write to T&S about the tweet, this is a cleart wiki-harassment. I have warned her in the morning (qand may be this is why the tweet has been deleted), but if I have seen this I might have indeffed.--Ymblanter (talk) 17:41, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
bender235, I agree completely, aside from the utterly appalling conduct of that editor the broader trend in identity politics is to brand anyone who presents a rational and articulate counterpoint a racist/bigot/Nazi etc, thankfully not a common issue in the dog articles I tend to edit and to be honest one of the reasons I usually give anything political on Wikipedia a very wide berth. I tend towards supporting the idea of BLUELOCK for AfD discussions (less article creators), I suspect SILVERLOCK would be no impediment. One of the reasons I proposed a middle ground above is to protect closers from the inevitable social media targeting that would follow from a close that went against canvassed IP & SPA opinion. Kind regards, Cavalryman (talk) 22:48, 11 June 2020 (UTC).
  • Wikipedia has already strayed too far from being the encyclopedia anyone can edit. Keeping that in mind, further restrictions on editing abilities for newer users should only be implemented when absolutely necessary. I think our admins are pretty good at recognizing canvassing and meatpuppetry by SPAs and the like. Since AfD isn't a vote, closing admins are expected to throw out !votes that are frivolous and/or not based in our policies and guidelines. Even if that weren't possible, I'm not convinced it happens often enough to justify such drastic action. We also have to consider the effect this would have on editor retention. Wikipedia is already confusing enough to newbies, with its byzantine policies, litany of jargony acronyms, and Kafkaesque bureaucracy-that-isn't-a-bureaucracy. I'm convinced this would be a net negative. AfD has far more pressing concerns to deal with anyway. The biggest two that come to mind are careless nominations where WP:BEFORE clearly didn't happen (especially wrt non-English sources), and nationalistic or politically motivated bloc voting by established editors. Established editors know how to make their !vote look like a valid policy-based rationale even when their real motivations are ILIKEIT/IDONTLIKEIT. Freshly recruited meatpuppets don't know how to do this, and so closing admins can safely disregard them per WP:NOTAVOTE. In particularly extreme cases, admins should semi-protect the page as they sometimes do now. That's far better than the current proposal which throws the baby out with the bathwater. −−− Cactus Jack 🌵 05:11, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
  • While I appreciate the argument on principle, I don't know if being an encyclopedia that anyone can edit is the same as being "the encyclopedia that anyone can edit, and anyone can jump into the behind-the-encyclopedia technical processes without spending time learning about them first". As for WP:BEFORE, I don't necessarily disagree; don't you think that requiring more experience would make it more likely that someone is familiar with (and follows) that guidance? — Rhododendrites talk \\ 23:52, 13 June 2020 (UTC)
  • We need to remember that AFD is just one of our deletion processes, if we were to restrict people from filing AFDs we shouldn't be surprised if they tag more articles for Speedy deletion or simply draftify them. That said I'm OK with the idea that we restrict some people from deletion generally. Over the years I have seen a number of editors who didn't realise they were overly deletionist until they ran an RFA and had their deletion tagging checked and criticised. So I would be OK with 6 month bans from the deletion process where people were only allowed to participate in the deletion process re articles that they had started. I really really don't like the idea of restricting people from a deletion debate where it is their work that we are considering deleting. So restrict the people who have been making mistakes in their deletion tagging, not a blanket restriction on new or newish editors. ϢereSpielChequers 13:32, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
  • I don't know how we've escalated past the early suggestions of SP for participation to ECP, which is seriously, seriously OTT. While their average edit quality is certainly worse, I've seen many legitimate !votes from editors in that group. Shifting to talk page for all of them brings multiple issues: that's fiddly to spot, so some just won't note to participate there (that is, they'll know the TP exists, but not that they'll be read) & also massively drops that chances that every person in the AfD will read the !votes or comments, which disrupts and weights the discussion inappropriately. We also should be using the least disruptive method, and disrupted AfDs are relatively rare. We aren't implementing a "have more experienced participation" restriction. Nosebagbear (talk) 14:49, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
  • AfD is infested with socks. You can see it with old AfDs (a few years back) and seeing how many participants have a strike-through (with that userscript installed). They get busted eventually, somewhere else, and leave behind fossil evidence. I would support reasonable moves to address this problem. -- GreenC 16:51, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Yes, there is a problem, but it is only a problem with a very small percentage of AfD discussions. Far more discussions have the problem of a lack of participation, which this proposal would only exacerbate. Maybe we need to encourage people to be less tolerant of canvassing, or of other abuses of this process, but I don't think this is the right way to go about it. I remember that my very first logged-in edit to Wikipedia 13 years ago was made to an AfD discussion in response to canvassing on another site, but it was not supportive of the canvasser. Phil Bridger (talk) 19:50, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
  • I wonder how typical my own experience is. I began editing in any serious way in 2013. I think it was late 2017 or early 2018 before I even knew AfD existed. Once I discovered it I spent many weeks just observing it before I commented. It was months before I put my first article up for deletion. How many people in this discussion have a completely different experience? I simply don’t assume good faith for ‘new’ editors who show up and are busily nominating articles for deletion in the first couple of weeks. There are all kinds of productive ways new editors can contribute to the project but sitting on your hands for a while before you start nominating articles for deletion seems entirely appropriate. Mccapra (talk) 20:02, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
  • @Mccapra: I had a similar experience. My first participation in a AfD was in AfD/Jamaal Anderson in 2007, only after having made hundreds of contributions over the years. AfDs—or any Wikipedia backroom bureaucracy—are almost naturally intimidating to the uninitiated, due to the various cryptic acronyms that are casually thrown around by the regulars. Unfamiliar with these, inexperienced or canvassed editors tend to copy-paste these acronyms in AfDs without actually understanding them, which makes them easy to spot for the trained admin eye. To his credit, creffett immediately spotted the unusual frequency of WP:BASIC citations in AfD/Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman. --bender235 (talk) 20:37, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
  • A couple of points worth mentioning here. Other language wikis It would be great to both explicitly encourage editors to look at other language wikipedias for sources and to encourage editors from other language wikis to participate in AfD's, especially in situations where there is the likelihood of sources being in non-English languages. Draft namespace Draft namespace is relatively new compared to AfD and moving good-faith contributions to draft to enable relatively slow-moving editing to occur should be encouraged, particularly for topical subjects. SPAs and paid editing my feeling is that a large numbers of the SPAs involved in articles that end up at AfD are undeclared paid editors. This is a larger issue than AfD, but it may be worth thinking about what can be done in this specific context. The best I can think of is a bot that creates a table on the talk page listing all the AfD participants and editors involved in the article and gives edit counts, how many are related to the issue at hand, and also scans for their names in sockpuppet investigations and other administrative actions. Stuartyeates (talk) 21:21, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
  • I am very against default ECP. I'm open to reasonable suggestions for how to resolve the identified problems, but ECP is not one of those. To comment on Rhododendrite's questions: (1) I think this is reasonable. We have technical restrictions on who can move pages, so I think it's reasonable to have slightly more stringent requirements to nominate for deletion. (2) I'm not a fan, but am open to it. I would prefer the first option and see how that goes before default protection. Perhaps more practical is expanding the protection policy to allow protecting AFD discussions for sock/meatpuppetry or obvious canvassing. (3) I think just encouraging use of the talk page by everyone would work, but why have newbies go to talk just to be ignored? We're basically telling them to send their emails to /dev/null. Wug·a·po·des 23:31, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
  • 2. Should deletion discussions be semi-protected by default? Can I suggest some alternatives?
    • Grouped edit notice for Template:Editnotices/Group/WIkipedia:Articles for Deletion
    • Some type of edit filter warning for non-(auto)confirmed users
    • Something similar to Wikipedia:GettingStarted, but it pops up when you enter WIkipedia:Articles for Deletion/***** for the first time; if for non-(auto)confirmed users, it pops up something similar to {{Not a ballot}}.
If the above aren't going to work in any circumstances, okay then go ahead and semi- protect it and hope those SPAa and canvassed users don't gets 10 edits after 4 days. This will prevent new users from participating, but 99.999% of the time, they think it's a ballot. Nobody uses the AfD talk pages, so let's direct them there. With that comes with more very complicated ideas, like moving policy based votes into the actual AfD by experienced AfDers, and considering if the talk page will be additionally used to addresss the consensus outcome. {{reply to|Can I Log In}}'s talk page! 05:34, 12 June 2020 (UTC)
  • I'm certainly not against less restrictive interventions like these; I'm just pessimistic they would be helpful. I've seen {{notavote}} added to lots of AfDs, and [just based on anecdote of course] I've not really seen it help much. Call me cynical, but when I add it, I'm really just trying to signal to other experienced editors (and the closer) that there may be canvassing/SPAs going on here. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 23:52, 13 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Thanks for starting this, Rhododendrites. Something that deletion discussions and move requests have in common is that, because they have a mandatory period and appear to readers, they can do damage when bad ones are launched. For move requests, we're trying to help by making the notice less prominent, but for deletions, it needs to be prominent. I wish there was a way we could signal to readers "this article is currently nominated for deletion, but it's very unlikely to pass", but we can't exactly just have it display the running !vote total (either technically or editorially). Still, there might be some changes we could make to Template:Article for deletion to help make it clearer what being up for deletion actually means. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 08:06, 12 June 2020 (UTC)
  • We already have strict requirements for starting an AfD: WP:BEFORE. The problem is that they are not enforced. From what Uncle G has said, AfD was deliberately made rather difficult as a barrier to frivolous nominations. The tool Twinkle has subverted this to make a deletion nomination much easier than other, more productive actions such as searching for sources, working on the article or starting a discussion on its talk page.
Another problem is that the readership tends to be excluded from these discussions. An article may be read hundreds or thousands of times while it is at AfD but we rarely see these readers joining the discussion. I myself got started on Wikipedia when I saw a deletion notice on an article that I had been reading. Perhaps I have more aptitude for the Wikipedia interface than the average reader but if there had been greater barriers in place, then I too might not be here now and the hundreds of articles that I have started might not have been written. Wikipedia is the encyclopedia that anyone can edit and so we should freely accept comments rather than engaging in voter suppression by restricting discussions to a dwindling number of incumbents and insiders.
Andrew🐉(talk) 11:01, 12 June 2020 (UTC)
  • It strikes me as odd that we have concluded that the project is best served by creating some filters around article creation for new editors (I don’t know, maybe that’s still controversial?) but we continue to treat AfD as a free for all. It’s true that the best barrier we have is WP:BEFORE but I guess we’re having this discussion because it doesn’t seem as effective as it once was. Mccapra (talk) 11:15, 12 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Quite frankly, I think concerns over this matter are completely overblown. People have constantly been predicting doom and gloom over small problems, but it seems to me that AfD is more sturdy and capable of dealing with sockpuppeteering and canvassing than many give it credit for. New editors do not find AfD and immediately start making bad edits. It takes a lot of time for the average editor to even build up the confidence to start making proper edits, never mind contributing to AfD. There are really only two ways in which a new editor will even get exposed to AfD, either an article they created was nominated, or they were canvassed there. The former is an important learning experience, and being able to contribute gives a new editor valuable insight into how the process works. Stopping these editors from contributing will just further the image of Wikipedia as a bureaucratic nightmare where decisions are made by elitists in ivory towers. In the second case, such instances are isolated and so painfully obvious that dealing with it really does not require pre-emptive punitive measures. This sort of goes without saying, but default ECP is a terrible idea and I am opposed to it in the strongest possible terms. Devonian Wombat (talk) 05:02, 13 June 2020 (UTC)
    • Not doom and gloom. More about tons of wasted time, harassment, and possible external influence on our process (whether in good or bad faith). One of my original points was that we're typically able to deal with this, but there's so little benefit in forcing good faith participants to do so. Lots of wasted time, lots of attempts to influence the outcome. I don't disagree that the article creators/editors themselves should be allowed to participate, though. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 23:52, 13 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Follow-up - apologies to start this thread and only come back a few days later. Several good points here. If these were actual proposals, it seems like were firmly in "no consensus" territory here, at this point. One thing that I think would make sense for me (or someone else) to do if formally proposing these measures would be to gather some data. My perception is that, putting aside the article creators/contributors themselves, new users almost never make valuable, policy-based contributions to AfD. That applies to nominations especially, and !votes slightly less. But I appreciate that not everyone may have the same perception. One open question for me is how to allow article creators/contributors to participate while preventing other new users? Maybe the only way is to direct them to the talk page, and to rework the notifications to be very clear about how to do so (i.e. to do everything we can to encourage participating there). Not sure. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 23:58, 13 June 2020 (UTC)
    As somebody said above (or elsewhere, I do not remember), there are only three categories of IP / new users taking part in AfD discussions: (i) they have been affected (created or significantly contributed to an article being discussed, typically by getting a template on their talk page); (ii) they have been externally canvassed to the discussion; (iii) they evade a block. If this correct (and research probably could be made about this - canvassing is difficult to detect but it must be visible by clusterization of new votes in the same discussion), then these issues probably should be separated -canvassing is not just about new users, and we certainly want creators of the articles participate in the AfD on the articles they created.--Ymblanter (talk) 09:15, 14 June 2020 (UTC)
  • I strongly support reforms to streamline the AfD process. In my time I have closed well over a thousand XfD discussions, and have observed two key patterns of sockpuppet manipulation. The first is where novices desperate to keep an article create numerous obvious sockpuppet accounts; the second is more sophisticated, typically connected to paid advertising, where the sockpuppet accounts are crafted with a veneer of legitimacy through the creation of nominal user space pages and through perhaps commenting on a handful of other AfDs or making a handful of other minor edits before engaging in the AfD of concern. Nevertheless, it should not be possible for an account created after the initiation of an XfD to participate in that XfD. I don't think that this is at all problematic for new users, who should expect that some time and experience is required to obtain certain rights. This should also not be a problem with respect to editors creating new pages. Quite frankly, editors should not be able to create new pages at all until they meet some minimal threshold of activity, so the ability to comment in XfDs should coincide with the ability to create new pages at all. BD2412 T 19:00, 14 June 2020 (UTC)
  • These concerns raised seem pretty well addressed by WP:AFD, WP:AFDEQ, and WP:DISCUSSAFD in that legitimate AfD debate cannot be drowned out by obvious manipulation (sock-puppeting) or poor quality commentary, as AfDs are not a poll (consensus is not based on a tally of votes, but on reasonable, logical, policy-based arguments) and those processing the AfD are required to adhere to this (and if they do wrong, the article does not disappear, and can be recalled through the deletion review process WP:DRV). It also appears some of the generalisations about new users (who may or may not be new, given some new registered users have previously been editing Wikipedia for years as non-registered users) has some undertones not in keeping with the spirit that Jimmy Wales had for Wikipedia (that the value of an editor was not in how long their registered account had been in use, or even how many edits they had made, but in the quality of their contributions to Wikipedia, which may come from registered editors both new and old). Some form of artificial class system based on seniority/tenure/clique would seem contrary to that - even the auto-confirmed class (which has been deliberately set at the low threshold of just a few days) isn’t really such a class system. Like Devonian Wombat stated, New editors do not find AfD and immediately start making bad edits... There are really only two ways in which a new editor will even get exposed to AfD, either an article they created was nominated, or they were canvassed there. Therefore, there does not appear to be an issue with the current framework for AfDs that requires re-invention in my view. Kangaresearch 08:16, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
  • What Dennis Brown said: AfD is one part of WP that really works well, participation at AfD is down, newcomers who are there are apt to be defending pieces they personally have a stake in, there is no better way to learn the notability standards than to actually participate in deletion debatese, there would be nothing gained and much risked by tightening standards for participation there. Carrite (talk) 14:08, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Perhaps all that's needed is a guideline that says that it's acceptable for an experienced editor to move the banner to the talk page in cases where it doesn't seem likely the AFD will pass. Or perhaps BLP shouldn't have the banner at all? It's not hard to see how it can be percieved as an officialy endorsed slight against the BLP subject. ApLundell (talk) 15:02, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Remove AfD from Twinkle. You used to have to go and create the deletion page yourself and copy and paste the correct templates in. This was fine. Some things shouldn't be made easier. It takes two separate people turning two separate keys to launch a nuclear misslile. This could be streamlined, but would that be an improvement? I haven't seen any evidence that either way that adding AfD to Twinkle was a net improvement. It's not helping, so end it. Herostratus (talk) 02:22, 22 June 2020 (UTC)
  • 1. Should there be stricter requirements to start a deletion discussion? What kinds of requirements? At a glance, imposing more requirements would just make it so some deletion-worthy articles remain on the wiki. A lot of stuff can't go through PROD, and isn't eligible for the strict CSD criteria, but is clearly deletion-worthy and should go to AfD. I don't see stricter requirements helping the process.
2. Should deletion discussions be semi-protected by default? Canvassing is a problem, but I've seen less active Wikipedia users contribute helpfully to AfDs before, particularly AfDs that would benefit from more niche knowledge, particularly AfDs for some non-Western topics. I don't know if making discussions semi-protected would help in that sense. An experienced closer can deal with arguments from SPAs and effects due to canvassing, but the process does not benefit from suppressed views of the kinds of users I mentioned.
AfD has problems, but I'm not sure these are solutions. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 17:16, 23 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Stricter requirements: Yes. Notification of the article creator and any other editors who have edited the article significantly should be required, not recommended, in the instructions. Some people don't use their watchlists, some have watchlists so long that an AfD can slip by, some are inactive but have preferences set to notify them of edits to their user talk page, and it is a basic courtesy that also increases the chance of participation by people who know the topic. I'm not sure how it would be enforced, but WP:BEFORE should be required. Deletion nominations by editors who don't know the topic and haven't looked to discover it is, in fact, a topic, or who simply don't like the topic, are an increasing problem as the number of articles grows and participation at AfD dwindles. They waste other editors' time and risk our losing useful articles. Restricting participation, for example by semi-protection: No. Apart from the principle of minimizing barriers to participation by unregistered editors, on which I am firm—they include not only potential new editors but also experienced editors whose wisdom and knowledge we should value, and it's their own business if they choose not to register an account—many people are first drawn into the discussion and collaboration aspect of Wikipedia editing through AfD. I saw an AfD on recent changes and was able to provide the rescuing source, and hadn't realized till then that such discussions, where we might lose a valid article because someone didn't have access to a book, were happening. And that is indeed the venue where most of us learn the ropes of notability. In any case, COI editors would be far more likely able to bypass restrictions than good faith newbies, including subject-matter experts. So attempting to restrict AfD participation would do more harm than good. Yngvadottir (talk) 00:58, 6 July 2020 (UTC)
  • Just noting yet another brand new account nominating yet another biography of a woman for deletion. Created an account, made exactly enough edits to be autoconfirmed, then came back a few days later and nominated here: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Sarafina Nance. Like the examples that immediately preceded my opening this section, and like the many other new accounts nominating/proposing articles by Jesswade88 and others, it's awfully hard to see this as something other than harassment by deletion process and demonstration of how easy our very low bar for creating these nominations is to game. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 18:31, 7 July 2020 (UTC)
  • Mm. As a frequent AfD flyer over the last fifteen years, there are many changes I would want to make. I would love to stipulate that articles cannot be taken to AfD until at least three days after creation. I would love to stipulate that closing admins cannot make headcount-over-policy closes, nor consider the opinions of any Keep voter stating that there are sources out there, who does not then put those sources into the article. I would love to stipulate that editors who haven't been auto-confirmed for at least a month cannot participate in the process, either filing or voting. Hell, I would love to stipulate that any editor who votes Keep based on a perceived flaw in one element of the nomination, while ignoring the valid elements that remain, should be taken out and shot.

    But other than requiring extended confirmation in order to file -- a harmless enough stipulation -- I don't see that there's a lot we can (a) do about it, (b) agree upon, or (c) enforce, given our obvious competing interests. This is an area where our respective hobby horses clash skulls as hard and often as anywhere on Wikipedia. Ravenswing 02:28, 21 July 2020 (UTC)

  • Comment on process it seems like there are lots of different things happening in this discussion around highlighting issues and solutions but its all getting mixed together so its difficult to know if there are common themes and agreements on ways forward. Is there a way to collate comments into different themes or something to 'see what's going on'? I'm not sure if there is an established process for this? John Cummings (talk) 15:36, 6 August 2020 (UTC)
  • Comment on process 2 There's a major in balance that is encouraging the proliferation of rubbish articles. The process of getting rid of those articles that don't quite meet CSD is quite taxing, much like defending patent troll lawsuits put a lot more burden on those defending them than those filing them. AFD's like those involved here is significantly taxing and consumes much more editor resources than creating them. There should be a sort of "reverse AfD" where articles being created (especially those in people, companies & organizations and products category) that require notability to be established in a manner similar to AfD before they can appear. Graywalls (talk) 16:02, 4 October 2020 (UTC)
Well we have Articles for Creation and New Page Patrol. It’s often NPP volunteers who bring articles to AfD. The benefit of both AFC and NPP is that the onus is on the creator to do the work of finding refs, rather than on someone else. Mccapra (talk) 16:59, 4 October 2020 (UTC)
Yet so many utterly promotional and non-notable articles make it into the article space. The process is nowhere near as scrutinized as AFD nominations are. Graywalls (talk) 21:13, 4 October 2020 (UTC)

Notability in AFD[edit]

Not sure if this discussion is still active, but thought it worth adding my perspective/experience.

First, just as I've seen stacked IWANTIT discussions, I've also seen IDONTWANTIT steamroll discussions as well. (I'm avoiding the "inclusionisn/deletionism" labels, as, in my experience, most people do not tend to completely reside in black/white boxes.)

I remember a long while back, when blp first started being an issue, and around that time, "notability" really came to the fore.

"Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That's what we're doing."Jimmy Wales

That quote pretty much was undermined by the apparent necessity of blp.

I even remember a discussion about forking blp's to a separate Wikimedia wiki (WikiBio, or some such).

So to bring it back around to this discussion, What if we just restrict "notability" rationales for deletion, to biography articles (article named for a real person or a group of persons, living or not)?

I welcome discussion on it, but I think WP:V / WP:NOR / WP:RS should easily take care of the rest, thus addressing concerns about the "subjectivity" of the application of "notability" in a particular discussion.

pinging user:Rhododendrites, user:Masem, and user:Astrophobe - the first 3 to comment in this discussion.

I hope this helps as a way forward. - jc37 03:15, 24 July 2020 (UTC)

You cannot restrict notability rationales at AfD without first changing the notability and deletion policies. The former says stand-alone articles must be notable and the latter says they can be deleted if they are not. If an article cannot be nominated for notability reasons at AFD, that leaves no practical way of deleting it. Contrary to your claim, there are numerous articles that go through AfD that have verifiable information, but not enough to meet WP:N. What you propose goes way beyond a change to the AfD process. SpinningSpark 15:41, 24 July 2020 (UTC)
Do you want any old completely non-notable company, product and theory to have an article? We have policies of deleting due to notability for obvious reasons. Best Wishes, Lee Vilenski (talkcontribs) 15:50, 24 July 2020 (UTC)
To be clear, I'm not resolutely against a fundamental rethink of our inclusion criteria (in fact I think that would be highly beneficial), but I'm not in favour of the (implied) change in this proposal. SpinningSpark 16:40, 24 July 2020 (UTC)
I think there are problems with our notability standards that I won’t expand on here. However I don’t see a reason why we would restrict notability to BLPs only. I think our fundamental problem is that we aspire to collect and share the sum of all human knowledge but we’re not completely clear about what ‘knowledge’ is. Is it the same thing as ‘stuff’ or some kind of subset? Personally I’m very relaxed about small town mayors and other people we currently AfD out of existence so I don’t have a problem with significantly widening our definition of notability. But we also need to recognise that there is a tidal wave of rubbish pushing its way onto Wikipedia - promotional material about every pizza restaurant in Akron, Ohio, every ‘AI startup’, and all sorts of bizarre POV stuff about history and nationality. If we let all of that in we’ll rapidly become Opinionopedia. If we’re the world’s intellectual junkyard that’s a significant change of mission and why we should continue to require notability for BLPs but not for other articles doesn’t seem consistent to me. Mccapra (talk) 18:37, 24 July 2020 (UTC)

On the subject of notability[edit]

I agree whole-heartedly that we have a participation problem at AFD, in the fact that it is too easy to nominate, and too easy to Ivote "Delete" based on that catch-all "notability". Do we still allow stub articles on Wikipedia? Because one thing I'm seeing with select really prolific nominators, is the tendency to go through a whole category (geographic, institutional, etc) where stubs have been set up (not necessarily with a "stub" template at the bottom), and AFD them as "Not notable". That is followed by ivoters who are new enough to have not much clue on Wikipedia stub policy, who ivote a delete. And you end up with hundreds of deletions of what would have previously been acceptable as stubs. Because "notability" is not established. We have a really serious problem with this. — Maile (talk) 22:48, 10 August 2020 (UTC)

  • This is often the fault of the closers, who could pick one of the alternatives to deletion such as redirect. the remedy is to use Deletion Review more frequently, asking for not an overturn, but a relist, on thegrounds of insufficient discussion. Relists usually attract more attention. (Generalizing a little, there is almost nothing in Wp which would not be helped by more participation) DGG ( talk ) 16:11, 12 August 2020 (UTC)
  • I agree; I'm pretty new here and already two of my articles are nominated for deletion on the count of notability (Lucy's Heart and Olivia Harkin if you're interested).

    Lucy's Heart is a short film that was shown on at least one film festival (that I could verify) and has an extensive IMDb listing, but because of its very nature (independently produced short film) it didn't get coverage in media outlets that count towards notability. So: not notable according to WP:NFILM. So basically, a whole subgenre of film isn't notable. The deletion voters' argument is that there are numerous other outlets on the internet where you can list those films. By that logic, we could basically call it quits on wikipedia, because that goes for pretty much any headword on here.

    Olivia Harkin is an actress, to my personal frustration not notable by current WP standards (I imagine that must hurt if you'd read that about yourself), so: AfD. Again, no citable sources discuss her as a person, only her work. Rave reviews on her drumming in Fame: The Musical, but not about who she is or where she was born. But what if someone would like an overview of the work she's done? You can only find where she's in if you know where she's in in advance this way.

    The deletion voters' argument on the latter again is to put this information in other places (IMDb), and again I reply: then why bother with wikipedia project in the first place? IMDb is a commercial entity; if Jeff Bezos decides to pull the plug, it's all gone. If he decides he wants to make more money, he could make you have to pay to access it.

    Jimmy's vision is to have a place for our collective knowledge, so that anyone could look up anything. Sure, examples given in other posts here make sense, as articles can be very easily used as political battlegrounds, but aren't we enforcing too strict a rule when it comes to notability? After all, what's notable or not differs per person. In my research I often scan databases of old newspapers. The kind of articles or subjects you stumble upon there is remarkable. Sometimes very useful, as it might put me on the right track of finding something, but those same articles wouldn't be notable on WP. Those would be lost for future generations if it was up to some people here.Sjokhazard (talk) 07:41, 8 September 2020 (UTC)

Political parties, notability and AfDs[edit]

I am a regular AfD contributor with specific focus on political parties. This debate about notability strikes at the heart of my "interest". I hold my hand up to admit that my bias is towards the deletionist tendency, because I believe Wikipedia is not a Gazetteer of political parties and that we should do far more than just host stub articles for political parties that merely exist, rather than achieve electoral success or achieve historical significance. As of late there has been a clear consensus by the wider community that political party articles should be deleted where GNG and ORG guidelines are not met: see Residents' Association of London, Patriotic Socialist Party, Free England Party, Gwlad Gwlad, Miss Great Britain Party, Common Sense Party (UK), Cymru Annibynnol, Christian Democratic Party (United Kingdom) and so on. Not one of these parties achieved anything beyond existing, some had no electoral candidature at all, surely the most basic thing a party should achieve.

What I would like AfD to do is based on my understanding of our basic principles of notability and importance. Nobody has lost any vital information through the deletion of these articles, yet there is no safeguard against similarly scant articles being created.

I am interested by the idea spoken about elsewhere in this discussion about asking AfD nominators to show they've exhausted other avenues - including re-directs and mergers. I would certainly approve of this functionality, as it might make the 'clear up' of stub articles into more general article spaces easier and more convenient. However I would also like to recommend that the community draws up a policy on political party notability, so we can say for certain what exactly makes a political party worthy of a full article in mainspace. doktorb wordsdeeds 07:24, 5 September 2020 (UTC) 07:23, 5 September 2020 (UTC)

Contrary to your claim, Wikipedia is a gazetteer, but that does not mean that every political party needs an individual article. SpinningSpark 09:02, 5 September 2020 (UTC)
Well, hush my mouth, I became so used to using that phrase in successful AfDs that I didn't stop to check that I was contradicting page one, line one, of Wikipedia's founding principles! All the same (and to sound a touch like a politician) I stand by the general point. Wikipedia contains elements of a gazetteer but is not specifically a gazetteer of political parties. The fact remains that there is fuzziness around GNG and ORG guidelines with regards to political parties and I will be interested to see if we can agree on what to do about the substantial number of articles about them. doktorb wordsdeeds 09:15, 5 September 2020 (UTC)
My personal way of thinking anbout them is whether they have actually fielded candidates in an election. If they have, they're notable in the sense they should get an article, because encyclopedia users are likely to look here. If not, it is possible but unlikely they may get an articles as if they were a social club of indeterminate nature if they received sufficient coverage.
And a gazeteer is not a list of people or of groups--based on Gazetteer, its a " geographical dictionary or directory ". I think the term you are looking fori s directory, and here the basic rule is WP:NOT DIRECTORY. DGG ( talk ) 22:20, 20 September 2020 (UTC)
Even if we were to want to cover every party that ran a candidate, that doesn't mean that each is best handled with an article. For example, the American Delta Party was created solely as a way for Rocky De La Fuente to get his US presidential ticket on the 2016 ballot in states where having a party made qualifying easier than running as an independent. It has run no other candidates, and is not even running Rocky this year as best as I can tell. As such, it's best handled as it is now - as a redirect to the page on Rocky's 2016 campaign. --Nat Gertler (talk) 22:41, 20 September 2020 (UTC)

An XFD Idea to Toss Around - Discretionary Sanctions[edit]

This is an idea that has occurred to me from time to time, and then sometimes I have thought it was a good idea, and sometimes I have thought that it wasn't such a good idea. That is to impose Community General Sanctions (or ArbCom Discretionary Sanctions) on XFDs. General Sanctions are imposed on areas in which there is a high tendency to disruptive editing, such as areas that are real battlegrounds (e.g., Israel-Palestine, India-Pakistan), or where there is a high incidence of fraud (cryptocurrency), or where there is a special need to deal with disruptive editing (e.g., BLPs, to protect, you guessed it, living persons). There are a few editors who make a nuisance of themselves either nominating things for deletion or defending things from deletion. Perhaps general sanctions would help deal with troublesome editors by allowing an uninvolved administrator to initiate sanctions that would otherwise require WP:ANI. Comments? Robert McClenon (talk) 02:46, 30 July 2020 (UTC)

We need to decrease the use of DS, not increase it. Discretionary sanctions gives any one of the 500 active administrators the power to block in a way which requires exceptional effort and consensus to overturn. It was adopted at a time when Wikipedia had a real problem with the so-called "unblockable" editors, who, however much they misbehaved, would be unblocked by one of their friends; it was necessary to have a sticky block like this to deal with them. The approach worked, and there are many fewer such editors now. So exceptional circumstances where the ability to give a sticky block in contentious topics if necessary. I don't think AfD is in such a desperate condition at this time. Considering that there are some very different philosophies of what consititues an acceptable WP article in some fields, this gives any admin from one of the sides the ability to remove those who disagree, in a way that is exceptionally difficult to reverse. There are editors who abuse the afd system, and ordinary blocks are sufficient to deal with them. DGG ( talk ) 00:35, 16 August 2020 (UTC)

Requiring alternatives to deletion be exhausted before nominating an article for deletion[edit]

Hi all

I spent a while looking at what is going wrong with AfD because of several issues I had with articles being deleted (mainly of biographies of women). One way that I think would reduce the issues with articles being nominated for deletion is that currently the rules do not require contributors to explore the alternatives to deletion before nominating an article for deletion. If nominators had to show they had exhausted alternatives for deletion before nomination this would both provide additional motivations to improve the quality of articles (e.g more references to improve notability) and take most of the 'fun' out of malicious and low effort nominations.

John Cummings (talk) 15:23, 6 August 2020 (UTC)

On this basis how would you suggest we modify WP:BEFORE? There are times when nominators are too quick to put an article up for deletion, but if there are decent sources it does not take long for other editors to flush them out. If there are articles you think we should be keeping that are actually being deleted (as opposed to being wrongly nominated and then kept following discussion) this suggests that nobody at AfD is doing their job properly, not just the nominator, but this isn't a pattern I recognise. Mccapra (talk) 16:41, 6 August 2020 (UTC)
WP:BEFORE clearly says that alternatives to deletion should be considered before nominating an article at AfD. The problem is that we have some editors who don't consider themselves to be subject to the instructions that apply to other people (I suppose they regard them as the little people as opposed to the Übermenschen that they are themselves), and actually boast of not following them. Phil Bridger (talk) 18:07, 6 August 2020 (UTC)
That may be true, but if it is a behavioural pattern there are ways of addressing it that don’t require us to change the AfD guidelines. Ultimately if editors active at AfD do their job collectively, then nominators who haven’t done a proper WP:BEFORE won’t get very far. There’s a case that such nominations waste other editors’ time, but not that we lose decent articles because of bad nominations, AFAICS. Mccapra (talk) 18:33, 6 August 2020 (UTC)
I disagree. Many AfD discussions are closed with a couple of "me too" votes, without anyone actually considering alternatives to deletion. Phil Bridger (talk) 19:12, 6 August 2020 (UTC)
Phil Bridger, that is dishonest, offensive claptrap and you know it. Instead of calling people names, how about you try characterising your opponents' positions accurately and fairly, and debate them on their content instead of wild speculations as to their motives? Or is that too hard for you? Reyk YO! 18:39, 6 August 2020 (UTC)
Please link to any AfD discussion where I have not done as you ask. Phil Bridger (talk) 19:09, 6 August 2020 (UTC)
I want to say that this (BEFORE required before launching an AFD) has been a WP:PEREN but its not listed there, but I can tell at WT:AFD that the idea has been proposed and rejected many times. What I will say is that if you see any AFD nominated, and keeping in mind the history of the editor nominating it, that you do not believe in good faith that they have executed a proper BEFORE search appropriate for the topic, mention and call this out. (This would be the case for where we're talking topic pre-Internet, where sources more local to the event may be needed in print and thus not easily found just be a google search). --Masem (t) 18:23, 6 August 2020 (UTC)
@Masem:, @Phil Bridger: exactly, WP:BEFORE says they should be considered but doesn't require it, either of the nominator or anyone taking part in the process or to use them to reject deletion nominations if its clear alternatives are possible. Making it a requirement would put the onus on nominators to explore alternatives and save the time for people taking part in AfDs discussing articles that shouldn't have been nominated in the first place, it would cause no change for people already following the recommendation. I've thought about this quite a lot and cannot think of a downside to this change, am I missing something?
I'm unclear how exactly this could be implemented in practice, my suggestion would be the nominator would be required to show they have exhausted alternatives in nomination process, not just say 'have you considered the alternatives to nomination = yes' but to actually show the work e.g showing there aren't enough reliable sources in common places for that topic e.g Search results, Google Books, Scholar and News etc. John Cummings (talk) 18:40, 6 August 2020 (UTC)
I think you may be missing WP:CREEP which, ironically, is seemingly the favoured link for one of the WP:ARS stalwarts across a broad swathe of discussions such as this. - Sitush (talk) 18:40, 6 August 2020 (UTC)
@Sitush: thanks, this change would wouldn't include much new instruction, my guess would be one change and one new line. It would mainly be a change in the wording on WP:BEFORE from 'Consider whether the article could be improved rather than deleted' to something like 'Exhaust opportunities to improve rather than delete the article' (that wording needs some work) and then an extra line in the AfD nomination form asking the nominator to show they've actually done this. John Cummings (talk) 18:50, 6 August 2020 (UTC)
First, I would recommend reading the WT:AFD archives because again, making BEFORE mandatory, while not a perennial suggestion, has been asked many many times. Also, not all AFD requests are based on lack of notability, which BEFORE is specifically about. There's also reasons that may be based on notability that BEFORE can't address, like if the sources available - maybe established in a previous AFD as exhaustive - still don't give significant coverage per the nominator, and they seek deletion. BEFORE is not a one-size-fits-all approach prior to all AFD, basically. --Masem (t) 18:58, 6 August 2020 (UTC)
But this discussion is not about notability. It is about looking for alternatives to deletion, which are also addressed by WP:BEFORE. Phil Bridger (talk) 20:56, 6 August 2020 (UTC)
The problem with BEFORE is that making it a strict requirement turns the discussion away from the article, it content, and its sources and towards a lawyerly checklist and procedural shutdowns. It's best to regard BEFORE as advice on how to write a convincing nomination. That it keeps getting used as the delivery mechanism for personal attacks on deletion nominators doesn't help either. Reyk YO! 18:44, 6 August 2020 (UTC)
A much better way of reducing the load at AfD would be to create a new permission called article_creator or something like that, give it to every editor who has shown that they can create articles that don't have notability or other serious issues, and require that every new article created by editors without the permission goes through AFC. Black Kite (talk) 18:46, 6 August 2020 (UTC)
Since 2018, we've already had article creation restricted to autoconfirmed accounts, after the Foundation reversed its unilateral prohibition on implementing the plan which had been first approved in 2011. (See WP:ACTRIAL for the full history of this long contentious issue). Based on my experience with the issue, I believe that 1) The restriction to autoconfirmed accounts is sufficient in keeping the worst abuses to a minimum and 2) It took the Foundation 7 years to come around to what was a WIDELY supported community initiative. I think your proposal is dead in the water, as I see no way the Foundation would support any additional restrictions on article creation, given how hard the fought against the community on this one. --Jayron32 19:00, 6 August 2020 (UTC)
Oh, I didn't think it would. But I can't think of any other way to at least restrict the large amounts of spam, cruft, paid editor creations and other crap which isn't coming through AFC. Black Kite (talk) 19:58, 6 August 2020 (UTC)

I think that the balance needs to be tipped a bit in the opposite way. A significant part of creating a article in Wikipedia is to find and include references. That's why they are called editors and not title generators.North8000 (talk) 20:09, 6 August 2020 (UTC)

Going back to the original proposal to require alternatives to be exhausted, I’ve been giving it some more thought. First of all my question is do we think that articles on decent, notable topics are getting deleted at AfD constantly? Regularly? Occasionally? Very occasionally? Because I think to make a major revision of WP:BEFORE we’d need to agree that there is a problem of sufficient magnitude to warrant it. For my own part, I’m not persuaded. I look at AfD every day though I don’t scrutinise each individual discussion closely, and my impression is that overall, it’s doing fine. Yes there are nominations what are not grounded in policy, but other editors contributing to the discussion deal with that. I’d support some thresholds for allowing editors to make an AfD nomination at all in order to reduce the number of pointless nominations but I know that doesn’t enjoy support here.
The main alternatives to deletion, other than just leaving the article alone, are going to be redirect or merge. If we’re going to say that we won’t allow an AfD nomination until both redirect and merge have been tried and failed, I don’t support that. Often articles nominated at AfD don’t have suitable merge or redirect targets anyway. Also I think this will impose much too high a burden on the nominator. Merge proposals can take months, and any time we’d save at AfD we’d lose in hugely expanded merger discussions.
To me the main benefit of an AfD over alternatives is that it gives us to opportunity to reach consensus. If I find a BLP that I think doesn’t belong in Wikipedia I don’t want to engage in a potentially endless ping pong of doing and redoing redirects while the article creator undoes them before I’m allowed to seek consensus on what should be done. We should be able to seek consensus quickly, not only as a last resort. If the conclusion of an AfD is to redirect then there is a good chance that can be made to stick, and that is less of a waste of everyone's time than expecting an individual editor to doggedly pursue alternatives for days, weeks or months before being allowed to nominate at AfD. Incidentally I would expect one unintended outcome of taking this approach would be to increase incivility and edit-warring. AfD is a formal, rule driven process where we can air differing views on notability dispassionately and without making it personal. Only letting editors into that forum after they’ve done a dozen rounds of slugging it out one to one with the article creator isn’t really going to help us build the encyclopedia any better. Mccapra (talk) 04:58, 7 August 2020 (UTC)
I think @Mccapra: has made some good points. The only difference of opinion I might have is if, after trying to redirect, it gets reverted, then take it to AfD. Same with a merge. However, a merge can consume more time and if that gets reverted, for me it is not a happy occasion. I haven't been able to read this entire page. I've only gotten through about 1/3 of the page. I intend to read the whole thing over time.
This is a really good discussion. I think AfD nominations only by extended confirmed users is a good idea. Also, an article created by social media canvassing should have a COI tag placed on it, and may brought to the COI noticeboard for discussion.
As an aside, it is upsetting to see claims of social injustice by Twitter personalities just because an article is nominated for deletion. That is not the issue, period. We have notability criteria which is usually a neutral arbiter for keeping or deleting an article. One more thing - perhaps AfDs of canvassing Twitter personalities' articles should be automatically posted at WP:AN to garner admin eyes in case the canvassing is too overwhelming (something like that). ---Steve Quinn (talk) 06:45, 23 August 2020 (UTC)
  • Oppose per CREEP I really don't see the necessity in this. Yes, there are users who abuse AfD. They can be topic banned for repeated disruptions. Articles are usually brought to AfD not for quality control but because someone believes the topic lacks notability. Thus, aside from a BEFORE check, there is nothing that can be done to "improve" the article if it simply lacks notability, so urging editors to exhaust themselves in improving an article that can't be improved or shouldn't be improved is unhelpful. -Indy beetle (talk) 16:46, 4 September 2020 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I am absolutely against wasting more editors' time by forcing them to jump through more hoops in order to earn the right to nominate an AfD. The unintended consequence of this, I fear, will be that Wikipedia will simply fill up with more promotional BLPs of non-notable people. There is an absolute plague of these, dozens every day. Every one is created and defended by a fan or a UPE. There is generally nothing to redirect or merge them to. It is hard enough to get editors to deal with these as it is and much of the backlog at AfC and NPP is accounted for by them. I hesitate to nominate them for deletion myself because often this leads to a week of back and forth in the AfD discussion and on my talk page, draws in sockpuppets and kicks off a major effort by the creator and their real/sock friends to talk the nomination out with bluster and irrelevance. If I'm going to be told that instead of having to deal with these muppets for seven days I'm going to have to argue a merge and a redirect with them too, I just won't bother and will leave them to someone else to deal with. Perhaps I'm not typical and there's no shortage of other editors to take on this task. If there are, could they sign up for NPP please as we desperately need them - we need more articles coming to AfD, not fewer. There is a constant daily battle to get crap off Wikipedia, and we're not keeping up with that even as it is. I am in favour of trying to reduce the number of frivolous or badly-argued nominations by requiring a higher threshold of editor experience to be able to nominate an AfD, though I recognise that's not what is being proposed here and that it has been discussed and rejected before. Mccapra (talk) 11:29, 5 September 2020 (UTC)
  • oppose as instruction creep. Either flesh them out early on and properly in draft, or refund them to draft. And there is no problem to recreate them with proper sources if you think an article has merit. --Dirk Beetstra T C 03:49, 6 September 2020 (UTC)
  • oppose as impractical. The best way to proceed with an unsatisfactory article is a matter of judgement. As others have pointed out above, using some of the alternatives to deletion can actually in some circumstances have the effect of removing a possibly acceptable article. If the user is still around , draftifying is effective, but not if they have left or if they are nan ip--the articles will almost certainly receive more attention at AfD. Redirect and merge has at least in the past been used as what has sometimes been called an "smerge" --the content merged is soon after quietly deleted, and then the redirect is removed because it no longer points to anything in the article. (This leaves very little in the way of traces to recover the text, which defeats the intent of merges and redirects.) There are other ways, but i consider them really illegitimate. AfD is a straightforward process. If more people paid attention, it would be even more effective is rescuing rescuable content. (but there are a great many Wikipedia processes about which that can be said). DGG ( talk ) 01:25, 27 September 2020 (UTC)
  • Oppose That would mean that editors can dump a few words disguised as article and that other people are forced to improve it. Totally impractical. You can see that effect already at many AfDs were editors state that the article "can be improved by normal editing". And the editors stating that are never to be seen again at that article. It would pose a serious risk for the quality of the encyclopedia. The Banner talk 12:51, 28 September 2020 (UTC)

RfC 2 minimum quarterly thresholds for participating in deletions[edit]

‹See TfM›

I'm just going to WP:SNOW this one. --Izno (talk) 16:14, 28 September 2020 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

There seems to be some good discussion taken place at Wikipedia:Village_pump_(policy)#Is it time to place greater restrictions on AfD? for past some weeks.

Herewith I am requesting comment for; two minimum quarterly thresholds criteria for participating in further deletions.

Criteria 1) There should be minimum: Null / One / Five / Ten / Twenty percent quarterly unreverted positive encyclopedic text contribution of total deleted or reverted contribution before joining in further deletions and reverts.
Criteria 2) There should be minimum : Null / Thousand / Five thousand / Ten thousand / Twenty thousand bytes quarterly positive encyclopedic contribution before joining in any deletion / move /merge / AfD discussion.

Choose your preferred criteria.Or Suggest some new.

Thanks

  • End of RfC proposal note.

Bookku (talk) 14:08, 27 September 2020 (UTC)

  • Comment: Purpose of such restriction
    • Many policing curators do not seem not to know or forget practical difficulties of people face while contributing encyclopedic text.
    • Army of Curators is too large compared to people who actually research and contribute encyclopedic text and these army of curators too inexperienced or tend to loose their experience and forget pain of actual.
    • When ten votes are enough for deletion ten times curator join in, Positively contributing editors go in minority and end up getting harrassed by numeriacally large army. One likes or not this large army prevails democratically and those who don't have Phd in Wikipedia rules but contribute with sources feel harassed. Curator should be essentially a regular encyclopedic text contributor too at least to a minimum level.

Bookku (talk) 14:08, 27 September 2020 (UTC)

  • WP:SNOW close as a hopeless proposal. I know you mean well with this, but there's no way to measure what you're suggesting (who's going to count up the net contributions of someone? would a -100K vandalism revert count against the net?). Most AFDs aren't well-attended enough, and if an inexperienced editor wants to dip their toe in, let them. There are a lot of ways to contribute constructively to Wikipedia, and trying to gatekeep AfD like this isn't going to make anything better. –Deacon Vorbis (carbon • videos) 14:33, 27 September 2020 (UTC)
  • Oppose- bad idea. Reyk YO! 15:00, 27 September 2020 (UTC)
  • Unenforceable CREEP. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 15:09, 27 September 2020 (UTC)
  • Oppose. One of the big problems with deletion discussions is the lack of participation, with too many pages being kept or deleted after just a couple of perfunctory comments. To address that we need to encourage more people to take part, not place restrictions that mean there will be fewer. Phil Bridger (talk) 15:16, 27 September 2020 (UTC)
  • Oppose per everyone above. Most of my text contributions to articles are gnoming which frequently doesn't result in a lot of bytes added or removed. One task, rescuing broken links is a significant improvement to the encyclopaedia, can take significant time and effort, but results in the addition of zero prose to the article. Thryduulf (talk) 16:35, 27 September 2020 (UTC)
  • Support I realize this won't pass, but I'd like to express my support for anything that makes deleting content harder. Benjamin (talk) 18:20, 27 September 2020 (UTC)
  • But this proposal does not make deletion harder. People wanting to keep an article will be excluded just the same as people wanting to delete it. It simply makes deletion depend on an even smaller number of editors than is currently the case. Phil Bridger (talk) 18:41, 27 September 2020 (UTC)
  • The intention seems to be to exclude non-inclusionists from the AfD process, and that sort of partisanship is enough reason to auto-oppose. The fact that it would likely have the exact opposite effect is no reason to suddenly support it. So yeah. Reyk YO! 10:44, 28 September 2020 (UTC)
  • Oppose There's too much lack of recognition for gnomes as it is. We don't need to be excluded further. (Summoned by bot) I dream of horses (Contribs) Please notify me after replying off my talk page. Thank you. 20:20, 27 September 2020 (UTC)
  • Oppose It is impossible to implement as proposed. Restricting access to AfD in this way would make it impossible for for new editors to defend their creations. Per [4] and [5] the proposer doesn't seem to understand how AfD works. Vexations (talk) 20:37, 27 September 2020 (UTC)
  • Oppose requiring volunteers to meet a participation threshold or they won't be allowed to participate is antithetical to what Wikipedia is all about. MarnetteD|Talk 21:51, 27 September 2020 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Someone with no editing experience can be a net benefit to a deletion discussion if they can provide sources or knowledge on the subject - what we need to do better is make it clearer to newcomers what is expected of an article.Nigel Ish (talk) 11:02, 28 September 2020 (UTC)
  • Oppose hopelessly vague (how do we quantify "positive contribution") and counterproductive. Justification is lacking. Proposal seems to assume that the majority of AfDs would be "keep" if we kept those pesky folks who don't do much content work out, which fails to recognize that sometimes things actually need to be deleted. GeneralNotability (talk) 12:31, 28 September 2020 (UTC)
  • Oppose per most of what has been said above. This proposal is largely unenforceable and counterproductive to maintaining the encyclopedia. Criterion 2 in particular would likely bar a lot of longstanding, experienced editors from participating if they happen to have not edited much lately. It would also bar WikiGnomes, who often know a lot about policy but tend to make contributions of far fewer bytes than content creators. Armadillopteryx 12:43, 28 September 2020 (UTC)
  • Oppose discrimination based on not-registering an account. The main page still states the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.. Then why would we start excluding certain groups? The Banner talk 12:45, 28 September 2020 (UTC)

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

Another idea to go along[edit]

Get rid of autopatrolled that makes it far easier to put out companies, organizations, people and products articles onto Wikipedia than delete them. I'm sick of those articles that are put out by promotinal editors in those categories where they look like a few sentences put together, then a farm of links dumped in further reference to quickly get pages onto Wikipedia, which may or may not pass notability if they were to go through AfD. Graywalls (talk) 20:29, 6 October 2020 (UTC)

Can you point to any such articles that have been created by people with the autopatrolled right? If this is only an occasional problem then it simply means that some people should have this right withdrawn, and/or that requirements for granting it should be tightened up. Only if it's a very common issue should the right be disposed of completely, since it massively relieves the workload of new page patrollers. Phil Bridger (talk) 20:50, 6 October 2020 (UTC)
https://web.archive.org/web/20190425150437/https://www.blackhatworld.com/seo/wikipedia-page-creation-get-your-own-custom-authority-page-on-wikipedia.925936/ Nothing in specific, but this is an indication of those privileges being abused for public relations and marketing purposes. Graywalls (talk) 03:43, 21 October 2020 (UTC) replying to @Phil Bridger:

Volunteers must declare that they are paid?[edit]

My removal of an addition to WP:PAID which asserts that we require volunteers to make a declaration that they are paid editors has itself been reverted, stating that I need consensus to remove it, even though there has been no demonstration of consensus to add it.

The addition was made with the edit summary "based on discussion at WT:COI", but no such discussion was linked to, nor have I been able to find it.

Is it en.Wikipedia policy that volunteers must make such a declaration, on pain of being blocked if they do not do so? If not, do we need a formal RfC to remove the claim? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 10:11, 16 September 2020 (UTC)

  • The discussion was here. – Teratix 10:26, 16 September 2020 (UTC)
    • And then at Wikipedia talk:Paid-contribution disclosure/Archive 7#unpaid worker and on-loan staff. Fram (talk) 10:30, 16 September 2020 (UTC)
    • [EC] Thank you. So that's a three-person discussion headlined edits made during volunteer shifts by volunteers of NGO and 501(c)(3) organizations, in which the eventual change to the wording does not even appear. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 10:33, 16 September 2020 (UTC)
      • I have reverted [6] back to the uncontroversial version which simply said "Interns are considered employees for this purpose." The imposition of so-called "implicit consensus" is improper for a policy page with such sweeping ramifications and suddenly transmogrifies volunteers into the equivalent of paid employees, and all the bad faith that comes with it. A discussion with three people for a specific issue does not justify this massive shift in policy. Therefore, the status quo should be restored and a real RfC or other consultation should take place. -- Fuzheado | Talk 19:27, 16 September 2020 (UTC)
        • @Fuzheado: Odd that such a "sudden", "monumental" and "controversial" change went completely unremarked upon for over a year, then. Would you like to update WP:NOTBURO or otherwise codify your new requirement that changes to policy pages are not subject to the consensus policy and need a "real RfC"? – Joe (talk) 04:59, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
          • No, it's not odd - we have a confusing and messy policy thicket with similar-sounding but different pages scattered about. Folks who watch (and teach) WP:COI and WP:PAY on a regular basis are now finding a new stipulation on the secondary WP:PAID page, and in the last sentence of a subsection at that. One can be sympathetic to the plight of Wikipedia patrollers trying to combat undue influence here, but this is not the solution. The wording and its implications have been poorly considered, and any big change should not be made without wider explicit consensus. @Pigsonthewing: -- Fuzheado | Talk 06:13, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
          • If this significant change to our policy has the robust consensus of the wider community that Joe apparently claims it does, then he will have no trouble demonstrating that. It it seems, from the conversation to date, that it does not. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 08:17, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
            • Let's let the discussion play out for more than 24 hours before we pronounce the outcome, shall we? – Joe (talk) 09:52, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
              • Yet another false insinuation. I'm not "pronouncing the outcome", I'm inviting you to demonstrate consensus for your position, and noting that so far you have failed utterly to do so. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 10:13, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
  • To clarify, the "addition" happened 18 months ago and hasn't been contested since, so I reverted Pigsonthewing on the basis that it at least has implicit consensus. And Teratix has now clarified that there was also a discussion beforehand. Either way, Andy, do you actually have a substantial objection to this text other than the fact that it wasn't attached to a "centralised discussion"? I hope we have not drifted so far away from WP:NOTCOURT that every change to a policy needs a formal RfC. – Joe (talk) 10:28, 16 September 2020 (UTC)
    • You mean do I object to us asserting "volunteers are deemed to be employees" and requiring them to declare that they are paid? Yes, of course I do. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 10:37, 16 September 2020 (UTC)
  • I agree there wasn't sufficient consensus for the edit, so Pigsonthewing's edit was correct. "Volunteers are considered employees" is blatantly absurd. Nemo 11:37, 16 September 2020 (UTC)
  • QUESTION: Are we agreed that editors working for NGOs and 501(c) orgs as volunteers have the same conflict of interest as paid staff, and thus must disclose that conflict when editing? If so, then we are simply debating the phrasing. If not, why not? Blueboar (talk) 12:19, 16 September 2020 (UTC)
    • Are you aware that the Wikimedia Foundation lists about 300,000 active editors as their volunteers? Nemo 16:31, 16 September 2020 (UTC)
      • I think Nemo just won the argument :) Kaldari (talk) 00:07, 29 September 2020 (UTC)
  • There's two key things here. One is, they are directed or expected to edit Wikipedia as part of their tasks, and the other is that they're compensated. Compensation is more generic than being paid. Interns (even unpaid ones) are compensated by gaining experience, by getting an insider's view of how a specific business works, having the right to put the internship on their resume, making business connections, etc. This all falls under the "other valuable considerations" language that shows up in contracts. So, yes, if these things apply to you, you need to disclose that. It's incorrect to say you're being paid, but that's a nit. You're being compensated, that compensation is why you're editing, and we need to know that. -- RoySmith (talk) 14:19, 16 September 2020 (UTC)
  • Is it the same? No. Definitely not. In one scenario, my livelihood, career, health insurance, etc. is staked on making certain edits that I may be contractually obligated to make, or in case of a contractor there is an exchange premised on certain kinds of edits. In the other scenario (putting aside interns, which as far as I can tell isn't really part of this discussion), it's my choice whether or not I actually do what my supervisor tells me to do, I don't risk my income and well-being, and I'm not contractually obligated to do anything at all because nothing is exchanged. It's also going to be more likely with a non-profit or NGO that the kinds of edits one is directed to make aren't actually promotional but in the service about whatever cause that organization is working on (which can be good or not so good, of course, where it bleeds into advocacy).

    All of this said, I know full well that there are non-financial pressures or career-adjacent pressures to do what a volunteer supervisor tells you to do, and just the fact that we're talking about being directed to edit means there's obviously a huge COI that should be disclosed, but I wouldn't call it the same as a paid editor (if it is, we should reframe how we talk about the subject). IMO this belongs at WP:EXTERNALREL. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 14:24, 16 September 2020 (UTC)

  • Disregarding everything else, I'm pretty sure that most editors in American politics treat political campaign volunteers as if they are staff for the purposes of WP:COI. I can't recall treating such people as WP:PAID exactly, but we do expect disclosure if you are coordinating with a campaign regardless of your capacity as a staffer or volunteer. –MJLTalk 16:23, 16 September 2020 (UTC)
    • Yep. If somebody else is telling you what to do when you edit here, you should disclose that. For the editor, there's a difference between getting paid and not (I mean, ask any creative type whether "exposure" will pay the rent), but that doesn't diminish the importance of knowing when an editor is the mouthpiece of an organization. XOR'easter (talk) 20:26, 16 September 2020 (UTC)
      • If somebody else is telling you what to do when you edit here, the you may have a CoI; but you are not necessarily paid; and are certainly not automatically "an employee". Furthermore, not every volunteer is or can be "told what to do". Please try to avid conflating disparate concepts. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 08:21, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
  • I guess I have a similar view to Rhododendrites, in that the problem for me is whether volunteer work should be disclosed as paid, or as a COI. Both require disclosure. My concern is the creep we see here - initially, we pictured being paid as "recieving compensation" specifically for your edits. Then we extended that to include working in PR, even if you weren't specifically asked to edit WP. Adding volunteers means that even if you aren't being paid at all, you still need to disclose that you are being paid, which is getting a bit silly. Wouldn't it be better just to say that volunteers have a COI and should disclose under the COI requirements, and if you are being paid for your edits you have an additional incentive and advantage over other editors, so you should disclose under WP:PAID? Otherwise we get stuck in this situation of insisting that people who are not being compensatied or paid for their edits shoudl disclose that they are being compensated or paid for their edits, which just makes confusing policy. - Bilby (talk) 22:25, 16 September 2020 (UTC)
    Bilby, I view WP:PAID as a subset of WP:COI. The essential thing is that you have some reason for editing other than an altruistic desire to improve the encyclopedia. I don't see any need to get all wound up with which label we stick on it, just that you disclose whatever it is.
    • I am editing Foo because I'm being paid to do so.
    • I am editing Foo because it's part of my duties as an intern
    • I am editing Foo because it's a school project
    • I am editing Foo because I support their political campaign
    • I am editing Foo because I am Foo
    etc. It's all very simple. Just tell us why you're editing on this subject. Don't worry about what label is attached to it. -- RoySmith (talk) 23:00, 16 September 2020 (UTC)
    The problem is that the English Wikipedia community has never reached a consensus to require all editors with a conflict of interest to disclose it. Some people interpret conflict of interest quite broadly to encompass any employee of a company editing a topic related to the company. This casts quite a wide net for companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Google, General Electric, and so forth. Indeed, an employee may not even know they are editing a topic that is related to something their company is involved with. The mandatory requirement for an editor to disclose their paid contributions has a specific scope that was handed down by the Wikimedia Foundation, and can't really be considered a subset of a non-mandatory recommended practice.
    The issue at hand is if someone who fulfills the role of an employee that is directed to edit Wikipedia be required to disclose this relationship, even if they are not paid by the company? I appreciate that context is important. A non-profit, for example, might organize editathons for specific topic areas related to its mission that use regular volunteer staff. On the other hand, a "Friends of the Museum" fundraising non-profit might use volunteer staff to try to seed references to the museum into as many articles as possible. We need to think about whether or a not a bright-line rule on balance helps more than it hinders. On the third hand, the reverted text also included on-loan staff, and I hope this category will also be discussed. isaacl (talk) 05:40, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
    But the wording under contention does not simply require "someone who fulfils the role of an employee... to disclose this relationship". It wrongly asserts that all volunteers are deemed employees, and requires some volunteers to declare - even when false - that they are paid. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 08:54, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
    That's fundamentally my problem as well. Under WP:COI we say that anyone with a COI should disclose. Which is fair enough. Under WP:Paid we say that anyone being compensated for editing WP on behalf of an employer must disclose as a paid editor. Which is also fair enough. What we shouldn't do is place people who are not being paid under WP:PAID - they are better handled through WP:COI. As to on-loan staff, I don't see how they differ from normal paid employees - if you are being subcontracted to a company, and that company requires you to edit WP on their behalf, then surely you are being compensated for your edits and fall under WP:PAID as is. - Bilby (talk) 09:22, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
    Sure, the conflict of interest guideline is applicable to unpaid staff. At present, though, it does not require a mandatory disclosure. One case for on-loan staff is when a company purchases another but the official handover has not taken place yet. The purchased company may loan out its staff to the purchaser—no subcontracting relationship is established. (There can be legal constraints on subcontracting that make this undesirable for this situation.) The specific wording in the terms of use FAQ wasn't written to cover this case explicitly (it covers a client model), though the expanded description within Wikipedia:Paid-contribution disclosure does cover it. isaacl (talk) 14:12, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
  • Note: I've added a link to this discussion at WT:PAID, and pinging participants in the original discussions of this change: @Graywalls, SlimVirgin, Isaacl, Andrew Davidson, Tryptofish, and Mariogom:. – Joe (talk) 05:06, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
  • The apparent contradiction here is only because we're stuck with the phrase "paid editors" – if we were developing this policy from scratch, probably "commissioned editors" or "financial COI" would be better language. But the stable version up to yesterday was a sensible and accurate summary of the spirit of both local policy and the WMF Terms of Use. Specifically, it closely follows meta:Terms of use/FAQ on paid contributions without disclosure#What does the phrase "employer, client, and affiliation" mean?. We want people to disclose if they are editing on behalf of their employer; it's irrelevant what kind of compensation has been agreed between that employer and editor-employee. Since this is already expressed elsewhere in policy and the ToU, all Andy's change achieves it to make it harder for those with a COI to understand the policy and harder for us to enforce it. Do we really want to get sucked into having to ask people if they're compensated in cash or kind, if they get expenses, etc., relating to their edits? Or just be able to tell people simply that they shouldn't edit on behalf of their employer, and should disclose it if they do? – Joe (talk) 05:28, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
    • The above is a confusing and contradictory rumination on terms and concepts. I'm not even sure where to start. First, it is not a sensible summary, as several folks have pointed out already. There is most definitely not consensus for a change to, "non-profit volunteers are considered employees."[7] It also doesn't even make logical sense. As Nemo_bis pointed out, is every single editor of Wikipedia, volunteering for the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation, caught under this new provision and considered an employee with all the disclosure obligations that come with it? This is clearly a ridiculous thing to expect. That would mean every alumnus of a college or university donating their volunteer time to edit about their alma mater would now be considered an employee of that educational institution. What about volunteers editing about their favorite sports teams, performance troupe, or musical acts? The list goes on. Second, you claim the unilaterally-changed version closely follows the TOU FAQ, which states the employer is a "person or organization that is paying you compensation – money, goods, or services" but then the next sentence you say "it's irrelevant what kind of compensation has been agreed between that employer and editor-employee." This makes no sense. If the compensation is "irrelevant" then it is no longer an employer-employee relationship! The rest of the questions are therefore not answerable because of this poor logical footing. The bottom line is this - every person walks into Wikipedia with a basket full of biases, preferences, and potential COI. Their ethnicity, religion, geography, educational background, food preferences, allergies, etc. all affect how they approach and write about a subject. Trying to police the intent of editors down to this level is futile and unwise. That way madness lies. So what is the solution? I wish we still had the original construction of COI that existed for years (perhaps a decade) before it was replaced with the substandard lead sentence we have now. It used to say, brilliantly, "When advancing outside interests is more important to an editor than advancing the aims of Wikipedia, that editor stands in a conflict of interest."[8] For years, that was the basis of WP:COI. We had this exact sentence as the centerpiece in a slide deck for training new editors at edit-a-thons in the U.S., until it was changed (also rather unilaterally and unceremoniously), to what we have now. That wording is now lost to time and not found at all on WP:COI. The previous "advancing outside interests" wording is a more useful ideological prime directive versus the current overly-specific arbitrary enumeration of problem situations at WP:COI that ends in this near-useless nugget of advice: "Any external relationship can trigger a conflict of interest." I am sympathetic to admins and users fighting undisclosed paid editing. I used to be very active in that area. However, I fear fighting in the trenches has colored the perspective of those wanting the new wording. Instituting a wide-sweeping dragnet to portray volunteers as employees is not the solution. -- Fuzheado | Talk 07:05, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
      @Fuzheado: I would say the opposite: editors "in the trenches" trying to manage the significant disruption caused by paid editors have been trying to make practical changes to the COI guidelines for years, following the normal consensus-building processes we use with all policy, only to be obstructed by opinionated bystanders helicoptering in to argue about hypotheticals and supposed procedural deficiencies.
      Case in point: obviously the text does not apply to all Wikipedia editors. Has anyone ever actually thought that? We're not volunteers for the WMF, we have no contractual relationship with them, and we're not editing on their behalf. Our COI policy clearly states that it applies to people editing in connection to an external relationship, and it's in that context that "interns, on-loan staff, and unpaid workers" may also be considered to have a financial COI. – Joe (talk) 09:39, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
      @Joe Roe: No it is not "obviously" at all - as I've explained above and as Pigsonthewing has said, supporters of this April 2019 change are mixing together a jumble of concepts from paid to COI, to employee to volunteer, to directed to voluntary. The "unpaid workers" clause is even suspect and should be re-considered because it is so vague and is part of this problem of scope-creep. Again, these are small changes in small corners of Wikipedia policy that don't get wider exposure or even fair notice to those of us doing new user training and interaction with the exact entities this would impact. These are not things that should be changed without wider notice and discussion. And your comment about "opinionated bystanders helicoptering" is insulting, against WP:AGF, and unbecoming an administrator and arbcom member. One should not need to qualify by using some arbitrary participation bar before being part of the consensus process, yet that seems to be the arrogant implication. It should not be necessary to trot out a CV to qualify for discussion. But in case you don't know - I was one of the principals that originated and authored WP:PRCOM in 2014 that has been a major factor for PR companies and paid editors to have a hands-off policy on editing Wikipedia. I have given presentations at Wikimania and SXSW on this, and have given seminars to hundreds of PR professionals on how to keep their hands off Wikipedia. With GLAM organizations like The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian, the Library of Congress, and many others, I've given dozens of talks on how to declare COI and properly participate while in the employ of these organizations. That even led to an award given to me by the U.S. National Archives. So this is not an area unfamiliar to me at all. What is the problem here is an overly broad, logically flawed construction in a proposed policy about what constitutes an "employee" relationship, which would have benefitted from wider exposure and discussion, rather than being the result of a small conversation within a group with a myopic a view of the situation. The issues are rather straightforward - an overzealous pursuit of rooting out COI behavior can result in rash, overbearing, and inconsistent policies that have far-reaching uncontemplated implications. It needs wider discussion and explicit consensus. Full stop. -- Fuzheado | Talk 12:45, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
      Okay, so can you provide some examples of where the Apr 2019–Sep 2020 wording impacted good faith new editors? That would greatly help take this discussion away from abstractions and into finding a policy that actually works, which I think is what we all want.
      One should not need to qualify by using some arbitrary participation bar before being part of the consensus process – I find this ironic, because you and Andy have nullified the consensus-building done by participants in the previous discussions (and all those who, like me, saw the change, thought it was sensible, and didn't feel the need to comment) on the seemingly arbitrary basis that it wasn't an RfC or VP discussion. The message you're sending is that ordinary, "myopic" editors working in COI patrolling can't just follow WP:PGCHANGE like everyone else, they have to get the approval of power editors with impressive outreach CVs and awards like yours. – Joe (talk) 13:04, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
      It's rich for you to call out Andrew for providing his credentials, when he only did so in response to your pejorative implication that he or anyone else were "opinionated bystanders helicoptering in to argue about hypotheticals"; it's an even further stretch for you to falsely claim that him dosing so caries the meaning you state. You need to dial back such blatantly inappropriate rhetoric . Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 13:19, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
    • "all Andy's change achieves" Please don't mis-frame my actions. I made no material change, and introduced no new concept. I simply reverted a single, specific change, which had introduced a new concept, because it did so without any apparent consensus. It is now emerging that indeed there is no consensus for the change that I reverted. The claim that my revert "make[s] it harder for those with a COI to understand the policy" is utterly bogus; as is the claim that the assertion "volunteers are deemed to be employees" is in "the spirit of both local policy and the WMF Terms of Use". Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 08:30, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
      • @Pigsonthewing: I don't think quibbling over the history of the page is helpful when it's laid out for everybody to see above. Nor is making pronouncements about the "emerging consensus" when the discussion is still ongoing and you are clearly involved. The change was discussed, it's the policy editors active in managing COI editing have been working with for the past 18 months, and your revert/edit/change/whatever you want to call it has altered that. I'm sorry that you didn't notice the discussion at the time, and if you think it needs a stronger consensus, fine, we can talk about it again here. But pretending we're back in April 2019 discussing a brand new proposal is bizarre. – Joe (talk) 09:20, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
        • I don't think you making false or misleading pronouncements, here or elsewhere, about my actions, or about our policies and the ToU, is helpful, and I intend to "quibble", as you dismiss it, any time you do so. For example, you imply that I "pronounce" an "emerging consensus", when what I actually said was "it is now emerging that indeed there is no consensus for the change that I reverted". I don't think the change simply needs stronger consensus, because there was no consensus for it at the time it was made, or in the discussion that followed it. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 09:56, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
  • The spirit of WP:PAID seems to me to be that if you are editing Wikipedia as part of your work, you should declare it. If that work is voluntary (e.g. you are the PR for a nonprofit or a political candidate or whatever), it is still an exercise of your professional skills within the scope of your job role to edit Wikipedia for a purpose that is orthogonal to our goals (promoting a thing rather than documenting it). You yourself may not be paid, but the beneficiary of the edits is using a valuable resource, your time, for its own ends. Charity laws vary around the world but if a US lawyer provides legal services free of charge to a political campaign, for example, the value of the time spent has to be declared by the campaign. On the other hand, if you volunteer in a charity shop and you edit the article on the charity, that is a COI, but of a minor and very limited kind, I'd say. So I would want to see clarification that if you are editing for pay, or as part of your job, whether paid or voluntary, then that's WP:PAID, otherwise it's WP:COI. Guy (help! - typo?) 10:23, 17 September 2020 (UTC)

Arbitrary break (paid editing)[edit]

Roll back the creep The idea that volunteers are the same as employees is a legal nonsense and contrary to WP:NOTLAW, WP:NOLEGAL, WP:AGF and so forth. Making editors declare their volunteer activities and interests is contrary to WP:PRIVACY and the overall privacy policy. Here's some personal examples:
  1. I spent time this week cleaning up a local river as a volunteer -- hauling out tyres, timber and a torrent of plastic junk. This activity was organised by the local authority in conjunction with a volunteer group. I have written articles about such activities, including beach cleaning and plogging. I don't make money doing this; it actually costs me money for equipment and wear and tear.
  2. I attend an early morning exercise group, which is self-organised and voluntary. Their main routine seems to be notable but doesn't have an article yet and so I've been thinking of starting one. No money changes hands and there's an explicit ethos that the programme should be free.
  3. I am a member of the London Cycling Campaign and take part in a variety of their voluntary activities. One hot topic lately is the Low Traffic Neighbourhood scheme which limits motor vehicles to promote walking and cycling. That is quite notable but doesn't seem to have an article yet so again, I'm thinking of starting one.
  4. I am a member of the National Trust which administers a variety of notable and historic properties and reserves. They depend heavily on voluntary activity and I might participate in particular events. I would then naturally want to write about notable aspects if they are missing from Wikipedia.
  5. I wrote an article about the decline in insect populations. I have since participated in a variety of citizen science projects which are related to this -- making observations and doing conservation work
There's plenty more but you get the idea. Now, if I were to log and declare all such volunteer activities and interests in detail, then it would get to be quite a chore. I already do this for my various Wikimedia events. If I were to do this for everything, then stalkers would have a very detailed account of my location and movements. There are others who seem to dog and follow me and they do not seem to wish me well. You see, while most of these volunteer activities are quite congenial and comradely, Wikipedia is quite different. The environment here seems to foster suspicion and conflict so that feuds and vendettas are common. For example, I have been lately pilloried at WP:ANI where one specific complaint turned into a crowd scene as old conflicts going back ten years were brought up yet again by a succession of old antagonists. Numerous personal attacks were made on me -- direct accusations that I was a bad faith editor, a liar, a Nazi, an obsessive, a racist, a troll and more. I edit under my own name and am fairly open about my identity as I attend public events. But this experience does not encourage me to tell anyone anything, as there are clearly people who will try to use it as a stick to beat me.
Now I am fairly tough and can take it, just as I didn't mind getting muddy or wet while cleaning up the river. But many folk are not so foolhardy or resilient. We have a culture of anonymity to encourage volunteers to be brave and bold and forthcoming in their editing. We might instead have a different culture in which everyone has to identify themselves and provide details of their credentials and register of interests. I would be ok with that but suppose that there's many who wouldn't. What does not seem acceptable or workable is a confused and confusing half-way house in which anonymity and openness is mixed and muddled.
Andrew🐉(talk) 12:01, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
@Andrew Davidson: I don't think any of your examples would be impacted by the paid disclosure policy. You're talking about editing the subjects of your volunteer work—which is of course fine and to be encouraged—not the organisations that "employ" you to do it. As an analogy, someone who works for Alphabet Inc. is required to disclose if they want to edit Google, but not search engine. It's no different for unpaid employees. The creep is unfortunately necessary because we frequently encounter junior workers who have been directed to edit the pages of the organisations they work for, and in the sad times we live in, such junior positions are frequently unpaid (as interns, volunteers, "work experience" placements, etc.) But the lack of monetary compensation does not materially change the conflict of interest. As with all our policies, it's applied with common sense, and I've yet to see a real example of the kind of volunteers you and others raise being adversely impacted by it. – Joe (talk) 12:51, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
They are exactly what would be impacted by declaring that "volunteers are deemed to be employees". Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 13:02, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
That has been the policy for the last 18 months. Has it happened? – Joe (talk) 13:07, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
It has never been Wikipedia's policy. HTH. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 13:12, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
To clarify: Wikipedia's actual policy has never expected this (nor, as Nemo noted above, does it expect all of us WP:VOLUNTEERS to declare that we're volunteering for Wikipedia whenever we edit any article in Category:Wikipedia). This written page is not accurately describing the actual policy. Therefore, the written description needs to be adjusted. "Tweaked" might be more appropriate than "removed", but this page needs to line up with reality. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:06, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
How about something like volunteers making edits under the supervision of an organization, or an agency is considered an agent and to be considered like an employee? So, a volunteer for the City asked to update the page on parks in the city using sources and contents guidelines provided by a coordinator is to be considered just as a paid public relations firm making the edit. Graywalls (talk) 07:02, 21 October 2020 (UTC)
That might work, especially if it said something like "We know that volunteers aren't technically being paid, but for certain purposes we treat them the same..." WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:53, 26 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Discussion moved from WP:VPM. –xenotalk 12:24, 17 September 2020 (UTC)

(edit conflict) (well, move conflict) The full paragraph reads: "Interns, on-loan staff, and unpaid workers, including volunteers, are deemed to be employees. If they are directed or expected to edit Wikipedia as part of their tasks, they must make a paid-contribution disclosure.". Those are TWO sentences, independent sentences where the second one is containing an 'if' clause. One: "Interns, on-loan staff, and unpaid workers, including volunteers, are deemed to be employees.". OK, so if you want to bring this to the hypothetical, I am a volunteer editing Wikipedia, and that could possibly be construed as me being an 'employee' (I don't think I am, but whatever you want). Then comes the second sentence, where I will bold parts: "If they are directed or expected to edit Wikipedia as part of their tasks, they must make a paid-contribution disclosure.. For us, editing Wikipedia, that sentence should be read as "If they are directed [by WikiMedia] or expected [by WikiMedia] to edit Wikipedia as part of their tasks, they must make a paid-contribution disclosure [that they were directed or expected by WikiMedia to edit].. Am I being directed or expected by WikiMedia to edit Wikipedia as part of my tasks? No. Are most of the 30.000 volunteers that are active here? No. But if you are, you are requested to declare that. I have a daytime job. They pay my bills. I AM an employee. Are they directing or expecting me to edit? No. Do I have to declare? No. Regarding all the volunteers that are 'directed or expected to edit Wikipedia', OP is actually an example of that, they have that declaration on their userpage, as expected by the sentence that Potw tries to remove. The last post here is by User:Andrew Davidson. Yes, you are a volunteer in the first sentence. Are you by any of these 5 examples directed or expected to edit? There is for you no reason to declare those volunteer cases.

The problem that WP:PAID is trying to solve is that 'directed or expected to edit'. It is NOT saying "Interns, on-loan staff, and unpaid workers, including volunteers, are deemed to be employees AND they must make a paid-contribution disclosure." If there is no 'direction' or 'expectation' , you are not under WP:PAID. If you are not editing pages to make yourself better from it (e.g. promoting your own company to advertise it), you are not bound by WP:COI.

So, back to the original question: "Volunteers must declare that they are paid?". No, they don't have to, except if they are directed or expected to edit. --Dirk Beetstra T C 12:45, 17 September 2020 (UTC)

You - like others in this discussion - have two matters conflated. Firstly, where I am paid (as a Wikimedian in Residence), I have a "paid-contribution disclosure". Secondly, where I might have a a CoI for my voluntary work, I declare that, as a potential CoI. Nowhere do I have a "a paid-contribution disclosure" for my volunteering, which is what the contested wording would make mandatory.
From time to time, I also teach volunteers to edit Wikipedia, who are accordingly expected to edit Wikipedia, and do so under my direction. They do not do so for pay, or for any other reward (though we might give them a cup of tea and a biscuit). Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 12:58, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
Indeed. When I attend an editathon, I will naturally follow the direction of the main organiser – following the set agenda, list of topics, timetable and so forth. My partner usually accompanies me at my volunteer events of all kinds. If she assists me with Wikipedia, this will usually be with some direction – requests to proof-read specific pages, take particular photos and so forth. There is no simple test for this and comparable issues in the world of work, such as IR35, have been fraught with difficulty. Such schemes are quite bureaucratic and complex but it is our policy that Wikipedia is not a bureaucracy. Andrew🐉(talk) 13:10, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
Pigsonthewing, Andrew Davidson, yes, but you are not directed by WikiMedia or whatever organisation what result to attain. You have no paid-contribution disclosure for volunteering, because they are not directing you to edit. Directing how to edit is something completely different than directing what to edit. I feel that you are mixing up being a volunteer, and being a volunteer who is directed to edit to attain a certain result. What I feel that this is trying to catch is that you go to an editathon where Jimbo Wales is telling you to edit his article to make sure that his article looks how he wants it to look. That is something completely different than Jimbo Wales telling you to take the books in the library and create some articles on the women that are described in the books.
So, no, you do not need a paid-contribution disclosure for volunteering. Well, only if that organisation is directing you to make the organisation look better. Dirk Beetstra T C 13:33, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
  • This has gotten a bit messy, split between misunderstandings, specific language, and ideals. What is clear is that these matters are not uncontroversial. Perhaps the best course of action is to run an RfC over a particular principle: "Is editing at the direction as someone else the same as paid editing, and should it be subject to the same requirements?" — Rhododendrites talk \\ 17:20, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
  • That wording would not work. As a simple counter-example, consider WP:MENTORSHIP or a review for WP:GA/WP:FA. Typically, in such interactions, one editor directs another – pointing out an issue that needs fixing or a gap that needs filling. Our content is typically a team effort in which many editors contribute and copy-edit. In good teamwork, there is often leadership and communication. And if team members find the work rewarding in some way then this is not a problem; quite the contrary.
The problem with all this stuff is that it confuses inputs and outputs. It tries to micromanage the inputs -- the people that are editing and the way that they go about it. But what matters is the output -- the content which results. If the output is neutral and accurate then it should not matter how this is done.
Andrew🐉(talk) 18:25, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
Andrew Davidson, those are not counter-examples. What we are talking about is not pointing out issues, what we are talking about is telling someone to make sure that the subject is presented in the best possible light, and to remove anything negative. You can try to ignore that spamming, SEO and blatant self-promotion doesn’t exist, but people will go at great length to promote their business. You enable the excuse, which they will gladly use, and have gladly used: ‘it wasn’t me, it was the volunteer who did it. I did not pay him anything.’ And if the result is good, then it doesn’t matter, but with paid editors the goal is not to have a good result. Again, telling someone how to edit is not the same as telling someone to write something positive about a subject so you profit from it. The first volunteer doesn’t have anything to declare, and the ‘instructed’ editor has nothing to loose, the latter has a COI, and a ‘paid’ interest to follow the instructions of the person who instructs them (at the cost of bad gradings for interns, loss of position or just a bad time while being there). Dirk Beetstra T C 19:40, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
  • I thank Joe for pinging me, and that ping is the only reason I'm commenting here. I've read the discussion above. I think that arguing over an edit war, or over whether or not someone is incorrectly characterizing the intent of an edit, or over whether or not something is compensation, is the wrong way to approach the question. Instead, it would be useful to see some recent examples of disagreements about editors who might have failed to disclose something, and look at how the disputed language would play into that. If we aren't seeing problems that the added language addresses, then the added language may not be needed – but if we have been encountering such problems, then we should craft language to address that. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:34, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
  • All of this could be solved by splitting out to a separate policy what needs to be done for editors who are actually getting paid to put content on Wikipedia, and those who are in some other way affiliated with an organization for which they are putting content on Wikipedia. There are fairly clear conceivable cases where the latter is still problematic. BD2412 T 22:09, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
    In other words, WP:PAID (editors who are actually getting paid to put content on Wikipedia) v. WP:COI (those who are in some other way affiliated with an organization for which they are putting content on Wikipedia)? Lev!vich 01:43, 19 September 2020 (UTC)
    No separate policies, please. We have PAID, we have COI, we don't need a 3rd type of policy too. It's just CREEP, and it's confusing. Wikipedians with experience of policies I think underestimate how confusing this jumble is to new editors. The more policies we add, especially overlapping ones, the less chance any of them will be read or followed. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 11:16, 19 September 2020 (UTC)
  • I oppose the proposed addition as written. It's overly broad. Let's use common sense. I would support a return to the way it was written years ago, mentioned above. Benjamin (talk) 21:21, 18 September 2020 (UTC)
  • I agree with Andy's edit, i.e., reverting the addition/change. Changes to policy pages should follow the policy for making changes to policy pages (WP:PGCHANGE). As to the substance of the issue, it's what XOR said: If somebody else is telling you what to do when you edit here, you should disclose that. The sine qua non of WP:PAID and WP:COI is actually WP:PROXYING editing. The question is: are you making edits of your own volition, because you're a volunteer editor and you think your edits improve the encyclopedia, or are you making edits because someone is telling you to? The reason why an editor is making edits at the behest of someone else--whether it's because the person is their uncle (WP:COI), or because they're being paid (WP:PAID), is rather irrelevant--the point is, a paid editor, or an intern, or a volunteer, or a family member, is making edits at the behest of someone else (the employer/principal/whatever), who themselves has a COI from editing the topic. Thus, the proxy also has a COI, which should be disclosed. Anyone who edits at the direction of someone else, whether it's for pay or not, should disclose that. Lev!vich 03:36, 19 September 2020 (UTC)
  • Re substance, I also disagree volunteers are under PAID. However, unpaid employees (for lack of a better word) could be considered to apply under PAID. This would include unpaid interns, or 'volunteers' otherwise directed by an employer to specifically edit Wikipedia. The point of PAID is not retribution, it addresses a real problem and a niche, problematic case of COI editing. These two situations I mentioned are within the realm of what PAID intends to solve. The second question, which is often ignored in these discussions, is of enforcement. Any admin can, I think, apply some discretion in this matter. Otherwise, any editor would be able to get out of a UPE block by saying "my employer doesn't pay me". ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 11:14, 19 September 2020 (UTC)
  • I strongly disapprove of classing volunteers in general as paid employees. I do not think the discussions linked at the start of this thread form a sufficient consensus for the change, and it should not have been made without wider discussion, including an announcement at CENT. At least the first of those discussion was solely focused on people who are required to do "volunteer" work as part of a degree or similar program. That is a much narrower and more specific situation, and a change to the paid contribution rule narrowly focused on such situations might well gain consensus, although even that should have wider discussion. But that discussion in no way supports the more general statement added to the policy page. This change is clearly not uncontroversial. I was not previously aware of it. I approve of Andy's revert of this change, and it should stay reverted until and unless a formal RfC develops a clear consensus to change it. I stand ready to revert any such change until such a consensus is demonstrated. DES (talk)DESiegel Contribs 23:56, 19 September 2020 (UTC)
  • The amendment made 18 months ago does not change the rules, it just avoids a "point of misunderstanding" and at no point, did Wikipedia have a rule affirming volunteer work is excluded from being considered paid editing. The underlying rules (emphasis highlighted by me) "If you receive, or expect to receive, 'compensation' for your contributions to Wikipedia, you must disclose who is paying you to edit (your "employer"), who the client is, and any other relevant role or relationship. It does not matter whether you are paid directly by the client, or paid indirectly by an employer on behalf of the client." The compensation does not have to be money or something of monetary value. From my own observations, 501c3/NGO promotional editing has been a major concern. Removing volunteers from being considered as paid would give 501c3s, government agencies, and other groups that have volunteers give carte blanche pass to use volunteers as an instrument of public relations and marketing editing. A museum uploading pictures of donated artifiacts, then having volunteers write about the artifact in dispassionate, unconnected way is an entirely different thing from having them create or edit on the 501c3's, its board members or executive director. I think @Doc James: made similar point somewhere. Just as a reference, in some cases, even government agencies consider volunteering equivalent of work: https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/work-requirements "Work can be for pay, for goods or services (for something other than money), unpaid, or as a volunteer" Graywalls (talk) 12:40, 21 September 2020 (UTC)
    • The claim that "The amendment made 18 months ago does not change the rules" is false; the claim made in that edit, that it was Wikipedia policy that "volunteers, are deemed to be employees", is is false (just as it is false to claim that that is currently, or has ever been, policy). The clam that "If [volunteers] are directed or expected to edit Wikipedia as part of their tasks, they must make a paid-contribution disclosure", likewise. I made the point above that "If this significant change to our policy has the robust consensus of the wider community that Joe apparently claims it does, then he will have no trouble demonstrating that." Neither Joe or you, nor indeed anybody else, have so far demonstrated any such consensus. You might also like to note that 501c3 is not applicable in 205 of the 206 sovereign states that are covered by the policy. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 15:36, 21 September 2020 (UTC)

@MER-C and Bri:, as someone mentioned in this sign post you have an interest regarding COI and public relations editing concerns and thought you might have some words to offer here. Graywalls (talk) 19:32, 21 September 2020 (UTC)

I'm aware of this discussion but had not followed it closely and wouldn't feel right about weighing in at this time. Frankly the vast majority of the issues I've seen are around commercial media, brands or products, and executive and entertainment BLPs. Fine tuning policy around non-profits is way in the back of my mind. ☆ Bri (talk) 21:44, 21 September 2020 (UTC)
  • I think this one is honestly a little difficult because "volunteer" can mean lots of different things. I do not support a blanket rule on all volunteers having to disclose in all cases. For instance, if you go door-to-door for the Conservative Party in the 2019 UK general election and edit MP-related topics, expecting you to self-disclose that is just too onerus and bureaucratic (and maybe reveals more personal information than you want to). But if you're essentially a full-time high-up volunteer on Pete Buttigieg's campaign and you are editing pages about his rivals then self-disclosure is very necessary. I think the point here should be that you need to self-disclose if your edits relate to your financial interests, career interests or professional reputation, narrowly construed. (We all have financial interests in certain political outcomes, or might gain professional reputation by listing our Wikipedia work on our CVs etc. Use common sense.) The other major reason is if you have been formally directed or feel pressure by any organisation, profit or non-profit, to edit particular content on Wikipedia.
    So I don't agree with the text that is in contention here and other than its removal, I don't see any particular part of our COI/PAID policies which need changing in regards to volunteers. I would also like to thank Andrew Davidson for his comment as I think it's very useful to this discussion. — Bilorv (talk) 01:54, 27 September 2020 (UTC)
  • I agree with Pigsonthewing that the wording was problematic. There are many levels of "volunteering" and certainly not all of them should be equated with being an employee and being a paid editor (per Nemo's point that we are all volunteers). The wording should emphasize that disclosure is about actual substantial conflicts of interest (not just getting paid). Doing one-time or low-level volunteer work usually wouldn't meet that threshold. Kaldari (talk) 00:15, 29 September 2020 (UTC)
  • This is an example of request edit where COI disclosure is warranted, and if directly editing was to occur without disclosure, it ought to be considered as a UPE. Just by the virtue of the way the organization is structured, it is able to have volunteers where as if it was a non 501c organization; it would make it a labor law violation. Such a bureaucratic difference shouldn't give these organizations a favorable interpretation in the ability to make undisclosed editing without being considered UPE. I would support rewording the interpretation to "considered as if they're employees" and that interpretation is correct in the spirit of paid editing disclosure. It would specifically cover volunteers editing Wikipedia at the instruction/suggestion/direction of volunteer coordinator; where their subordination may have consideration (expectation of references, maintenance of freedom (court mandated volunteer, etc), payment (many employers these days authorize employees time to go volunteer on the clock for a certain amount every month see https://www.npr.org/2013/08/14/211961622/more-companies-encourage-workers-to-volunteer-on-the-clock). Graywalls (talk) 13:26, 4 October 2020 (UTC)
    • The example you give (which once again, seems to depend on the law of just one of the 206 sovereign states to which the policy in question applies) may perhaps be an example of what you say it is, but is not proof that all volunteers are paid, nor a reason why they should declare that they are, in that or any other country. And it certainly does not entitle us to deem nor consider them all to be employees. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 20:57, 9 October 2020 (UTC)
      • Regardless of laws in different country, the same principle applies. The example shows how a simple difference in the organization's structuring can make it appear as they're doing it as a "volunteer". The example of wiki editors as mentioned by user Nemo_bis is quite different from for example fund raising volunteers making edits to Wikipedia to encourage the fund raising of the organization for which they're trying to raise funds for. Graywalls (talk) 09:33, 13 October 2020 (UTC)
    • How is an example of a volunteer disclosing a conflict of interest evidence of anything related to undisclosed paid editing? Even if this volunteer is paid (which we have no evidence of) that does not make them an employee, nor does it mean all volunteers are paid let alone that all (or any other) volunteers are employees, or even that all employees who edit are paid to edit. Thryduulf (talk) 12:07, 13 October 2020 (UTC)

There being no consensus for its additon, I have again just reverted the insertion of the wording discussed above. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 11:04, 11 October 2020 (UTC)

  • I endorse this action. Thryduulf (talk) 12:07, 13 October 2020 (UTC)

Should organizational volunteers disclose that they are volunteers?[edit]

I am rephrasing the question to remove the issues of payment or “employee” status from the discussion. Please focus purely on the potential for a conflict of interest when someone edits on behalf of an organization (especially in articles directly related to that orgsnization). Blueboar (talk) 13:38, 13 October 2020 (UTC)

It depends on the nature of their volunteering. If they help out on a casual basis once in a while by making teas and coffees, then there is unlikely to be any more or less COI than a member of the public who regularly donates to the cause but doesn't volunteer has. If they represent the organisation at conference stand, handing out publicity material, signing up donors, etc. then yes that's a clear conflict of interest that should be declared. The only thing that matters here is whether the person has a conflict of interest that means that either (a) they cannot accurately judge what is and is not neutral, and/or (b) they are motivated to introduce and/or preserve bias in the article. "Volunteer" is far too broad a term to be at all useful in determining this. Thryduulf (talk) 23:11, 13 October 2020 (UTC)
People who is acting under the direction of a volunteer coordinator and whose behaviors can affect their references should be considered as receiving "consideration". "volunteer board members" should also be treated *as if they're* employees. Graywalls (talk) 05:41, 22 October 2020 (UTC)
That's an impressive mix of too broad and so narrow as to be pointless. If you have a conflict of interest then you should declare that conflict of interest, why you have a conflict of interest is irrelevant >99% of the time. Not everyone with a COI related to volunteering is acting under the direction of anybody else (whether that other person is a volunteer coordinator or in some other role) and not everyone who does act under such a person has a COI (many, possibly most, do, but that isn't everyone). Being on the board of a charity means a whole lot of different things depending on the size and nature of the charity, the person's role on the board, and the jurisdiction in which the charity operates. Volunteers on the board of major international charities likely have many similarities to employees, volunteers on the board of a small local charity do not. Thryduulf (talk) 00:20, 26 October 2020 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Conflict_of_interest/Noticeboard#COI_clarification_(HGO_Trust) Another example of editing that should more or less be considered the same as "paid". This user was doing what amounts to public relations/reputation management editing wearing a "volunteer charity org chair" hat Graywalls (talk) 21:46, 22 October 2020 (UTC)
If you're going to discuss another editor, (in this case User:Smerus), have the courtesy to ping them. I note that your misrepresentations of the circumstances in the linked discussion have had to be corrected. There is no element of WP:PAID in the editing discussed. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 11:08, 25 October 2020 (UTC)

Thank you Andy for bringing this thread to my attention. The circumstances involved may be relevant to this discussion. I am chair of a registered UK charity HGO Trust which organizes opera productions in London to advance young singers at the start of their professional careers. I and the committee running HGO are unpaid, and the organization has no premises, employees or overheads. We have been fortunate that our work has drawn critical attention and sometimes praise. I am conscious as a WP editor of many years of COI and the article contains an appropriate declaration on my behalf. I have sought to keep the article up to date in the two years since I became involved with HGO and have (I think) scrupulously avoided any comment or value judgements of my own. Principally my intention has been to keep the article updated about new productions and events, always supported by third-party citations, which have come from recognized online and printed newspapers and opera journals. I do not believe that this 'amounts to public relations/reputation management editing wearing a "volunteer charity org chair" hat', and confess to be rather hurt (although of course I recognize that a WP editor must have a thick skin) that my behaviour has been described in this way. I sought to update information, not to 'manage HGO's reputation'. The intervention of the editor who has used this description arose from a good faith enquiry by myself to the COI noticeboard to try to determine exactly what I could reasonably edit in the article, and I have to say I did not anticipate a backlash of this nature. I have been advised to use an update template on the talk page requesting passing editors to consider any future edits I may wish to make, but of course there is no guarantee that this method would generate the necessary response in a reasonable time, or indeed ever. With two productions a year (when COVID isn't around) the article would soon become out of date. I do beleve that my updating the article from time to time, as long as I continue to avoid any value judgements, and use third-party citations, would be acceptable within the spirit of WP, and I would welcome editor's opinions on this. Thanks, --Smerus (talk) 09:44, 26 October 2020 (UTC)

Any animated GIF should have an ON/OFF switch[edit]

On the article Resonator there is an animated gif.
This and any constantly playing animated GIF is annoying !!.
Any animated GIF should have a switch with which the gif can be switched on and off.

On my screen the gif in "Resonator" is beside the first seven lines of text (not above).
So I can't just scroll it out of sight.
And if I push the right edge of the window towards the left, the window remains beside the text.
Many animated gifs are between text that is: with text above and below and beside the gif. So there is no way to evade this constant movement.
So I, and many others too, would greatley appreciate this suggested switch.
On talk of "Resonator" there is at least one other reader who is annoyed. I'm sure, ther are many more.

This one on Talk:Resonator#The_animated_GIF_is_annoying_!!, User:Spinningspark, mentioned:
Phabricator task T61217 is relevant to this, but there has been no activity for years.


Plus: I (Steue) suggest that animated gifs are halted by default.

Please ping me. Steue (talk) 07:52, 6 October 2020 (UTC)


@Steue: I am not aware of a way to freeze the image so I was WP:BOLD and altered the image in Resonator to be hidden by default. Does this seem to be a reasonable thing to do? — GhostInTheMachine talk to me 11:48, 6 October 2020 (UTC)
That removes the image from the mobile skin, which is a step too far. I will look for an alternative way to do that. — GhostInTheMachine talk to me 12:18, 6 October 2020 (UTC)
I reverted the hiding per MOS:DONTHIDE. I also moved the image back up to the top. Having it below the text like that is awkward for other reasons. As for the overall wish for pausing gifs (there are animated PNGs too, by the way, and maybe other formats?), that's certainly a reasonable feature request, but I'd wager some careful thought needs to go into how it's handled. I haven't checked, but there might even be browser extensions that let you do this already. –Deacon Vorbis (carbon • videos) 12:28, 6 October 2020 (UTC)
FYI, phab:T85838 is open to create technical functionality for this, feel fee to add support there. — xaosflux Talk 12:25, 6 October 2020 (UTC)
Etiquette at Phab is against voting. Comments with practical value (e.g., examples of obvious or serious problems or alternatives that you found) are highly desirable. Just saying that you want something is not. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 02:17, 14 October 2020 (UTC)

There's no easy way to enable starting and stopping of animated gifs on a page. It's one of the annoyances of animated gifs, and why so many websites have sections for "gifs" that actually display looping webms (i.e. videos). It seems like it would be a major undertaking to create a way to do that in mediwiki (though others will be more knowledgeable about the specificity there than me). I would be surprised if developers looked at the size of that task and concluded anything other than that it would be better to just switch to video. The downside is that, at least at first, if we switch from gif to video, if there's a case where you do want it to play automatically, that's gone (but I think it would be easier to modify webm display settings to create a template parameter to do so). Also with the way we display webms now, we don't have a way to just play it inline, I don't think, and part is obstructed by the playback controls. In the short term, Steue, there are plugins for the major browsers that pause all gifs on the internet by default and require you to click to play. It might be easier to implement on your end. :) — Rhododendrites talk \\ 15:18, 6 October 2020 (UTC)

A workaround would be to capture a single frame of the animated image and display it instead, along with a link to the animated image. isaacl (talk) 23:40, 6 October 2020 (UTC)
You may wish to stop all of them in your web browser, eg see [9]. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 00:18, 7 October 2020 (UTC)
Many thanks to all of you and

a million thanks to Graeme Bartlett.
I changed it in my Firefox to play "once" and it works!!
The add-on which howtogeek.com mentions is no longer available.

Deacon Vorbis, for which other reasons is it awkward?
Steue (talk) 06:37, 9 October 2020 (UTC)
@Rhododendrites
"GIF Viewer" can start and stop gifs, but this is a completely separate program, and I don't know wether this may help in the WP.
Steue (talk) 07:13, 9 October 2020 (UTC)
The solution from isaacl sounds pretty good and feasable to me.
Steue (talk) 07:17, 9 October 2020 (UTC)
@Steue: (and any others interested) Add importScript('User:Alexis Jazz/Hammertime.js'); mw.loader.load( '/w/index.php?title=User:Alexis Jazz/Hammertime.js&action=raw&ctype=text/javascript' ); (sorry, I just learned importScript has been deprecated and doesn't work on the mobile site, you can still use it on the desktop site though) to Special:Mypage/common.js (source) to have a button on every article page that stops the window (JavaScript window.stop) which should halt animated GIFs in most browsers. — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 10:31, 9 October 2020 (UTC)

The onus on start/stop the GIF should lie with its Wikipedia creator. Xxanthippe (talk) 10:51, 9 October 2020 (UTC).

Having to reload the entire page to restart an animation sounds like a terrible design and probably most animated image formats don't work like that. (Videos do, but they also come with controls out of most browser boxes.) There is a reason that accessibility says there should be controls and not that images should stop doing things. --Izno (talk) 14:39, 9 October 2020 (UTC)ideally
Thanks Alexis Jazz, I shall try this.
I completely agree with you, Xxanthippe.
Of course, Izno ideally the solution should not require the user to reload the page, it should be enough to click on the "switch." either to switch the gif ON or to download the animated gif, in case the page first only loads/loaded a non-animated gif or a e.g. jpeg.
Steue (talk) 21:25, 9 October 2020 (UTC)

Just to add my opinion, I think animations are wonderful tools to explain STEM concepts to general readers, and should be more widely used (disclosure: I have created a number of gifs for WP articles). I suspect only a minority of readers are irritated by reasonably unobtrusive animations. I absolutely agree with the need for a prominent ON/OFF button. But I think the default should be ON; the animation running. With an opt-in, the vast majority of nontechnically-oriented readers, who would most benefit from the animation, will not notice or understand the button and will not turn it on. @Steue: --ChetvornoTALK 19:12, 14 October 2020 (UTC)

Last I heard, the m:Community Wishlist is expected to open in a couple of weeks. It's possible that this would be a reasonable size project for the wishlist. If it's too big, then they are at least likely to produce an engineering evaluation, which would IMO still be a step forward. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 15:31, 15 October 2020 (UTC)

Does WP/UNDUE hold for the WP site as a whole?[edit]

Last count, I came up with 139 WP born from the Trump Russia collusion hoax. The material contained in these articles is more voluminous than the material on major organized religions plus any wars the US has been involved in added together.

Does WP/UNDUE hold for the entire site or just individual WP? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:46:C801:B1F0:2461:5DFD:6A2C:87C5 (talk) 10:51, 6 October 2020 (UTC)

"139 WP" What's a "WP", in this context? Where are these 139 examples? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 14:38, 6 October 2020 (UTC)
Presumably "Wikipedia pages" is meant. The short answer is: yes, it does. I can't say too much more without knowing the exact complaint(s), but WP:RECENTISM has some good reading here. The unfortunate fact is that it's a lot easier to create a lot of low-quality articles because of heavy, even if brief, news coverage than it is to organize the more relevant information into a smaller set of good articles. There are other things like WP:NOTNEWS that can be applicable also. But these issues plague all sorts of coverage of recent events, not just this. –Deacon Vorbis (carbon • videos) 14:54, 6 October 2020 (UTC)
This is basically part of it. We have a problem on WP with "hyperreporting" ( not my term) that we want to document everything that comes through the news and that causes people to create pages of great detail on current events, yet when we go back to equivalent events of the past - the Watergate scandals and the like, its clear the volume written then compared to now is far different.
There is some value in the short term of simply documenting what happens with sourcing as a sorta work in progress. That gives a way to go back and pull sources from key points to make an article with an enduring, long-term view. But unfortunately few people ever go back to these articles written in the short term to trim down and cull them down to what's needed and instead leave the blow-by-blow and hyperreporting (if you see WP:PROSELINE, that's a good sign there's a problem). We need better encouragement of editors to come back to events after they seem to have settled down and no longer active and determine what's key and what's not. I'm sure in the example of the Trump Russia hoax thing of the 139 pages there's multiple duplications that really don't need to be there if one or two editors sit down and figure out a better structure, for example. --Masem (t) 15:01, 6 October 2020 (UTC)
And just to add as another example: I have no idea how many articles we have but our stuff on COVID is in a similar shape. I wouldn't say it needs to be touched now while it is still an issue, but when the world's less worried about the disease, the heirarchy of pages needs to be looked at and drastically reworked. --Masem (t) 15:03, 6 October 2020 (UTC)
intitle:covid. I haven't counted, but let's just call it "lots". My personal favorite: Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on The Walt Disney Company. ―Mandruss  15:52, 6 October 2020 (UTC)

UNDUE is about proper balance in coverage of a subject, so I don't think it makes sense to apply it to the project as a whole. Limiting the number of articles on X does not get you more articles on Y. Editors are always going to focus more on subjects they are interested in, and for which they can get sources more readily. I think there's something of a valid point made above about summary style and historical perspective, but beyond that "other editors write too much about subjects I don't care about" is really one of those perennial crank complaints we need to just disregard. postdlf (talk) 17:25, 6 October 2020 (UTC)

There is a difference between editors focusing more on subjects they are in, and justifying loads of spin-off article as due just because there a separate articles. Emir of Wikipedia (talk) 17:35, 6 October 2020 (UTC)
Also, I think it is probably significant that the original IP referred to the "Trump Russia collusion hoax". That is rather POV language and suggests an intense personal bias on the part of the complaining editor (no BALANCEd or NPOV coverage of this topic refers to a "hoax"). I'm not saying there aren't too many pages featuring Trump and Russia - there probably are - but the original post reeks of WHATABOUTISM and should probably be taken with much added salt content. Newimpartial (talk) 17:50, 6 October 2020 (UTC)

Yeah the "hoax" word basically invalidated the credibility of the OP, we have to assume their judgement of Wikipedia is impaired due to their extreme bias (even the Republican-led Mueller Report showed enough evidence to discredit the "hoax" denial, it's more a matter of degree). I have seen old current-event articles refactored a decade later with recentism removed because no one is watching or cares much anymore. -- GreenC 18:17, 6 October 2020 (UTC)

I appreciate those taking the time and effort to offer the constructive responses, I should've been more specific. I want to know when X future event takes place is there a WP policy to cite to lessen the endless spinoffs. The reason why is in part stated above, facts change even years later and the volume of articles needing the same changes becomes insurmountable for anyone to possibly keep track of and subsequently change. It seems a disservice and with either the example that I cited or covid, the probability of WP accurately representing the RS majority into infinity is almost zero percent. The only solution that I could come up with is a separate WP for current events which after some time then gets moved into the regular WP. The current situation leaves WP as more of a chronicle of times and events. This disservice can be rectified with lessened and more concise articles in the first place. I should've used Covid but haven't been following those pages so it did not come to mind. I'm hopeful that the above personal attack nonsense(hoax is still used in the RS minority POV see Fox et al) has not permanently ended discourse here. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:46:C801:B1F0:B424:DCDD:60B9:9757 (talk) 03:16, 7 October 2020 (UTC)

a separate WP for current events. ―Mandruss  03:39, 7 October 2020 (UTC)
Please see the Reliable sources noticeboard; Fox is not a reliable source on political issues.
That said, I actually agree that some kind of "quarantine zone" could be an effective way to deal with NOTNEWS issues, which are a real problem. Newimpartial (talk) 03:43, 7 October 2020 (UTC)
If we're not using Wikinews, we almost need like a "holding area" for current events like COVID where people can drop in current news, while it is curated into main space as reasonable stories can be written. But I have a feeling this would be really had to maintain under the open wiki approach. --Masem (t) 04:32, 7 October 2020 (UTC)
Surely we already have such a "holding area", called draft space. It is currently misused as a backdoor route to deletion, despite what policy says, but this would be a good use for it. Phil Bridger (talk) 12:29, 10 October 2020 (UTC)
Editors want to work in "real space" for these breaking news articles, nor do I blame them, but these articles are too "raw" to be final encyclopedic articles. I wouldn't say these are efforts that we "throw away" at the end of the day, and while the event is active staying in main space makes sense (in addition to gaining the benefit that Wikimedia software auto-archives all reference links, a useful feature), but after the event has calmed down and we can rationalize a better structure, we may need to pack the working versions away for something more encyclopedic (and as to keep contribution history). Whether that itself is a new namespace or something like moving the pages into a directory under the mainspace topic with indexing to allow them to be found easily, I don't know. --Masem (t) 21:30, 16 October 2020 (UTC)

Several times I've gone looking for some information on a past event, and been pleasantly surprised to find a detailed article written when it was "recent". Rest assured that these article will be looked at, will be referred to, and will be maintained in years to come. Moreover, the references captured at this time will trigger their preservation for posterity by the archive bots. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 05:03, 7 October 2020 (UTC)

An essay on this subject is at Wikipedia:Systemic bias. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 12:21, 10 October 2020 (UTC)

The answer to the question posed in the heading has to be "no". The only way to get a fair balance in Wikipedia as a whole between topics relating to the Anglophone West and those relating to, say, China or countries in Africa would be to delete much of our content about the Anglophone West. This balance can only be reasonably addressed at the margin by those few editors that care creating, or not deleting, content about under-represented areas, not by removing content in well-represented areas. Phil Bridger (talk) 12:45, 10 October 2020 (UTC)

No, it isn't "The only way to get a fair balance in Wikipedia as a whole between topics..." - it's just the easiest way. Johnbod (talk) 20:21, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
I would certainly go beyond "the easiest way". There is no reasonable prospect of a proportionate number of articles being produced on the English Wikipedia about most parts of the world outside the Anglophone West to those within it, so, yes, it would, in practice, be the only way. Phil Bridger (talk) 20:36, 16 October 2020 (UTC)

Two other thoughts. The most common form of bias is selectively under covering or overcovering topics or negative or positive aspects of topics. We need to all eschew bias when building an encyclopedia and not just sit back when the bias is towards one's own side. Next, if there are too many articles on a topic possibly co-ordinating between them and removing duplicates. Also we should be very wary of and usually compound criteria titles. We need a "Dogs" article, maybe we could have a "big dogs" sub-article, but certainly not a "dogs with black fur" article.North8000 (talk) 21:22, 16 October 2020 (UTC)

Archives of IP talk pages[edit]

I'm struggling to understand our policy on archiving the talk pages of IP users, and would be grateful if someone could tell me what I'm missing.

I'm given to understand that we have ~9,280,186 (quarry:query/48920) such pages (a further 500,000+ were apparently deleted, circa 2008).

It has been my understanding that the usual practice, when they get long, is to simply blank them, or to blank all but the last couple of notices/ discussions, as the full page history is available to anyone who wishes to view it. Also, for that reason, we do not usually create talk page archives, as we do for the talk pages of users with a counts.

I recently found a set of just over seventy archived IP talk pages, identified by the main talk page being tagged with {{Warning archive notice}}. I duly nominated them for deletion, but they have been kept, apparently on the basis of the question "why we would want to delete the long history of an IP's vandalism and abuse".

Does that mean that we should now be archiving all IP talk pages? If not, why are the seventy-odd pages mentioned above different from the other >9.7 million? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 14:17, 11 October 2020 (UTC)

Why do we need to do ANYTHING to someone else’s talk page? Blueboar (talk) 14:28, 11 October 2020 (UTC)
None of the pages described is, AFICT, "someone else's talk page", they're shared IP pages (indeed, some are tagged as such); as I noted above, it seems to be common practice to blank such pages, when necessitated by their length. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 16:49, 11 October 2020 (UTC)
@Pigsonthewing: Archiving an IP talk page by someone other than the user of that talk page can be done under WP:Ignore all rules. That is, if the general practice is "don't" but there's a good reason to do so that won't stir controversy, you can and probably should do it.
The only reasons I can think of for an IP editor's talk page to be archived is 1) a person using that IP archives it or 2) it's an address that is believed to be static and archiving it will help administer the encyclopedia.
A decade or so ago, we had an editor with a static IP and a huge edit history who made a point of not logging in. I would not be surprised if that editor archived "his" own talk page.
As for #2, if an IP address is known to belong to a particular person with a long history of warnings and block notices, it may be reasonable and non-controversial for an administrator to archive the talk page under WP:IAR.
A note to any less experienced editors who might be reading this: While "Ignore all rules" IS policy, it should be applied with extreme care and is best left to experienced editors. If done without careful thought, it can cause far more problems than it was intended to solve. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs) 16:14, 11 October 2020 (UTC)
Thank you; I'm familiar with IAR. Have you found any of the seventy-odd pages referred to which meet either of your scenarios? I note that neither was invoked in the MfD discussion. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 16:39, 11 October 2020 (UTC)
After looking at a sample of the 70, I think I should change my criteria for #2 to "a particular person or responsible entity" which would include almost all K-12 schools, some adult-level schools (some colleges and universities treat users of their IP address space as an ISP treats its customers, others hold users to stricter standards than a typical ISP does), and "company/employee use" corporate IP addresses.
I wouldn't necessarily recommend keeping all messages for all time in archives, but I would expect that admins would want to see the last few years' worth of warnings and related messages "at a glance" or if there are two many, one click away in an archive page, particularly when such addresses have been blocked during the last few years. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs) 17:04, 11 October 2020 (UTC)

Interstingly, User talk:209.189.130.57, for example, has both an old archive page and, more recently, notices have simply been blanked. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 16:45, 11 October 2020 (UTC)

Perhaps I am missing something... what is the PURPOSE of either blanking or archiving these pages? Blueboar (talk) 17:20, 11 October 2020 (UTC)
For dynamically assigned IP addresses, removing messages older than some period of time clears away messages that were not delivered to the current user(s) of the IP address, and so may be confusing to them. For very long talk pages, removing older messages via blanking or archiving serves the same purpose as for registered user talk pages: it makes them more accessible for all editors. isaacl (talk) 17:26, 11 October 2020 (UTC)
There is an even more important reason that IP talk pages might occasionally be blanked. If an IP sees a notification that they have a new message and visits the link to their talk, they will probably ignore it and think we're nuts if what they see is a wall of templated waffle from months earlier. I might sometimes blank a talk page while adding an important warning because people can be excused for missing such a message if it's buried at the bottom. However, there is no need to systematically blank and certainly do not archive pointless warnings. Johnuniq (talk) 22:23, 11 October 2020 (UTC)
Yes, that's what I was referring to as potentially confusing. isaacl (talk) 22:32, 11 October 2020 (UTC)

So, what's the policy basis for keeping the 70-odd IP talk pages, mentioned above? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 19:51, 24 October 2020 (UTC)

Altering vs. loosening CheckUser and oversight blocks[edit]

There is a language discrepancy between the blocking policy and the CheckUser/oversight policies regarding the modification of CheckUser/oversight blocks. The blocking policy states that administrators must not undo or "alter" CheckUser/oversight blocks, while the CheckUser/oversight policies state that administrators must not undo or "loosen" these blocks, without consulting the appropriate individual.

CheckUser blocks

Without first consulting a CheckUser, administrators must not undo or alter any block that is specifically identified as a "checkuser" block, such as through the use of the {{checkuserblock}} or {{checkuserblock-account}} templates in the action summary.[1]
— Wikipedia:Blocking policy § CheckUser blocks (WP:CUBL)

Administrators must not undo nor loosen any block that is specifically called a "CheckUser block" without first consulting a CheckUser.[notes 1][notes 2]
— Wikipedia:CheckUser § CheckUser blocks

References

  1. ^ Non-CheckUsers must not review CheckUser blocks that require access to CheckUser data, e.g., when an editor is professing innocence or is questioning the validity of the technical findings in any way. Administrators may still decline unblock requests that are made in bad faith, are more procedural in nature, or are off topic.

References

  1. ^ CheckUser Mackensen's comment on "Checkuserblocks," and why they should not be lifted.
  2. ^ Arbitration Committee statement on Checkuser blocks, 18 July 2010
Oversight blocks

Administrators must not undo or alter any block that is specifically identified as an "oversight" block, such as through the use of the {{OversightBlock}} template in the action summary, without first consulting an Oversighter.
— Wikipedia:Blocking policy § Oversight blocks (WP:OSBL)

Administrators must not undo nor loosen any block that is specifically called a "oversight block" without first consulting an oversighter.
— Wikipedia:Oversight § Oversight blocks

The "alter" wording in the blocking policy prevents administrators from placing additional restrictions (specifically, disabling email and talk page access) on the blocked account before consulting with the blocking checkuser/oversighter. Based on current practices, I do not think it is typical for administrators to ask for permission before disabling email/talk page access for a CheckUser/oversight blocked account that is actively abusing these features.

I propose for the word "alter" to be changed to "loosen" in Wikipedia:Blocking policy § CheckUser blocks (WP:CUBL) and Wikipedia:Blocking policy § Oversight blocks (WP:OSBL) to be consistent with the language in Wikipedia:CheckUser § CheckUser blocks and Wikipedia:Oversight § Oversight blocks. — Newslinger talk 10:36, 12 October 2020 (UTC)

Notified: Wikipedia talk:Blocking policy, Wikipedia talk:CheckUser, Wikipedia talk:Oversight. — Newslinger talk 10:46, 12 October 2020 (UTC)
  • 'Loosen' wording seems logical. Same as page protections, or general blocks, another admin can always place larger restrictions if something else happens. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 10:50, 12 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Loosen seems reasonable. It is generally accepted that you can revoke TPA / email on a checkuser block without consulting with the blocking CU first. Dreamy Jazz talk to me | my contributions 14:01, 12 October 2020 (UTC)
    Though the time I did that, I did consult with the blocking CU and they advised me that it might be also worth explaining that you didn't make the CU block but simply revoked email / TPA in the block summary to avoid confusion. Dreamy Jazz talk to me | my contributions 14:03, 12 October 2020 (UTC)
    But they didn't necessarily say that they wanted to be asked first for revoking TPA / email. Dreamy Jazz talk to me | my contributions 14:04, 12 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Support - seems like a sensible change to align policies. Admins shouldn't remove sanctions that are based on private evidence they can't review, but we shouldn't be putting in barriers to stacking other sanctions on top when appropriate. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 14:03, 12 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Comment - in principle this seems fine, but the question arises as to whether a subsequent "loosening" of the restrictions back down to the level imposed by the CU block is acceptable or not? Or would CUs have to be consulted even just to go back to the status quo before the admin's tightening.  — Amakuru (talk) 14:06, 12 October 2020 (UTC)
    That would make sense? CUs upgrade regular indef blocks to CU indef blocks all the time. If a CU wants to maintain the new, extra restriction by an admin, they could turn it into a CU one. If they don't, well, it's a regular block? ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 14:26, 12 October 2020 (UTC)
    I can only really speak for CU here, but the settings that a non-CU should never touch if they're set by a checkuser are the block itself (of course) and also "block account creation", and for IP blocks "apply block to logged-in users from this IP address". If we revoke talk page access it's probably because of something that happened on-wiki. My guess is that for OS a non-OS admin shouldn't touch the talk page and email settings, and for arbcom blocks we probably shouldn't alter them at all. Otherwise it's going to be case-by-case and a bit of common sense applies, but of course it doesn't hurt to ask the protecting CU/OS or generally anyone with the same userrights for their input first. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 14:38, 12 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Support in spirit, but the rather than changing the wordings to be the same, put the text in a template and transclude that everywhere it's needed. That way, it can never get out of sync again. -- RoySmith (talk) 14:08, 12 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Support, at the very least, the principle that the wording should be the same. I can see an argument for why it should be "loosen", I can see an argument for why it should be "alter". I don't particularly care which, but "loosen" seems to have a lower potential for drama (in that fewer admins are going to be yelled at for yanking TPA after a CU-block) and so I can get behind that. Vanamonde (Talk) 15:16, 12 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Support Seems reasonable to harmonize language, and I agree that practice would dictate that "loosen" is the better term here. --Jayron32 15:32, 12 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I understand the sentiment here. But "loosen" is a terrible and fairly archaic word. What you are trying to say is that administrators may add blocking of talk page access or sending of emails if not already applied by the blocking CU. Try wording that actually says that. I'd like to know how often an admin has been given a hard time for adding additional blocks levels to a CU block - I suspect that's more a fantasy than reality, because I've never heard of anyone actually getting in trouble for extending the block level. Risker (talk) 17:42, 12 October 2020 (UTC)
    Reading zzuuzz's response below, it occurs to me that checkusers often have reason to not include certain blocking options; generally, we're pretty precise when it comes to the blocks we apply. The same goes for oversighters; we're most often blocking with TP access and email disabled, but there may be a reason to not do that in some cases, and if we haven't added autoblock, there's probably a reason. I'd leave it at "altered" because there's seldom reason to change a CU or OS block without discussing it with a CU or OS. I'd like to see a live example of where someone felt they had to absolutely, right now modify a CU/OS block and couldn't reach a CU/OS. Risker (talk) 05:24, 14 October 2020 (UTC)
    I see Ivanvector made a similar point above. There are times that I've CU-blocked an IP address, apparently out of the blue, then a few minutes later it starts visibly spewing unbelievably gross abuse on their talk page. I have no problem with the next available admin locking the talk page down. The same goes for email abuse, which might appear from an account some years after a CU block. I could find examples of both from the last few months. I'd prefer to be notified as it can be useful knowledge, and it may require another use of the CU tool, but these actions are not going to be controversial. However what admins shouldn't be doing (without consultation) is to hardblock a softblock, add an autoblock, prevent account creation, or perhaps even increase the block length.
    I think a distinction should be made between MUST NOT loosen/lift/reduce/remove, and SHOULD NOT alter (place additional restrictions) without good reason and/or further developments. The latter is not currently written into policy, beyond what can be deduced from the blocking policy, current practice, and common sense. I'm not really convinced it needs to be written into policy either. But as for this proposal and getting consistency in the policies, it's certainly true that non-CUs MUST NOT loosen a CU block. -- zzuuzz (talk) 07:52, 14 October 2020 (UTC)
    I agree with what you're saying and I don't like "loosen" either, but this is an argument for adjusting the wording in both policies, isn't it? Also, RoySmith's suggestion of transcluding this to both policy pages from a common source is a good idea. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 18:53, 12 October 2020 (UTC)
    I don't get what's terrible or archaic about the word "loosen". It seems like a perfectly normal, current, word to me. For example I'm sure it's the word usually used by the media when talking about relaxing COVID-19 restrictions. Is this one of those cases where a word has different connotations in the UK (where I am) and the US? Phil Bridger (talk) 19:34, 14 October 2020 (UTC)
    Risker, how about "may not remove or reduce any block placed by..."? Guy (help! - typo?) 23:00, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
    That works for me, Guy, based on the comments above from Ivanvector and zzuuzz. In response to Phil Bridger, I'm in Canada (not the US), but I don't think I have seen or heard the term used conversationally or in journalism in decades; even back then, it was almost always used with respect to bindings or ropes. Risker (talk) 23:13, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Support Policy and practicality should agree. --Deepfriedokra (talk) 21:31, 12 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Support The reasons to not unblock/loosen don't apply to tightening these blocks. Jackmcbarn (talk) 21:38, 12 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Support sameness, clarity, and transclusion, whatever the standard may be. "Loosen" seems better than "alter" but I agree it's awkwardly vague, and probably it should all be changed to more clearly spell out exactly what admin can and cannot do to CU and OS blocks. And it should be transcluded per Roy. Lev!vich 06:40, 13 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Comment: I generally support this in principle, that is until someone comes up with a better phrase than 'loosen'. Actually when it comes to autoblocks, account creation, and hard IP blocks, non-checkusers should really consult a checkuser when making any alteration to a checkuser block. Checkusers, as they say, know something you don't, and they will have chosen these parameters carefully because they know something you don't. Upgrading email and talk page restrictions is not so important. -- zzuuzz (talk) 12:25, 13 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Support harmonisation, and RoySmith's idea is a good one. I'm happy with "loosening" until something better is found. Regarding restoring settings to that set by an oversighter (I can't speak for CU blocks) I'd say it's always worth checking first. Speaking as an oversighter it has happened that we've blocked someone for something oversightable but left talk page access only for the person then to post something potentially oversightable on their talk page. If that post is first spotted by an administrator who is not an oversighter (likely given the relative numbers) then they may (and should) revision delete it and remove talk page access before alerting us. We may decide to oversight the rev delled material, in which case the talk page access should not be removed without permission from an oversighter. We may however decide revision deletion is sufficient, in which case an admin downgrading to the original settings is usually going to be OK, but checking first is never going to harm things. Thryduulf (talk) 12:38, 13 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Comment I have flagged this discussion up on the Functionaries list. Thryduulf (talk) 12:38, 13 October 2020 (UTC)
  • I'd be fine with "undo or alter any block" --> "undo or reduce any block" ; conceptually I'd think of this the same way I would if the technical ability for someone to have multiple blocks assigned to them (c.f. phab:T194697) -- adding to the block controls without removing the controls that are supported by information an administrator may not be privy to is a non-problem to me. — xaosflux Talk 13:15, 13 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Suggest "rescind" or "remove"; additional sanctions can be placed, but restrictions placed by oversighters cannot be removed. isaacl (talk) 16:49, 13 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Support overall, I definitely think this should reflect established practise, and I certainly can't think of an occasion where a non-CheckUser adding talk-page-blocked to someone belligerent with a CheckUser block was objected to. As far as phrasing goes, my personal choice would be must not "reduce or remove" (reduce being a good word to cover both effect and length, and remove being (in my view) better than "undo" because I feel "undo" has an implication of "make it like it never happened", rather than just "make it not there anymore". But regardless of the exact phrasing (loosen is fine too) I think this is worth changing and harmonising, via RoySmith's template idea if that works best. ~ mazca talk 21:26, 14 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Support. Good spot! Noi, we should not prevent admins from controlling abuse of email or talk page access by blocked users, that is silly and making them go via CU/OS first would put an even greater strain on a small and chrnoiically overworked group of people for no obvious benefit. The intent is to prevent the lifting of blocks placed on the basis of non-public evidence. The change supports that and adds clarity. Guy (help! - typo?) 22:58, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Support. Pulling talk page access for abuse or multiple unproductive appeals only requires on-wiki evidence and does not require the private information CUs have. MER-C 16:50, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Support, admins certainly should not reverse or loosen checkuser blocks without consulting the checkuser who placed it, but handling abuse of email and/or talk page access should not require that. Seraphimblade Talk to me 16:22, 21 October 2020 (UTC)

RfC on new disclosure requirements for freelance paid editors[edit]

Should the paid editing policy be amended to require freelance paid editors to disclose the names of their Wikipedia accounts on websites where they advertise, solicit, or obtain paid editing services and in email communications with their clients, as follows? 20:03, 15 October 2020 (UTC)

Current text of the fifth paragraph of

Wikipedia:Paid-contribution disclosure § How to disclose

Proposed Amendments

Text highlighted in yellow has been added.

Paid editors must also provide links on their Wikipedia user page to all active accounts at websites where they advertise, solicit or obtain paid Wikipedia-editing services. If such an account is deleted or removed, any corresponding links on the Wikipedia user page must remain visible for at least one week. Paid editors must also provide links on their Wikipedia user page to all active accounts at websites where they advertise, solicit or obtain paid Wikipedia-editing services. If such an account is deleted or removed, any corresponding links on the Wikipedia user page must remain visible for at least one week. Additionally, paid editors must provide links to the user page(s) of their Wikipedia account(s) on each website on which they advertise, solicit or obtain paid editing services, as well as in direct communications with each client and potential client (such as through email). If the paid editor has used or controlled more than one Wikipedia account, each account must be disclosed.

Currently, Wikipedia policy requires that paid editors disclose links to any websites (such as Upwork or Fiverr) on which they "advertise, solicit, or obtain" paid editing services via their Wikipedia user page. This policy amendment would add an additional requirement: that they provide links to their Wikipedia accounts on each of those websites, and in direct communications (such as emails) with each client and potential client.

Why?

  • This amendment would help the Wikimedia Foundation legal team enforce the paid editing policy against undisclosed paid editors posting freelancer advertisement on sites such as Upwork or Fiverr. WMF Senior Legal Manager Jacob Rogers supports this amendment on behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation legal team and says that it would provide more tools for the Foundation to take action against illegitimate paid editing.
  • These disclosures would help us enforce the other disclosure requirements in the paid editing policy, and allow us to more carefully scrutinize paid contributions for neutrality and compliance with policy.
  • This policy amendment would allow us to provide easy answers to recipients of paid editing offers who ask whether solicitations are legitimate.

This new requirement is intended only to apply to those who "advertise, solicit or obtain paid Wikipedia-editing services"; it does not apply to employees editing Wikipedia in the normal course of their duties, or to GLAM editors.

RFC Support (disclosing usernames)[edit]

  1. Support as proposer. Kevin (aka L235 · t · c) 20:03, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
    I see that there are a lot of concerns about enforceability in the comments below, and I get it. It seems weird to write into Wikipedia policy what people must do on other websites. These objections broadly cover two distinct concerns: that (1) we legally/morally can't adopt this amendment as a community, and (2) adopting this amendment would have no use because we have no way of enforcing our policy on other sites. Here are my thoughts on that:
    1. Editing Wikipedia is a privilege, and no one is legally or morally entitled to it; as a community, we are allowed to say that people who do certain things (such as take paid editing gigs on freelance sites without disclosure of username) are not allowed to edit Wikipedia. In fact, we already do this in other policies: for example, we prohibit our editors from off-wiki harassment (As is the case with on-wiki harassment, off-wiki harassment can be grounds for blocking, and in extreme cases, banning. --WP:OWH). In that case, we agreed as a community that, though we have no legal authority to forcibly stop off-wiki harassment, we can certainly make it a violation of our policy, and say that anyone who engages in off-wiki harassment is not welcome to edit our site. I'm not equating paid editing solicitations to off-wiki harassment (I personally think that in a lot of ways we push paid editors underground because of the onerous burdens we place on the paid editors who do disclose) but I think it's fair to say we aren't prevented from enacting this amendment because there is ample precedent.
    2. I don't agree that this amendment would have no use merely because it is targeted at off-wiki conduct. In my view, this amendment helps us both with editors who follow our rules and do disclose, and with black-hat paid editors who are already violating our policies. For editors who follow our policies, the benefits are clear: there's greater transparency, it's easier to distinguish between legit and non-legit paid editors, it helps in enforcing our other requirements, etc. For editors who don't disclose, the benefits are just as clear: WMF Legal has said that this policy would help them work to have noncompliant listings on freelancer websites taken down. Some below are concerned about the provision requiring disclosre in emails; one clear benefit from this is that, for the sizable number of people who email ArbCom/paid-en-wp/admins asking whether a particular email ad (some scammers actually directly target people with recent WP pages or with recently AfD'd WP pages) is legit, we can provide them an easy answer if they don't list a Wikipedia username in the solicitation/communication. These are very real benefits in both cases especially considering the community has asked WMF Legal to do what it can to work on paid editing violations. Other editors including Wugapodes and Bradv have also made convincing explanations in favor.
    Hopefully this addresses some of the worries about enforceability. This requirement is not particularly onerous; after all, the same disclosure is already required to be posted on the Wikipedia user page, by the policy in the box above. Best, Kevin (aka L235 · t · c) 07:18, 17 October 2020 (UTC)
    Regarding requests about legit emails: we currently have Wikipedia:Conflict of interest § Solicitations by paid editors, which says that paid editors should provide a link to their Wikipedia user page. I don't think enacting it as a policy changes anything: we don't have to have a policy, for example, that it's forbidden to have weird typos in an email before we can recommend it as a way to screen for scammers. I am sympathetic towards amending policy in a way that the Wikimedia Foundation legal department feels is helpful, but then I would prefer that it specifies the wording it needs. isaacl (talk) 17:29, 17 October 2020 (UTC)
  2. Support Given what happened with our community's request to the foundation's legal team to do more against some firms, I am firmly in favor of this. It should provide some clear levels of transparency about who is genuinely attempting to be above board and who is not, both on wiki and off (which could provide some help to people wondering if they're being marketed to by a legitimate firm or not). Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 20:14, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
  3. Support. WMF Legal says it'll help them fight UPE, what more justification do we need? -- RoySmith (talk) 20:35, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
  4. Support - if Legal is on board with this, I see no reason why we shouldn't be. —A little blue Bori v^_^v Takes a strong man to deny... 20:38, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
  5. Support firm support Pharaoh of the Wizards (talk) 21:03, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
  6. Support. Maybe this will lead to a less toothless way of dealing with UPE. Natureium (talk) 21:27, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
  7. Support. If WMF Legal says this'll help them enforce the Terms of Use against noncomplying entities, then count me in. I get the concerns about enforceability—that was also the first thing that came to my mind, since we usually prioritize the privacy of editors' off-wiki identities over enforcement of the paid-editing mandatory disclosure—but given the WMF Legal angle, the benefits appear to outweigh the costs. Mz7 (talk) 21:34, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
  8. Support. If WMF Legal says they can use this to help deal with UPE, then that's enough reason to support in my book. Practically speaking, I doubt it will change the behavior of existing paid editors; I have seen so few who bother following the mandatory "declare your Upwork, etc. profile" policy that I don't think this could make things worse. Those who argue that stricter policies will drive legitimate freelance paid editors underground seem to be overestimating the proprtion of freelancers who actually follow the rules. — Preceding unsigned comment added by GeneralNotability (talkcontribs) 21:45, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
  9. Support "Paid editing" always refers to marketing and there is no evidence that Wikipedia has ever had a positive experience with this. I seek evidence to the contrary at Wikipedia:Measuring conflict of interest editing on Wikipedia. My guess is that the paid editing which this proposal seeks to prevent is a 10+ year history of 1 million+ humans engaging in misconduct in Wikipedia with zero examples of acceptable behavior. I wish that the WMF would sponsor research on this particular kind of misconduct because I expect that it is a drain on the order of millions of volunteer labor hours with no positive counterpoint. This proposal seeks to reduce an already devastating and unsustainably growing problem. Blue Rasberry (talk) 21:52, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
    I get rater tired of repeating this: "Paid editing" does not "always refer to marketing". Wikimedians in Residence are considered by many here to be paid editors; they are not marketeers. Wikipedia has a very positive experience with Wikimedians in Residence, of which there is plentiful evidence, much of it published by the WMF and affiliates. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 21:57, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
    Pigsonthewing, you keep talking about Wikipedians in Residence. Are WiRs advertis[ing], solicit[ing] or obtain[ing] paid editing services on websites? Is there some Upwork for getting a WiR out there that nobody knows about? Because this proposed amendment seems pretty clear in its scope: paid freelancers. GeneralNotability (talk) 23:29, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
    Additionally, Bluerasberry is a Wikipedian-in-Residence. See the "Wikipedia project participation" section of his user page. I think it would misunderstand Bluerasberry to imply that his comment disrespects WiR. Mz7 (talk) 03:10, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
    I'm aware of his WiR role; it makes the thinking behind his comments all the harder to understand. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 09:30, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
    If I "keep talking about Wikipedians in Residence" it is because some of our colleagues treat Wikimedians in Residence like any other paid editor and recently a few have even called for them to be prohibited from editing in article space. Whether they advertise, solicit or obtain paid editing services on websites is immaterial, because only part of the proposed change applies in such circumstances; the rest applies to all paid editors; the word "freelancer" (or a synonym) appears nowhere in the proposed additional taxt. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 09:30, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
  10. Support L235's explanation to Andy below convinced me that it's worthwhile to add these requirements. Schazjmd (talk) 22:03, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
  11. Support. An asymmetric expectation of privacy should not be a suicide pact, and in many cases the claims they make about their editing history and credentials are bogus, so this is also a consumer protection measure. Guy (help! - typo?) 22:52, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
  12. . Support' . Nobody has the right to edit Wikipedia by deceit. Quite apart from WP:LEGAL, this is a key step in dealing with the rings of paid editors currently still practicing. The customers of these rings are not just companies trying to sell products, but increasingly also enhancement of the reputation of a professional , or organizations attempting to gain public support, or in some cases political propaganda. All of these are promotional , all of these are harmful. The undeclared professional editors , at least the ones who are still in business, rely for getting customers upon their reputations--or rather , their falsified reputations they pretend in their solicitations. This will diminish such claims, for we shall in many more cases be able to trace them. There is a special problem, with those paid editors claiming to havetheright to approve drafts or delete articles--it is an immense harm to the reputation of Wikipedia that any paid editor should be able to do such things, and though we have not yet detected any administrator doing this, there have been recent instances of reviewers. There are probably a few more, and any we are able to prevent will make our work much easier. DGG ( talk ) 23:08, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
  13. Support – I've been in numerous discussions with WMF Legal where they asked for something like this, and this is a very well-worded amendment. This will allow the WMF to request take downs of advertisements for undisclosed paid editing. I've also seen several emails from article subjects asking if invoices they've received are legitimate, and this will help provide answers to those people. Furthermore, fraud and extortion are all too rampant in paid editing circles, and this policy change will hopefully encourage customers to demand full disclosure from their "service providers". – bradv🍁 23:40, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
  14. Support per Bradv. My gut reaction to this was that it's unenforcable, but if, as Bradv said, this would facilitate off-wiki takedown requests, then I believe it would have a positive effect. ~Awilley (talk) 00:20, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
  15. Support would have opposed as unnecessary interference with off-wiki activity but for this comment by Jrogers (WMF) confirming that WMF Legal endorses this change. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs) 00:38, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
  16. Support Transparency on both ends seems like a net positive to me. Additional tools to help identify and deal with illegitimate ads and scams is a worthwhile on its own; helping to protect prospective clients from falling for them is simply icing on the cake. I'm unconvinced this imposes any real burden on an honest paid editor, as this should help establish their legitimacy in the eyes of their clients. CThomas3 (talk) 00:44, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
  17. Support, since it will help WMF Legal combat undisclosed paid editors. – Teratix 00:51, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
  18. Support I really like this direction. My problem with our current approach to paid editing is that it punishes paid editors who want to follow the rules but it is hard to enforce against bad actors. This proposal, by contrast, creates a minimal burden on rule-abiding paid editors while providing an effective enforcement mechanism against bad actors. It may in fact encourage on-wiki disclosure and make our monitoring job easier. If potential paid editors are going to link to their user page, they'll want it to look respectable should a prospective employer look at it. Even if they don't, suspected UPE will be easier to find by just googling the username and looking for the job posting. An elegant solution that I'm excited to implement; thanks everyone that worked on this. Wug·a·po·des 01:22, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
  19. Support as a prerequisite to help WMF Legal take action against reputation management firms that engage in undisclosed paid editing. These kinds of legal cases have potential. In 2015, Amazon sued buyamazonreviews.com and other sites that sold 5-star Amazon reviews for trademark violations, false advertising, and cybersquatting. Later that year, Amazon also sued 1,114 individuals who wrote reviews for payment through Fiverr. I'm not sure about the status of these lawsuits, but the fact that http://buyamazonreviews.com now redirects to Amazon's "Anti-Manipulation Policy for Customer Reviews" suggests that at least one of the lawsuits delivered results. I support in the hope that the WMF can gain legal leverage against reputation management companies such as Status Labs, which was universally condemned by the community in Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/Archive 165 § WMF Legal should enforce the Terms of Use against Status Labs to the fullest extent of the law. — Newslinger talk 01:57, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
  20. Support WMF Legal says this will help them work with those websites to have them taken down when problematic job posts are reported. End of story. The community has been asking the WMF to step up and become more involved in undisclosed paid editing and this is one of the ways in which they can become involved. I'd rather see this adopted and implemented by the community than in the TOU. Mkdw talk 02:10, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
  21. Support Paid editing is corrosive in a volunteer community and we should support what the WMF recommends. There is no privacy problem as the terms of use already requires a public declaration linking the paid editor name and the work. Transparency helps avoid corruption. Johnuniq (talk) 02:52, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
  22. Support the more tools we have to fight against paid editing, the better. For those concerned about the privacy of paid editors, my answer to that argument is simple: If they want to be paid to edit, but cannot disclose publicly that they are paid to edit except on Wikipedia, they should find themselves another source of income that doesn't subvert Wikipedia. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 02:55, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
  23. Support I've lost count of the number of paid editors I've seen using false or misleading claims about their editing behavior to promote themselves. This requirement would be fairly simple for legitimate paid editing firms to comply with, and would also mark a significant improvement in our ability to pursue black hat paid editing groups. --AntiCompositeNumber (talk) 02:58, 16 October 2020 (UTC) (edit conflict)
  24. Support. In practice, the system of most professional paid editors I've come across seems to be to conceal their Upwork, etc. profile from Wikipedia at all costs, so I'm not sure what difference this can make. But if WMF Legal thinks it would help, per Kevin's explanation below, I'm on board. Bishonen | tålk 04:00, 16 October 2020 (UTC).
  25. This may be toothless from our side, but any source that respects Wikipedia should then take down adverts for UPE. Legal feel this will help them push. Clear support WormTT(talk) 06:30, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
  26. Support as a further step towards above-the-board transparency. While I appreciate the privacy concerns, once one chooses to set out one's wares for sale, one has made a conscious decision to place oneself as a public agent. AllyD (talk) 07:13, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
  27. Support in principle, however blatant paid editing continues to be quite common. If implemented, careful consideration is needed to not encourage their user page from becoming their commercial editing service' website and CV. Graywalls (talk) 12:21, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
  28. Support per WMF Legal. MER-C 12:58, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
  29. Support per all of the above. OhKayeSierra (talk) 14:00, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
  30. Support Per the above, and this should absolutely apply to WiR's. 99% of whom it will have no effect on. Only in death does duty end (talk) 14:06, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
  31. Support - hoping it doesn't drive them further underground. I try to keep a close eye on this when working with applicants who want to work with WP:NPP, especially now that AfC and NPP work hand-in-hand. Atsme 💬 📧 14:33, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
  32. Support can't see a privacy violation the opposers refer to, since this just makes it two-ways (disclosure already required on Wikipedia), so the identities are already connected by the editor themselves, assuming they're following policy that is. The 3 'whys' by Kevin are very compelling reasons to enact. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 18:02, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
  33. Support Eminently reasonable. As far as "privacy concerns" go, well, not every job in the world can come with an expectation of secrecy. The point made above about consumer protection is also significant. XOR'easter (talk) 18:43, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
  34. Support, strongly. Kevin has outlined clear and substantial benefits, and I find the main oppose argument that such a requirement is somehow beyond the domain of what it'd be appropriate for us to ask for unconvincing. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 20:17, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
  35. Support I also agree that Keven has made a convincing argument, as has Bradv. I'd also like to see the WMF do the sort of research that Blue Rasberry has suggested above. Frankly I'd like to see paid editing made as unlikely as possible. Doug Weller talk 11:58, 17 October 2020 (UTC)
  36. Support per MER-C. Usedtobecool ☎️ 15:07, 17 October 2020 (UTC)
  37. I'm not convinced this will solve much. But (a) WMF Legal says they think it will help, (b) it's just another tool in the toolbox, it doesn't need to "solve" anything by itself, and (c) the oppose rationales aren't convincing me it will do any actual harm. So I support this proposal as a reasonable attempt to improve the situation. --Floquenbeam (talk) 19:52, 17 October 2020 (UTC)
  38. Support. Although there may be difficulties with the proposal, as outlined by the opposers, support from the WMF to clarify the status of paid editing is persuasive. Xxanthippe (talk) 23:24, 17 October 2020 (UTC).
  39. Support. While I share PackMecEng's concern about requiring editors to do things off-wiki, this is more than balanced by a little bit of optimism about this proposal having positive results: it would make a visible, unambiguous distinction between paid editors who are following the rules and those who are violating the Wikimedia TOS. Some clients don't like black-hat SEO. — Charles Stewart (talk) 09:48, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
  40. Support, per WMF Legal. --Yair rand (talk) 20:25, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
  41. Support, Kevin makes a convincing argument. It won't solve all problems, but I don't see any reason to think it will do any harm, and if WMF Legal think it might help I think it's worth trying. GirthSummit (blether) 12:26, 19 October 2020 (UTC)
  42. Strong support: I'm delighted to see this here and delighted to see a comment from WMF Legal. We need to start taking decisive action to stop the tidal wave of corporate spam that violates our policies. Every non-neutral paid edit devalues every good edit that we make, because it makes Wikipedia overall a bit less financially independent and a bit less of a source that can be taken seriously. Clients of paid editors have a right to see all the edits that the person they are hiring has made. Of course, many clients could not care less about the lack of ethics in debasing a free encyclopedia. Of course, many paid editors could not care less about rules if they find a way to evade them. But WMF Legal believes this makes enforcement and takedowns easier. I'm arguing not just in support of this proposal but in support of pursuing action against bad-faith paid editors before we become no more advert-free or politically independent than Facebook. — Bilorv (talk) 23:48, 19 October 2020 (UTC)
  43. Support per the numerous reasons above, especially that WMF Legal thinks it will help. Crossroads -talk- 04:25, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
  44. Support If this will help us police freelancers and increase the chances of freelancing platforms removing non-compliant users then it will definitely aid in prohibiting UPE and encouraging good actors. It should also make it easier for clients of freelancers to find paid editors who follow the rules. Outing concerns are negated by there being no need to link any accounts to a real world identity. SmartSE (talk) 12:21, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
  45. Support This will be another tool in box to help resist the malign influence of UPE. Alexbrn (talk) 13:43, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
  46. Support per points above, especially in light of the endorsement by WMF Legal. Hopefully the proposed change can serve as a lever with which Legal can influence the actions of off-wiki actors. I doubt the proposal will stop most of the bad actors involved in undisclosed paid editing, but with enough effort from the WMF this change may be noisy enough to dissuade clients from employing said actors–few companies want to be the next North Face. SamHolt6 (talk) 18:23, 22 October 2020 (UTC)
  47. Support We can ask, and being transparent in advertising about the account's paid-work is an ethical thing to ask for. Alanscottwalker (talk) 11:43, 25 October 2020 (UTC)
  48. Support This is something that is needed and will hopefully cut down on the massive amount of paid editor abuse incidents in the past few years. Swordman97 talk to me 04:54, 27 October 2020 (UTC)
  49. Support another avenue to stop UPE. The comments by L235 sum up my thoughts in any better way than I could express, so pretty much per proposer. Dreamy Jazz talk to me | my contributions 18:08, 27 October 2020 (UTC)

RfC Oppose (disclosing usernames)[edit]

  1. Well intentioned, but we are in no position to tell the people what they must say in private emails; nor to verify whether they comply with such rules. (FWIW, I work as a Wikimedian in Residence, disclosure on my user page.) Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 21:02, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
    I get where you're coming from, but hopefully I can convince you otherwise. For those black-hat editors who don't comply with these rules (which I expect will be a sizable number), there are two big benefits from this proposal: (1) I am told by WMF Legal that this allows us to more convincingly ask other platforms, like those freelancing sites, to remove listings that are violations of our policies (and therefore our terms of use), which is a tougher argument to make now, and (2) this amendment would allow us to give an answer to people who email ArbCom/paid-en-wp/etc. asking whether a particular solicitation is legitimate. Both of these are very real benefits and I know the community has asked WMF Legal to do what it can to work on paid editing violations. And on your point of enforcement: of course the existence of this policy will not in every case physically stop the violation of this policy, but it will make it easier for the reasons set forth above. A parallel example: we prohibit off-wiki harassment of Wikipedians by Wikipedians, and we will sanction users for off-wiki harassment in some cases; I don't see anyone going around saying "are in no position" to have a policy prohibiting such behavior, because it's better to have the policy than to not have it. Thanks for your consideration, Kevin (aka L235 · t · c) 21:24, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
    I remain unconvinced that this idea is anything other than ill-conceived, and unworkable. You're not a spokesperson for WMF legal and I'll wait for them to give their views, and answer criticisms, before I give any weight to claims made in their name. You're also assuming, wrongly, that all editors who would be affected by this new wording advertise on such sites, or coldly solicit work. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 21:33, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
  2. I think the idea is coming from a good place. I just have a hard time supporting something that requires people to do things off wiki. I also see it as something that is largely unenforceable and likely the effect would be to drive paid editors to be undisclosed. PackMecEng (talk) 21:26, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
    How would this drive paid editors to be undisclosed? I think this is the first policy proposal I've seen that would actually drive paid editors toward disclosing. If they can't advertise without providing their username, they'll have to be above-board instead. – bradv🍁 23:32, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
    Well the options are either disclose and face consequences on wiki and privacy issues or don't disclose and try not to get caught. I would imagen the right way to go would be to encourage paid editors to work within the system but even the ones that do regularly get met with things like this. Now I do not know the best solution but I am fairly certain this one will have little to no positive effect. Or rather I see no reason why it would. Though I can see a negative effect, which is more undisclosed paid editing. PackMecEng (talk) 00:00, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
    They already have to disclose on their userpage, so I don't see why there would be any change to the way disclosed paid editors are treated onwiki. This is intended to make it more difficult for undisclosed paid editors to advertise, at least with reputable freelancing sites. Disclosed paid editors will remain able to advertise freely. – bradv🍁 00:24, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
    I think it opens them up to more off site harassment and the possibility to tie a paid editor to a name. PackMecEng (talk) 02:27, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
  3. Oppose - Privacy concerns. Editors should not be forced to post something they may not want to display so publically everywhere we dictate (e.g. some such venues may be filled with spammers and trolls and a bit of discretion preferable). Additionally, enforcement would be weird -- what entails reasonable posting and display? How are we to know the content of an editor's private emails? Could this lead to galavant undercover fishing for non-compliance? External sites are not the domain of the community, and our reach should remain very limited in such regards. At the end of the day, as distasteful as some find paid editing, we should not de-editorize these individuals; their discretion regarding privacy and safety is still important.— Godsy (TALKCONT) 02:19, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
    @Godsy: I assume the private information you're referring to is the link between a particular Wikipedia account and a particular freelancer profile (e.g. on Upwork). While I understand this concern, this information is already required by our policy to be publicly disclosed. If you see the "Current text" box in the proposal above, you'll see that we already require that link to be shown on the public Wikipedia page; this policy amendment simply requires that it be shown on the freelancer profile website or email marketing as well. Best, Kevin (aka L235 · t · c) 02:37, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
    That is unfortunate. If one wants to vet a client before revealing their information, it may be better and safer in some cases and I do not see a problem with that. Ah well, if something is already ill-conceived, no need to make it slightly worse. Paid editing is work. If even just a handful of paid editors do it honestly and completely above board, then this is undue for them. The bad apples should not make them put themselves at potential risk. — Godsy (TALKCONT) 02:41, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
  4. Oppose Unless these other websites are owned by the WMF, we cannot control how they behave. How would we enforce it, for a start? Threaten a WP:SITEBAN maybe? That would do absolutely nothing in regard to what the other websites are showing. So we must not dictate what other websites may or may not do, except for reusing our content outside the terms of WP:REUSE. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 07:56, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
    There is no attempt to control other websites. The proposal is to add a condition of using this website (in the ToU). The condition limits editors who are paid to edit here. Regarding "nothing", see "it would provide more tools for the Foundation to take action against illegitimate paid editing" in the proposal. Johnuniq (talk) 08:16, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
    Regarding would do absolutely nothing in regard to what the other websites are showing, please see WMF Legal's comment to the contrary. Best, Kevin (aka L235 · t · c) 15:23, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
  5. Oppose - This is a form of outing, mandating the linkage of pseudonymous WP accounts with real-named off wiki accounts. Carrite (talk) 08:20, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
    Carrite, (1) other accounts may well not be real-named; (2) we already require that linkage: the policy already requires those paid editors to disclose the link between their Wikipedia account and their non-Wikipedia Upwork/Fiverr/etc. freelancer account on their Wikipedia user page – this amendment would simply require the same disclosure (that they are already required to make) on the other freelancing site as well. Best, Kevin (aka L235 · t · c) 15:15, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
  6. Unenforcable. First, in terms of emails, I can't see why we can or could insist on this. Emails are private - how would we ever know if they did? In regard to websites, how do we know that they own the accounts they claim to own? We get enough examples as it stands of people advertising that they have worked on articles which they never touched. That assumes we can even see their accounts. The paid editors who take the most work through the main sites have learnt to keep their accounts private, to only take jobs ads which can't be identified, and to rely on throwawy accounts. I can't see this addressing the real problems in any meaningful way. - Bilby (talk) 09:06, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
  7. Oppose as written. Firstly it's mostly unenforceable, and secondly despite the stated intention that this not apply to GLAM editors there is nothing at all in the text of the proposal that includes such limits. This is well intentioned, but unless and until the text of the proposal is enforceable and applies only to those it is intended to apply to it will do more harm than good. Thryduulf (talk) 11:11, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
  8. Oppose Wikipedia has no right to police what editors do elsewhere on the Internet. Wikipedia is a platform for Creative Commons material and there are many others, including Europeana, Fandom, Flickr, Open Street Map, Stack Overflow and more. Wikipedia does not own the content which is posted to it and a big part of the idea is to encourage a culture of freely sharing information. If someone is commissioned to create some CC material then Wikipedia may naturally be considered as an option for hosting it, as it's one of the big players. But, as it is not the only game in town, we should not operate on the assumption that it is an exclusive monopoly and seek to impose an intrusive restraint of trade. Andrew🐉(talk) 11:22, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
    Andrew Davidson, that is incorrect as a matter of fact - Wikipedia does have a right to police its terms of use. We are the product they are selling, and we have rights as the owner of the brand from which they seek to profit.
    You may still be of the opinioin that we shouldn't exercise that right, but we have a definite and equitable right to control use of Wikipedia's name to make money from subverting the work of our volunter-run community-funded nonprofit project. Guy (help! - typo?) 11:30, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
    I recently did some work on a couple of articles with a view to getting them some exposure on the main page – Fred and Betsy Bang. This has been disrupted by deletion of the image I loaded on the grounds that it had a non-commercial CC licence. Presumably the idea is that our content should always enable and facilitate commercial activity. So, as it's our policy that it's a good thing for people to be able to earn a living by producing and using CC material then we should be consistent. My !vote stands. Andrew🐉(talk) 12:12, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
  9. Oppose. First, there are privacy concerns as outlined by Carrite. Second, it is basically unenforceable. Third, I have a hunch it will be used as yet another banhammer against those paid editors that did they best to comply with ToU, further driving paid editing underground. If you want to ban paid editing altogether, then do it, do not just continue raising the bar with unreasonable requests for {{shrubbery}}. No such user (talk) 11:59, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
    WMF Legal have asked for this as a tool to fight against undisclosed paid editing. They want to be able to request take down of advertisements for undisclosed paid editing, thereby enforcing our terms of use. This is not "unenforceable" – the current policy is. – bradv🍁 14:16, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
    Please tell us how they plan to enforce "paid editors must provide links to the user page(s) of their Wikipedia account(s) [...] in direct communications with each client and potential client (such as through email)". Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 14:40, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
    The other question I have a long those lines is how does it help them take down such ads? The ad is already saying so and so will edit Wikipedia for you, does the addition of a user name make a difference for legal to take an ad down? I do not see how it would. PackMecEng (talk) 15:10, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
    PackMecEng, the lack of a username would allow them more tools to have the listing taken down. If they in fact include a username in their freelancer profile that seems like a great outcome and allows us to distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate editors and proceed accordingly. Best, Kevin (aka L235 · t · c) 15:37, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
    But that is not what legal said. They said by having the person put their user name on external ads that would help them take the ads down. Now they put it that it helps make it more clear when job postings on third party websites are violating community policies. From what I can tell the only policy it would violate would be this new one, so are we just setting up a gotya trap? PackMecEng (talk) 15:40, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
    The hope is that reputable freelancing sites will honour a claim from the WMF that a particular ad violates Wikipedia policies. Right now, none of them do, as we haven't prohibited advertising of paid editing services nor provided any way of determining which ones are above board. This provision will provide an incentive for paid editors to be transparent about their activities so the community can properly check their articles for neutrality, and will help against innocent people getting targeted by a variety of paid editing scams (most of which I don't want to talk about publicly per WP:BEANS). – bradv🍁 15:39, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
    Again it just comes off as circular logic. So right now they are not violating policy to make ads for editing. So the solution is to make a policy to put a username there so if they don't we can have the ads taken down? Now as Kevin has been mentioning to almost every oppose at this point, they are already required to link on their user page and edits that kind of stuff. So wouldn't that satisfy the requirement of being able to check their edits by the community? It comes off as a solution in search of a problem, or worse creating a problem so a wanted solution can be implemented. PackMecEng (talk) 15:47, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
    If they provide a username, then we can check their userpage to see if they are complying with the terms of use. If they do not, they shouldn't be allowed to advertise paid editing services. And reputable freelancing sites will honour that, as they already forbid advertisements which violate another website's terms of use. – bradv🍁 15:50, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
    Right I get that, but again it comes off as just trying to setup a trap. Encouraging users here to look up info about paid editors on external sites sounds like a recipe for disaster. COI hunters already have a bad reputation for off site harassments, why encourage that? PackMecEng (talk) 15:54, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
    It's not a trap. It's a way to incentivize disclosed paid editing. Right now there is no such incentive, which is why COI hunters have to go to such great lengths to try to stop UPE at the source. We want to stop that. – bradv🍁 16:08, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
    They already have to disclose here. COI hunters should not be going to those lengths, it is creepy and wrong. People like Jytdog come to mind there. It is one thing to be on this site and require linking out (which imo is still not great), it is quite another to be on another site and require linking here. PackMecEng (talk) 16:15, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
  10. Oppose If such a change is needed, then it should be made directly by the WMF in the Terms of Use. I share the doubts of others that this is enforceable. I would support a version that says 'should' rather than 'must', though. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 19:17, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
    @Mike Peel: The WMF is seeking a community mandate for that change—that is the purpose of this RfC. If this passes, the WMF will change the ToU. If it doesn't, they won't. Johnuniq (talk) 22:40, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
    @Johnuniq: This RfC is about Wikipedia:Paid-contribution disclosure, not the ToU. Please reference "If this passes, the WMF will change the ToU". Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 22:44, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
    I also don't think this has been clearly indicated, yet. And it doesn't seem otherwise obvious: enwiki doesn't represent all projects, so neither does this RfC. And if history is any indication to go by, the related and adopted cross-project policy weren't added to the TOU. If legal wants to do something they don't need community consent to do it. I also question whether anything short of adding it to the TOU will have the desired effect (notwithstanding the "community policies override" clause), but I suppose legal would know more about that than any of us. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 23:42, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
  11. Oppose per Tim, Bilby, and No such user. - Ryk72 talk 13:48, 17 October 2020 (UTC)
  12. Oppose as a well-intentioned but horribly-conceived overreach. Neither the WMF nor project participants (including administrators and functionaries) have any right whatsoever to require anything of anybody on any other websites. Attempting to enforce this opens up huge cans of worms and only encourages the paid editors who want to follow our policies to ignore those. Eggishorn (talk) (contrib) 17:17, 17 October 2020 (UTC)
    Eggishorn, would you also then support repealing the provision in WP:OWH prohibiting off-wiki harassment? Kevin (aka L235 · t · c) 17:29, 17 October 2020 (UTC)
    @L235:, thank you but I express no opinion on that question as 1: it is not under consideration and 2:stare decisis (or something like it) applies since it is a long-accepted policy. This discussion is about the new restriction that we are trying to apply to other websites and that proposal is an overreach. If somebody wants to propose repealing the other provision then I might decide to venture an opinion. Until such a discussion, however, raising it here is a red herring, at best. Eggishorn (talk) (contrib) 19:17, 17 October 2020 (UTC)
    I completely understand that we might have different viewpoints on the best way to resolve this, but I don't agree that it's in any way a red herring. If your contention is that Neither the WMF nor project participants (including administrators and functionaries) have any right whatsoever to require anything of anybody on any other websites, the fact is: we already do in our harassment policy, which has been and continues to be a policy that has widespread community support. Best, Kevin (alt of L235 · t · c) 19:21, 17 October 2020 (UTC)
  13. Oppose per Bilby. This policy would be unenforceable. Anyways, there are a lot of paid editors that make constructive edits. P,TO 19104 (talk) (contribs) 22:16, 17 October 2020 (UTC)
  14. Oppose Absolutely unenforceable. Not to mention privacy concerns and a gross overreach.--Darwinek (talk) 00:56, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
    Re unenforceable: "WMF Senior Legal Manager Jacob Rogers supports this amendment ... and says that it would provide more tools for the Foundation to take action against illegitimate paid editing." Re privacy: it is already a requirement that paid editors post links on their user page to all active accounts at off-wiki sites. Johnuniq (talk) 10:07, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
    From what I can tell it does nothing extra from their point of view nor have they elaborated when asked so no, it does not appear to provide more tools. The second one is along the lines we already require someone to break their leg, so what is wrong with breaking their other one? Not how that works either. It is just a bad proposal with no real benefit besides creating a trap, unenforceable to the point of being useless, and could cause real world harm to people. PackMecEng (talk) 15:04, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
    Question: if this is supported by the WMF Senior Legal Manager (and if it is supposed to give the foundation more tools, then why are we just trying to change the policy on the enwiki? I think this is a proposal that should have been made at meta. P,TO 19104 (talk) (contribs) 18:28, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
    Who knows, but the vast majority of problematic paid editing is focused on the English Wikipedia and if this project won't support efforts by WMF Legal then perhaps they wouldn't need to try persuading the others. Johnuniq (talk) 21:57, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
  15. Oppose - Demanding private emails of editors and other private parties is absurd. We already have strict rules ensuring articles not take an advertising form no matter what a paid editors attempt. Oakshade (talk) 06:16, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
  16. Weak oppose per Redrose, while this may ideally be done its not practical to enforce, while we can block accounts here I think its too bureaucratic. Crouch, Swale (talk) 16:38, 22 October 2020 (UTC)
  17. Oppose. I've read the nominator's response to the most common criticisms, and I simply don't find that attempt at rebuttal convincing. A rule we cannot enforce is simply bureaucracy for its own sake, which is against policy. My main reason, though, it simply that WMF has no business telling anyone how they must communicate (including what information they must disclose and to whom and why) in their off-site lives. See forced speech; it is a wrong. What next? Will WMF dictate that any time I tell anyone that I am a Wikipedia editor that I must disclose my WP user ID? This kind of "thought control" b.s. is just out of scope. Also, this is completely distinct from the WP:HARRASS stuff. In that case, WP chooses to enforce on WP a behavioral norm if people take hateful behavior that started here and engage in it off-site to evade the on-site sanctions/requirements. However, if editor A and editor B had been married and divorced, and A got a restraining order against B, and all that happened before either joined Wikipedia, A's restraint against B would not be grounds for B to be banned from WP editing (absent doing things on-site that constituted harassment, etc.). See the difference? If not, let's try again: If you're a paid editor and make a show of complying with the existing requirements, but actually in turn farm out your paid editing gigs to underlings who do not comply (and you coordinate that offline), WP still has an interest is blocking you, because you're taking an on-site process and requirement and evading it through off-site means. As with a HARRASS enforcement, the action begins here and moves off-site. In the proposal here, though, someone could announce, off site, their intention to edit for pay, and be blocked for failing to do these off-site disclosures of onside user ID, before ever taking a client or getting around to the onsite disclosure stuff and actually starting any of the work. See the difference now? (Personally, I think paid editing should just be banned, aside from extremely limited exceptions like the Wikimedian-in-residence program. But if we're going to keep, it we need rules about it that make actual sense and are not "WTF?"-level, fantasizing, global-control-freaks weirdness.)  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  01:04, 27 October 2020 (UTC)

RfC Neutral (disclosing usernames)[edit]

  1. Wikipedia:Free encyclopedia.--Moxy 🍁 23:04, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
  2. ...free encyclopedia that anyone can edit. Lev!vich 19:05, 17 October 2020 (UTC)

RfC Comments (disclosing usernames)[edit]

  • Link to where Jacob Rogers indicated his support for this change? (Or, if it wasn't on-wiki, User:Jrogers (WMF), could you confirm this?) --Yair rand (talk) 20:33, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
    • @Yair rand: Yep, this was off-wiki via email: after discussion within the WMF Legal team, he wrote "this is supported by the Wikimedia Foundation legal team". I understand your desire for verifiability, though, and I'll be sure to ping you when Jacob writes on-wiki. Best, Kevin (aka L235 · t · c) 21:10, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
      • @Yair rand: There's now an on-wiki confirmation here: [10]. Best, Kevin (aka L235 · t · c) 03:03, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Beware the law of unintended consequences. I can see black- or grey-hat editors proudly listing their Wikipedia user pages while otherwise merely complying with the "letter of the law" with respect to the Foundation's and English Wikipedia's rules, while violating the spirit of the law every chance they get and maybe violating the letter if they think they can get away with it. It will be the Wikipedia-equivalent of a business that only gives lip service to ethical business practices proudly announcing he is a member of the Better Business Bureau or a similar organization. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs) 20:48, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
    • @Davidwr: Unfortunately there's nothing stopping them doing it now (technically or policy-wise): if someone wants to proudly list their userpage on their upwork account they are free to do so. The reason this would be helpful even in this case is enforcement: if they do truly comply with the letter of the law on disclosure, it becomes easier and more plausible to enforce the substantive aspects of policy (neutrality, requirement to use edit requests/AfC, etc.). And, of course, disclosing accounts makes it possible to sanction editors who break our rules. Best, Kevin (aka L235 · t · c) 21:10, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
      • "requirement to use edit requests/AfC" Neither of those are enforceable "aspects of policy", substantive or otherwise. They are not "requirements". Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 21:20, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Operationally, I think it would be better to require paid editors to make any required disclosures on Wikipedia, rather than on an external site. I know in the past people have been concerned about compelling editors to make self-disclosures, but this proposal is functionally equivalent. It's easier though for Wikipedia editors to track accounts on other sites starting from an account here, rather than the other way around. isaacl (talk) 21:24, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
    • Isaacl, the requirement for on-wiki disclosure already exists in policy. But with external freelancer sites it is difficult to ask them to take down a particular listing, even when they are willing to help prevent TOU violations (and I'm told many of them are), because we can't tie a particular listing to a particular policy violation. That's why adding this would make the violation cut-and-dried. Best, Kevin (aka L235 · t · c) 21:29, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
      • No, it is not currently required that a paid editor disclose their account on an external site. This would be a change in policy. Paid editors are required to disclose who is paying them, but not any intermediary accounts they used to be hired.
      • Regarding informing other sites that Wikipedia policy has been violated: if requiring disclosures gains consensus support, I suggest having a central page where paid editors can disclose their accounts on other sites, to make it easy to show that the policy has not been followed. isaacl (talk) 21:31, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
        • @Isaacl: This is the current policy: Paid editors must also provide links on their Wikipedia user page to all active accounts at websites where they advertise, solicit or obtain paid Wikipedia-editing services. If such an account is deleted or removed, any corresponding links on the Wikipedia user page must remain visible for at least one week. If I'm not getting it, please set me straight. Best, Kevin (aka L235 · t · c) 21:33, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
          • You're right; I forgot about that amendment (made on meta; earlier discussions on English Wikipedia failed to make this change). I still believe a central page on Wikipedia for disclosures would be a better way to provide this information and to illustrate a failure to comply with policy. isaacl (talk) 21:37, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Hi all. Just want to confirm that we do support this change from the Foundation legal team. It helps make it more clear when job postings on third party websites are violating community policies, which in turn helps us work with those websites to have them taken down when problematic job posts are reported to us. -Jrogers (WMF) (talk) 00:32, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
    • @Andy Mabbett: here's your confirmation! Now you can enjoy your support for this proposal. 2A02:C7F:BE04:700:8A5:1C17:18CA:31E (talk) 08:17, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
    • @Jrogers (WMF): Please can you explain how "paid editors must provide links to the user page(s) of their Wikipedia account(s)[...] in direct communications with each client and potential client (such as through email)..." in any way "helps make it more clear when job postings on third party websites are violating community policies" or "helps [you] work with those websites"? Ditto in cases where those editors do not use third-party websites to "advertise, solicit or obtain paid Wikipedia-editing services"? And tell us why you think it is necessary for people such as Wikimedians in Residence to do this? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 09:37, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Generally I don't like these moves, because what we've been slowly doing is introducing new policies that don't end up making any significant impact on the paid editing market, but perhaps keep us from seriously considering changes that might. Maybe we do need to do this, if only as one more step towards realising that we need to take more drastic action if we want to make a difference. That said, some time ago we decided to make it a requirement that anyone who engages in paid editing must provide a link from the Wikipedia account to their account where they advertise their services. At the time, as I recall, a major argument was that it would allow us to go to the third party websites and point out users that were failing to comply with our policies. As far as I can tell, if that does happen it is incredibly rare, and I don't know if any off-wiki freelancer accounts have been removed as a result. Instead the paid editors on those sites changed how they operate. The major changes from the paid editors were to move to running businesses themselves instead of advertising through Upwork and the like; directly emailing potential clients; focusing on the use of throwaway socks instead of building up one or two accounts with good editing privleges; greatly increasing the amount of subcontracting; and the simplest but most effective change was that the more serious paid editors who were already getting a lot of work hid their profiles from everyone except potential clients. If we can't tell that they are getting work or see their profile we are largely hamstrung. The problem for me is that the same things the paid editors did then would greatly limit what these new changes could do now. It is useless for non-public profiles; those advertising their services as individual businesses would just ignore it; if they subcontract they can argue that they are not using their accounts on-wiki to do the work; and direct email is private and we'll have no idea what is happening in it. It might have some impact - assuming for a moment that we have the freelancer sites on board (I don't know if they have been approached) and they don't simply write it off as not their problem or accept any "account" mentioned in the profiles - we'll catch the occasional new paid editor who hasn't worked out the best approach to hide what they're doing yet, and drive the work to those that are hiding their profiles. What we need to do is look at removing demand or getting much, much better at policing. These sorts of steps mean well, but if the only impact is to drive the same jobs to the paid editors who are better at hiding what they do we're only making existing policing more difficult, and even that will only occur if someone can get the freelancing sites onboard. - Bilby (talk) 11:32, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
  • I'm confused by the people who are opposed because they think this is unenforceable. Painting with a very broad brush, enwiki has been at odds with WMF because we feel they're not doing enough to protect our interests. Now we have a case of WMF legal giving us a specific suggestion of what we could do to make it easier for them to do what we want them to. I don't see how we can possibly second-guess them on it. This isn't people like me who pretend to understand the law. This is the people who have law degrees and get paid to look after the legal interests of the foundation. If you think you understand the law better than they do, maybe this link is for you. -- RoySmith (talk) 16:13, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
    • Perhaps one of them can explain why the law of the United States requires someone like me, in the United Kingdom, to include something in the a private email to a potential host for a freelance Wikimedian in Residence, also in the UK? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 17:00, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
      Related to enforceability, what if the advertising website prohibits links?
      What if advertisers are dishonest with the disclosures? If I were an unscrupulous paid editing outfit, I might consider "disclosing" that I was the editors responsible for anything listed at Wikipedia:Featured articles#Business, economics, and finance. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:50, 17 October 2020 (UTC)
      @WhatamIdoing: There's already required to be a corresponding disclosure of the Upwork/etc. account on the Wikipedia user page, so it'd be possible to refute the improper listing. And, for what it's worth, unscrupulous paid editing outfits already can and on occasion do claim to have Wikipedia accounts with trust/status that they plainly do not have, which is not something that we can prevent simply by our say-so, and this policy doesn't actually make it easier to do so. Best, Kevin (aka L235 · t · c) 06:37, 17 October 2020 (UTC)
      Yeah, I wish we could educate the clients. I don't want them to buy articles anyway, but I also don't want them to get scammed. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:11, 17 October 2020 (UTC)
    @RoySmith:, I'm not arguing that WMF Leagal could not make a case that these people are failing to meet our ToU (technically, I'm saying ToU, but this isn't even that - it is just a local policy). It becomes unenforcable because a) we're trying to regulate what people say in private emails, which we can neither read nor enforce; and b) we're asking third parties to enforce our ToU, which they are under no legal obligation to do. Even if the paid editors are running their own business, can we really take them to court - given that the business could be located anywhere in the world - and argue that their private website fails to meet our Terms of Use? We could block the accounts on WP, but as they haven't disclosed their accounts we can't realisticly do even that. The only way I could see this being enforced is to rely on the good will of the Freelancer sites and ask that they disable accounts that don't meet our ToU, but we've been unable, as far as I can tell, to do that with the previous rules, so I'm not seeing this having a huge impact - unless someone came and said "we've approached Upwork and they have agreed to fully enfore our terms" (athough then I suspect most of the jobs would just move to Guru, or Freelancer, or somewhere else - in which case I'm not convinced it would be in these site's interest to enforce our ToU and lose the income). - Bilby (talk) 22:38, 17 October 2020 (UTC)
Also, should paid editors be required to disclose all their accounts, whether they're used for paid editing or not including they're not using for COI editing? Graywalls (talk) 16:32, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
  • I am in support but slightly curious, if legal thinks this is a good move to help with enforcement, why don't they just add it into the TOU (as well as absorbing the current cross-project policy into it)? Wouldn't adding it to TOU be more helpful for enforcement compared to a project policy? ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 18:06, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
    I lean towards agreeing that the Wikimedia Foundation legal department should skip the intermediary and just put in the specific wording they want into the terms of use. Personally, I don't think it is a good idea to try to mandate what can take place in private communications. If the legal department feels it is necessary, I would prefer it devises the precise language. isaacl (talk) 19:18, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
    Jrogers (WMF) while I noted my support above, this is a valid point. Could you address the question of why this is happening at the enwiki level instead of at the WMF/TOU level? -- RoySmith (talk) 23:28, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
    Re skipping the intermediary: I strongly disagree. Legal should not be changing Wikipedia policies or the Terms of Use unilaterally. --Yair rand (talk) 06:40, 22 October 2020 (UTC)
    In general, I don't think all terms of use changes should be approved with a community discussion. However regarding this specific change: if the legal department has specific wording that it believes will assist with addressing paid editors, I would prefer that it proposes it directly to the community. That way we'll know the wording is exactly what it needs. isaacl (talk) 15:52, 22 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Sidenote, isn't there a bit of wording contradiction across project paid editing policies and the TOU? TOU says projects can supersede those requirements with their own policies. Looking at the list, a couple have done so, eg commons & mediawiki, stating pretty clearly: The Wikimedia Commons community does not require any disclosure of paid contributions from its contributors. Meanwhile, the cross-project meta:Linking to external advertising accounts says: We require those involved with paid editing on Wikipedia to link on their user page to all other active accounts on external websites through which they advertise paid Wikipedia editing business. and also says This page has been elaborated and approved by the community and its compliance is mandatory for all Wikipedia projects. It must not be modified without prior community approval. (all emphasis mine) So, which is it? Aren't these in complete contradiction? Even if one assumes this literally means Wikipedia projects only and isn't a typing oversight intending to mean all Wikimedia projects (which feels more likely), this seemingly prohibits any Wikipedia from enacting lesser policies, in contradiction of the TOU? ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 00:31, 17 October 2020 (UTC)
    The page is in the context of projects that have not adopted alternate disclosure policies. It elaborates further on the default policy. isaacl (talk) 04:42, 17 October 2020 (UTC)
  • "Additionally, paid editors must provide links to the user page(s) of their Wikipedia account(s) on each website on which they advertise, solicit or obtain paid editing services..." If this change is mainly for Upwork and similar sites, could the wording refer more to that context? I'm a paid editor and I tell about my services on my own site and on my social media accounts, which I've been listed on my user page. But is this change asking me to link to my Wikipedia account e.g. on my Facebook account&page, LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram accounts too? In some services there's only one link you can add and it's a bit though to require that the one and only link should point to Wikipedia, not to my company's page. How about: "Additionally, paid editors must provide links to the user page(s) of their Wikipedia account(s) on each website (on their own web site, on Upwords and similar services) on which they advertise, solicit or obtain paid editing services..." Jjanhone (talk) 15:27, 17 October 2020 (UTC)
Just counted: I've listed 16 links on my profile now. So if there's one profile where I'm not adding the link to my English Wikipedia account, how severe would that be? (Just giving you an example about how this would work in practice). Jjanhone (talk) 15:33, 17 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Suppose this passes, what stops me from putting an ad up on Upwork and saying that my username is User:L235? Is Upwork going to verify the accuracy? Lev!vich 19:34, 17 October 2020 (UTC)
    • @Levivich: This is a good question; see my answer here. Essentially, (1) they're already required by policy to make a corresponding disclosure of the Upwork account on their Wikipedia userpage; (2) scammers can and already do lie about what qualifications they have, and this policy amendment won't make that problem worse; in fact, it may help tamp down on it somewhat, because instead of generically claiming that you're a new page reviewer/etc., which is a scam that already happens a lot, they have to specify a specific account that has to have a corresponding disclosure back to the Upwork account. Best, Kevin (alt of L235 · t · c) 19:39, 17 October 2020 (UTC)
      • While I don't think things will get worse with a policy amendment, I also don't see anything getting tamped down, for the same reason: if someone is being deceptive about their account on Wikipedia, they have decided lying is what works best for them, and a policy change isn't going to alter that. isaacl (talk) 22:17, 17 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Right problem, wrong solution. UPE is a very real problem, probably the biggest threat facing Wikipedia today. I don't think an unenforceable policy to try and make them be more honest is the solution. These people are, by and large, scammers. Scammers are not honest by nature. They won't voluntarily comply with this, they will try endlessly to find ways around it, like creating new accounts for each client they sign on, which they already do. That being said, scammers are also lazy by nature. (have you ever toyed with a phone scammer for a few minutes before making it clear you know they are a scammer? They get so mad that you made them do their "work" for like 5 minutes and they aren't going to get to steal your money. Try it, it's fun.) So, why not make that less practical for them? How, you ask? Easy. Bump the bar for being autoconfirmed up to like 200 edits and a month, instead of 10 edits and four days. It will suddenly be more effort than it is worth to create new accounts each time, paid editors will either comply with the policy we already have, become exceedingly obvious in their non-compliance, or move on to new scam that is easier. That would be my proposal were I looking to make one. Beeblebrox (talk) 23:45, 17 October 2020 (UTC)
    Beeblebrox, I agree with most of this, except that the goal here isn't getting UPEs to change their behavior. The goal is to give the lawyers another tool for fighting back using legal tools (takedown demands, etc). I don't have a whole lot of confidence this will make much differenc. On the other hand, I can't see any downside and if the lawyers say it's a useful tool to them, I'm happy to give them the tool. -- RoySmith (talk) 00:45, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
    Another way of looking at this...
    Let's say you've got a problem with the neighborhood kids running across your lawn and trampling your flower bed. You hire a lawyer and tell her to figure out how to keep the kids off your lawn. She tells you, "Sure, no problem. I can write nastygrams to their parents, but this works a lot better if you put up 'Keep off the lawn' signs, with 4-inch high red letters". Would you argue with your lawyer about why that's silly, or would you find a can of red paint and get to sign making? -- RoySmith (talk) 01:16, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
    The analogy doesn't hold - that's not the problem here. Try two simple scenarios. Scenario a) Company advertising Wikipedia editing services fails to list their accounts. WMF Legal sends a nasty letter saying that under a policy on EN.WP, they are required to list their accounts on their privately owned website. They say no. What do we do next? Send a takedown notice with no legal standing? Block the unknown accounts? Send another nasty letter? Scenario b) Paid editor on a freelancing website offers WP editing services and doesn't list accounts. We email the site and point out that one of their freelancers is failing to meet with our policy. They either ignore the email, state that they are under no obligation to enforce our policies on their website, or inform their user that they should add the accounts, but the user ignores them. What do we do now? Once again, we have no legal standing - our policies cannot be enforced anywhere but on our website, and in both scernarios the companies make a profit from not enforcing or following our policies. I like the idea of raising autoconfirmed to 100 or 200 edits. If you want to stop paid editing, it would be a good first step, but this change will not make a significant difference. - Bilby (talk) 07:25, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
    "You have a problem with people trampling your garden. You plant landmines. The next day, you kill the mailman, the paperboy and your dog." There, I fixed your analogy for you. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 14:20, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
    Re "Send a takedown notice with no legal standing?": If WMF Legal think something is worth trying, it's worth trying. Let's use actual lawyers for opinions on legal issues. Regardless of that, Support #1 has a note explaining that a sizable number of people email ArbCom/paid-en-wp/admins asking whether a particular email ad is legitimate. This proposal would give an easy answer because if there is no Wikipedia username in email, then it is a scam, and if there is a username, that user can be asked whether they sent it. Johnuniq (talk) 22:08, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
    The problem with "worth trying" is that we never review these things and look at how they worked or didn't work. Years ago we introduced the idea that paid editors had to link to their off-wiki profiles from their user pages. This has made no apparent difference to undisclosed paid editing, because the vast majority of paid editors continue to use one-off socks. Every major paid editor that I knew about on Upwork before it was introduced is still on Upwork and still don't follow the policy. The main effect was to put an additional burden on those that wished to disclose, and the few accounts that we have blocked here because of this (noting that I've seen no evidence that we've closed down advertisements off-wiki in any significant way, even though that was claimed to be one of the main reasons for the policy) have either just moved to socks or seen their jobs go to people who weren't disclosing. The biggest impact it had was that it encouraged some major paid editors to hide their off-wiki profiles, making it that much harder to detect their socks. Because we don't review these changes, we're stuck with a slow but steady expansion of what we claim to be able to do (seriously, we really think we can dictate what people say in emails now?) simply because "it's worth trying" even when there is no evidence that it is going to work. - Bilby (talk) 23:03, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Would this not attract MEATPUPPETs? Opalzukor (talk) 13:23, 21 October 2020 (UTC)
  • I can see a case for including all accounts on your Wikipedia userpage, but in Emails to potential clients? Re: "If the paid editor has used or controlled more than one Wikipedia account, each account must be disclosed." Some of us have had multiple accounts over the years, in my case including a WMUK account that has not been used in five years. I can see a bit of a clash between this and a chapter that might not want to be associated with a project of an ex employee. One sensible change would be to add the word live as in "If the paid editor has used or controlled more than one Wikipedia account, each live account must be disclosed." Or reword it to require paid editors to disclose all accounts on their Wikipedia userpage, and all live accounts in blogs ads etc. ϢereSpielChequers 17:36, 23 October 2020 (UTC)
    • We want them to disclose, in their advertisements, the accounts that have been blocked for spamming too. MER-C 09:20, 24 October 2020 (UTC)
      • OK, there is some sense in that. This wording "If the paid editor has used or controlled more than one Wikipedia account, each live or blocked account must be disclosed." would do that. ϢereSpielChequers 13:46, 24 October 2020 (UTC)

WMF legal[edit]

I find it troubling that a week has passed, but we have had no further response from User:Jrogers (WMF) or anyone else at WMF legal. There are a number of outstanding questions, above, addressed to them. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 13:42, 23 October 2020 (UTC)

Soliciting Community Input on MOS:TERRORIST[edit]

There is a discussion on the implementation of MOS:TERRORIST at WT:W2W#Re:MOS:TERRORIST Transcendence (talk) 18:34, 16 October 2020 (UTC)

NCOIN?[edit]

Hi all, since WP:NCOIN doesn't exist, is there an existing precedent for the notability of coins? I am thinking of 5 cents (World War II Dutch coin) and 5 øre (World War II Danish coin) as examples given that they have been notability tagged for just short of 5 years. --TheSandDoctor Talk 07:56, 18 October 2020 (UTC)

WP:GNG seems like it would be appropriate. --Izno (talk) 15:04, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
And I wouldn't have thought that it would be difficult to find sources that satisy the general notability guideline for any coin that has been in general circulation. Have you tried doing that for these coins? Phil Bridger (talk) 16:34, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
@Izno and Phil Bridger: I am not familiar with Wikipedia articles on coins. The problem with finding sourcing is the fact that these ceased production 77 years ago. I haven't found much aside from ebay listings and the like, so thought I would check in here. I'll go ask Wikipedia:WikiProject Numismatics I guess. --TheSandDoctor Talk 17:48, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
I'd have thought academic sources and books would be the way to go - have you tried REFDESK and the WIkipedia Library? Nosebagbear (talk) 10:45, 19 October 2020 (UTC)

Can Template:Undisclosed paid be used without explanation?[edit]

Discussion at Template talk:Undisclosed paid#Make talk page discussion mandatory when this template is used has stalled; more voices would be beneficial. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 11:17, 18 October 2020 (UTC)

NPOV-problems on Wikipedia[edit]

Hello,

For a long time, I really liked editing Wikipedia. However, the last few years, there has been a shift in the general editing, that made me think that the WP:NPOV-policy has weakened in favor of partisan editing.

In January 2007, this was how editor User:Esurnir described the NPOV-policy here:

Karada offered the following advice in the context of the Saddam Hussein article:

You won't even need to say he was evil. That is why the article on Hitler does not start with "Hitler was a bad man" — we don't need to, his deeds convict him a thousand times over. We just list the facts of the Holocaust dispassionately, and the voices of the dead cry out afresh in a way that makes name-calling both pointless and unnecessary. Please do the same: list Saddam's crimes, and cite your sources.

Remember that readers will probably not take kindly to moralising. If you do not allow the facts to speak for themselves you may alienate readers and turn them against your position.

I fully agree that this advice is very sound for making a good encyclopedia. However, if I compare articles from 2016 with the present ones, my conclusion is that editors do not work according it anymore. Please, for example, look at these intros:

Content dump

The Gatestone Institute[edit]

The Gatestone Institute, 16 May 2016:

The Gatestone Institute, formerly Stonegate Institute and Hudson New York, is a "non-partisan, not-for-profit international policy council and think tank based in New York City" with a specialization in strategy and defense issues.[1][2] Gatestone was founded in 2012 by Nina Rosenwald, who serves as its president.[3][4] Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John R. Bolton is its chairman.[5][6][7]
Gatestone publicizes the writings of authors as diverse as Alan Dershowitz, Robert Spencer, Khaled Abu Toameh, and Harold Rhode.[8]

The Gatestone Institute, 17 October 2020:

Gatestone Institute is a far-right think tank known for publishing anti-Muslim articles.[a][9][10][11][12] It was founded in 2008 by Nina Rosenwald, who serves as its president.[4] Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and former[13] national security advisor, John R. Bolton, was its chairman from 2013 to March 2018. Its current chairman is Amir Taheri.[14][15][16][17]
Gatestone is an anti-Muslim group.[a][18] The organization has attracted attention for publishing false or inaccurate articles, some of which were shared widely.[19][20][21][22][23]

This intro went from describing it neutral into calling a fake-news-spreading hate-group.

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed[edit]

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, version 7 June 2016:

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed is a 2008 documentary film directed by Nathan Frankowski and starring Ben Stein.[24][25] The film contends that the mainstream science establishment suppresses academics who believe they see evidence of intelligent design (ID) in nature and who criticize evidence supporting Darwinian evolution and the modern evolutionary synthesis as a "scientific conspiracy to keep God out of the nation's laboratories and classrooms."[26][27] The scientific theory of evolution is portrayed by the film as contributing to communism, fascism, atheism, eugenics and, in particular, Nazi atrocities in the Holocaust.[28][29] The film portrays intelligent design as motivated by science, rather than religion, though it does not give a detailed definition of the phrase or attempt to explain it on a scientific level. Other than briefly addressing issues of irreducible complexity, Expelled examines it as a political issue.[28][30][31]

Expelled; No Intelligence Allowed, version since 16 September 2020:

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed is a 2008 American documentary-style propaganda film directed by Nathan Frankowski and starring Ben Stein.[29][32][b][33] The film contends that there is a conspiracy in academia to oppress and exclude people who believe in intelligent design.[26][27] It portrays the scientific theory of evolution as a contributor to communism, fascism, atheism, eugenics and, in particular, Nazi atrocities in the Holocaust.[28][29] Although intelligent design is a pseudoscientific religious idea, the film presents it as science-based, without giving a detailed definition of the concept or attempting to explain it on a scientific level. Other than briefly addressing issues of irreducible complexity, Expelled examines intelligent design as a political issue.[28][30][34]

This evolved from describing it as a documentary film into a documentary-style propaganda film, something that is already clear from the article. The pseudoscientific nature of Intelligent Design is already explained in it’s article in 2016, so why hammering it in here?

Carl Benjamin[edit]

Carl Benjamin,version of 6 September 2016:

Carl Benjamin, also known as Sargon of Akkad in social media, is an English YouTube commentator, content creator and game developer.[35] He is married, has two children and lives in Swindon.[36]

Carl Benjamin, current version:

Carl Benjamin (born 1979)[37] is a British anti-feminist[38] YouTuber who is better known by his online pseudonym Sargon of Akkad. A former member of the Eurosceptic right-wing populist UK Independence Party (UKIP), he was one of its unsuccessful candidates for the South West England constituency in the 2019 European Parliament election.
During the Gamergate controversy, Benjamin promoted a conspiracy theory that feminists were infiltrating video game research groups to influence game development according to a feminist agenda. Since Gamergate, his commentary has been largely devoted to promoting Brexit, and criticising feminism, Islam, identity politics, and what he views as political correctness in the media and other institutions.[39]
In 2016, in response to politician Jess Phillips' complaint that she frequently received rape threats from men online, Benjamin tweeted to her: "I wouldn't even rape you." Criticism of this comment—and a later remark in which Benjamin said he might rape Phillips but for the fact that "nobody's got that much beer"—dominated press coverage of his European Parliament candidacy.

Please note that the Jess Phillips-comment was already made before the First version I quoted. It is as if the readers need to know mr. Benjamin is a bad man from the intro.

Steven Crowder[edit]

Steven Crowder, intro as per 10 June 2016:

Steven Blake Crowder (born July 7, 1987) is a Canadian-American actor, comedian, host of Louder with Crowder, former contributor for the Fox News Channel, and regular guest on TheBlaze.

Steven Crowder, current version:

Steven Blake Crowder (/ˈkrdər/; born July 7, 1987) is an American-Canadian conservative political commentator, media host, and comedian.[40][41] He hosts the YouTube channel and podcast Louder with Crowder, where he gives his opinion on sociopolitical issues in the U.S and their solutions. He is also a former contributor at Fox News.
In June 2019, Crowder's YouTube videos were investigated over his repeated use of racist and homophobic slurs to describe journalist Carlos Maza.[42] The channel was not suspended, with YouTube saying, "the videos as posted don't violate our policies".[43][44] His channel was demonetized the next day, with YouTube noting this could be reversed if Crowder addressed "all of the issues" with his channel, citing community guidelines.[44] His channel was re-monetized in August of 2020.[45]

It is quite weird to see how the intro states Crowder’s “use of racist and homophobic slurs” as a prominent fact, while Youtube exonerated him.

ACT! for America[edit]

ACT! for America, version per 20 August 2016:

ACT! for America is an American conservative political organization founded in 2007 to "promot[e] national security and defeat terrorism". It has been described as "a central player"[46] and a "force multiplier"[47] in promoting state laws banning Sharia (Islamic law) in the United States. It describes itself as a "non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots organization" with "nearly 300,000 members and 890 chapters".[46][48] It is loosely associated with the Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters.[49]

ACT! for America, current version:

ACT! for America, founded in 2007, is a U.S.-based anti-Muslim,[50][51][52] pro-Trump[53][54] advocacy group dedicated to combating what it describes as "the threat of radical Islam" to the safety of Americans and to democracy.[20]

In four years, the intro went from "anti-sharia" to "anti Muslim", which is certainly not identical. And why is it necessary to mention the Pro-Trump-part? Do we have to mention each endorsement of each organisation, or only when it supports that spoiled, angry, racist cry-baby that currently resides in the White House? And why not quoting the mission statement of the organisation, instead of calling them plain “anti-Muslim”?

Conclusion (NPOV)[edit]

References

  1. ^ "About Gatestone Institute". Gatestone Institute.
  2. ^ La tournée africaine de Sa Majesté le Roi, l’expression d’un leadership solidaire soucieux du bien-être des peuples de la région , Le Matin, March 27, 2013 "Gatestone Institute, un think tank américain de renommée internationale spécialisé dans les questions stratégiques et de défense."
  3. ^ "Gatestone Institute". Facebook. May 3, 2012. Retrieved August 26, 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Nina Rosenwald". Gatestone Institute. Retrieved September 24, 2013. Cite error: The named reference "NRbioGI" was defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  5. ^ "John Bolton". Foxnews.com. Archived from the original on August 3, 2013. Retrieved August 26, 2013. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  6. ^ John R. Bolton. "Scholars – John R. Bolton". AEI. Retrieved August 26, 2013.
  7. ^ "Former UN Ambassador John R. Bolton Joins Gatestone Institute as Chairman". Gatestone Institute. July 17, 2013. Retrieved August 26, 2013.
  8. ^ Blumenthal, Max (June 13, 2012) "The Sugar Mama of Anti-Muslim Hate", The Nation, Retrieved September 21, 2013.
  9. ^ Cite error: The named reference vox327 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  10. ^ Gjelten, Tom (April 6, 2018). "Trump's National Security And State Department Picks Alarm American Muslims". NPR.
  11. ^ Cerulus, Laurens (July 17, 2017). "Germany's anti-fake news lab yields mixed results". Politico.
  12. ^ Cite error: The named reference huff was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  13. ^ Staff, TOI (September 10, 2019). "Times of Israel". Retrieved September 10, 2019.
  14. ^ "John Bolton chaired anti-Muslim think tank". NBC News. April 23, 2018.
  15. ^ Cite error: The named reference bolton was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  16. ^ Cite error: The named reference sugar was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  17. ^ "Board of Advisors" Gatestone Institute. Retrieved 2013-09-21.
  18. ^ Filkins, Dexter (2019-04-29). "John Bolton on the Warpath". The New Yorker (Serial). ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved 2019-05-02.
  19. ^ Przybyla, Heidi (April 23, 2018). "John Bolton presided over anti-Muslim think tank". NBC News. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  20. ^ a b "Profile: ACT! for America" (PDF). Anti-Defamation League. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  21. ^ Cite error: The named reference bloomberg was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  22. ^ "False: European Union Gag Order On Revealing Muslim Terrorists' Religion". Snopes.com. November 18, 2016. Retrieved February 16, 2017.
  23. ^ Fang, Lee (March 23, 2018). "John Bolton Chairs an Actual "Fake News" Publisher Infamous for Spreading Anti-Muslim Hate". The Intercept. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  24. ^ "EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed" (DOC). expelledthemovie.com (Press kit). Premise Media Corporation. 2008. Unknown parameter |dead-url= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)[dead link]
  25. ^ Colavecchio-Van Sickler, Shannon (March 13, 2008). "Legislation may keep evolution debate alive". St. Petersburg Times. St. Petersburg, FL: Times Publishing Company. Retrieved 2016-01-05.
  26. ^ a b Dean, Cornelia (September 27, 2007). "Scientists Feel Miscast in Film on Life's Origin". The New York Times. New York: The New York Times Company. p. A1. Retrieved 2007-09-28. Cite error: The named reference "Dean_Scientists Feel" was defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  27. ^ a b Burbridge-Bates, Lesley (August 14, 2007). "What Happened to Freedom of Speech?" (PDF) (Press release). Los Angeles, CA: Motive Entertainment; Premise Media Corporation. Retrieved 2016-01-05.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)[dead link] Cite error: The named reference "Motive_pressrelease" was defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  28. ^ a b c d Whipple, Dan (December 16, 2007). "Science Sunday: Intelligent Design Goes to the Movies". Colorado Confidential (Blog). Archived from the original on 2008-03-27. Retrieved 2016-01-05.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link) Cite error: The named reference "Whipple_CC" was defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  29. ^ a b c Catsoulis, Jeannette (April 18, 2008). "Resentment Over Darwin Evolves Into a Documentary". The New York Times (Movie review). New York: The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2008-12-03.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link) Cite error: The named reference "Catsoulis" was defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  30. ^ a b Chang, Justin (April 11, 2008). "Review: 'Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed'". Variety. Sutton, London: Reed Business Information. ISSN 0042-2738. Retrieved 2008-06-10. Cite error: The named reference "Chang_Variety" was defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  31. ^ Emerson, Jim (December 17, 2008). "Ben Stein: No argument allowed". RogerEbert.com (Blog). Chicago, IL: Ebert Digital LLC. Retrieved 2016-01-05. One spokesman comes close to articulating a thought about Intelligent Design: 'If you define evolution precisely, though, to mean the common descent of all life on earth from a single ancestor via undirected mutation and natural selection -- that's a textbook definition of neo-Darwinism -- biologists of the first rank have real questions... 'Intelligent Design is the study of patterns in nature that are best explained as a result of intelligence.'
  32. ^ Cite error: The named reference Puig_USAToday was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  33. ^ Shermer, Michael. "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed--Ben Stein Launches a Science-free Attack on Darwin", Scientific American, 9 Apr. 2008. Accessed 26 May 2018. Shermer calls the movie "Ben Stein's antievolution documentary film".
  34. ^ Emerson, Jim (December 17, 2008). "Ben Stein: No argument allowed". RogerEbert.com (Blog). Chicago, IL: Ebert Digital LLC. Retrieved 2016-01-05. One spokesman comes close to articulating a thought about Intelligent Design: 'If you define evolution precisely, though, to mean the common descent of all life on earth from a single ancestor via undirected mutation and natural selection -- that's a textbook definition of neo-Darwinism -- biologists of the first rank have real questions... 'Intelligent Design is the study of patterns in nature that are best explained as a result of intelligence.'
  35. ^ Zombie slayers call for start-up funders; Swindon Advertiser,by Beren Cross, 26 March 2014
  36. ^ I set out to troll her — why all this fuss about 600 rape tweets?, by Martin Daubney June 5 2016; The Sunday Times
  37. ^ Benjamin, Carl (27 May 2019). Exactly as Expected. Event occurs at 4:25. Archived from the original on 27 May 2019. Retrieved 27 May 2019 – via YouTube. This graph from the BBC: shows you how the Conservative and Labour vote share has fallen since the year of my birth until now.
  38. ^ Cite error: The named reference bowles was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  39. ^ Straumsheim, Carl (November 11, 2014). ""#Gamergate and Games Research"". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved October 7, 2020. Sargon of Akkad, a YouTube user who regularly discusses “gaming, anti-feminism, history and fiction” on his channel, has fueled that conspiracy theory.
  40. ^ Steven Crowder [@scrowder] (20 February 2014). "Allow me to clarify. I have dual-citizenship with the USA and Canada" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  41. ^ "Steven Crowder, conservative comedian, draws Prophet Muhammad on YouTube channel". Washington Times. Retrieved 2017-04-14.
  42. ^ Cite error: The named reference WaPo1 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  43. ^ Cite error: The named reference Time was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  44. ^ a b Nett, Danny (June 8, 2019). "Is YouTube Doing Enough To Stop Harassment Of LGBTQ Content Creators?". NPR. Retrieved June 8, 2019.
  45. ^ Cite error: The named reference remonetized was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  46. ^ a b Lean, Nathan (12 August 2015). "Hirsi Ali Teams Up With Act for America for Event on Islam". Huffington Post. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  47. ^ Elliott, Andrea (July 30, 2011). "The Man Behind the Anti-Shariah Movement". The New York Times. Retrieved August 9, 2011.
  48. ^ "act for america (homepage)". Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  49. ^ http://www.adl.org/combating-hate/domestic-extremism-terrorism/c/oath-keepers-and-three.html
  50. ^ "Florida's Ron DeSantis spoke to group whose founder says devout Muslims can't be loyal Americans". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2018-09-17.
  51. ^ Buncombe, Andrew (August 22, 2017). "US's largest anti-Muslim group cancels 67 rallies after seeing size of anti-fascist crowd in Boston". The Independent.
  52. ^ Allam, Hannah; Ansari, Talal (April 10, 2018). "State And Local Republican Officials Have Been Bashing Muslims. We Counted". BuzzFeed News.
  53. ^ "ACT for America cancels pro-Trump rallies planned for Sept. 9 in 36 states". syracuse.com. Retrieved 2017-08-22.
  54. ^ CNYCentral. "Syracuse denies permit request for group planning 'America First Rally'". WSTM. Retrieved 2017-08-22.
  1. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference anti-Muslim bundle was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ Puig calls the film a "controversial documentary", but characterizes it as "propaganda, a political rant disguised as a serious commentary". She notes, "A documentarian is not required to be objective, but Stein's point of view is blatant advertising."

It does not matter what you think of these persons, film and organisations. What matters is that the User:Esurnir was right: the pointless name-calling does alienate readers and turn them against you, ie. against Wikipedia as a reliable encyclopedia. I already see examples of this hostility in social media. And, what is worse for me personally, it demotivates me from editing.

Now, I do believe this problem is a serious threat for the image and future of Wikipedia. Do others think that too? And if so: does anybody has an idea for a solution? And, as a final question: is this the right place to show my concerns? Regards,Jeff5102 (talk) 13:33, 18 October 2020 (UTC)

Discussion (NPOV)[edit]

I don't need to repeat my soapbox but this hits the nail on the head. Too many articles editors are far too keen to rush to characterize the topic (as per what RSes may say) rather than explain what the topic is first in a neutral and impartial tone first (per the collapsed examples). We still can including that characterization, and often must include that per WEIGHT as that is usually why a topic is notable in most of these cases, but we have to present that in a dispassionate way, and that starts by first introducing the objective details of the topic, then moving into the subjective. For 99% of these articles, this doesn't change what content we have, just the order of how its presented. --Masem (t) 15:05, 18 October 2020 (UTC)

Masem, the core question always is: why is someone looking this up? Normally it's because they want to know if they should trust this source. Example: someone looking for the Cato Institute will be coming here because they have heard a statement by them. So the first and most important thing to know is that they are a libertarian free-market think tank funded by polluters. That colours everything they say. They don't say anything at all unless it's to serve their masters. Don't trust think-tanks. Ever. Guy (help! - typo?) 22:10, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
That is absolutely the wrong approach. Take Encyclopedia Britannica - do you think think they lead off with what the "reader" expects? No. We have a lede section to eventually address this and certainly burying the lede by not mentioning what somebody is notable for until the last para of the lede is bad, and this is not what anyone is suggesting. But there is a need to keep characterizations from any source secondary to the key purposes of presenting factual information first and foremost. WP is not here to be the mouthpiece to criticize people that have been criticized by the media or others, and that's exactly what the OP post is pointing out has been abused over the last several yeras. --Masem (t) 00:51, 19 October 2020 (UTC)
And that example of the Cato Institute is absolutely the last thing that we want people using Wikipedia for, or at least for WP to be as explicit about. It's the "Hilter is evil" comment mentioned above. We can explain what objectively the Cato Institute is, we can list who are their known backers and wikilinks to them, and if there's recognized commentary on that, mention those backers are known polluters, but it is absolutely not our place to even suggest in wikivoice that Cato is backed known polluters, much less promote that as the first thing the reader sees, per RIGHTGREATWRONGS. We are amoral to these things, we can't take sides at all. Pushing these points earlier make is doing exactly that. --Masem (t) 00:58, 19 October 2020 (UTC)

THIS. 1,000 x this. Especially in the AP2 area, articles have moral judgments in the lead. In my experience, if you try to "neutralize" the article by removing just judgments from the lead, you will be accused of POV pushing, etc. The belief is, to paraphrase, starting the article on Hitler with anything other than "Hitler is a bad man" is considered pro-Hitler. This approach is not only contrary to NPOV, it's just bad writing. It's "telling" rather than "showing". I've tried to fix these sorts of things in the past and always been outnumbered and chased away. To be blunt, since Trump was elected, Wikipedia took a hard turn towards moralism in the AP2 area. It's an understandable reaction, but re-balancing is needed. Lev!vich 18:27, 18 October 2020 (UTC)

Levivich, I disagree. I have a serious problem with think-tanks, for example. We should not treat them as neutral scholarly institutions because they are not. They exist to conduct policy based evidence making. A think tank funded by polluter money is not an honest broker. Carl Benjamin certainly isn't an honest broker: he's a grifter. And - amazingly - he is virtually unknown in his home country. He was humiliated the one time he tried for elected office, I guarantee you that most Brits have never heard of him, same as Paul Joseph Watson. Guy (help! - typo?) 22:06, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
Taking Carl Benjamin for example, I think if the word "anti-feminist" were removed from the lead, nothing would be lost. The second paragraph communicates the same thought, and it does so by "showing" rather than "telling" (or labelling). Gatestone Institute is another example, it has "anti-Muslim" twice in the lead. It's like we're beating our readers over the head with it. Lev!vich 22:23, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
Levivich, really? He's a MRA. He is known as an advocate of misogyny. I think that would lose something. Guy (help! - typo?) 22:44, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
"He's a MRA" says a lot more than "He's an anti-feminist". "Anti-feminist" is a meaningless label, like "anti-communist" or (drumroll) "anti-fascist". Labeling or categorizing something isn't really the best an encyclopedia can do; describing and explaining is better. Lev!vich 03:51, 19 October 2020 (UTC)
In this case, maybe we would need more references that explicitly use the term "anti-feminist" to refer to him in order to justify using it as the first term to describe him in the lede. They could either be all next to the first appearance of the term in the lede itself or further down in the body article. El Millo (talk) 03:56, 19 October 2020 (UTC)
"He is known as an advocate of misogyny"? Thanks. That shows the problem. I am pretty sure Mr. Benjamin never published a statement in favour of more mysogyny. I would also think he would deny such a statement. Nor do I know of any news about him abusing women. It are only others who call him a mysogynist. So, if Wikipedia is supposed to be a neutral source, why then putting such a statement in the lead? It would fit better in a sourced "Reception/criticism"-section. Meanwhile, his viewpoints can be explained in a "Viewpoints"-section, with the proper links that show Benjamin explaining his worldviews . That is how an encyclopedia should be made: neutral, without the use of the Poisoning the well-fallacy in the lead. Regards, Jeff5102 (talk) 07:26, 19 October 2020 (UTC)
Of course it's only others who call him a mysogynist and not himself. What he has to say on the term itself being applied to him is not important as long as there are enough reliable sources that define him as a mysognynist (or an advocate of it, for that matter) based on things he has said and done. Now, you might argue that we don't have enough sources to justify defining him as a mysogynist—which isn't even what's actually being discussed here, this is about the "anti-feminist" label, which is not only reliably sourced but self-evident by hashtags promoted by him like "#FeminismIsCancer", which is mentioned in the article—but his opinion on whether this label applies to him doesn't have nearly as much weight as what reliable sources have to say on the matter. El Millo (talk) 07:47, 19 October 2020 (UTC)
Hate to fall back on the example of Hitler again, but Hitler was publicly very adamant to citizens and to journalists that he espoused socialism, although the Nazi brand of socialism is most certainly not the kind that historians would accept as socialism. In fact, he made it a point to privately emphasize to large business owners and to wealthy patrons that he was not advocating for any sort of policies that favored workers over businesses. It's an example of why we favor reliable secondary sourcing over primary sourcing at Wikipedia. There are people and sources we trust in this area of politics for a reason. If we can't trust them, we trust nobody.--WaltCip-(talk) 13:23, 19 October 2020 (UTC)
It's also why we should wait a sufficiently reasonable time before getting too into the characterization of any topic, using sources that have "time-removed" aspects from the events rather than from any sources reporting in the midst of the events. From a purely academic interest, it is going to be interesting to see how Trump's presidency is going to be qualified a decade from now, for example, and that is the type of characterization we want to include in WP, not what the mass media is saying today about it, nor what Trump is saying about himself today as well. Yes, sometimes how a topic is characterized in the now is the only reason why they are notable, but we can still carefully approach that to avoid the aggressive and hostile tone that the various given examples show. --Masem (t) 13:41, 19 October 2020 (UTC)
Over-reliance on news and other less than scholarly sources has gotten us here. Easy to find a source that paints someone poorly these days. The other is the overall attitude of experienced editors is "X viewpoint (usually conservative) is wrong so bash away because their views are discriminatory Slywriter (talk) 00:37, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
@Levivich: How on earth are anti-feminist or anti-fascist "meaningless labels"? They both describe concrete political ideologies and contemporary social movements and organisations. It's 100% neutral and helpful to our readers to point out if an affiliation with either is a significant part of a person's biography. – Joe (talk) 15:36, 22 October 2020 (UTC)
Anti-feminism and anti-fascism (of the modern-day "antifa", not the early-20th-century variety) are not organizations, social movements, or ideologies. No more so than "anti-communism", "anti-capitalism" or "anti-anything". "Anti-feminism" is also known as "misogyny". "Anti-fascism" is also known as "being human" (might as well call it "anti-evil-ism"). "Feminism" and "fascism" might be ideologies and might be (or might have once been, in the case of fascism) social movements, but that doesn't make opposition to those ideologies/movements an ideology/movement in and of itself. Calling someone "anti-feminist" is just another way of saying someone is misogynist, and calling someone "anti-fascist" doesn't mean anything at all, it doesn't say anything about the person at all. Lev!vich 16:15, 22 October 2020 (UTC)
@Levivich and Jeff5102: I suspect the Hitler example was supposed to be facetious, but... In the past year, "universally regarded as gravely immoral" was added to the Hitler lead. (See discussion; there's also an ongoing back-and-forth about replacing it with "evil".) It sounds ridiculous to me, that the article gives precedence to modern-day public opinion over the actual deeds. It's really not the same issue as characterization in articles relating to contemporary politics, exactly, but it's somewhat related. For the issues with contemporary political articles, my first thought was that we need some clearer policies, but many of these things are already clearly covered: WP:BLP says "Summarize how actions and achievements are characterized by reliable sources without giving undue weight to recent events. Do not label people with contentious labels, loaded language, or terms that lack precision, unless a person is commonly described that way in reliable sources. Instead use clear, direct language and let facts alone do the talking.", for example. I do think it's clear that we're getting worse at various areas of NPOV editing, somehow. I don't know why, or how to fix it.
Re the points above about ideological identification of a person or group when that conflicts with their self-identification: In present-day political situations, I doubt it would ever be a good idea to label someone eg "anti-Muslim" or "anti-feminist" in Wikipedia's voice; it fits into the category of "thing someone has an opinion on", and doesn't say anything about the topic. There's an implied "Wikipedia says". If a person sees "Wikipedia says that Y says that X is [label]", they can ignore the "Wikipedia says" part since they have no reason to doubt Wikipedia's statement on Y's statement there, so they learn something about Y, and possibly about X if they happen to trust Y's opinion. If they see "Wikipedia says X is [label]", they learn something about Wikipedia, and nothing about X since they probably don't care about the opinions of anonymous internet people. But if they see "Wikipedia says that X [did things that clearly demonstrate [label]-ness in the reader's mind] (sourced to reliable sources)", then they'll actually learn the thing. (That is, assuming the article doesn't sound like it's trying to, as Levivich phrased it, "beat our readers over the head with it", which would immediately cast considerable doubt on it.) --Yair rand (talk) 09:48, 22 October 2020 (UTC)
I completely disagree with this view of labels: if a public figure is antisemitic, identified as such by reliable sources, and this is important to their notability (per the BALANCE of RS) they should be labelled as antisemitic in Wikivoice. The same is true with antifeminist or anti-gay or anti-transgender activists and spokespeople. In the case of Carl Benjamin, there are many, many RS that use "antifeminist" beyond the NYT cited in the lede; in fact, when he was a UKIP candidate in 2019, "anti-feminist Youtuber" seems to have been the standard description used for him. See (among many possible examples) the long explanation in the Guardian, this piece in the Independent, this more recent PinkNews piece, the Houston Press or Vice, which uses the longer descriptive phrase "Youtuber who rose to prominence trailing against feminism". The description isn't incidental: it is, as the sources say, central to Benjamin's "rise to prominence" and subsequent notability. Newimpartial (talk) 15:59, 22 October 2020 (UTC)
Those are some bottom-shelf sources you're point to. Got anything academic? Lev!vich 16:17, 22 October 2020 (UTC)
I disagree that the NYT, the Guardian and the Independent are "bottom shelf" sources. I also find it bizarre when editors insist on scholarly sources on political labels in articles where little or none of the rest of the content is sourced to scholarship.
Nevertheless, because Benjamin's antifeminism has been such a prominent part of his work to date, it has actually been subject to scholarly attention by media studies, criminology, and gender studies scholars. Newimpartial (talk) 16:49, 22 October 2020 (UTC)
NYT isn't a bottom-shelf source but I didn't see an NYT link there; Guardian and Independent are not good sources. Would you kindly quote where in those three papers the authors introduce Carl Benjamin as an "antifeminist YouTuber", or use the words "antifeminist" and "Carl Benjamin" in the same sentence, or in the same paragraph? Lev!vich 17:09, 22 October 2020 (UTC)
I don't normally do legwork for other editors, once I have actually linked to sources, but I will make an exception this time. The first article simply states, Benjamin is a conspiracy theorist and anti-feminist when introducing the figures it is discussing.
The Palgrave chapter spends a paragraph analysing Carl Benjamin/Sargon of Akkad's influence post-Gamergate, and states the following about him and his epigones: SoA’s account has been banned from Twitter, but through his followers, he still has a presence in our research data. The overwhelming impression of these most active participants is that they are in 2019 still concerned with “geeky” topics (games, comics, science fiction, and fantasy) but are also, for instance, climate change deniers, against feminism, against the AntiFa movement, and in general against social justice topics.
The third paper opens with the VidCon incident and approvingly cites Sarkeesian as saying, Carl is a man who literally profits from harassing me and other women... He is one of several YouTubers who profit from the cottage industry of online harassment and antifeminism}. This all seems to have been assessed by scholars, from different though overlapping fields, who know what they are doing. Newimpartial (talk) 18:03, 22 October 2020 (UTC)
Thanks. Of those three, don't you think the second and third do a much, much better job of communicating CB's views than the first? And, noticeably, the second and third do not call CB "antifeminist"; the second one is calling his followers "against feminism" among many other things, and the third one is saying he profits from antifeminism, which is not the same as being an antifeminist (it's worse, in my opinion, and part of "the point" is that we should let the readers form their own opinion instead of telling them what to think). Lev!vich 20:27, 22 October 2020 (UTC)
I'm afraid I don't see any incompatibility between the two approaches, or any reason WP shouldn't use both. Newimpartial (talk) 14:17, 23 October 2020 (UTC)


@Yair rand:, w/r/t "why, or how to fix it": I think the "why" has a lot to do with Trump being elected in 2016. It seem to me pretty understandable that in response to the "misinformation age" of the last four years, many people will want to do something to counteract that misinformation, and editing Wikipedia is a pretty natural choice for that. So it makes sense to me that there has been an increase in "naming and shaming", particularly in AP2, since 2016. I checked out the OP's examples with tools like mw:WWT and WP:WikiBlame and was not surprised to find that the familiar AP2 regulars were the editors who originally added labels like "anti-Muslim" to these articles (and others, I have seen), in some cases edit warred to keep them in, and in some cases !voting in RFCs to keep them in. Certain media outlets have been writing about this for years, embarking on their own "naming and shaming" countercampaign (or is it a counter-countercampaign? I've lost track). As with every other topic area, this topic area reflects the editorial judgments of the editors who edit the topic area, and for better or worse, labelling is popular nowadays in this topic area (as can be seen in this discussion, too). So as to how to fix it: partly I think the problem will get better in the future whenever Trump leaves office and hopefully the "misinformation age" subsides, and partly it won't change until/unless more "anti-label" (heh) editors start regularly editing these articles, particularly with an eye towards providing more meaningful leads. Lev!vich 16:58, 22 October 2020 (UTC)

I think there is a problem here, but with regards to the first example, while I think the latter version of The Gatestone Institute article isn't OK, the 2016 version was worse. They, like a great many think tanks, are a glorified propaganda outfit and when we replicated their assertion that they are "non-partisan" in the lead with no indication as to their ideological leanings, we were complicit in reputation washing. "Show, don't tell" might be good advice for many fiction authors but it reduces the value of a reference work: we should be figuring out NPOV leads that do succeed in summarising their topic. — Charles Stewart (talk) 19:20, 21 October 2020 (UTC)

I don't understand the distinction Masem draws between characterising something and describing what something is, since the OED defines to characterise as to "describe the distinctive nature or features of". The Gatestone Institute is a "far-right think tank known for publishing anti-Muslim articles". That is not name-calling or a moral judgement, just a description of the facts as established by reliable sources. It is no less objective (and more precise) than describing it as just a think tank. It's substantially more objective than quoting verbatim the institute's own marketing copy. Ditto for all the other American alt-right figures given as examples above.
Esurnir's maxim is being misapplied here: if we're saying that previous versions of the examples are the model, the Hitler analogy I'd draw is that we should neither call him a bad man nor dispassionately describe his crimes, we should factually introduce him as the "Führer of the Germanic Reich and People",[1] list his objective political appointments and military accomplishments, and perhaps mention something about criticism of his treatment of minorities in a Controversies section.
If we're getting better at calling spades spades, that's a good thing. – 

References

  1. ^ Reich Cabinet of National Salvation (August 20, 1934), Geisetz über die Vereidigung der Beamten und der Soldaten der Wehrmacht.

Joe (talk) 15:22, 22 October 2020 (UTC)

What something is is through clear, objective tests or evaluations, such as through scientific measurement or simple observation against a long-established definition requiring no interpretation. There may be limited debates here due to shifting knowledge - Pluto being a planet vs just a astral body for example - but for the most part, if you have any competent person that can understand the same process to determine what that topic is, they should always come to the same conclusion.
What something is characterized as is based on subjective measures, and thus will depend on who the person making the description will be. This not only affects, for example, the application of value-laden labels, but as well as what are the most salient "features" of the topic that are not part of what the topic "is". As an example of the latter, Kevin Spacey to some may be an "award-winning actor" while to others, a "sexual predator". Anything where there is a matter of opinion, judgement, or the like where there is even the possibility or room for counterarguments even if these aren't voiced should all be treated as characterizations of a topic.
Now related to multiple other concurrent discussions, with time, if academic sources tend to all agree that a topic - one that is no longer active or alive or whatever - meet some subjective characterization, then maybe there's room to treat that as fact. We're talking, if here in 2020, topics likely before 1950. The problem is editors want to use media sources to do that job, which is absolutely not the same as academic sources as cautioned by RECENTISM. Media is fine for facts, but we should not be trying to include their opinions or characterizations unless they are essential to understanding the topic, and when that's necessary, that's got to be presented as characterization of the topic, spoken out of Wikivoice with attribution and after we've gone through what the topic "is". Calling a spade a spade is great if that's based on a sizable body of academic works, but should be not be the case if we're basing that on current media. --Masem (t) 16:18, 22 October 2020 (UTC)
But not all cases are subject to a simplistic "is"/"characterized as" distinction. For example, I would argue (along with the sources, including scholarly ones) that Carl Benjamin's antifeminism is a defining aspect: it is a major reason he receives the attention of scholars (though anti-immigrant sentiment factors there as well), and perhaps more importantly it was a huge part of how he gained his bully Youtube pulpit through the GamerGate movement. "Antifeminism" isn't a label people apply to Benjamin because they DONTLIKE what he says: his path to notability was entirely wrapped up in his avowed opposition to feminism and feminists. There may he cases where WP would be better to let actions speak rather than labels, but Carl Benjamin just isn't one of them Newimpartial (talk) 17:04, 22 October 2020 (UTC)
What I've said doesn't mean we don't include "characterization" (of which calling CB under "antifeminism" is certainly still characterization since you've just shown it's a subjective label.) Characterization, no matter how loud it is from the media sources, should be presented after the fundamental objective statements as to not impact the initial tone of the article, and always in some type of attributed sources to take it out of wikivoice. That is, in this case, CB's notability is strongly tied to his characerization of being antifeminism and that absolutely need to be stated early in the lede per WEIGHT, but no P&G requires us to open with why a topic is notable in the first sentence, only that this is given somewhere in the lede at some point. --Masem (t) 17:13, 22 October 2020 (UTC)
I am not here to shadowbox about which sentence of the lede something goes in. There have been versions of Carl Benjamin where the antifeminist activism featured later in the first paragraph, and I was fine with that. But I still disagree with any reading of WP:LABEL that would require undisputed characterizations, or characterizations that are undisputed among high-quality (in this case, academic) sources to be attributed in the lede and denied wikivoice. I am for most purposes a philosophical realist, and Benjamin is AFAICT objectively anti-feminist; I entirely disagree that it is a "subjective label" in this instance, in the sense you mean. Newimpartial (talk) 17:24, 22 October 2020 (UTC)
This is the slippery slope fallacy when it comes to LABELs and claiming no dispute exists when you only limit to where the dispute must be from high quality RSes. This is where we entire the fact that RSOPINION is fair game for the source of points of dispute that can be used for labels (even if we don't actually include those sources), as well as common sense that a term would be taken as a disputed term and there is an absence of any sources that dispute it; the nature of the term itself should be sufficient to consider it in dispute.
The thing overall is that wikivoice cannot be judgmental at all, and taking such labels only used in the media in the short term is judgement. Editors should be very much aware that overall there's been a culture war that's been leading to an information war, and WP is at the center of that. No question we have to fight off the misinformation that is trying to be propagated (eg why we have deprecated numerous sources recently) but at the same time, we have to recognize that the press itself is fighting that way in the direction to paint the far/alt-right in a negative light, for numerous valid reasons. But because of this new approach over the last 5-6 years, that makes their coverage more judgmental on these topics - doesn't reduce the reliability of what they report factually but does beg how much we should focus on their commentary and analysis in the short term per RECENTISM. Its why we should be waiting for the academic sources that come later in time, separated from the events that will not be anywhere close to judgmental and consider if they use the same language then. Of course, if the press's broad opinion has the WEIGHT, it obviously should be included, but LABEL as well as WP:OUTRAGE tell us to keep all that outside of Wikivoice. --Masem (t) 18:07, 22 October 2020 (UTC)
No, Masem, I am not engaged in a slippery-slope fallacy. I am naming two scenarios: one where all available sources agree (and none contest) an attribute, and a second where all of the highest quality (e.g. academic) sources agree and there is no dissent within that domain. In both of those cases, I am saying that the distinction you are maintaining between "factual" and "opinion" labels cannot be maintained in some important cases, and the consensus of the sources should stand as a description of reality in these cases. Your assertion that the "antifeminist" characterization of Benjamin is limited to the media is simply incorrect; the idea that the term is "judgmetal" and unlikely to be maintained in future (vs. recent) scholarship strikes me as a truly weird kind of CRYSTAL gazing. There is nothing about terms like antifeminist, anti-transgender or anti-Jewish that makes them suitable for articles about long-dead historical subjects but inappropriate to more recent ones. All of these can be - and are - used by reliable sources to accurately describe important attributes of our BLP subjects. Removing them based on CRYSTAL or CRYBLP concerns seems the opposite of an encyclopaedic approach, to me. Newimpartial (talk) 18:21, 22 October 2020 (UTC)
The first fallacy is claiming "all available sources". WP is not a walled garden or ivory tower as to ignore what happens beyond what we list at RS. RS is important to block out what we include for facts, but we have RSOPINION, and as soon as you start digging at commentary and criticism from sources otherwise deemed RS for fact, you have created fair game to start looking beyond the RS to see if there's other opinions out there to consider if there's more that just the "RSFACT" sources. Otherwise, this logic states we basically can pretend that there is almost no right-leaning views that exist because there are no RSes on that side of the board, which is of course wrong. Contrast this to when we designation scientific theory as fact -this is through peer review and sound scientific principles that are meant to eliminate the possibility of other options. With press and subjective language, you simply cannot prove the negative - that no counter views readily exist. That's why as we get more academic works - the ones that do have peer review with the historical perspective, we now have more something like the scientific fields as to say there's no other options and thus move to a more factual usage. (And I will stress, have little care myself for any of these far right entities. It's just that if this balance is not dealt with now, it will continue to spiral out of hand to other topics beyond the far right.
The other fallacy is the emphatic need to include these terms. Again, WP needs to be non-judgemental, neutral, and impartial, and that starts with how editors approach articles. I've dealt with far too many editors that work on topics who are entering the topic believing they must show the person is "bad", which is basically against RIGHTGREATWRONG. We absolutely need to leave it for the reader to decide for themselves and focus first on writing the basic bio pieces common for any biography, and the consider how to incorporate the controversial bits knowing these are notable facets but they have to integrate in a way that keeps WP non-judgmental. This doesn't mean whitewashing or whatever removals people may claim, 99% of the time it is simply reordering and word choice of the existing text. --Masem (t) 21:47, 22 October 2020 (UTC)

But you are making a BOTHSIDES claim here that doesn't align with reality. The "other side" on Sargon and feminism doesn't claim that Benjamin isn't opposed to feminism; they argue that he is opposed to feminism and he is right. In his own words, This is what feminism has wrought – a generation of men who do not know what to do, who are being demonised for what they are - the reader shouldn't "be left to themselves" whether Carl Benjamin opposes feminism. Everyone - including the scholars, including his supporters, including Carl himself - agrees that he does. Trying to exclude or adopt WEASEL language about this obvious fact in his article would absolutely be WHITEWASHING. Newimpartial (talk) 22:54, 22 October 2020 (UTC)

But that goes to BPP's point: does he call himself "anti-feminism"? It doesn't appear to be, where it seems to be more about favoring men's rights. (It's like why pro-choice supporters on the abortion debates aren't called "anti-life supporters".) Certainly his position is readily characterized by the mainstream sources as "anti-feminism" , no question, and that's no going anywhere, but looking over the walled garden is clear this is not a universal truth and thus cannot be stated in wikivoice. We don't and can't include those sources that fail RS (no need to create false balance), we don't have to even mention that there's conflict per WP:MANDY if we don't have decent RSes that explain the conflict over the term, but we do need to take the language out of Wikivoice, which in no way is any weaseling. It's consistent with WP:YESPOV and WP:OUTRAGE and WP:LABEL. No where else on WP do we apply characterization in Wikivoice except in these areas, which is why there's the problem. --Masem (t) 23:15, 22 October 2020 (UTC)
But someone who declares themselves opposed to feminism is anti-feminist, just as someone who declares themselves opposed to fascism is anti-fascist and someone who declares themselves opposes to the Jews is anti-Jewish. These aren't LABEL issues; this is a matter of basic English-language syntax and Arisotelian logic. Newimpartial (talk) 23:35, 22 October 2020 (UTC)
No, that's still a characterization issue, and one I know I can attest to since I've been on that side that is a result of the race to trying to pigeonhole people (where my arguments to try to keep topics neutral have been argued to saying I'm pro-right). I don't know in depth of CB's statements he made, though I'm well aware he is strongly outspoken against the modern wave of feminism as it impacts men's rights. Yes, that may be (and in this case most likely is) anti-feminism but I can also see that some may argue that's pro mens-rights. Whether he's said himself he's anti-feminist I don't know, and if he has self-labeled as BPP has asked, that simplifies matters. But absent anything CB has said about himself, we have to take the media's use of that as a broad pigeonholing characterization that can't be said in wikivoice. Even if it was the case he used the term to self-identify, as it is still a term that is a characterization, and not something that can be measured or determined objectively like one's career, it still needs to be used as a point of characterization, which means it should be not spoken in wikivoice, and cannot lead off an article if we are to maintain a neutral, impartial, and dispassionate tone that NPOV/BLP requires for writing about these people. The article still is going to reflect on CB's overall stance that speaks against feminism, and by the second sentence of the lede should establish that, the reader is still going to learn this, but we can't force that to the reader, they need to be able to come to that determination themselves. --Masem (t) 13:54, 23 October 2020 (UTC)
I don't want to BLUDGEON this further, so I won't respond at length. That you see the media's use of (such a label) as a broad pigeonholing characterization that can't be said in wikivoice is clear, and is a perspective you have maintained tenaciously in this and similar cases. However, I haven't seen any substantial consensus of support for that interpretation, here or elsewhere. Newimpartial (talk) 14:15, 23 October 2020 (UTC)
It is written in policy via WP:IMPARTIAL how exactly we're supposed to present controversial aspects in Wikivoice. It seems patently clear that applying a label like "anti-feminism" to CB is a controvserial stance so IMPARTIAL 100% applies. But then I know the argument is "but there's no other view presented in the high quality RSes" but that's the other problem is that the high-quality RSes isn't the extent of the real world. We are not blind or deaf to everything else, and we're smarter than that than to know how to apply IMPARTIAL appropriately. That's exactly what has been argued throughout this entire thread from the OP's post. We have given away from what IMPARTIAL requires and instead adopted the tone the high-quality RSes have used because editors feel that's the only sources we can even listen to, which creates the problems. WP cannot write like this and asserting "But this is fine" is creating the problem. --Masem (t) 14:32, 23 October 2020 (UTC)
To try to clarify (again) - I am, by and large, a philosophical realist. I therefore recognize that that are cases where the "consensus of the best" sources may represent only a limited perspective on reality and depart from overall accuracy. For example, there are issues where NPOV derived only from the best English-language sources would depart from a BALANCEd global NPOV, for this reason.
However, in the specific case of Carl Benjamin, there are literally no sources making the claim that he isn't antifeminist; that it is patently clear that applying a label like "anti-feminism" to CB is a controvserial stance is a kind of thing I've heard from (usually avowed centrist) WP editors, but I have never once seen this argument made in the "real world". Op-edsters for example would be much more likely to argue, "people say he's antifeminist, but what he says about feminism is true", rather than objecting to those using the "antifeminist" label.
Finally, IMPARTIAL follows and must be read in the context of FALSEBALANCE. We do not include FRINGE perspectives in articles where doing so would lend undue attention to the viewpoints of small minorities, and we do not provide in-text attribution when saying that a conspiracy theory is a conspiracy theory. Editors going out of their way to insist on attribution for labels that are uncontroversialy applied to BLP subjects are, objectively, engaged in undermining NPOV and encyclopaedic tone through FALSEBALANCE. Newimpartial (talk) 15:02, 23 October 2020 (UTC)
The problem with the CB argument is that you can't prove a negative as well as the fact of the other points that Levivich is pointing out (the sourcing is not as strong as claimed that these are all stating "anti-feminist"). We can do a survey of sources and come to a fair idea how frequent a term is used but that can't 100% conclusively say "no source doesn't say this" since it is impossible to search all sources
But wholly separate is to the last point, because what this comes down to is again my point of differentiating anything that is objective (like a BLP's career and nationality) and what one is characterized as (whether that is a positive or negative characterization). Wikivoice can never speak directly a characterization as fact, period, because of the nature of being characterization of something that cannot be proven, only asserted. Near-universal characterizations can be described as such and forgo the need for direct inline attributions in the lede, "X is widely considered to by Y" is acceptable like that assuming the body has said details, or such assertions can be applied to specific facets which can be taken as fact (like what someone specifically says or does) "X is known for their views on Y", and this is all to maintain the tone. This is not a false balance issue but staying far more middle-ground/conservative in how we provide information rather than the "absolute" that the media write, thus keeping us impartial and dispassionate about the topics. As soon as you take the tone of the press, you take us out of that mode, even if this is reflecting the near-universal consensus of those sources. That's the incompatibility of media writing versus encyclopedia writing, and as we are not a newspaper, we have to change that. No other real encyclopedia writes in a tone like this. --Masem (t) 15:24, 23 October 2020 (UTC)
Apart from your proposed distinction between "facts" and "characterizations" (which alongside most philosophical realists I oppose), I think our key disagreement concerns the scope and application of the following: Near-universal characterizations can be described as such and forgo the need for direct inline attributions in the lede. To me, CB's antifeminism counts as a "near-universal characterization" within the context of his notability as a public figure. While I would have no problem with phrasing the lede as "CB is a Youtuber known for his antifeminism" rather than "CB is an antifeminist Youtuber", I don't agree that what is at stake there is a more "middle-ground" or "conservative" tone. Newimpartial (talk) 15:48, 23 October 2020 (UTC)
Key is that WP is not supposed to be judging topics but let the reader come to the conclusion. In a case of a person who's notability is tied to being controversial in the media as with CB, we have to be very careful of preloading the article with that stance, otherwise we've pre-judged the topic for the reader. We obviously can't avoid it nor should we bury that lede, but it is about establishing as much as we can factually state about CB - as we would at any other bio page - before moving into what makes him notable as a result of his controversy. It drastcally improves the tone and shows to the reader we (Wikipedia) are not making that judgement, but the media at large, letting them decide if the media's portrayal is correct. When we write instead in this aggressive tone that immediately applies labels even if they are well supposed from the press, it disposed the reader as well as other editors, and it encourages only negative additions to the article, which is not what we want. We're still writing encyclopedia biographies, not entries for the SPLC. --Masem (t) 16:03, 23 October 2020 (UTC)
Masem wrote: "No where else on WP do we apply characterization in Wikivoice except in these areas, which is why there's the problem."
Wikipedia says: "The theory and practice of Ayurveda is pseudoscientific. The concept of vital energy is pseudoscientific. Black salve, also known by the brand name Cansema, is pseudoscientific alternative cancer treatment. Unani medicine is pseudoscientific. Zero balancing is pseudoscientific. Reparative therapy is pseudoscientific. The literal belief that the world's linguistic variety originated with the tower of Babel is pseudoscientific. The basis of the Kon-Tiki expedition is pseudoscientific, racially controversial, and has not gained acceptance among scientists. This theory is pseudoscientific. This theory is pseudoscientific. [Note: That was a different theory than the first one.] Candida hypersensitivity is a pseudoscientific disease promoted by William G. Crook, M.D. Crystal healing is a pseudoscientific alternative medicine technique. It is a pseudoscientific supernatural explanation. The Immune Power Diet is a pseudoscientific elimination diet. Ear candling, also called ear coning or thermal-auricular therapy, is a pseudoscientific alternative medicine practice. Magnetic therapy is a pseudoscientific alternative medicine practice. Pseudophysics is a pseudoscientific practice. Reverse speech is a pseudoscientific topic."
I could go on, but maybe we can already agree that we do apply characterization in wikivoice outside right-wing politics. With enthusiasm, even. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:19, 29 October 2020 (UTC)
Pseudoscientific theories are disproven via the scientific method and peer-reviewed studies, and thus once disproven, can be stated in Wikivoice. This also applies to conspiracy theories that have been well-established by highly-reliable sources following investigative reporting to be false/wrong (like Pizzagate), and to fringe science. Importantly, none of these are subjective value-laden aspects compared to what LABEL describes (objective measures are being used to distinguish these facets from reality), so this is completely different concept. --Masem (t) 02:21, 30 October 2020 (UTC)

I think this disagreement we are having about what counts as a factual statement (in this case, concerning CB) is a great example of how the fact/value distinction just doesn't work in settling these disputes. And there are plenty of ways to evaluate veracity and objectivity without handwaving to those particular metaphysics. Newimpartial (talk) 22:27, 23 October 2020 (UTC)

For me, to have a statement like "anti-feminist" in the lede and be an objective fact is if he actually self-identifies with that term. Does Carl Benjamin consider himself anti-feminist?Blue Pumpkin Pie Chat Contribs 17:33, 22 October 2020 (UTC)
We don't require that standard for many other labels, so why here? The lead at Al-Qaeda calls them an "extremist" group. Do you expect us to find an official statement from them that says "yeah, we're extremists"? WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:54, 26 October 2020 (UTC)
The labels in the lead have to be an objective fact, not a subjective opinion verified by many well-respected sources. I personally find it very problematic myself how anti-feminism is defined as well. I don't believe it a viable term to use so actively unless self-identified because of how loose the term is and how modern-day chooses to use it. The word Wikipedia identifies suggests there are different waves of antifeminism (just as there are different waves of feminism) but will not label it. Hypothetically, a 1st wave feminist may not agree with modern-day feminists. Does that make them both a feminist and an anti-feminist? I just don't agree with such a subjective term being used as an objective fact unless they self identify as one.Blue Pumpkin Pie Chat Contribs 22:27, 26 October 2020 (UTC)
You didn't answer the question about extremism, though. Even I have to admit that "extremist" is a subjective and value-laden label, but there it is. Newimpartial (talk) 22:44, 26 October 2020 (UTC)
The word "extremist" was added earlier this year, after going without it for most of its existence, and it doesn't seem to be an improvement to me. --Yair rand (talk) 23:04, 26 October 2020 (UTC)
I also want to add that if being an extremist is a label that is once again relying on subjectivity, then we can have that also removed. But i by no means am saying that we need to get rid of all labels. My point is that labels that are heavily subjective shouldn't be used so bluntly in the lead as an objective fact. Its just not encyclopedic.Blue Pumpkin Pie Chat Contribs 19:16, 27 October 2020 (UTC)
And my point is that I don't see any basis for "extremist" beyond "many sources state" - it seems inherently subjective and perspectival - whereas "anti-feminist", "anti-fascist" etc. can actually be discussed using evidence (including, but not limited to, self-description) and evaluated without bias, objectively. Newimpartial (talk) 19:36, 27 October 2020 (UTC)
Have you looked into the term extremist the same way you looked into anti-feminist? Are you sure without a doubt that the word extremist has no academic definition that can be evaluated without bias, objectively? The majority of the sources you claimed were scholarly, were in actuality more journalistic. Which is a big reason why i'm against using the word as an objective fact. No matter what you say in this situation, the fact is that anti-feminist is indeed a subjective term.Blue Pumpkin Pie Chat Contribs 20:21, 27 October 2020 (UTC)
Where is the alleged rule that says the labels in the lead have to be an objective fact, not a subjective opinion verified by many well-respected sources?
Where is the logic in believing that self-identification makes something an objective fact? If I self-identify as the Queen of England, is it an objective fact that I'm the Queen? WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:39, 28 October 2020 (UTC)

For the record, the three sources I added here were all peer-reviewed scholarship. And my point about "extremism" isn't that there can't be some esoteric definition used by scholars, of which I am unaware. My point is that "feminist" and "antifeminist" are subject to real world fact checks (e.g., does the BLP subject support or oppose explicitly feminist positions or actions), while extremist does not, at least not the way it is used in (some of) our articles. But your reaction when presented with an actual subjective and value-laden term seems, err, different than one would expect based on your blanket generalizations. Newimpartial (talk) 21:50, 27 October 2020 (UTC)

I can't see two of those, but the one I can see ("Drinking male tears:") in fact does not call Benjamin anti-feminist at all, not directly. He's mentioned to set the stage in like of Gamergate, but that's it. The paper broadly talks of "pickup artists, men’s rights activists, anti-feminists, and fringe groups" and at no time makes any attempt to catalog Benjamin into those. It is absolutely wrong to use that for a BLP sourcing for this purpose. And to that point, it is often that men's rights activists are seen as anti-feminists but that doesn't mean all men's rights activists are anti-feminists, and from what I see of Benjamin's arguments, that is where he places himself (even though most believe he has a very strong stance against women having the same rights as men). I mean, all of use probably would readily recognize that as being anti-feminist, but again, being clinical and impartial, we'd simply say this is a characterization well-stated by the press, but not as a fact. --Masem (t) 22:07, 27 October 2020 (UTC)
I already provided that same quotation at greater length here, along with the content of the other sources I provided. The "Male tears" piece is concerned with CB's "followers" so, no, I wouldn't use it to LABEL him, but it definitely connects Benjamin to the misogynist FRINGE with some authority. Newimpartial (talk) 22:24, 27 October 2020 (UTC)
That paper is quoting Saarkensen (who is a valid critic in this case relative to GG, no question) but she's not the academic here and that quote is not reflective of the academics that wrote the article. That's extremely tenacious use of that paper for that assertion, because the authors themselves make no reference otherwise. Looking at your explanation, the second source (given what you quote)( is also not talking about him specifically, though yes, can be used to talk about the people that seem to avidly follow him, so it would have to be carefully used. Perhaps there's more in that source. Both of those sources would need to be carefully used due to the BLP issues. --Masem (t) 22:44, 27 October 2020 (UTC)
Please remember that I was not offering those scholarly sources for the lede of the CB article. When I spelled out the sources, for example, I was answering this request: Would you kindly quote where in those three papers the authors introduce Carl Benjamin as an "antifeminist YouTuber", or use the words "antifeminist" and "Carl Benjamin" in the same sentence, or in the same paragraph?, which each of the sources does. What seems very clear from these three sources is that none of these scholars consider antifeminism to be a purely emotive or "value-laden" label in the sense that our LABEL policy discusses (though each uses the term for different purposes). Newimpartial (talk)
The problem I see Newimpartial is that you confuse journalism with "scholarly/academic". And we need to make sure it has its proper weight. If there was some academic/scholarly paper saying "Carl Benjamin: The Mind of an Anti-feminist" where it not only defines what an anti-feminist is but also confirms that Carl Benjamin is one, then you'll have more weight in this conversation that we can look into. You claim the word Extremist is used only because a bunch of sources said so, and you find it subjective, you have continued to ignore the question: "why?" Why is anti-feminist something that can be identified objectively and not extremist? This is important to me that you clarify with actual academic/scholarly definition and analysis. I don't feel comfortable you continuing to use extremism is a subjective value-laden term without properly establishing why and why anti-feminism isn't one.
With that said, you have not proven that the usage of the word "anti-feminist" isn't purely emotive or "value-laden". For example, have you found sources that refer to him as an anti-feminist when doing an interview or not reporting anything negative?
I want to make it clear I am not a follower of Carl Benjamin, and I definitely do not agree with his views or methods. But, Wikipedia neutrality matters to me. I have yet to see proof that the word anti-feminist is a label that isn't emotive in the context of journalism.Blue Pumpkin Pie Chat Contribs 03:28, 28 October 2020 (UTC)
I have given three academic sources in my previous diff, which use "antisemitism" in different ways but none of which treat it in a purely emotive or "value-laden" manner. Per WP:SEALION, I will not be going any further to accommodate new goal posts. There has never been a requirement that only peer-reviewed scholarship focused on a particular political ideology can be cited when using descriptors for a BLP subject.
My argument has been (1) that scholarship does indeed place CB in The context of antifeminism (and other FRINGE views) and (2) that when the term "antifeminism" is used, scholarly sources are not engaged in mudslinging or content-free derogation but are making a substantive evaluation. (The argument had been made that the term "antifeminism" itself was essentially emotive rather than factual, so I went to scholarly sources in part to indicate that this isn't the case.)
I would now add (3): without confusing quality journalism with scholarship, it seems clear to me that serious journalism is also able to assess the nature of a BLP subject's e.g. ideological orientation and to apply appropriate labels to it. Community consensus, expressed in policy, does not require that BLP articles be restricted to peer-reviewed scholarly sources (though we should always use the best sources we have). I think two reasons this is the case are, that we trust editors to distinguish better from worse non-scholarly sources, and that we recognize that the better sources outside of scholarship (such as quality journalism) are able to distinguish fact from fiction and accurate from emotive categorization in a way that is useful for our articles (including BLPs) to reflect. Newimpartial (talk) 13:32, 28 October 2020 (UTC)
You have found academic sources and specific to Benjamin, though I dispute two of them, but lets just say all three of them are good. But they are still all recent, and this is the key problem. Again, I've compared to how we'd handle a situation in the scientific world: if a new theory came out - such as the recent announcement by NASA of water on the moon to use something practical - we are not going to write that as factual yet in wikivoice because the theory hasn't been borne out yet. It is going to take more time to test and validate, even though mainstream media are talking of it in a factual tone. Only once we actually have a system that likely can extract that water on the moon and validate its operation would Wikivoice then say it factually, but until then we'd speak of it as "NASA stated that they have found evidence for.." or the like.
Turning back to the social side, we can't bury our heads to the social war that's going on, and we know that both academics and media on the left are fighting the attempt to sway information from those on the right. The media side is focusing on that as well as their livilihoods, so they have a vested interested here while, while not affecting the reliability of their fact finding, is affecting their tone and makes them far more accusational and confrontational to the right (pretty much as they are fighting fire with fire, the right-leaning media started that). The same type of tone is in at least the one article I can see of the three; the article is far from the clinical nature I would normally expect from an academic, but having seen numerous articles related to studies around Gamergate typically from liberal-leaning academics, indicative of those that are also being critical of the right .. in other words, I see them showing their opinions a bit too much for what I would normally expect academics in social sciences to be. (not to take sides, like we are). Not to say these aren't RSes here, but again, judgement is getting clouded by being too invested in the culture war and the recentism around it.
Assuming this culture war dies out in the next 5 years the most ideal sources to document someone like Benjamin and whether any labels apply would be academic sources written 10 years out from now or longer, following by in-review media sources, where we can reasonably expect no one is directly influenced by current events. In such cases, if those did exist, then it would seem to me to be fair game that if there were enough of them to be able to use the labels factually in terms of characterization in Wikivoice. But if 10 years go by and we don't see any such sources, we can still rely on the sources that were out today, but still should be careful on wording the labels outside of Wikivoice because of the RECENTISM issue. The reason I have generally pushed on the academic sourcing side is that this usually comes much longer after the events to avoid the RECENTISM issue at least in the scientific side of publication. If the social sciences are pushing out these articles faster and come off this nuanced, that still creates a problem from RECENTISM with regards to how to treat the label in wikivoice. --Masem (t) 15:59, 28 October 2020 (UTC)
As far as your first paragraph is concerned, Masem, it doesn't seem to correspond to how WP articles, such as Water on Mars, are actually written. Without being grounded in WP policy or practice, it reads more like "how Masem thinks articles on controversial topics should be written", but transposed to hard science, so I have difficulty seeing its relevance except as a reiteration of your POV.
The second paragraph raises what I take to be the key epistemological difference underlying this discussion: do we think that quality journalism and recent academic sources are fundamentally biased, to the extent that whether man-made climate change or white genocide are real things, or conspiracy theories, are questions where we have to balance BOTHSIDES? Are the standards of evidence for those who assert that cultural Marxism is a real thing comparable in some sense to those who label it a conspiracy theory? My own take on the "culture wars" is that WP should apply consistent standards of evidence, and if scholarship that maintains a consistent standard also tends to reach consistent conclusions about what is real and what is conspiracy theory, then the supposed "bias" in this case is part of reality and should not be treated as a flaw in the sources.
To the last paragraph: thanks for having me read WP:RECENT, but I find your use of that explanatory supplement quite one-sided here. It also recognizes that One of Wikipedia's strengths is the collation and sifting through of vast amounts of reporting on current events, producing encyclopedia-quality articles in real time about ongoing events or developing stories, and it nowhere suggests that we should hold off on explicating controversial topics until the dust has settled and the controversy, faded. Frankly, we would not have BLPs at all if there were a requirement for the distance of time and scholarship before a WP article could be written. And the idea that some of the scholarship itself might be too much influenced by current events features a misunderstanding, I think, of how scholarship is performed. All scholarship reflects, in one way or another, the conjuncture in which it is produced, and it would take an argument I can't currently imagine to convince me that scholarship that is motivated by concerns proximate to the topic researched is of less quality or reliability than scholarship motivated by more distant concerns. The criterion, as with all scholarship and journalism for that matter, should be in the way evidence is used. And so the idea of discounting scholarship if it doesn't have a 10-year trendline of previous studies on the same topic for comparison is, fortunately, not based on or compliant with WP policy in any way I can see. Newimpartial (talk) 18:54, 28 October 2020 (UTC)
If you look at Water on Mars, the word "may" appears over 70 times on that, clearly establishing that most of the article is based on theories and observations and not stating the definitive proof of water on Mars. That's exactly what I am saying in how we write scientific articles on new discoveries that have not yet had the test of time to become scientifically accepted.
And you seem to be implying that I am saying we can't talk about anything controversial about BLPs or the like, which is not at all the implication. If the WEIGHT of sources is clearly there as is the case of Benjamin to cover that a vast swath of media and/or academics at the present time consider him anti-feminist as an essential part of his notability, we should absolutely document that; my point is that we need to document that in a clinical manner. We document controversies but don't become part of them. This isn't false balance issue (that would be saying that we'd need to include more material from Benjamin's side to make the coverage equal), but simply that something that is controversial in the short term may not really be that in the long-term, especially when we consider the state of the world and the media's unhindered response to that. This is the essence of WP:OUTRAGE but it is also be cognizant of the whole situation happening in the world out there for the last decade, not just in this comfy zone provided by the high quality RSes.
Also, we shouldn't be trying to conflate the very real thing of "white supremacy" or "anti-feminism", ideologies that are well documented for decades, with the issues of calling out people and groups based only on the short-term media's observations. We absolutely should write on the ideologies of anti-feminism in a factual voice as it has been a well-studied topic, though obviously there's new theories and concepts that get added over time that should be added with appropriate language in Wikivoice to note they are not yet accepted parts of what is included in anti-feminism. (Same would be true with new theories in climate change). And I'm sure there are historical people that are well documented in these studies as examples of anti-feminists. But when it comes to persons or groups today, we simply don't have the wisdom of time to properly be judging in Wikivoice, considering all factors in play, so as to be clinical, we should be taking the same approach as with scientific articles, simply not stating these factually in Wikivoice but indicating their origin.
Again, most of the time to get to where I've suggested we should be, this is just a matter of changing existing statements to make the tone far less accusational in Wikivoice, like "Benjamin is anti-feminist" to "Benjamin is widely considered anti-feminist", and perhaps an ordering change of information to start with objective and going to subjective, not a neutering of this key information from articles. Though I will say that a fair number of ledes on these articles also tend to stuff in smaller incidents (already documented in the body) that are not directly related to notability but make the person look "bad" just because there's space for that. For example, in the current lede of Benjamin's article, the 2nd para is good (this strongly establishes why he's notable), but I question at least the need of the third para, as while that created a burst of coverage during the election, that doesn't seem to be an enduring factor about him, compared to what the second paragraph says. This is all a part of documenting controversies but not getting involved or taking sides even if it feels much of the rest of the world has.--Masem (t) 20:26, 28 October 2020 (UTC)

I have no problem with removing the third paragraph of the CB lede, or with widely considered antifeminist, though I still prefer "rose to prominence with his antifeminist videos on YouTube". But what what you said previously about science articles is quite unlike what you are now saying about Water on Mars. You had said that we would avoid Wikivoice, as in "NASA stated that they have found evidence for.." or the like, but in-text attribution is not prominent in the Water on Mars article. The lede of that article, for example, consisted almost entirely of unattributed "is" statements based on the current scholarly consensus, with only one "may" hypothetical. This is not at all the meticulous process of distinguishing "theoretical" from "factual" statements that you described previously.

You keep saying that you are concerned about calling out people and groups based only on the short-term media's observations but when presented with recent non-media, scholarly sources, it becomes clear that no level of source quality will satisfy you, only persistence over time. And this is a weird sort of CRYSTAL argument on your part: that maybe, some day, new sources will become available that question the accuracy of these characterizations (although none have to date), so we should attribute them until enough time has passed. And I just don't see anything, in WP:RECENT or anywhere else in policy, that suggests we should do that when we have sources of reasonable quality and quantity to establish a consensus reality. Newimpartial (talk) 21:41, 28 October 2020 (UTC)

On the lack of attribution in water on Mars, you'll note that I've been saying the same type of limited attribution can be used on an article on Benjamin if you're talking about labels that are widely used. You don't need to say "Benjamin is considered to be anti-feminist by the New York Times." but simply "Benjamin is widely considered to be anti-feminist." That aligns with the same type of scientific approach in keeping claims of fact out of Wikivoice on the Water on Mars article. I read that lede as appropriately keeping most of the theories about the topic as theories and not as fact, only factual to what we have observed only from various probes and where there has been scientific corroboration on the results.
And this isn't a CRYSTAL issue, as sources may never appear about Benjamin or others in the far future but he clearly will remain notable. To give a better example, do you think it would be practice to try to summarize a criticism of Trump's presidency at this point with the current media sources? Heck no - the media is clearly hostile towards him for good reason (he's been hostile towards the media in addition to the culture war) and we've yet to see fallout from his term of office, in addition to what might be a second term. We'd probably not be at a place to do that until 5-some years after he's out of office when the full implications and outcomes can be assessed. We can have some short term aspects as there is plenty of WEIGHT to do that, but per RECENTISM and NOT#NEWS we should keep this to just enough and a high level coverage so that a reader with no idea of US politics can understand the larger concerns. While Benjamin's case has nowhere close the impact on the world as Trump, the same principles around RECENTISM applies. Should no new sources come around in time, we can then rejudge the now-current sources with better hindsight and write better around them without being so caught up in events. --Masem (t) 22:24, 28 October 2020 (UTC)


@Joe Roe: Re Esurnir's maxim, I don't understand the point you're trying to make. We don't describe the actions as crimes; we leave that judgement up to the reader. We tend not to have Criticism sections in biographies. Historical articles are typically sufficiently NPOV that one wouldn't be able to tell whether the authors supported or opposed any given action, as they should be. Nothing should hint at the author being eg pro- or anti-genocide. Listing objective appointments and actions and such is basically what the lead has looked like for most of the article's existence. Are you suggesting that it shouldn't be? This is pretty basic NPOV. --Yair rand (talk) 21:40, 22 October 2020 (UTC)
I really, really, really hope that every editor here is "anti-genocide" and I don't see any problem with our coverage reflecting that... – Joe (talk) 07:25, 23 October 2020 (UTC)
And that is exactly the problem. Wikipedia is a neutral source. Editors, who want to have their opinions shown, can edit Conservapedia or RationalWiki. Just take a look at the article concerning the Liepāja massacres. Those massacres were anti-Semitic, gruesome and immoral in every sense of the word. However, such characterizations do not appear in the text: the facts speak for themselves. And that is how it should be written in an encyclopedia. Best regards,Jeff5102 (talk) 11:24, 23 October 2020 (UTC)
@Joe Roe: All articles are required to be written from a neutral point of view. That includes articles dealing with extremely abhorrent views. The NPOV FAQ specifically calls out the issue of morally abhorrent views ("What about views that are morally offensive to most readers, such as advocacy of homicidal cannibalism, which some people actually hold? Surely we are not to be neutral about them?"), requiring that we present them neutrally. NPOV is a binding policy which is non-negotiable. Articles may not be anti-cannibalism, anti-genocide, anti-human-extinction, or anti-anything else. This is fundamental to what Wikipedia is. --Yair rand (talk) 23:23, 25 October 2020 (UTC)
Articles may not be anti-cannibalism, anti-genocide, anti-human-extinction – I will add this to the collection of utterly astonishing and deplorable quotes from this discussion. – Joe (talk) 07:17, 26 October 2020 (UTC)
@Joe Roe: but that is what NPOV means. We all agree that Wikipedia articles must be neutral. That means articles cannot be pro or anti anything, regardless of one's personal views or how widely those views are or are not shared. Thryduulf (talk) 11:32, 26 October 2020 (UTC)
@Thryduulf, I don't think that's quite right. Articles must be pro-something if all the reliable sources are pro-that thing, and anti-something if all the reliable sources are anti-that thing. The goal is not to leave people wondering whether or not a hoax was a hoax, whether the Alternative cancer treatments that Facebook is adverstising are just as effective as what their oncologists recommend, etc.
There are subjects over which reasonable people (and, relevantly, reliable sources) can disagree, but neutrality means "representing fairly, proportionately, and, as far as possible, without editorial bias, all the significant views that have been published by reliable sources on a topic", not "articles cannot be pro or anti anything, even if all reliable sources are 'pro' and none are 'anti'." If all the sources are 'pro', then the article can't be neutral unless it is also "proportionately" 'pro', too. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:29, 29 October 2020 (UTC)
@WhatamIdoing: yes and no. If all the reliable sources are pro (or anti) obviously our article will be presenting only that viewpoint, and our readers should not be left wondering wether the subject is or isn't a Good Thing. However, we should be careful to always show not tell, including in that situation. "Quack Mixture is a syrup manufactured by BadCorp marketed as a dietary supplement that will cure various diseases and ailments including the common cold, influenza and Covid-19. All reliable medical authorities agree that the mixture conveys no medical benefits and indeed may be harmful for some people. It has been banned by regulators in the EU, USA and 27 other countries." rather than "QuackMixture is a fraudulent and harmful fake product that, despite marketing claims, does not cure the common cold, influenza or Covid-19." (please can someone add some sub-headers to this section, it's not easy to edit currently). Thryduulf (talk) 02:21, 30 October 2020 (UTC)

Search Carl Benjamin and read the text in the box to the right. Wikipedia editors are writing for google and not a reference work. fiveby(zero) 20:25, 23 October 2020 (UTC)

@Fiveby: Google just takes information and create their own infoboxes and link to whatever they like. That doesn't mean that the editors edit for Wikipedia. If you notice there's also links to facebook, Instagram, and twitter too.Blue Pumpkin Pie Chat Contribs 21:09, 23 October 2020 (UTC)
Good company. fiveby(zero) 21:37, 23 October 2020 (UTC)
I feel some editors are unintentionally using WP to wage the fight in the ongoing culture war in an inappropriate RIGHTGREATWRONGS matter, knowing that WP is read by many and has influence (such as appearing in Google search results like this). It is important that we do not allow those agencies that are deep in the culture war get their way on WP and we have to fight off mis/disinformation campaigns from these agencies and those that want to support them, absolutely, but that doesn't mean we swing the other way to treat those groups in an unencyclopedic fashion. Again, Wikivoice is amoral here, and we're not supposed to be taking a side here. --Masem (t) 22:21, 23 October 2020 (UTC)
I hope my hyperbole is not taken to mean that it's not important, or that the difficulties aren't apparent. I think lots of editors do phenomenal work. fiveby(zero) 23:26, 23 October 2020 (UTC)
@Fiveby: I think you're right on the money. I don't feel that the way the lead starts at Proud Boys really doesn't conform to generally accepted MOS for biography yet there is such a great bickering over tha first line. See all the discussion at Talk:Proud Boys and Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view/Noticeboard#White_supremacy_and_the_Proud_Boys. I think how it gets picked up by Google is why such a big deal is made over the first line. Graywalls (talk) 21:25, 23 October 2020 (UTC)
...all those RfCs asking: should the first sentence of the lead describe X as Y? and filling the talk pages. fiveby(zero) 21:37, 23 October 2020 (UTC)
After reviewing all the information that I saw, I'm going to also weight in and agree with Masem and Levivich that these labels are not encyclopedic and it is not for Wikipedia to label these people. I believe this especially holds true if the person doesn't align or confirm alignment with those views.
Terms such as "far-left" or "far-right" or even "alt-right" and even "Facist" are not encyclopedic and they are indeed bludgeoning tactical terms that media has continued to use. There is room to be labeled "Far-left" or "far-right" but I believe after the political meltdown. I truly believe Wikipedia needs to be more strict with these terms. In this modern age, it's almost impossible to be subjective. Even scholars have their own political alignments. So we can't rely on subjective opinions on where someone is aligned with and call it an objective fact. There's some recentism at play by labeling with these terms when at this time it's common to use them as insults.Blue Pumpkin Pie Chat Contribs 22:07, 23 October 2020 (UTC)
Be that as it may, in the case of Carl Benjamin, that he is "known for his opposition to feminism" or "for his antifeminism" is an objective fact, and that he is "opposed to feminism" is something he himself has stated. There are various ways this can be stated in the article, but leaving out this basic piece of information - which is the main reason for him to be considered notable - would be most unencyclopaedic (and also a NOTCENSORED violation). Newimpartial (talk) 22:23, 23 October 2020 (UTC)
You've just contradicted yourself with that statement, as there's no way that we can consider any of that "objective fact". Objctive fact is something demonstrated though something comparable to the scientific process, not just "because so many journalists said so so it must be true"; we do not use that approach anywhere else on WP, and to continue to argue that shows how broken this is --Masem (t) 23:06, 23 October 2020 (UTC)
Objective social facts are facts that are established by rigorous social-scientific processes, such as those used by sociologists and historians. Not all of these processes have to wait years after the fact for such data to be collected, as many professional ethnographers or demographers could tell you. In the case of Carl Benjamin being noted for his opposition to feminism, this has already been established by scholars and quality journalists who have looked at the reporting about him and observed the online communities he has been part of. Given the extent of the documentation available for this (recent) history, this is a verifiablen, objective fact. That Benjamin has stated his opposition to feminism is, in fact, part of the historical record already. You are strawmannig me ("because so many journalists have said so") in a discussion where I have presented scholarly citations on this as well as journalism; in point of fact I am not the one applying different standards of evidence on this topic than in the rest of the encyclopaedia. Newimpartial (talk) 23:24, 23 October 2020 (UTC)
Sometimes subjective attributes are presented as facts in professionally written encyclopedia. For example https://www.britannica.com/science/chloroform "has a pleasant ether like odour." "plesant" and "ether like" are subjective qualities, yet these are stated as facts. In my opinion, that's about as accurate as describing lemon as having "lime like flavor" and perhaps not everyone finds the odor "plesant". "denser than water" is an objective fact. Graywalls (talk) 23:38, 23 October 2020 (UTC)
Which itself would extend from the scientific literature, given that smell or taste of a chemical is something impossible to quantify except against other more common things. (Eg its well known that cyanide has an almond-like taste but that's the last thing you'd want to verify). But here again, this is something that the scientific literature has come to agreement to use via peer-review as a means to assess chemical odors, which the EB just replicated; it is something still determined through the scientific process, and not really comparable to the use of value labels to describe people which can't be proven out, only asserted. --Masem (t) 23:51, 23 October 2020 (UTC)
Objective social facts are facts that are established by rigorous social-scientific processes, such as those used by sociologists and historians Which I agree with, and why we should we be waiting some time (Years) until these sources actually arrive with that rigorour process that takes years to complete to make that determination, and not using the current media. Doesn't matter how much material there is, we're still far too close to these events to establish if this is how history will document him, for example. Completely different standards are being applied here, because if the same standards were used across WP, we'd be calling Hitler evil, Casablanca the greatest movie ever, the Beatles the greatest musical group ever, and numerous other things directly in wikivoice and right up front in their respective articles. It is a very selective twist of policies that editors have applied across the right-leaning set of topics (the ones the current media have shown high detest for) only. I don't think this is intentional, its fighting back against the culture war, but it is showing how badly these articles are written in terms of tone and presentation of media and public opinion in wikivoice compared the rest of the encyclopedia. We can't be in this blame game (that's a job for a liberal-leaning wiki, not us) even though it is really easy to slip into taht mode. --Masem (t) 23:51, 23 October 2020 (UTC)
Noting that Carl Benjamin is anti-feminist is simply not in the same category as describing the Beatles as the greatest musical group or Casablanca as the greatest movie. The former can be documented using logical and impartial criteria, while the latter are subjective judgements. Many of the other statements in article ledes objected to by the OP, such as describing Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed as a "2008 American documentary-style propaganda film", rather than a "documentary", are simply more accurate than the whitewashed versions they replaced - not only do they give more information, but the information they give is more accurate. There is no justification for presenting Expelled first as a documentary and then noting criticisms of its veracity, when the reliable sources have concluded with very good reasons (that don't have much to do with any "culture war") that it is propaganda. Newimpartial (talk) 02:22, 24 October 2020 (UTC)
The arguments are exactly the same - the bulk of the media say so, there's no counterargument, so we need to present it that way as fact is effectively the logic here, and that's why its wrong. Taking a look at the Expelled talk page, the change to label it a propaganda film is only recent (last 2-3 years) and thus part of this same twist of using Wikivoice to be judgmental, and represents the same problem here; the talk page uses the same logical faults ("none of RSes same its nothing but proganda, so it must be fact that it is"). Given that the filmmakers appear to have earnestly made it a documentary, it should be presented like that --- BUT clearly because its touching on fringe concepts, its contents should be called out where appropriate in line with FRINGE and we can certain reference that major sources considered it more a proganda piece. Almost all of these problems (making the jump that the "majority of press agree on point of contest/controversy/subjective nature" means it must be an "objective fact") is drawing WP into this culture war when we need to be distancing ourselves and not taking any sides or the like. The more we keep doing it, the more we continue to create conflicts and have editors drawn to try to "fix" it by flooding with misinformation. Staying neutral and impartial on these topics will significantly help prevent that. --Masem (t) 02:59, 24 October 2020 (UTC)
@Newimpartial: Personally, I agree that Expelled is a propaganda movie. However, as an encyclopedia we cannot say that. WP:NPOV states that Articles must not take sides, but should explain the sides, fairly and without editorial bias. This applies to both what you say and how you say it.
If we call the film a propaganda movie, we take sides and violate the very basics of the NPOV-rule. Thus, the best we can do is explaining the falsehoods, inaccuracies, and the tricks the producers pulled both during production and editing. And all without editorial bias. That is not "whitewashing." That is making a good article. Best regards, Jeff5102 (talk) 09:01, 24 October 2020 (UTC)

FALSEBALANCE is on the same level as IMPARTIAL for a reason. Not all issues have two (or more) comparable sides - sometimes there is "one side" that is based on what actually happened, and an "other side" based on a conspiracy theory. And in that scenario, User:Masem, "not taking sides" is in fact taking a side, and we call that activity WHITEWASHING.

Also, nobody in this discussion is using the argument the bulk of the media say so, there's no counterargument, so we need to present it that way. I have pointed this out as a strawman twice already, and will not be responding to it further since it is not my position. If you haven't read correctly my account above of how social facts are known, that ain't my fault. Newimpartial (talk) 11:52, 24 October 2020 (UTC)

WP:FALSEBALANCE is about claims that the Earth is flat, that the Knights Templar possessed the Holy Grail, that the Apollo moon landings were a hoax, and similar ones. Conspiracy theories, pseudoscience, speculative history, or plausible but currently unaccepted theories. It is not about denying persons to defend themselves in their own article. In short: Carl Benjamin is not on the fringe when it is about Carl Benjamin. Jeff5102 (talk) 13:29, 24 October 2020 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Not true at all, especially since we are only supposed to be documenting the controversy. I know in the current culture wars that the idea that if one is not actively engaged on one side or the other, one is considered part of the problem, but WP has to be neutral and cannot be involved here, that's not anything in our purpose or the like. We can't take a side. The argument is not a false balance one either, as that would be asking to include the counter-arguments at any length. Instead, as documented at WP:YESPOV, if we know that a stand is controversial or contestable , we're not supposed to present it in WS as fact, but with sometime that implies its attribution, and that's all that needs to be then be said if there's nothing that can be reliably sourced in counter-argument to that. Just as we can't say "CB is anti-feminist" but can say "CB is widely considered anti-feminist", we can't say "The Beatles are the greatest musical act of all time" but we can say "The Beatles are often considered one of the greatest musical acts of all time", without the need to any any counter-points or any other sourcing from what exists already (eg avoiding the false balance), but keeping characterization out of Wikivoice and thus keeping it neutral and impartial. --Masem (t) 13:36, 24 October 2020 (UTC)
Both of you are arguing about a counterfactual. Carl Benjamin isn't defending himself against accusations of antifeminism; he argues rather that feminism really is the problem. The fact that he takes an antifeminist position is pure WP:BLUESKY. Likewise, to note that Benjamin rose to prominence through his participation in Gamergate and his antifeminist activism isn't becoming involved or taking a side, it is making a factual statement backed up by scholarship as well as quality reporting. Nobody disputes these facts - not the BLP subject, not the right-wing disinformation machine, nobody. But certain avowed centrists among the WP community imagine these documented facts to be "contentious" and thereby create FUD that makes them appear so. They are not, except in the minds of certain WP editors.
Perhaps, Masem, you believe that if everyone including the BLP subject understands that subject to inhabit a contentious identity, like being a flat-earth advocate, that WP must nevertheless attribute that characterization because being a flat-earth advocate is taking a controversial position. If so, this seems to me to be a complete misreading of LABEL, which is intended to cover situations where the labels themselves are contested, not ones where everyone can agree that a categorization applies but some are for and others agin' the position categorized. Newimpartial (talk) 14:30, 24 October 2020 (UTC)
We have more common sense to understand that even if there is an absence of any direct contentious to the use of a label in any source, even those not in RSes, the use of such labels should be taken for granted as a contestable aspect, particularly in the absent of direct self-identification, that's the whole reason they are value-laden labels - you can't prove the negative. Otherwise, we're presenting a position of only allowing what the media presents as their view to be our view in wikivoice, which is absolutely not acceptable. As I mentioned, only with significant time and academic analysis can we even begin to consider adapting labels to be fact but that's after allowing the academic process of peer review and the passage of time to distance analysis from current events to be able to judge that. Otherwise, we are simply making WP be an engager in the current culture war, which is not a role we're suppose to take.
Self-identification is where things change. If a person has said they were a flat-earther, we'd present that as one of those areas they present. A good example (properly written) pulled from the category appears to be David Wolfe (raw food advocate), where we state, neutrally, what he is in his career, and then note his pseudoscientific beliefs which is what he is notable for , but without any additional commentary to that. That's putting the characterization secondary to the objective facts about the topic, but still covering it as appropriate to the WEIGHT of sources. Trying to pushing characterization before is not our place. On the other hand, from the same flat earth category, somethng like B.o.B is clearly badly worded that sets an immediate negative tone by the forced inclusion of the non-objective "conspiracy theorist" term in the lede. That he does promote conspiracy theories including flat earth should be noted in the lede, which it does later, but you can see how that small inclusion at the time immediately taints the entire read of the article, and given how small the section on his views are compared to his musical career, that's even perhaps UNDUE. This is the type of blame game that editors are likely unintentionally doing because of this attitude, that we have to call out these "bad" behaviors on such topics, which in reality WP needs to be far more impartial on. --Masem (t) 16:15, 24 October 2020 (UTC)
I didn't see much there that engaged with what I said in a meaningful way, so I wasn't going to reply. However, I think I should address the assertion that you can't prove the negative. This is a nonsense argument in this context - people try to prove the negative of these labels all the time. People try to show that Ezra Pound wasn't really a fascist or that Martin Heidegger wasn't really a Nazi, for example. And when such arguments have supporting evidence, the descriptions of such figures become nuanced to reflect the scholarship. But arguments that Adolf Hitler wasn't a Nazi, or that the National Socialist party wasn't antisemitic, are taken as nonsense - not because you can't prove a negative, but because the negative is so obviously false. Newimpartial (talk) 23:36, 24 October 2020 (UTC)
And those arguments go to the "sufficient time passed" factors I've mentioned: we have more than enough time in academic analysis that scholarly determination has made that distinction that clearly define the Nazi party as antisemitic in a factual basis from an academic view. We're not using media of the 1940s to make that distinction, but academic analysis from the decades that followed. --Masem (t) 23:59, 24 October 2020 (UTC)
I am reasonably confident that Hitler is characterized as a Nazi, and the Nazi party is labelled antisemitic, from their very first respective mentions in encyclopedias. And I doubt very much that discussions of Pound and Heidegger in encyclopedias and similar reference works left out mentioning or characterizing these BLP subjects' Naziism and Fascism until "sufficient time passed". Masem, your claim here seems entirely unsupported by evidence - just because so much time has passed by now does lend support to the hypothesis that it only recently became possible to make these characterizations. Newimpartial (talk) 01:24, 25 October 2020 (UTC)
The First paragraph of the Adolf Hitler-article is:

[Hitler] was a German politician and leader of the Nazi Party. He rose to power as the chancellor of Germany in 1933 and then as Führer in 1934.[a] During his dictatorship from 1933 to 1945, he initiated World War II in Europe by invading Poland on 1 September 1939. He was closely involved in military operations throughout the war and was central to the perpetration of the Holocaust.

Please note the absence of words like "antisemitic", "racist" or "far right." Without these characterizations, it is perfectly clear to readers that initiating World War II and perpetrating the Holocaust is very bad already. That is no coincidence. After all, MOS:LEADBIO tells us to write clinically, and let the facts speak for themselves. These concerns are especially pressing at biographies of living persons. Even after all the discussions here, I do not see good reasons to divert from this rule. Regards,Jeff5102 (talk) 10:08, 25 October 2020 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you are saying here, since the leader of the Nazi party is literally a Nazi - the opening of the Hitler article. And anyone following that link will find that The Nazi Party ... was a far-right political party in Germany and at the end of the lede in the 1930s the party's main focus shifted to antisemitic and anti-Marxist themes. As I stated above, Hitler is labelled as a Nazi, and the Nazis are characterized as antisemitic, as I believe has been the case for as long as either have held encyclopaedic attention. Newimpartial (talk) 13:08, 25 October 2020 (UTC)
There is a difference between "the nazi-party is an antisemitic and anti-Marxist party" and "Nazi political strategy focused on anti-big business, anti-bourgeois, and anti-capitalist rhetoric, although this was later downplayed to gain the support of business leaders, and in the 1930s the party's main focus shifted to antisemitic and anti-Marxist themes," as the complete quote goes.
And on your other point: indeed, now it says immediately the Nazi Party is "far right." This was inserted in June 2017 by User:Jaco IV, a user who was blocked a year later, and turned out to be a sock puppetteer. I would say that the article could do without this label, if the discussion page was not Talk:Nazi_Party/Archive_6#Semi-protected_edit_request_on_8_July_2017 visited by one-time editors whose fringe-theory expressed the opposite. In situations like this, I understand the labeling.
Still, that does not change MOS:LEADBIO tells us to write clinically, and let the facts speak for themselves. These concerns are especially pressing at biographies of living persons. I still believe that this rule stands. Regards,Jeff5102 (talk) 16:36, 25 October 2020 (UTC)

I agree that we should be clinical, but CB is quite clinically and impartially antifeminist, and that he "rose to prominence through his antifeminism" is a purely accurate statement that does not imply POV. Obviously for his many followers, his antifeminism has been a feature rather than a bug. Newimpartial (talk) 17:46, 25 October 2020 (UTC)

I don't know what people mean when they say feminist these days, let alone an antifeminist. Looking at his article, he opposes Reclaim the Internet and social justice feminism. Reading antifeminism#Definition tells me nothing about Benjamin, and really the political views section does not either. Editors ref-bombing the labels and failing to actually describe the person. His views are probably somewhere in between oppisition to just the two things mentioned and revoking the vote and founding Gilead, but I really have no idea. Seven talk page archives and this is the best Wikipedia can do to serve the reader? fiveby(zero) 00:30, 26 October 2020 (UTC)
I think it is safe to sat that people who blame feminists for the rise in misogyny are antifeminists. Newimpartial (talk) 01:58, 26 October 2020 (UTC)
Women Against Feminism is antifeminist [11], as was Lucy Dawidowicz [12], among other notable women. I read "CB is an antifeminist" and I think "Oh, like Dawidowicz?". No, not like Dawidowicz. Not at all like that. That's why the label is meaningless... it has too many meanings. Lev!vich 02:22, 26 October 2020 (UTC)
Anti-feminists may not have any more in common than feminists do, but that doesn't imply that either term is meaningless. Next thing I know, you'll tell me we shouldn't be talking about libertarians or anarchists because there are too many different kinds. :p. Newimpartial (talk) 02:32, 26 October 2020 (UTC)
Thank you for bringing up anarchism. I went to the article of Noam Chomsky, and saw his article starts with his professions and expertises. Only in the end of the first paragraph, it says that Ideologically, he aligns with anarcho-syndicalism and libertarian socialism. That is how to "write clinically," and is so much better than describing him as a anarcho-syndicalist and libertarian socialist linguist and philosopher. Or, even worse, if we let his enemies characterize him: an America-hating, Holocaust-denying anarchist. We do have reliable sources to back these claims up, but charactarizations like those would turn the article into an attack-page, and attack-pages do not belong on Wikipedia. Instead, I do think the Chomsky-lead is a good example on how encyclopedic leads should be written. Regards,Jeff5102 (talk) 09:01, 26 October 2020 (UTC)
Yes all that for the first line. When you search Proud Boys on Google, the right side box shows "The Proud Boys is a far-right and neo-fascist male-only organization that promotes and engages in political violence in the United States and Canada. Proud Boys|Wikipedia". Clearly, I think one of the huge motivation behind such a long winded bicker over the line is for the control of how it shows up on Google. Graywalls (talk) 22:44, 23 October 2020 (UTC)
  • My thoughts: a well written, neutral article lead starts by defining WHAT the topic is, and THEN discusses WHY the topic is NOTABLE. The facts can be presented in one sentence or many... but the order is what establishes the neutral tone. So... we don’t say “Hitler was a genocidal German leader”... we say “Hitler was a German leader who was genocidal”. Blueboar (talk) 00:48, 26 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Comment - this discussion is long, intense, and informative. After weighing and measuring the different perspectives that were presented, I closely align with the arguments presented by Masem, Levivich, and Blueboar, which are basically corroborated by Jimbo, who did not participate in this particular discussion but whose perspectives are similar as evidenced by the following: To say it in WikiVoice, or not??, To include it in a BLP, or not??, and Politics, presidents and NPOV. I think it pretty much wraps it up in a nutshell. WP:LABEL guides us in the handling of contentious labels, and WP:Editorializing further explains certain aspects of NPOV relative to impartial tone. In fact, our WP:PAG are quite clear about everything that has been brought up in this discussion, and we should not stray too far off the beaten path in what appears to be an effort to RGW, or to align with one's own subjectivity. Our editing should be pragmatic reflecting a dispassionate tone; i.e. encyclopedic. Granted, WP doesn't have firm rules, and content and interpretation can evolve over time but it should not go in a direction that may prove detramental to the project's neutrality. With the slang characterization of opinions in mind, use your imagination and I'll just say everybody has one, including our readers. They should be the ones forming their own opinions based on what they glean from our neutral, accurate and factually presented articles. Atsme 💬 📧 10:18, 26 October 2020 (UTC)
    I Agree completely with Atsme, Masem, Levivich and Blueboar. NPOV on Wikipedia has long been described as "absolute and non-negotiable" and part of that is not labelling people as pro or anti anything. When people descirbe themselves as pro or anti something, or there is a strong consensus of academic literature that so describes them then we report that characterisation without labelling them ourselves. Thryduulf (talk) 11:32, 26 October 2020 (UTC)
    But in MOS:LABEL, this only applies to Value-laden labels—such as calling an organization a cult, an individual a racist or sexist, terrorist, or freedom fighter, or a sexual practice a perversion. Are you seriously suggesting that anti-racist or pro-irridentist activism are "value laden" in the same sense as the examples given? If so, what about "environmentalist" or "climate change activist"? Do they count as well, even though they don't have "pro" or "anti" in the name? Because if the scope of MOS:LABEL is supposed to be that wide its language needs to he clarified, for sure. Newimpartial (talk) 11:45, 26 October 2020 (UTC)
    IMO, yes MOS:LABEL should apply to all labels. What is "value-laden" is subjective. We should describe someone as "an activist for environmental issues" rather than "an environmentalist", unless "environmentalist" is the only term they use to describe themselves. Thryduulf (talk) 12:15, 26 October 2020 (UTC)
Indeed, self-described labels should be fine. When a politician was a life-long member of the Anti-Revolutionary Party, then there is no problem in calling him an "Anti-Revolutionary politician" (though "politician of the Anti-Revolutionary Party" is better). That said, I also completely agree with User:Atsme. We are here to make, as she says, neutral, accurate and factually presented articles, to have readers form their own opinions, not to tell them how to think about persons,organisations, documentaries or music groups. Is there a way to highlight her words as the conclusion of this discussion? Best regards,Jeff5102 (talk) 12:38, 26 October 2020 (UTC)

I'm very late to this party (I normally don't follow VP). The original editor makes a very compelling argument. I 100% agree that we need to use fewer labels and let the readers draw their own conclusions from the actions, events, etc discussed in the article. What is the answer? Not sure but seeing the problem sure is a step in the right direction! Springee (talk) 22:48, 26 October 2020 (UTC)

I do want to stress that I don't think there's an argument to disallow the use of labels. But when they are used, they should not be in wikivoice if the labels are primarily originating from recent media and not from academic sources. A concurrent argument would be when the sourcing of such labels in quantity is sufficient to not require named attribution in lede/summary statements, and when it should be more specific to whom is making the claim by naming the speaker(s) (differentiating between a label widely used to describe a person/group, and a label used somewhat more selectively), and of course avoiding one-off label claims even if coming from one single high quality RS. --Masem (t) 23:08, 26 October 2020 (UTC)
...but for some subjects, "recent media" is the best, and sometimes the only, source, and for non-academic subjects, high-quality media should not be despised.
I do not think that we should be afraid of stating, in "wikivoice", things that are very widely stated in Wikipedia:Independent sources. We should not have sentences that start to sound like "According to Alice, Bob, Carol, Dan, Erin, Frank, Grace, and pretty much every other independent source that's ever written about this guy, he's a _____". That would be silly. The opening sentence of Richard B. Spencer is probably fine just like it is, and it does not need to be re-written with WP:INTEXT attribution. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:13, 27 October 2020 (UTC)
For recent topics, recent media may be the current best source, but it should be recognized as "recent" and that means RECENTISM applies. This doesn't mean we ignore the media, because much of the time their notability is tied to how they are characterized by the media and actions/events that stem from that. But we have to recognize that the media does not have the "wisdom" that time and sufficient academic review can give, so it is wrong to call them the "best" source", at least while things are still current. To compare it to the scientific world, even if a peer-reviewed paper came out tomorrow in the journal of Nature that said we can get cold fusion with graphene, Diet Coke and Mentos, and there's sound scientific theory behind, we would not write that immediate as fact in Wikivoice, but instead something like "Researchers from such-and-such claims they achieved cold fusion..." in the short term. If other researchers were able to replicate it, bring it to scale and show it to be correct, then we may later change it to fact. This is the same vector that climate change theory became accepted as fact over multiple decades. Now, I do understand that we may never see academic analysis of some of these people or groups years down the road, which okay, sure, at which point if there's nothing else that shows conflict in the long-term future, then the consensus that had been developed now could be taken as fact, but we should absolutely wait on that.
On the matter of writing towards that, I've talked elsewhere of the idea of a source survey that serves double duty for this as well as satifisying future complaints "but no sources say this!". If we want to incorporate any of those labels on Spenser's article, the first step would be to take a good number (100 or more, but 200+ is better if we can) of what we do deem as RSes over a reasonable source range and time range that Google News will give hits on (say, 2014 to 2020), and find out how many apply the label of interest (eg neo-Nazi, conspiracy theorist, etc.) to him in that context against how many many that don't. If its a reasonable high percentage that do (and to me, 25% or more is reasonable high), we're talking a broad use of the label which can be reflected in Wikivoice without stating it as a fact that "Spencer is broadly considered to be a neo-Nazi." without having to name sources, presuming that the body is going to state this again and have a paragraph or so that gets in to the evidence from these sources to explain why this is the case (he expresses neo-Nazi beliefs? He sides with neo-Nazi groups? I dunno exactly what is used, but when you read on SPLC why they label a group as a hate group, they give reasons why, this is the type of "documentation" I would expect). If only 10-25% of sources say this, or the source selection is very narrow, then it probably is necessary to name the specific sources that use the label. If its' less than 10%, then you're probably looking at only a handful of individuals using the label, and that's something probably to keep out of the lede and may itself be a fringe/undue view to include. (These are very very rough guidelines but it gives the idea of addressing the concern of having a bazillion source names in the lead when its not really necessary). --Masem (t) 20:08, 27 October 2020 (UTC)
  • RECENTISM is about breaking news, not about subjects that don't interest scholars.
  • Given that you can create a BLP on the basis of just two (2) independent reliable sources, why do you think that we could realistically have 200+ reliable sources that all talk about the same aspect of a typical BLP?
  • I notice that on the one hand, you're advocating for only mentioning negative things that scholarly sources say about BLPs, and on the other, you say that you like the SPLC as a source. Are you counting their website/database as a scholarly source? I don't. I count it as a reliable source, and I think we should use reliable sources for this kind of content, not merely reliable sources that were published in the academic literature.
WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:00, 28 October 2020 (UTC)
RECENTISM is more than just breaking news; it covers many facets related to how to cover topics that are recent and making sure to focus on facts over opinions.
Keep in mind that in terms of notability, WP is looking at enduring coverage. We want to know why a person is notable over time, not for a spat of coverage. (The essence of WP:BIO1E and WP:NEVENT as well). Someone it just takes one event to cause a change in perception: arguably this is the situation around Andy Ngo after that Proud Boys incident in Portland, or how we view people like Kevin Spacey caught (convicted or not) in the #MeToo movement that seeming changes how the tone of writing in the media which gets reflected in Wikipedia. So just because 200+ sources all might focus on, say, the anti-feminism of Benjamin here, we're still writing a biographical article and need to write that clinically and neutrally. If those 200+ sources were all over a period of a few months representing just a burst of coverage, and nothing since (which I know isn't the case but hypothetically), maybe the event that triggered them wasn't as significant as implied by the source count. Even if those 200 sources are spread over time, but all they just do is name drop the person with the label and do not explain further, that's not helpful either. If it is notable facet, it will be covered in an enduring manner.
SPLC may cross both but it depends on context. For example, they recently did an article to look at the origins of the monuments in the South and their ties to the Confederacy and other groups. That would be a scholarly article. On the other hand, their typical database of cataloging groups into hate groups would be more media/advocacy and needs to be attributed - but still a reliable source. Remember, the issue here is not doubting the quality or reliability of these sources, but simply the context of how we present their information in Wikivoice to keep a clinical , neutral, impartial tone on topics that may be highly controversial otherwise in the media and current scholarly works, per WP:OUTRAGE; Wikivoice cannot be judgement or imply judgement on current topics, but only can lead the reader to understand what that judgement is if that has the WEIGHT of coverage. --Masem (t) 17:18, 28 October 2020 (UTC)

Actionable proposals[edit]

This is a valuable discussion, with some good points raised by both sides. I think there's common ground to be found here – is anyone willing to propose some actionable guidelines or suggestions that we can compromise on and implement? I have an initial idea to get the ball rolling, but I'll first put my cards on the table (skip to my suggestion below if you don't want to hear me wax lyrical). I lean in the opposite direction to Masem, Levivich et al. and sympathise most with the arguments made by Guy and Newimpartial. I recognise the valid points made about the slippery slope of labels and moral judgements, and think it's worthwhile seeing if we can take steps to reduce this trend as some of the examples above have simply taken this too far. We avoid advocacy ... and describe points of view in context rather than as "the truth" or "the best view". Saying that, I have strong reservations about a slippery slope in the opposite direction, where we avoid calling a spade a spade despite the overwhelming weight of RS saying this, and give unnecessary oxygen to the conspiracy theories and intolerance which left unchecked in an age of disinformation, will eventually gobble up the free society, tolerance and civility Wikipedia relies on. We characterize information and issues rather than debate them ... all articles must strive for verifiable accuracy, citing reliable, authoritative sources – we should take care to avoid debating baseless conspiracy theories or extremist narratives from non-RS sources, or presenting their case in a way that creates a WP:FALSEBALANCE. If we're going to cover conspiracies/extremists, we have to call them what they are. So, on that basis...

  • Suggestion:

The use of politicised labels (perhaps there's a less nebulous term for this? can we define this?) in the first lead paragraph:

  1. must not rely on or cite opinion, editorial, commentary or feature articles, even from media judged as RS;
  2. requires widespread (not universal) RS coverage from academic articles, published books or factual reporting only in media judged as RS (e.g. the news section of broadsheet newspapers with excellent reputations, press agencies); —can we include sources like The Economist (excellent reputation but does not separate analysis from reporting) here? My gut feeling would be we should, but then again, on what basis?
and no dissenting coverage in RS (not including dissenting coverage in non-RS, opinion pieces in RS etc.)
This may well be a stupid suggestion, but at least this way we can still call David Duke a white supremacist. Can we come up with a better one that we can build a consensus around? Rhetorical debate is only helpful up to a certain point. Jr8825Talk 04:24, 27 October 2020 (UTC)
I'm not sure if this is necessary the right way. To use the Carl Benjamin example, the lede absolutely should mention the "anti-feminism" label somewhere, because the WEIGHT of sources that use it (even if it is going to be out of Wikivoice) is undeniable and it is part of why he's notable. It's more simply, going to what Blueboar said above, that our ledes should start with the more objective, factual elements (what I've said "what the topic is") and then move onto the subjective assessments if that's what they're most notable for ("how they are characterized") with those characterizations kept out of wikivoice if we don't have the wisdom of time to use more academic sources for it. More generally, editors need to step back and make sure it is not Wikivoice looking like it is the one being critical here, and that we are being clinical and impartial in the coverage of the lede, and should not be overly focused on painting people like Benjamin as "bad" but summarizing the sources as to explain that. --Masem (t) 14:12, 27 October 2020 (UTC)
Do you notice that I suggested this could be only for the first lead paragraph? Perhaps, instead of labels, we should focus on reducing value-laden judgements? Jr8825Talk 14:30, 27 October 2020 (UTC)
I appreciate Jr moving this discussion towards some concrete improvements via an actionable proposal. I agree that what we're really talking about is how to strike the right balance: it's not about "labels" or "no labels", but about when, where, and how to use which labels. For my part, most of my focus has been on the use of labels specifically in the lead sentence. I think the specific parameters set out above are reasonable, and could be incorporated into MOS:1ST. However, I think a better approach than trying to devise must/must-not rules (which is always very hard to do site wide across topic areas), would be to focus instead on how a lead sentence should describe the topic, with encourage/discourage language, and specifically addressing labels in the course of that guidance. Currently a lot of MOS:1ST is focused on technical formatting issues rather than giving advice about how to write good content. That advice is contained in other essays and stuff, and perhaps some of that essay guidance should be incorporated into the MOS guideline. Lev!vich 18:22, 27 October 2020 (UTC)
BTW when I think of "guidance", I think of examples like Jeff's above: I went to the article of Noam Chomsky, and saw his article starts with his professions and expertises. Only in the end of the first paragraph, it says that Ideologically, he aligns with anarcho-syndicalism and libertarian socialism. That is how to "write clinically," and is so much better than describing him as an anarcho-syndicalist and libertarian socialist linguist and philosopher. Or, even worse, if we let his enemies characterize him: an America-hating, Holocaust-denying anarchist. We do have reliable sources to back these claims up ... Lev!vich 20:17, 27 October 2020 (UTC)
Agree with Lev!vich. Regards, Jeff5102 (talk) 19:50, 27 October 2020 (UTC)
@Jr8825: I agree with enacting more stringent requirements for politicised labels, but only for BLPs. There are multiple reasons for this: 1. People are complicated and often change their positions or have nuanced positions that are easily over-simplified. 2. We need to be conservative in the wording of BLPs because of the potential to cause actual harm to people (see WP:BLP). I think that it's fine for Wikipedia to have relatively low requirements for politicised labels in articles that aren't BLPs, such as deceased politicians (e.g. Hitler) and political organizations. What would you think about adding "in BLP articles" to your proposal? Kaldari (talk) 22:11, 28 October 2020 (UTC)
@Kaldari: - I have no objection to this. Jr8825Talk 22:16, 28 October 2020 (UTC)
Just a note that, since factual claims cannot be sourced to opinion pieces anyway, it seems somewhat redundant to insist that these labels not be sourced to opinion pieces. It only makes sense to me to include such characterizations in the lede if they represent factual (ultimately, evidence-based) descriptions, and we don't use opinion pieces for that. Newimpartial (talk) 22:31, 28 October 2020 (UTC)
@Newimpartial: I agree, I would describe the purpose of my suggestion as making more explicit/a restatement of existing principles. While I don't have the experienced to judge how frequently it happens, I have come across a considerable number of feature/analysis pieces (and even opinion pieces) being used to support value-laden terms on the basis that they are published by RS such as the NYT, Washington Post, Guardian etc. In particular, I think it's easy for editors less familiar with media literacy to conflate editorials and 'long-read'-style feature articles with NPOV. I suspect the decline of printed newspapers, with nicely delineated news and comment sections, and the spread of online news/social media makes this more of a concern than it would've been in Wikipedia's early days. It's an easy mistake to make even for more experienced editors, if the URL/title doesn't explicitly say "comment" or "opinion". Jr8825Talk 22:55, 28 October 2020 (UTC)
We have to contend these days with even major, traditionally-reputable, serious media organizations completely doing away with the distinction between news, analysis, and opinion. Lev!vich 23:00, 28 October 2020 (UTC)
(Perennial favorite Forbes (well, Faux too, but that already earned the RSP designation of "never use for politics"). Is there anyone else doing that right now? --Izno (talk) 23:24, 28 October 2020 (UTC))
Two examples front the current front page of CNN: this starts out as straight news but about halfway through, plenty of analysis and opinion gets mixed in. This is straight analysis not obviously labelled as such (for comparison, here is an example of labelled analysis). Both are in the "politics" section, where columns and contributor op-eds are still clearly marked, but in-house news/analysis gets real mixed. I think all "politics" sections are like that now. Partly it's Trump's fault. His administration has put out so much misinformation over the last four years that mainstream media has responded by doing inline fact-checking. Could we cite the first article to say that Trump is not happy about campaigning? Could we cite the second article to say that Obama pulled punches to use late in the campaign? I don't know; I can't tell. Lev!vich 23:38, 28 October 2020 (UTC)
While this practice started with Fox News since its inception, the use of it by the sources we'd call more reliable started with the Assoc Press's "accountability journalism" push in a more ethical manner in 2008 [13] which nearly every other major paper has adopted. And this is a well known issue - The Economist, CRJ American Press Institute. And considering that accountability journalism is to make these people of higher power "accountable" for what they do, that's completely against WP's neutrality, which is why this style of report is a problem and causing these issues. --Masem (t) 00:16, 29 October 2020 (UTC)
That is as may be, but to me there is a significant difference between a long-form, evidence-based analysis piece by a qualified subject matter journalist, and an editorial or op-ed intervention. It doesn't take much work for a volunteer to make that distinction, IME, beyond a critical look at the byline and an examination of the evidence cited or referenced. If WP editors can't make that distinction for themselves, I don't think we can blame legacy media for that. Newimpartial (talk) 00:33, 29 October 2020 (UTC)
Except its clearly not happening given this entire thread. To point out from the Economist article These pressures are changing the way newspapers report. Last year ap’s style book declared: “Do not use racially charged or similar terms as euphemisms for racist or racism when the latter terms are truly applicable.” Some organisations have embraced, even emblazoned taboo words: “A Fascist Trump Rally In Greenville” ran a headline last year in the Huffington Post. Others are inserting more value judgments into their copy....Disenchanted with objectivity, some journalists have alighted on a new ideal: “moral clarity”. The phrase, initially popularised on the right, has been adopted by those who want newspapers to make clearer calls on matters such as racism. Mr Lowery repeatedly used the phrase in a recent Times op-ed, in which he called for the industry “to abandon the appearance of objectivity as the aspirational journalistic standard, and for reporters instead to focus on being fair and telling the truth, as best as one can, based on the given context and available facts.” The editor of the Times, Dean Baquet, called Mr Lowery’s column “terrific” in an interview with the “Longform” podcast. Objectivity has been “turned into a cartoon”, he said. Better to aim for values such as fairness, independence and empathy. This is the problem , those values that are being praised by this approach in the press are incompatible with the encyclopedic form, but there are editors that stand on "but the media reported this, it must be true" stance. We need to editors to be aware of this type of reporting and recognize this, and the easiest way is simply to know that value-laden labels should never be said as fact in Wikivoice from this current period. --Masem (t) 00:45, 29 October 2020 (UTC)

I'm still stuck on the first part of that quotation: Last year ap’s style book declared: “Do not use racially charged or similar terms as euphemisms for racist or racism when the latter terms are truly applicable - try as I might, I can't see the problem with that change. If the journalist has correctly assessed the truth and relevance of the term "racist" or "racism", I don't see why using it, rather than a euphemism, would be a problem (1) for journalism or (2) for article writing here. The Economist piece is also downplaying a key argument being made by those it is quoting, namely the distinction between objectivity and the appearance of objectivity. It seems to me that this is clearly what is meant by objectivity has been "turned into a cartoon". The point is not to embrace partiality and ignore objectivity; the point is that the euphemisms, bothsides-ism and FALSEBALANCE that had been used to maintain the appearance of objectivity had led to coverage that was less objective and less truthful than it should have been. While the obligations of WP editors are not the same as those of journalists, I don't think our articles gain anything when they obscure the (reliably sourced) truth and the best available characterization in favor of imaginary WHATABOUT considerations or concessions to FRINGE POV. Newimpartial (talk) 01:11, 29 October 2020 (UTC)

Guys, we're going in circles here, and illustrating quite nicely how our job as Wikipedia editors is not simple at all. This is why it's worth trying to find some common ground, it helps to be as explicit and clear as possible in guiding editors on how to approach areas such as current affairs, where these difficulties are most apparent. News & analysis inherently merge into each other – it doesn't make RS less serious or reputable. Perhaps stricter rules in (BLP) leads will encourage editors to inform themselves about this. (The Economist, which wears its self-described liberal values on its sleeve, has never separated factual and analytical articles, priding itself in its "distinctive blend of news, based on facts, and analysis, incorporating The Economist’s perspective"). As along as media sources are transparent about the values they apply to their reporting (even if they don't explicitly spell this out in individual articles), having an independent perspective, or "soul" (to quote C. P. Scott), is a highly desirable trait. It's an extremely common misconception (media literacy is not intuitive!) that media should (or even can) be impartial – witness the limitations of ardently value-free sources such as Reuters (refusing to label the 9/11 attackers terrorists, for example). Critical viewpoints are essential for understanding our world. At Wikipedia we have to cover the facts, then accompany these with the major analyses and viewpoints as fairly and neutrally as we can (which inherently requires us to adopt some value judgements). Our current policies say we shouldn't go as far as sources like Reuters, that we should describe [fringe views] in their proper context with respect to established scholarship and the beliefs of the wider world. CNN doesn't explain its stance as eloquently as The Economist, but I did notice that its stated aim is "To Inform, Engage and Empower the World", which is obviously a value-driven stance, not "just report the facts". This doesn't make it unreliable, value-free journalism doesn't exist, while fact-free journalism does!
@Izno: re: who else distinguishes between analysis and news: take a look at The Guardian, with its (rather undeserved) reputation among conservatives for being horribly biased. It rigorously (yet subtly in its online version) separates its "hard" factual reporting from its "soft" news sections. Take this article for example, which appears to the untrained eye to be an opinionated news article, but, if you scroll down to the end, you'll see it's tagged as 'features' (i.e. stories about news). All Guardian articles that are not pure factual reporting are tagged under 'features', 'opinion' or another relevant section. Compare this with its actual news reporting, which is tagged as 'news'. Here's an excellent example about climate change causing a train crash, demonstrating why it has its well-established reputation for fact-based reporting. This is what distinguishes a RS from a non-RS, but it's unreasonable to expect all our editors to be making this distinction all the time. That's why I think it's worth spelling it out for contentious topics. Jr8825Talk 01:18, 29 October 2020 (UTC)
Your "excellent example" of fact reporting and summary as "climate change causing a train crash" is a excellent example of how distinctions of "fact", "news analysis", and "opinion" are meaningless in the face of WP editors inability to critically read and evaluate sources, and their willingness to interpret them according to their point of view. fiveby(zero) 14:37, 29 October 2020 (UTC)
@Fiveby: You missed my point. It's an article whose title connects climate change with a train crash. My point is that The Guardian does not editorialise on the issue, it's simply reports the facts and statements of relevant politicians because it's the news section. Even the title is paraphrasing a government official's quote. To spell it out more clearly, my point is that you while you might expect a source like The Guardian to make a point on climate change, it doesn't. It's a good example of robust factual reporting. Jr8825Talk 17:14, 29 October 2020 (UTC)
I'm reluctant to push this further, but I find your criticism of my ability to read and evaluate sources a bit rich, given your recent (reverted) edits disputing the Daily Mail's inaccuracy. Jr8825Talk 17:25, 29 October 2020 (UTC)
There are some things i might use The Daily Mail for, finding factual information not one of them. I am disputing Wikipedia's accuracy. Michael Matheson is actually quoted further here. Guardian stretches the truth a bit, editors here do a great deal, and What we don't want to do at this particular point is to start to speculate about what actually caused it becomes climate change causing a train crash. Wikipedia has fine policies concerning neutral point of view, verifiability, and no original research, but those policies are left behind when it is easier to divide editors into the right side and wrong side of an issue. fiveby(zero) 18:46, 29 October 2020 (UTC)
I think that's a bit harsh. I do not think at all this is a competency issue with most editors particularly in these topic areas. I would say that some editors are strongly driven by their feelings towards a certain topic (whether it is like or dislike of that topic area) to let that cloud judgement and/or their willingness to evaluate sources critically in such cases. But I know it has been hard to discuss the changing nature of the media and its reporting style and how that impacts how WP should use these sources because of the "blind" trust some editors maintain for these works despite the evidence that the changing style moves away from elements that we can use appropriate while staying neutral and impartial. --Masem (t) 14:55, 29 October 2020 (UTC)
What I would say is that we are in the middle of a cultural shift, and are all experiencing it in different ways. Language that is "woke" to one person is "neutral" to another, and language that is "impartial" to one person is "euphemistic" to another. This isn't a context that allows for truly general rules, I think, only principles. Newimpartial (talk) 18:03, 29 October 2020 (UTC)
That's true, but it's also tautological: we are always in the middle of a cultural shift; there has never been a time or place in history when that hasn't been the case. What do we do about it? We don't impose our (editors') beliefs about what is woke/neutral/impartial/euphemistic. Instead, we follow the sources, and impose their beliefs. The question is: which sources? We get a different answer when we look at academic sources v. media. (And a different answer depending on which media we look at.) Lev!vich 18:58, 29 October 2020 (UTC)
Well, here is where my take is different from yours or Masem's: I don't think we really do get a different answer from academic sources vs. quality journalism. Academic sources over the last 10 years, say, use similar (though more nuanced) language to most journalistic sources over the last say 5 years - indeed, a lot of the language choices that have changed in this cultural shift probably came to journalism by way of academic discourse (which doesn't mean they originated there). So while the inclination I seem to detect in Masem is to set aside the most recent of scholarship until there is less turbulence in these language communities, I hold a view closer to yours I think, Levivich, that these issues are going to be with is for some time and we just have to navigate them. Newimpartial (talk) 20:46, 29 October 2020 (UTC)
We also have to acknowledge that journalism has changed within the last decade, and there is political bias involved more than ever, even to high-quality journalists. I still don't agree Journalists should be the deciding factor to label someone's ideology just because they believe they fit that criterion. To me, labeling their ideology it's very similar to label someone's religious belief. I understand that can be an extreme opinion, but i think its very important that we have labels that involve ideology. Especially BLPs who in the next ten years could identify as a Nazi, or as a new 4th wave Feminist. Even if it holds no value-laden, or used to spread a negative reputation, we're still labeling someone's own personal beliefs with words like feminist/anti-feminist.Blue Pumpkin Pie Chat Contribs 22:07, 29 October 2020 (UTC)
And where I differ from that is, that I don't agree that there is more political bias involved than ever. What I think has changed over the last 10 or so years, is a shift in the dominant political bias in reputable media from "let's make up terms that sound neutral, so that we (the media) can seem objective, even if it distorts what is actually happening" to "let's call things what they actually are, as best we can tell". And it is not at all clear to me that the second thing is in fact less neutral than the first, only that it may sound less neutral to people who are used to the old obfuscations. Newimpartial (talk) 00:12, 30 October 2020 (UTC)

Fair use in English Wiki?[edit]

scopo Hi! I read the fair use policy but it did not answer my question so I am posting my message here: is this kind of fair use okay? (see Maid of Sker where it's used) and is there a specific quantity that an article should not exceed in fair-use files? I am thinking of adding 4 more files that explain the gameplay mechanics, help visualize the plot, and also a short 30-seconds piece of the theme music to the music section I thought about writing. Is this too much for a single article? (please ping me, thank you!)▸ ‎épine talk 21:54, 18 October 2020 (UTC)

Épine, where's the talk page discussion? Guy (help! - typo?) 22:46, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
JzG, what talk page discussion? ▸ ‎épine talk 22:49, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
Épine, pretty much my point. Guy (help! - typo?) 22:59, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
JzG, if you mean the article talk page, it does not have one because I just created it. No one is currently watching the article aside from myself, so talking about it there is pretty much like talking to myself.
Anyway, I would appreciate the input of someone who can answer my question without trying to lecture me about something I did not ask about, though. ▸ ‎épine talk 23:07, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
I think that five non-free images plus a 30-second piece of non-free music is way too much. El Millo (talk) 23:18, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
Facu-el Millo, I think media really adds value to articles. I know that each Wikipedia has its own separate policy regarding these stuff, I was an admin in ckb wiki for about two years and we always encouraged media in articles. How much is too much over here though, and shouldn't the policy clarify that you should not exceed a number of non-free files in each article? I did not see such points being made anywhere that is why I came here. ▸ ‎épine talk 23:25, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
Use of non-free media should be as minimal as possible. Check Wikipedia:Non-free content, especially the Meeting the minimal usage criterion section, and see if you can argue that this would be minimal use. El Millo (talk) 23:34, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
Facu-el Millo, I looked into it. It looks like the English Wikipedia does not specifically stop authors from using more than one non-free media but encourages using free alternatives and using an image that explains multiple points at once (which is not available in my case.) I am trying to add a media explaining one of the game mechanics and two others that clarify the plot section. I can decide not to add the music for what it's worth since it's preferable by the en wiki. What do you think? ▸ ‎épine talk 23:45, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
I think the use should be borderline-essential, but let's see what other editors have to say. El Millo (talk) 23:49, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
Épine,{{u|JzG} I think you were unfair to Guy. You are still new here, and it does take some time to sort out where things should be discussed. on the one hand, your question is a good one — you want to know whether your proposed use of fair use files is appropriate, and you should be applauded for deciding to ask rather than just plowing ahead and may be finding that your hard work gets reverted. However, you are asking about a specific application of existing policy to a specific article. if you look at the information at the top of this page, where he explains the intended usage of this page it says:

to discuss proposed policies and guidelines and changes to existing policies and guidelines

As reinforcement it also notes:

If you have a question about how to apply an existing policy or guideline, try one of the many Wikipedia:Noticeboards.

Your question is squarely in the second category, so either ought to be raised in an appropriate noticeboard, or a discussion on the article talk page. It is understandable that posting this on that article talk page is not likely to get a lot of feedback because hardly anyone would have it on their watchlist, but you could start the discussion on the article talk page, then open up a query at the helpdesk or the teahouse with a link to that discussion. S Philbrick(Talk) 23:38, 19 October 2020 (UTC)
This image is a generic gameplay image which usually doesn't meet the bar for inclusion as an image per the WP:NFCC. We do try to include images which demonstrate aspects that could not be otherwise described in words per the NFCC (art style, heads-up-display, etc.), and this screenshot is not one of them. In all cases, the content of the image must be commented on by reliable sources directly in the article.
You would do well to review WP:VGIMAGES, and feel free to ask any follow up questions here or at WT:VG. --Izno (talk) 00:16, 19 October 2020 (UTC)
Épine As for the specific questions:
Is there a specific quantity that an article should not exceed in fair-use files. I am thinking of adding 4 more files that explain the gameplay mechanics, help visualize the plot, and also a short 30-seconds piece of the theme music to the music section I thought about writing. Yes, usually articles that need to rely on non-free media are limited to 1 identifying image (such as cover art, copy-righted logo, movie poster art). And that's it for free passes. Everything else needs to meet the WP:NFCC in full. Which is not usually possible because more than 1 or 2 additional files usually means the article will not meet the requirement for minimum use. See WP:NFCC#3 in particular on this point.
The other primary barrier is usually WP:NFCC#8, which requires sourced commentary on what the file is depicting directly such that the article would be lesser without the file in question. Usually one screenshot of gameplay will meet this bar, but the gameplay must also meet NFCC3, meaning a generic image like the above example is not usually above the bar. --Izno (talk) 00:32, 19 October 2020 (UTC)
Izno, thank you for the valuable insight. The screenshot is of the protagonist using the only available weapon in the game. I believe that is very important to be included in the article. ▸ ‎épine talk 01:29, 19 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Since this is the village pump, here's my view from 10,000 feet (ignoring the specifics of this case): Wikipedia is way too conservative about employing fair use, to the extent that it damages the movement for open information, since legal doctrine follows general practice. Some recommended listening on the topic. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 07:43, 19 October 2020 (UTC)
    Sdkb, I'm struggling to parse your comment. I think you are saying that we ought to allow more fair use, but I don't think I fully understand your rationale. I spent more time on copyright issues than fair use issues but I think there is some similarity. (I will also note that this is an appropriate venue for such a discussion.) I think it's fair to say that Wikipedia is more conservative than the boundaries set by the law with respect to both copyright issues and fair use issues, but I think that's deliberate and warranted. in your link the article a podcaster wondered whether she was crossing the line, although unless I missed something I didn't see a lot of specific examples. I think a random podcast or or blogger is going to get away with more than Wikipedia my getaway with, simply because an intellectual property rights lawyer looking at a podcast or blog post which skirts or crosses the line may not feel that legal action is warranted unless it's very egregious. In short, they typically don't have enough money to make it worthwhile. In contrast, the Wikimedia foundation can be viewed as a rich target. We are likely to get many more hits than a typical blogger or podcaster, and we are likely to be viewed as having more financial resources than a typical blogger or podcaster, so the exact same usage which might get a pass by the blogger or podcaster might attract legal action if done by Wikipedia. In addition even if we win, we lose. The cost of taking something to court and winning is not trivial, so we deliberately air on the side of conservative decisions, so that intellectual property lawyers aren't even tempted to take us on. I think that's a wise decision S Philbrick(Talk) 23:48, 19 October 2020 (UTC)
    Sphilbrick, the link is to an episode of The Pub, a trade podcast for people in American public media (e.g. NPR) by Adam Ragusea. It's an interview with Patricia Aufderheide, an expert on fair use law, about how journalists should apply that law, but it's somewhat applicable to Wikipedia since what we're doing has a bunch of similarities to journalism. She talks about some of the key principles for fair use and how they're often misinterpreted. She also says that judges, when deciding precedent-making cases, often take their cues from widespread practice, and that not employing fair use to the extent you're entitled to can therefore be damaging. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 05:28, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
    Sdkb The WP:NFCC are not strict because of a legal obligation, they are strict because of a moral obligation on our part. We promise the world that our content is perpetually free, and fair use content is incompatible with that guarantee. Not all countries have fair use doctrines, and what is fair use on our encyclopedia may not be fair use in other contexts. Every piece of non-free media is a liability for downstream re-users, and our non-free content criteria are intentionally strict for that reason. We should use non-free media only where free equivalents are impossible to obtain (along with 9 other criteria). Wug·a·po·des 01:01, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
    It is not a legal obligation, and we certainly owe no obligation to downstream re-users. Our readers would benefit from a more generous use of fair use (and especially free) material, but as Sphilbrick says, it is a compromise we make to avoid having corporate America shut us down. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 02:05, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
    Wugapodes, this might be heresy, but I think our paramount obligation is to give readers the best encyclopedia we can, and ensuring that people can reuse our content for free comes secondary to that (which is not to say it's not still a core value, but the first pillar/WP:Purpose takes precedence over the third). {{u|Sdkb}}talk 05:33, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
    @Sdkb: The logo displayed on my computer says Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Does yours just say "The Encyclopedia" or something? Wug·a·po·des 06:54, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
    I'd be fine with changing that to just "the encyclopedia". Because that is what Wikipedia is now. The encyclopedia; the primary summary of human knowledge. And it isn't free anyway, it costs millions of dollars per year, and people donate, and that's why we have nice things. Lev!vich 06:59, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
    "Free" meaning libre, not "free" meaning "without cost". See Gratis versus libre. Wug·a·po·des 07:15, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
    FUP isn't about protecting the WMF from liability, nor is it about protecting the right of copyright holders. It's also not about upholding any kind of moral obligation or standard; in fact, it's a perversion of the "free encyclopedia" concept. The FUP is about protecting people's right to profit from reproduction of the encyclopedia. "Free" means "free to sell". FUP is about making sure people can do things like sell wikibooks without having to worry about violating copyright laws. I'm not sure who came up with the notion that "free to sell" is an important value to protect, but it's high time we rewrote FUP and allowed CC-BY-NC ... in other words, get rid of "free to sell" as the standard and replace it with "free for any noncommercial use". Lev!vich 04:35, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
    Well, see, its not even about that. We want our content to be free of any obligations outside of recognition of contributions for all potential downstream reusers, including for modification, which includes commercial reusers. -NC fails that purpose. And that's from the WMF, not from en.wiki. --Masem (t) 05:13, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
    wmf:Resolution:Licensing policy is probably a strong reminder where this is coming from. --Masem (t) 05:36, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
    Yes, that is the source of the problem, and the policy that would need to be changed. "Free to reuse for any purpose, including commercial purpose" is a principle that materially harms the development of the encyclopedia. If we got rid of that, we could have a much more relaxed fair use policy. Also, we could license works. I mean, we could have access to all of Getty images; imagine what that would do in terms of ability to illustrate articles with quality illustrations for our readers. It's not like we can't afford the licensing fee, it's just that we want to make everything on wikipedia sell-able. Why? I don't know why. To bring it back to OP's example about video game screenshots: there is no video game company in the world that would object to our putting up screenshots of their games on our articles; as many as we wanted. It's not a copyright problem, it's a licensing issue: for the license to be compatible, they have to basically give up all control over reproduction, including for profit by others, and of course no video game company will want to do that. But that's not necessary to have an encyclopedia--we don't have to require a CC-BY-SA license in order to put images on the website--that's just about the reuse, and even then, we could do CC-BY-NC, if we limited it to noncommercial reuse. But the WMF decided over a decade ago that it has to be "free to sell". This is one of the places where, IMO, "free knowledge movement" clashes directly with "building an encyclopedia". Lev!vich 05:56, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
    I point to what the Resolution links to as the definition of "free" which has nothing to do with money, it is about freedom of speech per [14]. Do not presume that the WMF is requiring this because they want commercial entities to be able to make a profit off it; they want us to prefer works that have the widest possible reuse with the minimalist possible restrictions across the globe. And no, there's no conflict, the Resolution recognizes that we sometimes need to dip our hands into non-free content to properly illustrate the encyclopdia. It's just that we're far more restrictive than what most people would consider US fair use would allow, because we want to encourage editors use to free content first and foremost, and only turn to non-free if there's no other options. --Masem (t) 06:10, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
    Choosing that definition was, well, a choice. We shouldn't be using that definition. We shouldn't be preferring works with the widest possible reuse. Noncommercial reuse is wide enough. We shouldn't encourage editors to use free content first, because the best content is not free. We should prefer the best content for our readers' understanding when they read the encyclopedia. Everything else, including who can reuse the content, should be secondary to that. For an example of how our licensing policy hurts us, compare our picture of Frank Sinatra (and all the alternatives on the talk page) with what Getty Images has; that's the huge gap in quality. (And it is a clash: preferring the free-est content = free knowledge movement; preferring the best content = building encyclopedia.) Lev!vich 06:49, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
    It's not a choice the WMF just made one day, but grew out of The Free Software Definition and the wider FOSS movement. Free (libre) means anyone can do anything as long as they agree to share the work and modifications with others under the same terms. Restricting commercial use is incompatible with that definition, and it's also counterproductive. Even Linux allows commercial use, and projects like Red Hat rely on the ability to sell enterprise services. But you can also just download it as Fedora (OS), because even if you sell Linux distros, you are legally required to allow the buyer to redistribute it under the same terms and they don't have to charge. That's why you can just download Android and modify its code to put on your own phone; the GPL portions of the Linux kernel require Google to make Android libre. The whole point of allowing commercial use is to entice corporations to use our Really Good Work and therefore require them to free the formerly proprietary work that they distribute with it. It's not an accident that commercial use is allowed. (edit conflict) Wug·a·po·des 07:11, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
    And legally speaking, it is impossible to relicense Wikipedia under CC-By-SA-NC because the GFDL Section 2 and CC-BY-SA section 4a both forbid adding any additional conditions or restrictions, and non-commercial is an additional restriction. You don't even have the right to fork it under CC-By-SA-NC. If you want a non-commercial encyclopedia, you have to start from scratch. Wug·a·po·des 07:42, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
    Under section 7a, we reserve the right to release the Work under different license terms or to stop distributing the Work at any time. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 09:29, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
    Just to be clear, those new license terms must still be compatible with the old license terms. SportingFlyer T·C 10:59, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
    You could (at least in theory) release new content under an incompatible license as long as the existing content remained available under the same (or a compatible) license and there was a way to determine which content is available under which license. For the last point, page history would work for article content, but templates, etc. might be complicated (at least without phab:36244/phab:2851). Thryduulf (talk) 14:21, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
    Brand new articles could be unencumbered, but edits to existing articles would be derivative works and still subject to existing licensing constraints. Templates would be an interesting question: as part of the tool chain to generate the HTML, they aren't part of the visible web site for those just trying to reuse the web pages. But for downloading the entire editing infrastructure, they would also have the same derivative work problem. isaacl (talk) 15:22, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
  • What they said; we might not be able to relicense past edits but we can license every edit from this point forward under a different license if we wanted to. Template code itself is probably too simple to be copyrightable at all; the content of a template, if it's copyrightable at all (short lists of basic facts and navigation aids aren't really copyrightable) would be treated the same as any other content. "Free libre" is the thinking of a free knowledge movement. I only care about "free gratis". (I bet our readers only care about "free gratis" and not "free libre" too. Libertarianism isn't very popular.) Lev!vich 16:17, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
    An edit to an existing article can only modify it in accordance within the scope of its current licence. For Wikipedia, this means future modifications must be released on the same terms as the original creation. It's why all edits today must be dual-licensed under GFDL as well as CC-BY-SA 3.0: the licence of the older GFDL edits has to be preserved. isaacl (talk) 16:38, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
    [citation needed] We can license all contributions after 20 October 2020 as NC. Lev!vich 16:48, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
    Not while respecting our current GFDL and CC-BY-SA requirements. Otherwise, anyone could clone Wikipedia and relicense it under whatever terms they chose. When CC-BY-SA was introduced, GFDL was preserved.
    As for templates, think of things like the citation template family and the infobox templates (and the underlying Lua modules). I think they clearly meet the originality threshold for copyright. isaacl (talk) 16:55, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
    I'm not talking about relicensing existing content, I'm talking about licensing new content under a different license. For example, we could license text separately from images. We could decide tomorrow to allow CC-BY-NC images; literally the only thing preventing us is our policy choice to uphold the "libre" principle. I also think we could license new text as CC-BY-NC, and there are huge open questions of law regarding whether any of our licensing is effective anyway (e.g., is Wikipedia fixed in a tangible medium, are editors co-authors, does attribution to IPs satisfy the attribution requirements of CC-BY, and does our NOR policy prohibit us from reaching the threshold of originality, none of which TMK has yet been addressed by a court). But licensing aside, there is also our FUP, which we could relax, again, if we gave up the "libre" principle. The bottom line is that our fair use policy is not a legal requirement, it's a policy choice. Lev!vich 17:32, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
    Not so much policy in terms of WP:PAG, but policy set beyond en.wiki.
    That said, NFCC is also considered a legal policy, as NFCC policy keeps the use of non-free media under the level of where fair use questions would likely start to be raised. It also requires editors to be accurate in how they document images so that we don't misappropriate copyrights (aka flickrwashing/etc.). It is why dealing with obvious NFCC problems is one of the few exceptions for edit warning. --Masem (t) 17:38, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
    Sure, as various people including me have said, completely new articles could have a different license. Images are presently licensed separately from text, which is why we can include non-free images now. For better or worse, libre is a founding principle for the original Wikipedia community, so I believe the Wikimedia Foundation will continue to follow this tradition, and so any community interested in a non-commercial encyclopedia would have to create a new site. isaacl (talk) 17:49, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
    It would not have to create a new site. The WMF works for the community, not the other way around. And yes, as Masem points out, WMF policy would have to be changed, not just enwiki policy, but see previous sentence. I would support any trustee who ran on a platform of changing the license policy so that we could license images from repositories like Getty, and then use some of our $130 million to negotiate a licensing arrangement with Getty (and/or other image repositories), so that we could use those high-quality images in our articles, which would be a great, great improvement to the encyclopedia, and to our core mission. But you're right that the prerequisite for change is editors deciding to make the change. Once that happens, everything else follows. The key point is that we are not required to have the policies that we have, we choose to have these policies. We could choose something else if we wanted to. Lev!vich 17:52, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
    Of course anything could happen. My feeling, though, is that there are certain founding principles that defined the original wikipedia community, and libre is one of them. To diverge would be akin to a takeover of the Wikipedia name by a different school of thought. It's happened to other communities, and could happen here, but I suspect resistance to it would make it difficult.
    Choosing to pay for a licence for non-redistributable image use would be antithetical to some, I think, but if the images could be cleanly separated from the libre text, it could gain some support. isaacl (talk) 18:26, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
    You say "takeover", I say "evolution" :-) "The community", in practice, is a subset of humanity, but in theory, it's all of humanity, because this is the encyclopedia everyone can edit. The people who are editors today are not the same people who made these decisions 15-20 years ago; the community of yesterday makes up a tiny portion of the community of today. As Wikipedia grows, more and more people join, and "the Wikipedia community" becomes more and more like the world community, and Wikipedia values will shift closer and closer to world values. Sure, "libre" was an important value in the beginning among the internet libertarians and anarchists who launched the project, but it's not a value I share. I'm here because this is the official repository of human knowledge, our modern-day Library of Alexandria. My personal wiki-revelation came when Google and Siri started answering with Wikipedia; it had reached critical mass, there is no going back or replacing it or restarting it: this is how we are going to store our knowledge. Mark my words: the content of Wikipedia will outlast the copyright laws of the United States. The Wikipedia database will be copied more than the Bible. To me, "free" means "freely accessible". It's important to me that we have an accurate and complete encyclopedia that summarizes our most important knowledge, and a commons that holds our most important multimedia files, and a wikidata for structured data. And it's important to me that this knowledge is freely accessible to all humans, now and forevermore. That's why I registered an account. And I'm OK with spending donations on licensing fees, and on outsourcing software development (because let's face it, in-house ain't cutting it), and even on paying editors. If spending money helps build the library, then I'm in favor of it. The diversion point for our licensing policies is reuse. In my view, it doesn't matter if people can reuse our text and images so long as they can freely access it. And I wonder how many of our fellow humans are more interested in quality and "freely accessible" than in "libre" for reuse. Lev!vich 19:09, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
    Open source communities are very tetchy about this type of thing. The question is whether "freely accessible" should include "free to redistribute". Some people think anyone should be able to take on the responsibility of spreading knowledge to others, and this is enabled by having content that is free to redistribute. Regarding paying for content, some think this would discourage free contributions, thereby losing a large source of edits. The thing about evolving a brand is that with too drastic a change, it loses its previous meaning, and you're no farther ahead—you'd have been better off building a new brand from the start. isaacl (talk) 19:44, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
    If you told our fellow humans that your scheme would forbid Google and Siri from giving them answers from Wikipedia, they would probably care a lot about the ability to reuse. Using your same logic, how many of our fellow humans--billions of whom don't have the internet and don't speak English--care about an online encyclopedia written in English? You're right that we're part of a global community, but you can't just appeal to ignorance and claim a silent majority supports you. If you seriously believe your proposal would be adopted by the global community, WMF legal, and the board of trustees, I suggest you make a proposal on Meta. If not, those internet libertarians and anarchists gave you the right to fork and start your own community. But our licenses were written to prevent exactly what you suggest from happening.
    Maybe Wikipedia will last longer than the US or its copyright law, but until copyright law disappears, you irrevocably agree to allow commercial reuse of your text every time you hit "publish changes". And that is a good thing. You seem concerned about the encyclopedia, but your desire for more pretty pictures damages our ability to reuse libre text from manuals, Wikia, other WMF projects, and some academic papers. Unless you can convince every WMF project to switch, we can no longer incorporate translated text into our existing articles, and other projects could not translate our work into their articles. That hurts the free knowledge movement far more than the lack of a Frank Sinatra picture they already saw on the Google search results page. We also reduce our potential funding sources since we get hundreds of thousands of dollars from corporations like Apple, Google, and Microsoft who want to compensate us for allowing reuse of our content. Google even sponsors interns to work on our software and documentation during the summer. I would bet those funding sources dry up the moment we tell them they can't use our content, so I'm interested in where the additional $150,000+ is coming from to support your idea of paying photo licenses. Your proposal would cause lots of actual problems for the encyclopedia all because you believe we're too committed to freedom. Wug·a·po·des 20:07, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
    Every project is free to set its own rules. We are free to change the license at any time, and have done so in the past. We already allow some fair use, and it would not be a big deal to allow greater use of my own NC images. What I object to is people profiting off our volunteer work, and charging us for it. Why should we be paying Apple, Google, and Microsoft hundreds of thousands of dollars for what we provide for free? I understand it is all part of the Make America Great Again ("libre") movement in which freedom is defined as "free enterprise", but we don't have to buy into it. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 21:01, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
    Technically yes, but per the resolution, the license has to be one that meets the above definition of free. So we could say "let's make everything PD", but we can't go CC-By-NC. --Masem (t) 22:01, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
    The GFDL section 11 only allows relicensing to CC-BY-SA and only prior August 1, 2009. It was added by the GNU Foundation specifically for our CC-BY-SA relicensing. Wug·a·po·des 01:00, 21 October 2020 (UTC)
    Geez, hostile to dissenting views much, Wugs? Do my heretical views discomfort you? :-P I don't have a "scheme" but changing our licensing policies does not mean preventing Google or Apple or anyone else from reusing our content. Adherence to copyright laws should be our only standard for fair use policy; there is no good reason to have a stricter policy and in fact it may be counterproductive for reasons discussed in that podcast linked above. What you call "pretty pictures" I call useful, educational images, video, and sound recording. Our licensing policies are not written in stone; we choose to allow people to profit off of our work, and in doing so, we hamper our work. We should make a different choice. (As for the $150k, are you kidding? That's like less than 0.5% of our annual surplus and less than 0.1% of our cash reserves.) Lev!vich 21:30, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
    I'm not trying to be hostile, I'm stating reality. If you want an explanation for why we are strict with non-free content, you got it. If you want a change to the global non-free content policy, this is not the place to make it and it is unlikely to be successful. If you don't like those answers, you have the right to fork, and you wouldn't be the first; even one of our co-founders forked the project when he disliked a choice the community made---it's not meant as a slight or to imply you're not welcome. You're free to dislike the policy, and even recommend changes, but you're not the first person to think that "commercial use" should not be part of "free", and it's naive to think that these were not intentional, well thought through plans. As I said above, fair use is a chiefly American concept, and the standards vary widely across countries (some don't even have it). If you want Wikipedia to be copied more than the Bible and available to as many people as possible, you need to make sure the 7 billion-ish people outside the United States can copy it. Therefore, making US fair use doctrine the be-all-and-end-all of our non-free content policy directly contradicts your goals of wide distribution of knowledge. Wug·a·po·des 01:00, 21 October 2020 (UTC)
    You're free to dislike the policy, and even recommend changes ... Thanks, that's what I'm doing here :-) ... but you're not the first person to think that "commercial use" should not be part of "free" ... I'm not even the first person in this discussion to say it ... and it's naive to think that these were not intentional, well thought through plans. In all those posts above when I said "this is a choice we made, we should make a different choice", the word "choice" means "intentional". Yeah, it would be naïve to think this was not an intentional choice. As to "well thought out", sure, no one is doubting that, either. Rather, the thesis is that the intentional choice was made in pursuit of the wrong goal ("free to reuse") and we should make a different choice in pursuit of the right goal ("freely accessible"). So, no, I'm not being naïve. Perhaps you could consider the possibility that a different choice might also be well thought out. ... If you want Wikipedia to be copied more than the Bible and available to as many people as possible, you need to make sure the 7 billion-ish people outside the United States can copy it. Already done - official and unofficial mirrors worldwide ... Therefore, making US fair use doctrine the be-all-and-end-all of our non-free content policy directly contradicts your goals of wide distribution of knowledge. That conclusion does not follow from the preceding sentences. Changing our licensing policies to remove the requirement of "free to reuse" will allow us to use more images, not fewer, and thus will further, not contradict, the goal of increasing free access to (quality) images.
    By the way, in the recent Esquire article, the author wrote of Wikipedia: It is ad-free, pop-up free, cookie-free, and free. "Free to reuse" didn't make the cut. Questioning the value of "free to reuse" is not really that radical; perhaps among the open-source community as isaac mentioned above, but not in the wider world. Lev!vich 17:40, 24 October 2020 (UTC)
    Changing the image policy to not favour free-to-reuse images, though, will hinder the deployment of official mirrors. In theory it could be done in a way that separates the mirrorable resuable content from the non-reusable, but I know nothing about the MediaWiki internals to speculate further. Perhaps you can find other interested editors to flesh out your idea further. isaacl (talk) 17:54, 24 October 2020 (UTC)
    This, exactly. Right now, there are no limitations at all for reuse of any content outside that tagged as non-free for anyone in the rest of the world. If we went to -NC, while we'd be able to incorporate more material, we'd be restricting what could be reused, which is against the MediaWiki Foundation's goals. Basically, until MediaWiki decides it no longer wants to support free-as-in-speech distribution, asking us to change the license makes no sense. --Masem (t) 18:02, 24 October 2020 (UTC)
    It may have got lost in this lengthy discussion, but as I said somewhere above, the change to the licensing policy must be done by the WMF, and so what I'm planning to do to help bring about that change is to support trustees in the next election who support getting rid of "free for commercial reuse" as a foundation goal (at least for images), which would allow the WMF to modify licensing policies to allow -NC images, and to loosen the restrictions surrounding fair use of images, among other changes. I encourage everyone else to do the same. Lev!vich 18:10, 24 October 2020 (UTC)
    As previously discussed, non-free images are already allowed, with guidance to meet the mission to "empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free content license" (elsewhere the guidance links to [15] to define free content license). I believe you'll have to find enough community members willing to change the mission, as I don't think any trustee candidates will want to make such a change without such support. I look forward to seeing the progress. isaacl (talk) 18:51, 24 October 2020 (UTC)
    I look forward to asking trustee candidates what they think about "free for commercial reuse". The first step is to get the current trustees to actually hold elections. Lev!vich 19:24, 24 October 2020 (UTC)
    Of course, you're free to clone what we have on WP, to make your own free-as-in-beer WP, and outside everything from the date you clone, make all future contributions CC-non-commercial. Just that WMF requires the licensing model we use. --Masem (t) 17:12, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
    I suppose you could have an NC policy for all new articles, and I think IT Wikipedia allows NC images. But I don't see how you can mix NC and non NC content in terms of text. If anyone took a couple of paragraphs that I had written and licensed CC-BY-SA, rewrote it and added a sentence or so, then licensed the new version CC-BY-SA-NC that would be a clear licensing breach. And I would be unimpressed if someone then wanted to charge someone for a "commercial" use of that material. ϢereSpielChequers 17:50, 23 October 2020 (UTC)

Well, I think one of the benefits of current policy is it incentivizes or promotes the creation of freely licensed images. It is a real benefit to the world in spreading knowledge to have images of important people, places or things that can be used and reused across the globe for no fee. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:13, 25 October 2020 (UTC)

Scrubbing activities[edit]

I want to talk about things that I hereby label "Scrubbing activities". By that I mean altering longstanding content in rapid response to recent real-life events. This can particularly mean changing a definition of a word, phrase or concept, deleting same, adding a new element of same, or potentially any other changes to longstanding content. I do NOT include simply adding references to recent events. An example of this (and there are more) is what happened recently at the "86" page. Such activities draw wikipedia into disrepute, because the suspicion of bad faith is inevitable in such a case. This can also poison the relations of Editors for much the same reasons. If such activities DO turn out to be well-founded, the changes involved can be implemented in the long term. It might be a good idea to have a rule against this. Asgrrr (talk) 15:23, 19 October 2020 (UTC)

What about WP:BRD. That might already cover it. Graywalls (talk) 15:41, 19 October 2020 (UTC)
I don't think it does. Asgrrr (talk) 18:56, 19 October 2020 (UTC)
Wikipedia like the rest of the internet has unfortunately joined the "Its all about the pageviews" society and despite numerous policies about current events, recentism and too soon allows current events to dominate page creations and even the editing of long standing pages. Rather than being about documenting, wikipedia has become a part of making history.
Put simply, editors know if they get their preferred facts into an article, it will shape future conversations. Slywriter (talk) 00:29, 20 October 2020 (UTC)

Vital articles[edit]

I'm wondering why most vital articles are in bad quality (some are really bad in quality even though they are vital information)? Instead, most GAs and FAs are about esoteric subjects. We currently have about 42k quality articles total (GAs + FAs). Our mission (Wikipedia:Vital articles/Level/5) on vital articles would be almost done by now if we focus exclusively on vital articles. Vital articles are very important and a strong foundation of knowledge for future generations to learn upon. Why most editors opt to spend countless hours working on esoteric articles instead of vital articles? I mean those hundreds of hours they spent could be spent on vital articles. Same effort but better result for the future (knowledge is power and priceless). It makes more sense that way. 14.186.29.93 (talk) 08:41, 20 October 2020 (UTC)

Mainly because people work on things that interest them, and because there isn't a consensus that Wikipedia:Vital articles is in fact a list of articles that every Wikipedian should consider important (in fact, I don't think there is a consensus that any particular Wikipedia article is more important than another) Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk) 08:54, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
You are suggesting that users would spend the same amount of time working on subjects outside of what they find interesting. Sometimes larger articles, specifically those with lots of editors are harder to improve to GA standard. Best Wishes, Lee Vilenski (talkcontribs) 10:03, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
Aka we are a volunteer project, editors work on what they want to work on. We can encourage editors towards these important projects but we can't force that. --Masem (t) 14:25, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
They're the most difficult to improve, especially the first three levels. Lev!vich 15:02, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
Because the vital articles list is utterly superfluous to the goals of Wikipedia and its editors.--WaltCip-(talk) 16:53, 20 October 2020 (UTC)
You're looking for File:Fun or Functional? The Misalignment Between Content Quality and Popularity in Wikipedia (WMF Research Showcase 2015-09-16).pdf. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 04:27, 21 October 2020 (UTC)
Mainly because it's harder to write a good article on a big, general topic than a small, specific one, I think. Johnbod has a good essay on this phenomenon: User:Johnbod/Content and coverage; where are we 10 years into the project?. – Joe (talk) 11:48, 21 October 2020 (UTC)]

I've marked Wikipedia:Vital articles and its sub-pages with {{essay}}. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 08:11, 21 October 2020 (UTC)

That's a good idea. I ran into them once, was confused, when I understood it couldn't understand why it's worthwhile spending time on. Doug Weller talk 10:09, 21 October 2020 (UTC)
I've been reverted in every case, by User:Sdkb, with an edit summary of "whatever the VA lists are, they're certainly not essays". Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 14:34, 21 October 2020 (UTC)
Well, they aren't technically "essays" as much as efforts that haven't gained much traction outside of their participants. "Pet projects" is the closest term that comes to mind, but we don't have {{pet project}} and it's a derogatory term so... Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk) 15:43, 21 October 2020 (UTC)
Actually the project was really big in the early days, & had general buy-in up to perhaps 2008. A "historic" label would be more appropriate. Now there is only a handful of editors debating the composition of the lists, mostly at the lowest level. They've been told several times that this now doesn't matter in the slightest, but .... Johnbod (talk) 16:00, 21 October 2020 (UTC)
In fact I see Wikipedia talk:Vital articles/Level/5 has died down a lot since I last looked, finally. Johnbod (talk) 16:08, 21 October 2020 (UTC)
They're project pages under the aegis of Wikipedia:WikiProject Vital Articles. Normally such pages would be subpages of the corresponding WikiProject page. In this case, perhaps WikiProject banners could be placed on them to more clearly identify their relationship. isaacl (talk) 16:10, 21 October 2020 (UTC)

Apart from the word "essay", the full text of the template is:

"This is an XXXX.
It contains the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors. This page is not an encyclopedia article, nor is it one of Wikipedia's policies or guidelines, as it has not been thoroughly vetted by the community. Some XXXXs represent widespread norms; others only represent minority viewpoints."

What part of that doesn't apply? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 16:20, 21 October 2020 (UTC)

"This is an XXXX." What follows that sentence isn't a definition of "essay", it's about the difference between an essay and a policy or guideline. Vital is not an essay, though, it's a project page, so I agree with the reversion. No one would confuse vital for a PAG, so the essay tag is not helpful or accurate. There isn't a problem here that requires fixing. Lev!vich 16:26, 21 October 2020 (UTC)
The question was "What part of that doesn't apply?". It clearly is something, so that applies. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 18:02, 21 October 2020 (UTC)
The answer was "This is an XXXX." It is a something, and if "XXXX" were "something", then it would apply, but you didn't add the {{something}} tag, you added the {{essay}} tag, and if "XXXX" is "essay", then "This is an essay" doesn't apply, because the Vital lists are not (nor purporting be) essays. They are, as others have said, project pages. Working pages. The Vital lists are no more an essay than ARS's Rescue List, or a project's delsort list. Lev!vich 18:12, 21 October 2020 (UTC)
So you're answering a question that wasn't asked. Nonetheless, it seems that, apart from your objection to the word "essay", we agree that every other word in the template applies to these pages. Right? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 15:13, 24 October 2020 (UTC)
There are indeed many pages in Wikipedia project space that have opinions or advice that may or may not reflect majority views, and are not articles, policies, nor guidelines (this very page, for instance, or the vital articles lists). It wouldn't be accurate, though, to call them all essays. Both A and E can have characteristics B, C, and D, without being equal. (In this particular case, the listed attributes aren't really the defining aspects of essays.) If there's agreement to highlight those or any other attributes, that can be done with a hand-rolled information box if necessary. isaacl (talk) 17:07, 24 October 2020 (UTC)
Exactly; in the quoted passage, "XXXX" is the most important word, because, being preceded by the words "this is an", "XXXX" defines what the page is. So asking, other than the word 'essay', what's the difference?, is a bit like asking, other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play? Lev!vich 17:21, 24 October 2020 (UTC)
  • That many of the "vital articles" are low quality is part of the point of the reason for having the project. It's not a showcase of our best work but a list of topics that should be high quality (a worklist). I've always thought the vital articles project was an interesting idea, as much as I've never liked the name (what is an article that isn't vital? expendable?). It's a good idea to draw attention to opportunities for improvement among our high-level and/or high-traffic articles (recognizing that neither of these overlap entirely with vital articles). Where I think it goes off the rails a bit is the lower levels, like the level 5 that was only added a few years ago. Not necessarily a bad idea, but at this point the execution seems like it's going to come down to the knowledge/availability of information to a small number of editors. Maybe what's needed is a renewed effort to shore up the quality of these fundamental topics, and a concerted drive to focus on them. What better time than the 20th anniversary of the site next year? Maybe the Wikicup could include extra incentives for vital articles or something? Seems worth giving another shot rather than marking historical, certainly. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 16:57, 21 October 2020 (UTC)
    What is high level article? 14.186.26.232 (talk) 19:08, 21 October 2020 (UTC)
  • I'm not sure where this idea that the Vital articles project lacks community support is coming from—it's reasonably active by modern WikiProject standards, with plenty enough contributors to determine consensus in surveys, and a proposal to abolish it at VPR a few months ago was so out of line with consensus it was SNOW-closed. My main qualm with the project is that the vast majority of participant energy seems to be used up debating which level certain articles belong at, a task of highly marginal utility, while many other important tasks remain inadequately addressed. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 18:35, 21 October 2020 (UTC)
    • Along the lines of your second sentence, my impression of VA is that it's mostly a place to argue about why what's important to me is more important than what's important to you. I don't think that's of much identifiable benefit to the encyclopedia. But it also is of no great harm to the encyclopedia, so whatever.
      In response to @14.186.29.93: feel free to start your own fork of Wikipedia, and pay editors to work on "vital articles". As long as it's a volunteer project, we'll work on whatever the **** we want to. Thank you, so much. --Trovatore (talk) 18:56, 21 October 2020 (UTC)
      Just chill out bro. I'm just asking a question out of curiosity (perhaps someone can come up with a way to encourage people to work on vital articles). I know very well it's a volunteer project, and yes, that means everyone can work on whatever they want to. 2402:800:4315:2561:8D9F:9307:4556:58CF (talk) 21:01, 21 October 2020 (UTC)
  • Well at the moment there's a huge difference between lists 1–3 and 4–5. Lists 1–3 have been debated endlessly and are fairly solid in terms of being continuously tweaked and evened out, the other two are rather underdeveloped. This extends to a larger site-wide problem of editors being hesitant to work on big topics or "core biographies" because of either the massive literature they have, or just the intimidation from working on such a huge topic. Of course this hasn't stopped some editors in topics such as astronomy or biology, where some of their best articles are the huge topics, and to a lesser extent historical figures and scientific ones – as you can tell from the V3 list. Literature (+literary figures), philosophy (+philosophical figures), explorers, tools etc. seem to mostly suffer this fate, and for good reason, it's a lot to ask of an editor to try and bring Engine or Goethe to FA, let alone someone like Kant or Plato. I think the strength in VA project would lie in collaboration with experts in different fields on the site working on these big topics one by one. I've thought about trying to repopularize the project myself by proposing such a solution but I feel like I don't have enough time to right now, maybe in the future. Aza24 (talk) 20:21, 21 October 2020 (UTC)
    Kant and Plato are FAs in other Wikipedia languages. I don't understand why editors (in English Wikipedia) are more hesitate to spend time to improve them but spend hundreds of hours on esoteric articles? 2402:800:4315:2561:8D9F:9307:4556:58CF (talk) 21:01, 21 October 2020 (UTC)
    FA is easier to pass on every other project. (I know of no exception to that rule, but I'm sure there's at least one.) --Izno (talk) 22:17, 21 October 2020 (UTC)
    What Izno said, just glancing at the three Kant FAs I see, they have barely any inline citations, not even enough to meet B class criteria on English WP. The German FA Plato looks better but seems like more than half of the inline citations are directly from Plato's books (primary sources) which also wouldn't meet B class criteria. At the moment I know of a couple bigger projects in the works, I've been talking to a user about their work on the Odyssey which they plan to get to get to FA status eventually (they just got it to GA); there's another user who is working on Beethoven for his anniversary and has already rewritten the life section; there is an FA team I was assisting with Abraham Lincoln, but they seem to have somewhat dissolved for the moment; I am slowly working on Leonardo da Vinci, and I recently got enough sources to do so (admittedly though all I have done so far is tidy up various things); there's also a group of users that go through various well known animals and get them to FA. So there is action being taken address vital articles, but they are always slow processes, and I have feeling because of the many unaddressed massive topics remaining it may seem like no work is being done, even when there is. Whether this is enough is up for debate of course and most of the time it doesn't seem to be connected to the VA project. I have often wondered why more active projects like MILHIST don't get together and bring WW1 and 2 to FA quality (especially since they are relatively close) but obviously that is easier said than done. Aza24 (talk) 00:52, 22 October 2020 (UTC)
    See also WP:SOFIXIT. You're more than welcomed to try and bring Kant and Plato to FA-levels of quality! Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 05:54, 22 October 2020 (UTC)
    A rather passive aggressive message that I'm not sure was directed at me but I'm not complaining here, merely observing. Either way, "being bold" on Kant or Plato doesn't really make sense for a non-subject matter expert like myself. I know that if I were to put down everything I'm doing and work on Kant it would take at least a couple years just to improve his sub articles (His Criiques, Ethics, Kantianism etc.) and have a solid enough understanding to be able summarize such a giant in philosophy into his own article to FA quality (and in layman's terms), let alone go through the massive literature by not only him but by so many others about him. Aza24 (talk) 08:56, 22 October 2020 (UTC)
    Directed at the original IP, and really anyone that bemoans that Wikipedians should focus on X area instead of Y area. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 15:54, 22 October 2020 (UTC)
    Understood, and agreed. This is by no means a new complaint after all, since I'm sure it's easy for those not well in the WP community to criticize us for not having brought every Vital 1–3 article to FA by now. But there's much we can do about that without radically altering the guidelines and norms of Wikipedia. And that being said, I'm not sure we need to – editor numbers having been going down steadily and trying to repair that should likely be our focus, perhaps higher quality articles on big topics will come with an increased editorship. And then of course there's always the idea of trying to get more professors/experts involved, which I've always been a fan of... Aza24 (talk) 17:10, 22 October 2020 (UTC)
    Part of the issue is that, per our current recognition systems, one FA under your belt is one FA, whether it was for a tiny, easier-to-write topic or a massive one. The WP:Million Award was supposed to address that, but it hasn't really been embraced enough to be a big motivator. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 06:03, 22 October 2020 (UTC)
    Good point, WP:CORE and Wikipedia:The Core Contest were also ways to address this, the former of which looks like it was decently successful. Aza24 (talk) 17:10, 22 October 2020 (UTC)

    "[B]eing bold" on Kant or Plato doesn't really make sense for a non-subject matter expert like myself. I know that if I were to put down everything I'm doing and work on Kant it would take at least a couple years just to improve his sub articles (His Criiques, Ethics, Kantianism etc.) and have a solid enough understanding to be able summarize such a giant in philosophy into his own article to FA quality (and in layman's terms), let alone go through the massive literature by not only him but by so many others about him.

    That is the answer to the IP's OP. Sometimes we think of all articles as "articles", but summarizing the world's knowledge about a television episode is orders of magnitude away from summarizing the world's knowledge about a topic like Kant or Plato. For centuries, subject matter experts have spent their entire lifetimes on this task; how long will it take an unpaid non-expert working in their spare time? Lev!vich 17:22, 22 October 2020 (UTC)
    Guess what? You don't have to understand. --Trovatore (talk) 03:05, 22 October 2020 (UTC)
    "I don't understand why editors (in English Wikipedia) are more hesitate to spend time to improve them but spend hundreds of hours on esoteric articles?" And yet our IP friend chooses to spend time posting on this esoteric VP page, instead of improving "vital" articles. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 15:18, 24 October 2020 (UTC)
    I do in fact edit vital articles occasionally as IPs (admittedly not a lot). Adding a sentence with source there and there. Discussion may lead to something good; you never know! 14.169.190.55 (talk) 17:35, 24 October 2020 (UTC)

Prevention of violence as an argument for an edit request[edit]

Sometimes in Wikipedia's back channels like WP:Volunteer Response Team or similar, word comes to Wikipedia editors that the subject of a biography is under threat of violence. Maybe there is a stalker, a history of criminal violence, an actual murder attempt, or any other crazy background. More commonly, maybe we have no information except a random Internet person with no context saying that the subject of an article is under threat.

The requesting person asks Wikipedia editors to remove content, like removing the real name (which is different from the WP:COMMONNAME) or removing personal details like relative names, residence, date of birth, or whatever. They may want WP:Revision deletion also.

Sometimes staff of the Wikimedia Foundation ask community volunteers to execute changes. I understand why they do this: having community members do it means that the edit will be as discreet as possible. However, for the sake of community safety and sanity, I can think of reasons why community members should not do this.

Recurring situations where someone makes this request:

  • Political commentator threatened in some country or another
  • Victim of domestic abuse or crazy stalker trying to avoid attention
  • Anyone caught in a controversy or scandal, and now facing online mob threats

Questions: Suppose that somehow we get a request to remove information from an article with the urgency of preventing violence.

  1. In what ways if any is a request to prevent violence different from the same request, but without anyone having a threat of violence?
  2. Does anyone recall this discussion happening anywhere in any wiki forum? If so where should anyone look to find any previous discussion of this?
  3. What special considerations should we have, if any, if an edit request suggests that increased risk of violence is a consequence of not making the edit?
  4. In what way does the wiki community allocate editorial decision making power? The default is wiki community always having editorial control. Under what circumstances might the community defer the editorial decision to paid staff of the Wikimedia Foundation or any other third party expert?
  5. To what extent do Wikipedia community members respond differently depending on any evaluation of the seriousness of the violence?
  6. To what extent is there social danger or risk of harmful mental stress for any wiki volunteer making decisions when threats are in play? If the danger and risk is significant, should we mitigate that?
  7. If the Wikimedia Foundation holds confidential information and on that basis makes an edit request to volunteer editors, then does that mean it is okay for volunteers to execute the WMF request without understanding more context, or alternatively do we need some kind of Wikimedia community oversight for such a process?

Missing data that I want is knowing often these requests occur. My guess is 100-200 times a year, but probably the WMF could say if they wished.

I know these are tough questions. Anyone feel free to share thoughts about the general circumstance without directly responding to the questions. Blue Rasberry (talk) 16:33, 22 October 2020 (UTC)

This is absolutely not something volunteers should be dealing with. We're not remotely qualified, equipped, or responsible. Such requests should be forwarded to emergency@wikimedia.org per Wikipedia:Responding to threats of harm, whether they appear on-wiki or through OTRS etc. That guideline is also clear that volunteers should not attempt to assess the seriousness of the threat themselves.
I'm surprised to hear that the WMF would delegate acting on such requests to volunteers. If that's happening, I think it's something that ought to be discussed with T&S directly (and probably not publicly, for obvious reason). If you have some details on examples of this, could you please send them to arbcom-en@wikipedia.org? – Joe (talk) 14:02, 23 October 2020 (UTC)
@Joe Roe: Okay, I sent an email to ArbCom with a way to find one particular case of this. In the email I said, "I am not making any particular request of ArbCom, however, if anyone wanted to respond, then I invite anyone to go to the village pump discussion and briefly give an opinion on whether and in what sense this issue is worth discussing in the open wiki community. Also it could be helpful after seeing this if anyone gives an opinion about the extent to which I correctly and sufficiently described the situation. I would be content with a  response like, 'if anyone wishes to discuss this, then that could be useful' or 'this does not seem urgent to discuss now'." Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:13, 23 October 2020 (UTC)
I agree with Joe that any threat of harm should be forwarded to emergency@wikimedia.org as a first resort. The WMF should not direct volunteers to make edits pertaining to public safety, and volunteers should feel no obligation to action a WMF request. Wug·a·po·des 00:05, 24 October 2020 (UTC)
Bluerasberry, if my memory serves, OTRS agents are advised to forward such requests to WMF, but there is also WP:OSPOL. As an OTRS agent, I would not handle it myself, and it would depend on the actual request as to my course of action. Atsme 💬 📧 10:41, 26 October 2020 (UTC)
Thanks for the follow-up email Bluerasberry. Looking at that example, I'd characterise it more as T&S advising or drawing attention to a potential problem with an article an rather than a request in direct response to mitigate a threat of violence (which they would of course handle themselves). I have seen things like that before, and in my experience T&S are careful to phrase them as a request for someone to look at the article and reach an independent editorial judgement, rather than a direct edit request. I would approach them with that in mind. In any case, ArbCom has a meeting with T&S next week so I will raise this and get their view. – Joe (talk) 11:39, 26 October 2020 (UTC)

Concerns regarding Wikipedia UX[edit]

Dear Wikipedia,

I am a loyal user (and, over the years, have made a number of small editing contributions). I greatly value the project.

I am writing to express my concerns about what-seems recent UX developments for Wikipedia that I feel are severely diminishing the value of the work.

In particular I feel the practice of providing pop-up's that mostly occur by inadvertence on the part of users --- is destroying the user experience of using Wikipedia --- and should be eliminated.

These pop-ups, triggered by hovering, are in my opinion, a severe annoyance and greatly degrades the experience of reading articles.

In short, this design modification is a UX disaster.

Therefore I urge you to remove this functionality as a default. If individual users wish to have this feature --- they could opt to switch it on.

Sincerely,

     Rob

P.S. Regarding "If you still wish to continue with your edit, you may hit "Save page" again below, and it will be submitted as is."

I did not see any "Save page".

— Preceding unsigned comment added by 96.235.63.218 (talk) 20:18, 26 October 2020 (UTC)

The change in question was made a very long time ago and seems otherwise to have been appreciated from what design discussion I saw in the wild. I make use of it every day, and I use the watered down version that unregistered editors see rather than the older, not-as-pretty, more-powerful popups. --Izno (talk) 20:38, 26 October 2020 (UTC)
If you click the ⚙ (gear settings), you can turn it off. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 00:28, 27 October 2020 (UTC)
Re the message about the "Save page" link: that was part of a message about an edit filter at MediaWiki:Abusefilter-warning-email which dates from before the changeover of the button name, and I've fixed it. Graham87 07:12, 27 October 2020 (UTC)

Apparent Market Manipulation Using Current Events Section to Influence Alibaba IPO[edit]

Not sure where to put this. Story on negative economic performance was removed earlier today from Portal:Current_events/2020_October_26 and replaced with story about Alibaba and how wealthy owner is. Appears to be using Wikipedia for bragging rights. View history and note how revision is surrounded by edits from editor that added the Alibaba story. Have reverted edit and made Talk post about issue. However, this appears serious in my opinion, as Wikipedia Current Events is now viewed as influential enough, that it needs to be manipulated to influence market performance with limited notes like ("not significant"). https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Portal:Current_events/2020_October_26&action=history Araesmojo (talk) 20:22, 26 October 2020 (UTC)

Araesmojo, it looks like the Current events noticeboard is a good place for that discussion. BlackcurrantTea (talk) 08:50, 27 October 2020 (UTC)

B.C. versus B.C.E.[edit]

Why does Wikipedia use BC for dates prior to the Christian year Zero? Using the more accurate BCE (Before Common Era) would be more inclusive and less Christian-centric. — Preceding unsigned comment added by JPinPhilly (talkcontribs) 01:49, 29 October 2020 (UTC)

We don't disallow BCE, see MOS:BCE, but it depends on the context. --Masem (t) 02:10, 29 October 2020 (UTC)
Per Masem, we allow whatever dating style the article prefers (this also includes whether to put "AD" before or after the year). Inclusivity is not generally affected, IMO, since a) most people don't generally care, and b) BCE/CE is still ultimately based on Jesus's nominal birthdate. – John M Wolfson (talkcontribs) 02:28, 29 October 2020 (UTC)
It doesn't really depend on "the context", but the established style. Two things we don't allow are "B.C." or "B.C.E." Johnbod (talk) 05:20, 29 October 2020 (UTC)
Because trying to prescribe a particular style leads to hilariously pointless disputes. – Teratix 14:11, 29 October 2020 (UTC)

?[edit]

Criticism of Pakistan = Anti-Pakistan sentiment ?
Criticism of Hinduism = Anti-Hindu sentiment ?

?

Bookku (talk) 08:27, 29 October 2020 (UTC)

Local sources[edit]

This comes as a result of the discussion at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Wendy van der Poel and the closure by User:Pax:Vobiscum. I can't find fault with the closure, but I do wonder: the only policy or guideline that adresses local sources is Wikipedia:Notability (organizations and companies) (section WP:AUD), but this rule formally doesn't apply to other topics. Nevertheless, I have seen many discussions where local sources are dismissed, e.g. for politicians, sportspeople, schools, musicians, ...

Local newspapers and magazines logically give disproportionate attention to people of local interest which never get real attention outside their small circle. The winner of a local junior sports event may well get an interview with some background information, a picture, ... in the city newspaper, while never being anything but a name in a database / results listing for the rest of their state or country, never mind the world.

Is it worth it to start an RfC to see whether more policies and guidelines should have a caveat that local sources don't count towards notability (although they can be used as reliable sources otherwise), or is the current situation desirable for most people? Fram (talk) 13:13, 29 October 2020 (UTC)

Yes, I've been pondering this one too a bit. You see it in discussions outside of NORG and AFD in fact. Some of it kind of falls out of WP:SBST even today: reporting at the local level is almost always routine. I'm not sure a single RFC on the topic makes sense, maybe start with a discussion (this one? WT:N?) to see leanings. --Izno (talk) 21:27, 29 October 2020 (UTC)
@Fram: I think this is part of the definition of "significant coverage" - not only is the coverage significant, but the impact or reasonably expected impact of the coverage. A 2-page "hard journalism" article in a low-circulation subscription- or paper-only source that is independent and reliable may have a lot less weight than a 1/4-page article about the same topic in a national general-interest magazine, everything else being equal. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs) 21:38, 29 October 2020 (UTC)
I have raised the possibility of applying NORG's AUD principle as a more general case for notability before (years ago though) and this was met with resistance, and part of the problem is also defining a local source, when you have something like the NYTimes. In that: the NYTimes is broadly considered a national newspaper but we know it also has sections devoted to local NYC things like eateries and the like, coverage that we would deem routine if it were from a "local source" but because its graced in the NYTimes, some would want to call that national coverage. What I think is key is tying local and routine coverage as elements that do not lend well towards notability on a general scale. Local sources will always cover local elections, local school sporting events, local restaurant reviews, and so on; this is a determine we can make whether it is from the NYTimes or the Smallville Press. That's not to say we dismiss these as valid sources if notability can be demonstrated other ways, they just alone cannot be used for notability. A local story about a restaurant but outside of a review - such as a restaurant achieving a regional franchise success - would be reasonable to allow for notability. --Masem (t) 21:44, 29 October 2020 (UTC)
That's a good way of putting it, but "common sense" is required. A local-paper full page piece titled "Local student comes in 3rd in national high school science competition, for research into [some obscure topic here], wins scholarship to Harvard" and the student's research was on something not of general interest would be nothing more than a flash-in-the-pan WP:ONEEVENT. On the other hand, "Local student comes in 3rd in national high school science competition for research leading to an effective treatment for COVID-19, wins scholarship to Harvard" is also WP:ONEEVENT but it might be a strong indicator that this person is also receiving significant coverage elsewhere due to the general interest of the research. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs) 22:01, 29 October 2020 (UTC)
Yes, but that's always why other policies and guidelines are also to be taken into consideration: BLP1E for the case of the "hometown hero" for your example. Or in my case of the restaurant that gains a regional presence, we'd still expect further sources per NCORP. I just think many of the issues about local sources can also be resolved when we consider what is generally also routine in local sources and eliminate those for notability off the bat, simplifying most discussions after that. --Masem (t) 22:17, 29 October 2020 (UTC)