Wikipedia:Village pump (idea lab)

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

Before commenting, note:

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

Bumping thread for 30 days. ceradon (talkedits) 04:23, 2 August 2015 (UTC)

Members of the community are invited to give their thoughts at a request for comment to discuss Wikipedians' alternatives to consensus, and the formation of a proposed Regulation Committee. Thank you, --ceradon (talkedits) 04:20, 2 August 2015 (UTC)

Two ideas: undo button and saved drafts[edit]

When editing an article a few minutes ago, my cursor made an unfortunate move and deleted a large block of text, which forced me to exit the edit window without saving my changes and re-add the text I was typing. I'm sure other editors have had the same issue, so why don't we simply fix this problem (which could become very inconvenient if you happen to make this mistake while adding large amounts of content or copy editing) by adding an undo button to the editing bar? I don't imagine that it would be an incredibly difficult feature to add, and it would certainly make reversing mistakes much easier.

Secondly, it occurred to me that it would be useful to have a saved drafts system. For instance, if an editor is making changes to an article but does not yet wish to make them live, they could simply save their progress as a draft which would be visible to only that editor. When they are satisfied with their changes, they can save their edits to the article itself. I recall that wikiHow, which I previously edited, had this ability, and it was quite convenient. --Biblioworm 16:09, 3 August 2015 (UTC)

I don't think your changes in the edit box are communicated to a server. Browsers usually have an undo feature, with short-cut Ctrl+z on Windows. I don't know whether a website can add a button to activate a browser's undo feature. PrimeHunter (talk) 16:19, 3 August 2015 (UTC)
Copy the article to a sandbox, do the editing there, then paste the finished version into the mainspace. Or am I not solving your problem with this? BeenAroundAWhile (talk) 22:16, 6 August 2015 (UTC)
  • Re: the saved drafts idea, User:Biblioworm, this one has popped up before. :) I just wanted to let you know that as I understand it this would not be a change to make lightly. I asked Stephen LaPorte, who said that there are different rules for handling legal demands for private communications, so we would need to assess how the feature works and then potentially adjust our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use accordingly. We would would also need to review what sort of moderation system is appropriate for private drafts. For example, would admins be responsible for policing drafts for problematic content (and does that mean that they are actually "private")? There may be ways to build a private draft system that avoids the legal questions entirely. If it's built, we'd need to be sure that legal stayed closely involved. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 18:59, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
  • Re: saved drafts.  I may be completely missing the point here; but if I'm understanding correctly, it sounds like Biblioworm would like to be able to save a draft of something still under development, and in such a way that no one else can see it. If that's the goal, then why not just edit your wiki code locally with a word processor and save it locally on your hard disk. You can always see how the wiki code will display by copying and pasting it into your sandbox and hitting "Show preview." I believe it remains completely private as long as you don't hit "Save page." That might involve an extra step or two, but it would accomplish the goal.
    Richard27182 (talk) 06:12, 18 August 2015 (UTC)
Strongly Support Undo ButtonWhen I edit out and about on my iPhone, the keyboard doesnt allow me to press Ctrl+z. And this is the case for most others who edit on their phones and tablets running ios or android. This has been the mlst frustrating issue for me when editing and I couldnt believe that there wasnt one. As for the other proposition, I never use drafts on other sites so I dont really have an opinion on that. Tortle (talk) 02:41, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

3RR tracker helper[edit]

Idea: Some optional thing to help UserBob avoid 3RR violations. Support for it in user prefs is probably unwarranted. Elements:

  • An up arrow that Bob can click when he does a revert that he feels falls under 3RR.
  • A down arrow that Bob can click if he clicks the up arrow by mistake or in error.
  • A display of the current number of 3RR reverts Bob has performed within the past 24 hours.
  • A display of the time when the oldest will fall off the list; i.e., the time of that revert plus 24 hours.
  • All elements always visible at the top of the window.

Re the down arrow, the software would assume that Bob is reversing the most recent up arrow click. If he wants to reverse an earlier one, too bad, he should have thought of that before he clicked up arrow again. ―Mandruss  19:59, 3 August 2015 (UTC)

IMO, this would give the appearence that 3RR is an entitlement; the page makes it explicit that this isn't the case - "the rule is not an entitlement to revert a page a specific number of times". עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 20:13, 3 August 2015 (UTC)
True. So the question becomes, which is more important ... (1) to avoid giving that appearance, which is, as you say, already clarified in policy, or (2) to save an editor having to constantly track their reverts or risk being taken to ANEW because their mind was fully occupied by Wikipedia editing and last night's argument with the wife. My answer is (2). I think if 3RR is going to exist, and "Sorry, I lost track" is not an airtight defense, we have an obligation to make compliance reasonably easy to do. ―Mandruss  21:10, 3 August 2015 (UTC)
What is so difficult about counting to 3?    → Michael J    21:15, 3 August 2015 (UTC)
It's not simply counting to three. It's keeping track of when it's time to decrement the count because a revert became 24 hours old. We shouldn't be required to maintain a running written log. ―Mandruss  21:20, 3 August 2015 (UTC)
If you need to keep close track of this, you're probably edit warring. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 02:53, 4 August 2015 (UTC)
Not at all. It's easy to do more than three reverts in 24 hours, without ever reverting vandalism and without edit warring. There are righteous reverts, the ones that protect the article from clearly bad editing (distinct from vandalism) and disruptive reverts. If the community recognizes that as the criterion, if each situation is evaluated independently of number of reverts, then 3RR is both useless and misleading and should be eliminated. ―Mandruss  12:49, 4 August 2015 (UTC)
It might be simpler to build something automated, that tells you how many times you've hit the undo button for a given article in the last 24 hours. Upon your fourth click, it could give you a warning, at which point you could investigate whether you were about to break 3RR. I doubt that it comes up often enough that investigating this when necessary would be a burden. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:50, 10 August 2015 (UTC)
I'm inclined to go with Old Mishehu. If your editing style involves that many reverts and you're carrying the process on over more than one day, and it isn't obviously the result of a robustly collaborative back-and-forth...then yeah, it's hard to see how you're not edit warring. If an article is suffering from enough "clearly bad" non-vandalism edits that you're coming close to 3RR, then you need to be seeking outside assistance (and perhaps an independent assessment of the degree of badness), not trying to singlehandedly stem the tide. Any editor who comes to rely on the sort of 3RR timer you've described will almost certainly end up sanctioned for protracted edit warring, no matter how good his intentions. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 18:26, 10 August 2015 (UTC)
TenOfAllTrades, I happened to look a bit of his work a couple of weeks ago, and his edits were correct. If you deal with BLPs who are in the news, then you can easily encounter more than a few good-faith BLP violations to remove from a single article. It's nice to have some help, but the fact is that one person removing six BLP violations is not "worse" than two people removing three each. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:49, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
WhatamIdoing, I'm sure you know that 3RR covers all non-vandalism reverts, not just the undo button.
But anyway, in the end I don't really care provided I'm never hit with a 3RR sanction for doing my job in good faith, and I haven't been yet. It's a solution in search of a problem for me, to date. That's why I posted here rather than at WP:VPR. Thanks for the feedback. ―Mandruss  19:28, 10 August 2015 (UTC)
It's a solution in search of a problem? Maybe so. In my case when I am faced with editors who keep reverting my edits, I tend to simply walk away instead of wasting time being dragged into the wp:dramah boards. Ottawahitech (talk) 22:46, 12 August 2015 (UTC)
@WhatamIdoing:, WP:BLP contains an explicit exemption from the 3-revert rule for the removal of BLP violations. And if an article is actually seeing 6 or more additions of BLP-violating material over the course of a single day, the solution probably isn't to get a second person to do more reverting—it's to look at interventions like semiprotection, protection, editing restrictions, attention from WP:BLPN, blocks of editors who persistently violate BLP, or the imposition of discretionary sanctions. (Seeking outside assistance doesn't have to mean recruiting additional edit warriors.)
If an article is seeing a large amount of BLP-violating (or other problematic) activity, trying to edit war it into submission solo is the wrong way to go, because it doesn't protect the article after you go to bed. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 20:12, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
I do appreciate the negative concerns about this idea but I'll throw out one additional positive one. Some articles are under a 1RR restriction and in some cases this isn't permanent but temporary. An edit in my watchlist going to the article making revert, seeing it reinstated and reverting again without making sure to check to see if it's a 1RR article. If this concept were built into software, it can automatically detect an article which is in a 1RR status, and it would let you know after your first edit that you are at the limit. I know people are supposed to check to see if 1RR applies, but it is fairly rare and I can easily imagine someone missing it. This could help. I don't know that this positive aspect overcomes the other negative aspects, but it's something to consider.--S Philbrick(Talk) 02:54, 25 August 2015 (UTC)

The personal pronoun problem[edit]

Hey all, I brought this up at the Gender Gap Task Force a while back, and thought I'd bring the issue here for more brainstorming and possible solutions. User:Sue Gardner wrote a very interesting blog post by , where she discusses how being referred to by the incorrect personal pronouns can put women off of editing and give examples. So I thought it would be a good idea to try and figure out some possible solutions to this problem. I brought it here instead of coming up with a proposal, because I don't really have any experience in Mediawiki technology or being a woman on the internet. In the GGTF discussion I suggested adding template:gender to the editing toolbar so that editors would be more likely to use it. User:SlimVirgin came up with the idea of having a hovercard feature for usernames, which would show some personal information about an editor if enabled in preferences. Do these seem like things which could help? Would they actually be possible to implement? Brustopher (talk) 22:07, 6 August 2015 (UTC)

I think it is a good idea and worthy of exploration and comment here. BeenAroundAWhile (talk) 22:14, 6 August 2015 (UTC)
A number of the concerns raised by Sue Gardner can also be issues for male editors as well. For example, I now tend to avoid VA-type pages because they seem especially conflict ridden. That perceived adversity may be why so many VA articles are in poor shape. Praemonitus (talk) 20:56, 7 August 2015 (UTC)
In the basic issuse of referring to other editors by a preferred pronoun, one can use {{pronoun}}, {{he or she}} or any of several other similar templates. These all trigger off the preference item where an editor can indicate a choice of male, female, or non-gendered pronouns. I now always use one of these when referring to another editor with a pronoun, unless I already know that editor's preference clearly. DES (talk) 11:00, 8 August 2015 (UTC)
Hi Brustopher, I think it's a good idea. Perhaps you could contact someone from the Foundation who works on these issues, or who worked on the hovercards. Sarah (talk) 18:36, 9 August 2015 (UTC)
This feature idea might be suitable for WP:NAVPOP, but isn't really suitable for Hovercards in its current form. The current version of Hovercards is purposefully restricted to only work on links to mainspace pages, and it is intended to be purely a quick preview of mainspace pages. (The very long-term plan, is to overhaul Navpopups and integrate it with Hovercards, as "advanced/basic" versions of the same idea (whilst retaining the advanced functionality and info-dense appearance of Navpopups in the advanced version, and avoiding the problem of slowly turning the "basic" form of Hovercards into a duplicate of Navpopups)).
For example: Navpopups already has a line at the bottom, on links to userpages, for details about editors including their usergroup flags and first-edit date (e.g. http://i.imgur.com/WAfHAbm.png) This is similar to the details that the userscript User:PleaseStand/User info adds (screenshots there), except that script also adds the "mars/venus" symbol (see the Jimbo example screenshot) if the userpreference for gender has been set - Perhaps the code that is doing that (?) could be re-used in Navpopups? Hope that helps. Quiddity (WMF) (talk) 22:23, 10 August 2015 (UTC)
@Quiddity (WMF): Thanks for the detailed response. Who would you recommend going to, to see if the code from userinfo script can be integrated into navpopups?Brustopher (talk) 23:46, 21 August 2015 (UTC)
@Brustopher: I'd suggest adding a proposal at Wikipedia talk:Tools/Navigation popups, along with a link to User:PleaseStand/userinfo.js (which seems to be well-documented, and the "gender" keyword appears in a few places) so that the javascript wranglers of that gadget can easily glance at the existing code to see if it is indeed re-usable. Quiddity (WMF) (talk) 00:10, 22 August 2015 (UTC)

Whenever I need to refer to an editor by a pronoun, I always check the user's User: page for an indication of gender; and assuming it's specified, that's the gender I use. (Or occasionally their gender is obvious by their choice of user name (such is the case with me)). Otherwise I feel the "generic he" is quite adequate. I feel if someone is really sensitive about being referred to by the correct pronoun, then they should indicate their gender on their User: page. Perhaps the routine that handles the creation of new accounts should encourage the soon-to-become-an-official-Wikipedian to provide that piece of information.
Richard27182 (talk) 09:04, 20 August 2015 (UTC)

Redirect problem![edit]

I posted it at Wikipedia:Help desk#Wildlife, fauna, flora. Now, I realized this is a better place for it. This is a food for thought to improve Wikipedia. To be honest, I would be careless whatever happens. I'm just happened to discover this mess today and wanted to do something about it. Obviously, the problem does not limit itself to just wildlife, fauna, and flora. This is a much bigger problem on Wikipedia as a whole. Wikipedia has been plaguing by articles under-disguised as redirects. I suggest that there should be a policy banning "creating potential future articles as redirects." I do realize there is a pro to this kind of redirects, but the con's surely outweigh it. I have stated my reason in the help desk (check out the link). Here it is, I have no interest in further involving in Wikipedia. I'll leave the rest for policy-makers here (which I know is all Wikipedia editors). That is if this is getting anywhere at all. 14.169.206.102 (talk) 09:11, 8 August 2015 (UTC)

I don't see the problem. Such redirects, particularly to near duplicate alternate titles such as "Flora of X" and "Wildlife of X" help readers find the actual article, and do no harm that I can see. DES (talk) 10:56, 8 August 2015 (UTC)
Redirects are useful, articles are better, but if we don't have an article on something but there is a logical place to redirect them to why not have a redirect? ϢereSpielChequers 11:04, 8 August 2015 (UTC)
Indeed, and once an article is written you can always replace the redirect. So I do not see the problem either. Arnoutf (talk) 11:31, 8 August 2015 (UTC)
I didn't want to repeat myself, so before saying there is no problem, you should take a look at this link Wikipedia:Help desk#Wildlife, fauna, flora (I listed above already, but now, I list it again to point it out). I included my reasons in there as why keeping redirects does more harm than good. You guys can choose to ignore the problems, but saying it isn't there is quite wrong. Take note that: the problems only concern with redirects that are potential future articles, not those redirects that forever will be redirects. 14.169.206.102 (talk) 18:20, 8 August 2015 (UTC)
@14.169.206.102, thank you for bringing this up! I came here from Wikipedia:Help desk#Wildlife, fauna, flora and I believe that we do have a problem. For example if you go to Category:Wildlife by country you will see only 100 individual country related articles and three subcategories, while Category:Fauna by country has (235 subcategories, 1 article). I doubt there is much interest in this subject here, maybe try wp:WikiProject Animals/wp: WikiProject Plants and if you are really advenerous see also wp:WikiProject Fungi. Ottawahitech (talk) 22:17, 12 August 2015 (UTC)
@Arnoutf, Is this true? Can one always replace a redirect with a new article? - I am trying to do exactly this here, but getting a lot of resistance. Ottawahitech (talk) 22:23, 12 August 2015 (UTC)
@Ottawahitech Of course it is not that black and white. There are 2 reasons why not (1) You can replace a redirect with an article if there is sufficient support that the article deals with a topic that is sufficiently notable to have an article on Wikipedia. Any article that is not notable is to be removed, which in this case would lead to reinstating the redirect. (2) Also, if the new article shares its name with one of the names of a much better known topic (even if this only the colloquial and not the official name) the redirect should stay in place, or an ambiguation page should be created. For example the French village Us does not get the article name US (which redirects to the United States of America) but can be found under a more specific name Us, Val-d'Oise or US (disambiguation).
As far as I could see with your specific example Linda Pinizzotto. This article has been deleted (and redirected) because of lack of notability (Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Linda_Pinizzotto_(2nd_nomination)). So that means current consensus is that the topic does not warrant an article. It is up to you to achieve consensus change BEFORE you can create the article. This has nothing to do with the fact that the deletion was done by changing the article into a redirect, but all with the question whether that article should exist at all (as standalone article). In short, this is a clear case of the first reason when a redirect cannot be replaced with an article wihtout prior community consent. Arnoutf (talk) 09:52, 13 August 2015 (UTC)
Ottawahitech, Arnoutf. Like I said before, this discussion only concerns with redirects that are potential future articles, which means redirects that can be replaced by new articles for sure. I'm suggesting a policy that prohibits the creation of such redirects. I agree that there is a pro to those redirects, but I also listed out many problems that outweigh the benefit. Please read my words carefully (I hate repeating myself). 14.169.145.48 (talk) 20:43, 13 August 2015 (UTC)
My problem is that such a policy is unworkable. For example if we consider an intern in once of the presidential campaign teams. Based on the current status of that person, no article is warranted, but a redirect to that presidential campaign may be warranted (at this moment in time). However, this same intern may become the president of the US in a few decades (at which time an article would definitely be warranted)- but that is no reason to forbid any such redirect right now. So the claim that any (potential) future article should block a redirect is unworkable.
If I use a "softer" interpretation of your suggestion and interpret it as: "redirects are prohibited for any articles that pass notability criteria at this moment in time" - it would be even more problematic. Since Wikipedia is a volunteer effort we cannot demand that full articles are written about all notable topics. Your proposal would result in the utter absence of many relevant terms from Wikipedia that right now are at least covered by redirects -e.g. a specific species of animal might be sufficiently notable for a future article, but in the absence of a full article about the species a redirect to the genus or family would be preferable over no mention whatsoever. Arnoutf (talk) 20:53, 13 August 2015 (UTC)
Conversely, over at redirects for discussion, discussions often result in existing redirects being deleted if the topic stands a reasonable chance of having an article written about it, in order to encourage writing of the article. It's true that anyone can overwrite any redirect with an article at any time, but having a redirect in place already often discourages it. I don't think having a policy against creating them will help the situation, though. Ivanvector 🍁 (talk) 21:26, 13 August 2015 (UTC)
So it seems we are looking for a solution to a problem that either does not exist, or at least is already solved I guess. Arnoutf (talk) 12:05, 14 August 2015 (UTC)
@ Arnoutf Not necessarily so. For more see Wikipedia_talk:Redirects_for_discussion#Can_.22anyone_can_overwrite_any_redirect_with_an_article_at_any_time.22.3F. Ottawahitech (talk) 12:16, 16 August 2015 (UTC)

How to save a disussion which become a dead-end?[edit]

Hello, I had a discussion with someone in Talk:Visa policy of China#Continued discussion about ordinary passport with "for public affair" endorsement, and it's in a dead-end because we just repeating the same thing all the time. Does anyone have idea to solve this situation? Thank you very much. --Whisper of the heart 07:10, 15 August 2015 (UTC)

Hi Whisper of the heart.  Have you considered the standard dispute resolution techniques? (See Wikipedia:Dispute resolution#Resolving content disputes with outside help)
Richard27182 (talk) 08:05, 19 August 2015 (UTC)
These are good references, I will check them once more to see if there are any solutions, thank you very much!--Whisper of the heart 09:34, 19 August 2015 (UTC)
Hi Whisper of the heart.  You are most welcome. Good luck.
Richard27182 (talk) 10:13, 19 August 2015 (UTC)

Capturing Encyclopedic Knowledge before it dies.[edit]

Dear Wikipedia Policy Makers

I am a historian by training and an enthusiast about old things, be they classic cars, bicycles and other mechanical stuff from the 20th century. I am writing to encourage a new class of encyclopaedic information on Wikipedia - retention of specialised non-academic human knowledge. In specific I am writing about collector cars, although the class can extend much further. In essence, while some subjects have formal experts, such as university professors who publish, in popular culture, such as classic cars, the knowledge is held by enthusiasts who build up a lifetime of expertise that unfortunately dies with them. It needs to be captured and recorded, and no better place than Wikipedia.

Quora has numerous questions on this subject (see for example, http://www.quora.com/Is-there-such-thing-as-Lost-Technology-or-is-that-simply-a-myth).

I propose that an officially approved format be set out on Wikipedia so that present-day living knowledge carriers can post that knowledge in the permanent repository of Wikipedia. Yes, anyone can post such now, but because anyone can purge such work, unless it is officially sanctioned and set out in an approved form, there is a very great risk of a volunteer editor messing with what is invaluable historic knowledge because they don't think it belongs there.

In regard to cars, I propose the following format:

  • Sub-Sub-Sub category. For example, instead of Alfa Romeo Spider, permit 1969 Alfa Romeo US-Spec 1750 Spider. This particular sub-sub-sub class has some very unique aspects to it because in 1968 Alfa was panicked by the new US pollution regs and it lost a lot of money by installing a 3-D mechanical fuel injection system used for racing, that it sold at a loss to comply. There is one guy in Seattle WA USA who understands this, not only the historic fact, but actually what is involved. He's getting old. When he dies, the knowledge dies, but the cars will still be there as historic treasures. Allow the knowledge writers to get far more specific than Alfa Romeo, or Alfa Romeo Spider. Then the enthusiasts will contact the Seattle guy and ask him to enter all his knowledge into the database.
  • History Self evident
  • Important Personalities related to the car (designer, key factory persons, living or dead, influential people related to the car, books etc)
  • Details of the sub-sub-sub category car (similar to a parts and repair manual in terms of headings). This is especially important for mid-year changes, very small runs, etc.
  • Original Part Numbers and all cross indexes and well as other cars using the same part (usually this is a table with alphameric entries and descriptions, divided into heading such as engine or brakes). This also includes other cars that used the same part... very common in European cars where the Alfa part is the same as Mercedes, Opel, Ferrari, etc. This is of especial importance when someone is trying to look up what to look for.
  • Service: Proper removal, replacement and repair instructions, as well as "work around" instructions that come from experience. This is similar to a shop manual, except (a) old shop manuals tend to be hard to find, (b) the aftermarket manuals are too general and (c) professional expertise often finds better ways to service a vehicle than the original book.
  • Detailed photographs of parts, including in-situ installation. This is especially important - a picture is worth a 1000 words.
  • Factory original colours, accessories, etc.
  • Known specialist shops around the world. This is delicate because an encyclopedia is not supposed to be advertising, but such shops actually are more like art restorers than businesses.
  • Permitted variations (in cars qualified for historic races, period changes, such as disk brakes from a related model, are allowed in the race, for example)
  • Alternatives (for example, original size tyres become discontinued... what will be a workable replacement. One day gasoline will become extinct... a how to pull the engine and retrofit an electric drive might be a legit alternative)


Imagine if Wikipedia existed when the Pyramids were being made, or when the Romans invented concrete that lasts 2,000 years (ours is lucky to last a century). Imagine if the makers of Polaroid film posted their knowledge on Wikipedia when they stopped making it commercially. For that matter, imagine if Wikipedia was a repository for early computer program knowledge... stuff from the 20th century that now has been long lost. There is so much human knowledge that is slipping away, especially when email replaced letters and web pages replaced books.

I imagine this could become a powerful project... the knowledge project that brought in a whole new breed of specialist editors. But my sense is that it will require a clear agreement rather than just sort of happen.

I look forward to your thoughts.

BristolRegistrar (talk) 09:22, 15 August 2015 (UTC)

I think you're misunderstanding what Wikipedia is. We only aggregate material which has already been published elsewhere in reliable sources, and don't publish personal knowledge and how-to guides. What you're describing is a blog, and would be such a radical departure from every other WMF project that they would never authorise it under the Wikipedia/Wikimedia name. (Google did try something like what you're suggesting with Knol, incidentally. It was not as successful as they hoped.) ‑ iridescent 14:23, 15 August 2015 (UTC)


Sigh.
I figured I would get replies like this from people who quite miss the point. I am not describing a blog. I am describing knowledge that is documented by manuals that are disappearing, photographs that do not lie, and explanations that, despite your view to the contrary, is at the heart of Wikipedia. I recommend you read Wikipedia:About "Users should be aware that not all articles are of encyclopedic quality from the start: they may contain false or debatable information. Indeed, many articles start their lives as displaying a single viewpoint; and, after a long process of discussion, debate, and argument, they gradually take on a neutral point of view reached through consensus." "The ideal Wikipedia article is well written, balanced, neutral, and encyclopedic, containing comprehensive, notable, verifiable knowledge."
Further, I recommend you read Encyclopedia "An encyclopedia or encyclopaedia (also spelled encyclopædia, see spelling differences)[1] is a type of reference work or compendium holding a comprehensive summary of information from either all branches of knowledge or a particular branch of knowledge.[2]"... "Encyclopedia entries are longer and more detailed than those in most dictionaries."
I am proposing that comprehensive, notable, verifiable, detailed knowledge be captured in a single encyclopedic repository that can evolve over time as different contributors refine the knowledge so that it is useful. The point you are missing is that knowledge always comes from the human mind, and the role of an encyclopedia is to distill and record the knowledge without the dross so that the knowledge is accessible by other human minds. But human brains, the physical holder of that knowledge die, and all that is left is the written word.
A manual that accompanied a new piece of technology can provide, for example, the part number and a description of how to fix it. However, if the manual is in printed form, over time, the number of copies disappear, and while it may be locatable, it is no longer accessible. Further, if the manual calls a widget a widget, but no one knows what the widget looks like anymore, because what once was obvious no longer is, the important knowledge is lost. However, if a person with decades of experience enters that knowledge into Wikipedia, they may include those little details that the manual left out. They may include a photo that shows what it looks like. They will add to the knowledge in the same way that many Wikipedia articles evolve. Wikipedia is not a photocopier.
This is not a game, but a serious problem faced by civilisation as we know it. The shift to computers has created a very vulnerable knowledge base that can be wiped out in a nanosecond. On the other hand, Wikipedia serves an important role in protecting that knowledge and providing instant global access... if the detailed knowledge is there from the beginning. But when one looks for detailed knowledge, among some Wikipedia volunteer editors there is a mentality that has a bias toward newspaper reports, books, scholarly articles, and in many cases recycled ignorance. This is, in my view, the heart of the problem. It is a problem of elitism, white collar vs blue collar, certificates carrying more weight than experience.
For example, if I quote a series of newspaper articles, that may be deemed encyclopedic even though reporters are notorious for spreading false information - engaging in recycled ignorance. Why? (1) Because the reporters are under a deadline to deliver copy. (2) Their bosses understand that they are a commercial enterprise that makes its living by selling the news, so the reporters select stories and words that sell copy. (3) Because reporters are not experts, but generalists who must digest a lot of information in a short period of time; they just get it wrong, but they get it in print. And because it is in print, it ends up in Wikipedia, even though it is recycled ignorance.
A similar problem exists with scholarly articles, as with scholars it's publish or perish. One must have a new position, a new discovery, a new interpretation. It is not unusual for a whole field of academia to hold on to incorrect or erroneous knowledge and not let go until its proponents, who defend their position with their tenure and position, die. Indeed academia can be a brutal place, intellectually dishonest, with ego and power distorting the pure pursuit of knowledge. Yet it gets a free pass in Wikipedia because it is in print, and the author holds a doctorate or prestigious position.
The knowledge base of experience is just as valid as reported or elite knowledge, indeed perhaps often more valid, because it is based on constant reality checking. Toyota discovered this on the factory floor when it stopped valuing engineers theoretical position papers over the blue-collar worker who actually had to run the machine day-in and day-out. As a result, Toyota became the top car manufacturer... their cars were more reliable.
That is the issue I am raising with Wikipedia, that it examine its own policies to make sure that it does not bring a certain set of blinders that in fact is inhibiting its core purpose.
In particular, I am asking for (a) that there be more detailed categories permitted, and it is agreed this is appropriate, so we don't have some overly-enthusiastic editor harass it, delete it, consolidate it. (b) that a format be set out with particular subheadings so that the detailed knowledge base follow a specific form, rather than have one article read one way, and the next read another.
I have selected a particular subclass - older cars, but similar forms are appropriate for many different sunset technologies where their underlying knowledge base, especially technical knowledge, is otherwise lost.
Anyone else have any other thoughts? BristolRegistrar (talk) 20:56, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
While I sympathise with the issues you're raising, I think Wikipedia is the wrong venue. A quick search online shows that there are a whole load of websites which already catalogue manuals, for example. Equally there are already perfectly competent repositories and archives of images, newspapers, and other such sources. I have little to no argument with the issues you're raising, but Wikipedia isn't the right place. Sam Walton (talk) 21:15, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
My thoughts are that (a) what you are proposing seems a valid objective for a project, and (b) Wikipedia isn't the place to do it. Like it or not, we have policies and guidelines concerning what we consider appropriate content for an encyclopaedia, and on what sources we consider appropriate to build such content on. You are proposing a fundamental reshaping of Wikipedia policy, and to be frank, not making a very good case for it. Certainly, newspapers can 'recycle ignorance' - but so can your 'living knowledge carriers'. And certainly 'intellectually dishonesty' can be found in academia - but I see no reason why one should assume that 'living knowledge carriers' are free from such dishonesty either. We cite the media and academia not because we know that they are always right, but because we know that there are at least checks and balances in position to rectify the worst of their errors - to the extent that this is possible in an environment where few 'facts' are so objectively true or false that what is or isn't an error can always be determined at all. What you are proposing is that we base content on the personal knowledge of individuals subject to no formal checking. And that is something that, by clear consensus amongst the Wikipedia community, we do not do. I personally tend to the view that the purpose of a system is what it does, and that the purpose of Wikipedia is to produce the sort of content it does, according to the policies and guidelines it has in place. That is what has made it what it is - and is what has made it the success it is. Yes there are problems - but none of these problems are likely to be solved by reducing standards, or by attempting to change it into something fundamentally different. Our 'core purpose' is to carry on doing what we have been doing. Because that is what our readers are looking for. And fundamentally, Wikipedia exists for the readers, not the contributors. Readers who apparently place a trust in our content (sometimes too much trust) because we have made it clear that we try to base content on verifiable sources. Having said that, while I would strongly oppose the sort of changes you are proposing to Wikipedia, I might suggest that you could instead look at our sister Wikiversity project, which has a different purpose, and differing standards regarding sourcing of content. They might very well be sympathetic towards a project aimed at the systematic collection of 'specialised non-academic human knowledge', and are in a strong position to provide the resources to do so. AndyTheGrump (talk) 21:34, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
I would consider wikipedia to be the ultimate destination for the information, however as the others ahead of this have pointed out, you need to source your information. But that is doable. You mentioned your expert on Alpha Romeo. If you can post what he knows, you can also parallel that with known sources. His knowledge might fill in the gaps between the facts that other sources report and that content would be subject to scrutiny by others. But the point is, with some work, you can support the key points of your prose and that knowledge, the glue that might tie these facts together, will become a valid wikipedia article. Simply put, your guy in Seattle did not learn what is happening in a manufacturing plant in Italy by osmosis. Your guy should also know where and how he got his information. A car that is distributed world wide is not a secret. The decisions made in a corporate board room might themselves be secret, but you can find reports of market trends to support statements of what and why. There has to be some other supporting documentation available, technical manuals, news articles. It will take work. Put together the package and you can make your content encyclopedic. Trackinfo (talk) 00:57, 16 August 2015 (UTC)
I partially agree with this proposition. I do not believe that wikipedia is for all the little technical info like all the specs of a car that might be in a hard to find manual. But as an enthusiast of old things, I have done a lot of painstaking research and come up with very hard to find info. that would be well preserved here. So I think that this would be useful but just not for the small stuff that doesnt have a place here. Tortle (talk) 02:54, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

Incubation[edit]

There's actually an entire Wikimedia incubation project at incubator:Incubator:Main Page. Maybe one of the possible results of an article nominated for deletion should be getting transwikied there instead of just going into Wikipedia's Draft namespace when it doesn't meet Wikipedia's quality standards as described in Wikipedia:Deletion policy#Incubation but can be rewritten to do so. That Wikimedia project is probably more collaborative than Wikipedia's draft namespace and so would probably do a better job of improving it. Blackbombchu (talk) 00:58, 20 August 2015 (UTC)

The Incubator project is for ideas for new projects, not articles. To explain; Wikipedia is a project for building an encyclopedia using wiki software. Wiktionary is a project for building a dictionary using wiki software. Wikisource is a project for preserving source material using wiki software. If a person has a idea for a new project, they take it to Incubator. If a person wants to write a draft encyclopedia article, they do it on Wikipedia. ~ ONUnicorn(Talk|Contribs)problem solving 17:40, 20 August 2015 (UTC)
@ONUnicorn: Another possible idea might be to have Speedy deletion Wiki articles copied into Wikipedia's Draft namespace with attribution when there's a chance that the Wikipedia article it was copied from can be improved enough to be worthy of undeletion. I see that people are already contributing to Speedy deletion Wiki articles a lot more often than before, so Wikipedia might get the added benefit of extra contribution by Speedy deletion Wiki editors who don't contribute to Wikipedia's Draft namespace. Blackbombchu (talk) 20:18, 21 August 2015 (UTC)
That Wiki copies articles that are in danger of being deleted here. Many of them are declined drafts to begin with. Why would we want to copy something we had deleted from draft space back to draft space? ~ ONUnicorn(Talk|Contribs)problem solving 20:28, 21 August 2015 (UTC)
Most of the drafts deleted can come back on request. So you can ask at WP:REFUND if you see anything you like. Serial requesters that don't improve the draft may be questioned what they want to do, as we don't just want to store them without improvement. Also AFDed articles could be turned into drafts depending on the reason for the delete. You can ask for that action too. If we do do restores that retains attribution. Copying from another wiki poses problems for attribution. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 21:46, 21 August 2015 (UTC)

Ideas for slowing down vandalism[edit]

I have some ideas for eliminating at least 15% of all vandalism as predicted, and I have a good reason to share them with you. Vandalism is like bombs which were set to destroy Wikipedia, which is usually repaired by non-vandals, but that is not just why because we all know that Wikipedia is not meant to be vandalized. I have some suggestions here:

For logged-out users

It is a good thing that we can keep track of registered users very easily, but people from anywhere can make edits, including vandalized ones, which is harder for us to keep track of, and they can always use another computer or change their IP addresses to keep vandalizing, which makes things even harder for us to keep track of, so, so that we could better take a peek at what people had done and therefore keep track of their attitudes, logged-out users would be allowed to edit up to 20 times per day but still allowed to revert their own edits anytime.

For recently unblocked users

It is usually expected that Wikipedians whose blocks have been naturally lifted be better contributors than they were in the past. However, it is not always known as to whether they will continue to act inappropriately, so, just to reduce taking chances, the users would be allowed to edit up to 20 times per day for one week, still being able to revert their own edits, until one week has passed since their being unblocked unnaturally.

Your opinions

So, after having said my ideas, I would love to hear some of your views about my ideas. If you do not like them just enough, do not be afraid to tell me why, for I may be able to fix my ideas. Your opinions start now. Gamingforfun365 (talk) 07:18, 20 August 2015 (UTC)

I think any kind of rate-limiting is a really bad idea. It would unduly affect good IP editors. There is a long-standing fixed IP editor (whose number I cannot at the moment recall) who is so productive that many users have failed to persuade them to get an account. Also IP use is a way into editing: before registering, I did anti-vandal work as an IP and would have been miserably hampered by your proposals. As for recently unblocked users, some users do things (like repetitive typo fixing) which use up lots of edits so rate-limiting would effectively be an extra week's block. It might be helpful in some cases but not as a blanket proposal.
I'm sure also that many will cite meta:Founding principles and say that this goes against principles 2 and 4. BethNaught (talk) 09:33, 20 August 2015 (UTC)
For recently unblocked editors, why not treat them like a new user and revoke their autopatrolled and autoconfirmed status? Praemonitus (talk) 16:48, 20 August 2015 (UTC)
I'm thinking that rate limiting could be a good idea. I don't think it would be hard at all to white list any IP who chooses to continue contributing as an IP and is productive. I consider something well short of 20 edits. Limit an IP to five edits per day. On the sixth edit, they get a message explaining the limitation but also explaining that they can ask for the limit to be removed. This should be done as a very very low hurdle request. If their first few edits are not vandalistic, up the limit. Someone, sometime, will try to gain the system but they can only get away with it once.--S Philbrick(Talk) 02:42, 25 August 2015 (UTC)
I think that rate limiting would be good but I agree with Sphilbrick in the idea that they should be able to contest it so that way it would have minimal effects on the good faith editors. Tortle (talk) 03:01, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

Article for deletion patrolling[edit]

I think there's shouldn't just be a way to patrol proposed deletion as described in Wikipedia:WikiProject Proposed deletion patrolling but also a way to patrol nomination for deletion. Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Registry Dr. failed to get a lot of attention even after it got added to 2 deletion sorting pages and sometimes people go straight into nominating an article for deletion without proposing its deletion first. Blackbombchu (talk) 18:18, 20 August 2015 (UTC)

What exactly would patrolling deletion nominations entail, or are you just proposing we encourage more users to vote in AfDs? Sam Walton (talk) 18:34, 20 August 2015 (UTC)
It would draw more attention to those article deletion discussions that otherwise would have gotten so little attention, some of which didn't draw attention to patrollers because they weren't proposed for deletion first. Blackbombchu (talk) 18:40, 20 August 2015 (UTC)
So essentially a drive to point out discussions which aren't receiving enough input? There's definitely an interesting idea here, perhaps similar to the way editors are messaged to vote in RfCs, but with a focus on AfDs with low participation? Sam Walton (talk) 20:44, 20 August 2015 (UTC)
That's not a bad idea. Maybe something like Suggestbot that puts lists of low participation AFDs on talk pages? ~ ONUnicorn(Talk|Contribs)problem solving 20:35, 21 August 2015 (UTC)
I guess this could work like this; users opt-in to a messaging service (in the same way that Suggestbot or the RfC bot work), and receive some amount of notifications per period of time regarding AfDs which have reached their 4th or 5th day with less than one or two votes. Sam Walton (talk) 21:08, 21 August 2015 (UTC)
  • I would support a bot that physically moves AfD transclusions (e.g. move some AfD nominations higher up in the log), based on something like Reddit's hot algorithm, but in reverse. Esquivalience t 23:26, 21 August 2015 (UTC)
An "opt-in notification service" of some kind to solicit input in AFD discussions lacking participation would be fine; @Esquivalience: I would be opposed to a bot moving transclusions up and down a page, unless it was given a separate page of its own or implemented as a "sort function" to allow users to affect only their view of the page. I quite often check discussions (listed by date and time added) that I have commented in or have interest in, or I'll get through a few on the list and come back later; the order plays some role in my memory of them. If the discussions shift positions on occasion, while it's an interesting idea, I think it would have undesirable effects. Whether or not the benefits would outweigh them I'm not sure, but I would definitely have to adjust my methods considerably. I would support a page that lists discussions lacking input in the manner you suggest separate from the current system (perhaps broken down by day as well or simply the last seven days combined).Godsy(TALKCONT) 08:08, 23 August 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I think that we ought to scrap AFD entirely, and re-create it as a purpose-built system that actually handles the whole workflow from start to finish.

Imagine an AFD tool that has simple forms to fill out for the nominator, that never sees nominations get "lost" due to transclusion problems, and that automatically counts !votes and tracks how many separate individuals participated. Imagine one that notices when a page is ready for closing (i.e., because it meets our standard criteria, such as having ≥3 participants and being 7 days old, or whatever we decide), and that puts the page into a list or category for action. Imagine one that could sort or filter by any criteria that you care about: the most attention (maybe it's SNOWing?), the least attention, only BLPs, only articles tagged by my favorite WikiProject, etc. Imagine one that can be withdrawn or closed by clicking a few buttons with a built-in script (including direct access to page deletion for admins and maybe a scripted blank-and-redirect button for everyone), rather than having to type special codes into a template and separately processing the page.

Wouldn't that be a lot better than what we have now? WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:36, 28 August 2015 (UTC)

Yeah, that would be an improvement. Currently, there are regular complaints about the process being overly complicated. Maybe a gadget or a gadget-bot combination might serve to create such a system. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 18:39, 28 August 2015 (UTC)

Talk page patrol[edit]

I think there should also be a creation of a talk page section patrol. I think that might be technically possible after a change gets made in the way talk pages work as described in Wikipedia:Village pump (technical)/Archive 139#Change the way discussion pages work. Blackbombchu (talk) 02:19, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

Wikipedia needs a new section for laymen[edit]

Hello, I am Del Wilkins, and I consider myself a fairly intelligent person who has significant knowledge on topics that I find interesting, just as any other person who does the same. I wanted to add a link to the page Shadow person that had to do with a study on the effects of Methamphetamine and sleep deprivation. I could not figure out how to properly enter and edit the link. I know it is a lot like writing a college paper and citing your sources APA style, but its been many years since I have done any of that type of writing and could not figure it out. This is why there should be a place for a person to write new information. place the links, and leave it there until someone comes along who knows how to enter it. I feel that without such a storage area, Wikipedia is losing out on a wealth of untapped information that can only be contributed by people who have it, but do not know how to enter it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Del Wilkins (talkcontribs) 11:45, 21 August 2015 (UTC)

Hello, Del. Please take a look at the Wikipedia:Edit requests page and let us know if that will serve. Praemonitus (talk) 14:43, 21 August 2015 (UTC)
Since you're registered, you can opt-in to our WYSIWYG editor by going to Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-betafeatures and checking the box for "Visual editing". --Izno (talk) 16:16, 21 August 2015 (UTC)
@Praemonitus: you can also create draft articles, such as Draft:Shadow person and tag it for action through the WP:AFC process. Many reviewers will help reformat draft articles when they approve them. 24.213.40.74 (talk) 18:12, 23 August 2015 (UTC)
The article already exists. The OP wishes to modify it. ―Mandruss  21:38, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
We have WP:Teahouse, which welcomes and assists new editors. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 19:11, 23 August 2015 (UTC)
In addition, the editor could add the comment to the article talk page. I encounter quite a few people who write to Wikipedia with suggestions on how to improve an article but they do not have the interest and/or ability to directly edit the article. I often encourage them to add there comments to the talk page, which other editors can then convert into a proper citation and add it to the article.--S Philbrick(Talk) 02:32, 25 August 2015 (UTC)
Seconding Sphilbrick's direction to add to the article's talk page. This is the most appropriate place to put content you suggest be added to the article, but you're not quite sure how or where it should be added. I've done this from time to time myself. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 02:42, 25 August 2015 (UTC)

Add my village on Wikipedia[edit]

It is the village where live muslim and hindu.there is situated a madarsa where lern hindu and muslim.and i think its indias firat tobacco free village. Sarfraj siddiqui is well known person for riting bhatauli tarana.bhatauli meri jaan.it is first village in india which has own tarana or anthem. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 106.67.59.148 (talk) 21:25, 24 August 2015 (UTC)

Ill see if I can find info on your village and if I can, I will create an article for it. But I dont think that this is the place to ask something like that but I dont know where you would in the future either. Tortle (talk) 03:06, 26 August 2015 (UTC)
I looked for any infornmation and sadly, I couldnt find any and wihout sources, I cant create an article. If you have any sources, please let me know on my talk page but otherwise, there isnt much that I can do. Tortle (talk) 03:11, 26 August 2015 (UTC)
The place to ask for new articles is Wikipedia:Requested articles, though requests usually languish there for a loooong time. Eman235/talk 20:15, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

Help from Harvard Catalyst[edit]

I think Wikipedia could greatly improve if Harvard Catalyst helps research how to improve it. Harvard Catalyst could probably do more than just contribute to Wikipedia based on their research results. I think Harvard Catalyst would even be able to research how to form a group of people who edit Wikipedia in a swarm intelligent way including researching which patterns to create a software to notice within the entire Wikipedia website. Blackbombchu (talk) 01:19, 25 August 2015 (UTC)

War collage policy[edit]

With the increasing popularity of image collage's on historical and current event pages - especially wars - I feel that there should be a specific policy regarding this. I have noticed that several times in the past few years users have posted collages on War in Afghanistan (2001-present) and Iraq War which have been far from appropriate in my opinion, and to a degree still are. The problems entail the types of images used in the collages and their composition which I feel lacks objectivity. For one some users tend to over-represent one side in the collage's, generally I am referring to coalition/Western forces in these kinds of articles as many of the Wikipedia editors on this site are from those countries. These users may be predisposed to over-representing them in a collage compared to the opposing side. This isn't a good thing because if a reader is looking for information on the war when they first begin reading the page the collage should preferably have both (or sometimes more) sides represented equally so that the user can more easily envision the two sides of the conflict when they are reading the article.

The other problem I have is that for the most part a lot of these collages tend to just become a bunch of pictures of soldiers with no real context as to what they are actually doing in the war. To be honest this probably bothers me more than the aforementioned point. Then entire point of Wikipedia is to provide information, and just posting a bunch of pictures of people in the war doesn't do that. Instead events should where they can be represented in the first image on the page as it will help in illustrating the key events of the war before the reader starts and to be honest will also help build more interest in Wikipedia's articles than a bunch of pictures that looks like they are pulled from a military recruiting site.

This is a bit of a controversial topic, maybe it is redundant and people should know better with WP:NPOV but I feel it would be better to have a clear policy on this as I have had to do a few reverts to these articles over the years which have been nothing but controversial I feel. --Kuzwa (talk) 00:26, 28 August 2015 (UTC)