Wikipedia:Village pump (idea lab)

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Why don't we have warning banners about scams?[edit]

One of the facets of WP:ARC#Paid editing recruitment allegation is that some poor guy got scammed out of a large amount of money (I've seen $15k and $20k mentioned) by somebody promising to write an article for them. It's not the first time, but wouldn't it be nice if we could make it the last? Let's put a warning banner on every page: "If somebody is offering to write an article for money, it's probably a scam. See WP:PAID for more information". -- RoySmith (talk) 00:25, 13 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The key challenge is that the community would have to accept a prominent banner forever, including on small screens where space is limited. Given the number of possible scams, it would be tricky coming up with a concise message that would still have some effectiveness. Banner blindness issues would also be exacerbated (and I imagine WikiProject Medicine would renew its call for a warning banner). But if the problem is significant, it may be worth considering. On a side note, I think the banner should link to a page tailored for it, rather than the paid-contribution disclosure page. isaacl (talk) 03:20, 13 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Those are reasonable points, but let's not get bogged down in the details. The gist is that we should be doing more to alert users (especially vulnerable new users) to the risks. Maybe one of those messages that keep showing until you click the "dismiss" link? Or make it part of the welcome message that gets dropped on new user's talk pages? Or an email to new users? There's lots of technologies to help get the message out. And, yes, the details of the message could be fine-tuned more than WP:PAID.
Not long ago, I needed help with managing a page I have on Facebook. I (foolishly) decided to try joining /r/facebook/ on reddit. I immediately got a message from a bot warning me that the group was rife with scammers. And sure enough, by the end of the day I had gotten several PMs from people offering to help me solve my problem in exchange for money. I've been around the block a few times, so I'm pretty good at recognizing scams, but having been put on alert primed me to be particularly suspicious.
Some of these scams are quite sophisticated. A few years ago, I got an email from somebody purporting to be a high-level WMF employee who had recently left WMF, attempting to enlist my help with a paid editing project. It was well-targeted to my past activities and editing interests and slick enough that I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out if it was legitimate or not. It's not hard to see how somebody (even somebody who's been around the block a few times) could have been sucked in. -- RoySmith (talk) 15:05, 13 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Another idea; there are several mainstream (at least in the modern sense) media outlets which cover wikipedia. HalfAsInteresting just did an amusing (but reasonably accurate) piece on how arbcom works. Slate has published a number of well-researched articles examining wikipedia topics. I'm sure there's others. Perhaps they could be encouraged to write about wiki scams. The more it's talked about, the more potential marks will be educated about the problem. -- RoySmith (talk) 15:12, 13 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The detail on whether or not the warning appears on every page is an important one, though. A one-time welcome message would be less intrusive, but potentially less effective. Maybe a one-time message and some form of collapsed message on each page? Not sure what would be the best way to present the collapsed message on a small screen, though, and that's how a lot of readers experience Wikipedia. I don't think messaging new users will do much to reach the extremely broad group of potential victims. (On a side note, I feel the HalfAsIntereseting video is reasonably accurate on describing dispute resolution, with the key omission that it failed to describe how the arbitration committee doesn't directly rule on content issues.) isaacl (talk) 15:35, 13 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'd hate to see it on every article all the time, too. Maybe something that could be seen by IPs/new accounts, maybe a click-through page that shows up randomly when someone opens a Wikipedia article, and that registered accounts could turn off? Agreed that it should link to something that very briefly explained the scams. Valereee (talk) 14:54, 13 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Are there any estimates for how large a problem this scamming is? We've got hundreds of millions of readers; we don't want to overreact given any action will negatively impact their reading experience.
Depending on the scale of the problem, another option may be to run the banners for a week as an education campaign. BilledMammal (talk) 15:23, 13 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@BilledMammal, for an idea of how much this is attempted, see WP:List of paid editing companies. How often it's successful is a different question, of course. A lot of these people are really bad at it. Valereee (talk) 16:15, 13 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think that's a different issue, although it is related; some paid editing companies are just scams but others do try to provide the service that is being paid for. BilledMammal (talk) 16:28, 13 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Most UPE companies are deceptive to customers (we are Verified Editors, we have Wikipedia Moderators in our team, we strictly follow Wikipedia Rules, etc). Whether they cross the line to be considered criminal is a different matter. MarioGom (talk) 17:29, 13 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Roughly once a month someone pops up on the help desk asking where the article they paid for is. It's a pretty common scam. I don't think it being shown to people when they register is ideal; I think most of the victims never make an account - why would they? They've paid someone else to do that. ~ ONUnicorn(Talk|Contribs)problem solving 16:34, 13 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • No one reads banners or warnings anyways. The only way people learn anything is when natural, negative consequences happen to them. If that natural, negative consequence is "they lose money to someone who scammed them", then the lesson they will learn is "don't get taken in by scams". They don't learn that lesson because we have a banner they don't bother to read. They only learn it because they actually experience being screwed by the scammer. In summary: there's no need to bother, it's not our responsibility, and if your goal is to educate, there's no greater education than losing a bunch of money to someone who scammed you out of it. --Jayron32 15:31, 13 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We could put something about scams in the disclaimers. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 16:28, 13 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There's a related discussion at WT:COI#Do we need a disclaimer/warning?.
I agree in part with editors who point out that the most likely victims of scammers are unlikely to benefit from any "education" from us, and I also agree that making banners too intrusive would mostly just be annoying. But I also think that there is an unmet need to make information about scams easier to discover than it currently is – if only for editors who want to learn more about how to combat it. I also think it's a bit harsh to take pleasure in how someone losing money will learn a lesson. Short of warning banners, I think we should find multiple places to link to things like WP:PAIDLIST and WP:SCAM. It might be a good idea to look at the help pages we have for new editors, and find ways to incorporate more information about the need to beware of scams into those. --Tryptofish (talk) 16:52, 13 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@RoySmith Putting a warning banner on every page seems excessive to me, and I don't think it would get community support. Does Kobresia sibirica ned a banner on it telling readers about paid editing? I would argue no.
I think a refined version of your proposal would definitely have legs though. Rather than putting a banner on every page we could put notices and banners in specific targeted places: those that are likely to either be abused by paid editing companies as part of a scam, or those where people in the process of being scammed are likely to go for help.
Here's a couple of ideas off the top of my head:
  • These scams often focus on impersonating admins, checkusers, oversighters, members of the arbitration committee etc. If these people put a standard boilerplate disclaimer at the top of their user and talk pages saying "If someone claiming to be me has offered to perform edits or actions in exchange for payment you are being scammed" that would make it much more difficult for these scams to occur. If these notices were present the scam that resulted in this current mess would have fallen apart as soon as the scammer sent the victim to bradv's user page.
  • One very common scam involves looking through AFC submissions for biographies or pages on companies that have been declined/rejected then messaging the subject asking for payment to publish it. {{AfC submission}}, {{AfC reject}} and {{AfC decline}} could all have prominent notices added warning about this kind of scam.
  • AFD would be another good place to put warnings. There's a lot of scams based around nominating articles for deletion then extorting protection money to prevent this (by having a bunch of socks flood the discussion with keep votes). A message that anyone asking for payment in regards to page deletion is a scammer could be useful.
I'm sure there's other places we could add warnings which would impede the scammers but wouldn't impact most of the project. (talk) 17:04, 13 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I also think that a site-wide warning is excessive, but AFC and AFD disclaimers would be nice. There's some common scams and extortion operations that focus in these areas, and the disclaimers can be added to banners that are already in these pages. MarioGom (talk) 17:28, 13 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'd oppose a banner, but places like Wikipedia:About could carry visible warnings about payment scams. —Kusma (talk) 19:16, 14 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Another place for such a warning might be Help:Introduction or one of its subpages. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:09, 15 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

All of the above is well intentioned but is likely to be ineffectual. What's the chance that a contentious group of Wikipedians will agree to put this into effect? Well, there is one very simple thing that every Wikipedian can put into effect immediately and will have some results depending on how many editors post this warning. All you need to do is post the following at the top your user or user talk pages:

Does it work? I've had this warning at the top of my talk page for 6 years (in a slightly different version). It's the only such warning that I know of. About 2,000 visitors see the page every month. Yes, there must be some other links somewhere, but if we have hundreds of links to WP:SCAM, we'll likely have many times more visitors to that page. See Page Views. Smallbones(smalltalk) 19:14, 13 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've added it to my page, though I changed the language because I think the average reader probably doesn't know what AfC/an AfC participant is. Good idea! Valereee (talk) 19:22, 13 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As I said above, IMO something to this effect should be included in the {{AfC submission}}, {{AfC reject}} and {{AfC decline}} templates (maybe not quite as big, and maybe including a bit more information on what the scam is) that way everybody using AFC should see it. (talk) 19:26, 13 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Speaking as the person who will probably be getting the emails to paid-en-wp, sending people who have been scammed there rarely helps. Between the inexperience of the people who were scammed and the general untrustworthiness of the scammers, there's rarely anything actionable. GeneralNotability (talk) 20:45, 13 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Speaking as a person who has tried to do something about scammers operating on Wikipedia, I do think there is at least some minimal benefit from directing people to WP:SCAM. It explains to the victims what happened to them - maybe, at least, they can avoid the same thing happening again. It also warns others not to fall into the same trap. Nevertheless, it must be totally unsatisfying to the victims that there is nothing that we can do, nothing that we can recommend. This scam has been going on for at least 10 years, IIRC. We have some responsibility to try to come up with some way to combat it. Ultimately the major blame is not with the scammees or even with the scammers. It falls on us for offering such an attractive field with such easy access for scammers, and not doing anything about it for 10 years. We need to take responsibility for the situation we have created, and at least try to do something about it.
It should help to describe how I came to write WP:SCAM. I saw an article or letter to the editor in some small UK paper, describing how he had been scammed by Wikipedia. The article was only on Google News for 1 day, so it is fortunate that I found his email and responded the same day. I recognized something in his description that reminded me of something in the Orange Moody scandal. I told him that it wasn't Wikipedia scamming him, rather it was probably somebody that we know about and I could probably direct him to somebody here who could help, in at least some small way. I still haven't found that person. Can anybody tell me where to look? His response was more disturbing than I had thought it would be. He was physically disabled, but had accomplished quite a lot given his situation. I didn't think that he was notable enough though for an article. I surmised that his income was mostly government support, and that the $5,000 or so that he paid the scammer (this is all from memory) would be sorely missed. What to do? I think I first discussed this at talk:Paid editing disclosure and it was basically pooh-poohed. After asking around a bit on-Wiki without much sucess, I sent a general inquiry to the WMF. Over time I was able to focus a bit on a specific WMF department - but they didn't have a solution or even a real suggestion. Things began to move a bit after I researched the Orange Moody records. One newspaper (The Telegraph?) had a strange section in it describing how the victims were convinced to part with their money. There was a 26 word series there that exactly matched a 26 word series in an email the scammer had sent to the victim. I think I emailed an arb or two about that time. No real solution was offered but somebody suggested sending the email to arbcom (with an official email address). At the same time I searched for the 26 word series elsewhere on the internet, and found something, a small German programming coop-type organization. (Jtydog got involved about this time on the PAID talk page so things get confusing) Jt. ydog and the other coop-ers explained to the main guy there what had happened to "their" money. There didn't seem to be anything that could be done for them and they were resigned to the loss. So the folks at the PAID talk page started taking it a bit more seriously, but ultimately not much got done. The arbs didn't have much to add. The big "success" was that the WMF department suggested that I should write a scam warning and post it where I thought best. Amazingly enough, it sorta worked a bit. Jtydog didn't totally ruin my write-up. Some people start reading it and editing it. The reporting email address got changed about 3 times - nobody seemed to want to deal with it, I guess. But if nobody can do anything about the reports, it's not really enough, is it? Could somebody with some sense of responsibility step up to help?
BTW, there is one alternative: just tell them to report the scam to the police, or to the FTC, or their State Attorney General's office, or maybe even to the Serious Fraud Office (after 10 years at $5,000-$20,000 a pop it does add up to serious money). There are downsides to that of course, but maybe after another decade of scams somebody here will make an effort to put an end to the scam.

Smallbones(smalltalk) 01:43, 14 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Much the same can be said about Amazon. And they seem to at least be trying to do something about it on the education front. Just today I got an email today with a bunch of anti-spam suggestions ("Be careful installing apps or software", "Never pay over the phone", etc. And a link to a page where you can learn more. It may not be much (and most of the advice is fairly generic), but it's something. Surely we can do as little as they do. -- RoySmith (talk) 00:53, 14 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A project page with concise and clear guidance on avoiding scams would certainly be useful. For example, it can be an additional resource to link to from WP:VRT responses about scams, which are pretty frequent, as well as linking from AFD or AFC banners. MarioGom (talk) 10:35, 14 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wikipedia:Articles for creation/Scam warning is a good start. But it could be moved to Wikipedia:Scam warning and expand it to make it clear that this does not apply to just AFC. MarioGom (talk) 10:39, 14 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Am I alone in that my first reaction to this discussion was to think that anyone who is so vain as to pay thousands of dollars/pounds/euros for an article about themself or their business deserves to be scammed? We can't legislate against stupidity. Phil Bridger (talk) 18:18, 14 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Phil Bridger I doubt that you are alone, but that doesn't make it right. Lots of people pay money to promote their businesses on social media, etc. On some platforms, that's totally acceptable and encouraged by the platform owner. We're not one of those platforms, but a lot of people don't understand that. If I approached a businessperson with an offer to build them a website on Wix, and drive traffic to it with additional presences on Facebook, Twitter, and Wikipedia for money, it would be 3/4 legitimate. Our job is to educate people how we're different from the other 3/4.
Nobody deserves to be scammed. That's just blaming the victim. But, it's not just the people who pay for articles that never appear (or get sucked into AfD protection rackets) that are being scammed. You and I are getting scammed too. We're volunteering our time to build something only to have people use what we've built for their own nefarious purposes. We've been taken for our hard work just as certainly as the mark has been taken for their money. -- RoySmith (talk) 20:34, 15 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The difference is that Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. I have no sympathy for anyone so stupid as to think that an encyclopedia you can pay to be in would be any good. --User:Khajidha (talk) (contributions) 12:00, 18 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is not a good faith comment at all. Cessaune [talk] 16:06, 18 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If having a warning message on user pages is thought to be helpful, then perhaps we should request a software change to allow user page notices, and then the warning can be placed there for all user pages. isaacl (talk) 17:05, 16 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

User page messages could be helpful and would raise awareness of the issue, but I wonder how many of the victims have a user page. I suspect that many people who would consider an offer to write an article for them may not edit themselves, and so would be unlikely to see any warnings about it that do not appear in mainspace.EdwardUK (talk) 17:52, 16 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The goal for a user page warning is so if a scammer claims to have a specific editor working for them, should a victim look that user up, they would see the warning. I agree this probably doesn't help the vast majority of victims. As adding the warning was suggested, though, I think if it's really going to be done then the software should do it by default, rather than the community relying on users voluntarily adding the warning. isaacl (talk) 21:28, 16 April 2023
Perhaps a data point: in 2014 someone was putting up profiles on some freelancing site claiming to be me and offering paid editing services, so I put a notice on my user page warning about it and inviting anyone who heard from the scammer to contact me with details. I left it up for six months and never got an email. That said, I only ever heard of it thanks to an off-wiki attempt at stirring up scandal about me blatantly engaging in paid editing, so the profile may well have been created to try to frame me for breaking enwp policy rather than to actually try to scam anyone... GorillaWarfare (she/her • talk) 23:02, 16 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Short of plastering the Main page with "Don't Let This Happen To You!" banners, I don't believe we can effectively help would-be BLP subjects who are victims of take-the-money-and-run scams. However, in cases where actual, paid-for BLP articles are created (if only in draft space), I believe most of them will include an infobox or EL link to the subject's webpage. Might it be possible to develop a bot that screens new articles for such a webpage, and then somehow/someway contacts the subject through that webpage (email I assume) with a paid editing scam warning? Perhaps that would give the victim sufficient time to stop payment on their check, so to speak. JoJo Anthrax (talk) 14:51, 18 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wikipedia article on paid editing on Wikipedia[edit]

At the moment, we don't appear to have an article on the topic - if we did have one it would end up near the top of any search on related topics and would likely be one of the first thing targets read if they attempt to find out more before sending money.

At the moment, I think an article solely on scam paid editing might not pass WP:N as all the sources appear to be in relation to the 2015 event (BBC, Wired, the Guardian, Forbes), but a broader article would meet notability guidelines, and I think including information showing that many of these companies are scammers might dissuade some people wishing to engage the services of those who aren't scammers.

Are there any issues with this idea? If not, I'll draft something when I have time. BilledMammal (talk) 15:50, 13 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@BilledMammal we have Conflict-of-interest editing on Wikipedia (talk) 15:56, 13 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you. I think the article needs some work, as it appears to be closer to a list of paid editing incidents than an article, and it lacks detail on how paid editing can be a scam, but it is where we would hope readers go. However, googling various search terms it isn't, at least in my results:
Various other searches I tried along these lines turned up similar results. Problematically, the first results for Make a wikipedia article were also sponsored links from article creation services.
I'm not sure how we can increase the prominence of our article - more redirects might help - but it might be worth having the WMF update their news article to include information on scams, as it is a relatively prominent result. I also wonder if WMF Legal can do anything about ads for Wikipedia article creation services. BilledMammal (talk) 16:19, 13 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Trying to influence google by editing articles shouldn't really be an on-WP issue. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 16:59, 13 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We need to get WMF to dedicate budget to buying google ads. The first google result for buy a wikipedia article should be our PSA explaining about our paid editing policy and warning people about scammers. Surely WMF can out-bid these guys for top placement in the sponsored links. -- RoySmith (talk) 15:34, 14 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We should certainly get the WMF to talk to Google about this issue. In the old times (when Google wasn't evil) I think they might have been persuaded not to run ads for Wikipedia scams. I'm not super happy about donation money going to Google, but it could be worth a try. —Kusma (talk) 19:29, 14 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, Google is already a WMF customer, so it wouldn't all be donation money; some of it would be Google money. In any case, worrying about who pays for it is secondary. One of the (reasonable) objections to my original idea is that the people we want to reach won't see our message if we deliver it on-wiki. So we need to put the message where they will see it. -- RoySmith (talk) 19:48, 14 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't think SEO is outside our scope; there was recently a discussion, though I can't find it now, about shorter titles being beneficial for that reason. I also think that trying to prevent people from engaging in UPE is worth while. BilledMammal (talk) 18:36, 16 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sort of related, we also have Wikipedia coverage of American politics, List of political editing incidents on Wikipedia and since April 1, Wikipedia coverage of Donald Trump. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 16:25, 13 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We should have a much better article than the Conflict-of-interest editing on Wikipedia one, which is a very jargony term which predictably doesn't turn up in any of the source titles. Reliable sources explicitly discuss both paid editing[1] and scams [2][3], we should have something titled along those lines. CMD (talk) 04:54, 14 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I see no reason we can't have an article called "Paid editing scams on Wikipedia" alongside COI editing on Wikipedia. small jars tc 10:44, 14 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We could, to the extent that it's a topic covered by reliable sources. But an article in mainspace instead of project space would limit our ability of writing it in a more direct tone and include contact resources, etc. A project page like Wikipedia:Articles for creation/Scam warning would be more appropriate, since we wouldn't be constrained by the article manual of style, reliable sources, etc. MarioGom (talk) 15:15, 14 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Such constraints can only be a good thing if you want it to be readable to someone new to Wiki jargon. Take a second look at the project-space page you just linked. What would people make of phrases like "article space" and "AfC reviewer." small jars tc 20:11, 14 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think the one I linked needs to be improved. But a regular article cannot start with a warning like "Warning! If you received emails asking for money, that is a scam! Wikipedia will never solicit money in exchange content services, etc, etc." I am not arguing against anyone creating an article about paid editing in Wikipedia, to the extent that it is compliant with content policies, but I think it's not the primary informational resource we should be working on in response to these scams. MarioGom (talk) 08:44, 16 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't believe it would need to; a well written article that reflects the sources would act as sufficient warning on its own. However, we could include a hatnote to a Wikipedia-space article that provides a more explicit warning, similar to hatnotes at AN and MOS. BilledMammal (talk) 18:36, 16 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Legal action against scammers[edit]

Fully stopping scammers with legal action is not possible, for the same reasons that other online fraud like bank phishing still exists: the identity of the scammers is hard to discover, and when it is discovered, they are often located in jurisdictions where it's harder to sue them. However, many scammy UPE companies use US-based services (Zendesk, Tawk, Zoho, Cloudflare) and if WMF started a criminal complaint in the US, they could possibly terminate these services. This would not make the problem go away, but it could be a significant disruption to their daily operations. I think it would be worth to explore this idea with WMF Legal. MarioGom (talk) 17:35, 13 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree. --Tryptofish (talk) 17:38, 13 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
To the extent that scammers are misrepresenting themselves as Wikipedia staff or professional employees, there may also be trademark issues that can be pursued through litigation. BD2412 T 23:33, 14 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not to mention wire fraud. But yeah we have to consider actions that WMF can take on its own, which would limit one to torts. ☆ Bri (talk) 22:23, 2 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Nothing prevents us from informing and cooperating with law enforcement. BD2412 T 22:27, 2 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I tend to think this will cost a large amount of money due to the size of the Project for little results… Ytrezq (talk) 17:31, 12 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
But could the WMF make back legal fees through the lawsuits or actions? OfTheUsername (talk) 21:39, 19 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm in the Legal Operations department at the Wikimedia Foundation and one of my interests is creating a new legal strategy around preventing UPE and making it more expensive and difficult for these firms to do business to encourage them to "do something else to make money" instead. Because of the new terms of use enforcement mechanism that was approved by the community recently, I'm building a new playbook on how we can use that prevent these scams and mitigate some of the UPE on the projects.
I can't share immediate strategy and what the Foundation does or doesn't plan on doing. But the pitched ideas in conversations like this are always useful. Also, if anyone has specific evidence against marketing companies that they believe is credible but also might not be actionable enough to discuss on-wiki, then you can send it directly to me at the email address on my talk page... For example, the evidence that @RoySmith was talking about when they were approached by one of these companies could be inappropriate to share on Wiki but could be really valuable when putting together an action. Even if the information is years old, if it is particularly credible or damning a company that is still providing these fraudulent services, then it could be useful. In mediation, the "rules of evidence" aren't as high, so circumstantial / 2nd-hand information can be used to prove a point even if it wouldn't be admissible in a court.
To answer the attorneys fees question above: in typical litigation in most jurisdictions, the Foundation would *not* be able to make its legal fees back. But under the new mediation standard that was approved in the TOU consultation recently by the community, the Foundation *could* (in a reasonable amount of circumstances). This is definitely a meaningful, positive change. But as others have suggested earlier, every action the Foundation takes has to be extremely targeted because it's still likely lots of money and time could be spent with little result. SSpalding (WMF) (talk) 19:06, 31 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Deprecate future use of general references?[edit]

I don't know if this is a WP:PERENNIAL proposal or if there's any background to this (which is why I'm posting at the idea lab), but I get the impression that WP:General references are a relic of early Wikipedia that aren't acceptable any more. It's obvious why they're unhelpful in longer articles. But even with stubs, I've found general references to make verification even more difficult and time consuming than unreferenced content. Any sort of expansion or verification requires that you either check every claim to every general reference, or that you scrap the general references and start from scratch.

WP:V already sets inline citations as the bare minimum for demonstrating verifiability, so general references don't even accomplish anything policy-wise. Obviously I'm not going to propose that we go through and immediately remove every general reference, but I think it would be beneficial to disallow their use going forward. Editors would still be free to use their preferred citation style, but it's essential that we know where the citation applies in the text. Thebiguglyalien (talk) 17:40, 8 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • No… There is no reason why you can not include a list of uncited sources as “further reading” or “external links” at the end of an article. Such references are often helpful for the reader. Blueboar (talk) 17:56, 8 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I'm not talking about MOS:FURTHER or MOS:LAYOUTEL. I'm talking about WP:GENREF. Thebiguglyalien (talk) 18:02, 8 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Ah… I misunderstood … sorry. Blueboar (talk) 18:14, 8 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    It does highlight part of the issue though. These areas can be blurred at times, where an external links section tries to play the role of a general references section. Thebiguglyalien (talk) 18:18, 8 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I think this is a bad idea. General references can provide a good basis for future expansion of the article. We should encourage their use, rather than discourage. --Jayron32 18:28, 8 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I don't think it's too much of an ask for editors to format them as inline citations. Inline citations don't make the source less useful, but general references do make the prose less useful. Thebiguglyalien (talk) 18:35, 8 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    It's functionally no different from a "further reading" section. It isn't too much to ask of you to add inline citations when you come across them where needed. There's also no need to ban the use of further reading sections, whatever they are called. --Jayron32 18:37, 8 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Only times I tend to use general references is in article's I haven't worked on but have found sources for. Typically would be in a situation where an unreferenced article brought to AfD, and if I find sources but don't feel like actually doing edit-edits, I'll just add them as general references so the article at least isn't unreferenced anymore. I understand if article is kept, references can be found in the closed discussion, or I could put them on talk page for people to find, I personally find its better to have them in the article. If I can use a source as a citation for something I will, but I don't like using it randomly somewhere in lead when source doesn't help verify whatever lead currently says. Also I believe WP:V only sets minimum for quotations and material that is challenge or likely to be challenged, requires an inline citation, otherwise I believe a general reference could be used to satisfy WP:V in the case of a stub with a few sentences. When it is longer that, it does become confusing when you are trying to verify specific things and you only have general references for entire article. Another situation for general reference are on List of X articles, sometimes general references work better than an inline citations all over the table/list. WikiVirusC(talk) 18:41, 8 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I kind of agree that we don't want to have a lot of additional articles lacking inline citations. I don't know what the practical effect of formally deprecating them would be, though: how many new articles use GENREF only? I mostly see them when people translate from the German Wikipedia. I somewhat fear that we'll see more people translating a GENREF article, not interact with the sources much, and just add one or two inline citations so the article looks like it is compliant (we had a prolific machine-translator do that until they were banned in 2021). —Kusma (talk) 18:48, 8 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • For scale, the problem is tracked here, with 101,786 articles using too many general references or inappropriately using further reading and external links as references (both of these are not supposed to be general references and should not be conflated with them). This isn't a perfect count, because there are likely false positives and there are likely applicable articles haven't been tagged. I don't know what the average age of these articles is, but it's a rough idea of where we stand. Thebiguglyalien (talk) 18:58, 8 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I would guess that the majority of these articles are at least 10 years old. —Kusma (talk) 19:08, 8 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Expanding on my post below, they sort of hide unsourced articles by "pretending" that they are sourced. North8000 (talk) 19:20, 8 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If an article is based on a single source that doesn't have page numbers or other subdivisions, inline references aren't actually superior to a general reference section for WP:V. The main problem in that case is the single source, not the lack of inline citations. —Kusma (talk) 14:52, 9 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • (EC) Even though they later made a statement that conflicted it Thebiguglyalien's statement "....I've found general references to make verification even more difficult and time consuming...." is important because unused items called "references" sort of imply that they are supporting the material even though per wp:ver, without in-line citations they aren't. And thus imply that to challenge verifiability one must prove a negative. On the flip side, it's a good practice to find sources (especially 1-2 GNG sources) before starting the article and article text and so when an article is being developed in article space, there should be a place to put useful sources that don't yet have any in-line citations. Sometimes I've temporarily put in an "Unused references" section. Might renaming it "Unused references" be an idea to both solve the problem and retain the usefulness? North8000 (talk) 19:14, 8 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I've used Template:Refideas for that purpose, though it has the glaring weakness that the talk page isn't as visible for this sort of thing. Thebiguglyalien (talk) 19:18, 8 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    If it bothers you when you find them called "general references", just rename the section "further reading" and the problem gets solved. There's no need to create some grand policy or anything. Just fix the problem. Policy not required. --Jayron32 13:33, 9 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    But then couldn't I be rightly accused of "removing references"? For better or for worse, WP:GENREF currently holds general references as a valid form of reference. I made this post to see if there was interest in changing that. Thebiguglyalien (talk) 13:56, 9 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • How do we feel about templates like Template:Ice hockey stats then? There are thousands of sports bio articles that are collections of statistics about athletes with a template like this in the "external links" section instead of actual references. Thebiguglyalien (talk) 22:42, 8 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I think these are useful as part of the external links section and for sportspeople are probably more helpful than most of the links in the authority control template, but the statistics tables in the article should also have sources placed in/below them. EdwardUK (talk) 13:26, 9 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • There was a time... Many of my early articles had no in-line sources, often with the only sources in External links. The time when that was acceptable is long past. Having a bunch of "sources" that are not cited anywhere in the article is not helpful, and, as others have pointed out, is detrimental to an article. Such uncited sources can and should be moved to Further reading sections until such time as they are actually cited in the article. In fact, I have been doing that ocassionally for a while now. - Donald Albury 01:27, 9 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • When the source is listed there should be evidence of it where inline citations can be used and should be added, but if it is not explicitly connected to any specific material in the article (MOS:NOTES) then I would consider it as further reading rather than a general reference and would be happy to see this changed in the manual of style. If the general references are from hard to access sources such as offline or subscription only journals, then if it would be difficult for many editors to convert them into inline citations. Even worse is when the websites listed have since become dead-links and have sometimes been removed because of this. EdwardUK (talk) 13:29, 9 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Inline citations are better than general references, but general references are better than no references. So I guess it depends how strongly such a deprecation would be worded. I wouldn’t want to discourage editors from adding a general reference when the alternative is no reference at all. Barnards.tar.gz (talk) 14:45, 9 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I think this is generally a good idea, but the actual change will have to be carefully worded- as Barnards.tar.gz said, any reference is better than none.

The main drawback to using general references is that they make verification much more difficult. To find if a claim is verified, one would have to meticulously search through the reference list- there is no way to tell which reference supports what. For short, one-paragraph stubs this is hardly a problem, but the larger the article, the more unwieldy and awkward a general reference list becomes. If an editor adds a claim that is not verified by one of these general sources, it is much harder to catch, as one cannot merely consult the relevant inline citation. Thus, reliability potentially decreases. Edward-Woodrow (talk) 19:58, 9 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Agree that this is a problem. In essence they harmful to obtaining wp:verifiability and helpful towards developing the the article, and for references with GNG attributes, helpful for establishing wp:notability. Maybe just add wording that reinforces that only inline citations count towards meeting wp:verifiability would give us the best of both worlds. Or have / require a separate section titled "Unused references" which makes that clear. North8000 (talk) 20:53, 9 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • The reason we still keep general references around is the same fundamental reason that the subject of an article is a primary source or what you would otherwise call a "general reference" to itself. Eliminating "general references" makes about as much sense as eliminating the subject of an article simply because it's a little more work to pore through the entire subject to verify some small fact about the subject mentioned in the article. Eliminating the subject means eliminating the article. There are many forms of general reference that are valid other than just a simple "general references" section. The "further reading" has already been mentioned. Huggums537 (talk) 05:08, 10 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • They're already 'deprecated' in the sense that everybody agrees that they're, at best, a starting point that should be replaced with inline citations. And as you say, WP:V already makes it very clear that inline citations are the desired standard. So what would your proposal do, in practice? – Joe (talk) 06:13, 10 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No thanks. References are sadly only as good as the person looking through them. A determined user can find problems with even the best sourced article. As someone who goes through a lot of foreign and older articles, any source that isn't a website is sadly useless in the end because someone can always doubt its existence or question its content. And even websites can be useless as references because websites change their url's or sometimes go offline and then the source is gone. I don't have a problem with general references. There's various situations where that may be the best call. Gaining access to various sources can be an expensive and time consuming task, and people in general are limited to where they live, what language they speak and what technology they have. And as I've said before here - if you want to raise the standard on what is acceptable content, you better be prepared to increase your workload with it, because it will mean more AfD debates and more generally pointless debates.KatoKungLee (talk) 16:43, 10 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Of course, not everybody can see sources that are not currently on-line and not behind a pay wall, but the best sources are often not on-line or are behind a paywall. We have to depend on editors who do have access to such sources to verify that they do support the content of the article. As for on-line sources disappearing, there are the archives (I use, and donate to, the Internet Archive). It is good practice to pro-actively include a link to an archived copy of a web page used as a source, although it is sometimes possible to find an archived copy after a web page has disappeared. Even for sources that are not on-line, or are behind a paywall, it is so much easier for an editor who does have access to verify that content in the article is supported by that source if the citation includes page numbers or locations. It is very annoying to see a list of "General references" with no indication of what part of a source supports what content in the article. Going forward, I will say that it is very rude to other editors and readers to add a source to "General references" with no indication of how the source supports anything in the article. Donald Albury 17:19, 10 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I appreciate from an editing policy perspective, references can be seen simply as a means to the end of verifying individual statements. From an encyclopedic attribution perspective, though, it is reasonable for editors to list significant sources they read that influenced their text contributions, particularly with large text changes such as when an article is initially created. Thus I would not favour a blanket rule prohibiting the listing of general references. isaacl (talk) 17:04, 10 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm not suggesting that we ban the use of references. I'm suggesting that we require they be used in a way that actually makes them verifiable (e.g. inline citations). Thebiguglyalien (talk) 17:35, 10 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I also just noticed that it conflicts with wp:ver. It says that they support the material in the article and wp:ver says that only in-line citations do that. North8000 (talk) 17:57, 10 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, I know. You proposed disallowing general references. I'm saying that I do not support disallowing general references as I see a purpose for them beyond that which is met by inline references, which I agree the community supports as a best practice. isaacl (talk) 21:32, 10 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As an example, when preparing a new article on topic X, I may read many sources, including broader overview articles from reliable sources. I can choose to cite all statements to more specialized sources that directly address each specific aspect. However from an attribution perspective, it is reasonable for me to list other significant sources such as the overview articles which have influenced my writing, so others can trace back the context in which I wrote the article. We're accustomed to the add-one-piece-of-info-at-a-time edits that make up much of Wikipedia's edits, where there is a direct association between text written and citation. Some edits, though, are larger scale and thus attribution beyond inline citations can be desirable on a broader scale than the per-segment-of-text level. isaacl (talk) 21:45, 10 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

My idea to solve it would be to replace:

  • "A general reference is a citation to a reliable source that supports content, but is not linked to any particular text in the article through an inline citation. General references are usually listed at the end of the article in a "References" section,


  • "A general reference is a citation to a reliable source, but is not linked to any particular text in the article through an inline citation. General references are usually listed at the end of the article in a separate "Unused References" section"


  • Resolves the conflict with wp:Ver
  • This reinforcement / clarity that they are not used/fufilling wp:ver solves all of the noted problems. Most relate to the "vague implied attribution" interfering with / impairing wp:ver compliance or efforts to ask for it.
  • Retains them and all all of their benefits including for article development and also, when they are GNG types, for establishing wp:notability of the topic.

Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 21:52, 10 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'd probably end up supporting something like this as a marginal improvement if it came to a discussion, though it still doesn't have the affirmative "citations should be inline" that I'd prefer. I'm also wondering how that would play against articles like this. Don't call it unreferenced; look at the bottom of the infobox (for some reason). This type of article, which is quite common among sportsbios, seems to walk right along the boundary between referenced and unreferenced. What are we even supposed to do with these? Thebiguglyalien (talk) 22:02, 10 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That linked article has so many major problems in this respect that I can't see how to relate it to this discussion. North8000 (talk) 17:42, 11 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Articles like this are what prompted this discussion. I'm not worried about articles where the general references are easy to resolve. I'm worried about the ones where an attempt at non-inline references makes future work on the article more difficult. Thebiguglyalien (talk) 17:54, 11 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
General references are usually listed at the end of the article in a separate "Unused References" section" seems an abrupt shift in this discussion about general references. They are not "unused references". Referencing has evolved (thankfully) in Wikipedia from being thought unnecessary, to being needed only if material was likely to be challenged as incorrect, to being the backbone of our usefulness as an encyclopedia. But we have a lot of older material, especially in scientific and technical articles, that went in earlier. General references were certainly not "unused" at the time, and to retroactively declare them that now leaves accurate material open to being summarily removed from articles.
I worry also about declaring them "deprecated", even just for new material. Things declared such on Wikipedia then seem to generate projects to remove them entirely. I this necessary? In technical areas I haven't seen new articles or new material using general references being allowed. Is this a problem in other areas? Are there other ways of handling the problems? StarryGrandma (talk) 17:45, 11 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What about saying "bibliography" or "general references" section? JoelleJay (talk) 23:35, 11 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If your concern is that there are too many sportsperson biographies only referenced to a statistics database, WP:SPORTCRIT #5 already addresses this: Sports biographies must include at least one reference to a source providing significant coverage of the subject, excluding database sources. I've been placing the No significant coverage (sports) tag on such biographies so they can be tracked and eventually improved/draftified/redirected/deleted. Jogurney (talk) 18:21, 11 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm concerned about the lack of verifiability, but BLPs are my main concern, and sportsbios are the ones I've found most difficult. My understanding was that such sources only had to exist, and I have nominated many non-notable sportsbios for deletion. Are you saying that WP:NSPORTS overrules WP:NEXIST? They do seem to contradict each other, looking at it more closely. Thebiguglyalien (talk) 18:30, 11 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, per WP:NSPORTS2022; there is a consensus to add an inclusion criterion for sports biographies requiring that they have at least one reference to a source which has significant coverage of the subject. So the existence of such sources is no longer sufficient; at least one must be included in the biography (and the No significant coverage (sports) tag can help track that). Jogurney (talk) 18:37, 11 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Good to know. I've been tagging and tracking unreferenced BLPs, so I've got a list of over 800 sports BLPs without references. I'd imagine most of them fail NSPORTS. I've been using BLPPROD for the ones that have no links whatsoever, but even that has been going slowly because there are so many and obviously I don't want to BLPPROD them all at once. Thebiguglyalien (talk) 18:49, 11 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, the scale of non-compliant sports biographies is enormous. User:Lugnuts created thousands of one-line Olympian biographies only sourced to a statistics database, and there are dozens of editors who created hundreds of sports biographies over the past 10-15 years that are similarly sourced. Jogurney (talk) 18:56, 11 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yeah, I've encountered many of them while going through all of the unreferenced BLPs. Many don't even have the luxury of a database reference. I've been adding database references to those so that they at least have something, but I'll make sure to tag them appropriately as I see them. Though I wonder whether everyone will actually be able to agree on what to do with them. Thebiguglyalien (talk) 19:15, 11 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The requirement to include at least one source demonstrating that the standards for having an article are met is really a documentation requirement. It doesn't set a minimum bar for having an article, nor does it prevent editors from later finding sources and adding references. The idea is that since editors ought to have found appropriate sources when creating an article, they should save everyone time and include a reference to at least one. isaacl (talk) 21:58, 11 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

To recap, the problem is that they give a false allusion of wp:ver compliance. But they also do good. So my solution removes the problems but retains general references. One post above illustrates the problem. It said that declaring them "unused" now leaves accurate material open to being removed from articles. They are in essence saying that the "false allusion" that I referred to prevents removing uncited material which is clearly in violation of wp:ver. North8000 (talk) 18:51, 11 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As I discussed, not being used in an endnote reference isn't the same as being unused. But in any case, I don't think the root problem is the name of the section. The verifiability policy currently lists conditions when inline citations are required, including when content is challenged, which is why any information without inline citations can be removed (thus challenging it). If there is community consensus to require all content to have inline citations, then the policy should be modified accordingly, rather than trying to accomplish this indirectly by requiring non-inline references to be labelled as unused. isaacl (talk) 21:47, 11 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Unused" is probably not the correct description.
The problem statement appears to be:
Encyclopedia articles are worse off with sections like Ostrich#General references, Sailboat#General references, Lasagna#General references, Melon#General references than if:
(a) those refs had never been added in the first place (because fewer sources listed on the page means better, more verifiable articles!), or
(b) they were spammed into the end of a single sentence, even though they could probably be used to support quite a lot of the content.
The theory of change appears to be:
If we make a rule against naming relevant sources outside of ref tags, then article quality will improve.
The underlying philosophy appears to be:
m:Immediatism, or perhaps more precisely, anti-eventualism and anti-incrementalism. It's not enough to follow WP:CITE's advice to provide enough information to identify the source. Others will improve the formatting if needed; one must get the formatting right, and the right formatting always involves little blue clicky numbers.
The longer I think about this, the less I can support it. If you want to convert genrefs to inline citations, then please feel free to find an article, read the listed sources, and start converting them to the popular ref tags. But in the meantime, I think we need a little more grace for people who are doing their best, and a lot less Wikipedia:Instruction creep.
BTW, gen refs are considered normal and desirable in the field of mathematics. I'll let Wikipedia:WikiProject Mathematics know about this discussion, since they've probably thought through the problem before. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:18, 13 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think it goes beyond math. Students are taught to include a bibliography in a research paper, as well as footnotes for citations. isaacl (talk) 04:09, 13 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Be very careful here. Ostrich has never had general references. Those listed under the section now all went in as full references for shortened footnotes, done in the era before they were linked to the short citations. See this January 2022 version at Special:Permalink/1058117393#Footnotes. Shortly afterward someone renamed the "Footnotes" and "References" sections to "Citations" and "General references", misunderstanding what was going on. StarryGrandma (talk) 05:09, 13 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
[A] little more grace for people who are doing their best, and a lot less instruction creep.
If this 👆🏽 can't be our sixth Pillar, can we make it the official motto of the Wikipedia: namespace?
I'm getting the vibe here that User:North8000's "Unused References" idea is coming from a unique perspective on General References, one which I feel misinterprets them as Further Reading. For the record, changing the naming (or ordering) of any footer material is at WP:PERENNIAL— although personally I'd love to participate in a fresh argument about some of that.
WP:V specifies only four types of claim that require inline citations, so it's not correct to state that in all cases General References don't satisfy this policy.
I looked at the example of the type of article that prompted this discussion, clicked on the second reference, and saw in database report format everything the article claims in prose, without even needing to scroll down. So it's not clear to me how that's problematic, and I'd go so far as expanding upon User:WikiVirusC's statement that general references are preferable for tabular data and claim that I think a general reference for stubby bois like the example is preferable to an article where every claim is cited inline to the same source, which adds unnecessary clutter.
It's already pretty clear in WP:GENREF that inline citations are preferred. If we want to, I'd support adding that explicit statement to the final sentence of the first paragraph, so it would read They are frequently reworked by later editors into inline citations, which are preferred. I don't think we need anything stronger, and honestly I feel like the bigger issue with that section of policy is how it starts out A general reference is a citation... and then closes with a sentence drawing a distinction between cited and uncited references, neither of which has been defined or used elsewhere in the page. Presumably we all know what this is saying, but it seems like it would be unclear to a new editor.
It's telling how thoroughly we've spoiled ourselves for ease of verification when editors can earnestly argue that general references make claims not possible to verify, or that they represent only the pretense of sourcing atop a genuinely unsourced article. It's certainly a quality of life improvement when the entire process of verification is tap anchor linktap external linkexecute keyword search, but we can't require this, often as a matter of necessity. Folly Mox (talk) 13:21, 13 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For clarity, I'm not trying to call out anyone for acting spoiled or being lazy, just remarking upon how successful the community has been at improving sourcing over the years, and I want to honour and celebrate everyone's efforts to continue that process, but I have some back-in-my-day uphill both ways Four Yorkshiremen nonsense relating to verification in actual academic research I've tastefully omitted. Folly Mox (talk) 13:33, 13 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Folly Mox, you forgot the snow. It was always snowing when we had to walk uphill both ways – and if you tell that to kids these days, they won't believe you. ;-) WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:31, 18 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Baxter and Zhao showed in 2012 that all uphill-invariant commute surfaces contained at least one snow stratum, but I can't seem to find the link to their proof.[FBDB] Folly Mox (talk) 12:11, 19 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

First, I'm not overly concerned about the outcome here, I was just trying to crystalize this discussion into a "best of both worlds" proposal. I listed one "downside" of them under the current structure, and I think I need to apologize for not explaining more thoroughly as many misunderstandings of what I meant and where I was coming from followed. Also this "downside" has been noted out by several posters here, including inadvertently by one who is in favor of the status quo which was the point of my last post. To explain the down side by an example: Lets say that there is some borderline-looking uncited text in an article which really needs to get challenged so that it will either get confirmed by an in-line cite or removed. By policy, someone can challenge/tag it and force this resolution to occur. But more typically, if the article has unused references, the reader would take that as implying that the material is supported somewhere in those references. And many would feel the "pressure" to do the huge task of confirming that it is not supported in any of those references before challenging/tagging the unsupported material. Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 15:37, 13 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't disagree with that conclusion, and thank you for the explanation. I think the locus of misunderstanding (which could be in multiple directions) is the term "unused". My personal take on General References is that they're sources that have been used to build the article, but lack bridges between text in the article and text in the source. I've never added a General Reference, but whenever I've added a Further Reading, it's a source I've found that's germane to the topic but which I didn't use to inform any of my prose, usually because I only skimmed it. Folly Mox (talk) 16:59, 13 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree that "Further reading" is the place for sources that aren't used in the article. General reading sources, according to Wikipedia:Citing sources#General references says General references are usually listed at the end of the article in a "References" section. It says nothing about having to label them "General references", just list them at the end, and that location imples that they are "used". While North8000 calls me an "inadvertent supporter" for my worry about removing accurate material, he did not answer the questions I put in that post. Is new material coming in with general references? It isn't in technical areas where we require inline sources and often secondary sources at that. if so, what areas are having problems and are there other ways of dealing with this? StarryGrandma (talk) 17:46, 13 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
First to clarify, my reference to your post was just that it reinforces that the phenomena described in my example is occurring. Sorry that I didn't realize that your question was addressed to me, but either way I don't know the answer to it. Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 18:33, 13 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
North8000, if you revise your signature so that it links to your user page, then the reply tool "mention a user" in its toolbar will work. StarryGrandma (talk) 20:36, 13 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't understand, it does link to my user page. Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 21:32, 13 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
North8000, in your signature "(talk)" links to your talk page. "North8000" is blue, bold, and in italic, but isn't a link. If you click on it nothing happens. There isn't a requirement to link to one's user page; linking to one's talk page is enough. I thought the reason the new reply tool's toolbar won't create a notification was the lack of a link to your user page, but on further investigation it won't link to any editor in this conversation who isn't using the standard signature, no matter how linked. So only a partially useful new feature. Sigh. StarryGrandma (talk) 00:14, 14 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for the info! North8000 (talk) 14:49, 14 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • This is closely related to a subject I raised a little above, at #Asking for sources for AfC drafts. The discussion is necessary. It is neither helpful nor logical that General References are still deemed okay according to policy, while a majority of AfC reviewers and new page patrollers don't like them, which means that functionally they're already deprecated in new articles. But there is a big down-side: it's basically a ban on translation from Wikipedias that do accept general referencing. Please bear in mind that the core policy is verifiability. Every fact must be verifiable, but there's no statement about how easy that must be made. There's no guarantee that the reader will have all the work done for them, no guarantee they'll be pointed at the exact location to support every word in Wikipedia, merely that everything in the article must be verifiable if someone can be bothered to pursue the references provided. Lack of page numbers linked to each sentence is often the least of the reader's problems; getting hold of the book might be the hard part. Yes, it's possible to make the argument that we shouldn't translate anything without checking the original sources anyway. In a perfect world I'd agree. But if the choice is between (1) well-translated articles where the translator has only been able to check some of the references, and otherwise has been forced to assume that the original author actually read the (obscure!) texts they cite, and (2) leaving our readers to the mercy of machine translations from whatever they are able to find with Google in a language they cannot read, I'm in favour of (1), and that means maintaining some tolerance for general references. Elemimele (talk) 21:18, 14 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    It's not even true that everything in the article must be verifiable if someone can be bothered to pursue the references provided. A completely uncited article – no refs, no links, no sources, no nothing – can contain 100% verifiable content (User:WhatamIdoing/Christmas candy being just one example of this). Compare Wikipedia:Glossary#verifiable and Wikipedia:Glossary#uncited.
    The challenge for AFC reviewers is that if they follow the minimum requirements, then experienced editors will come and yell at them about how they are destroying Wikipedia, allowing garbage into the mainspace, etc. But editors never yell at them for keeping a not-so-great article out of the mainspace.
    (Wrt translation, I agree with you. I add that the amount of checking you need to do depends upon your personal familiarity with the subject and the content in the article you're translating. You do not need to spend a lot of time checking articles that give totally expected, very basic information on a subject that you're familiar with.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:44, 18 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • The confusion between general references and further reading in this discussion seems a good indicator that general references are suboptimal. I would agree with the comments above that in practice they are somewhat deprecated already, so we should adjust policy and guideline wording to match. I don't think that this would require creating an "Unused reference" section or similar; an easier solution, which seems in line with the confusion above, would simply be to recommend that unused but useful sources be placed in a Further reading section. CMD (talk) 16:10, 17 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I was the one who came up with the "Unused References" section idea and I think that saying that they should be put under " For further reading" (I.E. NOT under "references") is a good idea and a better idea than mine. North8000 (talk) 17:16, 17 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think that both of these are dubious claims of fact:
  • if the article has unused references, the reader would take that as implying that the material is supported somewhere in those references.
  • And many would feel the "pressure" to do the huge task of confirming that it is not supported in any of those references before challenging/tagging
I think the first is based on an optimistic idea of how readers use refs (the answer being 99.7% of the time, "not at all", and the remaining 0.3% rest of the time "probably not like you hope" – according to the research, material doesn't need to be cited, or even apparently trustworthy, to be useful to readers). I think the second is disproven by the number of times we get fact-tags on sentences that already have citations, or for which the citation is already provided at the end of the paragraph. (Also, have you ever seen an editor post something like "I tried to look up these three general refs, but I couldn't find this one thing"? I bet that it doesn't happen even in one of out of a thousand pages.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:36, 18 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • No. General references should be retained because they are excellent if they highlight good general sources for a topic. For example, if the subject is a person then a good general reference would be a biography for that person.
The issue of verifying particular facts in the article is not decisive because all citations are quite imprecise. There's no way to tell what particular fact a citation is verifying – a word, a clause, a sentence, a paragraph, a section or what. A good reference will verify many facts in the article but the only way to show this accurately is by quoting at length and copyright considerations usually prevent this.
To verify in an unambiguous way would require a whole new structure – something like WikiData in which each fact is atomised and identified separately. Be careful what you wish for ...
Andrew🐉(talk) 07:06, 21 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, we have Template:Ref supports2, which can be used for unambiguous verification but requires duplicating prose content verbatim in the template call, making it unwieldy and difficult. I think only a handful of pages use this reference style (Victoria and Albert Museum Spiral is a brief article that uses it exclusively). From 2014 till last year we also had Template:Ref supports, which presumably worked similarly, but no one ever used it so it was deleted in 2022 by a consensus of two editors.
It would be nice to have kind of the converse of Template:cns where the prose only has to be written once and the citation is unambiguous as to what claims it supports, but progress has stalled. What I've sometimes done to avoid a surfeit of superscripts is add a hidden comment like <!–– reference supports entire paragraph ––>, which is of course invisible to readers and thus of very limited utility. Folly Mox (talk) 08:56, 21 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for these details. I'd not come across {{ref supports2}} before and that's because it seems to be used in only 5 articles (see Special:WhatLinksHere/Template:Ref_supports2). This rather demonstrates that a perfectionist approach is not workable.
And even if a citation is clear and unambiguous, there's still no guarantee that the cited source is correct. At some point you have to trust what is being said. See What the Tortoise Said to Achilles... Andrew🐉(talk) 20:49, 21 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Correct me if I'm wrong, but general references seem to me to be the same thing as further reading. That is, a list of promising books/articles/etc. that a content creator can read and use to expand the article with inline citations at a later date. Perhaps all general references sections should be converted to further reading. Good idea? Bad idea? Thoughts welcome. (Please ping on reply) –Novem Linguae (talk) 05:18, 25 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I believe the original intent of the two section headings was that "General references" were sources that had been used in writing the article without providing in-line citations, while "Further reading" was for sources that a reader could consult for more information about the subject, but which had not used in developing the article. I think that distinction was not very clear to begin with, and has become more blurred in actual usage. I also support (as stated above) moving "General references" to "Further reading". Donald Albury 16:06, 25 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Lists of company products/services[edit]

I'm thinking specifically of e.g. List of McDonald's products, the airline-destination lists and so-forth. The issue here is a straight application of WP:NOTCATALOGUE would probably see all of these deleted. However, some lists do rise to the level where they are doing more than merely listing exhaustively all of the products/services of a company regardless of notability and also are helpful to our readers (e.g., List of Atari 2600 games).

My suggested frame-work for these is:

1) WP:CORP applies to these list-articles, particularly WP:AUD, since they are entirely about the operations of a commercial enterprise.
2) The list should not aim to be exhaustive or immediately up to date. Only notable items (e.g., those with a corresponding article or which an article could be written about) should be listed. Wikipedia is not a catalogue/directory.
3) Where NONE of the items listed is notable, the list fails WP:CORP. The idea here is to prevent run-of-the-mill lists of stores, restaurants, hotels, routes, etc.

Thoughts? FOARP (talk) 09:37, 15 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Your third point says "Wikipedia:Common selection criteria #2 is not good enough for me". I think you should give up on that.
More generally, I think you should consider writing an essay using the Five whys method, explaining why you believe that articles about commercial subjects (=one of our most popular subjects for readers) are a problem. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:49, 18 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • The McDonald's article is what happens when an article or list isn't covered by an active WikiProject. It's not a failure of policy, it's simple neglect. No one looks at the article and thinks it's good. The only debate is whether there are any improvable "seeds" that make it worth keeping and waiting until someone volunteers their time to rewrite it around academic sources and trim the junk.
Your diagnosis and solutions are wrong. #1 WP:NCORP already applies; you may be annoyed at how others interpret it, but tweaking it won't help. #2 contradicts WP:LSC. Consensus at the article or WikiProject level determines inclusion criteria in lists, not central fiat. #3 is already the case.
Anyway, none of these criteria apply to your specific McDonald's example, since their products get discussed "as a group" (WP:NLIST) in plenty of academic sources (whether it's menu items meant to appeal to ethnic minorities, items meant for developing markets, or items meant to fight its "junk food" public image). But that requires people to care to work on the article. Not tweaks to notability criteria. DFlhb (talk) 00:14, 20 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Fair enough, however, in my opinion, those products should be remain here. I do not agree with you de to the fact that the products listed on an article of a company are still relevant to the general public and not the only particular group. Wikipedia is an global encyclopedia for all ages and groups, so there is no way to exclude the select amount of products from a website. Sure thing that it may not be a directory, however in this case, it does not matter to me. Although that notability applies to any product on the Internet, obscurity does not mean non-notable. Netherless than that, we have the ability to find those sources on the Internet, especially Google that contains most of these websites and news sources, and I do not find anything incorrect about it. So, I would vote remain on the lists of company products. /EnjoyBrowser557 (userpage) (talk) (contributions) 04:56, 26 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Improving the semi-protected page windows 10 version history[edit]

Per johnuniq's recent suggestions @ WP:ANI, I take this opportunity to make my request here: replace the page with this revision I tested on the WP:SANDBOX so that editors like xiejunmingsa updates the article without adding too much/many bytes. I hope my request here is not controversial now. (talk) 06:43, 21 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • If this is more of your nonsense about saving storage space by removing spaces, please stop wasting everyone's time. EEng 06:01, 22 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    In case 197.238 reads this:
    Please don't try to save storage space by removing white space from the wikitext. There are two reasons for this:
    1. It uses more disk space.
    2. It has no effect – including on the size of files sent – for the reader.
    I realize that this first point is counterintuitive, but MediaWiki stores every single version. Removing spaces == adding a new version to the database. Making a new version doesn't "remove" anything; it adds something. If your "space-saving" version is 1% smaller, there would have to be 100 more edits made to the page just to break even.
    Also, Wikipedia:Don't worry about performance. Please. Disk space is cheap. Plain old wikitext is tiny. That "large" page is an eighth of a megabyte. I remember when that amount might be all the disk storage allocated to a user, but that was back when mainframes used disks the size of a washing machine, and has nothing to do with modern technology, in this age when a supercomputer fits in my pocket. We're talking about a revision that wouldn't have filled even half of a 5-1/4" floppy disk. These days, the amount of disk space needed to store every single revision of that page, current and several thousand past versions together, would cost about a nickel (US$0.05). It's okay. Really. If the devs are ever concerned about file sizes, they'll let us know. In the meantime, please don't worry about it. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 23:56, 22 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Template:Bottom of section[edit]

Do we have something like Template:Skip to bottom that is usable for just a section jump? Find myself scrolling like mad in many talks that are simply huge. Would love to jump to the bottom of a talk section with one click on huge talk sections. Template:Bottom of section? As of now I simply click on the next talk header to do this. Moxy-Maple Leaf (Pantone).svg 15:05, 21 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm finding that the new Vector 2022's "sticky header" can be useful for this purpose. I keep the sidebar, tool menu, and table of contents all collapsed, but it appears in the sticky header, so it can be opened if I want to skip ahead. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 23:59, 22 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Whatamidoing (WMF):. Like the new skin better for looks.....but with my physical disabilities it's a much harder skin to use for navigation (toc WAY to small...thus hard to get cursor over section title.) Moxy-Maple Leaf (Pantone).svg 03:18, 26 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Semi-protected edit requests[edit]

Are semi-protected edit requests necessary?

These requests use a template that alerts editors who do not follow the article. By definition they are only made by IPs and new editors.

In my experience, they are almost always made without prior discussion. Experienced editors then close the request and discuss the proposed change.

It seems that if an IP or new editor has the technical ability to use a template, they are able to request outside help without a template. None of them seem to set up a discussion, find that no one has answered it, and make an edit request. TFD (talk) 12:33, 24 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

About 10-15% of them are productive copy-editing, obvious BLP issues, or other requests that can and should be implemented without any discussion. The template itself is populated when an editor who isn't confirmed attempts to edit a semi-protected page. Many of them obviously don't know how to use a template because they end up breaking it by not following the hidden comments.
The main reason to use the template rather than just creating a discussion is it brings in an edit request patroller to assess and possibly implement the request. I think the edit requests are a necessary part of how we handle page protection. ScottishFinnishRadish (talk) 12:41, 24 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Articles that become semi-protected generally have page viewers who can respond to edit requests. OTOH, if an IP or new editor has the expertise to use a template, they certainly have the ability to post their edit request directly to the noticeboard.
By your own numbers, 85% to 90% of semi-protected edit requests are not legitimate.
I don't understand anyway how so many inexperienced editors are able to use templates. TFD (talk) 14:25, 28 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The workflow for editing a protected page populates a edit request template. Try editing a semi'd page in incognito mode. ScottishFinnishRadish (talk) 15:16, 28 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Unified Review Forum[edit]

The idea of a unified review forum has been raised a few times recently; the primary benefit would be that it would provide us a location where we can take closes that currently lack a clear location for reviews to take place (mergers, splits, redirects, miscellany, etc).

Depending on the specifics, it may also allow us to move RfC close reviews out, shifting the administrators' noticeboard back towards being an administrators' noticeboard - i.e., a place primarily used by administrators to coordinate administrative tasks - and away from its current state as a catch-all dramaboard.

In addition, it may also allow us to merge move and deletion reviews in; this would allow us to diversify the range of editors who contribute to those discussions as currently the boards are comparatively insular, reduce the number of noticeboards editors may wish to pay attention to, and also permit us to create a unified process by which reviews should be conducted - for example, and this would not be part of the proposal, we could always split reviews into two sections, one for uninvolved editors to !vote, and a second for involved editors to do so.

As an initial draft for an RfC on this I suggest the following:

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.

RfC on creating a unified close review forum[edit]

Should WP:Close reviews be created to review all closes not currently covered by a designated forum?

RfC on creating a unified close review forum - RfC close reviews[edit]

If the forum is created, should close reviews of RfC's be relocated from WP:AN to the forum?

RfC on creating a unified close review forum - Move reviews[edit]

If the forum is created, should WP:MRV be closed and move reviews relocated to the forum?

RfC on creating a unified close review forum - Deletion reviews[edit]

If the forum is created, should WP:DRV be closed and deletion reviews relocated to the forum?

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.

BilledMammal (talk) 12:40, 24 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

First obvious question: Why WP:Village pump (close reviews) and not just WP:Close reviews or WP:Close reviews noticeboard? The general idea behind a village pump is that it's where people hang out and chat about Wikipedia (e.g., ideas for improving it, problems they need solved, etc.). None of them are for handling specific processes. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:39, 24 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's a good point. Changed to Close reviews noticeboard, thank you. BilledMammal (talk) 13:04, 25 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If you wanted, you could probably keep the format for the other reviews (WP:CRV currently redirects to an essay, but the redirect is only used on 63 pages). If your sub-suggestions are rejected, close review could just direct users to the other pages (WP:MRV and WP:DRV) for the type-specific close reviews.
I saw a variant of this presented (section link) at WP:VPP, and, at the time, I was going to indicate my support, but the conversation seemed to have been dying down, and I wasn't that confident about it. But, having been on Wikipedia a bit more since then, I feel a bit more confident now.
Still, based on the oppose votes, I'd be somewhat cautious about suggesting MRV and DRV be merged into a close review forum; I think that might actually lead people to be more wary of that forum existing at all (and, as some editors said then, there's some practical merit to separating off reviews that can only be done by admins). Just a thought.--Jerome Frank Disciple 17:09, 25 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's a good point; I've changed to WP:Close reviews.
I'd be somewhat cautious about suggesting MRV and DRV be merged into a close review forum That's part of the reason I've split them off into separate questions, or are you thinking the general association might be enough to cause people to oppose the creation of the forum?
there's some practical merit to separating off reviews that can only be done by admins Deletion reviews typically need to be closed by admins, but move reviews don't. Perhaps if we just remove the question about DRV? BilledMammal (talk) 02:20, 29 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The first question ("closes not currently covered by a designated forum") is going to be unclear. Specific examples (e.g., merges and splits) would probably help.
The three sub-questions could be delayed to another day, but they could also be handled as a single question: "There are three existing designated forums: AN (for RFCs), MRV and DRV. Do you want any of those to be added to the new noticeboard, if it's created?" I could imagine editors saying, e.g., yes to everything except merging DRV into the new process. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:29, 1 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Addressing non-notable event articles: Traffic incidents[edit]

Our events categories are filled with non-notable events that received only a brief burst of coverage. To illustrate this, I've looked through all of Wikipedia's traffic incident articles and collected the ones where there's no apparent significant coverage in the article. I chose traffic incidents because it's a relatively small category compared to other types of events, and because the bus plunge is the archetypical example of a non-notable news event.

Traffic incident articles that appear to fail WP:GNG

In most cases here, the sourcing consists entirely of WP:PRIMARY sources in the form of WP:PRIMARYNEWS reporting, where all of the sources are breaking news or updates to the story, while none of them are WP:SECONDARY sources that contextualize the event or provide a retrospective analysis. There are a few from the 20th century, but most of them are articles that were created right after the event, presumably by an editor that was unaware of WP:NEVENTS and WP:NOTNEWS. I'm hoping that the idea lab has some suggestions for how to address large groups of articles that are apparently non-notable. The problem here is twofold. First, there's a long backlog of non-notable events. And second, these articles are still being created any time a moderately interesting news story occurs without any regard for lasting notability, and deletion discussions for these new articles are more likely to get heated. The problem has a wide scope as well, and there are much larger lists of articles like this with other types of events.

And to head off what I suspect will be the first few comments:

  • Those articles are notable because X people died, it holds the record for foo, etc. – That does not confer notability. See WP:EFFECT for what sort of effect is necessary to assume notability. It would not be practical to allow an article for every bad thing that happened or every time people died in public.
  • Those articles have X citations, the event was covered by X different outlets, etc. – That does not confer notability if none of them provide significant coverage. In this case, most of them are primary news sources with a handful of local news sources. It would not be practical to allow an article for every event that's reported in one or more newspapers.
  • If you think they're not notable, then why not just nominate them for deletion? – Because nominating nearly 200 articles for deletion at the same time without WP:BEFORE checking them would cause more problems than it would solve. I'm posting to the idea lab to see if there's a more efficient way to handle these articles and other non-notable events articles.

Thebiguglyalien (talk) 03:50, 26 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Some other options are available, such as merging. the first on the list, the 1946 accident, seems like it could go on the article about the road itself, noting that ther was a string of accidents in 1946 on it, and merging some of the content. Other cases look like potential for "List of X accidents in <country> in <year>", though the inclusion for this should be higher, as not every single passenger car accident should be on WP.
but 100% we have editors rushing off when news breaks on an accident or similar without waiting for clear NEVENTS notability (more than a burst of coverage) or having the knowledge of when certain events will nearly always merit an article (such as commercial airline crashes, etc.) This is massive problem nowadays, not only on these types of articles, but CFORKs of ongoing news coverage. We are supposed to summarize the news in broad terms, not be as detailed as we have drifted towards. Masem (t) 04:08, 26 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • You missed the obvious option. Check each one, and nominate the ones that don't pass WP:BEFORE checks individually for deletion. If you think "that's too much work", then you don't have to do that. You're quite allowed to use your time at Wikipedia to do whatever you want. But if you think these articles shouldn't be at Wikipedia, the way to fix that is to do a WP:BEFORE check, and nominate it for deletion if it doesn't pass. There are no other realistic options. If that is too slow a process, WP:NODEADLINE is good reading. --Jayron32 17:41, 26 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree that this is a massive source of newscruft and most of these subjects should not have standalone pages. There should be stricter controls on new articles of this type getting published too. You could start with BLARing to any relevant lists/road articles and see what happens. JoelleJay (talk) 21:47, 26 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • While most of the articles above are poorly written and not notable, saying that 1990 Interstate 75 fog disaster is not notable when it has several newspaper sources, including some written years after the fact/obviously secondary, is really problematic. --Rschen7754 22:30, 26 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    That one is borderline. As far as secondary sources: it has a brief section in the book Historic Disasters of East Tennessee, it has an article in Car Throttle (the self described "Buzzfeed for cars"), and it has a few local news articles. Any of these sources may or may not contribute to notability. Thebiguglyalien (talk) 22:47, 26 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    If you want to ban local news from notability discussions, then start your own RFC for that. There is no provision in GNG that discounts for "local news", whatever that is. --Rschen7754 22:53, 26 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
While I do share concern over a predilection by some editors to create articles on incidents quickly before details pan out, I think the key difference between this case and, for example, the recent RfC on draftification of a subset of Lugnuts Olympians, is that those were one sentence stubs which were demonstrably non-notable and possibly even hoaxes. From what I can see here, almost every article appears to be at least a start-class and there is some degree of actual citation, so it is more complicated; additionally the controversy factor of some of these incidents make any sort of mass-draftification/mass-deletion pretty much out-of-the-question in my opinion. As such, my personal recommendation is to simply nominate the ones you believe are non-notable for AfD (not all at once please) (you can also batch nominate a few at a time in one nomination, but be wary of doing this with articles that may be controversial). It sucks, but I'm not sure I see a real alternative. Curbon7 (talk) 23:28, 26 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've nominated a few of these for deletion. It seems that the problem here is that a significant number of editors either don't understand or refuse to accept that a few news reports saying that something exists/happened does not satisfy WP:GNG—enough to tilt deletion discussions and to keep spamming these articles faster than they can be addressed, creating an unmanageable amount of run-of-the-mill cruft. Thebiguglyalien (talk) 02:11, 29 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I notice above that you say, in back-to-back sentences:
  • That does not confer notability if none of them provide significant coverage.
  • In this case, most of them are primary news sources with a handful of local news sources.
That could be (mis)understood as suggesting that "significant coverage" has something to do with whether the source is primary or from a local news source. A purely local primary source can contain significant coverage. Significant coverage is about how much information is in the source, not who published it or whether it analyzes the subject. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:32, 1 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yeah, there have been a few times where I've conflated WP:GNG and WP:SIGCOV because both links go to the same section. It's my bad, and I try to catch myself when I do that. Thebiguglyalien (talk) 04:46, 1 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Overturning Arbcom judgements[edit]

I've moved this discussion from a sandbox designed to discuss ways to improve the amendment of ARBPOL process. This is a related, but distinct, discussion that really deserves its own time and attention and so I'm moving it here. The options were generated by Adam Cuerden. Barkeep49 (talk) 16:18, 26 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Option 1

This method of petitioning followed by a referendum may also be used in order to overturn a judgement passed by Arbcom. A failed appeal against the decision or the passing of the judgement in question must have happened within thirty days of the petition opening.

Option 2

This method of petitioning followed by a referendum may also be used in order to overturn a judgement passed by Arbcom, but with the number of signatures for the petition set to fifty, and a simple majority and at least 100 votes total needed in the referendum. A failed appeal against the decision or the passing of the judgement in question must have happened within thirty days of the petition opening.

It feels like this method should also be made a substitute for Jimbo, possibly with a simpler requirement. Adam Cuerden (talk)Has about 8.4% of all FPs. 16:28, 22 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I feel like this is veering into a new policy area beyond amending ARBPOL itself. It clearly stems from the current amendment proposal, given many people think there needs to be a community way to overturn it and some suggesting that it could be done through the amendment process. But it still remains a seperate idea and the language for this would likely be its own section, or part of 2.9 "Appeal of decisions" not "Ratification and amendment" which is what this page's focus is on. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 16:29, 22 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
At the least, it feels a reasonable thing to attach this to, as they at least cover a similar subject. Mind if it gets workshopped alongside the rest of this? Presuming this is getting attached to another proposal, I presume people will be able to vote seperately to the two types of amendment anyway.
I'd like to hope this never triggers, but it's worth having a clearly-defined check, and it feels in the spirit of the process. Adam Cuerden (talk)Has about 8.4% of all FPs. 16:33, 22 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Since the amendment process could be used to effectively reverse an ArbCom judgment, or at least elect a new ArbCom pledged to undo that decision, what need a separate provision? But I see the number of people who think something more specific is needed before giving Jimbo his walking papers.Wehwalt (talk) 17:14, 22 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Aye, that's my thought: It's a clarification of something that already theoretically exists. Adam Cuerden (talk)Has about 8.4% of all FPs. 19:04, 22 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree it exists. I think putting it into the policy makes it more likely to be used, which from my personal point of view is a bad thing. If it's used, even unsuccessfully past the petition stage, that harms one of the pieces of value I see ArbCom providing: a place of last resort that makes tough calls. If the community felt a need to exercise the power it already has, whether after this amendment or not, it would seriously diminish my desire to serve to the point I would consider resigning mid-term. There's a lot of things being unpleasant about being an arb, but, for me, I can justify it by knowing that I'm providing service to the community. If the community starts questioning that service it would radically change my answer. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 19:10, 22 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I was thinking the same thing; while it is necessary to have this power, we don't want to encourage its use by making it an explicit option. BilledMammal (talk) 19:17, 22 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Let's be honest here: the number of people who know this procedure exists is vanishingly small. Having it in policy just means that, should things get bad enough that it should trigger, ad hoc procedures aren't invented. An amendment passing is a very high bar, it's unlikely to happen outwith a truly egregious error. An ad hoc procedure probably won't have half the checks. Adam Cuerden (talk)Has about 8.4% of all FPs. 06:44, 24 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
To avoid conflating the two proposals, personally I would prefer having the discussion on a separate page. isaacl (talk) 17:19, 22 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Do we really want a situation where the entire community is being asked to vote on something like someone's topic-ban? Newyorkbrad (talk) 13:44, 23 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Considering this in the context of the status quo - where the community can, but aren't explicitly told they can - I don't imagine such a proposal will even get past the petition stage. There may be a small number of editors sufficiently invested in that editor or dispute, but as a whole the community will endorse arbcom even if they disagree with the topic ban.
There are circumstances where I can imagine this would be used, but individual sanctions against editors are not one of them - at least so long as arbcom is careful not to open the door to their decisions being overturned by making a decision that is overturned. BilledMammal (talk) 13:48, 23 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We do that all the time at AN and ANI. Most of the topic bans, and most of the time topic bans are lifted, are via community discussions. --Jayron32 14:00, 23 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is one reason why it might be valuable to write something directly into ARBPOL: To limit its application. If the wrong is severe enough for the community to be voting on it, then it should be severe enough to dissolve the entire committee. Any lesser wrong should use the existing channels such as WP:ARCA and individual communication to attempt to change the result. (+- the systemic review of the U4C, which I think must continue to be considered.) Izno (talk) 15:47, 23 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think a community "vote of no confidence" triggering an immediate election of all arbs is more reasonable proposal than ones that allow for a specific decision to be overturned. It goes a long way towards addressing my concerns above. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 16:10, 23 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'd wondered whether this should be paired with automatically triggering a case review for the incoming arbs post special-election (that's a note, that this should utilise the emergency election rules), but I guess that would be needless - if we've reached such a drastic action, we can assume that the incoming new arbs will act appropriately. Nosebagbear (talk) 00:16, 24 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We don't even know that it would be a case that needs reviewing. For instance, maybe ArbCom has passed some new procedure the community finds unacceptable. This is all hypothetical but I could also see a situation where a more elite crowd (the kind that votes in ARBPOL amendments) is furious with arbcom but a slightly less elite crowd (the kind who vote in ACE) isn't. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 01:23, 24 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Proposal a would be pointless - we could already do that just with a blank-form amendment. I wouldn't make it easier per proposal b - bluntly, if we are pursuing this route then arbcom has done something that seriously enraged the community. I would view inactivity that annoys the community as a much lesser thing - we would probably just issue a CBAN or such in similar circumstances. Modern arbcom has less opportunity for a gradual demonstration of issues given the smaller number of cases - it's possible, but the next election would probably come round first. A single catastrophic incident is more likely. The same applies with the U4C - any cases bought for systemic failure are likely to be by a small number, as if the concerns were felt by a larger contingent of the community then the issues could be resolved by more direct means. Nosebagbear (talk) 16:03, 23 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    As I said above, I'd rather have a procedure in place now, while all is calm, than some ad hoc thing invented by the angry mob. There's maybe one case in Arbcom's history that would have had any chance of this going through, y'know, "This unique confluence of irregularities resulted in a fundamentally flawed process" -ArbCom. But that's early Wikipedia. Adam Cuerden (talk)Has about 8.4% of all FPs. 06:59, 24 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    WP:FRAM is not so long ago, and that's the kind of case I think about with "ArbCom was wrong too, enough to dissolve it". Or if the case had come to ArbCom first rather than T&S? I do not know. Izno (talk) 17:20, 24 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    So I guess it's possible @Izno - there was a major discussion at the time on whether ARBCOM was in breach of ARBPOL for taking evidence that the accused could not see and respond to. I could imagine a comparable case with less good mitigating factors launching a reaction. Nosebagbear (talk) 22:36, 26 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I'm not sure I agree with overturning ArbCom judgements. Not everything should be subject to a popular vote, it discourages difficult decisions from being made. Now, I don't really expect an ArbCom decision that has a majority wishing to undo it was a good ArbCom decision, but if it's something like 51% overturn / 49% retain, I don't think it should be overturned. ArbCom being a body of last resort is going to have to deal with difficult and intractable behavioural problems. If the solution were obvious or popular, ANI could've enacted it.
    Aside from that, the option to overturn an ArbCom judgement doesn't fully make sense. Overturn what? The entire final decision? (and replace with what? leaving the issue unresolved?) Or a particular solution? (would the decision still be fair, even-handed, and still make sense, if only a particular remedy is overturned?) ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 20:17, 24 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The difficulty that PR points out would lead me to suggest that perhaps ArbCom judgments should not be able to be overruled directly by the community. They would, however, have the power to kick out the current ArbCom and elect a new one, which can consider what needs to be done about the questioned ruling. Wehwalt (talk) 21:14, 24 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Considering how few candidates for ArbCom have presented themselves in recent years, would it be wise to throw the lot out and elect an all new committee? You would want at least 20, preferably more, good candidates to fill the 15 seats. Donald Albury 21:55, 24 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I think the idea is that all terms would end. Arbs would be free to run in the new election. Wehwalt (talk) 22:01, 24 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    And what would be the chances in a new election of the arbs who were in the majority on the decision that led in a vote to kick them out? In the last three elections, there have been 7 or 8 seats open, with 3 or 4 current arbs running and 8 or 9 candidates who were not currently on the committee. Best scenario, the community reacted to a decision supported by a majority of 5 or 6, because vacancies, inactive status or recusals from the case reduced the number of voting arbs. The arbs who were in the majority on that case presumably would not be re-elected, if they chose to run. If most of the other sitting arbs did choose to run, and 8 or 9 candidates who were not on the committee that was kicked out ran, that would give you little more than 15 candidates for 15 seats. It is possible that not all would get at least 60% support, leaving a committee with vacant seats. If fewer members of the dissolved committee choose to run, the bigger the problem. There is the possibility that a larger number of users than usual may offer themselves as candidates, but I wonder how many of them would reach 60% support. I suspect that the pool of possible arbs that the community trusts and that are willing to serve on the committee is not very deep. Donald Albury 15:46, 25 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I don't disagree with any of that. If the community is in that situation, it faces unpleasant alternatives. We can't solve that right now. All we can do is see if there are tools we should give it that might help resolve the situation. Or quite possibly, decide there aren't. Wehwalt (talk) 15:53, 25 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    50% support is the requirement to be elected, not 60%. Izno (talk) 17:55, 25 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Oops! Not that it makes much difference to my argument. Donald Albury 19:21, 25 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I'm not sure if you're putting forth this issue as an argument for not allowing the community to ever end the current terms of all arbitrators, or as an argument for picking-and-choosing specific arbitrators to expel? In any case, it would be up to the community to agree upon whether it wanted to call for a special election for all seats, some seats, or some other approach that might be more suitable for the specific circumstances. isaacl (talk) 02:00, 26 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Failure of this proposal will not prevent the community from taking any action in the future. A recall of the ArbCom as a body would be disruptive. The existing process for ArbCom eletions would require at least two months before a new ArbCom could be seated. Would the existing committee continue to function until a new one was elected and seated? If not, ban appeals that can be made only to ArbCom would be piling up, existing conduct cases would be put on hold, and new cases could not be opened. If the existing committee is allowed to function until the new committee is seated, could the new committee overturn decisions made by the old committee after the recall? Depending on how many previous Arbs are elected, the new committee could take a while to get up to speed.
    I think the whole question of what to do if a sitting ArbCom looses the trust of the English WP community needs to be more carefully thought out. We want to avoid a situation where the WMF might feel that they need to step in to restore order to the English WP. An out-of-control ArbCom could provoke that. The absence of a functioning ArbCom could also provoke that. I don't know what the odds are of a majority of Arbs losing the trust of the community, but I think that the odds of lacking a functional ArbCom for some period after a recall are higher. Donald Albury 16:04, 26 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Sure, at present there are no fixed paths for handling this circumstance. If it does occur, the community will discuss what option is most suitable for the specific situation. That could be expanding the committee and electing more members, limiting the committee's scope, holding a special election to replace all current members, or something else. isaacl (talk) 16:25, 26 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I agree. Let us not constrain the future community on how to deal with a vague (and, hopefully, unlikely) contingency. Any formal procedure developed ahead-of-time would likely not be much quicker than holding an RfC for an ad-hoc solution, and might turn out to be a poor fit for the problem. Donald Albury 17:50, 26 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Worth noting that since this process would use the emergency process, I would guess something more like 5 weeks than 2 months for ARBCOM. Which still isn't great, but is much better. I also concur with the reasoning that a certain level of negative side effects is unavoidable. In fact, it might actually be possible. We want this for case outcomes that the community views as simply unacceptable, not merely wrong. Wrong decisions are for the regular elections to resolve. Nosebagbear (talk) 23:11, 26 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Wikipedia:Requests_for_comment/Arbitration_Committee_Elections/ACERFC_decisions_to_date has the rules of a special election which would be a matter of weeks, not months. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 01:04, 27 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I think it would be simpler for the community to hold an election for all seats at once than to try to reach consensus on a subset of arbitrators to keep in place. isaacl (talk) 22:09, 24 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I agree with this. For me the simplicity of the solution is one of its big virtues. And I think it provides a chance for Arbs who supported the decision to make their case to the broader community (and arbs who didn't to make that case too). And truthfully if we were in this situation I would expect a large field, like we had in 2021 following FRAM, rather than the more meager fields of recent years. Barkeep49 (talk) 22:21, 24 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

IMO it's hard to imagine any process that is more representative of the community on Arbcom matters than Arbcom itself. Also all of the mistakes that Arbcom makes are actions regarding individual editors and it's hard to imagine a process to jump in on those. Here's a way to kill three birds with one stone. Bird #2 is that someday en Wiki needs to have a constitution. Bird #3 is that we don't want this to fall by default to WMF. So let's just say no action now and if it is needed sometime in the future EN Wiki will create a "constitution" level process via a suitable method (requiring an overwhelming consensus or vote) to deal with it. North8000 (talk) 19:41, 26 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Any action that has managed to get a majority of ARBCOM to take an action is not likely to be one that the Community is universally opposed to. As such, I think a simple majority is an unwise threshold, as an edge case is a significant possibility. I would suggest at least 60% of votes must be in favour of overturning. No 51% majority should be overturning ARBCOM, given we'd never acccept such a majority for overturning even a regular block. Nosebagbear (talk) 22:38, 26 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Phoneme synthesis[edit]

Where IPA notation is included in an article, couldn't we link to a phoneme synthesis app? For example, the javascript library demonstrated here. I think it would be helpful for readers who aren't necessarily well-versed in pronunciation glyphs. We might even be able to use it to detect when the notation is incorrect. Praemonitus (talk) 18:22, 27 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Are the phoneme synthesis apps more reliable than human editors? Surely they are only as reliable as the humans who wrote them. Phil Bridger (talk) 21:50, 27 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have seen human editors disagreeing about the correct IPA notation. Donald Albury 23:02, 27 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Of course, because there is not always just one "correct". But the same goes for apps written by humans. And if they are not written by humans then the problem is even worse. Phil Bridger (talk) 23:10, 27 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Synthesis sounds like a very useful addition. Debatable pronunciation is usually a matter of which IPA characters to use, rather than how to translate those characters into sound. (You say /ˈi.ðɚ/, I say /ˈaɪ.ðə(ɹ)/, but we both agree on what sound each of those written forms represents.) Any exceptions can still have sound files added manually. Certes (talk) 10:20, 28 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
See m:Phonos, cc @TheresNoTime Frostly (talk) 23:54, 28 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There are some examples on testwiki Most of these use the file mode. I believe there is still some debate surrounding the ipa modes. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 20:55, 31 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for that. I'll be intrigued by what comes of the project. Is there any relation to Praemonitus (talk) 17:21, 1 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No. And Phonos uses (or used, not sure if they're still going with) machine-trained text-to-speech, not direct synthesis. Nardog (talk) 17:43, 1 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Cornell team seeking feedback on a planned user study[edit]

Hey everyone! I'm part of a research group at Cornell (together with @Cristian_at_CornellNLP) studying ways to encourage healthier online discussions. Our group has had prior successful experiences collaborating with the Wikipedia community towards this goal.1 We are now planning a user study which will directly involve the participation of Wikipedia editors. In developing this study, we share Wikipedia’s commitment to transparency and accountability, and want to ensure that the study is implemented as a true collaboration with the Wikipedia community. To this end, before we officially launch the study and start recruitment, we wanted to explain our ideas to the community and give you a chance to voice your feedback, thoughts, and questions—which you may do by replying to this thread, posting to our user talk page, or emailing us directly. We have also been consulting with Wikipedia Administrator @Moneytrees in case you’d feel more comfortable reaching out to them instead.

The planned study revolves around a prototype browser extension “ConvoWizard” which uses AI technology2 to provide Wikipedia editors with real-time warnings of rising tension within conversations. Specifically, whenever an editor who has ConvoWizard installed replies to a discussion on a talk page or noticeboard, the tool will provide an estimate of whether or not the discussion looks to be getting tense (i.e., likely to deteriorate into incivility), as well as feedback on how the editor’s own draft reply might affect the estimated tension. This is based on a tool that we previously piloted on Reddit, so those interested in finding out more can check out NPR’s coverage of the study.

Once the study officially begins, participants will be asked to install and use the ConvoWizard browser extension for a specified period of time. During this period, ConvoWizard will record participants’ commenting behavior with the tool enabled (e.g., what edits they make to their draft before posting it) to enable research on the effects of using the tool.  All data collected during the study will be stored securely and confidentially on Cornell servers, The study has been reviewed and approved under Cornell IRB #2007009714. Participants will also be asked to fill out a pre-survey and post-survey, which will ask general questions about their commenting habits and their thoughts on ConvoWizard.

Again, we are extremely interested in your thoughts and feedback before we move forward with this study, and invite you to let us know what you think. We look forward to hearing from you!

Finally, if you think you might interested in participating, or if you have any suggestions on how to best get the word out, please reach out as well.

1For a recent example, see this study we conducted on talk page moderation.

2For those with a technical background in machine learning and/or natural language processing who are interested in more details about the technology, it is introduced in this paper; the model is also open-source and its training data is publicly accessible and documented.

-- Jonathan at CornellNLP (talk) 17:42, 1 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thank you and I'm interested but How can I reach out to you?
Samuel from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Sammthe (talk) 04:17, 2 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If you don't get a response here, try Special:EmailUser/Jonathan_at_CornellNLP. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 07:54, 2 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for your interest! As noted in the original post, the study hasn't officially begun yet, but once we begin we'll reach out with more details. In the meantime, as the other reply pointed out, you can get in touch with us either via the Wikipedia user email (if you want to keep the communication private) or by posting to my (or @Cristian_at_CornellNLP's) user talk page (if you want a public record of the communication). Jonathan at CornellNLP (talk) 13:20, 2 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This sounds like an interesting and very promising approach. However the opportunity I and I suspect other admins would find interesting would be a list of currently heated discussions. I'd also point out that "current" can be very asynchronous on Wikipedia with disputes running between editors in very different timezones. ϢereSpielChequers 08:45, 2 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's a great insight, and we agree! We've actually been approaching this problem from multiple angles; our previous collaboration with Wikipedia actually addresses this exact idea. In a nutshell, we spoke to some admins to hear their thoughts on this idea of having a list of currently heated discussions (and in fact some of the things they brought up are closely related to the issue you mention about what constitutes "current"). If you're interested, I definitely encourage you to check out the paper (which can be found here)! Jonathan at CornellNLP (talk) 13:25, 2 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Is there a policy or guide when a definition of (x) defines all (y)'s under it as A and precludes B but there is a "reliable source" that lists a particular (y) as B or even B and A?[edit]

If Parent article (say vegetarianism (x) vs various foods(y), species(x) vs subspecies(y), article on war(x) vs specific wars(y) etc) describes something (x) as A and perhaps even specifically precludes something (x) from being A and B but someone else finds a reliable source and uses it to cite that something (y) (a food, a subspecies a specific war) as B or sometimes even both B and A:

What takes precedent?

Do we have a policy for this? Can we work out one if we dont?

Please note this is not part of any current dispute I have. I will post a similar idea for one I am in. Instead this is reminiscent of something that made me leave Wikipedia last time and I didn't then know about the village pump and about dispute resolutions so I just got frustrated and gave up.

Last time I was told (without anyone specifically referencing anything of course) that Wikipedia cannot use itself as a source (even though of course I was advocating using a definition on Wikipedia established by secondary sources) and so the correct thing was to accept the "reliable secondary sources" describing the food, subspecieies of specific war as something even if it went directly against the definition of the parent article (vegetarianism, species, wars).

PS: Perhaps parent article is the wrong term here. superimposing article? Supra-category of articles? For example if a reliable source listed oysters as suitable for vegetarians even though the definition of a vegetarian foods precludes the inclusion of any animal tissue within its scope, would it ever be acceptable to include that reliable source in the article on oysters despite conflicting with the definition established by other reliable sources on what vegetarian food is to begin with?

PPS: There is absolutely no dispute on this in oyster thing in wikipedia, though in some vegetarian circles it's an actual debate, so that's why Im just bringing it up if someone needs an example to understand my musings here. CompromisingSuggestion (talk) 00:36, 3 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

WP:SPINOFF is a guideline that addresses this: [when spinning off a sub-article], summary sections are used in the main article to briefly describe the content of the much more detailed subarticle(s). Even if the subject of the new article is controversial, this does not automatically make the new article a forbidden POV fork. When done properly, the resulting articles are not content forks, and both the original and the spinoff article will comply with the Wikipedia:Neutral point of view policy...Article splits are permissible only if written from a neutral point of view and must not be an attempt to evade the consensus process at another article....Spinoffs are intended to improve readability and navigation, not to evade Wikipedia's content policies.
In other words, Wikipedia articles that cover overlapping topics should not contradict each other, and disagreements should be resolved through discussion at one or both of the affected articles. signed, Rosguill talk 00:47, 3 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Precluding any resolution to the dispute (in this case two different groups of people that know nothing of each other constructed the specific and parent article respectively and are essentially avoiding each other and thus conflict) is there any that takes precedent if someone like me notices this inconsistency and forces conflict (resolution?).
Secondly, in this particular issue it was an article defining it vs an article that is essentially a list of such events. Does that change anything or should that list of events follow the "parent" article that defines what should be on that list? (Essentially what I argued).
The people maintaining this constantly expanding list instead argued that "anything can be added as long as there are reliable sources, even if it conflicts with the definition found in an other Wikipedia article". CompromisingSuggestion (talk) 01:12, 3 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How do we deal with sources that omit something when that omission is worth its weight in gold?[edit]

I am currently in a process of trying to find a compromise to an edit war that has been raging since at least 2 years back and has intensified ever since the person it's over decided to run for president. I'm currently concentrating only on the lead headline/introduction.

One of the main points of contention are the many mainstream articles that describe a person as something. Some people don't like it and don't agree with it. The person himself doesn't agree with it. Others like it and agree with it and want to keep it. Others more, like it, completely disagree with it and want to keep it.

So there's essentially three camps. Not just two. The person can easily be found in my edit history but I'll not mention it here so as to stay on topic. But if you want you can easily look it up.

Here's the crux of the issue. Several sources describe the person as this something. Mainstream, reliable sources. Some highly politicized but others highly neutral and scientific.

Yet many others that are easy to find completely omit that aspect of the person in describing their career, history and impact.

Others yet, equally reliable and mainstream rephrase it.

The side that is currently winning is the one that wants to focus on this particular issue and the sources that focus on it.

I'd like a balanced approach that shows that there's more to the person or that the issue is complex. To do that I'd either want to include his denial of it (that may or may not fall under or as an alternative include the fact that many sources either rephrase it or omit it completely.

As its highly contentious and is just getting more and more inflamed Im looking for an "imperfect solution" to build consensus. But I'm stepping over too many toes when doing it as the solution ends up suiting nobody. Still it may ultimately come down to some kind of dispute resolution.

So what is one to do? Is there a policy to deal with it or could we start building one, if not to save this article from chaos then to save others in the future?

Very few people will introduce something or someone as something they are not. They won't for example say "XYZ is a nice fellow, college educated who loves tacos and absolutely rejects the term shoplifter"

Other sources may say "XYZ is A, B C, and likes shoplifting".

But many more may simply say "XYZ is A, B and C."

How do we account for the diversity of opinion that's shown in the media by omission and where a persons own denial may be taken by some as to fall under ?

The question is complicated because its not just a question of what sources are reliable or what should be included in the article as a whole but what should be highlighted as introductory and defining characteristics/aspects of the person. And in that regard I'd think that its interesting if there are many mainstream reliable sources that completely omit something.

Overall also if youd indulge me, what's everyones opinon of ? Doesn't it create some situations where there's no oppurtunity for a objectivity? Of course someone might reject the term shoplifter, and they may have valid reasons for it. Maybe they stole cause they were hungry and feel that term doesnt fit them, maybe they feel they were framed, etc. But naturally (most of them) "they would deny it". So doesn't that put them in an impossible situation? CompromisingSuggestion (talk) 00:59, 3 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is a question of WP:DUEWEIGHT, and MANDY is just an essay. ScottishFinnishRadish (talk) 01:22, 3 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's making me a bit frustrated because it came up here as if its something I as a new editor have to follow. And I didnt realize it was "just an essay" why would someone who isn't even involved in this dispute lie to me, or were they confused themselves?edit: they did mention it was an essay but in passing, at least I got the impression that its what defines what has weight and what doesnt.
Anyway I'll read through DUEWEIGHT but how do you weigh omission? Even me whose arguing this could argue from the perspective of a devils advocate that there's a lot more weight to an accusation than to simply the lack of one. How does one balance this? CompromisingSuggestion (talk) 01:27, 3 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ahh, RFK and I'm assuming without actually reading, vaccination stuff. ScottishFinnishRadish (talk) 01:24, 3 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • First the WP:MANDY essay is itself highly controversial. We recently had a lengthy debate about it, with no consensus.
My own take: in a BLP, we should always give a degree of respect to what the subject says about themself… whether they are talking gender identity, political labels, criminal accusations or anything else. However, this does not mean we ignore what others say. Those other opinions should be covered as well. We should cover all significant viewpoints on a BLP subject… and that includes what they say about themselves. Blueboar (talk) 01:31, 3 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Is there a policy or a precedent ruling I could base this argument on because people tried it before me and have been shut down or its resulted in edit wars? Thank you. CompromisingSuggestion (talk) 01:34, 3 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No and Yes. I'm trying to focus the start of the lead more on his career as a human rights lawyer and environmentalist while as a compromise keeping the aspects about the increasingly inflammatory accusations (it's gone from vaccine activist years ago to anti-vaccine propagandist now) while adding at least the context that he himself rejects the label. But even adding half a sentence more about his other actions is upsetting people, so is adding his denial.
Previously "supporters" of RFK tried to remove the whole vaccine-propaganda thing, revert back to at least vaccine or anti vaccine activist but that resulted in an edit war. There's probably astrosurfers from both sides there now, its a mess. On the other side there is the third camp, supporters of his most controversial vaccination statements that actually want that in the article because they hate vaccines.
Just trying to build an understanding for existing policy or move to rapidly develop new policies so that this can be avoided in the future and in preparation of what obviously will be a dispute resolution. CompromisingSuggestion (talk) 01:33, 3 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]