Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)

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RFC: spelling of "organisation"/"organization" in descriptive category names[edit]

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
This is a close, complicated by allegations of votestacking, which might, in itself, be reason for finding "no consensus". The OP has premised this as a means to resolve conflict/disruption as a systemic/ongoing issue. They note that the guidelines (RETAIN and ENGVAR) that normally resolve these issues do not explicitly apply to categories. I have looked for a "weight" of arguement to support or oppose the proposition that the solution is to stanardiz[s]e on a particular spelling in categories (as opposed to !votes). The most compelling arguements are to embrace our differences. Perhaps this might be done in a more formal way and make this explicit to categories (CREEP to avoid CREEP - irony). Regards, Cinderella157 (talk) 12:06, 20 June 2019 (UTC)

 Administrator note:: This RfC was closed on 17 April 2019, and reopened after editors suggested the same at Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)#Further discussion of recent RfC on organisation vs organization. Lourdes 07:31, 18 April 2019 (UTC) Should all Wikipedia categories which use the word "organisation"/"organization" as part of a descriptive name per WP:NDESC be standardized to use the "Z" spelling, i.e. "organization" rather than "organisation"?

Note that this proposal does not apply to proper names, such as Category:International Labour Organization, which should use the name selected per WP:Article titles for the title of the head article. It applies only to the descriptive category titles invented by Wikipedia editors per WP:NDESC, such as Category:Agricultural organizations based in the Caribbean, Category:Organizations established in the 19th century, Category:Religious organizations by faith or belief, Category:Sports organisations of Ireland, and Category:Paramilitary organisations based in the United Kingdom. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 19:57, 4 April 2019 (UTC)

Extended explanation[edit]

This question may sound like trivial pedantry, but Category:Organizations has about ten thousand descriptively-named sub-categories. Those are inconsistently named, and therefore generate a steady stream of renaming proposals at WP:CFD.

Per WP:NCCAT, category names should "follow certain conventions", but there is no clear convention here; no single principle (or even agreed set of principles) defining which spelling to use. This makes the category system hard to use and hard to maintain, because it is difficult to predict which spelling is in use in each case

Over the years, these categories have been the subject of numerous renaming discussions, and several are open now. Several well-established principles are applied, but they are often fuzzy or conflicting, and they produce varying outcomes depending on the good faith interpretations of the experienced editors involved. Many categories have been renamed multiple times.

  1. MOS:TIES recommends that for English-speaking nations, we should use the (formal, not colloquial) English of that nation.
    • It is often hard to determine which (if any) usage is preferred in any given country
    • There is disagreement about whether the "S" spelling is actually the clearly-preferred option in any national variant of English
  2. MOS:RETAIN advocates that the initial version should be retained in the absence of consensus to the contrary.
  3. Geography. No policy appears to cover usage in non-English-speaking nations, so editors apply in good faith a variety of well-reasoned principles which produce different outcomes, e.g.
    A/ Countries which are geographically closer to the UK than the US should use the British spelling, and vice-versa
    B/ Commonwealth countries (i.e. the former British Empire) should follow British spelling.
    • Those two principles clash for the many former British colonies in the Americas
    • There is legitimate dispute about the extent to which British usage persists 50 years after independence

These inconsistencies create clashes of principle. If MOS:RETAIN is applied, then each container category ends up with a random assortment of spellings, depending on the choice of the creator.

However, most categories for organisations are intersections of two or more category trees, e.g.* Category:Sports organisations of Iran is an intersection of Category:Organizations by type and Category:Organizations by country.

Taking that example: if we apply MOS:TIES, we get inconsistent titles in Category:Sports organizations by country, e.g. Category:Sports organisations of Mozambique/Category:Sports organizations of the Comoros.

On the other hand, if we apply consistency across Category:Sports organizations by country, that creates inconsistencies with MOS:TIES-derived names for the country categories. e.g. if Category:Sports organisations of Mozambique was renamed to use "Z", then that would clash with the grandparent Category:Organisations based in Mozambique.

In CFD discussions, the main argument for standardisation is that per American and British English spelling differences#-ise,_-ize_(-isation,_-ization), some British usage prefers the "S" spelling, bit there is no overall preference ... and that while the "S" spelling" is unacceptable in American usage, the "Z" spelling is acceptable variant in all countries.

On the other side, arguments against standardisation prioritise MOS:TIES, and assert that "S" is the standard British usage. They note how ENGVAR variations are accepted in other types of category. One example of this is Category:Association football players, whose subcategories variously use "association football players", "footballers" or "soccer players", depending on local usage. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 19:58, 4 April 2019 (UTC)

Organizations: Discussion/survey[edit]

add your comments and/or !votes here
  • Use "z". I'm British, and use both spellings interchangeably. In some parts of the English-speaking world only "z" is correct, but in others both "s" and "z" are correct. I don't know of anywhere where "z" is incorrect. I must add that it's very tiresome that we have to even discuss this, but there are certain editors who seem to like arguing for arguing's sake. Phil Bridger (talk) 20:27, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Couldn't category redirects solve tis without renaming anything? If the answer apears to be "no they can't" then I agree with every word of the above comment by Phil Bridger. Beeblebrox (talk) 21:28, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
    • Categories use WP:soft redirects (see Example), unlike e.g. lists which use hard redirects; while these can reduce the problem, they require an extra click. – Fayenatic London 22:15, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
  • @Beeblebrox, two years ago I thought that redirects might be a partial solution (with the limitation which @Fayenatic notes), provided that there was a bot to apply them in all instances, on an ongoing basis. So I proposed the bot, at Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval/BHGbot 3, and there were so many niggles that I gave up. (The bot was approved for a trial run, but there were strong objections to making it an open-ended task, which is exactly what would be needed for the bot to solve the problem).
That's why I have come around to the view that we should fix the problem at source by abandoning the pretence that British English has such a strong preference for the "s" spelling that we shouldn't use Z in any topic relating to the former British Empire other than in the United States. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 22:18, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Don't standardize. Personally, I use British English with a "z", but I don't think it is good idea to bow to the consistency zealots on this. They'd only find something more serious to worry about. Johnbod (talk) 21:37, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
    • If there is continuing conflict without standardization, "don't standardize" is the wrong solution. There might be some reasonable middle ground toward standardization and away from conflict, but a basic non-vote definitely isn't it. --Izno (talk) 22:11, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use z. I'm British and use "s" in my personal and professional writing, but it is often inconvenient in Wikipedia that the spelling of categories for orgs is unpredictable. Using the Oxford spelling with the "z" is not un-British anyway. We already use the non-French "z" spelling for France (see CFD in 2017 closed by me) and various other countries in Europe/Commonwealth. Let's take it all the way. – Fayenatic London 22:15, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
    • I am prepared to make exceptions for Australia and New Zealand. NZ apparently uses -ise; these sources are not best quality but IMHO suffice to demonstrate that point.[1][2][3] However, other former colonies are not so evidently wedded to the "s" spellings. Let's switch to "z" in UK, British Overseas Territories, Europe, Asia, S America, the Caribbean, and the remainder of Oceania. – Fayenatic London 08:52, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support - organize was good enough for Samuel Johnson and so it is good enough for me (in the UK). The Americans have in this case adhered to correct classical English. Oculi (talk) 22:17, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use z. I agree with the observations of both Phil Bridger and Oculi. And if something is correct everywhere, it ought to take precedence over one national preference. Now the consistency folks can worry about why Category:Television shows by country rolls up to Category:Television programs where "shows" is correct wherever English is used but the spelling of program/programme may differ. Cheers, Carlossuarez46 (talk) 23:33, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
  • On the point of commonality, do see MOS:COMMONALITY. --Izno (talk) 23:42, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "z", since it is considered acceptable in British English (unless I've been doing it wrong all this time). Jc86035 (talk) 09:38, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Don't standardise. Continue to use "s" in countries that predominantly use "s" (like the UK, Australia and New Zealand). It's very rare to see "z" in the UK outside Oxford these days. We don't change other category names for consistency, so I have no idea why we'd want to here. It is clear from the media, from previous WP discussions and from usage in WP articles by British editors that "s" is now greatly preferred in the UK. -- Necrothesp (talk) 10:21, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
    • @Necrothesp, your statement that we don't change other category names for consistency is plain false. On the contrary, large numbers of category names are changed for consistency every single day. Most weeks, several hundred categories are renamed for consistency at WP:CFDS per WP:C2B, WP:C2C, or WP:C2D ... while new consistent conventions are repeatedly established at full CFD discussions.
It's also clear that you well know that statement to be false, because you yourself have made plenty of CFDS nominations on the basis of consistency. including [4], [5], [6], [7], [8]. That's only a small sample, and it is very sad to see an admin asserting as fact something which they have demonstrably known for many years to be untrue.
The reason we seek consistency, as you clearly well know, is that inconsistent titling is confusing for both readers and editors. You also do huge numbers of article moves on that very basis per the policy WP:CONSISTENCY (part of WP:Article titles), and as noted above the same principle applies to categories: see WP:NCCAT.
In this case, we have policy on what to do: MOS:COMMONALITY says "For an international encyclopaedia, using vocabulary common to all varieties of English is preferable: Use universally accepted terms rather than those less widely distributed, especially in titles". In this case, the Z spelling is a universally accepted variant, even if it is not universally preferred ... whereas the "S" spelling is not acceptable in American English. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 12:11, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
You misunderstand me. As usual, it appears. We do not change category titles for consistency in WP:ENGVAR circumstances. We may change them for consistency in non-ENGVAR circumstances if it is uncontroversial, yes. This is a different issue. And despite claims to the contrary, this is an ENGVAR issue, as "z" is indeed very rarely used these days in British English. -- Necrothesp (talk) 12:54, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
No, Necrothesp, I did not misunderstand you. I correctly understood the clear meaning of what you actually wrote, which now turns out to be radically different from what you now claim you intended to say. Please do not misrepresent your change of assertion as someone else's failure to understand.
As to ENGVAR, for over a century the leading dictionary of British English has been the Oxford English Dictionary, which continues to recommend the "Z" spelling as the preferred form. Are you really, seriously, trying to claim that OED's recommendation is not an acceptable usage in British English? Really? --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 13:09, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
@BrownHairedGirl, FWIW the OED is now the last part of Oxford clinging on to Oxford spelling; even Oxford University itself has deprecated its use ‑ Iridescent 22:36, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Our present policy wastes a great deal of editors' time and effort. It doesn't produce consistent results. Consistency in country subcategories is achieved at the expense of inconsistency in all the other hierarchies. Consistency would increase our efficiency and enable us to quibble about things that are more important. There is nowhere where spelling organization with a z is wrong. The problem really is that in the UK it is seen, quite mistakenly, as American linguistic imperialism.Rathfelder (talk) 12:40, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
    • No, it's merely seen as uncommon in the present day. An archaic usage preserved by Oxford but not much elsewhere. -- Necrothesp (talk) 12:57, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support "z" - Barring specific cases where a proper name using "Organisation" is involved, the more inclusive "organization" should be used in all other cases. It is clear that this has been an ongoing issue that repeatedly comes up and it will save everyone's time in the long run to make this a standard convention. The fact that one spelling ("z") is acceptable (if not preferred) globally and the other is unacceptable in large parts of the world makes this change an obviously better convention over the current hodge-podge of MOS:RETAIN-based random spellings or multiple CFDs to attempt to meet MOS:TIES. I think BrownHairedGirl has made a very compelling argument and I haven't (yet?) seen any substantive argument against it. - PaulT+/C 14:11, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Don't standarise per Necrothesp. There's no reason to change the status quo here, and Oxford is not an authority for the whole of British English (and definitely isn't for Australian or New Zealand English, where -ise is strongly preferred). IffyChat -- 14:30, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
    • Also, this is NOT a commonality issue, many parts of the world primarily use 's', just as much as many areas use 'z'. This isn't the American english Wikipedia, it's the English language wikipedia for all users of the English language. IffyChat -- 08:23, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Slightly alternate proposal: Use "z" but create a preference setting where editors who want to see the word spelled with an "s" in category names can see it that way. bd2412 T 14:54, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • @BD2412 I appreciate the quest for a solution which gives as many people as possible most of what they want. That's a good approach throughout life.
So I have no objection in principle to that idea, but is it technically feasible? I know that much wizardry can be achieved by AJAX, but even if some cunning code could change the displayed spelling of category titles as they appear at the bottom of an article or at the top of a category page, how would it distinguish between descriptive titles and proper names, so that it converted Category:Sports organizations of Estonia but not Category:International Labour Organization or Category:Organization of American States?
Readers might like this, but it would cause problems for editors, who would never see the actual title of the category, and be mystified why tyoing in the "S" spelling produced a redlink. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 15:23, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
My initial thoughts on this would be that 1) some kind of tag would need to be put on formal names to prevent them from showing up with the "s" spelling, if we care to do that, and 2) irrespective of the outcome of this discussion, there should be a category redirect pointing from the "s" spelling to the "z" spelling. When using hotcat, at least, this will change the input to the correct category. bd2412 T 15:36, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
So who gets the job of tagging all the relevant categories, and maintaining those tags? As the Pages per ActiveEditor ratio continues to grow, we need fewer of those maintenance tasks, not more.
As to redirects, yes I agree. As I noted above in reply to Beeblebrox, I tried two years ago to create a bot to do just that, but the BRFA got drowned in nitpicking so I gave up.
I do think that Phil Bridger's reminder of the fate of the time/date preference thing is worth remembering. It was all just seen as too much complexity for too little benefit. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 16:52, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
Before going too far with that proposal I would remind editors that we used to do something similar with dates in articles, where they were presented in dmy or mdy format in accordance with a preference. That system was done away with - here is one discussion but I'm sure there were more - for reasons that could also be applicable to this proposal. Phil Bridger (talk) 15:59, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use 'z' except in countries where 'z' is plain wrong (perhaps Australia and New Zealand?). Marcocapelle (talk) 16:36, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support "z" I do a lot of work on organizational categories. Our present policy wastes a lot of my time and energy. It prioritises consistency by country over consistency by subject, for no obvious reason, even where English is not a native language in the country concerned. Personally I have been using s for about 55 years, even though I was brought up to revere the Oxford English Dictionary, but I think the importance of consistency should outweigh personal preference I . Rathfelder (talk) 17:26, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose standardisation z these days is a variant, not the standard modern spelling in British English with the OED and related publishing house very much fighting a losing battle on this. In other countries z is used even less. Whatever is done there will be inconsistency as there are numerous main articles and lists using s, to say nothing of other cases where different spellings and terms are in use (programmes/programs/shows has already come up) so trying to impose a global consistency just isn't going settle things. Timrollpickering (Talk) 18:14, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use “z” per MOS:COMMONALITY, Z would be preferred because it is accepted intenationally and S is not. —pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 19:30, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "z" Standardization helps, it's categorization. It is WP:COMMONSENSE to use what's more common. --QEDK () 20:06, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Don't standardise. I don't see this as a problem, and "z" is not acceptable in Australian (or I presume NZ) English. Frickeg (talk) 21:29, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
    • @Frickeg, do you have any actual evidence that the "Z" spelling is not an acceptable variation in Australian English? Sorry to be a where's-the-WP:RS pedant, but in countless CFD discussions I have seen many confident assertions of national preferences in spelling, but there is almost never any evidence offered. Please can you fill the gap, and be the one who actually provides the sources which support your claim that "Z" spelling is never an acceptable variation in Australia? Thanks. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 22:02, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
      • The Macquarie Dictionary, the closest thing to an authority here, says (paywalled) "Current Australian usage clearly favours consistent use of -ise". Although Macquarie does list "-ize" as a variant (perhaps "not acceptable" was an overstatement, but "very rarely used" is certainly true; Macquarie also lists practically all US spellings as variants, which doesn't mean they're generally acceptable in AusEng), I have been unable to find a single Australian style guide that allows "-ize", and you will practically never see it in Australian publications. It is clearly recognised as an Americanism, and even if there is some doubt about the common British usage, there really isn't for us. I see no reason why WP:TIES would not apply, and WP:RETAIN when we are talking multi-national categories. Frickeg (talk) 23:38, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Thanks @Frickeg. Would you be ale to quote the rest of the entry? The actual wording is important to the application of MOS:COMMONALITY, and your paraphrasing raises a few questions for me.
As to WP:RETAIN, it is a disastrous principle to apply to any category set and esp large sets, because it produces random outcomes across category trees. That makes it hard for editors to add categories, hard for readers to type them, and massively complicates all sorts of maintenance and templating functions. That's why so many categories of all types are renamed very day per WP:C2C. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 00:43, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
  • The entirety of the entry "-ise": "a suffix of verbs having the following senses: 1. intransitively, of following some line of action, practice, policy, etc., as in Atticise, apologise, economise, theorise, tyrannise, or of becoming (as indicated), as crystallise and oxidise (intr.), and 2. transitively, of acting towards or upon, treating, or affecting in a particular way, as in baptise, colonise, or of making or rendering (as indicated), as in civilise, legalise. Compare -ism, -ist. Also, -ize. [from (often directly) Greek -izein. Compare French -iser, German -isieren, etc.] Usage: -ize is the usual spelling in US English. In Britain there is some variety: some publishers standardise on -ize, but others use -ise. Attempts to distinguish -ize in words based on Greek (idolize, monopolize) from -ise in words that have come to English from or through French (realise, moralise) founder on the difficulties of knowing the precise history of many words. Current Australian usage clearly favours consistent use of -ise, a practice which has the advantage of being easy to remember." Frickeg (talk) 03:20, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Many thanks, @Frickeg. That's a clear recommendation of "ise", but not an outright deprecation of "ize". That would certainly support using "organisation" in articles ... but in category titles, which are navigational devices rather than enyclopedic content, it seems to me that MOS:COMMONALITY justifies using the non-preferred spelling. This isn't a petrol/gasoline issue, where one usage is clearly deprecated. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 21:10, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "z" - Just for fun, I did a survey of usage on Belizean news sites. Belize is a Commonwealth country, but geographically close to the U.S. I expected usage to be about even, but usage of "organization" was 34 times higher than "organisation"! I would be OK with leaving a specific exception for UK-related categories, but overall it seems like "organization" is the more internationally-prominent spelling. Kaldari (talk) 22:27, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Alternate Proposal - use z for all categories except in the country where s is the clear choice - and I'd suggest a discrete list be created of these (UK, NZ, Australia are primary). This will at least shrink the issue - where it's an either/or, or any of these geographical proximity cases, they default to z. It won't quite resolve the issue, but I think it's an improvement that will avoid most of the likely blowback from fellow s-speakers. Nosebagbear (talk) 22:46, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • @Nosebagbear, I'd very much prefer simple standardisation, but I think that your proposal could provide some limited improvement if this RFC agreed an actual list of which countries fall into that category. Without that definitive list, we would effectively have no change; we would still face the same CFD debates over and over again about which if any is the preferred usage in Ruritania (see e.g. the CFR debate on Organizations based in Oman). I appreciate what you are trying to achieve by changing the default, but it still risks an ongoing saga of many dozens of case-by-case debates. So I think that proposal would have more chance of meaningful assessment if there was some actual evidence for the claimed clear preference for "S" usage in NZ+Australia, and in any other country which editors want to list. As I note above, these discussions are overwhelmingly dominated by assertions rather than evidence, but the sincere indignation which often accompanies the objections is nearly always unevidenced. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 23:42, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use z unless the content categorized is predominantly using s. That is, default to z which is acceptable in every ENGVAR, but retain s for local WP:CONSISTENCY if all or most articles in the category are non-North American and (not "or") are also using the s spellings in their content and (where applicable) titles. E.g., a "Category:Animal rights organisations in England" category should likely not move to the z spelling, but "Category:Animal rights organisations" certainly should be (and is) at Category:Animal rights organizations, for MOS:COMMONALITY reasons. The z spelling is preferred even in British academic writing (and an encyclopedia is basically academic writing), so z is a sensible default for multiple reasons.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  00:50, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
I see several problems with that:
  1. It would lead to inconsistencies within the category tree for each country, which would be even worse than the current mess
  2. It would make category titles unstable, because as articles are created or deleted or recategorised the balance would change
  3. Assessing it would require a lot of editor time, but editor time is increasingly scarce: the ratio of articles per active editor is almost 4 time what it in 2007, and participation in CFD discussions is at ~5—15% of the levels in 2006. There is a persistent, multi-month backlog of CFD closures. However nice it might theoretically be to have such fine-grained decisions, we simply don't have the resources to sustain them.
We need a simple solution which creates stable outcomes, and where mistitled pages can be identified with the help of tools such as AWB and Petscan. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 01:54, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
I don't see 1 as a real problem. There will always be inconsistencies, unless Oxford/Harvard spelling is made mandatory on Wikipedia for everything, which isn't going to happen (though it's a proposal I would support for the same reason I supported MOS:JR getting rid of the comma that some older Americans still prefer). Not concerned about 2, either. It's already a criterion (a speedy one, in fact) that category names are to align with article names, so it's already just a fact that they'll shift over time as the mainspace content changes; this is a dynamic site. But the rate of change of s/z stuff is barely detectable, anyway, so there's not really much potential for churn. I'm not sure how much editor time would be consumed, per point 3, but it's something we already do at CfD anyway, about lots of things. It only consumes the time of editors who choose to spend a lot of it at CfD, like you and I do, and we're pretty good at recognizing patterns and getting on with our !votes. If we had a rule like this, it should produce one outburst of category renaming activity, then remarkable stability after that: defaulting to z, unless there's a compelling and demonstrable reason to use s for a particular case. I'm "optimizing for the probable rather than the possible" here; there is no limit in the imagination to what could be possible, but we know from experience that most British topics, for example, are going to use the s spelling, so we can already predict how British-specific categories are going to be spelled. If we default to z for stuff with no national tie, then we can also predict how the majority of categories will be spelled, absent some overwhelming cluster of s-titled articles within one.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  01:41, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "z" - Our categorization system should not be a endless battleground for nationalistic emotions or editorial ownership, but to serve as an internal system by which we order pages. As such, having a consistent style which makes life easier (and faster) for readers and editors, and will save time wasted in category discussions, is much better goal than any variation of the current system. Also editor supporter statements above me. --Gonnym (talk) 19:51, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "zed" (or "zee" if you like) As a bit of a traditional Brit, I support Oxford spelling which prescribes -ize endings and hence avoids transatlantic conflict. Not sure on Australian / New Zealand / Indian usage though. Greenshed (talk) 20:02, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "z" – Though "s" may be more common in the UK, that's like 60 million people compared to 1.5 billion English speakers. Z is more global, used either primarily or as an acceptable variant in almost all if not all English-speaking countries. Standardization is a good idea for consistency, readability, searchability, and reducing the needless category renaming. Levivich 22:07, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
    • India, Australia and New Zealand all use 's' primarily, and so do most English speakers in Europe and Africa, It's not just Britain. IffyChat -- 08:23, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
      • @Iffy, do you have any actual evidence from reliable sources to support your assertion that most English speakers in Europe and Africa use 's' primarily? I don't mean some cherrypicked example, but some evidence of the claimed pattern of usage. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 09:21, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "z". When I use HotCat to put articles in categories it is a nuisance to have two seperate alphabetical lists. And my copy of the Collins Paperback German Dictionary, 1988 edition, only lists Organization in the English side. It tells me that Organisation is the German spelling. Bigwig7 (talk) 12:21, 7 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use only one, this is a direct presentation to readers, so having 2 content categories for a spelling variant isn't useful. I prefer the "z" option slightly, as there seem to be more sources with that variant. — xaosflux Talk 18:59, 7 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Mostly use "z" - except for English-speaking countries where "s" is more common, use "z" everywhere. It's more intuitive, although this doesn't override the ENGVAR principle to use the local spelling. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 15:22, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Standardise on "z", with the exception for names involving "s". I'm normally one for letting people use whatever spelling they feel is appropriate, but this seems like a reasonable case for standardisation, and as noted, there are very few contexts in which "z" is actively wrong rather than merely not-preferred. Andrew Gray (talk) 19:07, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "z", except in official names of organisations (sic). My initial idea was to use "z" for all non-specific categories and "s" for categories specific to regions that use that spelling, but it might be too hard to determine for non-English-speaking countries. We'd waste a lot of time arguing over individual countries, like Russia where usage can be quite split. -- King of ♠ 04:40, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Z per many good !votes above, starting with Phil Bridger. Jonathunder (talk) 20:33, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "z" When it comes to global categories like this standardization is far more important than ENGVAR. And I say that as one who has always spelled organisations with an S. Harry Boardman (talk) 13:06, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "z", except when referring to a proper name. A convincing cost benefit case has be made for more uniform and predictable categories. A Google comparison of hits for the two spellings shows a 76% dominance for the Z spelling, and I came across a graph showing that Z is dominant in the UK by a 2-to-1 ratio and apparently increasing. Australians and some others may not be happy, but they surely are familiar with the predominate US/UK spelling. At least they will find that Wikipedia consistently has the "wrong" spelling, rather than having to deal with it being chaotically wrong. Alsee (talk) 14:32, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    Followup comment: Regarding WP:ENGVAR, there is a big difference between articles and categories. Individual articles can happily co-exist with different ENGVARs, however categories are encyclopedia-wide and a category naming must be done (as best we can) from an encyclopedia-wide perspective. WP:ENGVAR does not apply to categories, and I reject slippery slope arguments that this proposal is a threat to article content. The opposes are making a very poor argument that unpredictably and inexplicably confusing the majority is somehow preferable over predictability and minimizing the issue. I also urge the closer to take into account Closing discussions#How to determine the outcome that consensus is not determined by counting heads, and the fact that there was an abrupt surge of oppose-votes after this discussion was selectively canvassed. That surge in opposes is clearly not an accurate reflection of general community consensus, and canvassed responses should be weighted accordingly. For comparison, I closed a 20-vs-10 RFC[9] with a firm consensus for the 10, after almost entirely discounting the majority as blatantly canvassed. In this case the result is easier - I believe there is still a majority for Z even with the canvassed responses. Alsee (talk) 22:31, 8 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Do not enforce spelling. "ize" endings are not acceptable in New Zealand English, and Wikipedia is never going to be 100% consistent (unless we throw out WP:TIES and WP:ENGVAR, which is way beyond the scope of this proposal).-gadfium 03:42, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
    Can you produce evidence that "ize" endings are not acceptable in New Zealand English? Rathfelder (talk) 12:48, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
    I'll bet money the answer is "no". NZ doesn't have any NZ-specific style guides from a reputable publisher. NZ writers follow British style guides, like almost everyone in the rest of the Commonwealth, aside from Canada. Even Australia does (the government-published style guide is obsolete and generally ignored, and the Cambridge style guide for .au is simply the British one with some Australian vocabulary added, and Oxford doesn't make one for .au in particular, nor does any other publisher we'd care about).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  01:46, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Wikipedia:Manual of Style doesnt really help in this discussion. It's directed at articles, not categories. Rathfelder (talk) 12:48, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support a common-sense standardization that will free up editor time for more important things. MB 15:54, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "z". I agree with OP arguments, and find opposing comments ineffective. Years back, the article Theater (Amer Eng) was moved to Theatre (Brit Eng) based on the fact that Americans sometimes spell it the British way, so MOS:COMMONALITY overrides RETAIN. The same argument is works here: Americans use only one spelling, but British use both, undermining any TIES argument. RETAIN is a fall-back position used when nothing else can reach consensus. Now, in all the many thousands of categories, I suspect there may be a very few specific exceptions that can be made, but I believe that for "Organization", COMMONALITY trumps RETAIN, and these should all use "z" to avoid the great majority of pointless future category spelling discussions, and let a new separate special discussion/RFC can started for the very few that somehow "must" use "s". --A D Monroe III(talk) 17:16, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • It's possible that in New Zealand, or some other part of the English-speaking world, "z" is regarded as incorrect, but is anyone really offended by its use? I, as a Brit, do not get offended when I read an Indian or American book in English that doesn't always use the same grammar or spelling that I use myself, but simply, if I notice it at all, treat it as part of life's rich tapestry. Surely we have more important things to concern ourselves about? Phil Bridger (talk) 17:50, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose per WP:CREEP, WP:ENGVAR and MOS:TIES. The category system is broken and needs replacing with a more sensible system of attributes which can be combined freely rather than being constrained into an arbitrary tree. A better system would provide for synonyms and that's a better way of handling such variation. I'd expect this to emerge as WikiData becomes more established and we can then discard the categories. Andrew D. (talk) 22:15, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "z" - "z" is accepted almost everywhere. When categorizing articles, it's tiresome to guess which spelling a specific category uses. Standardization to the most common spelling is the best solution. -Zanhe (talk) 23:18, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - WP:CREEP, WP:ENGVAR and MOS:TIES are pretty clear in this regard. Unless we're going to go down the same route Wikidata have taken - treating US English and UK English as different languages, and therefore setting up a whole new Wikipedia project for one or other of them, then let's continue to be inclusive and stick to the existing guidelines. WaggersTALK 11:43, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use Z because category names need to be predictable and standardized to serve some of their controlled-vocabulary purposes, and thus should be considered all part of a single document for the purposes of ENGVAR. EllenCT (talk) 07:48, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I'm a non-native speaker and use both. I personally don't care either way, nor see the need to standardize/standardise. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 07:50, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use z, in deference to the wishes of England's future monarch.[10] Thincat (talk) 08:07, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Do not standardise WP:CREEP, WP:ENGVAR and MOS:TIES, as cited by others, are convincing and clear. We shouldn't be forcing editors to use what are considered clear misspellings in some countries. If we were to standardise then it should be to international English but I wouldn't support that as that would be considered incorrect in the US. --AussieLegend () 10:05, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose I though we had WP:ENGVAR and MOS:TIES precisely to prevent this kind of direspect to linguistic norms in other countries. It is "organisation" in Australian English. Kerry (talk) 10:21, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Do not standardise per WP:ENGVAR. Or if you really must pick one, use 's'. ;-) Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 11:20, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • "The Manual of Style (MoS or MOS) is the style manual for all English Wikipedia articles." Categories are not articles. Oculi (talk) 11:26, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • @Oculi: "The English Wikipedia prefers no national variety of the language over any other." I don't see a need to distinguish between categories and articles here. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 15:53, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - use "s" or "z" according to the relevant variety of English. Aoziwe (talk) 13:48, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use Z - As we are talking about categories - a Wikipedia-based navigation structure - we should simply use the spelling most often used in English as a whole. MOS:ENGVAR is an article prose guideline - it does not strictly apply to categories of Wikipedia origin. As has been pointed out, some countries use "s" predominantly, but its often inconsistent and seems to be on a decline. In fact, Google Ngrams limited to "British English" only shows a "z" dominance. The key, though, is that "z" is recognizable by almost everyone. This is a default, and exceptions may be allowed for categories with strong WP:TIES, but editors would need to demonstrate with strong evidence "S" is dominant for that category's topic area. To accomplish that, I would say we hold at least 3 sub-RFCs after this one to determine specifically the S/Z question for UK-, Australia-, and NZ-related categories - perhaps held on their respective WikiProjects. Evidence, not anecdotes must be presented. -- Netoholic @ 14:35, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Do not standardise per WP:CREEP, WP:ENGVAR and MOS:TIES. Number 57 19:08, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use S - This is English Wikipedia and we should be using the standard spelling in England/Britain. Z is American, and since the British have colonised almost every country in the world, we should be using the Queen's English, not American English, unless the organisation in question spells its name with a Z. To use the American spelling here would be pushing for the American spelling rather than traditional British spelling. Despite their super power status, America did not colonised the world, and most English speaking countries especially in Africa use British spelling, not American spelling. E.g. colonised (and not colonized), organised (not organized), organisation (not organization), capitalised (not capitalized), etc. The English language came from England, not America. So let's use the traditional spelling in England. Failing that, let's not standardised but leave it up to individual editors.Tamsier (talk) 20:29, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose – use "s" or "z" as per relevant ties in the subject area. Cavalryman V31 (talk) 20:42, 18 April 2019 (UTC).
  • Oppose -- No change Roger 8 Roger (talk) 21:10, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose -- I'm not persuaded that we need a one-off micro-exception to ENGVAR just for categories. Though ENGVAR has its rough edges, it has kept relative peace for more than a decade. Keeping category names tidy doesn't seem like enough benefit. --Trovatore (talk) 21:21, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Weak support for stanardizing but don't care if it's s or z. Can we start making deals? Maybe America agrees to concede ou/o (colour) and ll/l (travelled) in exchange for s/z? Or we could hold an ENGVAR draft! :) — Rhododendrites talk \\ 21:40, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose as written: Lets not be confrontational about something that has been pretty well settled for at least a decade, if not longer. There is little to be gained by this proposal. Can't ReDirects from one spelling to another be set up rather than, as one person above alluded to, setting up two separate language wikis? I'm American, by the way, and I cannot support, per WP:ENGVAR and MOS:TIES. Think about it. GenQuest "Talk to Me" 21:43, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • comment unlike a spelling like 'color', the use of '~ize' is a regional affectation. A support vote suggested it would be "fun" to do this, the enjoyment being the reaction I assume; unnecessary, overtly divisive and disruptive 'fun'. cygnis insignis 01:13, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Standerdise It was the comment above that made me think to go look. We have Category:Colour and Category:Organisations both are soft redirects to Category:Color and Category:Organizations. Pick one. What does it matter which one? CambridgeBayWeather, Uqaqtuq (talk), Sunasuttuq 02:00, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Do not standardise per MOS:ENGVAR. Daveosaurus (talk) 02:40, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Do not standardise per MOS:ENGVAR, except within regional contexts. Bermicourt (talk) 07:47, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose standardis/zation, it's incorrect to say category names are inconsistent, simply on the basis they differ from the American spelling. As per most things on Wikipedia, WP:COMMONNAME should apply. If the categories are related to countries where 's' is normally preferred to 'z', then why is "organisations" not perfectly acceptable? The important thing is the category 'tree' and being able to find the correct category as easy as possible. Sionk (talk) 10:07, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Don't standardize. It's the thin end of the wedge. Deb (talk) 15:22, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  • No need to standardize - ENGVAR can guide us when there is a strong national tie to the categorization... and where there is not, I see no need for over-consistency ... No one will be confused if a category using “ise” contain a sub-category using “ize” and vice-versa. Readers will still be able to navigate between related categories and articles. Blueboar (talk) 16:30, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose – We should not be giving preference to any particular variety of English. ENGVAR is a long-standing agreement, and the precedent established by overruling that here would be a bad one. – bradv🍁 16:42, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose last tim ei check this was the English language Wikipedia, not the US Spelling English language Wikipedia, or for that the English spelling English Wikipedia. As so many before have link ENGVAR says acceptable to either spelling, this action stikes me that it ahs a a lot similarities to things like Infoboxes & Templates which have already altered a person understanding of a topic. Why would we as the English language Encyclopaedia want to destroy what is a beautiful language that accept variations in all its glory, whether its an s or z it doesnt matter each have their origins in difference that make English such a wonderful language where we can use the same spelling to describe so many different things in different ways, where every place adopts words from where it is.... To stay ture to being an English language Wikipedia then our priority should be to ensure the regardless of the variants in spelling or meaning we should embrace its usage to reflect its diversity. Until there is a body like that in France which defines every french word, its usage and spelling then value our differences as they are, there enough other work around here to be done that has real benefit. Gnangarra 07:36, 20 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Z is not American usage. Its the original British usage. MOS:ENGVAR is very unhelpful when it comes to categories, because if people use Twinkle, as many do, it creates two seperate lists of categories. Nobody is suggesting changing the spelling of the names of articles. What we have at present is a system which standardises categories withing a country, but messes it up when it comes to the other heirarchies of categories. Rathfelder (talk) 09:59, 21 April 2019 (UTC)
  • prefer Z OED recorded -ize way earlier than -ise. I don't like etymology interfere with orthography, it just wreaks havoc. -- K (T | C) 13:52, 21 April 2019 (UTC)
  • No. Category police should not be making ise/ize decisions. Instead, categories should always reflect and defer to decisions made at the parent articles. Top level categories should always have a parent article. Categories exist to serve article navigation, little more. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 02:37, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Solution in search of a problem. Stifle (talk) 09:01, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
I don’t see any problem ... the Czech articles are categorized with “z” and the Slovak articles are categorized with “s”. Simple enough. different categories, different spellings. Blueboar (talk) 20:40, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose /Do not standardise - I asked for the debate to re-opened. A lot of groups use the -s spelling. There is no need to standardise, just use common sense. - Master Of Ninja (talk) 09:09, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Do not standardise: while the primary usage in Britain may be up for debate, that's not the case in Australia (admittedly I don't have access to an authoritative Australian style guide, but other Australian Wikipedians seem to agree, and I've found several sources that imply "-ise" is common in Australia (e.g. It’s time to recognize and internalize the US suffix ‘ize’) and a couple of style guides (e.g. National Museum of Australia)). The nomination mentions several unresolved disputes, regarding ise v. ize in various forms of English, that affect the application of MOS:TIES; the solution is to resolve those disputes, not this attempt to impose a standard contrary to ENGVAR. EDIT: I've just noticed Frickeg has been kind enough to quote the Macquarie Dictionary, which says "Current Australian usage clearly favours consistent use of -ise". – Teratix 13:51, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Just a note, I would support a version where all categories are standardised as "z" unless they are related to a country that primarily uses "s" (MOS:COMMONALITY trumping MOS:RETAIN). – Teratix 12:56, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Do not standardise Write some software so that it doesn't matter. Charlesjsharp (talk) 19:56, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose Although the goal of standardisation (nudge nudge wink wink) is a noble one, as others have said, ENGVAR exists for a reason. Here are some RS to illustrate the dominance of "-ise" in Australian English:
The Conversation article quoted above by Teratix [11]: Craving the firm foundations of the establishment, Australians have standardised ise as the correct national form. Proselytising for ize is to no avail. Text editing changes ize to ise by default.
In the Australian Journal of Linguistics in 2014 [12]: The Australian English references (columns 3–6) show complete unanimity on -ise across three decades... the consistency of the Australian references contrasts with the ultimately uncommitted treatment in the British set. Further, Looking first at the Australian frequency data in columns 2 and 3 of Table 2, we see the -ise spellings well in the majority from the 1980s on, based on the uninflected forms of the three verbs; and close to or over 90% when the -ed forms are added...
In the AJL in 2010 [13]: English in Australia starts with a clear majority of <ize> and moves to an even more pronounced majority of <ise>.
I hope that goes some way to providing the evidence being requested in this discussion.
Triptothecottage (talk) 04:15, 24 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I dont see a big problem in leaving S in the categorisations for Australia and New Zealand if it will let us standardize the rest of the world. But nobody is suggesting that any actual articles should be changed. The different spelling wastes a great deal of editors time. Rathfelder (talk) 13:26, 25 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Once this change is made, the next suggestion will be changing the articles as well. My view is that "-ise" is used in more countries so perhaps go with that. This does seem like debating trivialities. Someone did mention developing a system that would translate between "-ise" and "-ize"? - Master Of Ninja (talk) 18:42, 25 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Don't standardise Per WP:ENGVAR. I have to go back and forth between -ise and -ize in the work I do based on the client, and it doesn't make sense to mandate the usage of a different form of English in areas that clearly use one form or another. I would say that in the event of a conflict, -ize should win out, though. Also, thank you to the person who reopened this discussion. SportingFlyer T·C 05:33, 26 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Our present policy builds in a conflict between consistency by country and consistency by topic. Rathfelder (talk) 11:44, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I like the idea of a Preference setting--show everything not in quotation marks in US spelling or UK spelling. How does he Chinese WP decide which form of characer to display? Isn't that a user option? DGG ( talk ) 00:46, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
    • Is this a possibility? If the Chinese WP has this, could the feature be ported over and solve this issue? - Master Of Ninja (talk) 16:53, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
      • zhwiki uses ugly wikitext to specify alternate names that a reader might see, depending on their preferences (that link goes to zhwiki where the "Content language variant" preference can be seen). For example, "-{zh:米;zh-cn:米;zh-tw:公尺;zh-hk:米;}-" is the wikitext for the name of the m (meter/metre) unit. The feature is interesting but far too intrusive for use here. Johnuniq (talk) 23:02, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
  • This is a tempest in a teapot - This discussion is using a blatantly disproportionate amount of resources compared to the scope of the dispute. It should be ended in whatever way, in the closers best judgement, kills and buries this issue in the most permanent manner possible. In particular, oppose any no consensus or wishy-washy resolution, make a decision that ends this, and stick to it. Tazerdadog (talk) 00:20, 30 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Do not standardize per ENGVAR. My second choice would be something similar to what SMcCandlish proposes above: default to "z" unless there are significant MOS:TIES to a country where "s" is preferred. Wugapodes [thɑk] [ˈkan.ˌʧɹɪbz] 02:34, 30 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I would agree on that as well, if standardization is beyond reach. Many editors in this discussion seem not to realize that this is not primarily about what to use for Australia or the United Kingdom, but most and for all what to use for China, Thailand, Iran, Turkey, Russia, Spain, Senegal, Angola etc etc Marcocapelle (talk) 07:01, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
  • When a blanket change is created it impacts other uses. It would be better to just change those categories rather than change a policy where it has impact it to usages that are otherwise correct. One size doesnt fit all. Gnangarra 07:29, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
  • This is a pointless discussion if I ever see one. feminist (talk) 11:09, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
  • I dont think some of these contributors do much categorization. They dont know how much editots time and effort is wasted because of the lack of standardisation. Rathfelder (talk) 07:44, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Note Votestacking. This RFC has been subjected to blatant WP:VOTESTACKING (or more precisely Votebanking) by @Number 57. In these 12 edits[14] on 17/18 April, Number 57 notified 12 WikiProjects which have clearly been selected as likely to attract editors who prefer the "S" spelling.
The votestacking has worked; it clearly did produce the desired influx of editors who support Number 57's view.
It is surprising and very disappointing to see a long-standing and experienced admin engaging in such a clear attempt to rig the discussion. Note that for example Number 57's list of counry projects notified [15] didn't even notify the two major English-speaking countries in North America, i.e. Canada and the USA — clearly because they prefer the Z spelling
I hope that Number 57 will apologise for this, and make some amends by promptly notifying every country WikiProject ... and that this RFC's clock will be reset from the date when #57 confirms that the notifications have all been made. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 14:49, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
Notifying the WikiProjects of countries that use the "s" spelling is a perfectly reasonable thing to do when there's a proposal to stop using their preferred spelling across the whole of Wikipedia, and it's not something I'll be apologising for. Cheers, Number 57 14:56, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
@Number 57, you know perfectly well that this is not a proposal to stop using their preferred spelling across the whole of Wikipedia, because it applies only to a limited set of categories, and not to any other pages.
As an admin for 12 years, you also know perfectly well that this sort of votebanking is a very basic form of disrupting consensus formation.
So I repeat: please promptly remedy your votestacking by posting the same message to all country pages. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 15:04, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
I disagree with both of your assertions, and I won't be posting the message to WikiProjects of countries to which the spelling doesn't really matter. Number 57 15:08, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
@Number 57: The RFC very clearly applies only to categories, so your decision to "disagree" with that fact is a simple misrepresentation of a simple reality.
The policy on votestacking is also very clear, and it seems that you "disagree" with that too.
Since you seem unwilling to engage with these realities, I will sadly have to raise this highly disruptive misconduct elsewhere. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 15:14, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
It is clear canvassing. You cherry-picked the WikiProjects which would increase your POV vote tally. --qedk (t c) 06:11, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
I can appreciate 57's point of view here (disclosure: I participated in this discussion after viewing one of his notices). He was notifying projects which he thought would be most affected by this proposal. Example: the United States WikiProject won't be affected by this discussion, because the US usage is "z" and all US-related categories probably already use it. In contrast, the Australia WikiProject will definitely be affected because the Australian usage is "s" and so Australia-related categories would be changed as a result of this discussion.
It is important to understand the intent here. The term votestacking implies a bad-faith intent, which was not the case.
An easy solution is to notify any projects deemed relevant that weren't alerted initially. There is no need to escalate the matter. – Teratix 08:26, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
The current usage is mixed, which is what we are seeking to standardize, if you think this is not canvassing, you should read over WP:CANVASSING again. The policies are clear and the malintent/intent is secondary to the canvassing that took place. If Number 57 will inform WikiProjects which are inclined towards 'z' usage as BHG said, that would be construed as informing, this is just blatant. --qedk (t c) 08:52, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
From Wikipedia:Canvassing: "Canvassing is notification done with the intention of influencing the outcome of a discussion in a particular way". Intent is essential for an action to constitute canvassing. 57 has outlined his reasons for not informing other countries' noticeboards. This was not done with malicious intent.
Again, a simple remedy is to notify any other projects deemed relevant. It doesn't have to be 57, anyone can do it. – Teratix 09:02, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
Please read the entire page, i.e. WP:VOTESTACKING as well. Intent only matters upto the point it can be construed to be a mistake. If I wanted to change all references on Wikipedia from PRC to China and I informed only PRC-related WikiProjects, that is canvassing, my intent is irrelevant. The onus is on Number 57 to make this a non-partisan notification, not me, or anyone. --qedk (t c) 14:20, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
I too appreciate 57's position, they notified those they deemed to be directly affected by this proposal. Cavalryman V31 (talk) 00:25, 9 May 2019 (UTC).
From WP:VOTESTACKING: "Votestacking is an attempt to sway consensus ...". Again, intent is central. Qedk's example of PRC and China misses the mark here; for a start there is no separate PRC WikiProject (it redirects to WikiProject China). Secondly, it makes sense when changing all references to a country to inform all WikiProjects related to a country; both WP China and the hypothetical WP PRC are involved, as articles related to them would be affected. This is not the case here. US-related (and others that use "z") categories won't be affected by this discussion, as the primary usage in the US is already "z" and thus categories will already use "z". This proposal is only looking at extending the "z" usage to other countries's related categories.
@QEDK: I never said the onus was on you to notify other projects, merely that if you felt concerned, the option was available. – Teratix 01:09, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
@Teratix, the majority of countries are not English-speaking. Some of them have a consistent usage, and some do not. Those which have been standardised on one spelling have been chosen on a range of ad-hoc bases as set out in the nomination.
Those countries will be affected by the outcome. Their WikiProjects have as much right to be notified as any other. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 01:50, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
  • If these notifications had been done in good faith, they would have been done transparently, i.e. with a disclosure here of which projects were notified and why. @Number 57 is a very experienced admin, and knows well how to ensure that the neutrality of notifications can be scrutinised. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 16:17, 11 May 2019 (UTC)
It is possible to assume bad faith on both sides of this proposal. For instance it could be argued that if standardisation truely is the goal, then this RFC would have been to adopt common spelling, not “only Z”, with the spelling to be determined by a separate (or a preferential) poll.
Because of the way this RFC has been worded, 57’s actions are warranted. Cavalryman V31 (talk) 06:03, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
The solution is to identify and notify any relevant WikiProjects that haven't been already. 57 notified the WikiProjects that would most obviously be affected – countries that use the "s" spelling. – Teratix 06:09, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
  • I'm amazed this discussion is still active, seeing that I asked for it to be re-opened. I had no idea WP:VOTESTACKING and WP:CREEP were concepts. I actually felt that the original discussion was a potential "vote stacked" effort to push through presumed consensus, and it's nice to have had a wider discussion about this policy. I re-iterate one of the problems was that once you made the change to categories, which some claim is trivial, it would eventually migrate as a policy to most wikipedia pages. What's the ideal solution? No, idea. However as my previous vote above would suggest that there is no policy on -ise or -ize. - Master Of Ninja (talk) 08:10, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
    • @Master Of Ninja, it is utterly bizarre to suggest that the original discussion was a potential "vote stacked" effort. The proposal was made a central venue, and listed[16] at WP:CENT.
Please either identify in what way WP:VOTESTACKING was "potentially" breached, or withdraw that allegation. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 14:09, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
      • @BrownHairedGirl - I think what I had written was perceived in a way that I did not intend, and I am not making any allegations at all. As I mentioned I am not familiar with WP:VOTESTACKING apart from having went through the link, and the accusations made against another editor on the above thread. My feeling that such a change did not go to a wide enough forum, seeing that after re-opening the discussion there has been much more activity on this thread. - Master Of Ninja (talk) 10:50, 13 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment- I was going to close this mess, but after a few hours of sifting through the discussion, and poring over the policy, I just decided that I didn't want to close this. I think it's fair to say I am fairly well-versed in category, naming convention, and cavassing policies on Wikipedia. But after I started to write up what was turning into a lengthy close, and with my sincere apologies, I just was having a hard time bringing myself to care enough to continue on, so I decided that I'd rather let someone else step in and close this if they want. Here are a few things I found, in case it should help whoever closes this: a.) To start with, clearly there was inappropriate canvassing done. The Wikiprojects notified were all regional ones. And were clearly a small subset of all regions potentially affected by this discussion (the whole English-speaking world). And what about Wikipedia:WikiProject Linguistics? Please see WP:CANVASS for more information on how to appropriately canvass. b.) Much of the discussion is subjective "I prefer z" or "I prefer s", rather than policy references or reliable sources. After sifting through policy (like ENGVAR and COMMONALITY), it seems that this is what is apparently being relied on, for referenced usage, in policy. As forWP:RETAIN,it would seem to not apply to this discussion because, as it states: "When an English variety's consistent usage has been established in an article, maintain it in the absence of consensus to the contrary." - This discussion is about a page's name, not the contents of the "body" of it. And finally, International Organization for Standardization - this page's title struck me funny in light of this discussion. Happy editing : ) - jc37 09:05, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
  • It is not true that all English-speaking nations will be affected by this discussion. For example: United States-related categories will use the "z" spelling no matter the outcome of this discussion. This is true of all countries using "z". – Teratix 07:00, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
    One of the options was "S". Levivich 03:03, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
    I suppose that's technically true, but I count one serious !vote in support which boils down to "English Wikipedia should be in British English only." No basis in policy (indeed, outright contradicting ENGVAR), not addressed in the nomination and no chance of passing this discussion. A non-issue. – Teratix 06:45, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
    Creating a straw man argument and then being dismissive of it as an option, does not change that the notification was clearly done in contravention of WP:Canvassing. Make no mistake - if such disruption were to continue, any uninvolved admin, may choose to take preventative action, which could include blocking. I would rather to not see that happen. - jc37 23:13, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
    @Jc37: Please explain what about my reasoning constitutes a straw man argument. You have claimed there was inappropriate canvassing; your justification was The Wikiprojects notified were all regional ones. And were clearly a small subset of all regions potentially affected by this discussion (the whole English-speaking world). In my reply, I have explained why this is not the case with a supporting example. Levivich has raised a valid objection (there was technically another option), so I have pored over the discussion and found virtually no-one taking it seriously. I summarised and examined the one serious !vote I observed, and found it to be completely lacking in policy-based reasoning. Then in your reply, you repeat your initial assertion and for some reason raise the possibility of a block. Why? – Teratix 00:50, 6 June 2019 (UTC)
  • @jc37 - this is why the whole rushed proposal was an utterly bad idea. You can see how much debate can be had on this, and I don't believe it's Wikipedia's role to standardise [;-)] English. - Master Of Ninja (talk) 07:53, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
  • @jc37 - Can you clarify why WP:RETAIN would not apply in the light of WP:AT, which advises that "…The rest of MoS […] applies also to the title."? Thanks. I'm just trying to better understand the blend of guidelines. ogenstein (talk) 01:30, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
    • Well, first off this discussion concerns category titles not article titles. Secondly, I went to WP:AT for find your quote to see what context might be found there, and when I did a page search for the word "applies" (among others), I did not find anything like the sentence you quoted. But to answer generally: We follow the MoS when applicable, though, when necessary, we of course may WP:IAR, or create new exceptions to the MoS, as necessary, as well. Which I believe is the intent of this proposal, and what you all appear to be discussing the merits of. - jc37 23:13, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Do not standardise this is not the American Wikipedia, it is a project for all English speakers. This is why not every article is written in US English. ENGVAR is very clear on this, and many countries use the s, and they should be allowed to continue to do so. Joseph2302 (talk) 10:58, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
  • The idea that spelling with a z is American usage is a very widespread delusion. Please read American and British English spelling differences. Rathfelder (talk) 09:55, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
  • It's easy to say use British for UK/Commonwealth and US otherwise but what about the rest of the world? TBH I do think things should be standardiz/sed but how, eh? Maybe British for Europe and American for the rest of the world. --Hanyangprofessor2 (talk) 08:50, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "z" per Phil Bridger. In my estimation, that encapsulates the argument. CThomas3 (talk) 00:36, 1 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment So you want to force uniformity and tromp on one 'side' or the other, but "hard redirects are too hard"? Precluding a technical solution while preferring a politiciṡ̃ƶed solution seems to incline towards bias rather than away from it. "Or what's a wiki for?" Shenme (talk) 14:18, 1 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment - British spelling isn't so much a mode of spelling as it is a set of stylizations which make it different from the American or Irish English. This small set of stylizations can be listed and evaluated, and each seems like they will come up short, when put to a vote (as is here). Why use s when its vocalized z? Why use ou instead of just o, per French influence (is everything French the ideal form?). -ApexUnderground (talk) 06:48, 16 June 2019 (UTC)
So you believe everything should be spelt phonetically? Cavalryman V31 (talk) 07:14, 16 June 2019 (UTC).
The problem always is on which accent should you base the phonetics? Template:@ApexUnderground is that not the wrong way around? The major differences between English and American English spelling came about by Webster's concious decision. As regards s/z and or/our there are subtle differences in pronunciation. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 12:47, 16 June 2019 (UTC)

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

Post closure discussion[edit]

Compassionate727 made this post at WP:ANRFC:

re Cinderella157 Having read your summary, I find myself unsure what your finding is. What does "embrace our differences in a more formal way" even mean? And is your closing rationale an actual finding of consensus, or your opinion as to what editors seemed to lean toward supporting most, but will require another RfC to action? Please clarify both of these things.

As this has been archived there, I will respond here. Please note a copy edit to my close. As QEDK observed at WP:ANRFC, there is [alleged] VOTESTACKING and multiple proposals. The former is, itself, reason to find "no consensus" as opposed to "consensus against". There are many !VOTES each way and some alternative proposals that take a middle ground (but without sufficiently clear support). There are arguements of MOS:COMMONALITY etc on the one hand and ENGVAR and RETAIN on the other. COMMONALITY does not appear to say what the title might imply.

BHG has Identified a problem, provided an appreciation of the issues and proposed a solution - to standardise on a particular spelling. Part of their appreciation is that ENGVAR and RETAIN do not explicitly apply to categories. Where they do explicitly apply (to articles and titles), they are the solution - if not a perfect solution. The general leaning is to embrace the difference (ENGVAR) and/or adopt a middle ground. Assuming there is a general perception that a solution is required, this would need to be formalised, that ENGVAR and RETAIN be broadly construed and applicable to categories; or, a middle-ground proposal achieving consensus would also need to be formalised. So yes, if there is a will to proceed, this will probably require a further RfC. Regards, Cinderella157 (talk) 00:42, 21 June 2019 (UTC)

  • @Cinderella157: just to clarify, do you believe there was indeed canvassing (i.e. do the allegations have any substance?) – Teratix 01:03, 21 June 2019 (UTC)
    • I did not attempt to make a determination about the "substance" of the allegations - not my remit. Regards, Cinderella157 (talk) 08:15, 21 June 2019 (UTC)
      • @Cinderella157: why, then, did you cite them in your closing statement as a possible reason for finding no consensus? Did they affect your decision or not? If not, why mention them at all? – Teratix 08:50, 21 June 2019 (UTC)
        • I concluded the allegations would "taint" any close. Your persistance on this point only serves to affirm my conclusion. Cinderella157 (talk) 10:36, 21 June 2019 (UTC)
  • I will support the summary that the best decision is having consensus that there is no consensus. I have no idea how this issue/non-issue can be sorted out - except saying that User:Cinderella157's thoughts that we should embrace ENGVAR are probably the right thing to do for now. Otherwise we will just get bogged down in this discussion for months. - Master Of Ninja (talk) 07:05, 21 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Perhaps we could consider for each country whether there is clear evidence of local usage? I'm not convinced that membership of the Commonwealth has much influence on spelling, and it seems strange to impose ENGVAR in places where English is not a local language. Rathfelder (talk) 14:23, 21 June 2019 (UTC)

Please STOP - the discussion has been closed. Give it a rest. Blueboar (talk) 15:08, 21 June 2019 (UTC)

Cinderella157 when I started closing RFCs, I set a pair of goals for myself. In my opinion crucial criteria for the job are (1) being willing and able to close against one's own preference on an issue, and (2) knowing when to close against a majority and being willing and able to do so. My most memorable close was a 20 vs 10 discussion, where I issued a firm close for the minority. I mention this because 17 of the majority-20 were blatantly Canvassed to the discussion. I gave the canvassed votes all the weight they warranted - NONE. After discarding the 17 fabricated votes it was actually a 10 vs 3 discussion. Unsurprisingly the 10 had the right answer.

  • This RFC was running about 75% support before it was massively canvassed. As a closer your "remit" is to serve the community, by putting the close on this that the community as a whole would want you to put, to the best of your ability. If I create 100 accounts and cast 100 votes on an RFC, those votes are obviously not any reflection of community consensus. If I canvass 100 votes from others onto an RFC, those votes are equally not any sort of reflection of community consensus. You acknowledge above that you made no effort whatsoever to account for canvassing. You didn't attempt to assess the consensus of the community. I believe this is grounds to overturn the close. I request that you withdraw the close yourself.
  • Your given rationale for the close was that you set aside any numbers, and that you closed based on the weight of arguments. While that can be a valid basis for a close, it's hollow here. A primary argument of supporters is that chaotic category names disruptively hinders the work of editors. Your closing rationale is that disruption of work is is irrelevant against the all-overriding-weight-of-argument.... to embrace our differences. I literally had to do a confused double-take trying to figure out what your rationale even meant. All I see is "empty fluffy supervote". If your going to make the core of your close an overriding weight-of-argument then you need to cite something credibly respectable. The hollow rationale here is either grounds for overturning the close, or more support for the case.
  • I was disappointed but not surprised when I skimmed your usertalk. Not only did you conveniently close in favor of your personal spelling preference, it borders on statistical anomaly that this RFC would randomly be closed by someone who prefers 's' to the unusual degree that you do. You use 's' on everything, including "winterised". According to Google "winterised" is a borderline-fringe 6.8% usage. "Winterized" comes up at 93.2%. While it may well be a coincidence that you personally lean so far towards 's', it hardly gives confidence that your disregard of canvassing and the substance-free rationale are an unbiased assessment. To put a positive spin on it, maybe you just didn't notice how far out of sync your use of 's' is with the rest of the planet.

P.S. I've never been involved in this issue other than responding to the RFC. However I do care about respectable closes. Alsee (talk) 15:42, 21 June 2019 (UTC)

  • Commentary that considers consensus in terms of votes and percentages and weight in binary terms is fundamentally at odds with the WP concept of consensus - WP:NOTDEMOCRACY.
  • If the allegations of VOTESTACKING are presumed, would it rally be possible to objectively disentangle the result and without an hue and cry ensuing? I could not see a sound objective basis.
  • Casting aspersions of bias is unbecoming. Statistics should be (IMO) used with caution to define or resolve a social issue. "Winteris[z]ed" is not the subject of this discussion. The comments made have the appearance to me of polemic ad hominem. "Vilifying groups of editors" for following different spelling conventions does not foster collaboration and respect.
  • Your closing rationale is that disruption of work is is irrelevant against ... This is a gross misrepresentation. As such, it is both uncivil and a strawman arguement. Please do not misconstrue my circumspection for other than what it is.
  • If the problem requires resolution, move forward to a result that will achieve broad support of the community. A strong consensus has bipartisan support that everybody can live with. Unilateral decisions are generally weak.
Cinderella157 (talk) 04:28, 22 June 2019 (UTC)

Close contested by Alsee at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard#Close review - Village Pump discussion on spelling of category names. Cinderella157 (talk) 00:11, 27 June 2019 (UTC)

  • Did we come to a consensus (or a consensus to not agree) on this topic? I note the above contested close? Master Of Ninja (talk) 11:41, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Actually I note that further discussion on this topic is now being done at this page posted above by Cinderella157. It sounds like everyone there is also agreeing to disagree, and no-one can come up with a good summary of the outcome of the discussion. Master Of Ninja (talk) 05:53, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Haha, I had noticed the the post-post closure discussion had moved there, with everyone just rehashing their discussion and post closure discussion POVs on the RfC.
The truth is no one wanted to make a determination for over a month, then when someone bravely did (and unsurprisingly determined no consensus) they were attacked for having the courage to make a close.
As for Alsee,s arguments for overturning the close, they boil down to:
  • Cinderella didn’t vote count after discounting a number of !votes
  • Cinderella is Australian and so could never make in impartial decision
Anyhoo, we will wait and see. Cavalryman V31 (talk) 09:25, 10 July 2019 (UTC).

Portal Guidelines[edit]

There are two discussions going on below that sprang out from this section. Comments should be made there so that discussion doesn't get split up. Wug·a·po·des​ 05:17, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Some of you may be aware that there is discussion in progress about the status of the Portal Guidelines. The current guidelines, or something similar, have at least appeared to be in effect since 2006. However, as User:SmokeyJoe has observed at the portal guideline talk page, they were never approved. They have been used as if they were approved portal guidelines for more than a decade, and so an argument can be made that they have been grandfathered into place. However, about two months ago, some of the advocates of portals proposed that the guidelines be suspended, or at least that some provisions of the guidelines be suspended, because they were ”weaponizing” portal deletion. The key sentence in the guideline (or proposed guideline, or failed guideline, or whatever) says that portals should be about broad subject areas that will attract readers and portal maintainers. Portal advocates have traditionally claimed that particular subjects, such as countries, or states of countries, or popular TV shows or performers, are broad subject areas, but more recently other editors have been using quantitative techniques to argue that some portals are not satisfying that criterion, because they are not attracting readers and maintainers. Okay. So we now don’t know whether we have any real portal guidelines.

I think that a Request for Comments with centralized discussion is needed to establish or re-establish accepted portal guidelines. I will be discussing here unless I am advised that there is a better venue for the discussion.

I propose that the community be asked to choose between perhaps three or four alternate portal guidelines. The first is simply to re-affirm the existing guidelines. At least one editor has proposed downgrading or archiving all portals except those linked from the Main Page. It appears that there is significant disagreement on regional portals. Some editors think that portals should be standard for countries and for first-level national subdivisions (states or provinces). I would like to identify two or three alternative sets of portal guidelines within the next week and start a Request for Comments that will run for 30 days and be binding on the community. This will not necessarily change the rate at which portals are being nominated for deletion, but a consensus establishing portal guidelines in 2019 should rationalize what is now a chaotic process.


Proposals for alternate portal guidelines?

Robert McClenon (talk) 03:58, 6 July 2019 (UTC)

In 2018 there were about 1500 portals. WP:ENDPORTALS, whilst it did not exempt every single portal from deletion, found a strong consensus against deleting or even deprecating portals at this time. Many more portals were created, many on narrow topics and containing errors, but almost all of those were soon deleted and need no longer figure in our deliberations. The deletion process then turned to existing portals. Although the rate has slowed, we are now down to 919 portals and losing about eight more each day. WikiProject Portals is dominated by editors who !voted to remove the entire namespace, a situation which one commentator likened to a Republican running a Democrats' conference. Their proposals include reducing the number of portals to eight, and unlinking all portals to make them orphan pages. I agree that it is time to seek the community's views on these developments. Certes (talk) 07:54, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
It is quite extraordinary that after all this time, Certes and a few other editors continue to wilfully misrepresent the WP:ENDPORTALS RFC.
The decision there was very simple. Editors were asked a single crude binary question: whether they supported the immediate deletion of all portals. The answer was was no: do not delete all portals now.
That in no way amounts to a consensus to keep all or even most portals. It was simply a rejection of compete and indiscriminate abolition. It does not preclude a case-by-examination of portals, even if the outcome of that case-by-case review was to reduce the total to zero. (Note: I would oppose zero. I just not that it is not precluded by ENDPORTALS).
This is such a basic matter of logic that I believe that editors like Certes who keep trotting it out are either
  1. being deeply and brazenly and repeatedly dishonest, or
  2. have spectacularly poor comprehension abilities.
Either way, it's long past time for them to stop wasting the community's time with this utter nonsense.
As the Certes's moan that WikiProject Portals is dominated by editors who !voted to remove the entire namespace, lord help us. If there is any policy anywhere that only editors with a particular point of view are allowed to participate in a WikiProject, then please identify it. It would be a new one to me, so I'd welcome the revelation. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 16:54, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
It is not my intention to moan, nor to wilfully misrepresent. I admit that WP:ENDPORTALS did not explicitly rule out deleting 99.4% of portals; nor did it rule out removing incoming links to hide them from readers. However, I hope most editors will agree that such actions would not be in the spirit of last year's consensus. As for wikiprojects, I cannot think of another whose participants are there mainly to delete the pages in their custody. For example, WP:WikiProject Donald Trump should welcome pro- and anti-Trump editors, but not those who seek to minimise Wikipedia's coverage of Trump. Certes (talk)
  • [ec] Portal guidelines must reflect the purpose of portals, which is currently poorly defined and open to conflicting interpretations, which are the cause of most of the drama. If we (the community) had a common understanding of what portals are for, we could work together to describe how to do it. That common understanding does not exist. Creating portal guidelines should follow deciding on a useful and clearly delineated function for portals. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 08:06, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment – Extensive ongoing discussion has been occurring at Wikipedia talk:Portal/Guidelines regarding the Portal guidelines. In my view, opinions and views there should also be fully considered. North America1000 13:16, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
Thank you, Peter Southwood. I agree that a discussion of the purpose of portals is appropriate. I am trying to get that discussion in progress. As Northamerica1000 says, there is discussion going on at the portal guideline talk page, although it isn't productive. If there is agreement that the discussion should take place there, I am fine with that, but it should get to the purpose and objectives of portals rather than just restating the same complaints, and should focus on developing an RFC with a few options for portal guidelines to reflect some idea of the purpose and rationale for portals. Robert McClenon (talk) 15:17, 6 July 2019 (UTC)

I think that Robert McClenon raises some important issues, but misses the fundamental question posed by Peter Southwood: what is the purpose of portals?

So far as I can see, the main purpose of portals has for years been very simple: to entertain the small group of editors who like making portals.

Nearly all of the existing portals are shunned by readers: see the viewing figures for the month of June 2019, when only 51 out of 904 portals averaged 100 or more pageviews per day. A further 94 portals received between 50 and 99 daily views. The remaining 759 portals received less than 50 views per day. In nearly every case, the head article for the topic received between 100 times as many views to 2000 times as many views a the portal.

The lesson is clear: the vast majority of portals serve no significant purpose for readers. Discussion at WT:WPPORT has for years been focused on the supply-side: how to create portals, how maintain them, and how to oppose deletion. These discussions almost entirely omit the very simple fact that readers do not use them.

This has been reflected at MFD, where objections to deletion overwhelmingly come from the editors who create or edit portals, rather than from editors who have identified a use for them. I have almost never seen any such discussion joined by an IP who says something like "hey, I'm a reader and I use this portal".

The dominant model of portal in current used consists of sets of content-forked subpages, with one item from each set displayed at any one time. Alternatives are available only through the unbelievably crude mechanism of purging the page.

This model of portal is absurd, in multiple ways:

  1. These forked subpages are nearly always unreferenced, contrary to WP:V.
  2. The content forks are mostly unmaintained. I have encountered many sets of them which have not been touched for over ten years, so they will a'most always represent an outdated view of the topic.
  3. These content forks are largely unwatched, do they are a vector for vandalism. I have encountered several cases where these subpages have been edited to display wholly irrelevant topics; they could just as easily be used as attack vectors.
  4. It offers readers no overview of the list of topics available. Either take what you are given, or do a lucky dip. Rinse and repeat without even any indication of how many pages are included in the cycle.

Two newish features of the Wikimedia software means that the article and navboxes offers all the functionality which portals like this set out to offer. Both features are available only to ordinary readers who are not logged in, but you can test them without logging out by right-clicking on a link, and the select "open in private window" (in Firefox) or "open in incognito window" (Chrome).

  1. mouseover: on any link, mouseover shows you the picture and the start of the lead. So the preview-selected page-function of portals is redundant: something almost as good is available automatically on any navbox or other set of links. Try it by right-clicking on this link to Template:Mumbai topics, open in a private/incognito tab, and mouseover any link.
  2. automatic imagery galleries: clicking on an image brings up an image gallery of all the images on that page. It's full-screen, so it's actually much better than a click-for-next image gallery on a portal. Try it by right-clicking on this link to the article Mumbai, open in a private/incognito tab, and click on any image to start the slideshow

Similar features have been available since 2015 to users of Wikipedia's Android app.

Those new technologies set a high bar for any portal which actually tries to add value for the reader.

So far, the only one of the portal fans who has even tried to address the issues raised by these technical developments is @Bermicourt, who has been adapting from portals such as Portal:Mecklenburg-Vorpommern which use a "mega-navbox" style. But most of the other portal fans are still busy creating content-forks and/or subpage farms, most of which are unread.

So looking at this stage to create guidelines is putting the cart before the horse. Guidelines are mostly about the "how" question. Before we can answer that, we need to answer the the more fundamental questions of "why"? --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 17:07, 6 July 2019 (UTC)

User:BrownHairedGirl writes:
"So far as I can see, the main purpose of portals has for years been very simple: to entertain the small group of editors who like making portals." Unfortunately, I think that is mostly correct. I said, back in April, that the portal platoon was apparently creating portals because creating portals is fun. That conclusion of mine was dismissed, with a comment that creating portals is hard work (but evidently has to be done), but BHG and others showed that the creation of automated portals takes between 3 and 10 minutes, which is consistent with it being done because creating portals is fun. Robert McClenon (talk) 19:43, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
Well, BrownHairedGirl, your initial premise to me is nonsense so not sure where do we go from there. So what if only 50 people look at something in a week or 500 read something in a year - they might well have learned something, and they are readers served. It seems like it should be a cause for celebration, if just one person say every 500 days, is inspired by knowledge or their curiosity peeked. We don't delete articles based on page views, so it makes no sense to do it with portals. Alanscottwalker (talk) 17:36, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
@Alanscottwalker, that reply makes me despair. You are making the fundamental logical error of confusing portals with articles, so no wonder you mistake the rest for nonsense. This is what is called a category error.
The content of Wikipedia is in its articles. We don't delete stub articles because that stub is all the content we have on that topic, and we hope that some day it will developed into a decent article. We don't also delete unviewed articles, because our test for including article sin notability, not how many readers view it.
Portals are not content. They are a way of showcasing and/or navigating content. If we deleted every single portal right now, we wouldn't lose a single item of Wikipedia content, because the portals are not content.
The utility of portals lies solely in how well they do that job of showcasing and/or navigating content. And we have a very clear answer from our readers: portals don't help.
Here's an example. Take the list of pageviews by partl from June 2016. It lists 954 portals, and splat in the middle of that, at #452, is Portal:Louisiana, which got a pathetic 15 pageviews per day. Now compare that with the head article Louisiana, which got 2,734 daily views. Or to put it more simple, for very view of the portal, there were 179.48 views of the head article.
That portal simply isn't fulfilling its intended purpose. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 19:31, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
That's not why I said your argument does not make sense. So, I am despairing that you should despair. It does not make sense because: 1) an article (you say, great, wonderful); 2) group of related articles, images, ideas (suddenly it's terrible). Your disdain for grouping just does not make sense. Alanscottwalker (talk) 19:37, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
@Alanscottwalker, you appear to have a serous comprehension problem. Which part of "deleting the grouping does not remove any content" do you dispute or not understand?
The content is in the articles, which therefore have intrinsic value. For presentational purposes they can be grouped in many different ways by many different technologies, and the value of each grouping is simply in whether it helps readers. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 19:48, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
I comprehend perfectly. You don't like these groupings of articles, images and ideas in portals, for reasons that make little sense. (Your question can only suggest that it is you that is having a difficult time understanding, as it has nothing to do with what I said). Alanscottwalker (talk) 20:14, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
No, @Alanscottwalker, you demonstrate zero comprehension of the difference between the content (in articles), and groupings.
This is simple and it is fundamental.
Let me give you a physical analogy. In my larder, there are about food containers of various sizes, with various characteristics. I could group arrange them in many different ways: by size, by weight, by expiry date, by use type, by price, by how much I like them, by packaging type etc. And I can abolish any or all of those groups without binning a single food container.
However, what you are arguing is that I cease to organise some of them in a group called "tinned food", that is the same as throwing all my tinned food in the bin. Which is utter nonsense; I can just rearrange these items on the shelves, or I can jumble them around.
And for the millionth time, it's not that I don't like these groupings of articles, images and ideas in portals. This is not some sort of personal aversion. I regard most of of them as deficient because they offer a risibly small and arbitrary selection of topics, presented through outdated forks of text, and made available to the reader only one at a time. You may have reasons to disagree with that, but if it doesn't make sense to your, then your comprehension skills are even more abysmal than I had thought. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 20:38, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
Your larder story is silly, as silly as your claim to saying anything "fundamental", which cannot be anything but risible given the paltry things under discussion. If you want a physical analogy, go with a shop window, but no need to smash the windows. And it is still completely a mystery why this this topic makes you so angry that you feel the need to lash out. At any rate, I now see I was right at the beginning, when I said, 'well, BrownHairedGirl, your initial premise to me is nonsense so not sure where do we go from there.' Alanscottwalker (talk) 20:47, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
@Alanscottwalker, I am here to build an encyclopedia. So I get fed up with editors who repeatedly spout falsehoods.
Wikipedia is a wonderful project, but its downside is that doesn't evict or mute people with such shockingly and persistently low comprehension skills that they not only can they not distinguish the fundamental difference between an an article and a device for navigating or showcasing articles, but that they repeatedly shout nonsnese when the distinction is pointed out to them.
An encyclopedia needs to be built by adults with above-average adult skills of literacy, comprehension, and reasoning. There is something about portals which has a sad tendency to attract the passionate support of editors like Alan who persistently display none of those qualities. There are some lovely and intelligent editors who work on portals, but when it comes to portals, the proportion of outraged reality-deniers like Alan and Moxy is depressinghy high. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 21:17, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
It is too bad you are so angry, that you feel you have to attack people who build this encyclopedia. Your BATTLEGROUND ways are not only unfortunate, they are detrimental. I don't recall ever reading what Moxy has said on this, nor know what Moxy has to do with anything, and I seriously can't recall ever discussing these with you, and if we did, it was so long ago as to be forgotten, which is the only sensible thing when it comes to someone who is doing BATTLE.- Alanscottwalker (talk) 22:30, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
No, Allan, I am not angry, and I am not taking a BATTLEGROUND approach. I am challenging persistent stupidity. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 23:22, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
Well, it most certainly looks like you are angry in BATTLE, attacking people who disagree with your premises, bringing up names of people not in discussion, making bogus sides up in your mind to assign people to. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 23:32, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
Allan, the issue is not that you disagree with my premises. The issue is that you are in verbose denial of simple matters of fact and logic, and that your verbose stupidity is impeding the reasoned discussions needed to build consensus. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 01:31, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
Verbose? Look in the mirror. Let's compare word count, or rather you could just choose not to go on and on, as you have. Your battle-grounding has made it clear you have no interest in consensus, winning seems to be your thing. It's not I who is standing in the way of consensus, I am with the consensus of the last large RfC, but still under no obligation to buy your poor arguments. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 02:44, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
Allan, consensus is not built on stupidity and on denial of facts. That's why in a consensus-forming discussion it is important to robustly challenge the falsehoods you spout.
I also accept the outcome of WP:ENDPORTALS. That was a proposal to delete all portals, and the clear consensus was not to do that. Sadly, you and some other portals continue to misrepresent that rejection as some sort of decision not delete any portals. That misrepresentation has continued for so long that it is no longer even excusable as stupidity; it is wilful dishonesty.
If you want to propose that no portals be deleted, or that even unviewed abandoned crap portals be retained, then feel to open an RFC proposing that. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 12:00, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
Once again, your battle-grounding demonstrates the weakness of your arguments and the uselessness of your approach. You invent straw men and talk nonsense. My arguments do not preclude pruning portals, and thus are in full accord with consensus. Alanscottwalker (talk) 12:41, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
More la-la fantasy. I have invented no straw men. And you have explicitly objected to deletion even of abandoned portals, even though t now suits you to change tack. Have you no shame, man? --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 14:37, 7 July 2019 (UTC).
More Battle and strawmen -- it's just not working. As to your complete falsehood, I have not objected a single time in a portal deletion. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:50, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict) I think the important question is whether portals are accomplishing their purpose and whether something else could do it better. One idea I've thought about is replacing the current portal system with Outlines. Both serve as an introduction to the major topics of an area as well as a tool for navigating the encyclopedia. Consider Portal:Contents/Mathematics and logic, it serves as an outline of the topic, presented in a visually appealing way, and effectively directs readers to content they might be interested in by providing short descriptions of a subtopic's scope. For many portals, however, this is done by just listing the contents of a category which is not particularly useful and does not provide readers with much information on how it relates to the topic beyond the title---it's only useful if you know what you're looking for. Take Portal:Television in the United Kingdom as an example. The BBC, one of the most important topics in British Television, is not linked until near the bottom of the page, and unless you know about the BBC, you won't know that it's important or what it does. Compare that portal with our articles like Television in the United Kingdom and Outline of television broadcasting and it's obvious that the portal does not do a good job of introducing readers to a topic or directing them to important and related information. Perhaps merging or replacing the current design standard of portals with the outline system, to produce something like Portal:Contents/Mathematics and logic, would make the portal system a better browsing tool for readers while also drastically simplifying the necessary maintenance. Wugapodes [thɑk] [ˈkan.ˌʧɹɪbz] 18:26, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I have been reading the above, and no one seems to actually answer BHG’s basic question... so let me ask it: what is the PURPOSE of portals? Blueboar (talk) 18:59, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
    • It seems as obvious, as perhaps, it is unambitious: 'Here is a subject, here are articles, images, ideas related to that subject -- explore, enjoy, learn, make connections, etc.' People have differences, they explore and connect with things in different ways, with different presentations. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 19:20, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
  • All very lovely as an abstract theory, @Alanscottwalker, but in practice that's not what happens.
The practical reality is that most portals are complete crap, and don't make those connections as well as articles do.
The result is that reality that readers do not use portals. Just look at the abysmal pageviews.
The problem is quite simple. Powerful search and massive cross linking have already supplanted the early-90s concept of portals across the web, and wikipedia is no exception. On Wiki, navboxes add another powerful navigational aid, again supplanting portals.
The only Wikipedia portal which thrives is the main page, partly because it's the default landing page, and partly because it is the product of a huge amount of ongoing work every day by several large teams of editors. No topic portal gets that anywhere with in several orders of magnitude of that sort of attention.
What will it take to persuade portal fans to stop waffling about dreams, and engage with those realities? --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 19:43, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
It's not at all an abstract theory. If I go to most portals I bet 9 out of 10, I can make an interesting connection, I never thought of before. People can do all kinds of things with different presentations. (By the by, since I have told you already the page view thing does not impress, why would you repeat it to me.) Alanscottwalker (talk) 20:00, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
Alan, you can go to any article other than a sub-stub and make an interesting connection, so that observation amounts to nothing more than "portals have links".
I repeat the pageviews thing not in any hope of educating you, because that is clearly an impossible task. I repeat it in order to remind other editors reading this of the depth and determination of the reality-denial in which you engage while constructing your parallel universe in which you believe that there is no distinction between deletion of content and deletion of pages which are just groupings.
In this parallel universe of Planet Portalfan, it matters not a jot that most portals are outdated, have limited scope, poor display and selection techniques, inadequate watching, and are almost unused. Planet Portalfan is sustained by faith, to the exclusion of reason and of evidence. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 21:27, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
So what. I can go somewhere else to make that connection, when that page does it. That is not a reason to get rid of that page, you don't know what connections people may make, and when. As for the rest, the only thing that people are educated upon is that you view this as a WP:BATTLE, where you have to attack people who don't see things the way you do. We have never discussed this before (as far as I recall, but then I am not in this for BATTLE), that's all, and you have not convinced, certainly not by attacking. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 22:30, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
Allan, a page with a computer-generated random collection of links will let some editors make some connections. We don't maintain such pages, for the obvious reasons that Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not an a collection of indiscriminate pages which somebody thinks might be helpful to somebody someday.
And you are wrong again on a key point of fact about how Wikipedia works. Navigational pages which doesn't serve that purposes well are repeatedly deleted. There is a whole discussion zone just for doing that with categories: WP:CFD. Similarly, navboxes which don't serve a useful purpose are repeatedly deleted at WP:TFD.
Note that the existence of TFD and CFD are verifiable facts. I don't know whether you were somehow unaware of their existence, or whether you just chose to try to pretend that they don't exist because they don't fit with your Portalfan fantasy worldview. But either way, it is disruptive that a discussion such as this about how to organise an encyclopedia get cluttered up with these witterings from a parallel universe.
It's interesting to note that this same demonstrably false argument that "we don't delete navigational pages" has been trotted out by a few other inhabitants of Planet Portalfan ... many of whom whine like you when their streams of falsehoods and illogicalities are challenged. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 23:37, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
Most unconvincing, your talking about me and your made up universe is useless and demonstrates BATTLE, and your connections to TFD and CFD are not relevant to anything I have said. So to review, not many views -- not sensible reason to delete. Needs improvement -- not a sensible reason to delete. You have an ideological thing against a Wikipedia space -- not sensible reason to delete. Alanscottwalker (talk) 23:53, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
Portals exist for navigation and/or showcasing. In the last few months, editors have identified about 600 portals which fail that basic task: they are almost unused, have no maintainers, and in many cases are so long out of date that they are presenting falsehoods.
Yet Allan insists that there is not sensible reason to delete this forest of unused, abandoned, false signposts, which mislead readers and waste their time. It's a great relief that so far as I know Alan is not in charge of any signposts on the real world, or we would have carnage on the roads ... but in the meantime Allan is sadly free to post here insisting that it is not sensible to remove pages which treat our readers with contempt by luring them to abandoned portals which nobody wants to fix and which waste reader's time through inadequacy, and/or present the readers with outright falsehoods.
In any context other than a discussion about portals, that reply by Alan would be quite extraordinary. Sadly, that sort of argument is common in portalspace, where Allan actually goes to the extra mile down wormhole by claiming that it is some sort of ideological perversity to ask that readers not be lured to this crap. Why on earth is anyone with such deep contempt for readers even participating in a discussion about an encyclopedia?
Yes, that's what we are reduced to. On Planet Allan, deleting abandoned crap signposts is ideological. And this is supposed to be an encyclopedia. God help us.
Even when presented with the undeniable fact that CFD and TFD routinely delete unhelpful categories and navboxes, Allan's reply is a glib assertion of unconvincing. Once again, in the fantasy world of Planet paortalfan, facts are clearly unconvincing. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 12:30, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
Planets? It's no wonder you are not making sense. And are you not paying attention -- you're the one who attacked for imagined long statements, so now within long statements -- you author --- you attack for short summing-up statements (further evidence of your battle grounding). Your straw-men are meaningless. My views are consistent with individual portals being deleted and others being kept. Which is consensus. Alanscottwalker (talk) 12:53, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
    • [ec] That question has been asked many times in many places. It is fundamental to the problem, and no-one seems to be willing to attempt an answer. I will have a go, but it is only my personal opinion. To me, a portal is another navigation tool, formatted to be more entertaining and decorative than a navbox or an outline list, but serving a similar function, possibly with suggestions to the user of how to navigate a topic in entertaining or educational ways, and illustrating the full scope of the topic available on Wikipedia. Ideally it should be low maintenance, so as much automation of maintenance as technically possible should be used. The breadth of topic should not be critical for this application, but there should be enough articles to be worthwhile, and they should be a logically coherent group, like the scope of a WikiProject. Others opinions will no doubt vary, but this is a start. Portal:Mecklenburg-Vorpommern style is a possible way to go, but other formats may be as good or better. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 19:39, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
But on a practical level, the answer is very clear: nobody has yet devised a model of portal which readers actually want. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 19:51, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
On a practical level, a portal of the type I have described would be of value to editors of the associated project whether or not any users ever use it or want it, and who knows what the users want? Do we assume that if they do not ask for something they don't want it? Do we assume that if they cannot find something that exists they don't want it? It is a tricky question. sometimes we try something and it turns out to be a good idea. Like Wikipedia. If no-one had tried it who would have thought it could be successful? Other times things that look like a good idea at first turn out to be non-workable, or work in a way but are truly horrible in other unexpected ways. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 20:01, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
@Peter Southwood, that argument would have been very persuasive in 2005, when the portal namespace was being created.
However, after 14 years of trying this idea, your argument it looks more denial of the evidence that readers do not use portals. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 20:44, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
That may be a consequence of them being hidden where most readers are unlikely to look and the search engine will not look unless it is specifically instructed to do so. Portal space has doomed portals as much as their other deficiencies. Hiding a feature and demanding that it must be found and used are contradictory requirements. If the community wanted portals to be used by readers they should have put them where readers would find them. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 04:42, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
@Peter Southwood, if the portal namespace had never been created, portals would still be in the Wikipedia namespace, which also doesn't show up in search.
The default search finds content, not navigational devices like navboxes or categories or portals. Feel free to propose that default search should include the portal namespace, but watch the proposal get shot down in flames. Do I need to explain why a search for content should return only content?
As to other forms of promotion, there are three problems with that argument:
  1. 8 portals are promoted in the most valuable real estate on Wikipedia: the top right of the main page. That is the most valuable space for online advertising, and it is devoted to portals. Yet despite that prominence, those portals significantly under-perform other less prominent elements of the mainpage. Even DYKs, below the fold and displayed for only half the day, get higher views. The reasons are simple: readers don't need or want portals, because search, navboxes and massive cross-lining makes them redundant.
  2. promoting portals elsewhere, mostly through links on categories, navboxes and in "see also" sections has very low returns. The evidence is that even when portals are advertised, takeup is very low.
  3. It probably would be possible to boost portal views, at least in the short term, by intrusive advertising: e.g. on the top right of every page, link to the most relevant related portals. But unless the portals advertised in that were actually good, the effect would be short-lived, because if readers followed those links and when repeatedly confronted with abandoned crap like Portal:Colorado or Portal:Neuroscience, they would rapidly retreat from all of portalspace. Even lovingly-maintained portals such as Portal:Cheshire will deter readers because of their broken design, which requires a country-intuitive and time-consuming page refresh just to see a new selection. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 14:34, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
  • No need to explain. It is clear that from the start the framework was ill-conceived and constructed in a way that with hindsight could not possibly have worked. "You can't get there from here". Shit happens. We still lack good navigation aids for cases where the user does not know what to search for, but where the subject matter experts working here could give guidance. We also need good topic structure maps for editors to keep track of what has not yet been written, and the quality of what has been written. Navboxes are useful, but somewhat limited. Index and Outline lists are useful too, but I suspect that most users don't know they are there. Categories just don't work for that purpose. I am not attached to any specific method of navigation, but would like to see something that works better than what is currently available. Anyways, that is where I am coming from and where I am trying to go to. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 15:14, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I agree with all of that, @ Peter.
There is indeed a gap to be filled, but I think that the fundamental error of portals is that they use a complex and very high maintenance structure which never had got anywhere near the required levels of maintenance. Categories have significant usability problems (one of the worst is the abysmal navigation between categories, see e.g. my notes at WP:IECATNAVP#Navigation), but they avoid complete failure because they are built using a distributed push model and are easily edited with minimal specialist knowledge. Navboxes are hard to create, but are are mostly well-maintained because they are easily editable in situ, tho some are in poor shape.
So whatever ideas are considered for filling the gap, the solution needs to be something which can be easily maintained. My hunch is that few of us have a clear idea of the real shape of that gap you rightly identify, and that what we really need is for WMF to invest in scientific usability studies to first identify where readers get stuck. Then some more studies to test the usability of ideas which the community has identified as maintainable. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 16:01, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
Maybe not very relevant to this discussion, but the work on WP:IECATNAVP#Navigation looks potentially very useful. Good luck with expanding it for more general application.
Getting WMF to invest in something like that would be good if it can be done. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 06:10, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I quit trying to save portals at MfD, as those trying to delete portals were nominating faster than I could muster a response, and it became the single most frustrating bit of Wikipedia editing I've ever participated in, especially since some fantastic content was lost along the way. I'd very much like to have a discussion with the full community about the rules for creating a valid acceptable portal, especially since there wasn't consensus for their full removal. SportingFlyer T·C 00:14, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Content belongs in articles. Portals are navigational tools and/or showcases.
If the portal contained actual content, then that content was in the wrong place. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 01:32, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
On this point I completely agree. Unique encyclopedic content belongs in main space. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 04:49, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
  • If SportingFlyer thinks some fantastic content was deleted, he should request userfication and work it into mainspace articles. I don’t think Portals should contain showcases. The best content belongs in its best presentation in mainspace, unless the intent is overt promotion (promotion of Wikipedia, presumably for editors), in which case the showcases belong in the not-reader-facing WikiProjects. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 08:54, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I can userfy portals for anyone who wants to extract any good referenced content for transfer into mainspace, just ping me with a request detailing which portal files you want and the name of the user space files you want them to go into. When you are done you can ping me again to delete the user files if you no longer want them. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 15:14, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Portals are not for showcasing. Or at least they should not be. User:BrownHairedGirl has assert five times that Portals are for showcasing. If that was their purpose, it is a big part of their failure. The purpose of showcasing is promotion. Wikipedia should not be showcasing on reader facing pages. Portals are a failed experiment. A huge revamp is required, at least. If their ostensible purpose is navigation, rethink how to do that. Showcasing is not navigation. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 12:38, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
  • @SmokeyJoe, I agree with some of that. However, showcasing is an important part of the main page, and per WP:PORTAL, "Portals serve as enhanced 'Main Pages' for specific broad subjects". The evidence I see is that the mainpage-style showcasing function cannot be successfully replicated in portals, because it is highly labour-intensive, and that labour is not available in portalspace. So I'd happily see the showcasing function removed along with abandoning the mini-mainpage metaphor.
I agree that current portals are rubbish for navigation. The portals who do that job most successfully are the mega-navbox style of portals such as Portal:Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, but it takes a lot of work to create them.
I disagree with the assertion that portals are a failed experiment. The reality is that elsewhere on the web, portals are a redundant technology. Their heyday was in the mid-1990s, and they were supplanted by two developments: deep interlinking and powerful search. Basically, Google's high-quality search killed Yahoo's portal model, and similarly the WMF's successful (and under-acknowledged) investment in Wikipedia's search tools made portals redundant on Wiki before even the first one was implemented.
So instead of Joe's comment that portals are a failed experiment, I would say that Wikipedia's 2005 deployment of portals was not an experiment; it was an exercise in denial of reality, by adopting of an already-redundant technology. And it remains a denial of reality, as evidenced by the continued abysmal state of most portals and their abysmal pageviews.
Readers don't want or need portals, because they have better navigational tools. Editors don't maintain portals, because the overwhelming majority of editors prefer to put their effort into developing actual content which will actually be read rather than into building an outmoded navigational device. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 13:07, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
How many editors will it take for you to see that your approach to portals is simply not what the community is looking for. You may have valid points but it's clear from a dozen conversations involving dozens of editors spread out over multiple noticeboards and talk pages that a better way forward is needed.--Moxy 🍁 15:22, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
Moxy, how many discussions will it take before you develop the basic comprehension skills to stop assuming that there is some sort of consensus for your desire to retain swathes of almost unused portals which consist of malformed collections of outdated content forks that will remain outdated because v few editors are interested in devoting their time to building a redundant navigational tool?
The fact that there are perhaps half-a-dozen editors who pop up in various venues to echo in more literate form your usually incoherent ramblings does not alter the fact that in the last 4 months there has been consensus at several hundred MFDs to delete not just the crapflood of portalspam unleashed by TTH, but much of the dungheap of portals which have been abandoned for up to a decade? --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 15:39, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
  • There are certain editors, with differing opinions about portals, who have said everything that they are going to say here many times over. How about stepping back and giving other, less vested, editors a chance to have their say? Phil Bridger (talk) 16:46, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
I proposed, starting this restatement of views, that a Request for Comments be used to survey the views of the community. Maybe User:Phil Bridger agrees that the RFC is a reasonable next step at this point. Robert McClenon (talk) 19:43, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
I would agree with anything that doesn't involve a small group of editors re-re-re-re-restating their views. Phil Bridger (talk) 19:46, 7 July 2019 (UTC)

Why Portals?[edit]

Several editors, including User:BrownHairedGirl, with whom I usually agree, have said that we need to address what the purpose of portals is. I agree. BHG has said that it appears that the purpose of portals is to entertain the group of editors who like to create portals. I said in April that it appeared that the portal platoon was creating portals recklessly because creating portals is fun. That isn't a valid reason for retaining portals. BHG appears to be disagreeing with my call for an RFC to establish or re-establish portal guidelines, because the guidelines address the How and we should first address the Why. I am suggesting that a new RFC on the portal guidelines is the best way to address the Why question, as well as the How questions and the What questions (such as whether regional portals are semi-mandatory). If someone else knows of a better way to address the Why question of the purpose of portals than either an RFC on the portal guidelines, or the re-statement of fixed positions, please suggest it, but for now, I think that an RFC on portal guidelines is needed.

I will comment on BrownHairedGirl's repeated statements that certain portal advocates seem to have a comprehension problem. I have an alternate assessment. Perhaps the advocates of portals have an explanation problem. Perhaps they know what they think will be accomplished with portals, and why the deletion of portals is harmful, but they are failing to explain their views clearly. Perhaps they have some idea that they think should be obvious. It isn't obvious. Maybe they aren't explaining well, and maybe they need to provide a clearer explanation.

To follow up on that suggestion, there are laments that portals are being under-viewed, and that the placement of portals in portal space is contributing to that problematic underviewing, and that measures should be taken to increase portal pageviews, such as links to portals from article space. The mission of the encyclopedia is the presentation of knowledge to readers. Editors who want portals viewed more should explain how the encyclopedia and its mission of providing knowledge to readers would be better served by more viewing of portals. (Otherwise, I hear whining, but am not sure what is being lamented.)

So possible purposes for portals are:

1. Showcasing. To provide a way for readers to view our best articles, most recent updates, most interesting trivia, etc. This is the primary purpose of the Main Page, and the Main Page is a super-portal. The Main Page is also very labor-intensive. Showcasing is work.
2. Navigation. As a means to facilitate viewing of related information. This is the most commonly stated reason for portals.
3. Content. As an alternative means for displaying information to readers that is not in articles. Some editors have stated that portals contain content, so that content is harmfully deleted when portals are deleted. (This statement was in particular made above by User:SportingFlyer, and has been made by User:Buaidh.)
4. Exercise.

Are there any other reasons for portals? Perhaps the advocates of portals, or the editors who complain about the deletion of portals, have not adequately explained what the value of portals is. Robert McClenon (talk) 23:30, 7 July 2019 (UTC)

  • Reviewing those purposes:
  1. Showcasing. Agree that it's labor-intensive, and gets diluted when there are a vast number of portals.
  2. Navigation. This is likely the most commonly stated reason for portals because it is the best/most valid, IMO.
  3. Content. This is somewhat in conflict with the navigation reason above. Content belongs in articles; to the extent that there's any de novo content in a portal, it should either be able to be transferred in an article or template, or risks being SYNTH.
  4. Exercise. This is the least convincing IMO; the sandbox exists for a reason. (Probably a joke on Robert's part, to be fair.)
(I also remember in ENDPORTALS that some said that people had worked very hard on portals and thus it would be bad to get rid of them. I'd like to remind anyone with a similar argument of the sunk cost fallacy and WP:HARDWORK.)
Given these, I would support deprecating the portal namespace and not creating any more. Having said that, I realize that the main page portals still receive some decent traffic, so a complete deletion of the namespace might not be warranted. We might yet create some high-quality portals notwithstanding all that's happened, so perhaps we can somehow otherwise limit the number of portals, perhaps to somewhere in the tens. – John M Wolfson (talkcontribs) 01:48, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
User:John M Wolfson wrote: "Probably a joke on Robert's part, to be fair." That depends on what you mean by a joke. Both I and User:BrownHairedGirl have suggested that portals are created largely because creating portals is fun. (I have a database on portals. I created it because creating a mini-database is fun. But it is on my desktop computer, not on a WMF server.) One could make a somewhat different but similar argument about reason 3, content. However, I was asking for reasons beyond 1 through 4. Robert McClenon (talk) 02:59, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
I thought you were being a bit facetious with the whole "exercise" thing, given that Wikiepdia's not a webhost. I'm not saying that the idea that portals are created solely for fun is ridiculous, just that that's not a good reason for their existence, again since we're not a webhost and games exist elsewhere on the internet. And fair enough on looking for more reasons. – John M Wolfson (talkcontribs) 03:02, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
  • If this was intended as a brainstorming session it would have helped to keep the list open-ended, but anyway, add:
5. A tool for planning and maintenance of articles within the scope of a WikiProject, that can also be used by readers to see what project-relevant topics are currently available, possibly also their current assessed quality, and what articles are missing but planned. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 05:03, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
Indeed, and at at least two people already answered this before this section was even started. Even set out in a list as this is, there is not logical reason each thing in the list is mutually exclusive and that one thing on the list is the only thing, rather than being overlapping and existing all at once and more. (As to the last thing, 'entertainment' only, strikes as close to 'assumption of bad faith' -- there is nothing wrong and everything right with having people like, enjoy, etc, what they are doing, and have done, volunteering, here, in a space created by Wikipedia for them to do that volunteering.) -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 12:43, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
I have yet to see any good implementation in a portal of that articles-in-scope-of-WikiProject thing. If it exists and I have missed it, it doesn't require a portal to host it. So that's something which may be added to a portal if it exists, but it is definitely not a reason to create a portal. (NOTE: this is a widespread problem in discussing portals. There are many things which could be added to portals, but too little focus on the question of what things add enough value to justify creating a portal in the first place. This was one of the key conceptual failings of the automated portalspam: they were pages which added precisely zero value).
As to the entertainment issue, it's actually a very important one. Content in articles justifies its own existence, and if enthusiasm leads editors to create or develop content, that's great. But portals, categories and navboxes have only utilitarian virtue, and editor enthusiasm which leads to creation of portals, categories and navboxes with insufficient utility is a very bad thing. Over the years, several editors have had CBANs for repeatedly creating unhelpful categories, and the same principle applies to portals. The creation of inappropriate portals/categories/navboxes may be done in good faith, but good faith is an insufficient test: we also need good judgement and respect for consensus. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 14:44, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
6. A statement about the breadth of the topic. The statement that "This is a broad subject area" is made so often, or variants of it, such as "This is a very popular TV show", that it may be a reason in itself for creating or keeping a portal, to make the statement that it is a broad subject area. (That is not to say that I agree with that reason.)
User:Alanscottwalker - It was not said that the reasons are mutually exclusive. It is possible that a portal may have multiple reasons. Robert McClenon (talk) 13:20, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
This list was not intended as brainstorming. It was intended to understand the reasons for portals. When User:UnitedStatesian, User:BrownHairedGirl, or others nominate a portal for deletion, there is whining that too many portals are being deleted, and that the deletion is contrary to the wishes of the community to have portals. The poorly stated unhappiness of editors with the deletion of portals implies that there are poorly stated reasons why they want the portals kept. Perhaps my request for an explanation is brainstorming, in which case maybe the portals were created without even brainstorming the reasons why they were desired. But I am simply asking what the reasons are for the keeping of portals, since those reasons are seldom clearly stated. Robert McClenon (talk) 13:20, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
Per my comment above, it is essential to distinguish between:
  1. features of a portal which justify its existence, because they add sufficient value which cannot reasonably be provided in other ways
  2. features which may be added to a portal once we have decided that it should exist
Most of the discussions I have seen focus on the second point, rather than on the first. That is part of the editor enthusiasm problem with portals: I have seen far too many cases of enthusiastic editors doing lots of busywork adding lots of features to a portal, while adding no value for readers. A classic example of this is US state portals whose main features are an intro to the state, and a "key facts" box. Both are already available in the head article, so a portal which has those as its main offering adds nothing, but harms readers by wasting their time through luring them to a redundant page.
Similarly, the "selected article" sets frequently overlap massively with a navbox, and the navbox does the job much better. Most of those sets are destructive busywork which wastes the time of readers and editors. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 14:58, 8 July 2019 (UTC)

The text under discussion[edit]

The part of the guideline that causes the conflicts is the following: "Please bear in mind that portals should be about broad subject areas, which are likely to attract large numbers of interested readers and portal maintainers. Portals which require manual updating are at a greater risk of nomination for deletion if they are not kept up to date. Do not expect other editors to maintain a portal you create." There are many issues there.

  • Readers and maintainers. As written, it says which is the requirement (a broad subject area) and the ideal reason for this specific requirement (it may be easier to get readers and maintainers). It does not say that a portal must actually have a regular flow of readers and maintainers to be kept, which is the argument often used in MFD discussions. As said in Wikipedia:Five pillars, "The principles and spirit matter more than literal wording". After all, the availability of readers and maintainers can be influenced by other things as well (for example, how visible they are, the net availability of maintainers, etc).
  • A good portal should not really require frequent manual updating. The hard work should be done the first days, when everything is first set up, but from then on the portal should work on its own. We add {{Random portal component}} in the main page, and {{Selected article}} entries in an internal list, and that's it: the portal randomly selects one of those articles each time it is loaded. It can be maintained (by further adding more articles, or removing improperly added ones), but it does not require so, and keeps working even if all maintainers have left. The problem may be with an abandoned section that relies on nominations or time frames (as in "one new entry per month"), but that doesn't mean the portal itself has to be deleted. It can be simply fixed.
  • "Kept up to date". Up to date in reference to what? The real world? Other than a stale "in the news" section, there's very little in a portal that may become "outdated". Featured or good articles that lost that condition, and are still listed as selected articles? Again, just fix it. In the meantime, there's very little harm done: former good and featured articles were selected as such at some point, and even if they are no longer "the best of the best", they will likely still be reasonably well written articles in their own right.
  • The alleged risk of nomination for deletion goes against Wikipedia:Arguments to avoid in deletion discussions#Nobody's working on it (or impatience with improvement).

I propose that we simply remove it. The rationale for keeping or deleting a portal should be the breadth of topic (perhaps clarifying a bit more what does that mean), and no intersection with another portal. Cambalachero (talk) 14:09, 15 July 2019 (UTC)

Interesting. User:Cambalachero is saying that the paragraph that refers to a "broad subject area" should be deleted, so that the rationale for keeping or deleting a portal should be the breadth of topic. First, there seems to be an inconsistency. However, on my third effort to parse what was written, it appears that Cambalachero is proposing to delete all except the provision for broad subject areas. Do they have any ideas as to how to define a broad subject area, other than attracting readers and portal maintainers? In any case, what if anything are they proposing be kept, and how are they proposing to define broad subject areas? Also, what need are they saying is served by portals that do not attract readers and portal maintainers? Robert McClenon (talk) 01:08, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
I think the question here is whether unmaintained portals should be allowed to exist. Some topics change slowly and old material can still be relevant. Portal:Mathematics is well curated with 30+ edits this year but, if it weren't, would its failure to reflect this year's mathematical discoveries be sufficient cause for deletion? Certes (talk) 09:58, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
Correlation does not imply causation. Breadth of topic and number of readers and maintainers do not have a "cause and effect" relation, for the same reason that Vital articles and Popular pages are not the same either. If properly advertised, we can easily get loads of people to check a portal for Donald Trump or Toy Story, but they would still be narrow topics anyway. Maths is a broad topic, we may find it a bit more difficult to attract people (as it is the archetypal "boring school subject" that most people study only because it's required), but it would still be broad topic. Besides, notability of articles is not temporary, and any portal inclusion criteria should equally be a stable one, not one that depends on people that comes and goes. See my previous example: we may be able to easily get readers and maintainers for a Portal on Trump (current US president) and Toy Story (a popular film franchise now in theaters), but what about in 10 or 20 years, when Trump had ended his term of office and Toy Story will probably be a dated film? Cambalachero (talk) 12:53, 17 July 2019 (UTC)

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

RfC: An alternative version of the lead sentence to the lead in SNC-Lavalin affair[edit]

Request for input at article page. I didn't post the RfC here. I posted information for interested parties. Sorry for the confusion.Littleolive oil (talk) 15:49, 8 July 2019 (UTC)

Gender identity addition at Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Biography[edit]

We could use more opinions at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Biography#Gender identity section. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 16:02, 8 July 2019 (UTC)

Political bias in Wikipedia must stop[edit]

From the top of the page: "The policy section of the village pump is used to discuss proposed policies and guidelines and changes to existing policies and guidelines." This isn't a proposal, please come back if you want to discuss changes to our policies or guidelines. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 16:30, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

When it comes to politically charged subjects, Wikipedia is ridiculously and clearly biased, and biased to one side of the political spectrum only. When it comes to people, groups or movements that the extreme left opposes and detests, the Wikipedia pages for those subjects consist of pretty much nothing else than endless lists of mostly irrelevant minutia, which purpose is quite clearly nothing more than to meticulously collect ammunition for political activism. These articles tend to be excessively long, and put completely undue weight and emphasis on irrelevant minutia which consists pretty much exclusively of negative traits and events related to the subject in question. For example, just check the articles for Donald Trump, Milo Yiannopoulos, Gamergate, or Incel, and see exactly what I'm talking about. (Consider that for example in the Gamergate article the word "threat" appears 82 times, and the word "harassment" a whopping 121 times. This is clearly excessive and unnecessary.) They are pretty much nothing but example after example after example of irrelevant minutia, to use as political ammunition against the person or group. They are essentially smearing campaigns. Donald Trump even has several distinct pages that are nothing more than such lists, meticulously collected, full of irrelevant minutia. Quite conspicuously, and tellingly, no such lists exist for people, groups or movements that the extreme left likes. For them, their articles are significantly more neutral, and full of positive traits and adulation. And even when there's something objectionable or controversial about the subject, it's usually mentioned only briefly, and sandwiched between positive traits. It couldn't be clearer that there's a heavy political bias in Wikipedia.

The sources used for all this are often notoriously and famously politically biased, but that doesn't matter. Using biased sources for all this is official Wikipedia policy. Editors don't care if the sources are notoriously biased, they are still used. Many editors will use the excuse of "the articles simply reflect what's being talked about in mainstream media" and "the neutrality rules only apply to editors, not sources". Except that their personal biases still shine through, for example in the decisions they make on what details to include and what not, and the wording and order in which these details are presented. In other words, there's heavy bias in editorializing the content. As an example, the "sandwiching" rhetoric technique is heavily used: If the subject is someone the extreme left likes, when presenting negative traits or criticism about the subject in question, it will be sandwiched between positive traits. If the subject is someone the extreme left hates, any positive characteristics or achievements will be sandwiched between negative traits and criticism. Such positive traits almost never appear on their own, without being immediately preceded and followed by negative traits (often in the very same paragraph). The amount of article space dedicated to negative traits and controversies will be significantly higher for subjects that the extreme left hates than it is for subjects that they like. This choice of content, structure and presentation, and the difference in this kind of writing depending on the person or group, cannot be attributed to any sources, and are purely a decision made by editors.

Do not even bother trying to deny the quite clear and evident political bias in Wikipedia, which is amply clear to anybody who compares these articles. The only question is what exactly will it take to stop this bias from happening. For a more in-depth examination of this political bias, see my user page. Wopr (talk) 15:41, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

Reality has a well-known liberal bias. Also is this where I chortle at Milo, Trump, etc. being people that only the "extreme left" dislikes? Speaking of bias, mate. --Golbez (talk) 15:55, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
The phrase "extreme left" appears five times in the above screed. The term "left" does not appear without it; the term "right" does not appear at all. --Golbez (talk) 15:56, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
It's also not even true; we have lots of articles about Donald Trump because he's the President of the United States and there's a lot to say about him. If you look at high-profile people the extreme left does like you'll find exactly the same "List of allegations against…" articles; go rooting round through Category:Hugo Chávez or Category:Jeremy Corbyn for a few minutes. ‑ Iridescent 16:02, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
The plural of minutia (singular) is minutiae. Oculi (talk) 16:20, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
My objection was not to the number of articles, but to the content and purpose of those articles. For example, what is the purpose of an entire separate page with endless lists of individual popularity ratings for Trump, especially given that no other president has such a page? Does it exist just to show all those red rectangles? And how many other politicians have an entire separate page meticulously listing all the "false statements" that they have made? There are plenty of politicians out there that have made false statements, yet they don't get their own separate Wikipedia page meticulously listing them. Quite clearly the existence of these pages, which are quite unique and pretty much don't exist for any other person in the world, serve a political purpose, and have been created by Wikipedia editors for purposes of smearing. Wopr (talk) 16:35, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Feel better now? O3000 (talk) 16:05, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Much is made of statistics on the relative number of women and men editing Wikipedia. Are there any similar statistics available for left-wing and right-wing editors? I don't see anything on Ideological bias on Wikipedia. Haukur (talk) 16:28, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.
And why am I not surprised that this was immediately locked? Wikipedia editors do not like their political biases being discussed. How typical. The fact is that there is no place in Wikipedia where this could be discussed because editors do not want to discuss their own biases, and any discussion will be immediately stifled. Wopr (talk) 16:38, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
It was locked because it is totally off topic to what this page is supposed to be used for. Rather than rant at Wikipedia as a whole, choose a specific policy or guideline to discuss or propose your own. This isn't a place for WP:SOAP. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 16:40, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

How well does WP:NPOV work in the possible absence of demographic balance?[edit]

The last thread didn't get off to a great start but I'd be curious to see a bit of discussion on this topic and I think there is some policy relevance down the line. Is Ideological bias on Wikipedia a problem? Are we making any efforts to quantify whether it is a problem? We have some numbers on male and female editors and we try to make particular efforts to recruit and retain women. That seems reasonable to me. Do we have any numbers on, say, left-wing versus right-wing Wikipedians and do we think we have a reasonable balance? Haukur (talk) 17:14, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

Given that US right-wingers are in general opposed to facts and reality, I'm more than fine having a reality-aligned Wikipedia. That's a left-wing bias, but only to the extent that the left is more closely aligned to reality. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 17:19, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
You'll find that leftist anti-GMO/anti-vaccine nutcases are equally frustrated with Wikipedia. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 17:20, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
This is getting a bit offtopic, but at least on a political level, the anti-vaccine movement in the US has become more of a right-wing thing over time, mostly because it's become more based in religious objections. That said, I feel that adhering to WP:RS, WP:V, and similar policies is sufficient to get us as close to accurate as we're likely to get as an encyclopedia, and I am extremely skeptical of the argument that we need to intentionally try to "balance out" political coverage, which is textbook WP:FALSEBALANCE. It's also important to remember that politics are very different on a global scale (and this wiki is meant to be global, not specific to the US), which might partially account for the fact that people on the right in the US find it jarring. This is compounded by the fact that right-wing viewpoints are often nationalistic in nature; nationalism specific to one counter will by definition will have less impact on (and should have less impact on) a global Wikipedia. On a global scale, people who subscribe to US nationalism or have a patriotic outlook towards the US should only be represented by, what, 4% of our editors? It's clearly far higher than that - but since (due to political self-sorting within the US) those people are used to living in an environment where almost everyone shows at least some deference to US nationalism and patriotism, stepping into an environment where it has less of a foothold seems jarring and reads to them as somehow unfair. --Aquillion (talk) 21:32, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
Just for the record, the OP above has been indef blocked. I am fine having a positive discussion regarding political bias and how it relates to our policies and guidelines though. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 17:21, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Define "left" and "right" in a global context. I'd consider myself fairly far to the right in a British context; to our friend above I'd probably still count as extreme left. Certainly even the most left wing mainstream figures in the US like Bernie Sanders would be considered fairly far right in Europe. ‑ Iridescent 17:22, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Yeah, fair enough. But let's say that for contributors from any particular country we might want some sort of balanced sample of that country's political spectrum. Haukur (talk) 17:26, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
(after edit conflict) Quite. What passes as the center of politics in the USA is far from it in much of the world. As one example, the idea that my right to carry around a semi-automatic assault rifle should outweigh the right of my grandson to come home from school alive and without having seen his schoolmates massacred is seen as a wooky fringe idea in most of the world. Phil Bridger (talk) 17:30, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
That, or claims that wanting to improve health care coverage amounts to supporting Nazism. This was said, with genuine belief, to Barney Frank, a gay Jewish house representative. Let that sink in. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 17:51, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

I'm a European too and I also find US right-wingers to be somewhat alien - but they could reasonably worry that Wikipedia is biased against them and this thread so far would not be reassuring to them. Nor would, say, the twitter feed of our executive director. Haukur (talk) 17:39, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

Well, the twitter feed of our executive director is something that I have no intention of reading, and I would consider it unhelpful for our executive director to even have a twitter feed, unless it is made abundantly clear that anything posted there is only a personal opinion and not an official position of the Wikipedia community. Our only bias should be a bias towards facts and reality (© Headbomb). When I was growing up that used to be considered a conservative virtue, but the world seems to have changed now. Phil Bridger (talk) 17:59, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

I'd have to search but I recall a survey of WPians that identified that the more experienced ones (read: the ones more likely to be admins) were generally more liberal than comparing newer editors. This is, of course, not surprising, given that WP can be seen as a similar environment to academia which also has a similar perceived left-leaning bias. Along, that bias isn't a problem, but in the current political climate and with the current body of RS we hang our sourcing hats on, we have created a serious problem of left-wing favoritism, right-ring scorning across modern political articles. It's the issues of NOT#NEWS and RECENTISM that are being overrun when editors run to include the large swath of political commentary and analysis about factual events; the bulk of the sources presented these opinions and commentary will be from the left, and editors, along aligned with the left, see little issue with including them. Arguable, should not be a problem if there were also right-wing sources and editors made sure to add those, but we've all but cut off the bulk of the right-wing, leaving Fox as likely the most extreme right leaning source. I've argued many times before, but we should not be rushing to add all the commentary about a ongoing political topic at the time, unless that commentary itself is part of the factual events around it. It's hard enough to do this when there's opinions coming from all sides that we can use, its worse due to the media's own bias, our own bias in RSes, and editors' own bias turning a blind eye to some of these events. Instead, we should wait the years it takes for a reasonable hindsight analysis of the sources can be made to write about how academics and political analysis took the importance of the topic. --Masem (t) 17:51, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

If what you're saying there is that we should enforce WP:NOT#NEWS and hold off from having articles about political and other events until they are covered by proper secondary sources then I wholehartedly agree. Phil Bridger (talk) 18:04, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Yes... I completely agree that the primary problem lies with a lack of enforcement when it comes to NOT#NEWS. The hard part is figuring out what we can do about it. Blueboar (talk) 18:45, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
I remember there being a discussion about this a few months ago resulting in no consensus being reached that we should enforce the basic requirement of topics being covered by secondary sources, because many editors claimed that news reports are secondary sources, even though no historian or social scientist would agree with that claim. I fear that the answer to the question of what we can do about it is "nothing". Phil Bridger (talk) 19:03, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
A problem with this is that there's still a strong contingent of editors that think newspaper articles are secondary sources. Op-eds may be, but that's the stuff we don't want in the immediate wake of an event. We want secondary sources talking about the broad summary of the analysis and opinion around the event to give coverage to that angle, otherwise we should stick to the basic facts. --Masem (t) 19:11, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
It is not that we can't have articles on breaking political events. For example, I am following the events going on about the 2020 United States Census citizenship question, and I will fully attest we can stay current and write about the event as these events break, as long as we are sticking to the facts (eg now as we're in judicial facets, explains when X happened in court or what rulings were issued). But if you look beyond the factual coverage for this, you can see a LOT of the media riding on Trump, analyzing and opining a gazillion reasons why he wants this, why the courts need to reject it, etc. That's stuff that is beyond the news at this point, and is the type of stuff seeped in political idealism that shows off the left-leaning bias of the media. But as it is all analysis and opinion and "talking heads" about recent events, we should not be covering that facet under NOT#NEWS/RECENTISM. That's where the bias of the media and our editors shows its head in other situations. --Masem (t) 19:08, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Comments like that, mentioning "the left-leaning bias of the media" as if it's an unarguable truth, an excellent demonstration of the problem we face. HiLo48 (talk) 00:00, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
Let me clarify that this is the left-leaning bias of our reliable sources from the media. The media as a whole is probably all over the media map, but as well noted, the more "truthier" ones that we'd trust as an encyclopedia lean left (or that the more right-leaning ones tend to take themselves out of being reliable by forgoing factual reporting). So we're basically looking at left-leaning media as what we base our articles on. --Masem (t) 00:59, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
Again, no. I think this is a problem with the globalism issue mentioned above - by an international standard, news sources like the NYT or CNN would be considered center-right. People in the US are used to an environment that is somewhat out of step with international news coverage; additionally, since part of the right is nationalism, any source from outside their home country is going to read as more left-wing to someone on the right, and any balanced summary of international reliable sources is going to leave right-wingers in any one country unhappy due to the relatively tiny amount of weight nationalism-based opinions in their home country are given. Outlets like Fox et. all put the nationalist finger on the scale far more drastically than CNN and the NYT, but it's not absent from those sources, either (look at eg. NYT coverage in the runup to the war in Iraq, which showed a deference to and trust in the US administration that was comparatively absent outside the country). It's normal and expected that any "fair" coverage of international media that runs the full gamut is going to leave someone from the US who is used to a NYT-to-Fox-News scale feeling like that particular flavor of US-focused right-wing nationalism is under-represented. But that's appropriate, because US nationalism is only ~4% on the world stage - if anything, it's drastically over-represented among our editors and in our articles. --Aquillion (talk) 21:39, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
+1 to all of this. America use "left-wing" and "right-wing" to mean what we Brits would describe as "right-wing" and "more right-wing". No country is the center of the world and the middle of one's home country's Overton window is not the same as the center of the political spectrum. CNN may be left-wing in comparison to Fox News, but that doesn't make it left-wing. Bilorv (he/him) (talk) 16:09, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
  • We can make some basic assumptions using the data that we do have. For example, almost 3/4 of Wikipedia contributors have a four-year degree or more, and it's fairly widely agreed upon that educational attainment is correlated with greater political liberalism. In comparison, only about 33% of people in the US have a four-year degree or higher. The plan for the newer Wikimedia survey (as of last I talked to the foundation folks) was also to include urban/rural data gathering, and you can make a similar comparison there as you can with education. On the one hand, there is reason to believe that we get higher quality articles when there is a more diverse group of editors working on it. On the other, despite the high profile nature of contemporary politics on Wikipedia, the majority of work is done in areas where political affiliation is almost certainly almost entirely irrelevant. GMGtalk 18:54, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
    • Thank you! That does help a little bit. As you point out, education is correlated with liberalism and we have a lot of educated people. On the other hand, being male is correlated with conservatism and we have a lot of men. So we may need to be cautious in extrapolating political leanings from the education stats. It doesn't seem too hard to poll political leanings directly in some way and that would seem desirable. Still, I agree that political affiliation is often/usually irrelevant, just as it seems to me that one's gender is often/usually irrelevant. Haukur (talk) 19:06, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
      • Well, you would expect that oppositely slanted variable would work to cancel each other out, assuming there is no other interaction there (e.g., poorly educated men are abundantly the most conservative, but least likely to edit). Anyway, self-identified party affiliation doesn't necessarily directly pertain to article content. This study looked at a language analysis of mainspace contributions, and did a clever mini-validation using IP contributors and voting data. They found that most contributors exhibited no slant, but that these were also the least active, and the most active editors were the most likely to be slanted. Democrat-leaning editors were more slanted on average. All articles exhibited a Democrat slant, but the instances of extreme left/right slant were about equal. They also found that editors generally tend to moderate their slant over time, although I'm not sure that I see if they considered the effect of the most extreme editors simply being blocked. GMGtalk 19:58, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
      • I guess I would add that everything demographic-wise is going to be affected by the universal barrier-to-entry: if you don't have reliable internet access and you're not computer literate, you're not going to edit Wikipedia. This is a group we could pretty reliably expect to be less educated, more rural, and less individually and inter-generationally affluent, all of which would lead us to expect them to be, on average, more politically conservative. However, we would also expect them to be older, and the fact that the median age on Wikipedia fairly well tracks the median age (at least in the US) seems to be a curious outlier. I wonder if it's not being affected by places like Japan where the median age is creeping upward, but they are more likely to have reliable internet access. — Preceding unsigned comment added by GreenMeansGo (talkcontribs) 21:29, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
        • I find "almost 3/4 of Wikipedia contributors have a four-year degree or more" dubious in the extreme, given that (outside of a few specialist fields like medicine) the US and Scotland (and to a limited extent Canada) are the only significant English-speaking countries where such a thing exists, and the US accounts for less than 40% of editors. ‑ Iridescent 21:55, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
          I only did a three-year degree, but I managed to get a Masters out of it in the end, on payment of a suitable "fee".  — Amakuru (talk) 22:00, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
          Yeah, that is a highly dubious figure for any number of reasons, and can most likely be explained by self-selection bias. It simply doesn't pass the smell test: randomly go by WP:PERM on any given day and you'll see that obvious minors still make up a significant portion of the editor base, likely overrepresented compared to the number of minors in the general population. Factoring that in, and adding in the fact that we also overrepresent people of retirement age, where those with a university degree is going to be lower than people in their 30s, there'd have to be a lot of reasons to explain why our editor population is 2.25 time more educated than the US population. Remarkable claims require remarkable evidence, and a survey with self-selection bias that makes such claims is pretty suspect. TonyBallioni (talk) 22:12, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Age groups of community engagement survey
Okay, following up from the above, I'm even more skeptical since apparently the English Wikipedia has no minors. If minors aren't being factored into that analysis, then that figure is missing a major portion of the community. TonyBallioni (talk) 22:22, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Buried in a subpage of a subpage of a subpage is "The sample size for English Wikipedia was very small at 88 respondents". I'm sure you'll be as shocked as I am to discover that the WMF are spouting made-up nonsense as fact to try to push one of their pet agendas. (FWIW, they don't actually make the "four year degree" claim anywhere that I can see; that appears to be a misreading by the OP here.) ‑ Iridescent 22:32, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
If you're trying to convince me that a global WMF survey was a global WMF survey, then...yeah. If you're trying to convince me that the methodology of Greenstein is vastly superior, then...yeah. They sampled upwards of 10 million edits over 10 years. If you're trying to pick a fight over the WMF obviously excluding minors from their study, or the terminology I happened to use for a college degree, then I'm not terribly interested honestly. GMGtalk 23:25, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
I think Iridescent's point is that a sample size of 88 editors isn't particularly meaningful in terms of the statistics that it presents, especially when other biases in survey methodology are accounted for. I'm sure the Greenstein study is more accurate than the WMF survey, but just based on a quick ctrl+f of all the terms I could try to think of to validate the claim about degrees, I couldn't find it (if it's there, I'd really like to see it because I find this sort of stuff interesting.)
My point about minors is that if you're making the quite frankly unbelievable claim that 75% of editors have a BA or equivalent degree, but excluding a significant portion of the editing population, it further casts into doubt that figure since minors generally don't have university degrees. There may be very valid reasons to exclude them from a survey, but when age is a very relevant factor in a claim that's being made to advance an argument, it is something the fact that a group that would make that statistic go down by a statistically significant margin has been excluded is something that needs to be raised. TonyBallioni (talk) 23:52, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
As far as I am aware, the exclusion of minors would not affect the comparison to the genpop with this data point, because measures in the genpop are also not counting children who are not old enough to have attained the measured degree. GMGtalk 00:00, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
Well, yes, but the general population statistics explicitly state they are age 25+. That's not what you said, and there's the fact that our editor population is very likely over-representative of minors. The point of reference matters when you're trying to make an argument that the educational attainment of Wikipedians causes bias. It's a fun fact to state, but the presentation is at best dubious when you factor in that we rightly encourage children to edit and we have had minors write featured articles. That and the overrepresentation of retirees both make that limited statistic very doubtful. TonyBallioni (talk) 00:07, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
I don't see the point you're making. If you compare a measure of the adult population vs a measure of the adult population (as in the US Census Bureau citation I provide above, 18+) then minors don't really play any part in proportionality. You should expect them to be equal, all other things being equal. The average for completion of an upper secondary degree for all OECD countries (25+) is actually at bit higher at 39% (p. 54), but still nothing compared to the global Wikimedia adult population. I'm not really seeing a methodological argument here other than "I don't believe the results". An 18+ vs a 25+ comparison between the WMF and the OECD actually skews the WMF results downward, given that many people aged 18-25 likely haven't had the time to complete their studies. I also don't understand where you are getting your demographic data regarding over-representation of retirees. GMGtalk 00:42, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
I'm not arguing against the methodology used on the minors point: as I said above, there may be valid reasons to exclude them. I'm saying that because our editor population has a statistically significant number of children, the non-statistical conclusions you are drawing from the survey aren't justified by the data. Additionally, yes, a limited sample size of this project as pointed out by Iridescent, does cast doubt on the figures. A low response survey making exceptional claims isn't really that strong of evidence for the exceptional claim, and even if there is larger participation from other Wikimedia projects, that can't necessarily be extrapolated to the English Wikipedia. On the retiree point, I'm sure you can find the data somewhere, but it's a generally agreed statement that our population over-represents those who have the time to edit: children, university students, and retirees. People with jobs have less time and are thus underrepresented usually. I'm far from the first person to raise this... TonyBallioni (talk) 00:56, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
This sounds a bit like "the plural of anecdote is not evidence". If you have data on the representation of these groups, then I'm happy to read it. I've read quite a bit on the matter and would like to read more. GMGtalk 01:08, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
Agree with that fact that USA related political articles are just filled with click-bait news. The main problem is coming from very few editors who belive blow by blow coverage is notable.--Moxy 🍁 22:21, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I don't think there's much we should, much less can, do. While I wouldn't be surprised of there being a liberal bias on this site (even beyond the whole "truth has a liberal bias" stuff), as a personal liberal I've seen quite a few conservative editors who have contributed quite productively to the site and we're not turning into Occupy Democrats anytime soon. Hot-button stuff can be appropriately protected to prevent any major shitstorms, and the one thing I think we'd need to do is to more carefully scrutinize breaking news. That said, I think NPOV is still holding up rather nicely, especially in medium- to high-quality articles. – John M Wolfson (talkcontribs) 06:24, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment - please, don't stop now. It is an interesting topic and one that needs to be addressed. Issues associated with RECENTISM/NEWSORG are real. How can we encourage WMF to invest more into WikiNews so that we don't have to make headlines to attract readers to the pedia? Is it a case of "news brings views" that keeps us in the top 5 Google searches? If so, what can we do to replace it w/o sacrificing anything? It may self-correct if more reliable news sources go behind paywalls. Earlier this year, I asked Jimbo to consider working with WP:TWL to get editors free access but the suggestion I received from (talk page stalker) was to search those sites incognito. Well, as one would expect, the sources have become wise to that browser feature, and have made/are making modifications. Atsme Talk 📧 21:08, 18 July 2019 (UTC)

Replacing a low-resolution JPEG screenshot image with a higher resolution PNG[edit]

thumb I recently uploaded this screenshot to replace an earlier one at The_Hitchhiker's_Guide_to_the_Galaxy_(video_game) because the former was such low resolution that it couldn't be read. This one was created by me at the exact same place in the game being run on Unix Frotz, with better resolution, and smaller file size, but is otherwise identical to the older image. I tried to change the name of the file's extension from .jpg to .png, but it seems that when editing a FILE, one cannot do this. Therefore I uploaded a new file, set a speedy-delete on the old one, and notified the original uploader. Today I got a message from that uploader telling me that I did it wrong:

You don't speedily delete the entire page, losing the history. You just reduce the size of the image and replace it on the same page, like this. —Prhartcom 11:43, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

So then I looked back at the file I marked for deletion and it had been deleted. Did I really do this wrong? I'm not clear how what's being pointed to is "right". How can I do this sort of thing better? There are several other Infocom game screenshots that I'd like to improve. -- Frotz(talk) 19:44, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

I see nothing wrong with that. Yes, you could have used a higher res JPG and overwritten, but that's a lot of extra bits where PNG for the type of rendering gives a smaller file size. I do not think that with File space we are as considered with contribution history particularly with NFC in play. --Masem (t) 19:52, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

Code Examples[edit]

Is there a Wikipedia policy regarding the usage of example code in computer science-related articles? For example, Anonymous function#Examples seems to contain an excessive amount of code. I haven't been able to find one, so this is my proposal:

  1. The example code and discussion thereupon should not exceed the size of the rest of the article combined.
  2. Examples should be limited to a few 'well known' implementations. For example, when talking about anonymous functions, lambda calculus is 'well known', because it introduced the anonymous function, and Lisp because it was the first programming language to implement anonymous functions.
  3. Examples should introduce Encyclopedic Value™. This is somewhat subjective but let me define it as something new and interesting that has not been discussed within the article yet.

GUYWAN ( t · c ) 22:32, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

This is a good observation. I think the simplest solution here would be to split that section into a separate article Comparison of programming languages (anonymous functions), in the style of e.g. Comparison of programming languages (associative array) and other articles listed at Template:Programming language comparisons. I would tend to agree with you that these long directories of example code per language are questionably 'encyclopedic', but it seems like there may be some consensus to keep them, and as long as they're in a separate article, they're not getting in anyone's way. BTW, you might get more responses if you bring this up at WikiProject Computer science or WikiProject Computing. Colin M (talk) 16:32, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
No, that would not be a notable topic. Many articles (even hello world) have attracted exhaustive lists where each item is added by an enthusiast for that language. I have seen several cases where the lists where severely pruned. Johnuniq (talk) 23:12, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
Well if you want to nominate Comparison of programming languages (associative array), Comparison of programming languages (list comprehension), Comparison of programming languages (object-oriented programming) etc. for deletion, you know where to find them. I wouldn't object - I'm just trying to read (local) consensus. The hello world examples are an interesting case - looks like there was a list article that got transwiki'd to Wikibooks. Maybe that option would make the deletion of these pages more palatable. Colin M (talk) 18:43, 15 July 2019 (UTC)

Notifications being deleted[edit]

Per this discussion, which it seems was just a de-facto announcement, older notifications are being deleted from the database. This means we are losing historical records of thanks, for example.

Technical justification seems handwavy at best, I think this is something that should have had full community input.

Anyone from WMF who can comment, or assist? Anyone in the community who feels, as I do, that this is a bad idea? Or a good one?

@Quiddity (WMF), Ricordisamoa, Ottawahitech, and Trizek (WMF):

All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 07:59, 11 July 2019 (UTC).

Your comparison to page history is false equivalence; not all records need to be kept forever. In six years I've never had a need for as many as 20 most recent notifications, so I can probably make do with 2,000. ―Mandruss  08:27, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
Well then, you could have a preference to allow them to be deleted. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 16:14, 11 July 2019 (UTC).
Why would deleting the notifications lose historical records of thanks? The thanks log doesn't need to be affected. —Kusma (t·c) 14:24, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
That's useful, and not something the developers seemed aware of. but even here, I can no longer see what the thanks were for. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 16:14, 11 July 2019 (UTC).
I don't see any need to retain them indefinitely anyway. With article contribution history, it's necessary, for CC-BY-SA purposes of attribution and also a record of article development, that contributions be retained permanently. I don't see any similar need for notifications to be retained forever; the underlying edit is still there. Seraphimblade Talk to me 17:20, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
In fact, I think they should go further and just give us a button already to delete notifications ourselves (only notifications to one's own account, of course). Someguy1221 (talk) 21:50, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
I have no problem with that, in fact I suggested it above, however it's not "further" it is "different".
Deleting thanks is a bit like deleting barnstars, IMHO. If the recipient can and there's a record, that's fine. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 21:40, 14 July 2019 (UTC).

Discussion of interest[edit]

A discussion of interest to those who frequent this page can be found here. Beyond My Ken (talk) 00:45, 12 July 2019 (UTC)

Discussion at Wikipedia talk:List of policies and guidelines#Status of WP:Office actions and WP:Bureaucrats[edit]

 You are invited to join the discussion at Wikipedia talk:List of policies and guidelines#Status of WP:Office actions and WP:Bureaucrats. —⁠andrybak (talk) 22:30, 13 July 2019 (UTC)

Announcement of forthcoming temporary and partial ban tool consultation[edit]

As many of you already know, a recent (2 July) Board statement about the Fram case recommended that the Wikimedia Foundation "[add] community input to the two new office action policy tools (temporary and partial Foundation bans)", and Katherine Maher, in her 3 July follow-up statement, noted that "Foundation staff have begun preparing for a dedicated community consultation on [...] the two new office action policy tools introduced during the last change".

While ArbCom continues to review the original case that is relevant to the other points Katherine identified, the Trust & Safety team has begun drafting a consultation on the topic of partial and temporary Office Actions, including their purpose and scope, and re-examining the question of appeals for them. We expect to publish a draft of this consultation before Wikimania, so that contributors both online and at Wikimania are able to review it and give us feedback about the consultation format before we launch the consultation. Announcements of the draft consultation will go out to all affected communities in line with the commitment from 17 June.

Once that feedback has been incorporated into the draft consultation, we plan to launch the consultation itself on September 1, 2019 on Meta. We offer our thanks in advance for your contributions, and we hope to get as much input as possible from community members both before and during the consultation! Kbrown (WMF) (talk) 15:47, 15 July 2019 (UTC)

I would strongly advise that this be delayed until the Fram case is completed. This community is still trying to heal. Trying to start this when people aren't going to have the energy to participate, and really aren't clear on the true dimensions and depth of WMF's conduct in this case, is only going to deepen the schism that has already been inflicted upon us. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 16:09, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
I'm putting this here because it was the first mention of it, but thanks to a number of you for highlighting the timing thing. I’m passing it on, and we do plan to take all the key issues (like “is the Fram situation still a jumble” and “would we get more neutral responses at a different time”) into account when we make the decision in late August whether to stick with a September 1 launch or push it back. Kbrown (WMF) (talk) 13:05, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
Kbrown (WMF), thank you for taking this into consideration. --Dirk Beetstra T C 15:17, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
What I am about to say should probably go somewhere more relevant, but one of the things that has disturbed me the most about the way T&S operates is that they keep dossiers and files on people without their knowledge. If they are doing that without informing the people that they are keeping dossiers on, that is not acceptable. For any system going forward (if T&S are to regain the trust of the community), there has to be an absolute guarantee that any user can ask if T&S have a file about them. And the WMF have to be truthful when replying to such requests. In some jurisdictions, it is not legal to keep such a file of personal data about someone without their permission, and the WMF would be required (with the appropriate redactions) to release that file on request by the subject whose personal data is being handled (there are both legal and ethical implications to handling such data). Carcharoth (talk) 16:39, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
I agree with this. I think it would be reassuring, in fact, if WMF committed to honoring EU-style disclosure requests worldwide, and built the mechanism for this into its privacy policy and the TOU. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 17:37, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
WMF commitment is irrelevant. Under GDPR any corporation or entity regardless of location that collects data on EU citizens or those residing in the EU has to abide by GDPR. Which means any SAR requests etc cannot be ignored. Since a number of WMF officials are actually in the EU it makes it substantially easier. Only in death does duty end (talk) 18:12, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
I think it's actually unclear whether noncitizens not residing in the EU have rights under the GDPR with respect to non-European firms that store data outside the EU. Many companies have committed to doing so anyway because of the inefficiency of having separate models for EU and non-EU persons (Microsoft has, for instance). Even if you are correct that the GDPR applies in that scenario, I think it would be reassuring and appropriate for WMF to publicly commit to honoring GDPR rights for non-Europeans, and moreover to incorporate those protections into the TOU so that there's teeth to drag WMF to court and get your data from them if they suddenly decide it's too inconvenient. This has to be more than a reassurance from a single board member or even the whole board: This has to be built into the TOU. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 18:40, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
Suffice to say, no its not unclear at all to anyone who actually lodges GDPR requests on behalf of EU residents, but I wont go into too much detail here. I agree that having the WMF actually commit to doing that would be nice. Unlikely though. Only in death does duty end (talk) 20:35, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
If it’s on behalf of an EU resident, then it certainly applies. I’m talking about what might be classed as “non-EU cubed” cases: non-EU resident’s data, non-EU firm’s storage, non-EU server. I don’t think it’s too farfetched to demand a commitment anyway. This is a corporation that rakes in $100M/year, not something being run out of a dorm room closet. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 20:50, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
I wonder what would happen with such a request: Kbrown, what would you do if I would request from you a report on what type of data you (that is, WMF including all the departments) are keeping of me and if I would request the complete file with all the data you are keeping of me to be sent to me? Or are these procedures that would be discussed in this consultation? --Dirk Beetstra T C 05:50, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
@Beetstra: Procedures like legal-obligation release of data will not be covered in this consultation, which is limited to the topics of partial and temporary Office Action bans. I mean, I understand what you’re asking, it’s just a completely different topic than the one we’re discussing here. That doesn’t mean you can’t ask it; it just means that it’ll be more productive if you shoot questions like this directly to the T&S team’s inbox ( rather than hoping to get them answered in a conversation where we’re focusing on questions about the consultation. Kbrown (WMF) (talk) 13:05, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
@Kbrown (WMF): I understand that this discussion is not the right place for this question, but I want an on-wiki answer to the question - I am not requesting my personal information, I want to know what you do when you get such a request. And I do think that it is fully relevant to any discussion regarding when and how to ban wiki editors based on such information, because, clearly, you keep information on volunteers and you act on that information that we do not know that you have, what type of info that is. --Dirk Beetstra T C 17:07, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
@Kbrown (WMF): This is going to come off snarkier than I mean it so apologies, but I want to check for understanding. Prior to Wikimania there will be a draft released which people can give feedback on - a consultation if you will. Then there will be a second draft that comes from that consultation and which will then be used to launch a formal consultation process in September. At the end of that consultation process Trust and Safety will resume issuing temporary and partial Foundation bans. Is that correct? Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 17:43, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
@Barkeep49: Kind of? Prior to Wikimania there will be a draft of the consultation released so that people can give input on topics like "does this format and set of prompts give space to address all the questions that need to be addressed regarding this topic?" and "is this consultation format likely to end in disaster when people start trying to talk about the topic?" We'll then take that input and adjust the consultation content/prompts/format as needed, and then proceed with actually holding the consultation. The goal is to be equipped to actually address (or at least talk about) all the important questions when we actually launch the consultation, rather than discovering partway through that, say, the community really wanted to talk about $insertTopicHere with relation to these actions and we didn't cover that in the consultation.
As far as "will the Foundation resume issuing temporary and partial Foundation bans at the end of this consultation", the answer is no, not necessarily. If there's no consensus to use those actions at the end of the consultation - either as-is or in some adapted format - then we will not resume using those actions. Kbrown (WMF) (talk) 18:42, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
Put differently, if WMF concludes there's consensus that they can continue, they'll continue, even if that's well before the Fram ArbCom case ends and and anyone really understands what's going on here. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 18:46, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
Gaining consensus before proceeding could have avoided a lot of these problems so it seems like a reasonable stepped approach - especially upon hearing that it's not baked into the cake that the foundation will resume issuing temporary and partial bans at the end. This for me was always about FRAM and what it said about the WMF and English Wikipedia and all its users as opposed to what it says/said about Fram, one devoted but complicated user. I trust our elected arbitrators to handle that case well just as I think that they've handled other complicated cases well. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 01:05, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
Wikimania should have nothing to do with this - it is a highly skewed club of the (mostly) more "cult-y" people and with COIs galore. Do it openly in the biggest forum, not in some echo chamber. - Sitush (talk) 18:12, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
@Sitush: "Openly" is definitely how we're doing this. The draft consultation will be placed on Meta so anyone can comment on it, including those who aren't at Wikimania, and as my initial announcement said, we plan to publicly announce when that draft is up so people know to come give us feedback. Our goal is to get as much input as possible both in designing the consultation, and then in the actual consultation itself. Kbrown (WMF) (talk) 18:42, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
No, Wikimania is a closed shop where you can prime a skewed sample of the community. - Sitush (talk) 19:20, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
Anyone care to bet what the keynote address will be about?--Wehwalt (talk) 19:31, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
@Kbrown (WMF): What are "all affected communities"? --Rschen7754 18:17, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
@Rschen7754: Heh, you caught me in one of my rhetorical flourish moments. "All affected communities" is just a fancy way of saying "all communities that use our Terms of Use," which is of course in turn just a fancy way of saying "We're going to notify all Wikimedia communities." Our Community Relations department will send out the notifications via bot when the time comes. Kbrown (WMF) (talk) 18:48, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
Does this include banned users who are still subject to the TOU as a result of the language in Section 12? Or will they not be able to participate in these consultations? (edit: to clarify, I am 100% serious about this question and it is not intended as snark) —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 18:52, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
Globally banned users are banned from participating on any Wikimedia projects, so they are not included in this consultation (similarly, event-banned users are banned from attending Wikimania, so they are also not included in that part of this consultation). Otherwise, users who are in good standing on Meta, whatever their standing on other projects, are able to participate in the Meta consultation. That includes the recipients of past partial and temporary office action bans, none of whom are in anything other than good standing on Meta as far as I'm aware. Kbrown (WMF) (talk) 11:26, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
I think that’s a real shame, as these individuals are by definition an “affected community”. Why are we not interested in their input? Are there other affected communities that will receive similarly unbalanced consideration, or similarly be ignored entirely? Surely such individuals should at least be permitted to participate via email. Not doing so strikes me as antithetical to the claim that this is an open or inclusive dialogue. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 16:59, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
Idle question - is the consultation is a single process involving multiple communities, or will a positive consensus be required on each specific project where the new bans could be applied? As a random example, if the en-WP community delivers a consensus in favour of T&S behavioural bans, will that also apply to (say) the Azerbaijan Wikipedia even though no editors from there might have offered a view? -- Euryalus (talk) 20:42, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
This is a single consultation that we're holding at the global level, and we will be soliciting input to it from all our communities. The global future of partial/temporary bans will be based on whatever consensus we find (or don't find) during this consultation. Kbrown (WMF) (talk) 11:26, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
Thank you for engaging in this discussion. Is it the intent of the Foundation to implement whatever comes of the consultation in a uniform manner across the communities?--Wehwalt (talk) 11:33, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
  • A very valid point has been raised by Sitush. Although we need to get this issue/these issues resolved as soon as possible, anyone who has attended several Wikimanias knows that it is a WMF event, and not as is commonly misunderstood, a community event. A very large part of the programme is presented and/or facilitated by WMF staff who account for a significant number of the attendees; the conference is a showcase for the WMF's work in front of a privileged audience. Although Wikimania 2019 falls at a convenient time, it should not be used as a proving ground for a WMF scheme. Due to cost and location of the conferences many of the people who matter are denied access. The effect would be skewed. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 23:40, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I agree with Kudpung here. Although there is no doubt people will discuss things there, as indeed they do at other wiki meets, Wikimania should not form a formal part of the process. I say that not particularly because it's a WMF event, but simply because its attendees are not representative of the communities at large. They are a small subset who have both the time and the money to spend several days in Sweden at the height of summer. The process should be based on on-wiki discussions only.  — Amakuru (talk) 23:58, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I understand where Kudpung and others are coming from; however, Wikimania is sort of a key point in the WMF's calendar. About a third of the staff attend (and almost all of the T&S staff, many of whom have specific "on duty" responsibilities there), so it's sort of a point where most non-essential work - such as monitoring and responding to "consultations" - comes to a halt. It's also about a month from now, which is a common timeframe for consultations. I don't think it is a bad idea to elicit opinions while there, either; although a fair chunk of attendees are what might be called "the usual suspects", it's also the one place where it's easier to directly connect with individuals who work on smaller projects and in small-language projects. The WMF sponsors some of those folks, but so do several chapters; at one point, WMDE was actually sponsoring as many non-local (i.e., non-German) attendees as the WMF was sponsoring non-English attendees.

    I suspect that what we may see is that some of the smaller projects, which lack the well-developed structures that we have on English Wikipedia, may find some value in getting assistance from the WMF to deal with their rare "big problem" users; in fact, we have good reason to believe that some of those non-English, small communities have already reached out to WMF for that kind of assistance, although the nature of the "problem users" that they're dealing with don't usually have much to do with harassment per se, but instead tend to be more into content manipulation or garden-variety misogyny or racism. Risker (talk) 00:25, 16 July 2019 (UTC) Disclosure: I am being sent to Wikimania 2019 as part of the Strategy 2030 project as an official representative of the Roles & Responsibilities working group. I have been assigned to talk about strategy for pretty much the entire weekend, starting the morning after I arrive. This isn't a tourist opportunity for me. Risker (talk) 00:25, 16 July 2019 (UTC)

Risker, I have been to dozens of international conferences in my long career. None of them were tourist opportunities - on most of them my costs were covered. On most of them all I saw was the road between my hotel and the conference venue, and perhaps a couple of restaurants - and that was pretty much the same for all the Wikimanias I have attended.
The vast majority of 'people that matter' (and I include you in this) are the experienced users who care about Wikipedia, bring some qualified baggage with them from RL, and populate these various serious online discussions about policies, technology, etc, but most of us are the very people who due to the cost are denied access and refused scholarships and other travel grants. We are just unable to meet up anywhere and discuss these things properly. Perhaps that will change for me personally next year in Bangkok for obvious reasons.Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 02:02, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
Quite agree with you on every point, Kudpung. I once described going to an FDC meeting as "get in a flying tin can, get regurgitated into a hotel, spend 10-12 hours/day in meetings, get back in the flying tin can, try to get back to my normal time zone." I just wanted to reinforce that, contrary to the belief of some, most of these events aren't really junkets, they're mainly "work" type events, even if the work is volunteer-based. I'm thrilled for you that next year's Wikimania will be close to home; it was really nice to have Wikimania in Montreal, which is a short (in Canadian terms) drive for me for a change, and I'm sure you'll enjoy not having to spend all that time in "flying tin cans" in order to participate. While I suspect that discussions at Wikimania will inform the outcome of whatever consultation takes place, I'm pretty certain it won't be the main source of feedback by a long shot. The key will be persuading people from non-English projects to participate in the discussion on Meta. Many of those projects are far more independent of the WMF than we are. Risker (talk) 02:38, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
Risker, knowing you, and that although we occasionally have healthy disagreement on some things, I am sure that your input at the conference will be very much appreciated. I'm just sorry I won't be able to be there to lend you support. Bangkok is only a $25, 500 mile, 55 minute flight from Udon, and in BKK I can use my sister-in-law's apartment. OTOH, I might even drive down - there will probably be plenty of occasions where my car will be useful (I know plenty of good and inexpensive restaurants). I hope you will be there. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 03:08, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
Kbrown (WMF) One of the mistakes that the WMF made in the Fram case was to give a temporary ban to someone without specifying why. Will the forthcoming draft learn from this and be clear that if someone is temporarily banned they need to know why so they know what not to do again when they return? ϢereSpielChequers 07:21, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
@WereSpielChequers: Restrictions that should be placed on the use of these partial/temporary actions (such as your idea, which I’ll paraphrase as “These actions should not be used unless the Foundation is willing to release evidence regarding the case or the accuser to the accused” - please correct me if I’m misreading you) are the type of thing we are hoping people bring up during the consultation. We want to know under what circumstances, if any, the community is ok with us using these actions. So I would encourage you to contribute to the pre-consultation phase to make sure we include the topic of such restrictions, and then to the consultation itself to make the case for that restriction. Kbrown (WMF) (talk) 13:05, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
Kbrown (WMF) The problem with your paraphrase is that it adds a contentious point that I avoided and misses the nub of my point. I made no comment as to who made the complaint. My point was that if you want someone to continue editing but stop a particular pattern of behaviour then they need to know what that pattern is. For example, and purely hypothetically, if you are banning someone for 12 months for making excess comments in AFDs you need to tell them that when they come back they can only comment three times in any one AFD. You don't necessarily have to say who complained about them, and if the restriction is justified it may not be anyone who they have interacted with - just someone who watched their edits and suggested to you that something was untoward. ϢereSpielChequers 16:52, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Yeah, I think it is rushing things and very premature to start this less than a month from now and publish the finalized consultation in less than 1.5 months. The planning and drafting and submission should all be delayed until after the Fram-ban ArbCom "case" and the Fram-ban itself is resolved however it is going to be resolved. This is as much for T&S's sake as it is ours. If we haven't fully understood and resolved the Fram-ban, then the community(ies) are not going to support the temporary/partial ban tool -- at least the communities (EN-wiki, etc.) that are sharply aware of the Fram-ban are not going to support it. So it would be best for all concerned to wait until the current issue is resolved, or else all of your drafting and such will have gone to waste as it won't be accepted. (And by the way Wikimania is not "the community" -- EN-wiki and its closely related projects are "the community" -- so right off the bat the self-selected main audience of inquiry is suboptimal, in addition to the timing being very premature.) Softlavender (talk) 08:28, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Kbrown (WMF): I do feel that this is awfully wrong timing. The community is still in the dark regarding Fram, still waiting for a hopefully positive and informative outcome. Although I applaud the initiative, I am very afraid that this will be burned at the stake even if it is a good proposal and way forward. You banned an editor without explaining why, upsetting a rather significant part of your community (~10% of your active admins resigned their bit) and you expect that the greater plan behind it will be met with general approval, ready for a real trial a couple of weeks later? --Dirk Beetstra T C 08:50, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
    • To me this feels like having a plan to strip a complete nursery of toddlers of their candy. While preparing the plan, you decide to set an example by stripping one of the kids, without warning or explanation and in complete silence, from their candy. After having that kid running around in tears for two days and having the whole nursery in distress (including their caretakers) you plan to bring said plan to the kids to see whether they agree with the general principle of the plan, and intend to implement it yet a couple of days later. Do you really expect those kids to even listen to your 'but it is bad for your teeth and you might get diabetes, we do this to protect your health!' (and I agree, stripping them of their candy to protect their health IS a good plan .. ). --Dirk Beetstra T C 10:45, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
Even if that means driving millions of tooth-fairies to join the lines of the unemployed? Nishidani (talk) 11:20, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
Making sure that those little teeth don't rot away before they take their natural cause of being taken by the tooth fairy seems to be part of the noble, albeit hidden, goals of WMF: it avoids that the tooth fairies have to ask for benefits. --Dirk Beetstra T C 11:33, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I feel the same as Dirk and others. Wasn't there a promise that something like Fram's ban would not happen again? I'd call that ban the worst distraction from content editing I remember in almost ten years. Assuming good faith always, I believe that it was not intended, but can't help feeling anything going in the same direction will not be acceptable. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 10:11, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
  • As the board statement said, "Any changes in the long-established practices of dealing with toxic behavior within the communities should be introduced carefully and only following close collaboration with the communities." The unilateral introduction of these "tools" violated this principle, and should be reversed pending consultation. It also seems that T&S have issued conduct warnings and interaction bans that have strayed into local governance, and this practice should also be examined. Kanguole 10:29, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
@Kanguole: Per the Board’s request, we have already halted the use of partial and temporary bans pending the outcome of this consultation. So those won’t be used unless and until the consultation reaches a consensus to use them. Things like conduct warnings and interaction bans are not covered by the topic of this consultation (remember, there is more consulting coming in the future regarding things like “identify[ing] the shortcomings of current processes and enforcement mechanisms, and to support the development of appropriate solutions”). So there will be a chance to discuss more generally the current processes and enforcement mechanisms like the ones you cite. Kbrown (WMF) (talk) 13:05, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
  • T & S staff may have done a poor job or a good job with Fram; since the facts are still veiled in secrecy, the en-wiki community has no way of evaluating the question. So, if the WMF is asking for my opinion on whether they should do more of what they did in the Fram case: no, not until the Arbcom case has been resolved and I can judge the facts for myself. I don't see how any other answer is possible, and I'm surprised that they don't get that. - Dank (push to talk) 13:59, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
  • The use of partial and temporary bans on the English Wikipedia must be decided by a RfC on enwiki, that is conducted in accordance with the norms of enwiki RfC's and closed by experienced enwiki editors. Other projects can decide whether to use this process as they see fit. Having this discussion on meta is unacceptable. Having it at a wikimania is beyond the pale. Tazerdadog (talk) 17:52, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
  • @KBrown (WMF): regrettably, my question for you seems to have gotten buried somewhere above, as did my thanks to you for engaging in this discussion. The question was, "Is it the intent of the Foundation to implement whatever comes of the consultation in a uniform manner across the communities?" Thanks again in advance.--Wehwalt (talk) 18:27, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
  • @Kbrown (WMF): Sorry, screwed up the ping.--Wehwalt (talk) 18:29, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
    @Wehwalt: I get the sense I might be missing some nuance to what you're asking, but to the best of my knowledge, the answer is yes, the results of the consultation will be applied globally. Does that answer what you were asking? Kbrown (WMF) (talk) 19:52, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
    Yes, thanks. No particular nuance, just me talking through my lawyer hat. :)--Wehwalt (talk) 19:56, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
  • As jaded as I am with the WMF in general, and knowing their general incompetency to manage the projects they notionally oversee, I can't say that I'm surprised by this next step in the events. The timing here isn't just wrong, it's abysmally stupid and once again demonstrates abject incompetence on the part of the WMF. First, the WMF moves at speeds that would make a sloth look fast while responding to the crisis they created, and now they are moving at a pace that is outstripping this project's processes for taking this case through appropriate resolution. WMF, BACK OFF. It's blatantly obvious you don't know what you're doing, yet your impacts are going to send seismic tremors throughout the movement. --Hammersoft (talk) 19:44, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
Perhaps the T&S team need to practice management of some rather more trivial scenarios first, such as organising parties in breweries. This scheme is wrong in so many ways. - Sitush (talk) 20:26, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
I agree with Hammersoft's assessment. The time for fast action, within hours rather than weeks, was when the WMF made an obviously bad decision, which should have been reverted as soon as someone competent in the heirarchy saw that such an obviously bad decision had been made. I can only conclude that there is nobody competent in the WMF heirarchy. Long-term, non-urgent, decisions should be made after discussion and reflection. And the idea that a wank-fest like Wikimania has anything useful to contribute is way out with the fairies. The WMF has become a self-sustaining bloated bureaucracy that interferes everywhere where not needed but when a genuine issue arises, such as the takeover of the Azerbaijani Wikipedia by extremist nationalists, just sits back and twiddles its thumbs. Phil Bridger (talk) 20:41, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
  • To put it bluntly: the WMF's T&S staff is the most incompetent body of people I have come across in my 30+ on the net. (Personally: after receiving literally thousands of death & rape threats here: I have suggested 3 easy improvements for the safety of community (and me!): none have ever been acted upon). I have totally given up on T&S: I have no trust in them, and they bring us no safety. And just while we are not yet finished with their latest spectacular failure (The Framban), they want to formalise rules to give them the rights to commit further blunders. (<facepalm/>) What could possibly go wrong? (<sarcasm/>) Huldra (talk) 21:32, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
  • A quick note before I go offline for a while: I would not go forward with this plan, were I a member of the Trust and Safety team, and/or the Foundation. The community here is still recovering from the fallout of earlier, unwise actions and statements by the T&S team, and throwing something like this at them is decidedly imprudent at this time. I also question the necessity of celerity, and, moreover, the inclusion of any comments from individuals at Wikimania; on the latter, I'm in agreement with Sitush: at the end of the day, this is a hobby, really, for me, to which I'll help and contribute, but paying money is a bridge too far (for now). Moreover, the idea of folks at a Wikimedia convention (that's honestly what Wikimania is, if you'll pardon my simplification) having a greater say simply because they can go and schmooze and whatnot seems antithetical to the egalitarian spirit of the Wikimedia projects as a whole. Javert2113 (Siarad.|¤) 00:16, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Read the room, T&S. This should not go ahead until ArbCom has finished with the Fram case. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 00:46, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
  • No, I very much don't think so. You can take your tool and shove it until such time as you a) become more communicative and b) start following your own damn policies. Jtrainor (talk) 00:46, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
    Sadly I can predict the response to this: (a) "All the planning charts and demolition orders have been on display at your local planning department in Alpha Centauri for fifty of your Earth years..."—er wait, wrong story—"The community was put on notice of the changes months ago and there was significant support for the changes, so we're surprised by this sudden protest to something that was already done!", and (b) "We followed the policies exactly as we wrote and intended them." —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 01:34, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
  • While I normally do not interject in matters of Administrator bans, I am fully aware of the need for hierarchy and general order for the good of this noble project, Wikipedia. If the Wikimedia Foundation should ever stay its hand from imposing a temporary ban on Administrators, which bans are sometimes needed to stop a particular pattern of behavior, then how do we expect to handle behavioral issues in the future? There seems to be a need for clarity in this matter. No man is unassailable. In our capacity as collaborative editors, there is always a need to ensure that ordinary editors and Administrators uphold the high standard of showing common decency and respect for all others, even when they disagree with others. After all, consensus is what prevails here. With that said, we all make mistakes. After falling, we stand-up again, and try to amend our ways. BTW: I have also been topic-banned twice. We learn from our mistakes.Davidbena (talk) 01:35, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
    • "[H]ow do we expect to handle behavioral issues in the future" There's this little thing called ANI, and failing that, ArbCom. Softlavender (talk) 01:43, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
      • That might be, but in the case of filing a complaint against an Administrator, most editors here would be afraid to do so because of their fear of reprisals. Sometimes going to the "man upstairs" is the best option, particularly, if they are non-involved observers of a bad situation that needs fixing. Besides, I have noticed where matters of dispute submitted to ANI have often turned into a "free-for-all," with participants showing little regard for true jurisprudence or circumspection.Davidbena (talk) 01:54, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
        • Not true. Complaints are filed against administrators all the time. And ArbCom is the "man upstairs" -- an elected, uninvolved group of editors who disinterestedly arbitrate issues that are contentious, that are privacy-related, or that have remained unresolved by ANI. ArbCom has desysopped and/or banned many an administrator. Softlavender (talk) 02:47, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
          • Perhaps, but in this most recent case (which prompted this current action), I have not seen one iota of interjection by people who sit on ArbCom to correct what others might see as a behavioral issue. Do you not trust the good judgment of someone who serves as a Wikimedia Foundation appointee?Davidbena (talk) 03:05, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
            • Do you not trust the good judgment of someone who serves as a Wikimedia Foundation appointee? On the off chance that this is a serious question: No way. This is based on years of watching them do business. Especially not after this debacle. And I know for a fact that I'm far from the only one who feels this way. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 03:10, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
            • "I have not seen one iota of interjection by people who sit on ArbCom to correct what others might see as a behavioral issue." No one brought Fram to ArbCom for any longterm sitewide behavioral issues. ArbCom does not "interject" to correct behavioral issues unless a case is brought to them. Softlavender (talk) 02:19, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
    • Yes, in basis I agree with you, Davidbena. But there are ways to do things and ways to do things. As may be clear from this page and from WP:FRAM is that most agree that there are problems, and that a change is needed. But what WMF is doing here is not the way. If you have a problem with your neighbouring country you can either close the border, or you can start talking, or you can nuke them. This is the latter solution. --Dirk Beetstra T C 03:16, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
I have only briefly looked at the complaints against WP:FRAM, and while I am sure that he has contributed much to the benefit of this worthy project, which he should be commended for, there was still something in his approach to problems (use of language) that caused me to cringe. When I was a child and I used foul language, my mother rushed me into the bathroom and washed-out my mouth with soap. That literally happened. I learned from that experience. Now, those who sit on the board at WMF have a greater responsibility than most of us here, which is to maintain the integrity and good-working order of this project, and to correct wrong when they see it. A temporary ban is not a permanent ban. It's a way of saying to the person that he should correct his ways. Correction / Reprimand / Reproof are never an easy thing. It hurts. But it is the most effective way to bring about change in a person's attitude.Davidbena (talk) 03:29, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
This is in no comparison to washing-out someones mouth with soap. --Dirk Beetstra T C 04:15, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
To go with your example: your mother should have shot the cat of your neighbour's daughter. --Dirk Beetstra T C 04:49, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
Davidbena: You know I don't like "foul" language; the problem with WMF targeting Fram is: why him? We both know there are lots of other editors who use equal language why have they not been banned? Was it just "incidentally" that the editor they banned, also was one of their harshest (and very on−the−point) critics, or that he had made some very relevant criticism of the edits of the wife of the Head of the Board of Governors on WMF?? Lol. Frankly, from day one this has looked as: "If you are criticised: ban the critic!" That will make the criticism go away, for sure. (<sarcasm/>) Huldra (talk) 22:51, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
I wouldn't know about all that. Besides, it is impossible for WMF board members to know about all the "foul" mouthing that goes-on, and, frankly speaking, I have seen almost no "personal attacks" that make use of foul language. Normally, you would not expect such conduct from an Administrator. I know only of one other case where the Admin. used provocative language in his discourse with fellow editors, and he was stripped of his administrative duties (desysopped). So, with that said, I give the Wikimedia Foundation and its staff members the benefit of the doubt.Davidbena (talk) 23:23, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
Well, that's the "he said 'Damme'" argument heard from. "That word of evil sense/Is wholly indefensible". Odd WMF should concentrate on a vague expression of frustration when we have nationalistic wars raging across Wikipedia, but they've never been noted for getting priorities straight. No offense meant, Davidbena.--Wehwalt (talk) 23:33, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Read the room and step away unless FRAMGATE gets resolved. ~ Winged BladesGodric 09:43, 18 July 2019 (UTC)

Arbitrary break (WMF partial ban announcement)[edit]

  • Lol, you should have heard the comments if WMF had NOT announced they were going to do this, or if they had said 'late September'.... can't please these english wikipedians. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 07:42, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
    • Isn't that what WP:FRAM is about? And if everything goes as expected/usual with WMF, they will just implement it anyway (deja vu?). --Dirk Beetstra T C 09:36, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
  • @Kbrown (WMF): The WMF should never use temporary or partial bans on any project that has a functioning ArbCom. It should also never use bans without explanation or route of appeal, unless legal / child protection issues are involved. Furthermore, secret proceedings are anathema to the openness of this community, at least, and to protect any victims, you must never invoke the Streisand effect the way it happened in the Fram case. Honestly, I find it difficult to find any use case for these tools at all, other than starting forest fires. —Kusma (t·c) 10:19, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
But if the WMF leaves bans in the hands of ArbCom... that doesn’t leave the “Trust and Safety” team with anything to do. Why, someone might suggest that we don’t actually need a T&S team (and that would be crazy talk) Blueboar (talk) 23:29, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
Blueboar, if people in T&S don't have enough to do, they could just go and learn all the languages of all Wikimedia projects so they can react to enquiries from everywhere without involving volunteers. That should keep them busy for a while. —Kusma (t·c) 14:50, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Hi Kusma, those are totally valid opinions about the use of these tools. You're welcome to contribute them to the consultation when it opens, as that's where we're going to be taking in suggestions, opinions, recommendations, etc. While I'm reading what people are saying in this thread, it's what people say in the actual consultation that will go into the consensus-making. Kbrown (WMF) (talk) 11:40, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
That makes no sense to me. The Board have said it should not happen but you're going ahead with a consultation covering those issues anyway? Are you really saying that the consultation is going to cover stuff that the Board has said is a no-go area? Or are you going ahead because all consultations, research and similar projects enable people to stay in a job? Or have I misunderstood the Board comments? Or what? I'm guessing it is a fault in my memory because anything else seems like corporate incompetence or grifting. - Sitush (talk) 11:51, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
Hi Sitush, the Board statement called for "re-evaluating or adding community input to the two new office action policy tools (temporary and partial Foundation bans)", which Katherine followed up with "We will seek further community feedback on those [partial/temporary tools] changes. These new tools will not be used again until community consultations to clarify their purpose and mechanisms are completed". So this consultation is us doing what both the Board and Katherine requested - re-evaluating and, particularly, getting community input into the use/non-use of those tools. And as I've said elsewhere, the result of that re-evaluating and community input might be those tools still existing, still existing in a modified format, or not existing at all - it depends on the input we get at the consultation. Kbrown (WMF) (talk) 20:09, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Kbrown (WMF), nothing is stopping you from using the responses here in later consultations. At the very least, you should link to this as a previous discussion. If you want a wide-ranging consensus, you should make sure you don't ignore useful input just because it is made in a different venue, and by a different crowd. —Kusma (t·c) 15:00, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
  • If any legal or child protection issues are involved then any ban should be indefinite and apply to all Wikimedia projects, so temporary and partial bans wouldn't come into it. This actually gets to the nub of the problem, which is that the WMF should only get involved, at least on projects with a reasonably well performing arbitration committee, when behaviour is serious enough to justify such a complete ban. Phil Bridger (talk) 18:30, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
  • @Kbrown (WMF): Things like conduct warnings and interaction bans are not covered by the topic of this consultation My apologies if this is off-topic, but are any statistics available on how often you issue these conduct warnings and interaction bans? Bovlb (talk) 17:57, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
    @Bovlb: Sure, I pulled the records on this. It looks like, globally (across all projects/languages) and since April 2017, we've given out 12 conduct warnings (13 if you count the conduct warning reminder Fram received after their original conduct warning) and 2 sets of interaction bans. Kbrown (WMF) (talk) 13:11, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
    @Kbrown (WMF): - Can you clarify two more points:- (1) Was Fram the first/second recipient of IBan? (2) Does these conduct warnings currently cover anyone's en-wiki behavior? The first query, for sheer curiosity and the second query, so that the community may take steps to determine the validity of those warnings reviewed by the ArbCom. ~ Winged BladesGodric 14:20, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
    @Winged Blades of Godric: Sorry, while we're happy to give out general numbers, for protection of user privacy we're not able to go into specifics about who, what, where, or when. Kbrown (WMF) (talk) 17:30, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
    • @Kbrown (WMF): Thanks. One more question: Do you have a sense, on the whole, about whether these conduct warnings and interaction bans have been successful? Bovlb (talk) 21:35, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
  • This is poor timing. Wait until the Fram situation is resolved. Reyk YO! 11:53, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
  • For the "too soon" type responses - this is a global effort that WMF is trying to work on - and giving feedback about how to handle "projects with large communities" (for example projects with 10,000+ active users) should certainly be helpful, saying don't do anything globally just because the English Wikipedia doesn't like the timing is really a bit pretentious. — xaosflux Talk 13:19, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
  • "just because the English Wikipedia doesn't like the timing". That is misstating the case. The timing is non-workable because the proposal/consulation will be rejected in the absence of facts/clarity/resolution in the Framban case. That means WMF's time and effort in compiling the plan will have gone to waste. It is to their advantage to have matters resolved on the Framban prior to rolling out the consultation. Softlavender (talk) 05:56, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
    • I get where you're coming from. But for me, the outcome of the Fram debacle will give me a clearer idea of how much I want the foundation to get involved around here, and whether they're actually likely to listen to what we say at the consultation. That will strongly influence what, if anything, I will say there. Reyk YO! 13:26, 18 July 2019 (UTC
    • @Xaosflux: and also I see where you're coming from, but seen that ~40% of editors are here, and there are currently quite some upset editors here they run the risk that the voice of the other Wikis will all be overwhelmed. The statistic influence of those 40% is tremendous. Moreover, en.wikipedia editors have now more reason to go there than any other wiki (all the editors here will be there, but from the, say, French Wikipedia?). It may very well be unfair to the other wikis to do this now, and even a very good idea from WMF may just fail because of that. --Dirk Beetstra T C 15:11, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
  • In the context of English Wikipedia (what happens on Armenian Wikiquote or whatever is out of our competence to decide), per my original comment when Fram's ban was announced (the subsequent discussion of which became WP:FRAMBAN), I can see no circumstances when it would ever be appropriate for the foundation to use a partial block on English Wikipedia or on any other project with a functioning dispute resolution process. Either somebody's conduct is so problematic that they should be banned from all projects permanently, or the appropriate response should be decided by the relevant community's processes. Except possibly in a very few edge cases to do with ongoing legal action where the parties need to be prevented from commenting while a real-world case is ongoing, there are no circumstances in which somebody's conduct could be so problematic they need to be totally banned with no possibility of appeal, but simultaneously so non-problematic that the problems will no longer exist in a year, or so non-problematic that they're free to edit every other WMF site without restrictions. ‑ Iridescent 14:31, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
    @Iridescent: regarding ...with a functioning dispute resolution process... who do you think should measure this attribute? If such a process is malfunctioning, should it measure itself? — xaosflux Talk 14:35, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
    Xaosflux, I could imagine that WMF Office decide that a wiki does not have a functioning DR process. In that case, they would have to dissolve the local ArbCom (or desysop all admins if there is no ArbCom) and take over. I don't think they should ever issue a local ban without dissolving the local ArbCom or desysopping all admins. —Kusma (t·c) 14:49, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
    @Kusma: perhaps for the "large community" type projects (such as here) I mentioned above, but that seems like a really bad plan for a global rule. To compare to Iridescent's comment above if the 3 admins at Danish Wikiquote weren't able to deal with someone harassing someone there, removing their ability to do other constructive activities would be a net loss. — xaosflux Talk 15:21, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
    Xaosflux, of course it would. But either you have autonomy or you don't. If the WMF want to make decisions on an individual project, they need to clearly delineate what decisions are up to them and what decisions are up to the local community. I don't think "difficult behavioural decisions" is a sufficiently well defined area to be given to WMF instead of local decision making, so I am suggesting easier options: all or nothing. —Kusma (t·c) 16:17, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
    @Xaosflux: WMF could very well measure this attribute (obviously, with Fram they did that, and decided that our dispute resolution process is not functioning). That is however something completely different than silently overtaking that. 'We get complaints of this nature, which is in our opinion a shortcoming in your dispute resolution process, can you please make it more stringent so we get less of these complaints'. If then, and only then, nothing is forthcoming or there is no success after some attempts, then there may be reason for WMF to overtake it (and then, WMF could still warn 'if you do not solve these problems, we will take a top-down approach and do it for you' before actually implementing it). That does not seem to be an approach that WMF has taken. --Dirk Beetstra T C 15:15, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
    "If such a process is malfunctioning" Is it malfunctioning? According to whom? Softlavender (talk) 05:48, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

Wikimedia Strategy Survey[edit]

At best indirectly policy-related, but likely of interest to those who follow this page. I stumbled across this on a project talk page and thought it warranted wider publicity. As part of the Wikimedia Movement Strategy process, nine distinct working groups are running surveys of the broader Wikimedia communities on areas that are likely of interest to all of us on enwiki.

The surveys are located here. The working groups, and topic areas being surveyed, are: Advocacy, Capacity Building, Community Health, Diversity, Partnerships, Product & Technology, Resource Allocation, Revenue Stream, Roles & Responsibilities.

I know the dates here make it sound like this is over already, but a working group member indicated that at least the Community Health one, and it sounds like all of them, will be open till next Friday.) Opabinia regalis (talk) 07:42, 16 July 2019 (UTC)

FWIW, I tried to click on one of the links, & nothing happened. If they extended the period to gather responses, someone apparently wasn't told & has disabled them. -- llywrch (talk) 21:05, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
@Llywrch: Having selected one or more topics, did you then click on the "next" arrow bottom right? Not the most intuitive user interface! PamD 04:43, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
No, it is far from an intuitive user interface. Thank you for the hint. I hope this design decision is discussed at length with the person responsible for it at their next employee review. -- llywrch (talk) 05:56, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
I was bemused about that at first, too. There are some seriously off-the-wall ideas being tested there, eg as currently being discussed at User talk:Iridescent#Diversity survey. - Sitush (talk) 06:38, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
From the reply to Opabinia regalis's post on Meta, the "surveys" will remain open until the end of July. SusunW (talk) 18:19, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
Diff for the record. Opabinia regalis (talk) 04:57, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
Appalling web design. I would never have thought to select a link at the top of a page and activate it through a button at the bottom of the page below the fold. Where is this system in general use? One would think they are trying to avoid getting responses while being able to claim they were consulting the communities. But we should not ascribe to malice things which are adequately explained by incompetence. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 13:13, 18 July 2019 (UTC)

Are policies being used to the detriment of Wikipedia?[edit]

I have seen a number of examples where a user (including myself) has tried to add information to an article, only to have it reverted on the grounds of Wikipedia policies such as "reliable source" or "no synthesis", and in my opinion either the policies are being misapplied or they are not good policies. The result is that Wikipedia is less informative and useful than it could be. I can give two recent examples I have been involved in. One is the article Polyphenol, where I tried to point out that "polyphenols" are not polymers of phenol -- quite obvious to chemists but this was reverted a couple times for not having a reference, or a good enough reference. Another example is the article on Quercetin, where I added a paragraph about research in mice. This was reverted on the grounds that one reference was not reliable (Nature Medicine!) and "primary", even though I supplied a secondary reference.

I know that I can argue each case on the Talk page, but I find that there are certain people who seem to consider it their life mission to stop people adding interesting information, using whatever policies they can. As soon as you add some interesting information (which may be surprising and go against conventional "wisdom"), these people revert it -- within minutes. They must have watch points set on huge numbers of articles.

It seems to me that the result is detrimental to Wikipedia. Are the policies really supposed to stop Wikipedia from giving interesting information, or are they just being applied in ways they were not meant to be applied?

Eric Kvaalen (talk) 09:19, 17 July 2019 (UTC)

Hi Eric Kvaalen. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. It's not meant to be interesting. It's a knowledge base of facts that can be linked to reliable sources. Adding Original research, or something which you know may be correct but is not sourced, is not permitted. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 09:53, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
Policies can be abused to the detriment of Wikipedia. If someone adds or defends information that certain people don't like then first the sources are called unreliable (NOAA and the UKHO for instance), and then dismissed as primary when they report the real world. some times you just need to just drop it and accept that WP will never be 100% accurate. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 11:53, 17 July 2019 (UTC)

@Kudpung: Do you really want Wikipedia to be just dry facts? Here we're allowed to tak about what Wikipedia should be, not just how the present policies make it turn out. But let's take the example of what I added to the article quercetin. Some researchers did some (very interesting) experiments using it in mice. Their results were so surprising that they did the experiments over and over (according to the New Scientist article). They got it published in Nature Medicine, which is a top journal and of course peer reviewed. Do you think the information about their findings should not be in Wikipedia? Do you think it's "non-factual" and should be excluded? (If so, then I think you'd exclude most research findings!) The question here is not what do the policies dictate, but what should happen. If the policies don't allow what should happen to happen, then they should be changed. Eric Kvaalen (talk) 18:50, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
@Eric Kvaalen:, if you strongly feel that the material should have been added to that article, then take the question to the article's Talk-Page, or, perhaps even, submit there a WP:Request for Comment (RfC). If the majority of contributors agree that it is content worthy of adding to the article, you'll have your needed consensus to add it.Davidbena (talk) 19:23, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
(EC) Wikipedia policies reflect the consensus of editors as to what 'should' happen. If you disagree with wikipedia's sourcing and consensus requirements, then perhaps its not the place for you. If policies were changed every time an individual decided they didnt allow what that individual thinks 'should' happen, it would open the doors to all sorts of rubbish. If you have a problem with the specific application of a policy in relation to an article, raise it at a relevant noticeboard (WP:RSN for WP:RS for example). If you have a problem with the basic wording and purpose of a policy, then raise a discussion on that policy's talk page. To look at your specific example re Polyphenols: something obvious to 'Chemists' doesnt come close to satisfying WP:BLUE (and thats an essay!) so yes, it needs a citation to a reliable source. Only in death does duty end (talk) 19:24, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
No one likes being reverted, but sometimes it happens. It is part of the Bold, Revert, Discuss cycle that is the usual way to achieve consensus at WP. In this case, raising the issue on the talk page with the reverting editor may give you some insight as to why your edit was reverted. Perhaps there is a compromise statement, or a better section, etc, that would fly. I don't know the mind of the reverting editor, but in this case the Quercetin assertion added could be seen as a (bold) health claim, and for that the consensus is to require WP:MEDRS levels of sourcing, where popsci secondary sources don't cut it. --{{u|Mark viking}} {Talk} 19:36, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I would expect something that is “obvious to chemists” would have lots of reliable chemistry sources to support it. If not, it may not be as “obvious” as you think it is. Blueboar (talk) 19:44, 17 July 2019 (UTC)

Eric Kvaalen, Wikipedia is not just dry facts. It can be written in an interesting but formal prose. However, it is an encyclopedia and neither Primary Sources nor any form of Original Research, nor writer's Own Opinion are acceptable. Generally, reports in established scientific journals are considered to be Reliable Sources, but Wikipedia editors may not put their own slant on it. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 01:29, 18 July 2019 (UTC)

@Kudpung: I note that your statement about primary sources is contradicted by the very link you use. Primary sources are allowed, within our limits that for any source (not just primary, despite how people often emphasize it solely with respect to primary sources) we don't add our own analysis or interpretation. In this particular case, the additional guidance at WP:MEDRS is also likely to be relevant. Anomie 12:20, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

@Davidbena, Only in death, Mark viking, Blueboar, Kudpung, and Anomie: David, I do take these issues up on Talk pages, but I'm usually thwarted by people citing policies. Once I did a Request for Comment and got blamed for it! (See Talk:Superconductivity.) "Only in death", maybe you're not a chemist, so it's not obvious to you that polyphenols are not polymers of phenol. (Of course, you have to know what the term "polyphenol" is used for, which not all chemists would know, but the article tells us!) Mark, the trouble with what you call "the Bold, Revert, Discuss cycle" is that whenever I be bold and add something surprising or that goes against conventional wisdom, someone reverts it citing some policy or other, and then it gets bogged down in discussion. If I discuss too much they accuse me of making a "wall of text"! Often there are two of these guys against me (oce recently I saw them calling me names behind my back on a personal talk page). But even if there's only one, we don't agree, so the article stays the way it was after the reversion. In the quercetin article I made sure to include both a Nature Medicine reference and a secondary reference, but they still claim it's no good. Blueboar, the question of whether polyphenols are polymers of phenol is so obvious to a chemist (once he knows what a polyphenol is) that it's not mentioned in references. It's like a book on chess openings telling you that you can only make one move at a time. Kudpung, it's not clear from what you have said whether a primary report in, say, Nature Medicine isi allowed or not, according to present policies. But I'm saying that if it's not allowed, then the policies should be changed. I might add another problem -- sometimes I have tried to delete something even though it has a reference (see for example Talk:Tomato/Archive 2#Energy value) because it's clearly wrong. But these guys still knock me on the head with policies and won't let me do it. Eric Kvaalen (talk) 14:13, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

No one is a chemist on Wikipedia.
I don’t see a problem with the policies in the examples you mentioned. Without getting into it, I agree with you in one but not the other. Sometimes editors will disagree. Sometimes they will be wrong, and sometimes you will be wrong. Often, by assuming good faith and patiently discussing concerns, you can arrive at a solution that is better than either editor’s initially preferred version.--Trystan (talk) 14:29, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

Using complex footnote formats to wall out the ability of other editors to participate[edit]

Recently I have come across an editor who appears to be using very sophisticated reference formats that make it impossible to add new material to various parts of the entry. I typically use the basic "<ref>" format. The entry used the simple format throughout for quite a long time. However once the complex format was launched, it became almost impossible to use the simple format! I have spent quite a few hours attempting to understand what is going on and how to work with it, but so far I haven't been able to decipher what is going on..The format allows the editor to insert long quotes that support his POV inside the references. Neurorel (talk) 23:57, 17 July 2019 (UTC)

The relevant policy is WP:CITEVAR. Could you indicate an example of this? Perhaps I can help. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 00:06, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
I assume this refers to V. S. Ramachandran? The article appears to have been referenced with a mixture of {{cite}} and non-template cites for quite a while, so there does not seem to be an "article style" to conserve. What HouseOfChange is doing is making use of the "quote" parameter in that template, which is entirely legitimate in principle. There's nothing preventing you from continuing to use the basic plaintext reference style. Not pronouncing on any content and/or POV issues here; this looks like an article to stay away from unless one wants to join the battle. -Elmidae (talk · contribs) 02:39, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
Thanks to @Elmidae: for pinging me about this complaint. I would be grateful if anybody wanted to "join" the dispute over whether WP:RS or WP:OR is a better way to edit a BLP. @Neurorel: Quotes are meant to add information, usually by pulling out a piece of the article text that verifies the item being cited. Templates are available for anybody to use at Template:Cite_web and Template:Cite journal. You are also free to keep using a different format if you prefer it. HouseOfChange (talk) 03:00, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
(EC) In general, you can add citations in whatever format you feel comfortable adding them. If someone wants to bring things in line with the established format, that's great, but they can't revert a valid addition just because it's not in the same format they want to use.
That's like reverting someone for writing "Chinyelu Susan Onwurah (born 12 April 1965) is politician involved in the labor movement" because it's labour in UK English, not labor. The solution is to bring things in line with the variant of English used in the rest of the article.
Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 03:07, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
Yup, that. If you want to add new, appropriate, sourced material to an article: just do it. But then don't fight afterwords with someone adjusting the technical aspects of how the sourced citation appears unless you have a good understanding of what is going on there. — xaosflux Talk 15:26, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Is the problem with the citation style... or with the quotes that are included in the citations? I ask because I get suspicious whenever I see lots of quotes in citations... that practice is often a red flag that material is being taken out of context to support a POV. Blueboar (talk) 16:48, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I'm not convinced that Neurorel's summary of affairs is entirely complete: checking some diffs from the past week, I see he has also extended quotes from sources (albeit in blockquotes rather than using the "quote" parameter of CS1 citation templates) [17], so this is not a one-sided struggle where one party can add lengthy quotes and the other can't. There's clearly an ongoing debate between the two editors over how to assess Ramachandran and various incidents of his career. I don't see evidence that HouseOfChange has been using CITEVAR to revert constructive contributions by Neurorel, or has objected to Neurorel's additions on the grounds of citation formatting. I do share Blueboar's concern that extended use of quotations is a troubling sign, but this may partly be a function of the back-and-forth that's going on over the article (i.e., quotations are included so that the other party can't misrepresent the source). I don't know whether or not Neurorel is correct that the article is overly favorable towards its subject, but some of his contributions are troubling, most egregiously [18]; Quora should not be treated as an acceptable source to gauge the critical reception of a living subject's work. Choess (talk) 22:12, 18 July 2019 (UTC)

The problem has disappeared! Perhaps, I was repeatedly doing something incorrectly. Sometimes working on Wikipedia can be exhausting. Thanks for the discussion. Wikipedia is a great gift to the world of knowledge and information. Everyone who contributes to it should be proud.Neurorel (talk) 23:48, 18 July 2019 (UTC)

RFC: Formalize Standing of Portal Guidelines as a Guideline (18 July 2019)[edit]

Should the existing page that is labeled as Portal Guidelines have the status of a guideline? 19:09, 18 July 2019 (UTC)

This page has been in place since 2006 and has, in general, been recognized as a guideline, but some editors have questioned whether it was ever properly adopted, and others have wished to suspend it. The purpose of this RFC is to clarify either that it is a guideline, or that it isn’t a guideline. If it isn’t, then we can go back to square one and adopt a new portal guideline, or we can we Use Common Sense.

The key sentence of the guideline is, and has been for more than a decade: Please bear in mind that portals should be about broad subject areas, which are likely to attract large numbers of interested readers and portal maintainers.

If the guideline is adopted or re-adopted, changes to it can be made by another RFC.

Please Support or Oppose adoption or re-adoption of the guideline in the Survey. The Threaded Discussion section is for back-and-forth discussion. Robert McClenon (talk) 19:09, 18 July 2019 (UTC)


  • Oppose (i.e., keep it as the internal documentation of the portals project and don't elevate it to a Wikipedia-wide rule). I appreciate the sentiment, but the small-but-vocal "the more portals the better" faction will take the existence of formal Wikipedia guidelines for portals—whatever those guidelines actually say—as evidence that portals are an integral and indispensable element of Wikipedia, meaning any further attempts to remove even the most moribund of portals will be met with "but this is a broad subject area, the guidelines say it should have a portal, and the fact that it has zero readers and hasn't been updated since 2007 is irrelevant", turning MfD into even more of a mess of portal-related wikilawyering than it already is. ‑ Iridescent 19:23, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
    I would actually prefer to see "evidence must be provided for the utility of a portal, to include significant pageviews (possibly in proportion to the number of articles under a portal's sphere of topics or the portal's prominence)" as an explicit rule here or elsewhere. That would kill the conflict stone-cold dead and give us something trivially measurable. --Izno (talk) 21:29, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Support - It has been the working guideline for 13 years, regardless of whether it was properly adopted or not, and it is a guideline that works well if one takes note of the key phrase with its qualifications, so that "broad subject area" cannot simply be determined a priori because readers and portal maintainers must exist a posteriori. Robert McClenon (talk) 01:28, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
  • It is demonstrably not a guideline, if a guideline is something documenting community consensus on how something should be done. The page nominally described how to make Portals, with very loose criteria, and portal deletions at MfD from 2018-2019 prove that as a guideline it failed. How can this happen? Look at the history. It was advertised, rejected, nearly everyone moved on, someone surreptitiously tagged it {{guideline}}, it and most portals continued as walled gardens. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 01:46, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose: The whole idea that a portal needs a big number of readers and maintainers to be kept around is nonsense. Readers come and go, and may be lured into portals if so badly needed. Note that the most viewed portals are, unsurprisingly, those mentioned at the top of the main page. The criteria must be a stable one, like the notability guideline for articles, which is not temporary. Maintainers? A good portal should not need maintainers: just set it up, give each section a populated queue of articles to display, and that's it. New articles may be added later, but it would still be a functional portal even if completely abandoned. I have seen deletionist users saying "this portal has a mistake, delete it!" or "nobody is keeping an eye on this portal, delete it!". Nobody keeps an eye on it? See Wikipedia:Arguments to avoid in deletion discussions#Nobody's working on it (or impatience with improvement). There is a mistake? So fix it!. I propose that we demote this page to an information one, decide a notability criteria for portals (with that name or another), and in the meantime decide things using just the breath of topic Cambalachero (talk) 13:37, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
The problem is that, without someone keeping an eye on them, portals are vulnerable to vandalism, and the introduction of Original Research or POV bias. They do need to be maintained. Blueboar (talk) 13:44, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
But that is not at all unique to portals, and less meaningful than in articles our main body of work (and percentage wise makes portals look like basically nothing - and thus whatever portals problem there is basically nothing), which articles are riddled with multiple problems as anyone honestly touring our articles knows, so the work continues and never ends. Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:59, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
By "keep an eye" I meant "someone working with it" (yes, not the best choice of words), as usually requested in MFD discussions (a usual argument is "the last significant edit was in X date"). Add it to the watchlist and revert any potential vandalism? Most portal creators have probably already done so, and if the creator left the project anyone concerned can watchlist the pages as well. But that's something that is largely unseen, because portal pages are hardly ever, if at all, vandalized. Vandalism in portals is basically a non-problem, and we don't need a Springfield Bear Patrol to control it.
By the way, we also have Wikipedia:Database reports/Forgotten articles, articles that have not been edited in almost a decade! Should we delete them as well? Cambalachero (talk) 15:59, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
@Cambalachero, articles are the actual encyclopedic content of Wikipedia. They have inherent merit, which is why we cut them a lot of slack even if they are in poor shape, because they are at least the germ of better content.
Portals are not content. Their function, if they have any, is purely utilitarian, and so if they lack utility they have no purpose.
As to watchlisting portals, try watchlisting say Portal:U.S. roads. To do so, you need to watchlist all its subpages, and that is such a huge task that very few editors will ever do it.
And without widepsread watchlisting and monitoring, on what basis do you claim that vandalism ins't a problem? --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 19:41, 19 July 2019 (UTC)


  • Replace the whole of the portal guideline with the one sentence quoted above by Robert McClenon: Portals should be about broad subject areas, which are likely to attract large numbers of interested readers and portal maintainers, plus a second sentence very very few portals can ever meet this criterion..
Nearly everything else about portals is disputed. But after nearly 6 months of MFDs, it is very clear that there is sustained community support for the basic principle that portals have to be good, have lots of readers, and be well-maintained.
Other proposals, such as that by @Izno, may be considered later. But the two sentences I propose above clearly mandate the continued cleanup, while other issues are debated at leisure. I hope that addresses Iridescent's concern. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 22:39, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
Oppose: It does not add any new criteria, I don't see the point to it. And is "Very very few" a typo, or an intentional remark? Cambalachero (talk) 13:45, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
Cambalachero, the point of it is to cut the ground from under the professional dissemblers such as NA1K, who have been engaged in a campaign of twisting plain English as part of a FUD strategy. The argument being made by NA1K is that since most portals get abysmally low page views( >60% get less than 25 views per day), the phrase "large numbers of interested readers" when applied to portals actually means a number of daily views which is near-zero. That is of course a negating-interpretation, designed to render the guideline meaningless; if "large" just means "greater than zero", then the word are has effectively been abolished. .
It is difficult to deal with the FUD tactics of serially dishonest editors like NA1K, but rather than a prolonged conduct case I think that the simplest way to stop the nonsense is just to clarify the guideline. There may be other forms of wording which would do so more effectively, and I am open to other suggestions for wording. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 15:08, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
Your proposal does nothing of that. It simply reformulates the existing text. Cambalachero (talk) 16:04, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
As I said, @Cambalachero, I am open to other suggestions. If you don't think that "very very few portals can ever meet this criterion" is clear enough, the what wording do you suggest to make it clear that "large number" actually means "large number", rather than "very small number shared by a big set of other failures"? --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 17:03, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
My proposal: "Portals should be about broad subject areas". Period. Cut the conflictive part of it. Cambalachero (talk) 18:13, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
The problem here is that there is an actual conflict between a) those who use the actual meaning of words and b) a worryingly large group of portalistas who take a Humpty Dumpty approach to language. We have actually had portalistas arguing in all seriousness that a topic which has three articles in its scope is broad enough for a portal. Many of them still believe that 20 articles constitutes a "broad topic".
I don't like instruction creep, but when people don't apply common sense to the English language, it is necessary to spell things out in more detail to avoid endless conflicts with those pursuing fantasies. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 19:52, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Support: portals on all but a very small number of significant topics are not useful to readers. Bilorv (he/him) (talk) 11:23, 20 July 2019 (UTC)

Threaded Discussion (POG2019RFC)[edit]

  • Comment As background to this, some editors have been on a deletion spree attempting to remove portals. Among other possible problems, one deletion justification put forward for a portal to be deleted is that it has been unmaintained for a while. So in the crucial sentence mentioned above, portals being broad is uncontroversial, but the subordinate clause apparently requiring regular maintenance, IMO needs more discussion. In article space, we have the general consensus that there is no deadline. In WikiProject space, projects with few recent edits might be marked as inactive, but they are allowed to stand. Whilst an infrequently edited portal is perhaps less useful over time, why are portals an exception to the no deadline consensus? For my part, I would have a hard time accepting this as a guideline with this apparent editing frequency Sword of Damocles built in. And if the consensus is that it should be in there, I think thresholds need to be established, so editors are clear when a portal is endangered due to lack of recent edits. --{{u|Mark viking}} {Talk} 19:39, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
    • Just some additional background: that portals are intended to be maintained has been part of the guidelines since before there was a Portal namespace. The 9 July 2005 version of WP:PORTAL says, in bold, Only create a portal if you intend to maintain it. Of course, consensus can change, and I agree there should be more discussion on this point. Wug·a·po·des​ 23:11, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
      • Thank you for the history. While I am a proponent of not setting deadlines in general at WP, I didn't appreciate that active maintenance was built into the Portal ideal. I tend to think of a portal as a prettier version of an outline, which is just fine as a reasonably static entity. But if dynamic content is seen as a core requirement or purpose of portals, I can understand how others editors consider infrequently edited portals as failures. --{{u|Mark viking}} {Talk} 00:20, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
        • At some point in the past I suggested merging outlines and portals mostly for that reason. Part of the problem is that the outline/index/portal system is so fragmented that it's not obvious what function they each uniquely serve. Consider how much different Portal:Contents/Outlines is from Portal:Sports for instance; the only thing they seem to have in common is the namespace. Wug·a·po·des​ 01:43, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment If you want to get editors to try and improve portals and make them more attractive and useful for the users, then going on huge deletion sprees based on pageview numbers is probably not very productive. And telling those editors who try to improve portals that they are just wasting their time and they should just get in line for the purge is not helpful either. If this is how portals are treated then you might as well do another RfC and delete them all. Nobody wants to spend time on a portal if the deletion squad comes next week and deletes it all anyway. --Hecato (talk) 20:43, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
    Hecato and Mark viking: The portals project left many hundreds of portals abandoned and outdated for over a decade, and then allowed itself to be used as the base for mass exercise of portalspam. The project did nothing to cleanup the portalspam, and nothing to cleanup the junk which it has left around for a decade. On the contrary, the portalistas have hurled indignation, abuse, vitriol, lies, and much else at those who have done any stage of the cleanup which the portalistas themselves shirked.
Average daily pageviews of portals on en.wikipedia in April–June 2019
The main issue now is that there are still way more portals than readers want or use, and way more portals than there are teams of maintainers.
So no, at this point we definitely do not need editors to try and improve portals and make them more attractive and useful for the users. What we need is a much deeper cull of portals, to get them down to a very much smaller number of portals that are actually used and actually capable of being maintained. Basically, we need to chop off the long thin tail on that graph, and concentrate on a very small number of portals. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 22:54, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
"We" need to concentrate? What portals are you improving currently? --Hecato (talk) 08:18, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
User:Hecato - When you have made one-third as many edits in portal space as User:BrownHairedGirl has made, perhaps she will be ready to answer one-third of your questions about "improving" portals that no one views and that contain obsolete information. Robert McClenon (talk) 17:16, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
With the benefit of his vast experience of 35 days as a registered editor, and his massive contribution of 605 edits, Hecato is making a lot of very strident pronouncements about issues which others have grappled with on Wikipedia for many years. It can be amusing to see someone sign up and then pronounce as if they had years of experience, but it's rarely an approach which ends well in any field.
One of the many things which Hecato misses is that one of the roles of an editor is to actually to edit by removal. We edit articles to remove surplus verbiage, unsourced assertions, falsehoods and other extraneous matters. We delete article on non-notable topics, and we merge other items to lists of broader articles. We edit the template namespace to remove unused or unhelpful templates, such as navboxes with too few links. We edit the category namespace to delete categories which fail any of a huge range of criteria, and to purge many other categories.
So what Hecato maybe hasn't noticed is that in their enthusiasm for keeping a page which they created, they have aligned themself with a group of fundamentalists who object in principle to any deletions in portalspace, even of spam, and who have made it their mission to preserve the long tail of unread, abandoned portals. Hecato is entitled to join that team if they want to, but the preservation of abandoned junk seems a very odd priority for joining Wikipedia. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 17:56, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
I did not know on wikipedia arguments are won by seniority. You wrote a lot of text with assumptions about my motivations and the characters of people you assume I have "aligned" or "allied" myself to, but you forgot to answer my question. What portals are you currently improving? Do you intend to invest a lot of time working on improving portals in the future, once you are done with your so-called "deep culling"? --Hecato (talk) 19:55, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
User:Jo-Jo Eumerus - It has been marked as a guideline for 13 years, but recently some of the editors who defend all portals including crud portals proposed to suspend it, and then User:SmokeyJoe discovered that it had never been formally adopted as a guideline, and so it has been variously tagged. I would have thought that being used as a guideline for 13 years would grandfather it, but some editors now think that it is disputed. So the purpose of this RFC is to formalize the existing page to be a real guideline if it wasn't one. Thank you for asking. I didn't think it should be necessary, but it apparently is necessary to re-establish it. Robert McClenon (talk) 22:46, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
@User:Jo-Jo Eumerus, the basic dispute about the guideline is quite comical.
In a nutshell: the guideline is entirely the work of portalistas, developed by them over a decade. The cleanup volunteers have been using the criteria set by the portalistas themselves as the principle by which to delete the vast piles of abandoned junk portals. This has outraged the portalistas, who are incandescent at the sheer wickedness of the cleanup volunteers' effort to stop wasting readers time with decade-old abandoned junk. So the portalistas have been repeatedly trying to remove from their own guideline anything which assists in the deletion of the unviewed abandoned junk portals which the portalistas love so much. Those text-removal attempts failed, so now the portalistas don't seem know whether they still want their own guideline or not, and the most currently vocal of them has taken up a stance which oscillates between fantasy and outright lying about what the guideline actually say.
So basically, expect this RFC to have people coming at it from all sort of unexpected angles. It will either be a damp squib, or an excuse to consume lots and lots of popcorn. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs)
User:Mark viking and User:Hecato complain that there has been a "huge deletion spree". The history is that there was a huge reckless portal creation spree in late 2018 and the very beginning of 2019, in which thousands of portals were created using automated portal creation scripts that created portals in a few minutes at a time. The portal creation spree took place quietly, subtly, because the creation of pages in Wikipedia is a quiet process that doesn't have to be broadcast. Much of that portal creation was reversed by two systematic deletions involving almost as much work by User:BrownHairedGirl in identifying those portals using AWB and listing them as it took to spam them into existence, and these deletions, like the individual deletions underway at MFD, are a noisy process, done with full publicity and plenty of notice. In the process, User:BrownHairedGirl and I and a few other editors discovered just how bad many of the portals are. While the portals that were created by the portal platoon in late 2018 were nearly all crud, we discovered that crud had been building up for at least a decade that still needs to be sent to the bit bucket. Robert McClenon (talk) 23:25, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
I will add that, as to the complaint that editors are not being encouraged to improve portals, it is true that BHG and I are not encouraging last-minute slapdash improvements to existing crud portals. Existing crud portals should be deleted before we decide which ones should be maintained and improved. Robert McClenon (talk) 23:25, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
I am sorry, but your words are hard to believe when I read discussions like this one called "Unwanted portals" which is entirely based on pageviews and not the quality of the portal or "breadth of subject" or whatever other policy is poorly hammered into shape to justify the delete-no-matter-what vote on the MfDs. I do not believe you will stop once all the so-called "crud" portals are gone. --Hecato (talk) 07:22, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
Hecato, if you have found a measure other than pageviews by which to identify unwnated portals, then please present it for consideration.
Note that even after 5 months of deleting ~84% of all portals (the spam and the abandoned), 94% of the the remainder get less than 100 page views a day. Over 60% get less that 25 views per day. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 17:08, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment Firstly, let me apologise to readers who have read this comment before. I repeat it because this is the umpteenth forum to restart this discussion and some editors may have missed the prequels. In 2018 there were about 1500 portals. WP:ENDPORTALS, whilst it did not endorse every single portal, found a strong consensus against deleting or even deprecating portals at this time. Many more portals were created, some on narrow topics and containing errors, but almost all were soon deleted. The deletion process then turned to existing portals. Although the rate has slowed, we are now down to 858 portals and losing about five a day. Many of us see a frog-boiling process of inventing ever more innovative deletion criteria. One of many examples is WP:REDUNDANTFORK, which explicitly states over 100 times that it applies only to articles. (Portals will by necessity present material which is already in articles; that's their job.) WikiProject Portals and associated pages such as WP:POG are now a dysfunctional WP:BATTLEGROUND. The talk pages have become unusably large, as any attempt to improve or even justify the existence of a portal is met with a WP:WALLOFTEXT from those who believe portals to be junk and crud and that we definitely do not need "editors to try and improve portals and make them more attractive and useful for the users". Editors are being driven away from portal maintenance, and possibly from Wikipedia. More importantly, none of this helps our readers. Certes (talk) 10:03, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
    • WARMONGER Certes LAMENTS WAR HE STARTED. Certes has a really brass neck writing that, because Certes is one of the two editors most responsible for insisting that portals become a battleground.
Back in February/March, there was extensive discussion about how to remove the 4,200 automated spam portals created by @The Transhumanist (TTH) and his cronies. There were proposals for speedy deletion of the spam, much of which was created by TTH just for the heck of it."
Certes was one of the most vocal opponents of using speedy deletion criteria to clean up the spam. Not only did Certes demand that each of these portals be examined individually, Certes explicitly refused to assist with the one-by-one cleanup which he insisted others do.
Even at this stage, when the issue was just a torrent of spam, Certes denounced those trying to clean it up as waging "war on portals".
When I tried back in March to assemble a group of editors from across the spectrum to draw up an RFC on ways ahead, Certes refused to participate.
When the cleanup of the 4200 spam portal revealed the existence of hundreds more portals which had been abandoned for a decade or more with negligible readership, the MFD process has continued.
It is a great pity that it has become so conflictual. But a very large proportion of the blame for that lies directly with Certes, who has consistently rejected dialogue and actively sought to create a battleground. The editors who have worked on clearing TTH's portalspam and then on the sea of abandoned junk have been subjected by the portalistas to sustained abuse, hostility, personal attacks, repeated lies ... and Certes is one of the instigators of the battleground atmosphere in which cleanup has proceeded. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 14:48, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
I would just like to point out that this is the level of dialogue administrator BrownHairedGirl brings to all discussions related to portals. --Hecato (talk) 15:39, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
Warmonger? Cronies? Really? If you want to lament that this is a battleground ripe with conflict, start by examining your own behaviour... Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 16:22, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
Unfortunate, and there needs to be a dial back. The WP:SHOUTING by BHG is another sign. Please look again at WP:ADMIN and the conduct expectations there, also, basically every Arbcom case has something like these words, 'even difficult situations should be addressed in a calm and dignified fashion'- so, something to ponder. Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:51, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
@Headbomb, I have been on the receiving end 6 months of battlefield conduct from Certes and his cronies, who have sustained a barrage of accusations, name-calling, lies and ABF ever since the first moves were to remove the flood of portalspam. After month of being passively on the receiving end of these warriors' antics, I am now calling it out per WP:SPADE. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 17:14, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
Or you could take a WP:Wikibreak and dial things back down, and realize you are getting worked up about pages very few people even care about. The world will not end if Portal:Physics remains as is. Get perspective. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 17:17, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
I could indeed do that, @Headbomb. But I believe passionately in the principle that we are here to build an enyclopedia, and in the principle that we build it by consensus between editors who discuss in good faith with integrity and mutual respect.
If the battle-mongers like Certes and the liars like NA1K succeed in driving away from a whole namespace those who actually try to use evidence and data and research to uphold long-established principles, then we have a much bigger problem than this dwindling number of unread hobbyists pages. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 17:30, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
I have now repeatedly seen you call administrator NorthAmerica1000 a liar and other such epithets, while I have only observed them to be polite, helpful and interested in solving issues. To me you have also been rude repeatedly, despite me being a relatively new user who was not involved in any of these past events you talk about. I hate to play the victim here, but you even degraded me for my real life occupation and told me I was not welcome on this website. Regardless of what has expired in the past, I do not think it justifies the behavior you have demonstrate here and elsewhere on this website. --Hecato (talk) 17:53, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
Hecato, my initial contact with you was that I wrote a welcoming, encouraging and detailed post to you. You chose to respond promptly with a set of smartarse misrepresentations designed to score points. Your choice to poison that discussion and then double-down on your rudeness was your choice; don't blame anyone else for your choice.
I get that you have chosen NA1K as an ally, because you share the same objective of not deleting portals. But the problem with NA1K's conduct is that civilly-phrased lies and misrepresentations are still lies and misrepresentations, and I am one of those people do not consider a campaign of lies and misrepresentations to be civil conduct. Evidently we disagree about the acceptablity of lies and FUD. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 18:08, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
I know you think you've shown restraint, and perhaps relative to your current tack, you have. But I wouldn't describe your previous reactions as passively receiving criticism. You have been objecting to the behaviour of others throughout. It is, of course, not unusual to engage with critics, but it would be helpful to avoid ratcheting up accusations and interpretations of motives. isaacl (talk) 17:38, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment: There was a proposal to end all portals just a year ago, with a community-wide discussion, and it was decided not to do it. Nominating one portal for deletion is not a problem, but the users advocating it are very clear that they intend to delete basically all portals except for just 5 or 6 ones. Meaning, take a long detour to do the very thing that the community has already discussed and rejected. One of those users even called it unironically a "[cull]". This seems like a case of Gaming the system. Cambalachero (talk) 14:36, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
ENDPORTALS was the rejection of a proposal to delete in one go all portals.
It was not a decision to keep any portals, because that question was not asked.
If you or anyone else wants to propose that there should be no deletion of abandoned junk portals, or no deletions last numbers of failed portals with abysmally low readership, then go ahead and make that proposal. You could call it WP:DEFEND ABANDONED UNREAD JUNK.
Good luck with that. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 14:55, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
  • It was decided that Thanos can not simply snap his fingers and make all portals dissapear just like that. That doesn't mean that Thanos can simply take a machine gun and start killing everyone one by one to achieve the same culling. That is gaming the system. Cambalachero (talk) 15:16, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
  • What a strange and dishonest metaphor. As you know well, there is no machine gun.
There have been hundreds of MFDs of portals in the last 6 months, each of them open for at least the minimum 7 days, and overwhelmingly they have closed as delete.
Labelling that long process of individual assessment by open discussion as "machine gun" is hyperbole designed to mislead, because it is only by such misleading hyperbole that you can lay the false charge of gaming the system.
Please drop this WP:BATTLEGROUND mentality and battleground imagery. Either launch your WP:DEFEND ABANDONED UNREAD JUNK RFC, or stop sniping. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 17:23, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
It's something called "humor". Why so serious? But if you did not get it, I will repeat the idea without humor. A year ago, it was proposed to delete all portals, as a single and unified action. This proposal was rejected. Now, you are proposing to delete all portals... though a long and time-consuming of nominating them one by one at MFD, to achieve the same end that the community has already rejected. Any individual MFD discussion can not be blamed, but the bulk of them, added to your proclaimed goal, is a clear case of twisting the rules to evade the consensus against your proposal. Cambalachero (talk) 18:33, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
Irony is not conveyed well in ASCII text. If you want to use irony, it is best accompanied by indicators.
Anyway, your substantive argument is based on a misrepresentation of my position.
I do not intend to use MFD to remove all portals. I use MFD only to propose removal only of portals which clearly fail the quality standards set in the long-standing portals guidelines.
In the course of spending over a thousand hours analysing many hundreds of portals, I have come to the conclusion that the set of portals as a whole is a failure, and that there should be a mass cull of all but the most successful. But that would be a proposal for another venue, possibly RFC; it is not a matter for individual MFDs.
I have actually been repeatedly surprised that my efforts to MFD the abandoned junk portals have continued for so long, because I never expected that after hundreds of abandoned portals had been deleted I would still be finding abandoned crud such as Portal:IndyCar. I remain shocked by the fact that after 40% of the pre-TTHspam portals were deleted, junk like that still exists. And in one day last week, I found over 20 further portals which are in barely better condition. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 19:11, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
In a section above this one, you wanted to remark that "very very few portals can ever meet this criterion". Keeping just those "very very few portals" that would comply with your criterion... isn't the same thing as deleting almost all portals, who would fail it? And note that, despite the shortcut, the ENDALLPORTALS proposal also made an exception for some "very very few" portals as well, such as the current events one. Cambalachero (talk) 20:00, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
Not so. The proposal at WP:ENDPORTALS is explicit: "Should the system of portals be ended? This would include the deletion of all portal pages and the removal of the portal namespace.". --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 23:51, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

RFC: Purposes of Portals (19 July 2019)[edit]

The purpose of this RFC is to determine what are considered to be the purposes of portals. 01:35, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

Some of the purposes that have been proposed are:

1. Showcasing our best content to readers. The Main Page, for example, is a portal with this very purpose. The Main Page is also very labor-intensive. Showcasing is work.
2. Navigating the encyclopedia. Along with lists, navigation templates, and categories, portals are one way readers can navigate the encyclopedia.
3. Containing content not available elsewhere on the encyclopedia. Some editors have stated that portals contain content, so that content is harmfully deleted when portals are deleted.
3A. Unique, forked or transcluded encyclopedic content
3B. Explanatory content such as guidance and reviews (others?)
4. Planning and management of WikiProjects. Portals allow editors to keep track of the current and planned scope of the project's coverage.
5. Metatext and reviews of the topic.
6. A statement of the importance of the topic. The provision that portals should be about "broad subject areas" is more commonly remembered and quoted than the qualifying clause, "which will attract readers and portal maintainers". A portal is seen as a declaration that a topic is a broad subject area.
7. An invitation to readers and editors to develop particular articles in a topic area.
8. Fun, or exercise. Some editors like making portals.

In the Survey, please specify between 0 and N (currently 8) purposes that you think are valid purposes of portals. You may add numbered purposes to the end of list and !vote for them also.

Threaded discussion may take place in the Threaded Discussion section. Robert McClenon (talk) 01:35, 19 July 2019 (UTC)


  • Only 1 and 4 are appropriate and feasible purposes for Portals, either old-style or new-style, and it's not really suitable for 4. Outlines or Wikilinks in the main article can replace the otherwise appropriate purposes 2 and 3, and invisible comments in the outline can better serve the purpose of 4. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 06:18, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
  • 1, 2, 3 (presentation style and selection), 7. I think portals can fill a niche that lists and navboxes cannot fill. An interactive guided exploration into the subject scope utilizing multimedia and a more visual narration style than what would otherwise be acceptable in the article space. Wikipedia's navigation methods are horribly outdated, hence other websites and web-apps survive solely by scrapping wikipedia, summarizing content and presenting it in a more modern visually engaging format. A lot of portals at the moment are just colored boxes with a bunch of navboxes stacked inside. I agree, you do not need portals for that and no reader in their right mind would use such a navigational tool. But that does not mean there is no potential behind the concept of portals. --Hecato (talk) 07:35, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I find myself in agreement with most of what Hecato states above, particularly formatting portals to further evolve as an "interactive guided exploration into the subject scope utilizing multimedia and a more visual narration style" and utilizing "a more modern visually engaging format". Very sensible notions. North America1000 08:24, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
  • None of the above are valid. Wikipedia portals are a failed experiment. None of the functions above justify creating a standalone page in a separate namespace.
Web portals were a major feature of the web in the early 1990, but their usage fell of a cliff in the late 1990s, because they were made redundant by two new developments: A) powerful and effective search, B) massive and deep cross-linking.
Wikipedia portals were created from 2005 onwards in a rush of naive enthusiasm, hoping that a few part-time Wikipedia editors could build a model of navigational tool which had became redundant even with huge commercial resources behind it. Unsurprisingly, they failed.
14 years after the creation of the portals namespace, the only portals which get over 1,000 pageviews a day are the 11 portals linked prominently from the main page. That main page gets an average of 16.5 million views per day, yet even the most popular of the 8 topic portals linked from the prime advertising slot on that page Portal:Biography which couldn't even average 2500 daily views in Q2 2019.
Despite 14 years in which editors can develop, test, and experiment with formats for portal, not one of the non-frontpage portals has come anywhere meeting their goal of being used by large numbers of readers.
I have sent months examining portals, looking at different models of portals, comparing states of maintenance, pageviews, incoming links ... and the simple answer is that in the end, none of them works. Even lovingly-maintained portals with plenty of incoming links still get abysmal pageviews, and most still have very poor functionality: e.g. most of them require a page refresh to view another set of topics, which is a massive usability fail. Almost none of them is designed to take advantage of the preview-on-mouseover built into the Wikimedia software.
The stats show very clearly that readers do not want portals. The portals are being created for the entertainment of their creators, rather than to meet a need. It's time to stop the farce of claiming that better design or more maintenance or or links will resolve the fundamental problem of redundancy. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 16:18, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Potentially, 1 and maybe 2. But on the whole I agree with User:BrownHairedGirl. The "portal community" have no one but themselves to blame, as they chose to chase quantity rather than maintaining and improving quality on a smaller number. Johnbod (talk) 18:24, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
  • None of the above are valid or useful in real life. BTW, the common meaning of portals does not include the main page. Trying to lump them together is IMO a bad move.North8000 (talk) 19:39, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
  • 1 and 2 only, but these criteria are only met for a handful of portals with very broad scope. I agree with much of what BrownHairedGirl says. Bilorv (he/him) (talk) 11:27, 20 July 2019 (UTC)

Threaded Discussion (Purpose of Portals)[edit]

  • This is better described as a straw poll, it is unworthy of an RfC. Move it to WT:POG --SmokeyJoe (talk) 01:39, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
    • @SmokeyJoe: Part of the reason it's worth having an RfC, regardless of where, is that there really is no agreement about what the community sees as the purpose of portals. While you're right this is a straw poll, getting a wide range of input is actually helpful for moving forward with updating POG. I do think having two separate portal RfCs on the same page at the same time is somewhat excessive though, it may be better to merge with the one above so it only needs a single RfC tag. Wug·a·po·des​ 04:28, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I think we need to ask a second question: Are portals the best method of achieving these purposes? For example, I do think topic navigation is a valid “purpose” of portals, but I think that between blue links, navboxes, infoboxes, and categorization there are much better ways of helping editors and readers navigate to related topics. Blueboar (talk) 02:37, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
    • But it is a well known 'fact' of pedagogy that there are different styles of reading and different learning modalities for each of the billions of readers Wikipedia seeks to be open to. Someone of even a modicum of curiosity could go to most portals and make connections they never thought of before (ideas of things to work on, etc). In short, it would not be an "or" issue (only, 'these' or 'that') -- 'plain list' or 'formatted illustrated page' -- it is an 'and, and', which is, more than incidentally, the spirit of the wiki. Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:05, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
      • This is part of the reason why I think it's not really necessary to have an English Wikipedia-wide consensus on the purpose of portals. If there is a group of editors who are interested in developing and maintaining a portal for a given purpose, either one listed above or another one entirely, and they manage it in a way that does not burden anyone else, why not let them have their portal? I might not agree with that purpose, but if I can safely ignore the portal, why should I deny others the advantage of using their preferred tool? (I would consider a poorly-maintained portal to be a potential burden to readers and thus indirectly to the editing community.) isaacl (talk) 16:34, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
        • But it's the "well-maintained" part that's the issue. Something like Portal:Trains consistently gets fewer views than my user talk page, but I have no issue with it because it's kept up to date and may be useful to someone. Where it becomes a problem is when a portal is out of date and inaccurate, but is linked from article space, so readers regularly stumble across it. ‑ Iridescent 16:46, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
          • Yes, I've already written lots of words on the need for maintenance on the portal WikiProject discussion page. (In short: I agree.) I was commenting on this discussion's seeming goal of agreeing upon the purposes for portals. isaacl (talk) 17:13, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
(ec) Whatever style of reading or learning suits anyone, that style is not served by a sprawling collection of under-maintained (often abandoned or stillborn) pseudo-portals displaying outdated and/or factually wrong unsourced information.
The reality is that nearly all portals are ignored by readers, and only 6% of them exceed even the low rate of 100 daily pageviews. The result is that mostly poartsl almost unused, and are under-maintained or abandoned.
In an ideal world, "both and" is a lovely principle. But the reality of Wikipedia's 14-year experiment with portals is that we simply cannot keep more than a handful at the level needed to make them viable. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 16:55, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
Well, we have discussed this before, and for readers of this discussion unfamiliar with that one prior discussion, you know I reject your few readers complaint because even 'one' reader/editor who gains something is great. And, yes, everything, everything, on Wikipedia could use improvement. (And for others, I am putting this in as abbreviated a way as possible, to just get the gist across, because it is now clear to me that no matter what, BHG thinks numbers is what matter, so much so, that it gets to angry words if someone disagrees). - Alanscottwalker (talk) 17:05, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
Alan passionately disagrees with the long-standing POG guideline that portals should be a "broad subject areas, which are likely to attract large numbers of interested readers and portal maintainers". Sadly, Alan does not accept the consensus has sustained that guideline for many years.
Alan also knows full well that my main objection to underused portals is not that numbers is what matter. My concern is that the numbers are reliable predictors of poor quality and of attack vectors for vandals of POV-pushers; and the existence of this huge collection of neglected/abandoned portals is a massive net negative.
But sadly, Alan prefers to misrepresent my position as being all about numbers. Other editors with more concern for truth can check my MFD nominations, where I have analysed the abysmal quality of many hundreds of portals.
It's a great pity that Alan is more concerned that I might be angry at his misrepresentations than he is concerned about refraining from making misrepresentations in the first place. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 18:26, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
I am not sure how you found that particular brand of "passion" in what I say. At any rate, your commenting is in full WP:BATTLE mode. I just hold views that contradict your position, that is all, that's not a misrepresentation. This is the only the second time, I have discussed this with you. And both times you instantly come out come out in WP:BATTLE. This is getting worse and worse. Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:43, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
Alan, get a mirror.
You chose to misrepresent my position in order to bolster your argument. That's WP:BATTLE conduct. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 18:52, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
It's just not true. You already knew I disagreed with your premises before you replied to my comment, here. Yet, what did you do, repeated the same things over again, to me, because you are in BATTLE mode. If my brief experience with you on this is any indication, you cannot ever accept in good faith that people hold positions contrary to yours, on this. Someone else above said they were fine with having portal TRAINS, that's my position too, that is all (and TRAINS is just an example). Because I don't hold to your BATTLE mode. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:58, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
Alan, you are entitled to hold whatever position you like, but you are not entitled to misrepresent my position.
Please stop your BATTLE conduct of misrepresenting me. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 19:16, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
I have misrepresented nothing. The BATTLE comes in your failures of proper conduct and assumption. Not from the very few times I have spoken on this. It's just that I agree with above that no matter your view of the numbers for portal TRAINS as 'too small' by some metric someone has chosen, it is still fine to have portal:trains, and portal others. Alanscottwalker (talk) 19:24, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
Alan, you said BHG thinks numbers is what matter.
That is simply not true; my view is numbers are a part of what matters.
So you misrepresent me, and then claim that my objections are BATTLE ... and claim that objecting to being misrepresented is not "proper conduct". What an utterly vile idea you have of "proper conduct". --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 23:59, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
You are over-the-top in rhetoric. Nothing I have said is or even hinted at is vile and only someone so deep in WP:BATTLE could imagine so. You say numbers matter to you and I say numbers matter to you, it is thus plain you are so deep in blind BATTLE that all you can reach is BATTLEGROUND bad faith. Your failures of proper conduct and assumption are manifest. Multiple editors on this page have in effect said you need to dial it back, please do. I thought I made it clear when I said I agreed with another above that despite whatever numbers argument, having a portal, in that case TRAINS, is fine. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 00:12, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
You repeatedly misrepresent me, and then accuse me of bad faith and failures of proper conduct and assumption for challenging that.
What an utterly vile, bullying, dishonest idea you have of "proper conduct". --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 03:47, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
Your rhetoric is over-the-top, and thus further evidence of your WP:BATTLEGROUND behavior. Your battleground behavior has been noted by others as well. Again, I thought I made it clear, when I said regardless of the numbers, in whatever degree you claim the numbers matter, I agree with another, that for example portal TRAINS is fine for Wikipedia, even when someone comes along to claim numbers matter in any degree. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 09:04, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
  • A bit of most of them..
    • 4 is what I use them for myself for project management. Working on a portal draws one's attention to the knowledge gaps in the topic.
    • 7 is a natural byproduct of 4.
    • 8 is incidental, and relates to why most of us edit the encyclopedia.
    • 3A is a natural consequence of the existence of a portal, but unique encyclopedic content should be in the mainspace article. Portals should only transclude encyclopedic content, so it is not necessary to update it in two places, and so that portals do not need independent referencing.
    • 3B would be useful to any readers who do use the portal. Does it really matter how many there are? if a portal exists, it may as well serve as many functions as one can manage.
    • 5, like 3B is useful if it is available.
    • 6 is an automatic consequence of the existence and quality of a portal, whether intended or not.
    • 2 is also automatically there, whether it is as efficient as other options or not, it can be used for navigation, by anyone who wants to. Whether it is another way of expressing the content of one or more navboxes, or indexes or outline lists, or is built up on a dedicated list should not be an issue. Reuse of navigational tools in alternative ways is a saving on labour in the long run.
    • 1, where possible is nice. Why not?
    • The amount of work put in by an editor who chooses to work on portals is not relevant. We are volunteers, if we want to spend all our time on a single portal, that is our prerogative. If it contributes even slightly to the utility or quality of the encyclopedia it is in line with the terms of use. The database space used is trivial. More storage space and editor time has been used in getting rid of portals and arguing about it than the portals ever occupied (I have no proof of this, it is based on personal impression. Prove me wrong if you disagree strongly enough, I would be interested to see actual data.) Spending an inordinate amount of time getting rid of portals against the will of editors when they do no harm is not a useful allocation of time. It is even more disruptive than having a large number of poorly maintained portals that nobody reads, though possibly less disruptive than banning an admin without specifying the reasons. This whole portal deletion drive is a storm in a teacup that has caused a large amount of distress and wasted a large amount of time and goodwill for no added value.
    • If someone chooses to create or maintain a portal, they have my acceptance as long as it complies with the terms of use and policy for the namespace in which it exists.
    • If an editor wishes to experiment with new and unusual formats, fine, it is their time, and there is a possibility that something new, interesting and useful may come out of it. The less the readers use the space, the less damage can be done, the more the readers use the space the more useful it can be. It is unlikely that they will break the encyclopedia or the servers.
    • If a portal is stale, out of date and unmaintained, by all means nominate it for deletion as a normal part of keeping down irrelevant clutter that no-one uses, but if someone steps up at the deletion discussion and personally undertakes to maintain it, let them do so, it does no harm, and spreads goodwill.
    • These are my opinions, as requested. I am prepared to debate disagreements of fact, based on evidence and logic. I am prepared to clarify my opinions where they are not clear. Telling me that my opinions are wrong is likely to be met with the attention it deserves.· · · Peter Southwood (talk): 06:49, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
Interesting thoughts. In broad strokes, the logical purpose would encompass multiple facets of in no particular order, organization, inspiration, information. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 10:29, 20 July 2019 (UTC)

Long-term IP blocks affecting large institutions[edit]

I am Wikimedian in Residence at a UK university, and will illustrate the following with a real-life example from there, but it is the general point which I wish to discuss.

Following an unfortunate and serious instance of vandalism, from an IP address at the University, occurring before my role began, a twenty-address IP range has blocked for two years, initially with account creation disabled. AFAICT, no effort was made to contact the university.

The university has a staff & student body of over 30,000 people. Over two years, with student turnover, the issue is potentially affecting 50,000 people.

Is it right that so many people should be affected, for so long, in response to the actions of one vandal? Does this open the door for bad actors to harm such institutions deliberately, by vandalising from one of their IP addresses, in order to engineer such a block? What would a more proportionate, yet effective, response look like? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 09:27, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

Depends, would have to see the IP range (seriously? 50,000 people on 20 addresses?). I have seen multi-year school blocks that upon ending are immediately followed by vandalism sprees, as if that institution is just guaranteed to have some troublemakers. Someguy1221 (talk) 09:42, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
The IP range is a /19, which is 8,192 addresses. The vast majority of edits before the block were vandalism, but as Andy says, most of it appeared to be one person - and it's now 16 months ago. I would be tempted to lift the block and monitor the range to see if it recurs. Pinging @JamesBWatson: as the blocking admin in this case. Black Kite (talk) 09:59, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
As I said, "it is the general point which I wish to discuss". Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 10:20, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
Yes, I see that - I was pointing out that this is problably not your run-of-the-mill schoolblock; usually the vandalism clearly comes from multiple users and therefore blocking the entire range for that establishment is really the only option we have. In this case, it was clearly (mostly) one person and therefore - especially given that it's a higher learning establishment - my view is that we could try unblocking, whereas in most cases it would not be. Black Kite (talk) 10:51, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
It's not that uncommon. I work for a 40,000 person company that routes all web traffic through one of four IP addresses. --Ahecht (TALK
) 17:41, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
Yes. Unless the university's IT dept is run by incompetent fools, they are more than capable of identifying which user is/Was vandalizing Wikipedia and taking the appropriate action. As very few institutions run on a for profit basis are interested in policing their fee-paying customers online bad habits, yes everyone has to suffer the consequences as a result. No it's not an optimum solution, but it's better than letting vandals have free rein. A stats monkey could run the latest numbers but as I recall from the last time this came up, the number of anonymous vandalism edits from educational institutions outweigh the positive anonymous contributions. And if anyone is seriously restricted, they can register an account. The usual argument of "this is effecting thousands of people" often turns put to be bullshit as the vast majority of those in education have other things to do with their time. Of those 30k+ people,I would be surprised if the numbers who want to regularly edit Wikipedia top 50. Only in death does duty end (talk) 10:46, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
Only in death wrote: "Unless the university's IT dept is run by incompetent fools, they are more than capable of identifying which user is/Was vandalizing Wikipedia and taking the appropriate action." Yes. The IT department is very likely run by incompetent fools, at least by lazy fools who choose to be incompetent in not thinking of track IP addresses back to users (what Wikipedia has CheckUser do). They are very likely lazy and don't want to do what is work that doesn't directly benefit them. So Wikipedia has to make the work of disciplining the vandals directly affect them by range-blocking if they don't act. Robert McClenon (talk) 13:09, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
I wouldn't expect university IT departments to know much about how Wikipedia works at all. For example, they would have no particular reason to have learned that anonymous IPs can edit articles, except when those pages are at least semi-protected, and that article creation is an ability restricted to accounts account that are at least 4 days old with at least 10 edits. (Heck, I had to look those numbers up just now, and I wandered a bit before finding the exact figures.) Keeping track of our peculiarities isn't really their job. XOR'easter (talk) 19:04, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

From what I've seen, activity by a particular vandal at a university seems to be a "burst" that doesn't run very long. So maybe shorter blocks would be a good idea. BTW this means noticing that sporadic vandalism from a university over a long period of time isn't typically the same vandal. A "kid" (to me 22 year-olds are still kids) who isn't a registered user who edits at a university is just very likely to casually screw around vs. serious editing, but this is usually no big deal. So it ends up looking like a "vandalism only" IP with 4 vandalisms per year. Not really a big problem. IMO shorter blocks would be a good idea. Also maybe with the block text at the page put an invite in for wiki-savvy IT departments to discuss it with the blocking admin if they wish. North8000 (talk) 19:58, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

I would support shorter blocks (unless of course LTA is obvious), and also preferably encourage the blocking admin to contact the institution if the IP's talk page is tagged with a template in Category:Shared IP header templates. We can't assume that IT or faculty are familiar with the workings of Wikipedia (reiterating XOR'easter). From my experience, one of my IPs (a single address, not even a range) is used by over 5,000 people per year and various users make sporadic unconstructive edits. If it were to be blocked, I do not believe that many faculty would even be aware, much less try to contact the blocking admin. That said, it's better to leave it for the blocking admin or even innocent affected users to resolve, and minimize collateral damage. ComplexRational (talk) 02:08, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
  • It depends on the circumstances. Yale University has been justifiably hard blocked before, and we dealt with it by assigning IPBE when needed. While I do think that many admins are too quick to range block and for too long, there are circumstances where collateral damage is unfortunately required because the abuse is too great. There are some libel socks that I'm pretty confident work for universities. In cases like this, I would have no problem making a long-term hard block of a university IP range and assigning IPBE liberally. I don't particularly care about poop and penis vandals, but there are some really screwed up people out there, and unfortunately that means that sometimes we have to block entire academic institutions because of one person. If this occurs, and it is causing problems, contact a member of the CheckUser team and we will do our best to help find a solution. TonyBallioni (talk) 02:36, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
I have extensive experience of dealing with school/college vandalism. The vast majority (sometimes all) of anonymous edits are vandalism. The blocks are in most cases 'anon only'. When the user comes to UTRS because of collateral damage the user is given instructions as to how to select a username and apply for an account. When anon editing is needed for a project then, again, they tend to come to UTRS and we lift the block for a defined period. Even if the institution were contacted, it is not practical for them to do anything. Often it is a school library or computer room machine that is used. There is no practical way for the institution to monitor every student on every device. If you go to the talk page of one of the affected institutions you will typically find a large number of warnings and shorter blocks, none of which has been effective. The policy of escalating blocks has saved much time of editors and I should be reluctant to change an approach that works. Just Chilling (talk) 02:50, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
This. Also, admins shouldn't be afraid of disabling account creation blocks when doing range blocks of educational institutions. They'll just create it on their cell phone anyway if they really want to create a vandal sock. TonyBallioni (talk) 03:15, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
Pinging @Gilliam: and @Materialscientist: who both have extensive experience in school vandal fighting. Just Chilling (talk) 13:57, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
  • In general, from my experience at least, edits made by anonymous users are almost always unconstructive (though many are made in good faith), but that doesn't mean we should block anons lightly. I think my first edit was anonymous and I bet a lot of people in this discussion made their first edit as an IP. Unless it's LTA, we shouldn't be making lengthy blocks to institutions because many of our experienced editors would have once been affected by that type of block. I made plenty of edits from a secondary school at which friends of mine vandalised Wikipedia for fun. The barrier caused by blocking and protection is a big one, whereas the effort to spend 5 seconds pressing "rollback" on Twinkle is almost zero. Bilorv (he/him) (talk) 16:24, 20 July 2019 (UTC)

Notification of: Resysop criteria: RfC on principles[edit]

There is a request for comment at Wikipedia_talk:Administrators#Resysop_criteria:_RfC_on_principles. All are invited to participate TonyBallioni (talk) 03:27, 20 July 2019 (UTC)