Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 1

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Wikipedia:Naming conventions (U.S. schools)

Following a discussion at WT:NC(S), a new proposal has been created for naming conventions applying purely to United States school articles, in a attempt to more easily gain consensus for adoption. Some input from the community at WT:NC(USS) would be great. Camaron1 | Chris 17:22, 21 October 2007 (UTC)


Is there a standard about how important a topic should be to have its own portal? The one I am concerned about is Portal:Scientology. Thanks.Steve Dufour 22:11, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

The information you seek can be found at Wikipedia:Portal. As for the Scientology portal itself, I'd be willing to say that it's a significant enough topic that it could easily support its own portal. EVula // talk // // 22:24, 17 October 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. I did check that out. I didn't see anything like a clear standard of what is important enough for its own portal. I disagree about Scientology. It only has about 100,000 members in the world and a history of about 50 years. Steve Dufour 22:53, 17 October 2007 (UTC)
Counted among those 100k members are some very, very prominent members of Hollywood. I'd say that Scientology, though it may lack in numbers, is certainly not suffering from an abundance of reliable coverage in the media, which is more important than raw (and relatively arbitrary) numbers. EVula // talk // // 23:46, 17 October 2007 (UTC)
Most of that coverage is a mile wide and an inch deep. :-) Steve Dufour 01:30, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
As long as the portal isn't being used for propaganda (and it doesn't look like it is), I suggest dropping the matter; we really have better things to do here than to debate what level of media coverage is (somehow) "deep" enough to meet Wikipedia's criteria. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 21:38, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
I agree that the portal probably doesn't do any harm. I won't bring it up again. However, I think the shallowness of media coverage shows that there is not all that much to say about the topic. Steve Dufour 02:18, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
Because the media is well known for giving deep coverage to ideas —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:14, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

I was restrained from calling a man a racist

I made a comment regarding American author James A. Michener and his racism. I flat out called him a racist in his wiki article, which last time I checked is accurate, so even if it is incendiary why should the truth be blocked? why should my IP address by flagged for conduct? The man made repeated comments in his own books regarding the inferiority of the black basketball player and their negative impact on the game. What is wrong for calling him out for what he is? If this is somehow wrong please let me know —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:33, 20 October 2007 (UTC)

I'm not sure of the circumstances surrounding your block, but Wikipedia has fundamental policies regarding verifiability, reliable sources, and original research. Basically, identifying someone as racist would have to be confirmed by (multiple) reliable, secondary sources and the article would have to reflect a neutral point of view. An editor adding their own opinion to an article calling someone a racist would be reverted on sight. I would hope that our policies would have been explained to you before or after your block, but in case they haven't, there they are. If you'd like to read more, you can take a look at Wikipedia's five pillars. —bbatsell ¿? 06:06, 20 October 2007 (UTC)
The term is generally derogatory, and has become so loaded as to be meaningless.I'd almost entirely avoid using it to label someone on Wikipedia. If they have been widely accused of racism, by all means include that with verifiable sources etc, but Wikipedia should not be a medium with which to actually label people as racists. --Breadandcheese 07:35, 20 October 2007 (UTC)
It's much more useful to actually quote someone, or add text describing their acts (in a neutral way - refused to let blacks eat at their restaurant, charged them twice as much for X, whatever), plus text saying that Z (a reputable person or source) said that they'd been accused (or were) racist, and let the reader decide for him/herself. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 14:44, 20 October 2007 (UTC)
The user was warned, not blocked. The comment he/she added is unsourced and utterly without context - basically "is a racist" to the first sentence of the article lead. Michener plunged head first into matters of race in his writings, and did so from the point of view of a mainstream white American male who was trying to be fair. As far as I'm aware he succeeded for the most part. Not everything he wrote in his 50-odd year writing career would be the way people say things today. That's hardly racist. By that standard nearly everyone who wrote anything 50 years ago is a racist. Although it might be worthy of an article somewhere on the changing norms and attitudes about race, we can't have editors going about slapping unsourced "is a racist" comments to the opening lines of biography articles. That is, or is very close to, the Wikipedia definition of vandalism, and the warning is in my opinion correct. Keep doing that and you shoudl be blocked from editing until you understand the policies. However, if there is truly a well-documented controversy about his comments on race, that might warrant a short mention, properly researched and cited, somewhere near the end of the article. Wikidemo 14:52, 20 October 2007 (UTC)
Well, a former Indian foreign minister thought he was. Relata refero 18:15, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
At which point the verified quote can be attributed to that person within the article, but not as a blanket statement in the lead in sentance. 21:11, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

Well, 50 years ago, thinks were really different from know, and so were the people's opinions. As it is such an old case, I think you should not worry about it so much. If only it would have been recent, aye, but it wasn't. -The Bold Guy- 14:55, 20 October 2007 (UTC)

That's because it's Wikipedia. They will restrain you from contributing anything which is actually truthful. That's their purpose for existence, insuring the proliferation of ignorance, and they are very good at it. (talk) 12:39, 21 September 2010 (UTC)

Changing a guideline to a policy

Hello everyone! How does one (or in this case a group) go about trying to change a guideline into a policy? We at WikiProject Accessibility are using the guideline laid down at WP:ACCESS as our basis for making articles more accessible, but individual editors have reported problems with other users reverting their edits and claiming they need to be discussed on the talk page because WP:ACCESS is a guideline. Only in very rare cases are we actually removing content, so obviously this is getting to be a hindrance. Do you folks have any suggestions? Thanks, L'Aquatique talktome 18:25, 20 October 2007 (UTC)!

Could you give us some examples of these reverts? I'd like to know the nature of the problem.--Father Goose 22:04, 20 October 2007 (UTC)
Well, it hasn't happened to me, I'm just the temp spokesperson. I'll see if I can get one of the editors who've reported it to drop by here and give details. L'Aquatique talktome 05:09, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
Hi, sometimes I encounter opposition from some editors wrt my accessibility changes. But it must be said that I usually fix the accessibility problems of any page I read, therefore, although in some cases I return to consult that article again discovering that somebody has reverted my changes, I don't usually monitor my edits so I don't really know whether they survive. Some reverts I remember are [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]. It seems that not every edits were caused by a direct disagreement with the WP:ACCESS, but sometimes they are, see the follwing discussion: [10]. Cheers —surueña 11:14, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
I see two issues here. The first is that the edits you link to were not discussed on the various article talk pages... so simply reverting them is a natural reaction to what is seen as "fly-by" editing. When editors who regularly work on a given article see sudden undiscussed structural changes, there is a natural tendancy to revert the change back to what is familiar. The solution to this is to first raise the issues of accessability on the talk page, and then conform the page to WP:ACCESS. If that is too cumbersome, at least you could reply to the revert on the talk page and explain why you made the edit. You may find that editors are more receptive to your edits if you give some explanation of why the edits are needed and what WP:ACCESS is all about. The second issue is whether the pages needed to be conformed at all... I don't really see any reason to force articles into conformity with WP:ACCESS, which is what making it a policy would do. As I see it, WP:ACCESS is great as a guideline, but it doesn't need to be policy. Blueboar 13:25, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I can understand those reactions, in fact I always write onto the edit log the rationale behind those changes pointing to a specific section of the accessibility guidelines [11] [12] [13] [14] to explain why we are making those changes. But sometimes that's not enough and that's our point in asking how to convert WP:ACCESS into an official Wikipedia policy. And we really believe enforcing the accessibility rules are very important in the Wikipedia. As can be read in the mission statements of the World Wide Web Consortium [15] [16] the Universal access to the web is listed as the first goal of the organization, and namely accessibility is in addition listed as the first point of that point. If W3C recommendations have to consider accessibility before being approved, we do believe it is important enough to be a policy. Nonetheless, Wikipedia is the free encyclopedia that anyone may edit, including people with disabilities. Best regards —surueña 19:00, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
I'm all for accessibility, but looking at the examples you provided, many seem to be of the nature "this works better here than there when accessed through a text reader". That's fine, but where such changes make the layout work worse when accessed by a traditional browser, the changes should not be forced. For those cases, can you find other solutions that improve accessibility without negatively impacting the normal formatting?--Father Goose 19:24, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
The second issue is whether the pages needed to be conformed at all... I don't really see any reason to force articles into conformity with WP:ACCESS, which is what making it a policy would do. Okay, this really bothers me. Are you actually saying that you don't think articles should be made accessible when these edits make a page "look worse"?! May I remind you that point of this encyclopedia is about sharing information, not creating a pretty user interface. If there is a problem with a page that makes it so even one person cannot access that information, we as an encyclopedia have failed- it is just that simple. If we must "force" changes, then we must. L'Aquatique talktome 20:05, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
I agree with L'Antique. If in fact, conformity would make a page look significantly worse, one could invoke WP:IAR. However, I can not think of a single page which would lose content due to this.Smartyllama 20:23, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
I can't say that I think that accessibility should be an overriding concern that trumps everything. However, I will say that it should definitely trump fine points of cosmetics/aesthetics. This is about letting people use the site properly, fergoodnessakes. SamBC(talk) 21:13, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

Changing a guideline to a policy is a big change, so probably we must give a better explanation about our proposal. We are a small group with only a few members. But even if we were a large team, simply we can fix the accessibility problems of all the 2,000,000 articles (and counting) of the Wikipedia, moreover if we must discuss them at the talk pages before. If editors create new contents with accessibility in mind, that would be a real difference, that's the reason we are interested in a policy about universal access. We only want to have the needed tools to make our work. Of course we know that the current guideline will probably be modified, it is not perfect and consensus will improve it. But I would like to remark that accessibility doesn't mean wikipedians without disabilities will end with articles having less rich content or presentation (there is a common myth that a plain text page is more accessible, and that's false). As I said above, modern web standards are built with accessibility in mind, so an article can be very rich and visually pleasant but without accessibility problems. The main point is not if the current guidelines are good enough to be a policy, but if universal access should be considered a Wikipedia policy. Thanks —surueña 21:11, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

Reading through WP:ACCESS, it looks like most of the layout changes it recommends improve the formatting of the site on screen readers by arranging templates and other elements in a more logical sequence. Are there cases where material is completely inaccessible if certain changes are not made?--Father Goose 23:20, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
That's not an easy question, because it depends on the disability (a blind wikipedian has different requirements than a user with motor dysfunction due to cerebral palsy), but in the case of blind users which probably is the group most considered in the current guideline, the answer is yes: besides extensions like EasyTimeline, floating the table of contents can completely hide complete paragraphs, or links in headings can also suppress a part of it. Anyway, the point is not only avoiding these more visible problems, but also enhancing navigation to all users, because in some cases can be a complete nightmare even if in theory no contents are totally lost (like a logical order of the cells inside some layout tables). Universal design is beneficial not only for people with disabilities, but also for all wikipedians browsing through non-conventional browsers, like through a PDA or an iPhone. —surueña 07:54, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
Right. And things like floating the TOC and putting links in headings are discouraged for other reasons anyway. As for the policy aspects, I'll reply below.--Father Goose 20:10, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

As the writer of the first substantial text that was on Wikipedia:Accessibility, I feel I need to comment here. The great value for almost all people about Wikipedia is its consistent interface across millions of articles. However if someone decided to revert my change of the order of final section headings for a good reason related to their article, I wouldn't revert them because I don't think it's a huge thing to worry about. Wikipedia:Accessibility is not a stick to bludgeon people with - it's just a set of style guidelines akin to the Manual of Style. Of course there are things in there I consider are fairly high priority, like spelling fixes and abuse of CSS as in hidden structure. I think the discussion at Talk:Pulp Fiction (film) #RfC: Ellipses was worth it to provide an alternative to inconsistent formatting that didn't work in all browsers. I also think the table of contents shouldn't be moved from its default position below an article's lead section without a very good reason. I do support the idea of accessibility for Wikipedia - but the way I see it, the only thing that could be codified into policy is "Wikipedia should strive to be accessible to as many users as possible." Graham87 00:52, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

While I also think that some parts of the current accessibility guideline should not be policy and moved to the manual of style instead, I'm disagree with you with respect that nothing can stand as a official policy. Some of those changes are only under the hood, so they can and should be enforced without any problems, like those concerning with data and layout tables or some XHTML attributes. But others are beyond the scope of the current guidelines, like not accepting a new non-accessible Wikipedia extension if it can be made accessible. For example, nowadays the EasyTimeline extension is completely non-accessible to some types of users, although it can be easily modified to be fully accessible. Even fancy AJAX and Web 2.0 pages can be made fully accessible (i.e. rich web applications [17]), this will not be a disruptive policy at all for the rest of wikipedians, or a burden to MediaWiki developers. —surueña 07:35, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
I'd support a policy that compelled accessibility in any case where there was no loss of functionality for the non-disabled. WP:ACCESS in its present form is a formatting guideline, not that policy -- it should be supplemented by an accessibility policy that outlines general princples and practices.--Father Goose 20:10, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
I agree with FG. --Kevin Murray 20:38, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

Do we need deletion request notification?

Currently, Wikipedia:Guide to deletion states:

It is generally considered civil to notify the good-faith creator and any main contributors of the articles that you are nominating for deletion.

If this should be changed or deleted is being discussed at Wikipedia talk:Guide to deletion#Deletion request notification. — Sebastian 20:02, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

Is Wikipedia:Userbox migration a guideline or merely a "be bold" essay?

For those blissfully unaware Wikipedia:Userbox migration was created over a year ago to solve the then escalating "userbox conflict". It proposed that most userboxes were moved to userspace and thus be protected from the extensive CSD:T1 "divisive and/or inflammatory template" deletions (Examples for T1 deleted templates included "This user is an atheist", "This user is Furry" and "This user supports recycling").
At that time it explicitly stated it was not a new policy nor would a new policy be necessary (as any attempts to resolve the userbox dispute by introducing new policies lead to a deadlock due to lack of consensus) and in a sense, it retains it's be bold roots.
Still WP:UBM has become a de-facto standard when it comes to the question of userboxes in templatespace, in TfD debates (Userfy by WP:UBM), and because of this I and several others believe that it has become a de-facto guideline and should be labeled as such.
Another user however believes that it is superfluous to WP:UBX, "essentially a statement to Be bold", and as such not a guideline. Discussion with him has been exhausted, and now goes in circles.
So I'd like to gather some outside input on the issue - what are your thoughts? CharonX/talk 13:51, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

It's the current best practice, right? Who cares what tag the page has? :-P --Kim Bruning 21:22, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
Some folks will Wikilawyer that it's "not a guideline" when their favorite Userbox is moved. On the flip side, if it's the current best practice, why not make it a guideline? -- Kesh 21:42, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
Because fixing things that ain't broke is a recipe for creating unnecessary controversy. Why encourage the idea that pages in the project space need some official designation? The best thing about the migration, IMO, is its lack of formal status. As soon as that page was created with "this is not a policy proposal..." at the top, I knew the end of the userbox wars was in sight. -GTBacchus(talk) 23:24, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
The last guy that made a request for comment on this issue withdrew his request, because the overall reaction was overly negative. The community is sick of arguing such a trivial matter, and things are just fine the way they are now. So why not make the Userbox Migration a guideline? Well, like GTBacchus said, if it ain't broke, don't bother fixing it. I assure you that simple brining up this issue will reignite a fervor of pointless debates. So don't go there. The UserboxerComplain/ubx 00:06, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

Sources quoting anonymous comments

If a source that is considered reliable, such as an established newspaper or television news organisation includes a report in an article attributing a comment anonymously, eg in a newspaper article that mentions the "lunar college of vacuum technology", text such as "consumer advocates referred to the lunar college of vacuum technology as a diploma mill" appeared, would it be appropriate to cite the newspaper as a reference for the statement "consumer advocates consider the lunar college of vacuum technology to be a diploma mill" in a WP article? I don't believe there's verifiable reliable sources for the statement from WPs viewpoint. DMcMPO11AAUK/Talk/Contribs 14:33, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

I think Wikipedia considers the publication as being the source, not the person making the statement. In this case there may be several publications which state similar things even if some don't identify exactly what their experts are (or in the case of Deep Throat sometimes the sources are intentionally hidden). If President Bush says something we don't use him as the source but we use what is printed about him in newspapers, TV news, or White House publications. (SEWilco 15:02, 22 October 2007 (UTC))
First, you're not referring to a "anonymous" sources, you're referring to unnamed sources. Anonymous sources are those who have asked that their names not be revealed; unnamed sources are often unnamed simply because the newspaper or television station doesn't want to take the extra time to list them (or, if you want to be cynical, to defend their choice of spokespeople.)
Second, Wikipedia articles would be much less readable if, instead of saying "Consumer advocates said X", we had to say "Persons A, B, and C, who are considered consumer advocates by newspaper Y, said X". Third, if we say "Consumer advocates said X" in the article, and provide a footnoted source, then readers can decide how likely it is that the newspaper would have picked non-representative people to use as opinion-makers.
Finally, if consumer advocates disagree, then the right way to handle the matter is to say that "ABC newspaper reported that consumer advocates said X, but MNZ newspaper reported that other consumer advocates disagreed, saying Y". But until there is evidence of disagreement, there is no reason (other than perhaps a desire to suppress negative comments) why "consumer advocates said X" needs to be qualified in the article. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 23:33, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
Is there a way to show the lack of specific attribution is in the original source through direct quote? "Consumer advocates claim X"[footnote] —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:03, 23 October 2007 (UTC)
What John wrote makes sense to me. But why is this discussed here, and not on WT:RS? — Sebastian 00:04, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

admin creating a page

I’ve been tagging bad pages for CSD for a while now with no problems. Then I came on to which i believe falls under A7 guide lines for CSD. Well it seem that the person that created it was an Admin. My question is does this fall under A7 for CSD and is the creator of that page allowed to remove the tag (and say it’s not a CSD) or is there some other process that needs to be done. I personally fell this admin is kind of abusing his powers and not going by policy, because he is the creator of the page. (look at the comments made on the history part of the page). So again does this fall und CSD A7 and is the creator of the page who is an admin allowed to remove the delete tag, or does he have to do the same thing as anyone else who creates a possibly bad page? Yourname 00:54, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

  • You've asked this several places... why didn't you just ask me (the admin in question)? A7 applies when there is not an assertion of importance, the article in question asserts importance... trying to speedy delete it is a bit rude when it's been explained why speedy deletion doesn't apply. This seems to be over the technicality of someone not being allowed to remove a CSD tag from an article they created... but rules like that are not very rigid, and what ultimately matters is who has the more correct argument with respect to policy. At any rate, if you really want to follow rules, WP:CSD#A7 says "If controversial, list the article at Articles for deletion instead." There's little chance that this would be deleted at AFD, but you're free to try to prove me wrong. --W.marsh 00:58, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
alrigh here my problem right now first off i only posted this once 2nd you are stalking me now, I don't see your name in the history of this page in the last 20 edits so how just out of the clear bule you happen to stumble on the same exact place where i asked a question. Just by even finding and responding to this question should shoould be a red flag. Yourname 01:04, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
This page has been on my watchlist for a long time, and I've made around 100 comments here over the years. I'm not stalking you. At any rate, not all articles about websites are created as spam... sometimes someone just sees a redlink on a notable topic, and creates an article to fill in the gap. It's important to learn the difference if you're doing speedy deletion work. --W.marsh 01:09, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
Yourname - Technically, you did post a comment to WP:VPA as well as to here (see this edit), though you did remove the posting two minutes later.
More to the point, if you disagree with W. Marsh's assessment of WP:CSD#A7, you should state that, not switch to discussing your suspicions of wikistalking. If you don't disagree with W. Marsh regarding A7, then you should (gracefully, ideally) concede the point. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 01:19, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
W. Marsh should not have removed the tag himself. He should have done what every other editor is supposed to do if their article is tagged for speedy deletion. Put {{hangon}} on it and make a comment on the talk page. I can see where Yourname is coming from - the assertion of notability is a bit weak. Also, W. Marsh could have left a message on Yourname's talk page just as Yourname could have left a message on W. Marsh's; edit summaries are a very poor venue for discussion. Mr.Z-man 05:01, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
A7 just doesn't cover this article... if you really think it does, delete it and inflict an annoying DRV on us all. But if you don't think A7 covers it... we're just arguing about process for the sake of process. This is an article on an obviously notable website/business venture... there are 200 news results in the past month, and tens of thousands in the Google News archives. There are 400 results in printed books. That people are trying to conjure up some way to delete the article on a technicality is an example of a lot of what's wrong with deletion today. --W.marsh 13:50, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
The article is not A7: "two thirds of US car buyers use its service in some way". Plus it's a paragon of citations used to prove notability: CNN and New York Times both devoting full articles to its new advertising campaign. Why are we even talking about this? I would have removed the speedy tag too. I might add a bit to the article so thanks for bringing it up. And BTW, I think we should give some extra deference to admins and other experienced users on faith that they probably know what they're doing. But even Jimbo's new page got deleted [18] so I don't think we have to worry about undue influence around here. Wikidemo 14:36, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
  • Of course they're going to devote full pages to its advertising campaign. The site pays for those pages. I think it's definitely worth a discussion, but discussions are for AFD, not CSD. - Mgm|(talk) 17:31, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
    • Look, this entire thread is now a self-defeating proposition: ALL CSD categories are by definition for non-controversial deletions. Articles should only be speedied where there is likely to be no defense at ALL of the move. Even hoax articles that make bogus claims to notability are specically exempt from CSD. The fact that this article has attracted a discussion makes CSD moot; the existance of said discussion leaves ONLY afd as a reasonable means to deal with it. --Jayron32|talk|contribs 03:18, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Government Phone/Email lists also Homeland Security Issue?

Is there any section for how to: deal with Government? Frequently the inner workings of government are arcane. Much of this information, could be provided by Government "Users" in much more concise form than the government's own web sites. Some examples are who to contact for parade permits, where to file to pay sales tax, what process to follow with HANO (Housing Authority of New Orleans) for transferring Section 8 property to a new owner. On a national level, how do I file for a grant for bike paths? How do I lobby a congressman? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Boathead (talkcontribs) 03:47, 21 October 2007 (UTC) Boathead 03:48, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

This is a neat idea, but would require continual updating as offices are reorganized, phone numbers change, and so on. For that reason it may be impractical. Raymond Arritt 04:01, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

Even outdated it would be far better than the current city of New Orleans web site

People were so desperate for information for a while there. It seems that Wiki should be an amazing resource in the immediate aftermath of a Katrina for instance. I'd wager that in that circumstance Wiki would be very up to date. Boathead 04:38, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

A wiki could, indeed, be a valuable tool for that type of information—especially with the cooperation and support of government agencies. This particular wiki, however, isn't really intended or designed to be a directory of services. Wikipedia is first and foremost an encyclopedia, and we're not really in the business of branching out into other functions. Perhaps there already exists a wiki that provides something of the service that you describe; failing that, perhaps you could start one...? TenOfAllTrades(talk) 05:00, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
As part of the sources for an article on a national or local government department there should be a link to the department; this should provide the first link for anyone wanting information from that body. Also, WP would be limited to the information available from the said link only and will therefore only be as accurate as that source. As TenOfAllTrades comments, this falls outside of the remit of WP. LessHeard vanU 10:11, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
This is an EXCELLENT idea for Wikia, Jimbo's other major venture, the commercial equivalent of Wikimedia. It is designed to make and hosts wiki-style websites for purposes OTHER than writing an encyclopedia. Wikipedia really is a narrowly defined concept: It is an encyclopedia. While Wikis can and should be used for excellent ideas such as this, Wikipedia is NOT the specific wiki to use. --Jayron32|talk|contribs 03:21, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Content of Navigation Templates

A subject has a number of related articles in Wikipedia and has a navigation template that helps to categorize them. Is it considered proper Wikipedia form to include links to outside sites (in this case - fan sites) within such a navigation template? I can't find any official policies or recommendations that would help stop an edit war. 20:46, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

I would say no. Navigation templates are simply that... aids to Wikipedia navigation. External links could be added to the highest level article that connects all of the subjects in the navigation template, but not to the template itself. I don't think there is policy on this, but I came to this through my impression after reading WP:EL. It lists two places for external links: in an external links section of an article, or as references. Sancho 20:51, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
I agree... navigation templates should be for linking related Wikipedia articles, not external links such as fan sites. Blueboar 21:47, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
WP:EL - under Links to be avoided lists: Links to open wikis, except those with a substantial history of stability and a substantial number of editors. - What qualifies as a 'substantial history of stability' and 'substantial number of editors'? 21:49, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
I think that is a point that is to be discussed by participating editors on a case-by-case basis. As examples of some extreme cases: one wiki widely considered acceptable is the Memory Alpha Star Trek wiki; one that I think does not have "substantial history of stability and substantial number of editors" is the Men Going Their Own Way wiki. Most other wikis will fall somewhere between these two. However, as this relates to your original question, even if an external link meets these criteria, I don't think it should be used in a navigation template. Sancho 18:15, 23 October 2007 (UTC)
I too cannot imagine any case where a link to a fansite would be appropriate in a navigation template. If the fan site is notable enough to have a WP article about it, then of course linking to that article would be acceptable; if justified, I think that would be the way to go. 01:22, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
I've seen at least one case where a fansite was the best available external resource for a subject (Theme Hospital, if you're curious). But normally I'd agree that external links shouldn't be embedded in templates for "spammy" reasons. If the sites in question are good resources, they should be in the external links section of the games themselves and not in the template (Template:EverQuest, I gather]]) used on dozens of subpages relating to game content.--Father Goose 02:36, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
Having devolved to something close to an edit war over the issue, I would like something closer to a WP or guideline before I revisit the issue on the template page. 02:14, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Quotes outside article space, a violation of NFCC

See: Wikipedia_talk:Non-free_content#Non-free_text

At present the non-free content criteria prohibits any "non-free content" outside of article space. It has been pointed out that technically the current language also prohibits users from using non-free text (i.e. quotes) outside of article space. As that's probably not the intention, the criterion probably need to be adjusted. Please join that discussion. Dragons flight 21:41, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

Question about sourcing

I do not know where to ask this question. If this is the wrong place, please let me know.

Is it Wikipedia policy or guideline that in order to use a third party source for citing material in an article, you have to consult that source yourself? Or is it O.K. to copy the source from another article and used it without consulting it directly? Thanks! --Mattisse 19:12, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Does the essay Wikipedia:Convenience links answer your question? GRBerry 19:42, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
No. My question has to do with referencing a book. There is no link to it that I know of. --Mattisse 19:48, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
The question is if it is O.K. to use a book reference obtained from another article without actually reading the book but accepting that the other editor was correct in using it and that it will apply to my article? --Mattisse 20:03, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
Ok, some of the logic of that essay still applies. If the source they actually used is reliable, they should cite the source they actually used in the citation, but need not in the article text. (If the citation were accompanied by a quotation the citation would resemble Used Source, Secondary Author 19xy "In Ultimate Source, Initial Author says 'Whatever the heck they said'.") If the source they actually used is not reliable, they should not use it at all, and the third party source material would not currently be supported by a reliable source, and ultimately needs to be sourced or removed, possibly immediately removed pending sourcing depending on topic and other issues.
See more specifically the guideline Wikipedia:Citing sources#Say where you got it. GRBerry 20:51, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
Yes— per that guideline, you would have to quote the article as the source, not the reference you grabbed from the article, but you can't use one Wikipedia article as a reference within another article. If you want to use a book as a source, go to the library and read it, or buy it. Or, contact the editor who added the initial source and see if they will verify the validity and add it to the article in question. --Gadget850 ( Ed) 22:21, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
Thank you. That specifically answers my question. Where is this written so that I can provide this information to another editor who is using sources he has not personally accessed taken from another wikipedia article ? --Mattisse 22:26, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the link above. I didn't see it at first. Thank you so much. --Mattisse 22:48, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Expansion of A7

I've started a discussion here on adding literary works and films to the list of items that can be deleted per WP:CSD#A7. SashaCall (Sign!)/(Talk!) 01:37, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

The overhaul of UC (FD) - Do we need them?

Recently, I nominated Category:Wikipedians for deletion on UCFD, proposing the following rationale:

Nominator's rationale - The test tube nomination - This is no doubt going to raise a few alarms. After all, it would seem unthinkable, frivolous, and perhaps in bad faith to delete the core user category of Wikipedia, and thus throw all forms of self-categorization as comprehended by the Wikipedia community. Yet, this outrageous action does not come with no rationale.
  • User categories are redundant - First, the prospect of the user category - in theory - is a fairly versatile and collective idealism. Users group together into a single category with their given knowledge or interest and this will be used to further the collaboration effort on Wikipedia. However, this is redundant to the Wikiproject. User categories are passive while Wikiprojects are active, and people who wish to seek collaboration on interests on an active scale can easily join a Wikiproject. Furthermore, any means of self-identification of interests can be done via userbox or identification on a userpage. If a Wikipedian is actively posting, he or she must therefore sign his or her signature, and a person who wishes to understand the position of this Wikipedian may merely click to the userpage and gather any information, or inquire as such.
  • User categories are divisive - Wikipedians are, in fact, divided by user categories. Tensions regarding self-identification with political, religious, social, and sexual issues occur as a result, as previous debates on UCFD have shown in the past. The persistent roundabouts of the deletions of frivolous and potentially heated categories are a testament to this rationale. WP:NOT#SOAPBOX and such. In addition, there are categories present that indicate "notable" or "fantastic" Wikipedians, or those with community valor. There are alternate methods to present these symbols of status than through the user category system.
  • User categories are staggering - ...and as a result, their purpose is lost. When you have an intensely large number of user categories in divisions such as Wikipedians by language, Wikipedians by ethnicity, or Wikipedians by location, one can see that it may seem far better to overhaul the user category system or merely provide sufficient indication by userbox/user page notice as a result.
  • User categories are red tape - Really, would one actively search through user categories for a Wikipedian skilled in "foo" profession to aid in the construction or improvement of an article? It is more likely than not that the Wikipedian is already working actively on such an article, or it is already part of a Wikiproject.
  • Conclusion: User categories need an overhaul, for better or for worse - Let's bring this to light. We need to do something to the user category system. Either an outright deletion, a depopulation, or a compression to something that we can make sense of. You may call me crazy, but I truly believe that something needs to be done to reshape this category.

I withdrew the UCFD later at the request of an administrator, who stated that he was currently in the process of overhauling the system, and that if any deletion was to be done at this level, it would be prudent to do so in a month. Yet consider my above statements; what has the user category system done for us that can be achieved more efficiently and satisfactorily with Wikiprojects, userboxes, user pages, and other Wikipedia think tanks?--WaltCip 22:32, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

  • Yes, you can share your abilities and knowledge on your userpage, but putting them in categories (which incidentally is automated when you use a userbox), makes it searchable. Having the ubercategory Wikipedians allows us to have a complete list to see what categories are available and deleting that would make the whole thing fall apart. I totally agree that categorization by political preference can be divisive, but that is hardly a reason to delete the top category. Category:Wikipedians itself is not divisive. If this really needs an overhaul, try to get an alternative started, before deleting the current system. - Mgm|(talk) 10:49, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
  • Searchable? In all of my experience on Wikipedia, I have never found myself requiring the user categories. They should be used for strictly administrative purposes. There are people who are proposing the rationale that user categories are for self-identification, and that they are "harmless." If you look at a majority of the user categories that are kept for "collaborative purposes", you will find that the editors inhabiting those categories are in there because it "seems to fit my interests", not because they are a ready source of encyclopedic information. We have active editors for this purpose.
  • It's going to take a LONG time to get an effective overhaul started by deleting the categories that identify these Wikipedians by game preference, interest, philosophy, religion, etc., through the UCFD system, because there are no doubt groups of Inclusionists who feel like their personal freedoms are being detached from them. So instead we have to delete everything at once, and start all over again. It's the only way to restore its intended path of efficiency.
  • I may be alone in this, but I don't think that just deleting the categories one-by-one is going to work. Look at the recent UCFDs here attempted by jc37 if you don't believe me.--WaltCip 23:48, 20 October 2007 (UTC)
  • Last time I checked, whatlinkshere was incredibly messy and I'd rather have a alphabetized list, than a haphazard random one. - Mgm|(talk) 17:35, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
  • One of the difficulties in the nominations is that rather than discuss the nominated categories in question, the discussions tend to devolve into debtes of whether all Wikipedian categories in general should be kept. Personally I see value in the Wikipedian category system. But in the recent set of nominations, I've been accused of all sorts of things. The problem, of course, is that WIkipedians categories may indicate a topical reference. If people "identify" with that reference, they'll fight like the dickens to oppose its deletion, even if they've never thought twice about such a thing in the past. And as the recent group nominations (by lifestyle, or by philosophy, for example) have criteria that is clearly about identification (This user is or identifies as an X), they're being suggested for deletion. What we need to hopefully have those users understand is that they should in no way take such deletions personally. (WP:OWN also comes to mind.) We're an encyclopedia project, and while our goal is indeed to foster a community, that community's goal is the creation of an encyclopedia. And while a userpage notice of identification is fine (though obviously of a positive nature), there is no need for categories of identification. And anyone who claims they are harmless is welcome to sit in my shoes the last several weeks. The opposers themselves have shown how clearly divisively polemic these identification categories are. There are currently 2 threads on WP:AN/I, for example. And for another, one Wikipedian has risked being blocked for a WP:POINT action, and another Wikipedian has made death threats (since retracted) against another editor. At this point, I think the best thing to do is to take this slow, and attempt to hopefully minimise the disruption. - jc37 02:03, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

My User Page User:Rodhullandemu

User:Professional Deletionist has just deleted the following: University Challenge from my userpage, leaving the note: "this category is not for user space". No reference to the applicable policy, and in any event, where else would this category go but user space?? Can anyone point me to policy and whether it's changed recently, or can I just revert it as vandalism? While I WP:AGF, just to do this without leaving anything on my talk page referring to policy seems a breach of WP:Civil. Thanks. --Rodhullandemu (talk - contribs) 17:17, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

While it would have been best for the other editor to have left a message on your talk page (s)he does not appear to have violated policy. The category guidelines says that you can add categories to user pages that are not used in the article namespace. If you look at the definition for the category that was removed (Category:Notable_Wikipedians), it says "Wikipedia editors who also have Wikipedia articles about their notable activities outside of Wikipedia." All of the pages that are in the category are in the article namespace, so a userpage should not be in there. Karanacs 17:40, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. Have left comments here[19]. --Rodhullandemu (talk - contribs) 18:22, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
Just a minor correction: The pages in the category are in the article talk namespace, not the article namespace. (Same difference as far as removing a user page from the category.) -- John Broughton (♫♫) 17:25, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Clarification re: above thread

Hi there, I'm involved in a current dispute with User:Mattisse, and I'd like to ask for a clarification of the above thread with regard to the precise situation in the dispute.

I know Mattisse asked whether you have to consult a source before citing it - I know the answer is yes. That's all fine. However, the situation in our dispute is a little different. To be precise, User:Mattisse wrote a properly sourced statement in one article. I took the statement, along with the source, into another article. Is that allowed, given that Mattisse presumably checked the source himself? The crucial distinction with what Mattisse is asking, in case it is not clear, is that what is copied is not just the source itself, but the statement, supported by the source. For example, if I write "Tiananmen Square is 500 metres across [cite some book]" in Tiananmen Square, would another editor be able to copy that statement, source and all, into Tiananmen Square massacre?

My view is that this is in accordance with policy, since the statement, in its new location, is still just as supported by the source cited as it was when it was at its old location. It is only a change of location, not a substantive change to the statement.

I just find Mattisse's contention (that you can't copy a statement with its source from one article to another) a little bizzare, since it implies that:

  • Every time an editor synthesises a paragraph in a branch article (say Mongol empire) along with its sources into a summary article (say History of Mongolia), that editor will have to personally check every single source for every statement in that paragraph, even though that paragraph is standing without challenge in the branch article.
  • Every time an article gets moved, merged, undeleted, or otherwise changed in location, the editor making the move/merge will have to check every source in the article.
  • Given that some sources are not widely available (and not available online), the above two points imply that often only the original contributor, and no-one else, can move material into/out of branch articles/main articles, or move/merge/undelete the article?
    • At least I find that implication a little bizarre, given the collaborationist nature of Wikipedia and the GFDL licence - although if I understand Mattisse's argument correctly, that implication is exactly what he is pushing for on my talk page.

Your help is greatly appreciated. --PalaceGuard008 (Talk) 00:16, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Taking a properly sourced statement from one article and copying it into another (along with the citation to the source) is perfectly fine... with a caution: if you are going to change the context of the statement, make sure that the source supports the new context. If the statement is a simple statement of fact like "Joe Blow was born in 1925 <cite to a biography of Joe Blow>" then I don't think there is any problem copying the statement with its source. If the statement you are copying is something more complex (and especially if it is controvercial), then there is a good chance that context will have to be considered ... In which case, be more hesitant to simply copy the statement and source... you should get a copy of the source to make sure it says what you think it says. Blueboar 15:34, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
Right, what he said. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 17:20, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
That makes sense - Thanks. --PalaceGuard008 (Talk) 23:45, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

No original research

Wikipedia:No original research has been unprotected after a long period due to repeated disputes. The main focus of the disagreements has centered around WP:PSTS. There have been some changes since unprotection that seem relatively uncontroversial and within consensus.[20] There are two proposed changes to the policy (Wikipedia talk:No original research#Wikipedia:No original research#Reliable sources and Wikipedia talk:No original research#Taking the dive (PSTS proposal)). Please also be aware a variety of proposals were recently reviewed (Wikipedia talk:No original research#Alternative proposals: straw poll.), mainly based on two approaches to the section. Further input is welcome and encouraged. Vassyana 23:11, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Question on sourcing revisited

I asked a question about and User:PalaceGuard008 asked a question below mine on his copying text and sources from another Wikipedia article. We disagree on what you said. He says what you said was that it is O.K. to copy text and sources and put them in a different context.

I wrote an article in which I used sources referencing ancient Chinese history. User:PalaceGuard008 copied much of the text and all the book sources and put them in his article Caisson (Asian architecture) which is mostly about a period in Chinese architecture that is much later. Further, he has incorrectly applied the book references in the context of his article. I have endlessly discussed this with him on the article talk page, his talk page and my talk page.

In the answers you gave up regarding copying sources and text from other Wikipedia articles, were you saying that his copying text and references from one Wikipedia article and putting them in a different context in Caisson (Asian architecture) is correct? I have the books and he is misusing the references.

If you agree with me that he is acting incorrectly what should I do? If I try to remove any he just reverts. I even supplied an online source that referenced a statement he was using one of the books I have for, and he reverted that also.

If you say he is right, then I will drop the issue. Thanks! --Mattisse 01:33, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

My view is that Mattisse is confusing the issues.
In my view, the issue is the relevance of the facts presented by these properly sourced statements to this article. I believe these facts are within the scope of the article. Mattisse disagrees. I believe the correct way to resolve this dispute is through a full discussion on the talk page as to whether these facts are relevant to the article. I have implored Mattisse about five times so far to return to that discussion, but he has refused to.
Mattisse, instead, is dressing the issue up as one of sources rather than contents. He is advocating that I cannot copy the material, complete with sources, from one article to another, simply because they are different articles. Notice that in the above post, he keeps on using the words "different context" to confuse the issue of "context" in the sense of "quoting out of context" with the issue of "relevance" to an article's subject matter. For example, he says "Caisson (Asian architecture) which is mostly about a period in Chinese architecture that is much later" - which is completely false and completely groundless, as even a cursory reading of the article will reveal; moreover, that is an issue of relevance to subject matter, and bears nothing on an issue of "quoting out of context".
As another example, he says "He says what you said was that it is O.K. to copy text and sources and put them in a different context." I said no such thing. Mattisse is deliberately misusing the word "context" to confuse the issues.
As far as I can see, the issue is: is it within the policy as to sources and citations to move statements of fact, properly sourced, from one article to another? Given that what was adopted was a whole section of material, there is no question of quoting out of context, and thus I believe that the answer is yes.
Here, the dispute is properly one about the relevance of certain contents to an article. Such a dispute is not regulated by the policies as to sourcing, but is an editorial dispute as to contents which should be resolved by discussion - which Mattisse has steadfastly refused to engage in. --PalaceGuard008 (Talk) 02:34, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
Mattisse has a strong aversion to plagiarism which might be affecting his viewpoint about copying Wikipedia GFDL text. Text can legally be copied between articles but you should state (such as in the edit summary) where the text came from so there is a record connecting to the edit history of the text being copied. Relevance of the text to the destination article is dependent upon each article. Try discussing each individual change one at a time to identify specific issues. (SEWilco 03:19, 26 October 2007 (UTC))