Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 152

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Petition to amend the arbitration policy: discretionary sanctions and deletions

The arbitration policy's section on "Ratification and amendment" says, "Proposed amendments may be submitted for ratification only after being approved by a majority vote of the Committee, or having been requested by a petition signed by at least one hundred editors in good standing."

This is the petition part of the amendment process. The ratification process may be started if and when the petition is signed by at least one hundred editors in good standing.

The first paragraph of the "Policy and precedent" section of the arbitration policy is amended to add the following underlined text:

The arbitration process is not a vehicle for creating new policy by fiat. The Committee's decisions may interpret existing policy and guidelines, recognise and call attention to standards of user conduct, or create procedures through which policy and guidelines may be enforced. The Committee does not rule on content, but may propose means by which community resolution of a content dispute can be facilitated. The Committee's discretionary sanctions must not authorise the deletion, undeletion, moving, blanking, or redirection of pages in any namespace.

See the "Rationale by Cunard" subsection for further background and this AN discussion for discussion about the drafting of this petition.

There is a parallel discussion at #RfC: community general sanctions and deletions that should not be confused with this one about the Arbitration Committee's discretionary sanctions.

Cunard (talk) 07:28, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  1. Cunard (talk) 07:28, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  2. Support, although it’s only the deletion part that really matters. Anticipating objections of CREEP, this is required to limit the creep of discretionary sanctions subverting deletion policy, and crossing from behavioural remedies to over-blunt remedies. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 07:37, 5 May 2019 (UTC). Actually, I think I oppose limits on blanking user pages for reasons relating to discretionary sanctions. The blanking of an inappropriate userpage is often the best simplest quietest and least confrontational way to dealing with some perceived problems, especially if done in the userspace of a blocked user for example. Deletion is censorship, blanking is tidying. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 07:42, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  3. Phil Bridger (talk) 07:45, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  4. I agree with the sentiment, but would suggest a different implementation. The approach described can easily be avoided by ArbCom developing an alternative procedure at a different page. ARBPOL (bizarrely) allows ArbCom complete discretion over its procedures and the community no mechanism to challenge them even if the procedures create policy or are otherwise inconsistent with ARBPOL. The issue here is (a) whether ArbCom does (or should) have deletion authority, and, if so, (b) whether they should be able to delegate it. My view is that (a) they currently don't, so the recent deletion is invalid and should be reverted based on the DRV, and (b) they should have such authority (Rob has offered a couple of reasonable reasons why) but should only be able to exercise it themselves but not delegate it to AE or any other process. Any deletion undertaken during DS / AE procedures should be an ordinary deletion subject to ordinary procedures. If ArbCom deletes a page for private reasons with majority support, I see little reason to question whether the page needs to go. I am willing to accept that if there is a reason to question the action, one of the Arbitrators will raise it, as such deletions can be expected to be very rare. EdChem (talk) 08:23, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  5. It is a well established principle that ArbCom is supposed to deal with conduct and not content. Deleting a page is a content decision, just as removing a paragraph from a page would be. ArbCom can sanction people who add content but they aren't supposed to be ruling on what the encyclopedia does and does not say. The same goes for ArbCom-authorised discretionary sanctions. Hut 8.5 09:25, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  6. Support, without objection to tweaking the wording, e.g. to permit ArbCom to delete its own pages, since they already have all authority over those anyway (this codicil is to address Nosebagbear's semi-oppose below). It could also be tweaked to permit undeletion as a response to "badmin" deletion actions addressed as patterns of tool abuse, without regard to the specific content (i.e., a behavior-addressing not content-determinative decision); but I can't easily think of a way to say that concisely. I have to disagree vehemently with EdChem that ArbCom should otherwise have (thus be able to delegate) any kind of content deletion authority, because ArbCom is completely barred both from content decisions, and from invention of policy, which includes new deletion criteria or procedures. Agree that the deletion that sparked this was invalid and must be reverted (even if re-imposed by proper community process later, which is hardly certain). I also don't buy the idea that blanking or redirection are any different from deletion for these purposes. Page moving is also a content matter (either a titling dispute, or a dispute about whether particular content suits a particular namspace), so nix on that, too.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  11:05, 5 May 2019 (UTC); rev'd 11:24, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  7. Tazerdadog (talk) 11:33, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  8. pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 15:45, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  9. S and echo SMcCandlish but adding a few of my own thoughts: (a) that simplicity without ambiguity is desirable; therefore, I support Galobtter's wording: "The Committee has the power to delete pages, but may not delegate that power to individual admins" and (b) I am of the mind that ArbCom may be over-delegating its authority in areas where it's needed most - decisions the community entrusted to them as a body corporate to avoid individual admins making discretionary decisions involving actions that are riddled with ambiguities and/or potential biases, perceived or otherwise. Atsme Talk 📧 15:49, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  10. Support. In response to some of the objections below, note that this would not prevent an admin from deleting under existing CSD, nor would it prevent ArbCom from directly deleting a page or pages itself via motion. It only places its restriction on discretionary sanctions, keeping them from becoming something admins can invoke when deleting pages in order to make them difficult or impossible to contest via existing deletion mechanisms. --Aquillion (talk) 16:07, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Aquillion: that is the intent but the wording is ambiguous. See also Nosebagbear's comments. Thryduulf (talk) 16:45, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  11. Arbcom needs to respect its boundaries.—S Marshall T/C 16:09, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  12. Support. The "oppose" perspective reminds me of the people who argued in 1791 that a Bill of Rights was unnecessary in the U.S. because a democracy would respect the people's rights and the judiciary would uphold them based on traditional procedures. Which was, at best, naive. The 'Arbitration Committee' is rapidly consolidating institutional power with unreasonable grasping like the arbitrary declaration that all of the politics in the U.S. since 1933 is one topic area subject to one of its decisions to resolve a 'dispute'. You can't chain it down fast enough but you should try. Wnt (talk) 18:55, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Wnt: I agree with the intent of this proposal and agree that something is needed but I disagree that this proposal will achieve that aim. I believe Nosebagbear, SmokeyJoe and possibly others also think this way. Thryduulf (talk) 20:06, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Most definitely - much of the unhappiness arose when ARBCOM couldn't agree to limit DS' authority on the area. The ambiguities in this (particularly ARBCOM's authority) either have to be settled by us or by ARBCOM, and I'd rather avoid the unhappiness that might come from them having to rule on the limits of their own authority. Nosebagbear (talk)
    @Thryduulf and Nosebagbear: The alternate proposal I saw at [1] seems like this with major loopholes added, and I don't see why they would be needed. Regular admins seem to be capable enough of deleting material in sensitive cases as it is, and we have regular processes for anything else. Arbcom's remit is supposed to be arbitration -- settling irreconciliable disputes between limited groups of editors, probably by banning somebody/everybody involved. The fact that someone was topic-banned or banned by Arbcom ought to provide enough guidance to suggest what to do with dubious articles linked to the controversy. And the fact is, even the brightest of bright lines -- like that paid editors aren't supposed to directly edit articles -- seem to get blurred near the point of uselessness around here. I think that collection of ifs and buts I see in your draft will fly apart like a house trailer in an EF5 once it comes to a significant political disagreement. Wnt (talk) 20:45, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I believe an amendment will have to state whether ARBCOM has the authority itself, or not. Individuals seem split as to that. I believe it is a necessary covering aspect but can certainly understand the opposite view. I also feel that the amendment i've put in VPI is clearer than either the current status quo or this one. That is not to say it is flawless or there isn't a better way. I argue in this sense that seeking perfection risks being the enemy of good (and critically, better). Nosebagbear (talk) 21:04, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  13. Support – All deletions should be done within deletion policy (XfD, CSD, or PROD). All deletions should be reviewed at DRV. The community, through consensus, must always have The Last Word about what pages are removed from the encyclopedia. There should be no exceptions to these principles. I do not trust any individual to have the unilateral power to delete a page, and I do not trust any small group of individuals (whether it's Arbcom, or "uninvolved administrators at AE", or whatever) to have the sole responsibility of reviewing deletions. The thing about DRV is that anyone can show up and make an argument and be counted. This is not true at AE or Arbcom, which are venues that have shown, in this firearms article instance and in other instances, to not be sufficiently sensitive to community consensus. Deletion is just too important to leave in the hands of the few. Levivich 21:48, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  14. Support. Calidum 04:22, 6 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  15. Support - The scope of the proposed amendment is limited to DS, so it would not limit ArbCom's ability to exercise their authority to delete (if that authority actually exists). –dlthewave 11:35, 6 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  16. (Summoned by bot) Makes sense, sunds about right. SemiHypercube 12:20, 6 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  17. Support. Since the Gun Control arbitration clarification request didn't result in any clarification over whether deletion is an allowable discretionary sanction (DS), this is a reasonable proposal to provide that clarity. Cunard did a good job at limiting the applicability of the proposed regulation to DS and at explaining why this needs to be an amendment to the arbitration policy, not the DS page. Deryck C. 14:07, 6 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  18. Support per Levivich and SMcCandlish. —⁠烏⁠Γ (kaw)  09:17, 07 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  19. Support, noting that the incident inspiring this petition is one of the incidents in response to which I am protesting the Committee. Also note that, while the AE deletion being appealed was not valid in the opinion of many respondents to the clarification request, and the community's deletion review unquestionably overturned the deletion, the restored page was deleted again under auspices of Arbcom authority anyway. This clarification needs to be made, one way or the other, and I prefer this way. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 12:55, 7 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  20. Support, I have general concerns about ArbCom growing their powers more than necessary for their functions. Stifle (talk) 11:03, 13 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  21. Support - the Committee was made for dispute resolution and dealing with other community-based problems, not article-based. Currently it seems that ArbCom may be pushing an agenda by enforcing article deletion while railing against community consensus (see Ivanvector's !vote and his essay). Defying community consensus on the grounds of authority is blatantly bureaucratic and is definitely bad faith, and goes against what Wikipedia stands for. Community consensus should be the the final say on content, not an elected body that we have to hope are doing the right thing. Kirbanzo (userpage - talk - contribs) 14:23, 17 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  22. Support: Whatever I was going to say I think User:Kirbanzo stated it perfectly. I will add that to me this screams "overstepping boundaries". Otr500 (talk) 00:16, 10 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  1. Oppose in implementation - I too agree with the sentiment, but banning ARBCOM from all page deletion is unwise. Instead, I back @EdChem:'s thoughts - we should limit it to ARBCOM itself only. I'd back an alternate amendment for that, as we could run into a few cases (especially with offwiki info) that warranted page deletion that we couldn't handle with a total ban. In effect, we risk "bad cases make bad law". Those with similar mindsets, please oppose and form a new one, not support Nosebagbear (talk) 09:32, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Agree. A formal motion by ArbCom to delete certain pages is not offensive. What is offensive is delegation of authority to others to delete unilaterally, etc. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 09:50, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Typically Arbitrators are administrators. If they are informed of some kind of outing/defamation on a page as a byproduct of arbitration work, they are not prohibited from deleting it in their personal capacity as administrators. They do not need the authority of Arbcom to prohibit reversion of the deletion -- the main disincentive is simply that the admin undoing it would be seen as using his tools to make such material visible again, which would probably cause as much complaint whether or not that content had been the subject of an arbitration case. Am I missing something here? Wnt (talk) 20:52, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  2. I don't know if I agree with the intent but I initially thought this was a reasonable, albeit inelegant, solution, and as such intended to support: this is the petition to start a ratification vote, not the ratification vote itself. After rereading the below, however, I no longer think it would be productive to have a ratification vote on this, so I must oppose this petition as written. ~ Amory (utc) 10:39, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  3. Slight oppose I believe AE should be able to delete pages as long as the page deletion is relevant to conduct and not content (the only exception being the content must fall within an area of sanctions.) Rare? Yes. I also believe most deletions in this space should be subject to review at DRV (most implying there will be some deletions that aren't reviewable such as office actions), and enforcing the result of the DRV will not lead that user closing/enforcing the DRV to administrative sanctions. I agree there's a problem here that needs fixing, though - AE should not unilaterally delete pages based on content - and I commend Cunard for leading the charge - I just don't think that a blanket ban on AE deletions is the most effective response. SportingFlyer T·C 11:33, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @SportingFlyer: Cunard's proposal doesn't say ArbCom can't enact remedies that involve deletion, but rather that DS doesn't include deletion. It's proposed as an amendment to the Arbitration Policy rather than the DS policy, purely because DS is an ArbCom resolution and therefore could not be directly amended by community resolution. Deryck C. 19:51, 6 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  4. Oppose the specifics. I fully agree with the intent - all deletions not involving private information must be permitted by either CSD, Prod or XfD, and must be reviewable at DRV, but per EdChem, Nosebagbear and others this wording is poor and introduces new ambiguities. I do not believe it is within policy (certainly it is contrary to the spirit) to change the wording of an amendment between petition and ratification. Thryduulf (talk) 11:47, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  5. Oppose - I would back this alternate amendment. --MrClog (talk) 14:10, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  6. If a page's existence presents a content issue, DS can't be used to delete it anyway, because arbcom can't delegate authority it does not have. If a page's existence presents a conduct issue, and the topic area is toxic enough that normal community processes have failed and DS had to be authorized, then there's no reason to expect the deletion processes to be immune from that toxicity - especially the less well-attended ones. T. Canens (talk) 17:25, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    It actually is somewhat less affected since a massive amount of AfD participation is from general AfD participants rather than individuals linked to a page (active pages are only rarely in AfD), and this is even more so in DRV. Nosebagbear (talk)
    AfD, perhaps (though it's not as if AN(I) don't have their own share of regulars), yet virtually all AfD discussions involve indisputably content issues and are outside arbcom's remit anyway, so it's not particularly relevant. Many other XfDs do not have as many. As to DRV, it can correct an admin's misreading of an XfD, but it can't do much if the underlying XfD is itself broken due to the influx of partisans on both sides. T. Canens (talk) 17:49, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  7. Oppose ARBCOM already has a hard enough time enforcing its decisions. Restricting it even more is step in the wrong direction. Yilloslime (talk) 17:32, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  8. Oppose. As an admin active at AE, I cannot remember an enforcement action or request other than the recent one concerning one userspace page that involved deletion. This is by far not happening frequently enough to warrant a discussion at this level, or changing policy. If we ever get to a point where rogue AE admins are deleting pages by the dozens to circumvent deletion policy, then action might be warranted - but probably more at a disciplinary rather than at a policy level. Sandstein 06:56, 6 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  9. Oppose As has been noted several times, this is not a problem that needs a solution. No one has yet, once, demonstrated a Wikipedia article which does not yet exist but should, only because ArbCom forced it to be deleted. --Jayron32 15:03, 6 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  10. Oppose see WP:ARBPIA3, where G5 would apply and having it be under AE would make a lot of sense. Agree generally, however. TonyBallioni (talk) 15:09, 6 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  11. Oppose As for the related discussion, I doubt that this is regurarly happening/needed, and there is simply no reason why the road needs to be closed. And even if there is policy against it, there is anyway IAR / occasional exception possible, so whether it is codified in policy or not, it will/may still happen. We are NOT a bureaucracy. --Dirk Beetstra T C 17:39, 6 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  12. Hard cases make bad law, they say. I think this really applies here. – Ammarpad (talk) 20:02, 6 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  13. Oppose. Solution in search of a problem. This simply doesn't happen enough to be worthwhile adding to the policy. Besides, this writing wouldn't do much, since it would still allow ArbCom theoretically to separately authorize deletions. It just disallows them as part of standard discretionary sanctions. What you want is probably something to the effect of "The Arbitration Committee may not authorize any non-arbitrator to delete any page outside of the deletion policy." ~ Rob13Talk 05:20, 7 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  14. Oppose – while I agree that ArbCom should not be involving itself in content decisions such as deletion, this is not the best way to make that clarification. – bradv🍁 05:42, 7 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  15. Oppose - agree with several others, this seems to be a solution based on an outlier. Not a great way to set policy. Springee (talk) 13:25, 7 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  16. Oppose - per T. Cannens, though I think we need to make sure admins do not use AE as a content bludgeon. It didn't happen in this case, but I have seen it happen in the past. --Kyohyi (talk) 13:42, 7 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  17. Oppose WP:G5 is policy, and therefore deletion is explicitly part of AE. The workload on ArbCom is great enough, and delegation of authority is both practical and in accord with the concept of a self-regulating community. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 00:40, 8 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  18. Oppose This is specifically included in G5, also per Beetstra while this is rarely used it doesn't make sense to close this avenue if there are future issues arising that the community can't seem to deal with. --Cameron11598 (Talk) 13:16, 10 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  19. Oppose per G5 --Guerillero | Parlez Moi 20:56, 24 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  20. Oppose. If it were about mainspace then that's one thing, but edits made in userspace are user conduct issues, which is firmly under the remit of Arbcom. Bilorv (he/him) (talk) 20:55, 18 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  • Notifications posted at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard, Wikipedia talk:Deletion review, Wikipedia talk:Deletion policy, Wikipedia talk:Criteria for speedy deletion, and Template:Centralized discussion. Cunard (talk) 08:11, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Cunard: Why not any arbitration pages? There should be a notification at WT:ARBCOM at a bare minimum, because that is the policy you intend to change. WT:AE would also be courteous as this is in direct response to an AE action. – Joe (talk) 08:41, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Good point. Notifications posted at Wikipedia talk:Arbitration Committee and Wikipedia talk:Arbitration/Requests/Enforcement. Cunard (talk) 09:14, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Pinging Wikipedia talk:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Gun control#Clarification request: Gun control (April 2019) participants: GoldenRing (talk · contribs), Dlthewave (talk · contribs), Bishonen (talk · contribs), Simonm223 (talk · contribs), Ivanvector (talk · contribs), Doug Weller (talk · contribs), Black Kite (talk · contribs), Levivich (talk · contribs), RexxS (talk · contribs), S Marshall (talk · contribs), SmokeyJoe (talk · contribs), Hobit (talk · contribs), RoySmith (talk · contribs), Sandstein (talk · contribs), Cryptic (talk · contribs), GreenMeansGo (talk · contribs), DGG (talk · contribs), Drmies (talk · contribs), Xymmax (talk · contribs), Wnt (talk · contribs), Spartaz (talk · contribs), Fish and karate (talk · contribs), Alanscottwalker (talk · contribs), Deryck Chan (talk · contribs), Atsme (talk · contribs), SMcCandlish (talk · contribs), EdChem (talk · contribs), Aquillion (talk · contribs), Ymblanter (talk · contribs), Nosebagbear (talk · contribs), and Mojoworker (talk · contribs).

    Pinging Wikipedia:Deletion review/Log/2019 February 24#User:Dlthewave/Whitewashing of firearms articles participants: Rhododendrites (talk · contribs), Pudeo (talk · contribs), Godsy (talk · contribs), Serial Number 54129 (talk · contribs), Simonm223 (talk · contribs), SportingFlyer (talk · contribs), A Quest For Knowledge (talk · contribs), and Hut 8.5 (talk · contribs).

    Pinging Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard#Proposed amendment to Wikipedia:Arbitration/Policy regarding the Arbitration Committee's power to authorise deletions participants: Timotheus Canens (talk · contribs), King of Hearts (talk · contribs), BU Rob13 (talk · contribs), Nosebagbear (talk · contribs), TonyBallioni (talk · contribs), Newyorkbrad (talk · contribs), SilkTork (talk · contribs), DannyS712 (talk · contribs), Nick (talk · contribs), and Praxidicae (talk · contribs).

    Cunard (talk) 08:11, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • SmokeyJoe (talk · contribs), blanking under discretionary sanctions would not be the "best simplest quietest and least confrontational way to dealing with some perceived problems". Blanking as a normal editorial or administrative blanking coupled with a discretionary sanctions topic ban if the creator is being disruptive would be the "best simplest quietest and least confrontational way to dealing with some perceived problems". A discretionary sanctions blanking requires an editor or uninvolved admin who disagrees with the blanking to appeal at WP:AN, WP:AE, or WP:ARCA. I think it is preferable for any editor or uninvolved admin to have the option to undo the blanking so that the page can then be discussed at WP:MFD.

    Cunard (talk) 08:19, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    • I disagree. A new sanction-based instruction to a user may instruct them to cease a particular line of work in their userspace. The enforcing admin would appropriately blank the usersubpages. It is appropriate that a dispute of this be treated as sanctions appeal. While it could be community-discussed at MfD, the blanking of a subpage is not in any way offensive to deletion policy, and the question of blanking usersubpages muddies the central problem of sanction enforcement crossing deletion policy. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:08, 7 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I understand the intention here, but this would not subvert the current situation in which if an admin deleted a page to support an ArbCom ruling that the action is first discussed within ArbCom specified venues (including ANI) before going to another venue such as DRV. The current situation does not support or encourage the deletion of pages, but lays out where discussions of such deletions should first take place, and that such deletions should not be reversed until it is decided and agreed that the deletion was inappropriate. SilkTork (talk) 08:25, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • This petition disallows admins from using discretionary sanctions to delete pages. If this ratification is successful, any admin who deleted pages under discretionary sanctions would be violating the arbitration policy. Although under the motion the Committee passed recently, the deletion still would need to be discussed at WP:AN, WP:AE, or WP:ARCA, the admin response now should be "the deletion is not within administrator discretion because it violates the arbitration policy" instead of "I cannot say that [the] interpretation and application of that guideline is outside reasonable admin discretion" or "it is within administrator discretion" (quotes from the recently closed AE discussion about the page deletion under discretionary sanctions). This petition has no effect on an admins deleting a page to support an ArbCom ruling if the deletion is unrelated to discretionary sanctions.

      Cunard (talk) 09:14, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • I agree that DS should not be used for deletion, but this text doesn't seem to fit in that section, which is about how ArbCom's rulings relate to policy in general terms. In fact, WP:ARBPOL doesn't mention discretionary sanctions at all – presumably because DS are an extended system of sanctions authorised by ArbCom rather than a core part of the the arbitration policy. Wouldn't this make more sense added to Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Discretionary sanctions? – Joe (talk) 08:48, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The community cannot amend DS directly. Galobtter (pingó mió) 08:52, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I originally intended to modify Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Discretionary sanctions but as noted here, that page can only be modified by the Arbitration Committee. Cunard (talk) 09:14, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Galobtter and Cunard: If there's sufficient support here I'd be willing to propose a motion to change the discretionary sanctions directly. I think that would be neater than an ARBPOL amendment, and if there's obviously strong community support, it would be more likely to pass. (The reason our similar motion in the gun control ARCA didn't pass isn't because the majority of arbs disagreed, it's because they thought it wasn't necessary). – Joe (talk) 17:00, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Joe Roe (talk · contribs), thank you for the offer. I agree that an arbitration motion to change the discretionary sanctions directly would be cleaner than an arbitration policy amendment and would support that. Cunard (talk) 03:17, 6 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I agree with EdChem above that the amendment proposed here would not solve the issue (or at least it wouldn't the best way) - as ArbCom could in theory then create a "Biscretionary Sanctions" that allows deletions (I don't think ArbCom would try to brazenly circumvent the amendment as such, but we should try to go and solve the issue at its root rather than amending a single page). Something more along the lines of "The Committee has the power to delete pages, but may not delegate that power to individual admins." would be better. Galobtter (pingó mió) 08:52, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • I would make a change that was somewhat more constrained, like: "The Arbitration Committee is authorised to delete pages that form a part of disruption considered during standard procedures, or by motion where off-wiki discussion is necessary. This authority does not extend to making decisions about encyclopaedic content and cannot be delegated beyond the Committee. All deletions undertaken outside this provision are governed by the deletion policy and subject to standard appeals provisions." That, or add it to the lest of areas authorised for ArbCom action under ARBPOL. EdChem (talk) 09:11, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • I hope the Committee would not create something like "Biscretionary Sanctions" to allow deletions. If they did (which I do not think they will if this amendment passes), the community can pass a broader amendment to the arbitration policy. I am proposing this change because it is narrowly tailored and has a better chance of achieving consensus than a broader amendment. The arbitration policy currently does not explicitly grant the Committee the power to delete pages. It is unknown whether the community would support an amendment to the policy that explicitly allows the Committee to delete pages. An amendment that allows the Committee to delete pages would need to explain in what circumstances the Committee could delete pages and the community would be divided over what those circumstances should be.

      I support any parallel efforts to amend the arbitration policy as suggested by you and EdChem.

      Cunard (talk) 09:14, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

      • @EdChem: - I agree entirely with EdChem - I think we could actually regret making a restriction this broad (bad cases make bad law etc) - please note, that if we end up with two simultaneous ones that pass, we end up in the circumstance of either the latter replaces the former or the one with the most !votes passes. And it isn't clear which. Nosebagbear (talk) 09:28, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      • Cunard, your proposed wording addresses ArbCom's ability to authorise deletions via DS. Implicitly, that means that ArbCom can itself authorise deletions, or why else add what you are suggesting. Whether you tailor it to be a narrow change, its effect is broad. EdChem (talk) 09:36, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
        • My proposed wording only says that discretionary sanctions cannot authorise deletions. I do not think the wording implicitly authorises or disallows the Arbitration Committee from authorising non-discretionary sanctions deletions. Some editors and arbitrators believe that the arbitration policy already authorises the Committee to authorise deletions (and some believe the opposite) so this amendment will not affect that.

          Cunard (talk) 09:51, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    • I feel that despite the wording, the real target of this amendment is not ArbCom but admins who might take an overly-broad reading of what a particular WP:DS allows. ArbCom is small and fairly tightly-run; but we have over a thousand admins, as well as many very broadly-worded WP:DSes. We don't need to micromanage or set detailed rules for ArbCom. So the purpose here is not really 'ArbCom cannot do X', but 'admins cannot choose to interpret something ArbCom does as X.' If we're in a situation where ArbCom is knowingly, deliberately, and intentionally specifying an entire class of page for deletion (rather than an overly-enthusiastic admin justifying a page deletion under a broad DS), I feel it would be better to resolve that separately. And, more generally, it isn't really feasible for us to make rules for every possible thing that ArbCom might do wrong. --Aquillion (talk) 16:13, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I've suggested a possible alternate at VPI - section for clarity on ARBCOM's power and a very slightly broader restriction. Not that I think they'll create a new GS, but worth covering other aspects. Nosebagbear (talk) 10:16, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • With any of the suggested wordings, can an editor banned under DS have his contributions removed (via deletion or editing)? --Izno (talk) 16:25, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Izno: - i don't think any of the active/proposed wordings would affect the CSDs (which are community generated) so I suppose G5s which apply to whole pages created by already banned editors could still be removed (however the editor came to be blocked). I wouldn't say that was a particularly evident loophole. As to contributions of banned editors, that seems to be an always-going discussion, but I don't believe any of the wordings would affect that either. Nosebagbear (talk) 17:47, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I was less looking at CSD and more the direction of WP:BANREVERT (BANREVERT is really whence G5 derives its authority). It also did not read to me like BANREVERT is affected by the suggested change. --Izno (talk) 18:22, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Much the same as the previous point as far as I can tell - I don't think it would be affected by the change. Nosebagbear (talk) 21:27, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I think there is a major series of Arbcom decision that are being overlooked here: The BLP cases. While I generally oppose DS deletions, as it screws up our normal deletion review process without good reason, the BLP cases illustrate how deletion may be a necessary tool for effective enforcement of Arbcom remedies. I'm not sure if this would really work out, but my though would be that it would be better to leave Arbcom the tool, but exclude it from the default DS toolset. Thus, for something like BLP, Arbcom could explicitly authorize deletion as a DS action, but without a specific deletion authorization, deletions would not be covered under the DS appeal regime. Monty845 04:09, 6 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • CSD documentation of BLPDELETE is in my opinion unclear, but discussions at WT:CSD reached a consensus that BLP deletions are covered by WP:CSD#G10. For anything needing deletion for BLP reasons, delete under G10 "for BLP reasons". Do not include any reference to any sanction. If the page is a BLP violation, it is a BLP violation regardless of who authored it. Feel free to block the user posting BLP-violating material. No need to mention any sanction. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:29, 6 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Amendment Procedure

Unless I really don't understand the procedure - something I won't rule out - we're in stage 1 of an amendment to the policy: the gathering of 100 signatures on a petition. The other way that this stage can be completed is by a majority vote of ArbCom. After stage 1 is successfully completed an amendment will be formally opened for ratification at which point it'll need 100 supporters while having a majority.Therefore, people who are opposing at this point are sending a signal about their lack of support but not actually stopping this process from moving forward. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 18:39, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That's correct (or at least how I read it). Standard procedure for a petition but colliding with our great love for sectioned !voting. It's a fine way of organizing those encouraging folks not to sign the petition, but, yes, it's not stopping anything. ~ Amory (utc) 18:53, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, but by explaining why we don't support it provides an opportunity to tweak and/or amend the proposal, or (my preference in this case) replace it with an alternative, before it gets to ratification. AIUI Small changes might be ok at this stage, but anything significant may (imho should) invalidate the support of those who signed before the most recent change; I believe that no changes can be made during the ratification stage. Thryduulf (talk) 20:00, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And that all seems great. I just wanted to alert those who might not be as aware of the significance of what they were doing or who might be confused why, if this gets 100 signatures, they could see this reposted "like new". Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 20:16, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Rationale by Cunard


An administrator deleted User:Dlthewave/Whitewashing of firearms articles with the rationale "Arbitration enforcement action under gun control DS". The term "gun control DS" refers to Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Gun control#Discretionary sanctions.

Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Discretionary sanctions#Page restrictions says:

Any uninvolved administrator may impose on any page or set of pages relating to the area of conflict page protection, revert restrictions, prohibitions on the addition or removal of certain content (except when consensus for the edit exists), or any other reasonable measure that the enforcing administrator believes is necessary and proportionate for the smooth running of the project.

The dispute is whether "any other reasonable measure that the enforcing administrator believes is necessary" includes the deletion of a page as part of the discretionary enforcement process. The Arbitration Committee at a recently closed clarification request did not decide whether pages can be deleted under "other reasonable measures" as part of the enforcement process. The Committee instead passed the motion:

All actions designated as arbitration enforcement actions, including those alleged to be out of process or against existing policy, must first be appealed following arbitration enforcement procedures to establish if such enforcement is inappropriate before the action may be reversed or formally discussed at another venue.

There is further discussion about the motion on the Arbitration Committee noticeboard here.

Conflict between deletion review and arbitration enforcement

Both Wikipedia:Deletion review/Log/2019 February 24#User:Dlthewave/Whitewashing of firearms articles and Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Enforcement reviewed User:Dlthewave/Whitewashing of firearms articles.

Wikipedia:Deletion review/Log/2019 February 24#User:Dlthewave/Whitewashing of firearms articles was closed as "The clear consensus is that this deletion should be overturned per the deletion policy. It now requires arbcom to sanction this."

A parallel review of the deletion at an WP:AE request titled "Arbitration enforcement action appeal by Dlthewave" was instead closed as:

Appeal declined. The requisite "clear and substantial consensus of [...] uninvolved administrators at AE" to overturn this discretionary sanction is not present.

The page was re-deleted despite the strong community consensus at deletion review to overturn the deletion.

EdChem (talk · contribs) put it well here here:

[T]he difference between DRV and AE is not merely the standard applied, it is also the question considered. DRV looks at whether the page should have been deleted, whether there is a policy-based justification, etc. AE looks at whether the action is within administrator discretion under DS. An AE deletion is endorsed even if every admin who comments says "I wouldn't have done that but I can see how it is a possible conclusion to reach and so is an allowable exercise of discretion." It is true that AE can also say "looking at the page, the deletion decision is unreasonable / goes beyond allowable discretion" but the process as now enforced does not mandate that there be a consensus in favour of the deletion for it to be upheld, it merely requires there to be no consensus that the decision was outside of discretion.

Why is a change needed to the Arbitration policy to prohibit deletions under discretionary sanctions

Without a change to Wikipedia:Arbitration/Policy:

In the proposed amendment, I am also including "undeletion, moving, blanking, or redirection". Undeletion, the reversal of deletion, is included because an undeletion under discretionary sanctions would require a deletion discussion to happen at WP:AE, WP:AN, or WP:ARCA instead of at WP:XFD. Moving, blanking, and redirection are also included because they are or can be pseudo-deletions.


As noted here, the community cannot directly amend Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Discretionary sanctions because it is an Arbitration Committee decision. Limiting the scope of the Arbitration Committee's discretionary sanctions requires modifying Wikipedia:Arbitration/Policy.

The petition is listed as an RfC for advertisement purposes but will follow the petition and ratification process of Wikipedia:Arbitration/Policy#Ratification and amendment instead of the 30-day schedule of RfCs.

Cunard (talk) 07:28, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

KISS. Deletion is not a sanctions enforcement tool

All of this is too complicated. I propose instead:

Explanatory comments:

  1. For virtually everything needing immediate deletion, existing CSD suffice. G11 for unsourced promotion. G5 for pages created in violation of a ban.
  2. Deletions for privacy or child protection reasons already occur, and will continue to occur, without the need for deletion needing to reference any "sanction".
  3. WP:Deletion review is a respected community forum that operates by consensus. Decisions to temp-undelete, or speedy close, operate by consensus, with no complaints to date except for where "sanctions" have crossed the deletion line.

--SmokeyJoe (talk) 03:53, 6 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • This says everything it needs to say. Thryduulf (talk) 10:59, 6 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Love it. Levivich 13:29, 6 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Seems reasonable. I would support this · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 06:17, 7 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I support these principles, SmokeyJoe (talk · contribs).

    There are two ways they can be proposed: as a regular RfC and as an arbitration policy amendment.

    Wikipedia:Consensus#Decisions not subject to consensus of editors says, "The English Wikipedia Arbitration Committee may issue binding decisions, within its scope and responsibilities, that override consensus." Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Discretionary sanctions is one of the Committee's "binding decisions". Some Arbitration Committee members believe that the Committee's scope includes the authority to authorise admins to delete pages under discretionary sanctions (link to clarification request).

    They base this on the discretionary sanctions procedure's allowing admins to take "other reasonable measures that the enforcing administrator believes are necessary and proportionate for the smooth running of the project", which some interpret as including deletions. A current arbitrator said that the discretionary sanctions procedure is subject to WP:CONEXCEPT and the community can narrow its scope only through an arbitration policy amendment.

    The only way for these principles to be binding is if they were proposed as an arbitration policy amendment. Where in Wikipedia:Arbitration/Policy would these principles be added? I support proposing this as an alternative amendment since it's gained the support of Thryduulf (talk · contribs), who opposed the original amendment, so could sway other opposers.

    Cunard (talk) 07:08, 7 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Support Levivich's version as first choice and original wording as second choice. This is another case where it's just not ArbCom's job. —pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 16:16, 8 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment - I support this, and would adopt it. I fully support the impulse leading to the main proposal, but I think the language introduces too much confusion. As I have mentioned elsewhere, my belief is that ARBCOM lacks the authority to delete pages outside of its narrow role of acting on private information not appropriate to share on-wiki, and I disagree that deletion is a remedy for a conduct dispute outside of what is provided in the deletion policy. I would in no way limit an individual arbiter's authority to act in their own administrative or oversight capacity. I disagree with those who say that this outlier case is not worthy of amending the policy because it has revealed that the committee cannot agree as to the limits of its authority. It therefore is appropriate for the community to set such limits, if it can in fact agree as to what they are. Xymmax So let it be written So let it be done 23:24, 8 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Even more KISS: leave it as is. It is not an enforcement tool, it has never been used as an enforcement tool. Plain, non-AE enforcement also has never included deletion. There is just now one (or a couple of cases) where pages were deleted because of a AE. There is simply no reason to write down a rule for that, it is utterly rare, there may not be many cases where it is needed but IF it is needed (for some obscure or IAR reason) it should simply be possible (and anyway, people will IAR on the cases where your now newly written enforcement rule is to be ignored). We are not a bureaucracy. Rather, just a sentence that those (rare) deletion reviews for the sanction-related areas should be properly cross-linked between the two is sufficient. --Dirk Beetstra T C 06:48, 8 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Dirk Beetstra, explain to me then the deletion of User:Dlthewave/Whitewashing of firearms articles. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 07:47, 8 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@SmokeyJoe: that is not up to me, that is to the person who deleted it. And I am not saying that these were those examples that needed deletion, but I am against codifying that into policy - I can think of scenarios that could use deletion (this content is an example of something that does not fall under CSD criteria ..). --Dirk Beetstra T C 10:37, 8 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As per 'even more KISS: leave it as is' .. oppose. --Dirk Beetstra T C 05:25, 20 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support. I could almost get on board with the full ArbCom being allowed to delete something, but the idea that a single admin, acting on his/her own, but in the name of ArbCom (i.e. AE) could delete something beyond review, is just absurd. The above concise statement fixes the problem. My one nit is that WP:G9 should still not be reviewable. I'm not sure I've ever seen a G9. Has it ever been used? Looking through the back links, it doesn't look like it ever has. Which seems like about the right frequency. -- RoySmith (talk) 23:45, 8 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • WP:CSD#G9 would be reviewable to the extent that the WMF authority is verified. A random admin claiming G9 authority based on thier interpretation of what WMF said, that should be overturned. I would expect that known "(WMF)" account to be used to do the deletion, a verified functionary. As G9 doesn't restrict to the reason for deletion, there would be no validity to request review of the underlying reason, just that the policy (G9) was complied with. I completely trust the admins regulars at DRV to do the right thing. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:31, 9 May 2019 (UTC) For bona fide G9s, it’s all pretty professionally laid out at Wikipedia:Office actions, including who may do them. I see WMF take child protection seriously. I see that some Arbs are inching towards assuming Office responsibility and authority. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 13:30, 9 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • I recall someone saying that WMF were quick and easy with G9 deletions of images of WMF buildings. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 12:42, 9 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose this as well Per the same reasons as above. There has not been demonstrated that there exists enough of a problem to justify enacting this policy. The one or two times that AE has been used to justify deletions are rare enough to not merit a policy dealing with it. --Jayron32 14:03, 9 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • It’s more about stopping Arbs from expanding their own scope. They never had power over content, now they authorise others to delete subject only to their own procedures for review. It’s a straight line to the end of consensus and WikiGovernment by ArbCom. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 14:12, 9 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      • The sky is not falling. "If we don't fix this now, all of Wikipedia will end as we know it" is hardly a useful rationale for enacting a policy. Irrational alarmism is not a useful attitude to take. --Jayron32 13:39, 10 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
            • It’s not that the sky can be seen to be falling, more that ArbCom is undermining the foundations. What can’t they do do, if they can render their own policy subversion unreviewable? —SmokeyJoe (talk) 17:28, 10 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
        • I agree that SmokeyJoe is being overly alarmist. But, I really can't see any legitimate reason for ArbCom to be deleting things. We've never had a rule against it, because nobody ever thought it was needed. It was common sense that it would never happen. Now that it's happened, and ArbCom has insisted they have the right to do it, this is the logical time to tell them that they can't.

          Tools already exist to delete things. If a page meets a WP:CSD, that can be used. If not, then regular XfD should be fine. And, if something really is so bad that it has to go quickly, ArbCom can always ask WMF to delete it as an office action. You could even do something like blank and protect the page, or revdel the offending material pending review.

          The toxic combination here is not just the deleting, and not even just the deleting beyond the reach of community review. It's the delegation of that power to any admin who happens to wander by WP:AE and deputises themselves to act ex cathedra, enforced by pain of desysopping to any other admin who intervenes. That cannot stand. -- RoySmith (talk) 14:07, 10 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

          • No Roy. I am being appropriately alarmist. Compare Enabling Act of 1933. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 16:06, 10 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
            The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
            The behavioural police, ArbCom and their self-selecting AE deputies, need to be kept out of policy making and rewriting and subversion. WP:DEL and WP:CSD do not give ArbCom and their AE deputies the right to Speedy delete. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 17:24, 10 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
            • Did you seriously just invoke Godwin's Law? Wow. Just... I mean... Wow. --Jayron32 17:28, 10 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
              • What do you think are their limits? SmokeyJoe (talk) 17:31, 10 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
                • What, you're going to equate ArbCom with Nazis and then have the gall to think we can continue a nice little discussion over the matter. Seriously dude, just go away. I have no intention of continuing a discussion with someone who would do that. If that's the direction you're going, you have nothing useful at all to say. I consider this discussion over. --Jayron32 17:49, 10 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support. This is simpler and cleaner than the original proposal, and is correct, so just do it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  20:24, 12 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support this clearer wording. the wub "?!" 22:06, 16 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose I'm afraid this wording would limit the use of G5, which is sometimes needed in edge cases. I really do get the concerns here, but the overwhelming majority of admins do not want to use deletion as a sanction (myself included.) What is happening is that anything with DS is one of the most difficult areas of the project, where the normal part of policy that work well elsewhere don't work as well. That is the whole point behind DS. There are limited cases (ARBPIA3 enforcement is the biggest example that comes to mind, but I'm sure you could find others) where deletion may be the preferred tool to enforce sanctions. In the overwhelming majority of cases it is not and will not be used, but writing hard rules for difficult areas is almost always a bad idea. See also WP:CREEP. TonyBallioni (talk) 22:19, 16 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support with caveat. Per TonyBallioni, we need to do still allow G5 enforcement of bans. I would tweak it to something even simpler: "All deletions made in the course of arbitration enforcement must be in accordance with deletion policy and are reviewable at Wikipedia:Deletion review." -- King of ♠ 14:35, 19 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Any admin can still delete under G5, but they do it as an administrator, not a functionary, or using the stick procedures of arb enforcement. Even an arb can do that, but they can't claim immunity from reversion. I do not see why they would need to do that. If some admin is reverting deletions to help a banned editor, arb com can and should take action on that. DGG ( talk ) 05:14, 20 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • There's no way in hell I'll support allowing a 7-day public discussion at DRV about a privacy deletion, which is what the third sentence will do. Also per TonyBallioni. T. Canens (talk) 13:08, 20 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Are you concerned that DRV would result in the privacy violation being restored, either as the result of consensus or to allow public review? A deletion review doesn't guarantee temporary undeletion; that would be at the (terrible) discretion of an individual admin. –dlthewave 01:26, 22 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Existing policy already prohibits admins from revealing private info which may be in the deleted text. Like it or not, discussion of the issue (i.e. the publicly available aspects thereof) will take place publicly somewhere on-wiki, because someone will start a thread, unless you impose a sitewide gag order on the whole thing (WP:OUTING is the only case I can think of which enforces such a broad prohibition). -- King of ♠ 00:59, 27 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose seem like a poor idea. There are privacy issues beyond what we can do in public --Guerillero | Parlez Moi 20:59, 24 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Prefer Cunard's amendment, but would be prepared support this instead if Cunard's amendment fails. I'm concerned that this alternative amendment might be too broad; and ArbCom should be allowed to pass a bespoke sanction that includes deletion, just not as part of the existing system of Discretionary Sanctions. Deryck C. 13:32, 6 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support this simple, logical amendment, but I think Levivich's second proposal is really the way to go. – Teratix 04:05, 7 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support: I will make this easy, "Deletion is not a sanctions enforcement tool" so I support consensus, no matter how it is worded or tweeked, that makes this clear. Otr500 (talk) 00:24, 10 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Applicability of the Goldwater Rule and HIPAA to information published in places generally considered to be reliable sources

The discussion at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Health of Donald Trump has raised a number of issues with far-reaching implications with respect to the propriety of Wikipedia reporting information published in reliable sources about the health of public figures. I would therefore like to gauge the community's sense on the applicability of these issues. Specifically:

  1. Where sources that we generally consider to be reliable sources (e.g., CNN, BBC News, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Hill, Forbes) publish articles containing the opinions of third parties regarding the health of a BLP subject, are we bound by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) from reporting the information contained in these publications?
  2. Where sources that we generally consider to be reliable sources publish articles containing the opinions of mental health professionals specifically regarding the mental health of a BLP subject, are we bound by the Goldwater Rule from reporting the information contained in these publications?

If reporting of this material is improper, this would implicate a wide range of material covered in hundreds, perhaps thousands of articles, from descriptions of injuries to athletes to reports of substance abuse problems by celebrities, and of the state of mind of victims and perpetrators of crimes. It is therefore probably better to have a definitive answer to these questions sooner rather than later. bd2412 T 21:57, 10 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As we are not a covered entity, HIPAA doesnt apply to us. And the Goldwater rule would only apply to those editors who are psychotherapists, and even then they have an out because publishing a third parties opinion reported in RS is not giving a medical opinion themselves. While the APA might have ethical issues with it, its functionally unenforceable on ENWP. Only in death does duty end (talk) 22:02, 10 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Should we apply these rules to ourselves, then, even if they do not legally apply to us? bd2412 T 23:38, 10 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Medical professionals shouldn't be doing this stuff. As a matter of editorial discretion, I would prefer if we generally didn't include it in articles. But in a case like this, where there is a plausible argument that the controversy over the medical opinions is itself notable, it is regrettably necessary to include the opinions that are the subject of the controversy. Regardless, articles are not covered by, nor should we adopt a policy to treat articles as if they are covered by HIPPA or the Goldwater Rule. The inclusion of this sort of information in an article should be discussed on a case by case basis. Monty845 02:34, 15 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • We're clearly not covered by HIPAA. I've never heard of the Goldwater Rule. I don't think either are an issue for the project as a whole. SportingFlyer T·C 05:45, 15 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • While I am not a lawyer, I think I can confidently say that Wikipedia is not a "covered entity" under HIPAA. (Generally, health care clearinghouses, employer-sponsored health plans, health insurers, and medical service providers that engage in certain transactions.) So no, HIPAA does not apply to us.
    Similarly, while I have so special expertise in determining what is and is not a "person", I'm pretty sure that Wikipedia does not qualify as a psychiatrist who is a member of the American Psychiatric Association rendering a professional opinion. So no, that does not apply to us either.
    It is the job of Reliable Sources to determine what is noteworthy and appropriate for publication, and it's our job to summarize what those sources say, in Due Weight proportion to presence and significance of various views in those sources. If sources such as CNN, BBC News, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Hill, Forbes, are all reporting something, then that is obviously a very major part of extremely public discourse. We need to accurately summarize what those sources say. Alsee (talk) 12:09, 16 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • The concern is more about repeating defamatory statements someone else published when they are not "privileged" to repeat a statement. A persons medical record/health condition is private information protected by HIPPA (including public figures, celebrities, politicians, etc.) If medical professionals are providing a diagnosis about a person's medical condition in violation of their own ethics rule, and it gets published in a defamatory/libelous/slanderous manner by media, what are the potential repurcussions if repeated? I may be overly cautious but why gamble if it's just speculation, an ethical violation and/or protected information? It would probably be better to contact WMF Legal for a definitive answer but again, is it worth going through all that trouble or is it better to just leave it out of the pedia since it's considered speculation/gossip anyway? Just my cautious nickel's worth. Atsme Talk 📧 17:32, 16 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Most of the privileges apply here. For purposes of providing information on current events, Wikipedia is afforded the reporter's privilege to report news. Of course, statements can only be defamatory if they are determined in a court of law to be untrue. Furthermore, statements of opinion (including professional opinion) can not be defamatory, because they do not assert facts. By definition, medical opinions are just that - opinions. bd2412 T 19:56, 16 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      Correct, except that statements are defamatory if they damage someone's reputation, and courts can still consider this to be the case even if they are true. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 21:10, 16 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      It is black-letter law that defamation is defined as "the communication of a false statement". bd2412 T 21:13, 16 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      @Hawkeye7: See Fair comment. Truth is a defense against defamation. GMGtalk 19:50, 19 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      Only partly. "In some Australian states, truth alone is an adequate defence. In other states, a statement has to be true and in the public interest -- if what you said was true but not considered by the court to be in the public interest, you can be successfully sued for defamation." [2] Hawkeye7 (discuss) 20:26, 19 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      As if I needed another reason to continue not-visiting Australia. GMGtalk 20:32, 19 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      Its wrong anyway, Defamation law was standardised across AU a few years ago, Truth is an absolute defense in all states now. Although I believe that it can still be negated if malice can be proved, but I would have to look that up. Public interest is no longer a requirement. (Unless they re-added when I wasnt looking) Only in death does duty end (talk) 20:41, 19 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      Thanks for that Only in death. And fear not GreenMeansGo, we will protect you from the drop bears. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 20:56, 19 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

And one other thing that concerns me - they are opinions made in violation of their own professional code of ethics. Wouldn't want to be them. Atsme Talk 📧 21:42, 16 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

RM on 911


An editor has requested for {{subst:linked|Talk:911 (disambiguation)}} to be moved to {{subst:#if:|{{subst:linked|{{{2}}}}}|another page}}. Since you had some involvement with Talk:911 (disambiguation), you might want to participate in [[{{subst:#if:|{{subst:#if:|{{{alttalk}}}#{{{section}}}|{{{alttalk}}}}}|{{subst:#if:|Talk:911 (disambiguation)#{{{section}}}|{{subst:TALKPAGENAME:Talk:911 (disambiguation)}}}}}}|the move discussion]] (if you have not already done so). not me but somebody else. As this RM is practically working as an RFC that affects WP:NCNUM, and no attempts were made to notify users (as this will affect numbers and years), I add this notification. © Tbhotch (en-2.5). 19:49, 20 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wikipedia:Office actions changed from a policy page to an information page

I've changed the Wikipedia:Office actions page from a policy page to an information page. It is clear that it no longer holds local community support to be considered a policy following the update of February 2019. –xenotalk 12:58, 24 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Three questions from andrybak

  1. About WP:Bureaucrats  Answered
  2. About WP:Arbitration/Policy
  3. About WP:Administrators  Answered

Are talk pages good places for these questions, or should I move them to this Village pump page? —⁠andrybak (talk) 21:25, 25 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

They're not unreasonable locations - if you don't get responses in, say, a week, then moving them elsewhere would the next port of call Nosebagbear (talk) 21:06, 26 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Nosebagbear, thank you. —⁠andrybak (talk) 03:54, 28 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Bill Whitney seems to have it all....."

I have always wanted to take an axe to any and all articles whose "Plot" section consists of breathless scene-by-scene, edit-by-edit, play-by-play creative writing episode of encyclopedic content. I would delete 90% of content at a stroke. The question I ask here is, what can we do about WP:PLOT and similar policies, how can we police them properly, how can we stop, specifically, an article such as Society (film) begin its "plot" section with "Bill Whitney seems to have it all....."? That is not how "plot" sections should start. That is how a trailer starts, that's how an essay starts, that's how a commentary starts. Wikipedia is better than this, so what can we do? How do we finally take "plot" sections by the neck and shake them out of their 14,000 word description disease? doktorb wordsdeeds 22:08, 8 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This isn't a very informative answer, but since you asked: There's a near infinite about of work to be done, and the only magic wand is to go edit. Alsee (talk) 00:23, 9 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, I mean, writing or adding to plot descriptions of movies is something that people like to do, a lot. It's understandable. There're a lot more people who could describe the plot of a recent popular movie than can contribute to articles on high-energy-particle physics, and it's a lot easier too.
It's an artifact of how we operate. It does drive you nuts sometimes, but I wouldn't overly worry about it. It's non-excellent, but it's not terribly harmful to the project. And it's probably an entry for editors. I'd bet that a lot of editors start off by making or adding to plot sections of movies they like, and some small but non-zero number of them probably go on to be active editors. So there's that. Herostratus (talk) 21:11, 20 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That quote triggered my brain's copyvio detector. It's too late now that a million sites have copied Wikipedia, but if you come across text like that when it's just been added, I suggest putting it between quotes and Googling it. Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 05:45, 28 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Expanding Semi-Protected to be easier to use to target unregistered users

  • Allowing Semi-Protected to be place if a article violates WP:FAN. The goal is to prevent over zealous fans from spreading mixed up information and placing them in articles even if 2 or 3 unregistered people doing it.
  • Allowing Semi-Protected to be place before a "popular" sports event starts. This stop unregistered users from posting adware streams into articles. Regice2020 (talk) 21:46, 23 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment. This should be applied more widely than to fancruft, also to IP paid editors and POV warriors. Xxanthippe (talk) 22:33, 24 June 2019 (UTC).Reply[reply]
  • Oppose WP:FAN isn't a policy or even a guideline and if AFD is indicative there is a lot of room of disagreement about whether something is cruft or not. So we are going to see lots of arguments about whether something should be protected or not. Additionally, not all IP/unregistered editors make bad edits and we'd need to demonstrate that the bad edits outweigh the good ones for each article before protection - we can't just dish out locks on the basis of an assumption. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 07:40, 25 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose- I dislike this rhetoric of "targeting" people. Reyk YO! 07:45, 25 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose, because the proposal is entirely contrary to the one of the core stated aims of the project: that 'anyone can edit'. If Wikipedia is going to create policy restricting edits solely to registered users, it should do so openly and consistently, after a community-wide discussion, rather than by picking specific topics to place such restrictions on, based on nothing more than a selective reading of a non-policy essay and a presumption of bad faith. (talk) 00:41, 29 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose I'm not going to try to figure out what "if a <sic> article violates WP:FAN" is supposed to mean. I disagree with the pro-active protection for articles. People who edit using an IP address are editors too, and most of them make useful contributions. Editors with a name in place of an IP can be vandals and edit war too. I've found that WP:RFPP is very responsive when problems arise. The proposed expansion isn't needed. Schazjmd (Talk) 01:13, 29 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose. This proposal is not compatible with Wikipedia's principles (Wikipedia is free content that anyone can use, edit, and distribute) Anne drew (talk) 01:43, 29 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Yes mostly here to keep over zealous unregistered users that do inappropriate edits to Wikipedia away. The other point mostly to allow a short term Semi Protected to be inserted before a event start to prevent unregistered users from adding malicious stream links into the sports event Wikipedia articles. Happens too much. They mostly target popular wiki articles sports event like NBA, WWE and UFC Events. Regice2020 (talk) 02:15, 28 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This suggestion seems to be motivated (solely or in large part) by a recent dispute about the Ryzen article, which Regice AfD'ed. While the AfD was working its way towards a snow keep, an IP user offered to improve the article. Regice responded to that work (accompanied by reasonable talk page activity) with two requests for semiprotection, even though there was no vandalism (either from that IP user, or the minimal other activity on the article). Regice also went after the IP user at WP:ANI. It has been suggested Regice is a "vexatious litigant" in this matter, and this honestly doesn't help matters. More generally, I don't see the big idea in going after allegedly overzealous unregistered users. Registered users have no special status compared to unregistered users, and we do encourage all users to be WP:BOLD. Keeping them away is, in my opinion, contrary to the spirit and policies of Wikipedia. Sakkura (talk) 18:39, 28 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I understand you are going be on other side according to recent AFD of that page and there were specific group got upset over a must needed improvement. I had this suggestion in the thought before making "must needed" attempt to improve Ryzen article or even started the appropriate afd. I just decided post it later. Have a nice day. Regice2020 (talk) 22:50, 28 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There was nothing remotely appropriate about the Ryzen AfD. I suggest you learn a little more about how Wikipedia works before making further policy proposals. (talk) 00:45, 29 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No topics on Village Pump? Was Citation needed?

Extended content

The Britain's role section in the 1953 Iranian coup article does not have any British media sources cited.-ApexUnderground (talk) 06:34, 27 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have put this comment back as the remover in comment stated only that its not policy related, and didn't say if he moved it to the proper WP:VP page. If you are the remover, please say where it goes in comment. -ApexUnderground (talk) 14:06, 27 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The place to discuss this issue is Talk:1953 Iranian coup d'état. Rather than move this myself I would suggest that you start the discussion there, so it is attributed in the history to the right person. The other thing you might want to do to help is to cite a better variety of sources yourself, as this section seems a little over-reliant on primary sources from the US National Security Archive, but note that academic sources are usually better than media sources. Phil Bridger (talk) 14:52, 27 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for that Phil. It seems there needs to be a place for topical discussions outside of article talk pages and somewhere on WP:VP so that WP:VP is not just talk about policy or miscellaneous. As far as the Iran coup, I would want to bring the above issues up on a more general page, but then what page would that be? Coups in Iran? Iran military history? And then for many pages it takes a long time to get a response, just because Wikipedia is so big now. A more general place to post comment seems needed, like here on WP:VP, otherwise comments are always pidgeonholed and nearly mothballed to very specific article talks. -ApexUnderground (talk) 03:29, 28 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Rather than expending energy on finding the proper place to complain about it, why not fix it yourself? Find some Brit media sources and cite them. If you're not sure how to do that, help is available at Help:Referencing for beginners. Matt Deres (talk) 18:59, 28 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If you want broader input on a particular article, sometimes the talkpages of associated wikiprojects can be helpful: in the case of 1953 Iranian coup d'état, there's WT:MILHIST (fairly active) and WT:IRAN (looks like not particularly active). You are more likely to find interested editors there than on WP:VP. Caeciliusinhorto (talk) 13:33, 29 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Suggestion: Ability to soft-block users.

If an user has good faith, but makes low-quality edits due to being a Wikipedia beginner, they could be soft-blocked, meaning that they can still submit edits, but all of their edits will be stored as pending changes instead of being published immediately. This concept already exists on the German Wikipedia (as WP:Sighting). ––Chanc20190325 (talk) 01:15, 15 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think on English Wikipedia WP:SOFTBLOCK might have a different meaning than perhaps it does on German Wikipedia. -- Marchjuly (talk) 10:10, 15 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This helps explain all of the weird colors I see when I try to edit DE-wiki or look at an article's edit history. Softlavender (talk) 10:36, 15 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hmm like a "moderated" reverse-right? I personally don't find pending changes helpful when patrolling because as much work is involved to audit, versus semi-protection that prevents them (of course, the difference is that it's only visible when logged-in). In this case, it would not introduce more work when patrolling (edits would have been done anyway if not moderated and show on watchlists/recent-changes), but may if it was commonly used in situations where editors would normally be under a block... The way pending changes currently work, they have special status like higher priority on watchlists; would these moderated edits be distinguishable from normal pending changes ones? Perhaps it'd help editor retention and be a good idea? Another thing worth wondering: if this was active and working, would the next proposal to prevent IP address editing alternatively propose to have all IP address editing moderated (however, similar proposals never gained much consensus)? —PaleoNeonate – 11:06, 15 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Pending changes is buggy and useless at best, and harmful because it requires more patrolling at worst. If we should be having any discussion it would be about banning the use of this feature on, not expanding it. TonyBallioni (talk) 11:12, 15 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The editing level is probably very different to DE-Wikipedia, too —PaleoNeonate – 11:19, 15 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And this now reminds of the possibility of article revisions (where when an article reaches a certain quality status, a particular revision can be flagged as the last official one to publicly display). If I remember the functionality exists as a module but was never enabled/accepted on EN-Wiki. —PaleoNeonate – 11:25, 15 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with Tony here - PC, as currently used, is close to useless - edits still need to be reverted, the interface is opaque and confusing - and it seems to be a total lottery whether an edit gets approved or not, depending on the understanding of the reviewer as to what PC is even for. ...Having said that, there are more than a few occasions where I could see putting an editor's edits "on review" might be helpful, and it's a little tempting at first glance to imagine that PC could be 'repurposed' for that - but... you'd need an entirely different set of reviewers with a different mindset and a whole new set of procedures, plus PC would need to be able to be set per-user instead of per-article, which sounds like a nightmare interface-wise, and I'm not sure how you'd go about assembling that group of people and those interface changes/'rules'. -- Begoon 11:29, 15 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • This would actually make the users more powerful - their PC-edits would block any page they edited on from edits taking place until it was processed. Nosebagbear (talk)
  • I attempted to get a better Pending-Change platform through on the Wishlist, but no joy there - it really doesn't work if 2 or more editors have participated, as processing them becomes extremely hard. Nosebagbear (talk) 15:22, 15 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Some newbies actually need the time-out which allows the ones who are serious about helping to build an encyclopedia the time necessary to research and study our PAGs and learn a little more about the community. Pending changes only adds more work on top of piles of backlogs we're already dealing with - and like Tony said, it's buggy. Time out, and possible mentoring. Atsme Talk 📧 00:00, 17 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Without commenting about my own views, I'd like to explain how this could be partially implemented using the current pending-changes software. This would be modeled after the current enwikibooks, were users who haven't met certain criteria yet have all of their edits to pc-protected pages flagged as "pending"
Extended content
  1. Create a new user group (referred to here as editor, but identical to the autoreview user group that comes with the FlaggedRevs extension - current, autopatrolled users are a part of the "autoreview" user group)
  2. Give the editor user group the autoreview user right, meaning that their edits are automatically patrolled when pending changes are enabled
  3. Automatically give the editor user group to users who meet the threshold for autoconfirmed using wmgAutopromoteOnceonEdit, but have it be an explicit user group like extendedconfirmed, rather than implicit like autoconfirmed
  4. Grant administrators the ability to grant and remove the editor user group using wgAddGroups and wgRemoveGroups
  5. Remove the autoreview right from the autoconfirmed user group
At this point, the rights changes are done. Normal users should have seen no change, since all users that currently have the autoreview right as part of the autoconfirmed group still have the right. However, since it is given using a different user group, it can, like extendedconfirmed, removed from (and given to) editors using Special:UserRights. To "soft-block" a user, a sysop can simply revoke their membership in the editor group, which would mean that all of the user's edits to pages in ns:0 (articles) and ns:4 (Wikipedia:) would be set as pending if the page already has pending changes enabled.
An alternative could be to revisit the use of Wikipedia:Deferred changes. --DannyS712 (talk) 02:50, 17 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • My understanding is that all new accounts are unconfirmed until they are at least four days old and have made ten edits. This means they are already limited in how they can edit any page which is protected, but can freely edit pretty much any non-protected page. It's the protection added to the page, which probably has nothing to do with these new editors, that restricts them from editing. What's not clear (at least to me) about this proposal is whether the OP wants to place some kind of restriction on all new editors or only those editors whose first few edits seem to be a problem.
    The first approach sort of sounds like a learner's permit for editing where the new accounts are allowed to edit, but only under supervision or review of some kind. I'd imagine that most people who edit for the first time expect their edits to go live when they press "Publish changes", but this would sort of be like requiring them to press "Propose changes" instead. Since Wikipedia encourages editors to be BOLD, it seems to understand and accepts that mistakes are going to be made, and hopes that these will eventually be caught and cleaned up by those more familiar with relevant policies and guidelines. This approach seems to limit BOLD to being applying to only after you've passed an entrance exam or completed an orientation of some kind.
    The second approach seems to be sort of like an "time out" or "teachable moment", where the edits are not enough of a problem to warrant perhaps a user warning or direct administrator involvement, but still require some kind of mild reprimand. The editor who made the good faith mistake gets limited access for some designated period of time or mumber of edits in the hope that they will learn from their mistake(s). This seems like it would be even harder to implement than a learner's permit approach because you're first going to have to determine how low is a "low-quality edit" (i.e. simple formatting or style errors, WP:RS error, BLP or copyright violation) and then determine who is going to explain why the edit was a problem. Are these editors going to all be required to participate in some Wikipedia re-education class where they will receive advice on how to edit properly? What if they don't want to? They might just stop editing altogether or decide to do so as an IP or different account.
    I think OP's proposal is well intended, but also seems like something which would have a hard time receiving the kind of support it would need from the community to be effectively implemented. -- Marchjuly (talk) 06:00, 17 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's worth considering something like this, at least. We should avoid hard blocks as much as possible. Benjamin (talk) 01:41, 30 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Recommended articles

How do articles get to be on the recommended articles list? The current content seems to be very POV/random/restricted. If this is something coming out of Wikidata added by any old drive-by editor without going through any kind of process, then I don't think we should be advertising those pages as "recommended" on Wikipedia. SpinningSpark 14:55, 28 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If an article with a Wikidata item is marked as "recommended article" on a Wikipedia and this status is added to the Wikidata item, it appears there. "Recommended article" is a quality rating similar to "good article" or "featured article" that is used on some projects. Compare a page from the corresponding list for "featured article". Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 15:00, 28 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So... are you saying that this is indeed yet another undiscussed integration of Wikidata into Wikipedia? (Not good)... Or was it fully discussed and approved by the Wikipedia community? (If so, please link the discussion). Blueboar (talk) 15:16, 28 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(after ec) Well that still hasn't answered my question of how the page gets so marked. The Wikidata page for "recommended article", Wikidata:Q17559452, shows Wikipedia having zero entries. The Wikidata page, Wikidata:Q22002916 for the first entry on the list at our Special pages, Bailey May, is not tagged with this property. In any case, the essential question here is what is the process for such tagging? It should be based on Wikipedia's own quality processes, such as the quality scale assessment, or Wikipedia:Vital articles. SpinningSpark 15:17, 28 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If the article isn't a "recommended article" in any language then it shouldn't be marked as such on Wikidata, similar to how one shouldn't tag an article here as "featured" if it hasn't passed FA(R)C. I don't know if there was any discussion. Wikidata:Q22002916 has a marker at the Portuguese Wikipedia entry, but you need to click on the badge icon to see it. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 15:26, 28 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Jo-Jo Eumerus: please give me an idiot's guide of how to find the badge icon, I'm not seeing it. So are you saying that articles marked as recommended on Portuguese Wikipedia are showing up as recommended on English Wikipedia? I don't think that's how it works for FAs or other badges, and it shouldn't work that way here. SpinningSpark 15:48, 28 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
On Wikidata:Q22002916, go to the bottom of the page where there is a box titled "Wikipedia". There you can see a badge icon next to the "pt" entry. Turns out, when Myara K. updated the item in March they also changed the badge for enwiki even though it is not a recommended article here; I've rectified this. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 15:53, 28 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks. It sounds to me then, that enwiki does not use this system and that all the entries on the list are spurious and should be terminated with extreme prejudice. SpinningSpark 18:10, 28 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've removed the others. Job queue will take care of the rest. --Izno (talk) 18:53, 28 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
They are still visible to me two days later. SpinningSpark 10:55, 30 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Null editing the pages will correct the issue. --Izno (talk) 14:25, 30 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I am totally confused... not only do I not understand how a page gets added to this list of “recommended articles” (is there some sort of nomination process?)... I can’t figure out how to challenge or remove an article from the list. Blueboar (talk) 11:50, 30 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Blueboar: I'm guessing this is a server purging issue, but Bailey May did disappear from the list as soon as it was unchecked from the badge dropdown. Strange that the others haven't gone. SpinningSpark 15:20, 30 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The more I look into this, the more I get confused... so let’s go back to basics. Could someone please explain what the hell a “recommended article” actually IS? Is there any process for adding/removing an article to the list? Blueboar (talk) 16:20, 30 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    If an article with a Wikidata item is marked as "recommended article" on a Wikipedia and this status is added to the Wikidata item, it appears there. "Recommended article" is a quality rating similar to "good article" or "featured article" that is used on some projects. Compare a page from the corresponding list for "featured article". Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 15:00, 28 June 2019 (UTC) Right above. We don't use it so there should never be a page marked as "recommended article" on Wikidata for the English Wikipedia. --Izno (talk) 16:37, 30 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    So this is a rating that is used on some of the other language Wikipedias? Blueboar (talk) 17:02, 30 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Other projects possibly. I do not know which projects. --Izno (talk) 17:06, 30 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

“Recommended article” status - misuse for promotional purposes?

And something else concerns me... currently, the "recommended articles" list has seven entries:
Hmmm... anyone else notice a pattern here? Seriously, this is a red flag to me... I strongly suspect that someone connected to these games is trying to use the "recommended article" tag to promote their game. Blueboar (talk) 12:35, 30 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Bertaut is the editor who added the tags to Wikidata, for what it's worth. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 13:17, 30 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ok, thanks... Looking at the editor’s history, I think it’s a fan rather than an employee. Nevertheless, I hope you can see why I was concerned about the potential for promotional editing with this. Blueboar (talk) 13:55, 30 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oh, this struck me as typical of a fan as soon as I saw the names of the articles. --Izno (talk) 14:25, 30 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, I had notiiced. That's what pushed me into bringing this up in the first place, although I did not say so. A bigger question is why is Wikidata allowing their editors to manually assign badges that only the local Wiki can award? This data should be taken by bot from the badges or lists here on WP where the info is monitored. It makes me wonder if there is not a much more widespread problem. RA was easy to spot as we do not have that badge on enwiki, but the lists for FA and GA might be utterly corrupted for all anyone knows. Could someone skilled with AWB do a comparison for GA, FA, FL etc to highlight any problems? SpinningSpark 15:20, 30 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There are actually bots which do this. I don't know if such bots can also unflag items, though. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 15:32, 30 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ah... so it may be used in sister projects like Wictionary or Wikivoyage (or whatever). Got it. Thanks for explaining. Sounds like we need to ask the folks over at WD to remove WP as an option for this. Blueboar (talk) 17:41, 30 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi there. Yeah, holding my hands up, I'm guilty of using the recommended badge. But just to assuage your initial suspicions Blueboar, I have no connection whatsoever to Blue Byte or the games, as my history on here should attest. I can't even remember how I came to use the badge in the first place; I think it may already have been used on one of the titles, and I just thought it was a kind of "if you want more info, the best place is...". Never actually occurred to me that it was an equivalent of the GA/FA rating system we use on here, and thus required proper vetting. Although I'm fairly new to Wikidata, that's still my bad, and I'm glad you caught it. If I can answer any further questions, I'd recommend you...sorry, couldn't resist. Seriously though, just ping me or leave me a note on my talk. Cheers. Bertaut (talk) 02:44, 1 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Shortcut prefixes and namespaces

Can I please have more eyes on Wikipedia talk:Shortcut#Shortcut prefixes and namespaces? That is, are there any restrictions (not expressed on the WP:SHORTCUT page) on shortcut creation? Thx CapnZapp (talk) 18:15, 1 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Censoring talk page comments, pov editing of talk pages

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.

My comments at Talk:Vaginoplasty#Clarification were censored, and the editor applies labels as to the reasons why. This is a kind of censorship from a pov, where he censors because he disagrees with my comments, which were on point and editorial about clarifying the language in the article. The article calls them "vaginas" when they are not actual vaginas.-ApexUnderground (talk) 20:37, 1 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • This isn't the right place to discuss this. Furthermore, I agree with the user who hatted your comments. You haven't even made any edits to the article. SportingFlyer T·C 20:46, 1 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The comment is about the innacurate terminology in use in the article, and goes on to bring up a problem where the field is pseudoscientific but isn't described that way. That's two glaring problems with the article. Where is a central place to talk about this? -ApexUnderground (talk) 20:50, 1 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Censorship involves omission or removal. Nothing has been omitted or removed.
  • If you wanted to make an issue of it, you could try filing a complaint at WP:ANI. Good luck with that. But this is not the venue for resolution of such disputes.
  • It's not like editors never read collapsed comments, and there is no strict prohibition against replying to them. If anything the Streisand effect comes into play, as it's human nature to wonder what's behind a closed door that says DO NOT ENTER. ―Mandruss  20:59, 1 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • The collapsing of a comment is a kind of removal of the comment short of deleting it from the current version, or wiping it from the history. If there is a reason for doing so, it needs to be well-formed. In this case it isn't, and so it may be a matter for ANI, but that doesn't deal with the problem that a comment was collapsed for pov reasons.
  • Where is the proper place for discussion. The collapsing of the comment has interfered with the discussion of the article issues raised in article talk space. -ApexUnderground (talk) 22:19, 1 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • There is no place for you to discuss this that will arrive at a conclusion that pleases you, since the collapsing of your comment was appropriate in the first place. And that's because it doesn't matter how ApexUnderground interprets words. That will have no effect on the article. All that matters is the terminology used by reliable sources. So unless you are presenting new sources that use different terminology, arguing that the existing sources are not being followed accurately, or at least arguing that existing sources are bad for some reason (NPOV, RS, etc), there is nothing to discuss. If you want to just ask for the purpose of learning, "why are these terms used?", well, you could try at the reference desk. Someguy1221 (talk) 23:03, 1 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Someguy said: "There is no place for you to discuss this that will arrive at a conclusion that pleases you, since the collapsing of your comment was appropriate in the first place."
  1. There should be a place to discuss the topics I raised
  2. The collapsing of my comment was not "appropriate" as it was a kind of pov censorship.
The removal of comments needs to be done only when appropriate, and so there needs to be a review in this case. The question of whether there is system creep where pov individuals use comment removal as a tool of censorship has to be discussed. -ApexUnderground (talk) 01:46, 2 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The topics you raised were being raised without mention to specific sources or in regards to improving the encyclopaedia and were clearly WP:FORUM. You don't have a right to just talk about the topics on the talk pages, particularly the line: In addition, bear in mind that article talk pages exist solely to discuss how to improve articles; they are not for general discussion about the subject of the article, nor are they a help desk for obtaining instructions or technical assistance. Your absolute best bet is to drop this and move forward with improving the encyclopaedia, your next best bet is probably WP:ANI, but as others here have noted, it's unlikely to go well for you. SportingFlyer T·C 03:15, 2 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
OK, some points. Two common and valid reasons for collapsing talk page comments are if the comment is very long, or if it's an off-topic digression from the main thrust of a thread. Neither apply here. Collapsing is not supposed to be done to indicate one's personal disagreement with the other editor's points. Hope we're clear on that.

Comments that are vandalism, trolling, unrelated to the article subject, unintelligable, etc. are not collapsed but removed; that also doesn't apply here in my opinion. If you want to remove the comments on the grounds that they are vdalism, trolling, unrelated to the article subject, unintelligable, etc., I suppose you could, or try anyway. I wouldn't recommend that, since they're not. They are objections to the lede sentences, with intelligible (if dubious) reasons given.

It's not usual to edit another person's talk page comments (which collapsing is a form of) except under particular circumstances, and since the editor objected, I undid the collapsing. I'd recommend either addessing the editors complaints on the merits -- shouldn't be hard, since they're pretty weak -- or just ignoring them, rather than more drama. Herostratus (talk) 03:33, 2 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

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.

Encyclopedic Mission

I am worried about the strident tone of the 'banners' that are now presented insistently to users. For example 'Wiki Loves Monuments', 'Holiday Photos', prize offerings, 'Gay Pride' etc. Dammit, we are an encyclopedia, not a pressure group, not social media, not a focus group. My hope is that some big beasts in Wikipedia will realise this and stop the nonsense — Preceding unsigned comment added by JohnWheater (talkcontribs) 14:45, 22 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In an effort to improve the encyclopedia, the community often organizes drives/initiatives regarding particular topics. Right now it's LGBT topics. We have lots of encyclopedia articles on LGBT topics which need improvement and/or illustration. We also like to illustrate our encyclopedia articles on monuments, holidays, etc. There are events dedicated to creating articles of women, of Asian artists, of suffragists, etc. Today's article for improvement is Bookworm (insect). Sometimes we have contests on particular subjects, like military history, or general contests to improve article quality like the WikiCup. There's Wiki Loves Africa, Wiki Loves Science, Wiki Loves Love... On the sillier side, there was even an initiative (not one organized by the community) to upload pictures of pigeons. Over on Commons, this month's contests are on "geology" and "keys and keyholes." I'd like to think that the opposition to this particular drive I've seen in a few venues now is based on a misunderstanding of these initiatives (or broad objection to highlighting particular subjects) rather than thinking that encyclopedia articles on LGBT topics are a particular part of the encyclopedia unworthy of focus. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 18:21, 23 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The tone of the top comment is homophobic or anti-Gay. It's not often explained, but Gays have been the backbone of the Western world, and Wikipedia is honored to let Gay activists into its community and its offices to undo the hundreds of years of damage done by Christians and other homophobic groups. -ApexUnderground (talk) 21:04, 23 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well that latest comment from ApexUnderground is getting offensive, unlike the OP. Those top banners do get annoying, taking up space and attention for nothing, but at least there is an x to stop that one message from popping up, until the next one comes along. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 12:36, 27 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"but Gays have been the backbone of the Western world" OK, I'm about pro-LGTB activism as it get, but let's not get carried away with historical revisionism here. Gays have been the backbone of the Western World? Historically, they've been marginalized and kept out of power. You can certainly argue that Alan Turing contribution to Britain's war effort in WWII was rather important, but Turing was not the reason why the Allies won the war. Likewise, let's not hinge the very existence of Western Civilization on a minority that was historically oppressed by Western Civilisation. That's problematic for several reasons, both because it's not true, and because it whitewashes Western history of its problems. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 03:48, 28 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The replacement banner has changed, making it more clear that photographs rather than support is requested. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 11:40, 2 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And ApexUnderground blocked as a sock. - Sitush (talk) 11:45, 2 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Feature American honors and not just the British honors

Going nowhere and proposer blocked as a sock - Sitush (talk) 11:47, 2 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Its not fair that the British styles are featured prominently on the articles of famous Brits like The Corrs (sic) and unimperial nations are not featured on their celebrities. I suggest that Wikipedia feature titles from the American empire, for example in the case of Tiger Woods, AMF (American Medal of Freedom). -ApexUnderground (talk) 19:15, 26 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Corrs are Irish. DuncanHill (talk) 19:22, 26 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Quite. And I note that The Corrs have their British honour mentioned toward the end of the lead section and that Tiger Woods had his American honor listed in a similar position until the editor who asked this question added it to the first few words. This looks very much like trolling to me. Phil Bridger (talk) 19:51, 26 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It does look that way to me as well. --Izno (talk) 19:58, 26 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is not trolling, and I ask you to withdraw the accusation. This is a formal proposal which asks that Wikipedia give formal honors bestowed by the United States the same representation as British honors are given. To not do so is favoritism to the British honors system. -ApexUnderground (talk) 20:01, 26 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A simple comparison of Google searches for "Sharon Helga Corr MBE" and "Tiger Woods AMF" should settle this question without further ado. In the vast expanses of the internet, Google couldn't find a single occurrence of latter aside from the Wikipedia article that you modified today.
Speedy close? ―Mandruss  20:03, 26 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is the fallacy of argumentum ad Google.-ApexUnderground (talk) 20:06, 26 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Argumentum ad WP:V. The world does not treat all awards like British styles, and neither should Wikipedia. ―Mandruss  20:07, 26 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
But that argument is favoritism toward the British styles, and against all others. Wikipedia shouldn't be beholden to British styles in a disproportionately favoring way. Plus, let's say you are a British subject, its unfair that British subjects like you should put down the honors of the United States, and at the same time promote your national styles on Wikipedia. -ApexUnderground (talk) 20:16, 26 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wikipedia does not lead, it follows—with a handful of unfortunate exceptions where activism has been allowed to prevail. BTW, I'm an American "subject". ―Mandruss  20:23, 26 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Once again, before you made any edits, the article about Tiger Woods gave equal prominence to his American honor to the prominence of the British honour received by The Coors in their article. How is that in any way favoritism? Phil Bridger (talk) 20:27, 26 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I believe they are referring to the individual BLPs, e.g. Andrea Corr. ―Mandruss  20:31, 26 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Tiger Woods is an American, who has been given the highest honor in the American land. The Corrs aren't even British, they're Irish, and yet carry British honors, with what must be great stigma to them in their homeland. Wikipedia then places these foreign honors high, next to their names. -ApexUnderground (talk) 20:42, 26 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Tyrus Raymond Cobb BHF
James Maitland Stewart DFC CdG AA
Bob Dylan NPL
No thank you. ―Mandruss  20:57, 26 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Many Irish people are happy to accept British or American or French or whatever honours without there being any stigma attached. Only a minority of people harbor such ancient hatreds. Wikipedia simply reports things as they are - if post-nominals come along with honours then we use them, but if not we don't. It's pretty simple really when you look at things without nationalistic blinkers on. Phil Bridger (talk) 21:03, 26 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So you say "no thank you" to American honors, but British honors you say "fine" and that includes putting British honor tags on non-Brits. And you call my lack of praise for British honors "ancient hatreds" and say I'm the one who has "nationalistic blinkers on." You put forth some inherently contradictory statements. -ApexUnderground (talk) 21:18, 26 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The issue is that the British honours system confers post-nominal letters, while the American honours system does not. If you think that's unfair, take it up with the American government. We can't just invent post-nominals where they don't exist. Frickeg (talk) 21:19, 26 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is not the British Wikipedia. It doesn't matter what the British 'honours' system "confers" or doesn't. Wikipedia has no owed allegiance to the British government or its "systems." The post-nominal titles convention is something of Wikipedia's option, which it may, and sometimes does, choose to confer on non-British titles as well. -ApexUnderground (talk) 22:02, 26 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • No American goes around quoting their honours after their name. Seems WP:POINTy. Strongly opposed to any change. SportingFlyer T·C 23:18, 26 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Americans don't use honorific titles in their naming conventions because they are modest. Brit boastfulness in their naming conventions is not something we need to respect. -ApexUnderground (talk) 23:41, 26 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Maybe a simple solution would be to do like:

Adam Clayton (titles, born 17 January 1964)


with a "titles" label that links to a simple footnote at the bottom. -ApexUnderground (talk) 00:40, 27 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hyphens and Dashes

Question the first

Which method of dash insertion is preferred? A raw insertion ( — ), or an HTML character code ( &mdash; )?

MOS:DASH does not make this clear. GUYWAN ( t · c ) 16:10, 18 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I would have thought the raw insertion. There's even a blue link in the box at the bottom of the edit window, to enable this without finding the unicode shortcut. We don't want to be inserting HTML into pages unless necessary.  — Amakuru (talk) 17:16, 18 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There is no preference. The default monospace font for most Windows users doesn't make it obvious the difference between one straight line versus the other in wikitext, so some people prefer the explicit character reference rather than the Unicode version. In fact, I am pretty sure there is an {{mdash}} for a third way. --Izno (talk) 20:28, 18 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Question the second

Also, the MOS states:

An em dash is always unspaced (without a space on either side):
Another "planet" was detected—but it was later found to be a moon of Saturn.
An en dash is spaced (with a space on each side) when used as sentence punctuation:
Another "planet" was detected – but it was later found to be a moon of Saturn.

Greenlighting two methods is just asking for trouble. Is this an American vs. British thing? Damn, I wish we could agree on something. GUYWAN ( t · c ) 16:10, 18 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Greenlighting two methods is just asking for trouble. [...] Damn, I wish we could agree on something. I agree with that, but that's called compromise. Most Wikipedia guidelines are like that, and trouble we have. ―Mandruss  17:03, 18 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I believe that this is more a case of individual style rather than an American vs. British thing—at least in British English I'm not aware of any preference for one usage over the other—but others – those who are expert in such matters – may know better than I do (and, anyway, I prefer to use brackets, which you may call parentheses, where possible). Phil Bridger (talk) 17:19, 18 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I spent half an hour or more confused over this exact policy here. I would support changing to em dash—it's simply more readable to me—and perhaps other users. Perhaps grandfathering in en dash for current articles.--E.3 (talk) 14:41, 2 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I see what you did there, Phil Bridger, and I am sufficiently impressed. (^^)v
Just to clarify, am I free to use whatever method I wish, as long as it's consistent within the article? I will assume this is so, until I am contradicted. GUYWAN ( t · c ) 16:58, 28 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
On a minor point, "[]" are brackets, "()" are parentheses. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 18:47, 28 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
When and where I was educated (a long time ago in England) "()" were certainly called brackets. Phil Bridger (talk) 19:12, 28 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well in 1960s England they weren't. For that matter neither were they in 1880s England, though that's not from memory but from song lyrics. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 19:16, 28 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I beg to differ about 1960s England, but, anyway, such nostalgia, although it would be nice to have a fight discussion somewhere, is probably irrelevant to this discussion. Phil Bridger (talk) 19:22, 28 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Question the third

There appear to be many articles in which a hyphen ( - ) is incorrectly used in place of an em dash (or en dash). Example: Enuma Elis. A bot may be needed to convert this incorrect usage to one of the accepted usages. But which one? Perhaps this is the problem. Flip a coin, I say. GUYWAN ( t · c ) 16:10, 18 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

So, regardless of how this discussion "ends" - expect hyphens to persist, as they are on keyboards.... — xaosflux Talk 16:53, 18 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Also, I would be wary of deploying a bot to deal with the "problem". It might make mistakes, and render things worse than they are, or incorrect. Better to let the Gnomes and AWB handle it, as they always have. It's not a major deal if there are places where the MOS isn't fully applied.  — Amakuru (talk) 17:19, 18 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is a regular request and is usually shot down as a WP:CONTEXTBOT. --Izno (talk) 20:29, 18 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I occasionally see this pointed out in discussions - and it's probably the MOS guideline I ignore the most. This definitely feels like a solution in search of a problem. Nosebagbear (talk) 23:02, 18 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Guywan you may be interested in Greg's dash script, which does this. Running it is barely any more work than clicking edit, so I often just run it as part of an ordinary edit. I've only seen a couple of problems in all the times – certainly hundreds, possibly thousands – that I've run it. Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 05:54, 28 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Xaosflux: That's a fine nugget of wisdom right there. Touché, touché.
@Amakuru: The possibility of false positives; I suppose this is something that must be amended on a case-by-case basis.
@Adrian J. Hunter: I see someone has beat me to it! That tool may come in handy. Thank you, kindly. GUYWAN ( t · c ) 16:34, 28 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Rename "Articles for Deletion" to "Articles for depublication"

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.

This proposal is related to the perennial proposal to rename Articles for Deletion, however it is not a procedural change.
The usual reason for the perennial proposal is in order to seem less confrontational, especially to newcomers, and to align with forums such as redirects for discussion. The perennial proposal received widespread support in 2009 but not implemented due to inertia and procedural issues.
Wikipedia is a publisher, as reminded by the Foundation's legal department that every time we create an edit, we are publishing. I propose that the AfD process remains the same, and it is renamed "Articles for depublication". I suspect that this will bring down the tone of deletion debates, especially for newcomers. This will have the same effect as shown in the perennial proposal - namely "Users should be made aware of the very real possibility that the article will in fact be depublished at the end of the discussion (the result for perhaps three-quarters of nominated articles)".
Similarly articles for speedy deletion could be renamed Articles for speedy depublication. I have requested comment from the Article Rescue Squadron here.--E.3 (talk) 13:23, 2 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Is there any evidence of this causing an actual problem? Triptothecottage (talk) 13:41, 2 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I have long thought that "articles for discussion" (in line with TFD and FFD) is vastly preferable to "articles for deletion". It is more accurate, more consistent, and less intimidating. However, this has repeatedly failed to gain consensus. I believe I was personally the last one to formally propose it, sometime in the past year or two, though I'd be hard pressed to find the actual thread. GMGtalk 13:54, 2 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • @GreenMeansGo: I agree that "articles for discussion" is an option, but previous consensus was "Users should be made aware of the very real possibility that the article will in fact be depublished or deleted at the end of the discussion (the result for perhaps three-quarters of nominated articles)".
  • I am happy to use myself as an example here in 2009, article kept but I didn't continue contributing. In 2018 when I restarted my article was first nominated for speedy deletion and then nominated for deletion here. The resulting article is now GA aiming for FA but needed improvement, but this discussion resulted in me requesting an enforced wiki break here.
  • There is an off wiki blog here about some reasons for women not contributing here which we are all aware of, noting deletion as a concern.
  • However, the consensus as far as I understand in 2009 was to consider rename I am simply proposing "depublication", as a less confrontational term. I have previously noted that deletion IMHO is a very strong word, and unnecessary when there is a more "grown-up" alternative as wikipedia becomes more respected a publication. --E.3 (talk) 14:04, 2 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Just going to point out the "FFD" used to be "Files for deletion" because there was basically just two outcomes: "delete" or "keep" when it came to the files discussed there. However, after WP:NFCR and WP:PUF were incorporated into FFD a few years back, the "D" was changed to "discussion" because now there were more possibilities since NFCR and PUF didn't really deal with file deletions, but rather file removal or relicensing. Anything involving deletion was usually sent to the old FFD for review. -- Marchjuly (talk) 14:07, 2 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Yes I am proposing that Articles for depublication comments be named Keep or Depublish with the same effect. --E.3 (talk) 14:12, 2 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I don't think language is the problem with AFD being confrontational, it's structural. So long as we have a compulsory process that presumes a binary outcome, whatever you call that (keep/keep published, delete/depublish), it will function the same way. What we need more than euphemisms is more effective enforcement of WP:BEFORE or WP:ATD to hopefully discourage AFD from being a first stop for resolving issues. All too often I see that there has been a complete failure to even attempt talk page discussion prior to a nomination, which is really poor practice not only when it's a page by a brand new editor, but also in the many AFDs where the issue really is how best to organize content, or requires subject-matter familiarity to resolve. postdlf (talk) 14:48, 2 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Yes I see your point @Postdlf:. I think since 2009 however, "technical difficulties and inertia prevented the change". This is why I am proposing an incremental, lingustic rather than structural change. As an expert editor in medicine, psychologically "depublication" for me at least would mean a far less charged discussion. If it is a small proposal, we can see how that goes, before attempting structural change. --E.3 (talk) 15:05, 2 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I think "depublish" would just cause confusion because it doesn't have a clear meaning to most people. Even for those who are familiar with the term in an academic or legal context, it doesn't mean to "remove from view and make publicly inaccessible" in the way that deletion of an article functionally does. postdlf (talk) 15:27, 2 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Is there anything inheritly wrong with simply: "articles for discussion" similar to other discussions? Depublication would mean draftify, soft delete, hard delete, userfy, but I've also seen AfD end with "stubify" and "redirect" which aren't really depublications. The only issue as far as I can see, is that technically something like a move discussion is also similar to this, so it would need to be noted that moves and discussion aren't at the same platform. Best Wishes, Lee Vilenski (talkcontribs) 14:54, 2 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • @Lee Vilenski: I do not see anything inherently wrong with "articles for discussion" at all. However consensus previously was that new users need to be aware that a very real outcome could be deletion/depublication. However, this could be addressed in the template to the author. Something like "Possible outcomes for this discussion could be: 1. Depublication and/or moving to your user space 2. Stubify 3. Redirect or 4. Keeping the article etc. This would require a lot of back end structural changes, perhaps with the tone of enwiki at the present moment, it might be time! I support either option. --E.3 (talk) 15:16, 2 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose and speedy close this is a non-issue. AfD is for deletion. We have processes that work better for other types of discussions. “Depublication” is a clunky word that sounds silly and I’m not even sure what it entails. In short, there is zero reason for a name change and no reasonable alternates have been proposed anyway. TonyBallioni (talk) 15:23, 2 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • "Discussion" seems much more appropriate to me; "Depublication" is just a euphemism. "Discussion" is simply more accurate: articles on AfD are not "for deletion", because no decision has been taken that they should be deleted. At the point they are in AfD, they have simply been nominated for a discussion on whether they should remain on Wikipedia. Yes, messages relating to the process should be clear that deletion is a possible outcome, but "Articles for deletion" or "for depublication" unfairly implies that the article is currently designated to be deleted, which is not the case. Words aren't everything, but they do help set the tone of debate. TSP (talk) 15:27, 2 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose; I don't think the change would help. I would agree that "articles for discussion" would be better, and I think the TfD approach of holding mergers at the same venue might also be useful here (as far as I'm aware, participation in article merger discussions is usually very low and they can be left open for years). Jc86035 (talk) 15:28, 2 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • OK since several editors and myself having been swayed by this discussion prefer "articles for discussion" can we have that as a potential consensus option for this proposal? Or should myself or a more experienced editor open a new proposal? Thanks for everyones thoughts! --E.3 (talk) 15:37, 2 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • No. It’s a perennial proposal that’s voted down at least once a year. The odds of it getting through this time are slim to none as well. If you want to rename it that, you should start a proposal a new proposal, likely at WT:AFD. TonyBallioni (talk) 16:25, 2 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • OK I'll do research on all the previous discussions, and put it in a new proposal here, as it seems @Jc86035:, @Lee Vilenski:, @Marchjuly:, @GreenMeansGo: @TSP: and myself seem favourably disposed to articles for discussion in this short proposal, as consensus was in 2009. Hopefully we can push through the inertia and technical issues this time, consensus doesn't seem strongly against, just inertia for the status quo to me! --E.3 (talk) 16:42, 2 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • This isn’t just a 2009 thing. It’s a constant proposal that never achieves consensus. The reason for that is because it’s completely pointless make work that confuses processes and would cause significantly more disruption to the project for no added benefit. It is usually snow opposed. The reason it hasn’t been yet is that you included a weird title, not the standard change title. TonyBallioni (talk) 16:49, 2 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Yeah, I mean, I am strongly in favor of a rename, but I don't have any illusions that such a proposal would gain consensus. Even if it did, it would require an immense amount of work to implement, and I doubt either you or I really understand how much would need to be done . There's nothing stopping you from opening a new discussion of course, but you shouldn't be disappointed if it is quickly closed. All in all, it'd probably be more productive if we just did something else with our day entirely. GMGtalk 17:21, 2 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose pointless euphemism. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 17:23, 2 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose I'm not voting for anything that's not the old proposal "Articles to yell at each other over." In seriousness, this is pointless. SportingFlyer T·C 17:56, 2 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose It ain't broke. MarnetteD|Talk 18:18, 2 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose: Pointless semantics. Javert2113 (Siarad.|¤) 18:26, 2 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose I'm all for making the process less confrontational, but I'm not convinced that moving to a euphemistic name whilst keeping the same deletion focussed process would take us in the right direction. ϢereSpielChequers 18:33, 2 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose as it needs to be made clear that an article could be deleted, also changing to discussion is wishy washy and would resultt in a time sink of nominations that want to discuss issues that belong on the article's talk page imv Atlantic306 (talk) 19:37, 2 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Kudos for trying to remove some of the nastiness but oppose I think that title wording is a minor aspect. The standard conversation is rough at an AFD, plus there is a general attitude that the author is somehow a beneficiary of the article being allowed to exist and has to fight for it accordingly rather than it being treated as a contribution to Wikipedia. Of course some of this comes from the fact that many articles are promotional or due to paid editing. Plus "de-publication" sounds confusing. Maybe "Articles for status discussion" ? North8000 (talk) 20:24, 2 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
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.

Guideline: Avoid Plus-One-More-Thing lists

Representative examples can be useful to aid understanding a topic but this can never include all possible examples. Nevertheless, it's easy to add the one more example that a user cares about. Each individual user is acting in good faith but the resulting article decreases in quality.

In the article on weight training is this Plus-One-More-Thing list.

Sports where strength training is central are bodybuilding, weightlifting, powerlifting, strongman, highland games, hammer throw, shot put, discus throw, and javelin throw. Many other sports use strength training as part of their training regimen, notably: American football, baseball, basketball, football, hockey, lacrosse, mixed martial arts, rowing, rugby league, rugby union, track and field, boxing and wrestling.

The examples are not wrong but they do not help the reader.

I suggest a content guideline to avoid these ad-hoc lists. --TomCerul (talk) 15:07, 7 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • I believe there are already guidelines to this effect. There's WP:NOTDIRECTORY generally and MOS:SEEALSO and MOS:NAVLIST more specifically. However, I agree that it's a good idea in principle and would not oppose any attempt to make it a more specific section of the Manual of Style. – John M Wolfson (talkcontribs) 06:15, 18 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • In the specific example chosen, the phrase "notably" should necessitate that each of the list items be supported by a citation, either individually or collectively. I think that a guideline could include the need for individual or collective support by reliable sources. Further, a limit could be imposed (say, 5 items) with expansive lists beyond this value relegated to an article note (either in References or Notes section). --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 02:41, 28 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • @TomCerul: Just to clarify, are you suggesting a guideline to avoid creating lists that could grow out of control this way? Or a guideline that says If you see a list of a few representative examples like this, resist the temptation to tack on one more example just because? Colin M (talk) 19:21, 3 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • @Colin M: I'd say that 2 - 3 examples can be helpful but I encourage people to limit the total number of examples in a list. If the only change being made is adding yet another item to a list, it's probably not a helpful edit. TomCerul (talk) 14:23, 5 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I normally cite the essay Wikipedia:Example cruft when paring example farms.—Bagumba (talk) 14:59, 5 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Petition to allow Fram to defend themself

Please join in asking the Wikipedia Arbitration committee to allow editors with advanced permissions the opportunity to participate in their own defense when accused of harassment. Thank you. EllenCT (talk) 18:24, 5 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

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

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)Reply[reply]

Gender identity addition at Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Biography

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

Political bias in Wikipedia must stop

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)Reply[reply]

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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
The plural of minutia (singular) is minutiae. Oculi (talk) 16:20, 10 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
Feel better now? O3000 (talk) 16:05, 10 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]

Replacing a low-resolution JPEG screenshot image with a higher resolution PNG

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)Reply[reply]

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)Reply[reply]

Discussion of interest

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

 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)Reply[reply]

Notifications being deleted

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).Reply[reply]

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)Reply[reply]
Well then, you could have a preference to allow them to be deleted. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 16:14, 11 July 2019 (UTC).Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
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).Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
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).Reply[reply]

Code Examples

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)Reply[reply]

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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]

Wikimedia Strategy Survey

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)Reply[reply]

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)Reply[reply]
@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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
Diff for the record. Opabinia regalis (talk) 04:57, 18 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]

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

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)Reply[reply]

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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
(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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
  • 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)Reply[reply]
  • 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) [3], 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 [4]; 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)Reply[reply]

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)Reply[reply]

Portal Guidelines

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)Reply[reply]

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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
  • 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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]

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)Reply[reply]

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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
@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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
@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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
@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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
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).Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
  • (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)Reply[reply]
  • 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)Reply[reply]
    • 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)Reply[reply]
  • 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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
    • [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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
@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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
@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)Reply[reply]
  • 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)Reply[reply]
  • 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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
  • 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)Reply[reply]
  • 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)Reply[reply]
On this point I completely agree. Unique encyclopedic content belongs in main space. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 04:49, 7 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • 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)Reply[reply]
  • 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)Reply[reply]
  • 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)Reply[reply]
  • @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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
  • 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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]

Why Portals?

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)Reply[reply]

  • 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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
  • 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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]
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)Reply[reply]

The text under discussion

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