Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 16

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knol's implication for policies and guidelines

Knol is the new Google-sponsored initiative that some have termed a Wikipedia-killer. See the recent Signpost article on the topic, as well as that article's 4 external links to good articles off-Wikipedia. Also, our own knol article is very well-written and insightful.

Note that knol is in beta testing and not publicly accessible yet; it may never even launch. We don't even know what its domain name will be; someone else currently owns

Rather than focus on Wikipedia's strategic issues, possible competitive responses to knol, why "Wikipedia may fail", why "knol may fail", etc., I'd like to get a discussion going here on what the possible implications are for our day-to-day encyclopedia editing and maintenance. I'm operating on the assumption that, whatever the pundits may say, both Wikipedia and knol will both be around for awhile. I also want to focus here in this discussion on how we interact with Knol content and editors in the interest of building the best encyclopedia possible, not maintaining our search engine rankings.

The sample knol screenshot released by Google shows a well-referenced article by Stanford University medical school professor. I suspect the majority of knols will not be of this quality and there will be many along the lines of "Bobby Mac's Power Rangers knol", the "Buy Viagra knol", or the "Dewey Cheatham for Parliament knol".

Some things that come immediately to mind:

  1. Google has said that it will exercise no editorial oversight over knols. Therefore, most or all knol content will fall in the category of "self-published" and therefore will not meet our Verifiability Policy's self-published sources rules except under the circumstances already specified in the policy.
  2. Knols should probably get the same treatment as blogs and personal web sites in our External Links Guideline (item 12 of the "Links normally to be avoided" section).
  3. Knol writers will get a cut of their knol's Google ad revenue. That will mean some writers may try to spam us to build traffic. I think it would be terrible to treat all knol linking as spam, but it may be useful to have our link-monitoring bot track knol-link additions for patterns.
  4. Knol's content may or may not be licensed as free content; initial reports vary. If free, could we actually lift some of it into our articles (with proper attribution)? Is that something we would ever want to do? If so, when?

Others' thoughts? --A. B. (talk) 16:59, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

Nothing to add to your observations. I agree with your proposals. --John Maynard Friedman (talk) 18:16, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
If the screen-shot is representative, the author of the knol will be clearly identified, which puts it in a different subset of self-published material from most material on the web, which is anonymous or the authorship is uncertain. Google may not exercise editorial control, but it will be interesting to know to what extent they vet the identity of the author. --Gerry Ashton (talk) 19:05, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Still, a knol written by a college professor is quite different from an article in a peer reviewed journal or a book where someone has editorial control, authored by a college professor. I'd say that they would be more reliable than blogs - if Google wants this to not be a disaster, there will be some content rules - but I don't see it as being much more reliable than a wiki. IIRC, Citizendium requires editors to use their real name and give their credentials, but as a wiki, I don't think we consider it a reliable source. Mr.Z-man 20:37, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
If knol is what it looks like, why should we treat it differently than personal websites? See Wikipedia:EL#Links_normally_to_be_avoided, especially item 12. -- lucasbfr talk 22:05, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Usually, we cannot be sure if personal web pages were really written by the purported author. Wikipedia policy on self-publised sources does allow limited use of them, if they can be reliably attributed to their authors. Knol might or might not allow us to reliably attribute the contents to the purported authors. --Gerry Ashton (talk) 22:12, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Google is in an interesting place here - if they limit knols to invited authors (which would, I think, be an acceptable verification), then they have to deploy a large staff for the initial buildup, and face large amounts of (human) ongoing work to cover holes (after all, Wikipedia adds - net - several thousand articles a day). If Google just let anyone build knols, then there is a real incentive for editors (seeking adsense revenues) to lie about their credentials; in that case Wikipedia can't treat the matter as if the authorship has been verified. I think Wikipedia is fine either way (though being able to cite an expert would be nice). It will be interesting to see how this plays out for Google. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 00:40, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
From what I've read, its unclear whether or not Google will require credentials or what kind of content policies they will have. They have said (I think) that they will not be exercising editorial control. However, with nothing like the Project namespace on wikis, I'm not sure how they will enforce rules besides the basics (no spam, no porn, nothing illegal). Of course with the given example page it looks really nice, but so does our DNA article - we all know most Wikipedia articles don't look like that. With the limited info we have, its really hard to tell. Mr.Z-man 00:57, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
Seems like there's a bit of anti-knol prejudice. We allow links to open wikis, which almost invariably have a free license. We should certainly allow these links, although we should probably avoid non-expert knols as a source, especially in BLPs. Spam knols shouldn't be a bigger problem than any other site with advertising. Cool Hand Luke 12:13, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
But advertising site is a big enough problem that blacklisting has been created. So knol might require special attention. Also, while we do allow linking to wikis, we do not allow them as sources.Taemyr (talk) 13:00, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Copyright violation question

Is it illegal/copyright violation for Wikipedia to make an article which mainly talks about a ranking compiled by someone else? The specific example that I'm asking about is National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) 2001 ranking of their Top 50 drivers of all time. There used to be an article National Hot Rod Association Top 50 Drivers, 1951-2000 that was speedy deleted as "copyvio to reproduce list in its entirety". You have to be an admin to see the state of article at deletion, so I temporarily put the entire contents of the deleted article in my sandbox for this discussion. Is that correct that a list like this may not be included here as an article? I read through the copyright guidelines/policies before I came here, and I didn't see anything that directly talked about this situation. Having an article like this objectively substantiates the importance of drivers on that list. I would be happy to rewrite the lead-in paragraph if the list could be used. Royalbroil 05:26, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

That's a tough one. I'm really not sure, but if it was the NHRA's own official ranking, I would think that would be public information and not a copyvio at all. Gatoclass (talk) 05:32, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
The list was created by NHRA, and it can be found at their their official website [1]. Royalbroil 05:42, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
It's a very tricky question. A general rule of thumb is that a list based on opinion (a list of "the 50 best drivers of all time") is copyrightable, while a list based on fact (a list of "the 50 drivers who have won the most races") is not. --Carnildo (talk) 05:46, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
(ec) Lists that are based in whole or in part on the authors' opinion are a form of creative expression, and are subject to copyright protection. Hence, this is a copyvio. Lists that are based solely on a factual ordering (i.e. fastest runners, largest colleges, best selling albums, etc.) without the input of the authors' opinion are not "creative works" within the scope of copyright law and hence are ineligible for copyright. So, in short, listings of facts = good; listings of opinions = bad. Dragons flight (talk) 05:48, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
Where can I find this in policy or guidelines? Royalbroil 05:52, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
It's a recurring issue that comes up occassionally. I don't know of any written guideline/policy, but we have systematically deleted these things as copyright problems in the past. As a matter of US law I'd cite Eckes v. Card Prices Update on the direct point that lists of opinions are protected. On the general point that facts are not protected, we have Feist v. Rural. Dragons flight (talk) 06:08, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
Well, U.S. copyright law doesn't necessarily have to be written in guideline/policy but it would be a nice thing to include to prevent questions like mine. What if it were an unranked list, sorted alphabetically by driver's last name without listing their rank? It's a fact that they were ranked in the Top 50 by NHRA. How would that list be any different from the list of people in a Hall of Fame? Royalbroil 06:43, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
Have you thought of contacting them? They may be quite happy to have their list duplicated. Gatoclass (talk) 07:04, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
Is the selection of "Top 50" based on opinion, or on fact? --Carnildo (talk) 07:34, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
How about sports team seeds? As far as I can tell, that's partially opinion, as well. superlusertc 2007 December 21, 11:03 (UTC)
I haven't thought of contacting them. I have no problem with doing that. Is there any essay/page with suggestions for wording/content? The Top 50 has to be based on opinion not something quanitifiable/tangible. Thoughts? Royalbroil 13:26, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
There is guidance someplace in the Wikipedia copyright information about getting confirmation from a third party that material has been licensed under the GFDL. -- SEWilco (talk) 17:01, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
Here's the link for an example letter Wikipedia:Boilerplate_request_for_permission. Karanacs (talk) 17:14, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Once it has been published, we can report about it. Most such lists are published with much more than just a ranking, but with extensive supporting details. The publication as a whole is copyright, but taking a small part of it to describe what the contents are is the sort of fair use of text that is permitted in the US and almost everywhere. Incidentally,with respect to the cases cited, Eckes an appellate court opinion in 1984 preceded the supreme court 1991 decision in Feist [2] Eckes is not a comment on Feist, but the other way round. In the case of directories and price guides, what is being reproduced is the entire work, not just the contents of it. That affects two elements of fair use: extent and marketability. Typically WP use of this information meets all 4 tests: non-profit, factual, small portion, not affecting commercial value. (I remind people that it is not necessary to meet all 4, only an overall predominance of them) That we will always be non-profit & factual greatly simplifies the analysis. Beware of copyright paranoia. DGG (talk) 21:14, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

Polemical statements on userpages (see Wikipedia:User_page#What_may_I_not_have_on_my_user_page.3F)

Do we need to keep the item banning "Extensive use of polemical statements"? A look through the history of the page suggests that it was originally intended to deter people from posting opinion pieces on non-Wikipedia-related subjects (WP:SOAP). We basically didn't want people using it as a blog. I think that it overlaps with "Extensive discussion not related to Wikipedia," and "Extensive personal opinions on matters unrelated to Wikipedia, wiki philosophy, collaboration, free content, the Creative Commons, etc." and therefore is redundant and should be removed. My specific concern is that it could be misinterpreted as a ban on posting wiki-related opinion pieces in userpages, similar to many of the essays we see in the Wikipedia namespace. The only difference between posting them in the Wikipedia namespace and in one one's userspace, as far as I know, is that the user is presumed to have editorial control over the content in their own userspace (subject to reasonable restrictions). Sarsaparilla (talk) 15:58, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

but doesn't the "unrelated" in "Extensive personal opinions on matters unrelated to Wikipedia, wiki philosophy, collaboration, free content, the Creative Commons, etc." simply clarify what you are concerned about keeping? DGG (talk) 20:28, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

Larger issue on opinion pieces, and continuation of WP:MYSPACE discussion above

The larger debate might be, Do we want to ban opinion pieces on non-Wikipedia-related matters? I take a laissez-faire view toward what we allow people to use Wikipedia for (seeabove discussion on WP:MYSPACE), as I conjecture that the use of Wikipedia for non-Wikipedia-related purposes could ultimately help the encyclopedia, if it were implemented well; the hypothesis being that it would not be a one-way street of time and resources leaving the project toward unrelated activities, but that that it could flow the other way too. If a community of political bloggers formed via userpages, it might be possible to take advantage of that network to recruit participants for WikiProjects on political subjects, for instance, or locate people with particular expertise or interests. Even the chess championship type of pages might be a place to recruit people to help with chess-related articles. It could happen spontaneously as well, e.g., by people playing chess and citing openings which might then draw their interest to the underlying articles (see for instance User_talk:Tparker393/Chess).

A basic principle of website design is that you want to have sticky content, in that the site attracts people to keep coming back as well as spend long periods on the site and view multiple subpages. We have done a pretty good job accomplishing that as far as appealing to a certain demographic is concerned; many people are content coming here and surfing through the various parts of Wikipedia all day long; but that's still only a small portion of the overall population. What about bloggers, gamers, social networkers, etc.? Notice that Google has pursued a strategy of having their service fulfill pretty much every need they can think of without requiring you to leave Google. You can use webmail, search, chat, spreadsheets, etc. all in one integrated service. They've chosen to tie together even seemingly unrelated services, rather than saying, "We're just going to focus on our specialty, which is x."

The stickiness fits in with their business strategy, which is to bring in revenue by displaying advertising to people. Our goals are different - rather than making money, we are dedicated to "encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free, multilingual content, and to providing the full content of these wiki-based projects to the public free of charge." That is a broadly worded goal, which allows us to add other elements (e.g. Wiktionary, Wikibooks, Wikinews) which fall into the category of what Wikipedia is not but contribute to our larger goal. Those new sites have given us our own kind of "stickiness" in that people can find definitions, browse original texts, etc. without leaving Wikimedia sites. And the stickiness through diversity of projects is probably beneficial to our own goals, as it means we can create a consistent user experience among projects, exercise control over the content, link from one to the other, etc. The merits of adding activities like social networking and blogging to Wikimedia are not as immediately obvious as those for adding services like Wiktionary, and it would probably mean a drastic shift in our philosophy and culture, which some people would not be happy with. But the Wikimedia mandate does not necessarily exclude those activities, and they could of themselves generate free content, in addition to the possibility of bringing in contributors. They might be a different type of contributor; some might be Wikipedia contributors secondarily, and interested in other activities primarily. That shouldn't be any more harmful than the fact that some people on Wiktionary are primarily Wikipedians and only go on Wiktionary when they want to transwiki something.

It might be good to take an even bigger-picture look at that Wikimedia mission statement and say, "Well, what is the purpose of encouraging the growth of free content?" Is it to inform, educate, entertain, ... what is it? Can social networking, blogging, etc. fit into that picture, and if so, what is the best way to do it? Sarsaparilla (talk) 15:58, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

A basic principle of website design is that you want to have sticky content, in that the site attracts people to keep coming back as well as spend long periods on the site and view multiple subpages. Yes, if you're trying to maximize advertising revenues, then - as social networking sites do - you add a lot of features that entertain people. We're not selling advertising. To the extent that we get thousands or tens of thousands of editors who are not interested in improving articles, but rather in enjoying themselves, we're asking for trouble - when those thousands of editors ask for more features, start designing features themselves (fancy signatures, userboxes, user pages, user games, etc.), and when they claim equal rights with editors who work on the encyclopedia, not on social networking. We need to figure out how to make Wikipedia more inviting to potential contributors, not potential social networkers. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 20:45, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
Indeed. Ask any regular contributor to this page (or any major Wikipedia editor with over, say, 2000 edits) how "sticky" Wikipedia is. It has had no problem keeping me around. The point is, everything should be what it is and should avoid being what it is not. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia and should focus on being that the best that it can be. It is not a social networking site. If it tried to be that, it would be bad at it, and also would be worse at being an encyclopedia. There are MANY locations where people can get together and socially network. There is ONE location where people can get together and write an encyclopedia. Lets keep this an encyclopedia, and let people get together at one of the other places in cyberspace. I think wikipedians SHOULD organize social events, both on the Internet and IRL. However, there is no compelling reason for such social outlets to be organized at Wikipedia itself. As I said above, its been tried before. I was part of it (on the pro-social-networking side). It didn't work. --Jayron32|talk|contribs 20:59, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
How does one decide when to stick to what they're good at, and when to expand into seemingly unrelated activities in order to get more users? Another example of the latter might be, which started out just mirroring Wikipedia and similar reference sites and now has become a job search site, shopping network, etc. The fact that people (including some existing contributors) are spontaneously trying to use Wikipedia for social networking/blogging/web hosting suggests that those might be logical places to expand. The kind of people who like to blog, for instance, are content creators. So, they might also like to work on Wiki articles. If we draw people into our site for one activity, we might draw them into the other, just as might draw customers for its job search service when they come there looking for a mirrored wiki article. As WP:EM notes, "our most valuable resource is neither money nor webspace, but Wikipedia's contributors." In my opinion, drawing in editors is as important a strategic goal for us as drawing in advertising revenue is for the social networking sites. Sarsaparilla (talk) 00:42, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

I have moved much of this discussion to Wikipedia:Laissez-faire. Sarsaparilla (talk) 04:30, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

When should Wikinews be a reliable source on Wikipedia?

A particular dispute over a Wikinews reporter citing quotes from his own interview has turned into a generalized debate about when Wikinews should be an acceptable source. See this RS/N thread. Please post your comments in the RS/N thread—this discussion is already WP:MULTI-ed enough as it is

Jimbo has suggested that Wikinews create a best practices document. BP-compliant articles would be verifiable and thus should be available to Wikipedia editors as a reliable source. See this Wikinews water cooler thread.

I think that this is a great solution, which would answer the continual objections that Wikinews faces on our project. However, more editors should weigh in. Cool Hand Luke 01:50, 25 December 2007 (UTC)


I'm proposing a guideline about subtitles of works. The impetus for this was somebody who changed the lede for Leviathan, or The Matter, Forme and Power of a Common Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil to Leviathan, or The Matter, Forme and Power of a Common Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil. Looking at the current style in which articles are edited (Candide, Through the Looking-Glass, Robinson Crusoe, Twelfth Night, Dr. Strangelove), it looks like the consensus is to make the subtitle part of the main title. So WP:SUBTITLES simply would make that stylistic choice explicit. Comments would be appreciated. superlusertc 2007 December 19, 00:39 (UTC)

I agree that this should be explicit. The title of Candide, or Optimism, for instance, is not sometimes Candide and sometimes Optimism; it's always both (unless abbreviated, in which case it's abbreviated in only one direction). However, I would be wary of WP:CREEP. See if you can shorten your proposal and make it simpler and easier. Try using fewer examples, and keep them short, i.e. don't use Robinson Crusoe. -- Rmrfstar (talk) 20:12, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
Fair enough. I wanted to include an example that showed the problems of always using a full title with subtitle. You are right, it is very long, but I wanted enough space to make my case. I'll see if I can't whittle it down. superlusertc 2007 December 26, 04:32 (UTC)
I've updated it, and split it into two sections. Long titles is there because it provides some clarity to the subtitles section, and the split should make both sections more easily digestible. superlusertc 2007 December 27, 00:55 (UTC)
Nice improvements; I approve! -- Rmrfstar (talk) 05:32, 27 December 2007 (UTC)

Current events

Is it just me, or is the current events page significantly less busy than it used to be? Is there any reason for this? AndrewRT(Talk) 23:34, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

I have noticed a lot less activity there recently. But this topic would probably be better off here. - Rjd0060 (talk) 00:40, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
So it should! Oops, I've moved it now. AndrewRT(Talk) 15:01, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

A proposal to split WP:N and WP:SIGNIF

See the discussion here.

Currently WP:SIGNIF is simply a redirect to WP:N. However,

  1. I believe we could all agree that at the very least, fringe theories are not significant even though they can be notable, and hence I think it must be conceded that significance means something different from notability and for this reason alone WP:SIGNIF should not be a redirect to WP:N, at the very least it should contain a stub that explains this difference.
  2. WP:SIGNIF is currently a completely-unused concept (nothing more than a redirect to WP:N) that I suggest has a great deal of potential value for excluding bad research if it could be fleshed out and explained. If we can get consensus that WP:SIGNIF should stand on its own, perhaps we could subsequently develop and get consensus on a more fleshed-out explanation of how to identify and source a WP:SIGNIF point of view. We might want to merge with or use some of the content in WP:FRINGE. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 17:35, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
What is it being suggested we should do with those things that are notable but not significant? DGG (talk) 20:18, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, I'm not following the logic here. Yes, we can make a distinction between "notable" and "significant". However, is there some reason why we should make such a distinction? Is something broken? Are people confused (and as a result, doing specific things incorrectly)? Do you have any examples of where having yet another guideline would make things better? -- John Broughton (♫♫) 20:38, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
Although probably not germane; yes people are confused. A very common misconception is that non-notable means not important. And the other way around. Taemyr (talk) 13:37, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
Please see the discussion at this link. One of the claims in the WP:Evaluating sources discussion is that Wikipedia articles currently don't do a good job of establishing or evaluating the significance of the material included. I believe providing some sort of reliable guidance on how to do this would improve the chances of its being done. We currently don't provide adequate guidance on how to tell what is and isn't significant, and we even provide misguidance -- the advice on how to tell if a subject is notable often isn't very helpful, and can even be incorrect, in determining significance. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 05:58, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

Calling a long time user

Hi. I'm a short time user, so (apparently) I can't go through with this. We have a site at WP:FORK which has been up for a very long time in violation of GFDL, and has ignored multiple requests for compliance. Someone who has been around for a long time needs to send a DMCA takedown notice: see Wikipedia:Mirrors_and_forks/Abc#Archaeologics. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks. The Evil Spartan (talk) 23:09, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

The sample at appears to have been taken down. AndrewRT(Talk) 00:57, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
Oops! Wrong site. Fixed. The Evil Spartan (talk) 00:59, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

Architectural Illustration and Render Services

Hi, I run a small Architectural Illustration and Render Services and I am starting to do some SEO. When I use a SEO strength tool it tells me to get some links here. Is this allowed? How would I go about doing it. My site is [External Link Removed] for anybody interested in seeing my work. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:17, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Sadly - no. As I understand it the policy in brief is that external links are only allowed where directly linked (for instance a link to the Adobe website on an article about the company) or where they contain information relevant to the context of an article which would be too detailed to include (for instance many articles about movies link to the IMDB for cast and production information). A user linking to their own site is almost universally badly regarded. --Neo (talk) 21:32, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
As Neo says, the Wikipedia guideline on external links frowns on things done for Search Engine "Optimization". But thanks for asking - most folks who get this kind of advice just follow it, then get angry when Wikipedia editors revert their additions as "vandalism" (a term of art here, not quite what it means in the lay world) or "linkspam". For a recent example, see the report at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents#User:Indiejade, and COI. That user has been particularly difficult to deal with. And welcome to Wikipedia - now that you've stopped by, you may find that you've got more to contribute than just links! RossPatterson (talk) 01:19, 22 December 2007 (UTC)
And by the way, if your SEO tool is telling you that having a link to your site in Wikipedia will increase it's search engine strength, it's misadvising you. Wikipedia uses "nofollow" tags that prevent external links on Wikipedia from enhancing search engine results. Do you think you could possibly let us know what software is advising you to do things that disrupt Wikipedia and do not accomplish any useful objective for you? --Steven J. Anderson (talk) 02:30, 22 December 2007 (UTC)

okay, thanks for the fast reply. This is were I read it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:36, 22 December 2007

We need to publicize that we use "nofollow" tags (:-P) ~user:orngjce223 how am I typing? 23:02, 27 December 2007 (UTC)

Creating competition between projects?

I'm concerned about stuff like Wikipedia:WikiProject U.S. Roads/Newsletter/Issues/Volume01/Issue17#Leaderboard. It seems to be treating Wikipedia like an MMORPG rather than an encyclopedia project, and has led people to want to remove articles from their state projects because they don't want to improve them. Note specifically statements like "it probably will be to their disadvantage in terms of rel WW". Should this sort of thing be discouraged? --NE2 04:30, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

Basically the argument linked to is "can WikiProjects define their own scope so that irrelevant articles are not tagged under this project?" NE2 added articles to the state subprojects that those projects didn't want in the first place and have never wanted (the statistics table thing is incidental and precedes this debate by two weeks or so). Consensus is being ironed out on the WikiProject pages.—Scott5114 [EXACT CHANGE ONLY] 04:34, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
This is over one specific argument that I've seen brought up several times. Please let others comment. --NE2 04:38, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
So only those who agree with you can comment? --Rschen7754 (T C) 04:43, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
No, only people who haven't made up their minds before the argument even started. --NE2 04:45, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
He only commented once to this discussion, and based on his comment apparently "remove articles" means Talk page project removal rather than article deletion. And you'll be getting comments from people who made decisions at times other than now. -- SEWilco (talk) 05:19, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
I think projects get to decide their own article inclusion reasons, just as a competition can define its rules for candidate articles. -- SEWilco (talk) 05:19, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
Ignore what they said and look at the original question: should we be encouraging WikiProjects to compete in non-contructive ways? --NE2 05:23, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
You haven't proved that we are competing in nonconstructive ways. --Rschen7754 (T C) 05:29, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
What's constructive about fighting over what articles are in the project? --NE2 05:31, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
We just said that had nothing to do with this conversation. Rschen just mentioned it as a one-off.—Scott5114 [EXACT CHANGE ONLY] 05:34, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
What Scott said, plus one. NE2, you seem to be the ONLY ONE who's arguing on what articles should fall under USRD and USST. But that is neither here nor there, while yet related. --Son (talk) 05:42, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
It's entirely up to a WikiProject to decide what talk pages get tagged with the template for that WikiProject, or parts of that WikiProject. If editors within a WikiProject are gaming the system, then the WikiProject itself needs to take action, if in fact that gaming of the system leads to less improvement of articles than otherwise would occur. (That's a big "IF" - editors may compete harder if they can trim off marginal articles.) In no way should editors outside a project be telling a WikiProject how to template talk pages, unless that templating is disruptive in some way to other WikiProjects or other editors. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 14:22, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

Player rosters

Players in the top sporting leagues are clearly notable. Teams in smaller competitions can be too, but are the players? For example, the Denver Pioneers men's ice hockey squad is included in the article. The team itself is worthy of an article but are the players inherently notable as individuals and should they be included? Does including details about their home town and previous school violate WP:BLP? violet/riga (t) 17:06, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

As I mentioned in another discussion, I feel the players should be listed on the page as they are a defining characteristic of the team. Things like the hometown etc I have no problem if that is too much detail, however I do feel the players themselves should probably be listed as the team is those players. -Djsasso (talk) 17:15, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
I see absolutely no problem with roster lists. I do not see them violating WP:BLP as long as they stick to the various and pertinent player details in a list or chart format. If there was a blurb about each player... then I would be concerned. DMighton (talk) 17:37, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
I actually don't see the point or need for a list of red links, especially ones that will theoretically change every season with a different set of red links. If they go on to the NHL and achieve notability to warrant an article, they can always be included in an Alumni or Former Players article. Wouldn't an external link to an off-wiki site with the current roster suffice? AgneCheese/Wine 17:54, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
How on earth is this a WP:BLP issue? A player roster, including hometown and last team, is standard fare on the vast majority of team and league websites. Nothing is being stated that isn't already in the public sphere. i.e.: the Denver Pioneers was easily found: [3]. There is no need for redlinks to non-notable players, but the list itself is perfectly valid. I would call it a defining characteristic of a team. So long as it is being updated, it should stay, imo. Resolute 18:12, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
How is it a "defining characteristic of the team"? How is the inclusion a roster of non-notable players different than including a roster of employees in a business article? The employees at Geno's Steaks are certainly a defining characteristic of the restaurant but, individually, none of them are notable enough to warrant an article. Why not have a roster of "current employees", as long as it is being updated? Again, I just don't see the point. AgneCheese/Wine 18:17, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
Because knowing who plays for a team is important to fans (i.e.: readers). If you don't think the talent, abilities and merits of individual players are important to the people who would be reading these articles, I could point you in the direction of numerous discussion forums that do just that. The average customer does not care who makes his Steak when he goes to Geno's. The average sports fan does care who is playing for the team he cheers for. Resolute 18:41, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
A small, finite group of Denver Pioneer fans care about these players. Just like a small finite group of fans care about a local rock band or web comic that doesn't pass our notability standards. And yes, there are local customers who do care about who makes their food at a local restaurant, as anyone who has every works in the food industry will tell you. You will always find some group that cares about something but not everything is encyclopedic and worthy of inclusion. I don't think anyone will disagree that the players on these rosters currently do not pass Wikipedia's notability standards for an article. If they are not "encyclopedic" enough to merit an article, what is "encyclopedic" that merits inclusion in a list that would be different from an "encyclopedic" listing of employees of any business? More pertinently, what does a list of non-notable players in the article accomplish that wouldn't also be served with an external link to the team's website roster listing? AgneCheese/Wine 18:51, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
I wouldn't say small or finite, more than just Denver Pioneer fans would care. Anyone interested in anything to do with the college level of the sport would care. And that is not really a finite number of people, its a potentially huge number of people. As for why a link wouldn't surfice is exactly for the reason that it is a link, this type of information should be right there foremost on any article about a notible team. A user shouldn't have to go searching through links for it. -Djsasso (talk) 18:56, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
And a potentially huge number of people could care about a web comic or independent rock band but those hypotheticals don't fly at AfD very well when the basic aspects of notability are lacking. Again you have yet to establish the encyclopedic worth of having a list of a non-notable players and why this list is different than a roster of non-notable employees from any business. Or how about a current, updated roster of the 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment (United States) currently serving in Iraq? They are undoubtedly a defining characteristics of that regiment and I'm willing to bet quite a fair amount of people would care about who these individuals are that have been risking their lives out on the battlefield. I think it pretty clear in lieu of Wikipedia's policies on notability and the purpose of an encyclopedia as to why we don't maintain such a roster. I'm just at a lost to see why we should suspend those same policies and encyclopedic purpose for a list of non-notable college hockey players. AgneCheese/Wine 19:17, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
WP:BIO says that athletes that compete at the highest level in amateur sports are considered notable. It's only my opinion, but I think that collegiate hockey, and especially the WCHA, is one of the highest levels of amateur hockey in the US. Please tell me what argument you can attempt to make that would indicate employees at Geno's are notable. I wish we considered individual soldiers to be notable, but you'll have to point out to me which part of WP:BIO they meet also. I don't really care if the lists stay or go, but continuing to call them non-notable to strengthen your point doesn't seem right to me. --OnoremDil 19:46, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
By nature of just playing in college doesn't make them notable without passing the other criteria in WP:BIO, which the vast majority (if not all) don't. You are free to disagree with my interpretation of WP:BIO and create an article on any of these kids but I sincerely doubt it would last very long. I also don't think the employees of Geno's are not notable but I do think a list of employees of Genos or a roster of the 187th Infantry Regiment is on the same level of notability and encyclopedic worth as a roster of a college hockey team. AgneCheese/Wine 19:54, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
What does a Wikipedia article accomplish that could not be achieved simply by having a link to the external source(s) of the subject matter does not? Wikipedia is full of lists who's data has been deemed non-notable individually. An article for each of 20 non-notable college hockey players is not useful. A single list on one article is. Resolute 18:57, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
By itself, such a list of non-notable college players would surely be nominated for AfD if not speedied. AgneCheese/Wine 19:17, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
It might be nominated but I doubt it would be deleted. As we have all kinds of lists that are similar such as minor characters in a book or movie. Not notable on their own but because they are part of something that is notible they are notable enough for their own list. -Djsasso (talk) 19:26, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
Seriously? You think a List of current Denver Pioneers hockey players would survive an AfD? I can see a List of former Denver Pioneers hockey players with entries of NHL players or other wise notable former hockey players surviving but not a current list of non-notable college players. But if you truly believe that, than we have an answer to quite a few concerns. Create a list of these current players, minus the personal info, and link that separate article to the main Denver Pioneers page. I, for one, will certainly not nominate it for deletion but I do have serious doubts that it would last long. AgneCheese/Wine 19:32, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
WP:BLP states: "When the name of a private individual has not been widely disseminated ... it is often preferable to omit it, especially when doing so does not result in a significant loss of context." This is the aspect of BLP that I was referring to. The names of these people are not "widely disseminated" and are only really available on the official team website. violet/riga (t) 19:24, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
To those that think players should be included, is there a limit to what we should have? The rosters on Waterloo Black Hawks and Sioux City Musketeers are clearly a violation of WP:BLP - Dates of birth should not be included (as specifically noted in the "Privacy of birthdays" section on WP:BLP) and the height and weight of players is definite invasion of privacy. violet/riga (t) 19:24, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
The list of current players in Denver Pioneers men's ice hockey is entirely red links. Such a list has little value since it can't be used for navigation, and it consists entirely of directory-type information, like the player's class year. These red links are not likely to turn blue any time before graduation. I join with those above who favor dropping the list and including a link to the team's website roster. On the other hand, the list of alumni who became professional players is blue-linked and it is reasonable to keep. EdJohnston (talk) 19:28, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
I would hardly call an athelete who plays in front of thousands of fans each game a "private individual." Not to mention that nearly every article written about the team will include discussion on any number of members of the team. Once again, there is a considerable difference between a random employee of a resteraunt, and an athelete who plays in a spectator sport. As far as what should be listed, I think what most of these lists has is appropriate - Name, position, nationality, hometown, previous team, draft eligibility (for junior teams). Height and weight might not be useful, but as far as privacy goes, that was obviously taken off of a roster list that is publicly available. Resolute 19:40, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
Clarification question Are you contending that these college athletes pass Wikipedia:Notability (people) or proposing a change in that policy to where they would qualify? AgneCheese/Wine 19:45, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
If one wanted to be liberal with their application of Wikipedia:Notability (people), they could press an argument that the NCAA level would be the highest level of amatuer sport, therefore they would pass. Ultimately, however, no I do not believe that simply playing for a college/junior team grants notability in and of itself. There are exceptions, i.e.: John Tavares, where an athelete is notable despite not playing at the highest level of his sport.
My argument is not about the notability of the players as individuals, but rather the notability of the roster list itself. As an example, at Calgary Hitmen#Current roster, the roster links only to the players currently with articles. However, the value to a junior hockey fan is knowing the age of the players, as the leagues have age restrictions, as well as the draft status of the players. At a glance, an interested reader can see the makeup of the team based on these two columns. And believe me, at this level, the ages and draft status of the players often provides a good indication of the overall quality of the team. The roster list does provide useful information that helps form a complete view of the team. Resolute 20:00, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
A quick note on the Pioneers article in particular, I was going to remove the red links. I just linked them when I converted the table the other editor had used to see if any of the players already had articles so that I could leave those articles linked. Just thought I should mention that for all the people harping about red links. -Djsasso (talk) 20:04, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
I think we are at an "agree to disagree impasse". While violet's BLP concerns are a different matter, I am still having difficulties at seeing the encyclopedic benefit of such a list in contrast to things like a roster of an Army regiment. But I respect your guys views even though I disagree. AgneCheese/Wine 20:10, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
Fair enough. It's always good to periodicly question why we do things, and the way we do them, at any rate. Cheers, Resolute 20:16, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

I notice that there is only a current roster in the article. If that's there, shouldn't there be past rosters? What makes the current players more notable than any others, or as notable as the NHL alumni? Could the key current players be talked about in a text section? Why don't other, more notable teams (like NFL teams, for example) have such rosters? -Freekee (talk) 20:35, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

I just went and looked at the NFL teams as well as MLB teams and all have current rosters on their pages. I know all NHL ones definately do as that is part of the team page standard that the hockey project has. So I just wanted to make sure it was clear that other more notable teams DO have current rosters listed. As far as why past rosters for this team aren't listed somewhere its probably because the creater of the article never got that far. This is pretty much a brand new article. -Djsasso (talk) 20:40, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

Current roster including their age, height, weight, position, shoots left/right, hometown, team at previous level of play are all notable within the context of the team article. It is the critical component of what the team is and the subject of discussion and comparison amongst teams and consideration of team's and players' future. Any news report, magazine article, internet report of the team and its games will include facts like these because they are critical to understanding the team. The comparisons to restaurants and regiments are invalid. If specific people in those organisations are critical to understanding them or are the subject of such interest, then they would be, and generally are, included in those articles. Their other personal details would only be included if it were of note. For sports teams, that personal information is of note and distributed and discussed widely. I would not object to removing birth day and month but birthyear/age is vital. WP:BIO permits inclusion of people not notable enough for their own article to be included in the broader article. DoubleBlue (Talk) 00:13, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines is currently being edited

Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines which is the policy page governing policies and guidelines is becoming unstable due to the constant tinkering by several editors. I think that if there are to be changes, there should be a broader discussion and consensus demonstrated. --Kevin Murray (talk) 15:42, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

We welcome everyone to come help iron out some small issues that have crept into Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines over time. Please be sure to read the talk page and review the edit history carefully before participating! :-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 15:56, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

That page is reflecting what our core content policies have said for a long time:

Wikipedia:Neutral point of view is one of Wikipedia's three core content policies. The other two are Wikipedia:Verifiability and Wikipedia:No original research. Jointly, these policies determine the type and quality of material that is acceptable in Wikipedia articles. Because the policies are complementary, they should not be interpreted in isolation from one another, and editors should try to familiarize themselves with all three. The principles upon which these policies are based are non-negotiable and cannot be superseded by other policies or guidelines, or by editors' consensus. Their policy pages may be edited only to improve the application and explanation of the principles.

If anyone has a problem with that, he needs to bring the discussion to WT:NOR, WT:NPOV, and WT:V. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 16:24, 29 December 2007 (UTC)


[4] Just a note, Mercury 20:09, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

Wikipediaspace Redirects

Is it ok to have mainspace wikipediaspace redirects to userspace? I've seen editors strongly against it in the past and was wondering if it was covered by any policy. Currently a few of these do exist (a couple of examples: WP:NOPE, WP:SEWAGE). Is this a problem? [[Guest9999 (talk) 22:20, 29 December 2007 (UTC)]]

It depends. Everything starting with WP: is not mainspace anyway. Garion96 (talk) 22:22, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, meant wikipediaspace (is that what it's called), have corrected accordingly. [[Guest9999 (talk) 22:25, 29 December 2007 (UTC)]]
A number of essays have been moved from Wikipedia namespace to user namespace in the past year or so. Obviously there needs to be a redirect left in place, after the move, to handle any links that pointed to where the essay was originally posted. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 17:21, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

Advertising projects

It it proper to advertise for a Wikiproject without canvassing? For example, I am a member of the Article Creation and Improvement Drive, which has been near-dead for over a month now. Would it be possible to actively try to get more members through talk page notices and invitations? Is there a written (or unwritten) rule against advertising Wikiprojects in order to draw more membership? Would it be considered a type of friendly notice? --Sharkface217 20:02, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

My answer to that is no. I really don't want lots of WikiProjects sending me the orange bar of doom (new messages bar) all the time. I'm sure there are plenty of other ways to spread the word, though. The Wikipedia Signpost is doing a weekly story on WProjects. Maybe you can get yours in there soon. Reywas92Talk 21:00, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
ACID already has a banner ad at Image:Qxz-ad10.gif for use with Template:Wikipedia ads. (talk) 21:05, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Just randomly leaving messages to users asking them to join a project? I would say that that would be pretty annoying. If it was targeting users in a specific category that is relevant to the project it might not be though. Mr.Z-man 00:50, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

Government accusations

When someone pops on to an article making drastic changes that are immediately reverted, sometimes, depending on the article, the new person accuses the old guard of being somehow affiliated with the government. A classic example of this is 9/11 - apparently, everyone who fights to keep the conspiracy theories out of the main part of the article is a tool of the CIA. But I've also seen this elsewhere, just today on Talk:Azerbaijan.

I would like to propose that any such comment irrevocably poisons the well with regard to the new contributor, as they have already completely disregarded WP:AGF, and action should probably be taken to keep them from editing that article for some time, as they have already shown themselves to be an unreasonable contributor - if they think they are fighting against a government, they probably are not above using other incivil tactics like edit warring and further accusations. Of course, the accusers never bother with collecting any evidence of proof - merely disagreeing with them obviously means you're with the jackbooted thugs and black helicopters.

I think this is a disruptive enough and common enough thing to require a seperate section, however short, on AGF or something. Thoughts? --Golbez (talk) 15:38, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

Heh. "The more vehemently someone is claimed to be a government agent, the less likely it is to be true?" ;-)
Actually, sometimes some of the people on a page really do work for some government or government organization. Wikipedia is a useful information tool, and it in the best interest of governmental (and other) agencies to participate, if only indirectly. Some wikipedians are government agents, and some wikipedians have been approached by government agencies. For US agencies, as far as I can tell IIRC CIA and NSA were fairly well behaved, while for instance the US Senate has at times misbehaved. Most of the time I think that agents and agencies do not misuse wikipedia, mostly because our NPOV policy balances out both ways, most of the time. If they do abuse wikipedia they do so in very subtle and hard to detect ways.
In conclusion: I don't think a wide-scale revert is something that is done by government agents, though do beware of subversive edits to Buffy the vampire slayer --Kim Bruning (talk) 15:54, 29 December 2007 (UTC) now where was that news story that showed the CIA had edited buffy... <scratches head>
Forgive me for fanning the conspiracy theory flames, but you may want to check out WikiScanner. -- RoninBK T C 12:41, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
Accusing someone of working for a goverment (without evidence) would probably violate NPA particularly if done in a malicious way. However it's probably better to handle it in the way NPAs should be handled, inform the person it's wrong and hope it stops and if it does, forget about it Nil Einne (talk)