Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 17

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Automated content changes

Does WP have a policy someone can point me to about bot-style automated changes to mainspace content?

IPv4_address_exhaustion has a paragraph that appears to be updated by "automated scripts"; the content in question here is a noted networking researcher's predicted date of IP address exhaustion.

If this kind of thing is fine, I'm happy to let it go, but it is at the least a bit irritating (watchlist-wise). --- tqbf 02:30, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

Bots need to be approved; part of that is the account name (almost always including "bot"). See Wikipedia:Bot policy. I see nothing at the history page of this article that indicates that any editing has been done by a bot or an "automated script". -- John Broughton (♫♫) 17:17, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Check the talk page, at the bottom. I'm not here to complain, I'm here to figure out the answer to the question. --- tqbf 21:36, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
The "automated script" is updating the source page, not the Wikipedia article (see upper right corner of the source page). The Wikipedia article is being updated irregularly - I counted nine times in December, and, I believe, by a human being, given the nine edits had three different edit summaries (counting no edit summary as one of those three). So the only problem I see is the failure to update the retrieved date, in the footnote. I posted a note to User talk: about this, since that IP address seems to be used quite frequently to edit the article. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 22:05, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for looking into this. I guess I have an answer to my question --- programs that alter WP articles are bots, and bots require approval. I got that straight? --- tqbf 22:16, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
You're welcome. Yes, you got that straight, though as with much of Wikipedia, there are nuances. Unattended programs that alter Wikipedia articles are bots; bots require prior approval. There are semi-automated programs like WP:AWB that do almost all the work, but a human being has to actually click the "save" button (or its equivalent); these and similar programs aren't bots unless run in automatic (non-human-assisted) mode, and so don't (again, in non-automatic mode) require bot approval. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 18:21, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

Requiring photo credits

Could someone very familiar with image policy help me? I stumbled across this image, taken by a professional(?) photographer who has allowed many of his images to be used on Wikipedia. The problem is that the photographer appears to be demanding that each one of his images be accompanied by a spammy photo credit that includes a link to his website:

"Any use of this image must be attributed; this means that Photo by Jamie Howell should be in the picture caption." I've seen similar demands from other photographers as well.

This strikes me as very un-wiki-like, and I dislike seeing external, promotional links in our articles. Are arrangements like this acceptable? If not, what steps should I take?--The Fat Man Who Never Came Back (talk) 12:56, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

All those images look replaceable with free images to me. I don't know the exact policy of using CC attributed, but not using them seems like an easy way to deal with it. Martijn Hoekstra (talk) 13:07, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Really??? I find high-quality, free pro and college athlete photos like the PJ Daniels extraordinarily hard to obtain. But for the sake of argument, if there were lots of great Georgia Tech athlete photos that were free and unrestricted, of course y we should use those instead. But I don't think there are. Moreover, I would like to know whether such demands for credit are even allowed here--i.e. why should a user even be allowed to upload the images if they're going to be tied down with such restrictions?--The Fat Man Who Never Came Back (talk) 13:12, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
In reply to "All those images look replaceable with free images" -- CC-by images are free images. CC-by is a free content license. Mike R (talk) 13:19, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, that much is clear, but the photographer attempts to be attempting to limit the scope of the license he as agreed to......--The Fat Man Who Never Came Back (talk) 13:21, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
His credit line should be on the image page, and only on the image page. The encyclopedia proper couldn't care less about information that is irrelevant to its usage (ie: being displayed in an article), but it is crucial to track that information, and the place for that is the Image namespace. EVula // talk // // 07:43, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I know the image page is where the credit should be. My point is that the photographer seems to be insisting that we include the credit and website link in the caption itself. Should we ignore this request, or as Martijn Hoekstra suggests, not use the photos at all?--The Fat Man Who Never Came Back (talk) 07:52, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, I was too busy making a fuss that I didn't bother to answer you directly. :) I say we ignore his instances; I don't see him pointing to any policy stating that we have to, only saying "other stuff exists". EVula // talk // // 07:59, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
  • A suggestion Why not include attribution in the image title like Image:PJ Daniels by Jamie Howell.jpg. Yeah it doesn't include the EL link (which would still properly be on the image page) but anyone reading the article can scroll their mouse over the image and see the attribution. That more than satisfy the CC-attribution requirement. AgneCheese/Wine 08:05, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
I like that idea, Agne. How do I rename the photos? There's not a move button like on regular articles.....--The Fat Man Who Never Came Back (talk) 01:17, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
Hmm, didn't think that far ahead :p. I think an admin needs to do it. AgneCheese/Wine 01:28, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
Admins can't rename images either; it would have to be re-uploaded. —Random832 16:39, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Perhaps my response is coming a little late, but I think it would be all right to use these photos (including the attribution in each image caption), at least until ones that are licensed more freely can be found. —Remember the dot (talk) 02:05, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

Crediting images in the caption is potentially a serious problem - the Creative Commons license requires that attribution be made in a manner no less prominent than the attribution to other contributing authors. So if any image has an inline credit, my read of it is that we have to attribute at least every Creative Commons image that way - and that's obviously bad. --B (talk) 05:07, 22 December 2007 (UTC)

I see. Yes, that would be a good reason to avoid licenses that require credit in captions. —Remember the dot (talk) 00:58, 27 December 2007 (UTC)
  • My gut feeling is that the original uploader contacted the photographer to ask for permission, and he said something like "Yeah sure, just put a link in the caption or something." I think it is more important to him that he be attributed at all. I say credit the guy as per our usual policy, and if he wants to object later, we'll take the photo down. -- RoninBK T C 11:44, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Someone should contact the photographer with a neutrally-worded question like "Is it acceptable to provide credit the way we normally do; on a separate page which is reachable by clicking on the image; rather than in the caption?" —Random832 16:38, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Notability: Cities & towns, Mountains & hills, Rivers & streams, etc.

There is some on-going discussion about notability. The common idea being "If it's a real X then it's obviously notable." (where X = river, city, mountain, etc.). This presents a few issues.

When does a "hill", "stream" or "intersection"/"town" become a "mountain", "river" or "town"/"city"? Where I live, there are commonly applied labels that defy any reasonable definition: "_____ Hill" is also called "Mt. _______" in everday speach and in published sources.

My particular situation is showing up under a river discussion Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Valea_Pietrei_Mici_River where the concensous seems to be that it is real and therefore notable. I cannot find anything substantial on this either way. However, given the seemingly broad support for the idea, it would seem to be time to propose a notability guideline for geographic features. Mdsummermsw (talk) 15:28, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

There might be a language barrier here, as I can't figure out exactly what the references for this particular river article are, but they look like books. That would seem to satisfy WP:N. The underlying reason we keep articles on geography is that they tend to almost always be "notable" if you really look. In my state, Kentucky, there are multiple full-length books just about the rivers here, down to creeks that are barely 10 miles long. This is hardly unique; people tend to write about geography, as it's important. Once we have enough sources to write a decent article about a place, there's no legitimate reason to delete that article... as we are not a paper encyclopedia and space is never a reason to delete an article. Because this information is almost always there when you go to look for it, that's why people say geographical places are inherently notable.
At any rate, when you get down to having articles on tiny (but named) hills and creeks of no particular importance, it can be merged to a "Geography of ____" article. Deletion not required, the redirect will be useful for anyone searching for that placename. --W.marsh 15:36, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
Theres a simple answer to EVERY "I can't tell if its notable or not?" question. The answer is always "If you have reliable sources that discuss X in a non-trivial manner, then X is notable." ALWAYS. The opposite is also always true. "If no sources exist that discuss X in a non-trivial manner, then X is not notable". ALWAYS. Don't try to make it more complicated. Existance does not equal notability. What matters is the existance of SOURCE MATERIAL to reference. If someone else has written extensively about the river/mountain/hill/valley/whatever then reference it in your article, and the subject is clearly notable. If no one has ever written about it before, then there is no way to verify anything in the article, and therefore the subject is not notable. --Jayron32|talk|contribs 18:43, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Jayron32, if there are reliable sources out there for an article and that's it, I see no harm in having them. If the source proves that the place exists and no other info, a redirect or in some cases, a deletion maybe in order. We should have a notabilty guideline for these, it's long overdue. Secret account 20:31, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
I don't understand your last phrase "We should have a notabilty guideline for these, it's long overdue." We have WP:N which is exactly what Jayron is describing. Why do you need to go further than that: " "If you have reliable sources that discuss X in a non-trivial manner, then X is notable." ALWAYS. The opposite is also always true. "If no sources exist that discuss X in a non-trivial manner, then X is not notable". ALWAYS." We don't need subject specific guidelines that try to presuppose what might meet WP:N -- it either does or it doesn't. --Kevin Murray (talk) 20:49, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Notability (media) is an example of another proposal based on the fallacy of trying to predetermine what is likely to be notable without passing WP:N. --Kevin Murray (talk) 20:51, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
I don't mind several more guidelines on much talked about articles, especially that users ignore WP:N in subjects like towns and rivers. Secret account 21:32, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
Why do we allow people to ignore WP:N. If they ignore WP:N, then why won't they ignore the more specific processes? I think that it is AfD that is broken not WP:N. --Kevin Murray (talk) 22:28, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

I'd like to see a more comprehensive policy for this. I direct users to things such as [[1]], where there are thousands of one-liner stubs for every little village under the sun with a lack of sources on almost all of them and no indication of noteability. A recent test case AfD had numerous people voting "Keep, places are inherently noteable." But -why- are they noteable? What makes them so? Jtrainor (talk) 22:14, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

We just explained that... sources almost always exist if you bother to look. If there aren't sources for any of these places, they are quite likely hoaxes, which AFD has always been happy to delete, in my opinion. --W.marsh 22:31, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
The argument that sources "may" exist is not a good one. Articles need to be well-sourced and well referenced, and the vast majority of the articles in the above category are -not-. Your argument is nto an argument at all and still does not address the issue of noteability-- I can provide a source that my house exists, but that does not make it noteable under Wikipedia policies. Jtrainor (talk) 22:33, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
This seems to be a recurring theme today... WP:V, contrary to what some people believe, doesn't call for deletion if there aren't X number of inline sources in an article... it only requires those reliable sources exist. When we're talking about real places, they almost always do exist if someone bothers looking. It's not a "maybe" situation, it's an "almost always", hence the burden is really on the person who wants to delete them. --W.marsh 22:38, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
It requires those sources exist IN THE ARTICLE. No sources? No noteability. No noteability? No article. Jtrainor (talk) 22:40, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
So J, why isn't WP:N enough? --Kevin Murray (talk) 22:46, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
What in WP:V says there must be inline sources cited or an article is deleted? Are you sure you're reading it? It says the sources need to exist, and be cited if someone challenges specific claims. There is nothing in WP:V that says articles must deleted simply for not having inline citations. Please re-read it, or read it for the first time, quite possibly. --W.marsh 22:48, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
Lack of sources is a reason for deletion. Improper source formatting is not a reason for deletion. I think that WP is vague on requirements for inline references. --Kevin Murray (talk) 22:55, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
J, it doesn't work like that. Your attempted AfD of the village Ab Lench reminds me of when an over-zealous misguided user attempted to speedy delete the article Animal fat, because no sources were placed in the article. When that user was temporarily banned due to WP:POINT reasons when prodding or speedy deleting such articles, it was kindly explained to him exactly what W.marsh explained; an article doesn't fail WP:V if it is currently unverified, but only if it is unverifiable. WP:V is a reason to delete an article if absolutely nothing can be verified, not simply because an editor doesn't see sources placed in the article (see also WP:OSTRICH). --Oakshade (talk) 23:45, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
This seems to be a suitable place to point out that Ab Lench is included (as Ablench) in Volume III of the Victoria County History of Worcestershire (see this website for what is currently available). This is the definitive history of UK localities. Even though it is around 80 years out-of-date, experience with other places in the VCH would suggest that this contains far more detail than would be expected even on a featured article. (As an example of what is available, see this volume which is available online. (And Chew Stoke was recently made a featured article, despite there not being a VCH article for it yet.) Bluap (talk) 02:24, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
There's a far cry between Chew Stoke, which is quite good (and not the kind of thing I am concerned about) and, say, Camera_Green, to select an example of something that I randomly pulled out of that category above. Jtrainor (talk) 03:00, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
Which is why the former is a featured article, and the latter is a stub. Almost every village in the UK has over 1000 years of documented history. Bluap (talk) 03:28, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
The problem is, that many geographical articles _are_ well-covered in reliable sources, but they are either primary sources ( government documents ) or tertiary sources ( almanacs, maps ), but they tend not to be covered in secondary sources unless maybe there's a debate in town about land use along the river. This is why despite what the humanities-oriented editors keep arguing, there's a longstanding practice of assuming that certain topics ought to be covered, and notability of certain things such as towns is not questioned. Squidfryerchef (talk) 13:20, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
This is being taken care of by the blurring of the PS/SS distinction--in part because of problems such as these. To an archeologist, the primary source is the object on the ground. Any report on it is secondary. Other subjects have other rules. DGG (talk) 21:17, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

(unindent) I accept that every town is notable. What about the new page at Prince William, Indiana which says that its subject is an "extinct town"? Is that different from a Ghost town? Accounting4Taste:talk 20:22, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

I believe that in a Ghost town, the buildings/streets/etc. still stand, while none of the infrastructure of an extinct town would remain. Most likely the buildings gradually became in poor shape and no new ones were built as people left the town, so they were just torn down. A look at a satellite map confirms this. I've added a reference to the article in question, I imagine there are more. --W.marsh 20:35, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Ghost towns tend to have more sources anyways Secret account 23:06, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Proposed loosening of WP:MYSPACE

I propose the loosening or repeal of WP:MYSPACE, on the grounds that we should encourage users to do their social networking here rather than on Facebook, MySpace, etc. My reasoning is that the more people hang out here, the more contributions we may attract; and that it is worth the small amount of extra server overhead to get this benefit. Personal relationships existing outside Wikipedia can blossom into article collaborations. What would it be like if people invited their friends to join WikiProjects the way they invite their friends to join groups and causes on FaceBook today?

Current policy states, "Wikipedia is not an appropriate place to pursue your desire for relationships or sex. User pages that move beyond broad expressions of sexual preference are unacceptable." While the inherent lack of privacy on wikis (i.e. all edits are public) would seem to make them an unlikely place to meet people, I think that this debate is similar to the concept of office romances - while they can be distracting, there is also the potential for positive impacts, including the possibility to:[1]

  • Motivate those in the relationship
  • Lead them to spend more time at work
  • Improve the quality of their work
  • Reduce their absenteeism

It's not altogether implausible that people might meet via Wikipedia as the userbase grows and regulations are loosened sufficiently to allow its demographics to change – similarly to how the Internet became a dating scene as it became more popular and utilized by the mainstream.

I think an argument was made awhile ago that excessive userpage contributions/board game playing/similar activities would clog up the Recent Changes page. But isn't there software out there to filter recent changes for that kind of stuff, analogous to what Cryptoderk uses to focus his RC patrol on non-whitelisted users?

The server overhead issue might also be something that could take care of itself. A certain percentage of people who use Wikipedia make donations; as the number of users rises, the number of donations would rise too, assuming a fixed donor-to-user ratio. One might argue, the purpose of Wikimedia is to fund encyclopedia-writing and other useful projects, not social networking. But if the social networking furthers the encyclopedia-writing, then it is just a means to an end, and one worth supporting. Similar arguments could be made about the Internet. Should public universities comprising the internet backbone pay to support computer game downloads and other frivolous transfers? People used to say such activities, if they got out of hand, would pose a threat to the continued existence of the Internet as we know it. But as the Internet's popularity soared, more resources poured in, the technology improved, and many of those things became non-issues.

I say, repeal all restrictions on userpages except for copyvios, libel, and other illegal content. And let people open up shop if they want. Sarsaparilla (talk) 01:21, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

Absolutely not. The purpose of Wikipedia is to build an encyclopaedia. Even though there are collaborative aspects to building an encyclopaedia, letting something like social networking into that purpose just crosses the line. 哦,是吗?(O-person) 01:41, 24 December 2007 (GMT)
I also want to note that this subject almost always creates a can of worms. 哦,是吗?(O-person) 01:49, 24 December 2007 (GMT)
Well,it doesn't hurt to brainstorm new policy ideas and thrash the subject out in an open forum to get a sense of the pros and cons and whether there can be a reasonable chance of gaining consensus for change in the near future. If not, at least there's the satisfaction that it was given a fair hearing, and then attention can be turned to other areas. Sarsaparilla (talk) 02:19, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
I strongly oppose this. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, and this should be what we use the money and resources the Foundation has raised for. Sorry to say this, but most of the people who would be using the userspace for social networking probably could care less about the encylopedia and/or are the type that we wouldn't want to be editing it anyway. I donated to the Foundation earlier this year and personally don't want my donation money being used to help fund high school relationship drama...MySpace and Facebook already exist for the purpose of networking, let them use those sites. I highly doubt enabling free use of userspace would lead to any positive impact on the encyclopedia. —Scott5114 [EXACT CHANGE ONLY] 01:44, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:Voting power is not allocated by donations. Sarsaparilla (talk) 03:11, 27 December 2007 (UTC)
I think it's a lot less about server overhead than it is more about this place being an encyclopedia; consider WP:PERF and the responses above. More people hanging out here more often doesn't mean there will be more contributions; for the same reason a lot of readers don't edit, it's not clear that social networkers will edit. Any evidence that this means will achieve that end? I think your proposal will have more weight if there is an emerging keep consensus at WP:MfD. People vote delete at MfD either because they know about the WP:MYSPACE policy but personally think otherwise, or because they genuinely believe that social networking produces more harm than good here. If it's the latter case, debates will result in delete even if the policy changes. So you have to show that it's the former. –Pomte 01:47, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
Aren't we expected to cast votes at MfD in accordance with (and citing) a reasonable interpretation of existing policy? And if we vote in disregard of that policy, our vote can be ignored? Therefore, it would seem the route to change is to change the policy, unless we are going to pursue something similar to jury nullification. I think there may have been some examples of good contributors leaving because they got upset at userpage restrictions, but I will have to research that. There could also be a less visible phenomenon of people never having come here to begin with or ending their participation before they got off to much of a start, due to restrictions such as WP:MYSPACE, but it's hard to quantify. In some ways, it might be similar to prohibition of drugs. The argument is sometimes made that drug use should remain illegal because drug use is associated with other crimes. The legalizers argue that because drug use is illegal, naturally there will be a disproportionate number of users who practice deviant behavior, because deviant individuals tend to be more willing to practice illegal activities such as drug use. If it were legal, then the statistics would change because the mainstream would become involved in it too. Similarly, we may find that a disproportionate number of the people here who currently create userpage content in violation of the rules are not productive editors. That could change if on-wiki social networking is legalized. Sarsaparilla (talk) 02:03, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
All arguments should be in accordance with policy, but it's difficult in reality to convince the majority about what consensus really is if the numbers are overwhelming. Aside from this, your points are pure conjecture. –Pomte 05:49, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
I would characterize them more as hypothesis, which can only be proven or disproven by conducting the experiment. Sarsaparilla (talk) 13:57, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
No. We are an encyclopedia, and we should not sway away from that. JetLover (talk) (Report a mistake) 01:49, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
  • This has been tried before. It upset a great many people and cause large amounts of undue stress. I have no idea why that was the case, but there it is... --Jayron32|talk|contribs 02:18, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
    • Wow, I can't believe that happened. I was on a yearlong wiki-sabbatical during that era, so I completely missed the Esperanza thing. I'm wondering, Was the stress the fault of Esperanza or those who opposed it? Or a little of both? Sarsaparilla (talk) 02:32, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
  • It was more of just a frustration kind of thing. EA started out as a great idea, but ended up doing silly things that didn't make sense for Wikipedia (like playing checkers or chess), regardless of social networking. EA wasn't all bad, and the possibility of starting something up with the same ideals might be ok, but it would require a different approach. One idea was that Wikipedians interested could find an external website to "unofficially" partner with, or house the more social activities (mostly because it just makes more sense to do so, given the limitation of mediawiki software). You could talk about it, make a box on your userpage about it, but the bulk of that kind of stuff would be off-wiki. It's more practical and would still allow people to find other people who are specifically Wikipedians to hang out with. -- Ned Scott 03:37, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
    • Interesting. Maybe some MediaWiki plugins could be developed, similar to Facebook apps, to support some of that functionality. Given our limited developer resources (I think we only have about one or two full-time developers?) a modular approach in which people can develop and distribute their own plugins in a decentralized way yet still have them tie into the framework could be beneficial. Sarsaparilla (talk) 03:50, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Or maybe people can just use Facebook which already is popular, has the infrastructure, already has applications, has the userbase and is designed for that purpose rather than trying to shoehorn things into Wikipedia? -Halo (talk) 06:25, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
The idea of creating a place for Wikipedians with similar interests to get together and "hang" is probably not a bad idea. The idea of creating such a place at Wikipedia is probably a bad idea, if for only pragmatic reasons. The mere existance of such sites on-wiki generates huge amounts of a-priori hatred and causes instant problems. However, the web is NOT at a loss for creating such locations off-wiki. There are thousands of services where you could organize this for free. However, there is only one major freely edited encyclopedia. --Jayron32|talk|contribs 04:08, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Yes to the uttermost degree with zeal! This is a great idea for the reasons listed and more. If there is a repeal of WP:MYSPACE then that arguement dies, and there is a higher rate of concensus on a higher degree of fullness, and less arguing that point. If we get alot of people here then someone is bound to say "hey, there are links from this page, oh hey! I know about this! But there's an error" and be able to fix it. We could get more donations too, as expected with a higher trafficing rate. I also see a certain discontinuation of the counting of userspace edits with our software, but that's a different arguement. Anyways, I do see a few problems, because some people wouldn't care at all, and the admins (no offense) are mabey a little too orthodox about the social network. Jayron32 has a good idea with the apps too. YДмΔќʃʀï→ГC← 12-24-2007 • 05:11:25
Such off-wiki interaction already exists. Linking to them encourages contribution even less convincingly. –Pomte 05:49, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
  • While we're suggesting ideas that move the project away from its goals, with software that is badly designed for purpose, with lots of more popular superior competitors, that would a silly amount of bandwidth and encourage people who probably aren't interested in making a free encyclopedia to visit and make "valuable contributions", may I propose that we extend Wikipedia into becoming "The Free Porn Site"? Afterall, they get lots of hits, and people will come for the porn and stay to make encyclopaedic contributions. -Halo (talk) 06:24, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

In seriousness, I strongly support a loosening of the rigidity of present attitudes towards "social networking" on Wikipedia. Per WP:PERFORMANCE, it is established that we do not need to delete things in order to free up server space. As userspace is not part of the encyclopedia, there is therefore no obvious need to delete anything in userspace unless it is inappropriate, attacks other users, violates copyright, or otherwise brings Wikipedia into disrepute. In some cases, where a user has clearly created an account for the purposes of advertising or of abusing their userspace as a free webhost, it may be appropriate to delete their userpages (through MfD) in order to make it clear that this is not the purpose of Wikipedia. However, where a user is making some beneficial contributions to the encyclopedia, nominating their userpages for deletion just to make a point tends to come over as hostile and aggressive, and more often than not drives the user away, which is detrimental to the encyclopedia, as editors are our most important resource. I don't think we should repeal WP:MYSPACE, as Wikipedia is not a social networking site and this needs to be made clear in policy; however, users should always think twice before nominating someone else's userpages for deletion. It's coercive, aggressive, and rarely results in any benefit to the encyclopedia. WaltonOne 12:57, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

  • I would suggest slightly loosening it, but do not repeal it. Marlith 17:01, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
  • I would oppose any loosening of this policy. Wikipedia is not a discussion forum, a free web host, or a social network site. That is and remains a fact. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 00:47, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
  • I found a cool essay about this, WP:CARE. Sarsaparilla (talk) 01:02, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
  • I also have to say that I'd be very much opposed to Wikipedia becoming more Facebook or Myspace-like - definitely no to that. This is an encyclopedia after all, as quoted and said over and over again by all of the people above. There's the userspace and talk pages to socialise, exchange thoughts, cookies and what not, but let's stick to that. An influx of people wanting to socialise and edit a bit would probably lead to a lot of unreferenced or underreferenced edits with few valuable edits; people who DO want to edit are already here and probably have their Facebook pages (or not - I don't) already. So, no. --Ouro (blah blah) 10:05, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
    • Well, the issue is that people are getting their userspace subpages MFD'ed for social networking. Sarsaparilla (talk) 04:19, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
  • I strongly agree that WP:MYSPACE should be loosened. We too readily discard the secondary effects of social networking on Wikipedia, many of which directly contribute to encyclopedia quality. I can think of dozens of occasions on which I've witnessed people who knew and cared about each other taking advantage of that relationship to motivate contributions and collaborate on the encyclopedia - frequently including myself. I think even full-time social contributors are extremely valuable. The metaphor I like to use is: armies have people to play instruments and carry banners. They don't kill anybody - but they motivate others and maintain order. Likewise, few companies make their money off morale events, but most companies have them anyway - because people need motivation and a positive, productive atmosphere.
  • All that said, I don't particularly object as long as people have an official place to congregate and network - the benefits of social networking are greatest when the network is large, and without an official venue there is a real risk of fragmenting the community. Dcoetzee 22:46, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I do object, because I feel that if Wikipedia becomes a social networking site, then parents who would be fine with their little Jimbo writing an encyclopedia would be horrified if Jimbo began "chatting" with other users and not writing the encyclopedia. This could lead to our next Anonymous Dissident or Ilyanep getting blocked from Wikipedia by parental filters, and that would be a net loss to the encyclopedia. Yes, we discuss things for encyclopaedic purposes, but if we have people coming solely for contacting other people then we have a problem. I would stomach a guess that the net loss of losing, say, Ilyanep (who may or may not be allowed to talk to people over the internet, I'm just using him as an example because he's the youngest 'crat) would far outweigh the net benefit we'd get from a thousand 5th graders talking to one another and editing their school article. Keilanatalk(recall) 22:58, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
    • I'll support somethhing like wikisocial, but seriously we are an encyclopedia, not myspace, we have places like IRC if people want to talk socially, I agree with Keilana as well. Secret account 23:04, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • It feels to me like the same logic about loosening userspace restrictions could also be leveled against things like WP:N and WP:FICT. There's no reason we can't get all the upside of this proposal using a separate site outside of WP, without any of the potential downside. For what it's worth, I oppose this proposal. --- tqbf 23:12, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Well, why not do this – have a Wikicommunity project of Wikimedia? Instead of userpages in the User namespace, we might have all edits lead back to userpages in the Wikicommunity project. It would be kinda redundant to have userpages on both Wikipedia and Wikicommunity, but then again, some people have userpages on Wikipedia, Wikisource, Wiktionary, etc. I'm trying to think if there's a way to do this without it being overly cumbersome switching back and forth between projects. Maybe some people can have soft redirects or hyperlinks on their userpage directing people to their Wikicommunity site. If we want to delete nonencyclopedic userpage content such as the shops, we can just say, "Transwiki to Wikicommunity" rather than "Delete." What do you think of that? I'll start a discussion at meta about it. m:Wikicommunity Sarsaparilla (talk) 03:50, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

please prevent archiving of vandalized remarks in Discussion pages

A while ago I pointed out that someone had vandalized my comment, in the discussion page about the "Missouri" article, under the topic heading "Missoura". They had inserted the insult "dumb". I removed it, but apparently they later re-inserted the insult, which has now become part of the archived (archive #2) history of the discussion page for "Missouri".

When I pointed out that someone had vandalized my comment, I supposed that this would only have been possible due to a bug. To my surprise, I was informed that the ability of a vandal to edit someone else's remarks on a discussion page, is considered a feature and not a bug. I might add that the arguments/rationale put forth for this policy, were not convincing to me.

(Fast forward a few months...)

Now that the vandalism has been archived, I can't revert it at all! --or at least, not without breaking the admonition to leave archives un-edited.

Does this seem like proof to anybody (other than me) that only the original writer should be able to edit a writer's remarks on a discussion page? Absent such a policy, the implied authorship of any archived material has no credibility, because the archived material may have been vandalized shortly before it was archived. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Publius3 (talkcontribs) 05:10, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

I'm sure we could make an exception. If they vandalized the comment, say so in the edit summary. If you're worried, copy a link to the vandalism edit as proof. Few would revert you. — Trust not the Penguin (T | C) 05:46, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I have reverted [2] the vandalism [3]. Discussion should not continue on archived pages but they are not untouchable. Documented fixes of falsely attributed comments is certainly OK. PrimeHunter (talk) 05:49, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
Per WP:TALK & WP:CIVIL, vandalism can always be reverted. Just be sure to leave a clear Edit summary to explain why you're removing it. -- Kesh (talk) 00:33, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
the reason why i believe pages should be allowed to be edited w no restrictions is free speech and censorship. who is to say what is vandalism and wat is not? who is a vandal who is not? wat to delete or wat to preserve? tis is the difference between a free country and a fascist, represive state. Now i think the way tat should be done here is allow unlimited editions by whomever and wherever and whenever but save it in archives. any new edition even if its a comma should be numbered as a new version. functionality is saved as well as freedom WonderingAngel-aesc78 (talk) 16:34, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

"Trust Ratings" on WIkipedia

Just now, while I was perusing the Wikipedia page on the Wikipedia! I saw this:

Software created by Luca de Alfaro and colleagues at the University of California, Santa Cruz is now being tested that will assign "trust ratings" to individual Wikipedia contributors, with the intention that eventually only edits made by those who have established themselves as "trusted editors" will be made immediately visible.Article

I am just curious to know if anyone else thinks this is a bad idea. My reasoning is that, while there are certainly many people who come to the Wikipedia to vandalize or to make POV or defamatory statements, for the most part I think people make their first edits because they know something and want to share. Then, when they make a contribution there is the *immediate* feedback/pride at having contributed something and seeing it appear right away. It is like the little "food pellet" that makes them want to press the edit "lever" again.

Thus, I think that implementing such a policy would have negative effects on the encyclopaedia's growth. I think if people couldn't see their edits implemented immediately they would fall a little out of love with the process. And while some might argue that this would insure that only people who were "serious" would get to make changes I think that this project was built with 35% seriousness and 65% love and self-satisfaction! As it is, the encyclopaedia has only continued to grow and refine over the years without this policy and the average amount of time an instance of vandalism remains on a given site is 3 minutes. I also think that this would hinder people (like me) who think that one way to build the encyclopedia is to assign underserved stub topic pages to students to build in lieu of term research papers (given that I think kids are more careful and conscientious when they know the whole world is watching). With this new policy that would no longer be a possibility and lots of great articles would never get built! What do YOU think? (oops, forgot to sign this) Saudade7 19:16, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

I think it is a dreadful idea, I would have never started editing if I had to go through some approval procedure. Thankfully, as the article says: While editors on the German version are happy with a hierarchy of contributors, the English editors favour a more egalitarian approach. So English readers are likely to continue to see the latest version of an entry...
An approval system would first have to get support from the en.wikipedia community, and I find that highly unlikely. The cons include stunted growth, not being the encyclopedia which anyone can edit (which is both a pillar, and a founding principle), and lots of work for those approving the changes. I don't even like the "trust ratings". The colour-coded page would look really ugly, and would probably be in violation of WP:Accessibility. The system would favour those who work on articles alone, instead of those who participate in wikiproject or translation collaboration (these edits don't stay in place very long, they are improved upon-which is the whole principle of a wiki). We don't just want to be a reference source that is accessible for free on-line. We want to be Wikipedia. Puchiko (Talk-email) 17:54, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
While not necessarily a bad idea in the abstract, it's horrid as proposed. The principle that "contributors whose edits tend to remain in place are awarded high trust ratings; those whose changes are quickly altered get a low score" is nutty. Anyone who would propose such an inane criterion clearly has never spent much time on contentious topics in the English Wikipedia. Raymond Arritt (talk) 18:04, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
Certainly not for those of us who spend a fair amount of time removing vandalism, many times the vandals are persistant and will vandalise the same page again immediately after one has removed the vandalism, sometimes collusively (see today's edit history of Jason Earles, where the page was re-vandalised four times after I'd fixed the page), I don't think I'd achieve a 'good score', despite all of those edits of mine being fine.--Alf melmac 18:12, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
Great idea for another project. However Wikipedia tries to avoid the traditional hierarchical power structure so I don't think it would be welcome here. 1 != 2 18:14, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
Wow! I am glad I am not alone! Saudade7 19:16, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
PR, I don't think I was smart enough to understand this. Saudade7 21:53, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
My apologies, my contribution made sense in response to the section-starter, but the discussion had taken a different direction by the time I posted it. I've taken out what I just said. PRtalk 10:17, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

Would be fun to see up-to-date edit scores for different kinds of people. I have no trouble with numbers and measurements, only with people who tend to misread them and see too much, or too little in them. The trust-score display is a very quick way to quickly direct the eye towards sections that may need more checking than others. Once again, a section that is assigned a low score could actually be really good, which is why you still need human eyeball mk. 1. But computer assistence is never to be disdained --Kim Bruning (talk) 19:49, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

While I don't think Wikipedia should do it itself, I would like to see a third party site collect this information for review. Since Wikipedia is for the most part transparent in its operation this is possible. 1 != 2 22:02, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

I believe that we can accomplish what we need with software. Cryptoderk used to have software that would let you whitelist and blacklist users for RC Patrol purposes. Each patroller could have their own lists. Another approach might be to tie patrollers' lists together. For instance, you could select other patrollers whose opinion you trust, and have their whitelists and blacklists feed into yours. Sarsaparilla (talk) 04:14, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

Cryptoderks Vandalfighter is GPL, and has now been maintained by Henna for some time: User:Henna/VF --Kim Bruning (talk) 11:40, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Seems entirely contrary to the spirit of Wikipedia to me. Dlabtot (talk) 20:43, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Photo watermarking / license changing

I'm very sorry if this is similar to the "Requiring photo credits" topic above, but I wanted to handle it in a separate box. Recently an editor uploaded a self-created image under the GFDL license but it had a large and highly visible email watermark on it. An IP editor commented on its talkpage that requiring the watermark went against the philosophy of the free content thing. My first question is, given that it was uploaded under the GFDL, would it be okay within the license to simply edit out the the watermark? Is it enough to attribute the author only on the image description page or must it be kept on the image itself if that's how it was made? • Anakin (contribscomplaints) 14:42, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

Yes, it's perfectly fine to remove the watermark. Attribution on image description pages is our standard practice. — Carl (CBM · talk) 14:50, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
That's what I kind of assumed, I just wanted to be sure it was okay. Now to tell the truth, this is in the past tense, because I already edited out the watermark... Then yesterday, more than a week after it was first uploaded, the original uploader came back and restored the original version, then changed the license to "Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0". He edited the license parameters a few times, finally settling on "Attribution: use with <email> watermark". I'm not at all familiar with how the license works, is it possible to edit the license on an already released image like that? Thanks for your help. • Anakin (contribscomplaints) 15:04, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
We don't permit licenses like that. If he doesn't want to release the image without the watermark, it is probably better for him not to upload the image. If you want, contact me on my talk page, and I will contact the user to explain our practices in this regard. — Carl (CBM · talk) 15:15, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
Yea, I don't want to upset anyone though (and I may already have upset him by removing the watermark in the first place...). The image is Image:Architecture of CRM.JPG. In the article Customer relationship management, the Hotmail email watermark is highly visible. Originally the image was inserted full size so the watermark was about eight inches long across the screen, but I put it in a thumbnail box for people with smaller screens.
Seems to me though that since it's thumbnailed, to see the diagram or download the image people would have to click on it anyway, where they'd see the license info and credit. • Anakin (contribscomplaints) 15:28, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
The watermark would make it more difficult for people who want to resure the content, though. For example, what if someone wants to make a "quick reference" sheet including the diagram? I left a message for the user asking if a non-watermarked version is possible. — Carl (CBM · talk) 16:03, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

I have reverted to the GFDL version without the watermark. This is an appropriately modified version of the original image under the terms of the GFDL. Subsequent uploads of inferior images under unacceptable licences should be removed.-gadfium 19:13, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

Removing/relocating copyright and attribution statements from images is a legal gray area. The GFDL requires derivatives "preserve" all "copyright notices", and its unclear whether or not one can legitimately move those watermarks out of a GFDL image. In previously discussions on Commons, it was decided that people would continue to remove the watermarks, but that they would also honor requests from the author to delete all versions of the image. In other words, if unmarked is really unacceptable to the author then as a courtesy we'd simply not use any version. Dragons flight (talk) 20:33, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
There was a big discussion over this on Commons. Today Commons:Category:Images with watermarks still exists and people are encouraged to remove them (adding them instead to the image description page and image metadata). If an author protests, we generally just remove the affected images - requiring an image to carry a watermark is too burdensome, but the legal case isn't clear cut enough that we can just tell them to go away. Dcoetzee 22:32, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Removing speedy deletion when an article is AFD'd?

Sometimes it happens, that an article who is currently a candidate for speedy deletion is also put up on AFD. If that happens, is the speedy deletion process to be discontinued, or can it stay? I couldn't find anything related after a quick look through policy, so please give me a heads-up. Thanks. ~ twsX · TC · Typo-Warning! ~ 21:07, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

Thinks get speedied out of AfD all the time; CSD provides objective standards for when things should get removed. On the other hand, a "keep" vote in an AfD is prima facie evidence that speedy is inappropriate; admins should just let a contested AfD run its course. --- tqbf 21:27, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
If you see an article that is tagged for two different deletion processes it will cause less confusion if you remove the speedy tag and let the AfD continue. (The person who opened the AfD we hope would already have been astute enough to remove the speedy tag, but he could have missed it). Participants in the AfD can always vote Speedy delete if they choose. It is legal for an admin to perform a speedy deletion while an AfD is still running, but hopefully that is done cautiously, taking account of opinions already expressed in the AfD, or for very significant reasons such as BLP. EdJohnston (talk) 21:47, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
More often than not, I see an article tagged for speedy after it is listed at AfD when a !voter decides that the article fails as being spam, a copyvio or lacks an assertion of notability. I've got no problem speedy deleting an article at AfD if it does fail one of the criteria. Though, as noted, a keep !vote in the AfD would invalidate the speedy request, excepting a copyvio, imo. Resolute 19:15, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
Before becoming admin, I blanked and speedy tagged a bio during AfD because of serious WP:BLP problems, to alert admins to the problem faster. It was speedy deleted. PrimeHunter (talk) 23:45, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
Why would a keep vote invalidate a speedy delete? If it meets the speedy criteria, then there is no problem. If anyone feels like there is a strong case to overturn, they can take it to deletion review. Vegaswikian (talk) 23:52, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes Vegaswikian, god forbid admins should pay any attention to a community consensus to keep when playing with their speedy tools! DuncanHill (talk) 23:58, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
A keep vote would probably kill most speedy deletion requests, but not always. Nothing would override deleting an attack page or a copyvio and "Keep - notable" would have little impact on deleting something as spam. Mr.Z-man 00:20, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
It's policy, Vegaswikian. A speedy can be contested by any user, and if so, should be taken to AfD. A keep !vote is a user contesting deletion, so barring a copyvio or BLP issue, should invalidate a speedy request, imo. In such cases, the only real difference is that an article lives five days longer. Resolute 03:57, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
You guys are funny arguing, A speedy for copyvio overrides an ongoing AfD versus An ongoing AfD doesn't override a speedy, except in cases of copyvio. X-D -Freekee (talk) 04:09, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

The arbcomm recently ruled in this decision that an admin can summarily speedy-delete an article for WP:BLP violations, not just copyright violations. This was recently done in at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Naftali Tzvi Weisz where the article was speedy-deleted in the middle of an AfD despite the fact that most AfD participants had supported a keep. The deletion was upheld atdeletion review. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 05:00, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

I think we're agreed that CSDs should be removed when there is an AfD, except for CSD G12, blatant copyright infringement. As for the cited ArbCom decision, (a) it says Any administrator, acting on their own judgment, may delete an article that is substantially a biography of a living person if they believe that it (and every previous version of it) significantly violates any aspect of the relevant policy.; (b) The policy involved was WP:BLP, not WP:CSD; (c) the decision doesn't say anything about whether an editor can or cannot remove a CSD notice when there is also an AfD notice; and (d) the decision basically authorizes an admin to use his/her best judgment - if an admin wants to delete something as a policy violation, he/she can do so regardless of whether it is undergoing an AfD, and regardless of whether there is a CSD notice on the article. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 13:51, 2 January 2008 (UTC)