Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 22

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Protecting talk pages

It has come to its attention that some more high profile users have semi protected talk pages. This user feels it is a fairly poor idea if wikipedia wants to maintain the same focus of an encyclopedia that can be edited by everyone. If unsigned users can't even discuss problems or that user's edits with the more active of editors than wikipedia is already making a movement from its aims. It seems poor judgement to award a talk page this protection that should be reserved for high-frequency attacked article pages, not for anyone who has a small problem with a couple of vandals posting on their talk page. My reasoning behind this is that talk pages aren't frequented by the "normal user" of wikipedia, while article pages obviously are. Thus a talk page having crap on it for weeks is of much less concern than a high profile article. As well, why an article with semi protection is probably quite (or at least should be) high profile and thus already be at a high level of, for lack of a better word or a word, completeness, thus a much reduced amount of new information needing to be added, while a talk page is a place for discussion and thus is subject to continous modification. While this may sound stupidly minor, and some might say it is easy enough to get an account, it does seem to represent a divergence from the aim of an encyclopedia editable by everyone. It is not trying to say there is no situation that warrants protection, just no talk page.--AresAndEnyo (talk) 05:40, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

First, a user is not users. Please do not try to disguise your dissatisfaction with one editor as a problem with many unless there are more you can cite. To the main point, you're already discussing this with Blnguyen, so why bring it up here? Furthermore, why not include his linked response to you, which you have no excuse for not doing an hour after he responded to you? This does not seem to me like a policy issue, just an isolated incident which could have easily resolved by you understanding the reasoning given. This is by no means a permanent thing, and it seems to me that you're trying to escalate the situation for absolutely no reason. — Trust not the Penguin (T | C) 06:07, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I just assumed their were other users. But just to recap "The Rogue Penguin" in essence you agree with AresAndEnyo's opinion.--AresAndEnyo (talk) 06:12, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Also dissatisfaction, I hope your not hinting that I have something against Blnguyen personally. This is a policy issue the protection happy admin is now all too common and this should be a guideline to not protect talk pages.--AresAndEnyo (talk) 06:15, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
You know what happens when you assume... Anyway, who said I agreed with you? I certainly do not, nor did I indicate that. I only noted that the protection would end as a matter of practice. Nothing short of templates ever stays protected, and this situation is no different. I think you're trying to attack this editor after your little fiasco with the yellow monkey failed, otherwise you would have looked at the situation logically and never started this discussion. — Trust not the Penguin (T | C) 06:18, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Yeah fair enough about the assumption thing. But you just made the assumption that AresAndEnyo looks at things logically. But seriously, by the name of AresAndEnyo, this is not an attempt to get back at blnguyen because I seriously don't think it would make any difference whatsoever to the day to day operation of the talk page for him/her/it. The point is that it would make it easier for people whating to discuss things with a user who doesn't what to sign in if it were made a policy that no talk pages were ever protected. You seem more interested in attacking AresAndEnyos motives than actually discussing the actual proposal/issue, even AresAndEnyo is starting to feel uneasy about being apart of this unfocussed discussion about personal motives and revenge, shouldn't one discuss the actual topic not trivalising the entire thing. But thanks for your replies to clear this up.--AresAndEnyo (talk) 08:28, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Just a quick [unrelated] note: we are all (hopefully) people here. You don't need to refer to everyone, including yourself, in the third person. Mr.Z-man 04:01, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
The internet is great cause on the internet no one knows your a dog--AresAndEnyo (talk) 17:05, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
Talk pages can sometimes be protected in the event of mass anonymous trolling or vandalism, just like any page. I would encourage, in that case, for a separate, unprotected talk subpage to be temporarily created for anons to comment on during the protection and a link placed to it from the regular talk page, and for a watchful eye to be kept so that legitimate anon comments from that page are promptly moved to the regular talk page. There are legitimate reasons for protecting or semiprotecting a talk page, though, even if the bar should be somewhat higher than protection of an article. Seraphimblade Talk to me 08:29, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Whoo! Late to the party! Anyways, there are indeed occasionally good reasons to semiprotect user talk pages. For example, it was recently discovered an IP address for the US Dept. of Homeland Security was adding patent nonsense to various articles. This fact was later reported to Digg.com, where it got 3148 diggs. In no time, the page was vandalized over and over again. So they semiprotected it until the Digg fury ended. That's a reasonable case. superlusertc 2008 January 15, 02:18 (UTC)

Let's clarify and expand WP:IAR

See Wikipedia talk:Ignore all rules#Should WP:IAR be ignored? A proposal for expansion.

I propose expanding WP:IAR with the following text:

The core principle of Wikipedia is that it is a free encyclopedia that anyone can edit. Thus, policy and the will of the community holds no inherently greater authority than the will of the individual user. If a policy or guideline is accepted democratically, but violates the core principle of Wikipedia, it should be ignored. The ability to make constructive edits to Wikipedia is a right, not a privilege, but that right comes with the responsibility to not infringe on the same right by other editors, and thus uphold WP:policy, which includes the duty to oppose policies which hurt Wikipedia.

Also, this wasn't entirely my own idea. See Wikipedia:Laissez-faire and Wikipedia:Editors matter. For those naysayers and policy conservatives, I think that this would get a lot of support, actually. Zenwhat (talk) 06:19, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Just to be sure, Policies and guidelines are not accepted democratically. :-) Hmm that, and I don't quite see where the will of the individual comes in. Wikipedia is run by consensus, so it is the will of the community that is actually important. The community (or any subset thereof, including down to 1 single user) may choose to follow whatever course they choose. Policies, guidelines, and essays basically just document what courses the community has chosen in the past (and that are known to actually work ... mostly... barring wishful thinking by some :-P ) --Kim Bruning (talk) 06:42, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Hmm, that said, there's some interesting bits to it, especially the duty to oppose policies which hurt Wikipedia part. :-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 06:43, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Seems far too verbose, no matter how nice some of it sounds. The beauty of IAR is in its simplicity. Confounding that simplicity defeats the very purpose of it. — Trust not the Penguin (T | C) 09:17, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Kim Bruning, policies and guidelines are accepted democratically. This goes against core policy, but it's how it's done in practice. Because in practice, it is the majority that defines WP:CONSENSUS (In fact, that's how it's mostly upheld since there is far more edit-warring followed by ArbCom decisions than bold, revert, discuss which isn't even policy). The reason is simple: The only way a policy can be upheld is through digital violence (aka edit-warring). The majority of editors will edit-war to protect their edits. If we go to ArbCom, the majority of admins will wheel-war to protect their edits. So, the majority of normal editors don't determine Wikipedia policy, but the majority of all editors do in practice, because the majority arbitrators determine based on consensus which generally reflects the Wikipedia majority. In order to protect the rights of individual editors from this, Wikipedia:IAR is the natural right to revolt against tyranny.

Wikipedia is a quasi-government that resembles a Constitutional Republic. Its founder, Jimbo, is currently a figurehead like the Queen of England that steps in from time-to-time in order to enforce the fact that individual editors matter. Currently, the focus in Wikipedia policy is on policy responsibilities with no focus on human rights. The result: Wikipedia is run like China (see Bureaucratic collectivism) while simultaneously being blocked from that country. What with the secret mailing lists, this is even further true and if Jimbo knowingly participates in that corruption or suppresses criticism (which I admit is vastly uncertain), that makes him more like Mao Zedong than the Queen. Zenwhat (talk) 16:00, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Aren't you using mostly 19th century theories on human interaction? I would hold that communism, democracy, capitalism, bureaucracy and etc are all fairly old and possibly outdated concepts, even if this *was* the real world we are talking about (and we are not).
The key thing to grasp about wikipedia governance is that wikis have some very fortunate properties when it comes to governance (I say fortunate, because I don't believe that those properties were intended by Ward Cunningham at the time).
It is often said that wikipedia only works in practice, not in theory. I disagree: I believe that there is a sane theory to be had, but that you have to look at somewhat obscure sources to find out, simply because wikis have some odd properties, and you need to basically start thinking from scratch to understand them. (And no, there are no really decent scientific papers specifically about wikis, that I know of, yet). Are you interested? --Kim Bruning (talk) 18:21, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Kim, I think the reverse is true: That the problem is 19th century assumptions about human rationality and the benefits of voluntary cooperation are what necessarily lead to the best outcome. See the section I wrote on Wikipedia:Wikipedia is failing#Problems with Wikipedia philosophy. I wrote the entire section myself, but I somewhat lean towards the first half. Once we recognize the modern ideas about how human behavior involves bounded rationality (due to asymmetry of information and cognitive bias) which is prone to clustering (see social group), the idea of a strictly defined set of individual rights becomes all the more justified. And again, in practice, institutions -- whether public or private -- that do not have clearly defined rights tend to be prone to authoritarian bureaucratic collectivism that is totally contrary to all Liberalism, both classical and modern. Because even if you do believe in Objectivism, you should already see WP:IAR as inherently being a far more important policy than WP:CONSENSUS, but right now it's the other way around. Objectivism is contradictory in this way, in my opinion: By diminishing overall human rationality by acknowledging the existence of irrational collectives (aka "mobs of trolls") while simultaneously claiming they will be dealt with through individual human rationality. On Wikipedia, this contradiction appears to have been rectified by ignoring individual rights entirely. Similarly, in the fictional world of the videogame, BioShock, this contradiction was rectified by individuals all loading up on military-grade weaponry and turning themselves into freaks of nature through genetic engineering. The former exists on Wikipedia today in the form of edit-warring and wikilawyering. The latter doesn't exist on Wikipedia... yet.
As an example of the overall bureaucratic collectivism of Wikipedia: In a normal court case, the burden of proof is always on the accuser. In Wikipedia, the arbitrators "assume good faith" in both cases, which is a rejection of "guilty until proven innocent" and they often can and do punish both sides, the way Chinese courts often do. The emphasis is entirely on "not violating the law" and the only protection of individual rights involve anti-corruption laws -- which themselves can be used corruptedly -- whereby a person can't say, "Such and such violated my rights." Instead, they have to say, "Such and such official violated this law and is corrupt," the same way users can't say, "Admin X violated my rights," but have to prove an infringement of policy. But if they're admins and you're not, you're unlikely to have any case if it's a disagreement over policy.
My overall worldview: Wikipedia should be reformed so that its quasi-legal system resembles a western liberal democracy like the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia the United Nations, and practically every country in the European Union. As it stands now, it is run like China while ironically being blocked by China.

The Way of Wikipedia:

Communists block Wikipedia,
Wikipedia blocks Communists.
Wikipedians are Communists.
Communists are Wikipedians.
When policies are made,
Outlaws are created.
When policies are removed,
There is chaos.
Harmony is found in the Way.

Tao Te Ching 17:

When the Master governs, the people

are hardly aware that he exists.
Next best is a leader who is loved.
Next, one who is feared.
The worst is one who is despised.

If you don't trust the people,
you make them untrustworthy.

The Master doesn't talk, he acts.
When his work is done,
the people say, "Amazing: we did it, all by ourselves!"

On Inclusionism vs. Deletionism, Te Ching 2:

When people see some things as beautiful,

other things become ugly.
When people see some things as good,
other things become bad.

Tao Te Ching 9:

Fill your bowl to the brim

and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife
and it will blunt.

Keep including articles, Wikipedia will be nonsense. Keep deleting articles and Wikipedia will be empty. But is emptiness such a bad thing?

On the role that Jimbo Wales plays in Wikipedia and again, about deletionism, Tao Te Ching 11:

We join spokes together in a wheel,

but it is the center hole
that makes the wagon move.

We shape clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want.

We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the inner space
that makes it livable.

We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.

Zenwhat (talk) 20:45, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

I'm disappointed. I asked you whether you were interested in (forming) an empirical description of why wikipedia works. But you didn't actually answer that question. :-( --Kim Bruning (talk) 00:18, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Maybe we need a Wikipedia Supreme Court, made up of people who are a completely separate group from the editors and contributors. 99.226.9.250 (talk) 15:27, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Anonymous user: It wouldn't work. The failures of arbitrators, admins, and the corporate model (which includes non-profit corporations) has problems because of the principal-agent problem. All governance -- whether it's public governance or private governance -- is a problem. What you want is people who want the same things you do: A working encyclopedia. That's best established through the voluntary community there is now, funded solely by voluntary donations. With an "outside" committee, they'd end up taking bribes. Literally. Zenwhat (talk) 08:18, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Overzealous spam blacklist?

I'd to linkify a citation ref to http://blog.myspace.com/... (an official band MySpace blog) at Killa, but it gets blocked by the meta:spam blacklist. I don't care enough right now to get it whitelisted (might as well remove the quote and its ref), but I'd like to ask a more general question: Why is something like "blog?\.myspace\.com" on the blacklist? Can't we deal with MySpace blog spam on an individual basis or using bots? -- Ddxc (talk) 09:34, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

I would agree with that. It seems that at times, the blacklist gets too many false positives. Like blocking IPs or protecting pages, use of the blacklist should be more narrowly construed and open to review. Once a page gets on the list, it is hard to get it off... a sort of "guilt by association" sort of thing. --Jayron32|talk|contribs 17:57, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree, too, actually. But instead of modifying the spam algorithm, I suggest a formal procedure to have admins set up an exception -- because the spam blocklist is still accurate 99.99% of the time. Isn't there already such a procedure? Zenwhat (talk) 08:15, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Stupid question: how to get guideline consensus

I'm still collecting more input on a WP:FICT rewrite, but I am curious how to present this rewrite as a proposed guideline and determine if there is WP-wide consensus for it. --MASEM 04:06, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Start by getting consensus among people who already watch the page. Then announce it more broadly, for example by using an RFC and announcing it on this page. Remember the goal is to find a compromise version, not necessarily to convince everyone to accept the version that is already written. If you find a version that you think has been broadly announced and has consensus, add the guideline tag, and see if it sticks. — Carl (CBM · talk) 04:21, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
Still working on the more broader consensus, but thanks for the info. --MASEM 04:50, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Masem: You need to figure out a way to use words as bullets, load them into a machine gun called "Effective argument," then gun down all of the people saying, "Who cares, just write an essay, people will be OK with that, who cares, essay, who cares, essay." This isn't always effective at dealing with policy zombies, because like the undead, it may take more than one volley. However, it's the only way. Also, be careful not to use explosive bullets. Just the nice kind, per WP:CIVILITY. Zenwhat (talk) 07:52, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Or rather in this case, those who say "What's wrong with the old version?" LinaMishima (talk) 08:06, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
I made a suggestion: Require that stuff first be ported to Wikia or elsewhere. If it's up on another wiki outside of this place, wipe it clean. Zenwhat (talk) 08:12, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
Commented over there LinaMishima (talk) 08:21, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Cyclic subcat relations.

Category:Real estate and property developers and Category:Businesspeople in real estate is both sub categories of each other. Is this desirable? How does this work with the guideline that article should be placed in the innermost category? Taemyr (talk) 19:49, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:Categorization#Cycles should usually be avoided which recommends 'See also:' links instead. Algebraist 22:19, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

WP:CORP, Electronics, and Notability?

Over the last few weeks, it seems that we've had a fair bit of a clash between the guidelines issued in WP:CORP (Products and Services), as well as generic Notability Guidelines, with regards to the topic of Cellular Phones. While I've not seen as many instances, I'm going to make the assumption that this phenomenon is not limited to just such items.

The main thing that brings this to light is the number of AfDs that come up on the topic; from December 2007 (see User:Aeternitas827/VP_Article_Sidenotes for the list of them in handy table format, should be done shortly), there were 22 AfDs that saw discussion (12 Keep, 2 No consensus, 2 Redir/Merge, 6 Delete--a fair smattering of different outcomes, if you consider Redirect/Merge outcomes to be a delete of sorts as the information no longer exists independently). For the limited number of mobile phones that exists, this is a fairly high number of AfDs and doesn't account for articles deleted with a prod.

In reviewing these discussions, a few main themes come up:

  • The sources mainly used in these articles, and others that have not seen a deletion process of any sort, mainly use launch reviews/editorial reviews from various sites dedicated to mobiles, which for the most part don't meet the criteria as a reliable source.
  • WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS is often argued in the direction of keeping the article, and dismissed as NOT a reason to keep the article.
  • Recommendations to move (as per WP:CORP directs in a case where independent notability cannot be adequately established) to the manufacturer's article.
  • WP:NOT, mostly as Wikipedia is not a directory, Wikipedia is not an indiscriminant...
  • Sales figures = notability.
  • A repeated outcry for discussion and consensus on the matter.

Based on what there is, what needs to be decided on is this:

  • What constitues a reliable source for a mobile phone, or any product of this nature?
  • Should the articles that exist with only what is determined (should a consensus be reached) be deleted, merged, or left as-is, and guidelines used mainly for ongoing articles?
  • If no consensus on what changes/clarifications could be made to existing guidelines, would there be any support for a middle-ground solution to alleviate the deletion discussions, such as merging existing articles into family-specific articles (as applies to mobiles, sections such as the Nokia N-Series, Sony Ericcson W Series, etc)?

By no means is this an attempt to do away with articles related to mobile phones. There are clear cut examples (i.e., iPhone, RAZR (the RAZR article has become family-oriented in itself) where notability can be clearly and easily established, and others yet where sources can be found; for the most part though, the sources are lacking and through many discussions, none have surfaced that appear to meet many editors' interpretation of WP:RS (the same refs do meet others' interpretations, and that is acknowledged).

Aeternitas827 (talk) 09:06, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

I disagree with the statement that there are a limited number of cell phones. There seem to be a huge number of cell phone models introduced each year, and people have created articles about them in an effort to cover all the models, like completing a coin collection. See the current Motorola product line [1]. Is an article appropriate for each model? This large effort has resulted in many articles with no evidence of notability other than that the manufacturer offers specifications and it got a couple of reviews in sites which may not constitute reliable sources. Then there seems to be an argument that cell phones are inherently notable because they are useful or because they come from a large manufacturer. Some certainly are notable, such as the RAZR or even the old Motorola StarTAC. Like other areas covered in Wikipedia, the first place one might be mentioned is in an article about the vendor, or about cell phones in general, or about the history of cell phones. If one model gets multiple reliable and substantial coverage, which results in a very long section,then it might need its own article. The desire to grid out the "succession box" of all models made by a company, with articles containing listings of features from the manufacturer's data sheet, seems unencyclopedic. It would make as little sense as to create individual articles on all models of hammer [2] sold by Sears, Roebuck and Company: their specs are available from the vendor, the vendor is a large well known company, and they are useful products. A similar series or articles could grid out all varieties of pants now or ever made by Levi Strauss & Co. every model (not just generic type) of kitchen appliance made by all companies, every model (not just every type) of vinyl flooring offered for sale, every model of shoes and socks offered for sale, etc. In each case, spec sheets are available from the vendor, lots of people buy them, and they are useful. As a counterargument to such all-covering series of articles, Wikipedia is not a catalog or an indiscriminate collection of information and articles about entities which do not individually satisfy WP:N. Edison (talk) 14:50, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
The issue of product notability can't possibly be new to Wikipedia, so I think we're obliged to try and find previous discussions and rationale to understand why the existing policies exist. Maybe what we have today was handed by Wales when he came down from the mountain one day; maybe what we have comes from a long, tough process; maybe what we have comes from a disgruntled and stalled stalemate. I can't figure out how to search archive pages or article history, though.
Wikipedia is becoming overwhelmingly crufty. While it's not paper, searching the encyclopedia and maintaining the encyclopedia are impacted by larger numbers of articles. Because of Wikipeida's high search-engine rankings, searching the Internet itself is directly effected. And because of the Internet's influence on culture, Wikipedia is also seen as a place to get press for products. It's obvious that Wikipedia is now focused on article count than article quality. If Wikipedia were a software project, its managers would put its contributors in bug jail -- disallowing more work on new articles until the existing articles are closer to bug-free.
I'm not too sure, by the way, a scorecard of previous AfDs is useful. Articles are kept at AfD if there is no concensus about their removal. This means that a couple of "keep" votes can prevent an article that most people think should be removed from being removed. The process (and, therefore, scoring the process) favors article creators. In an effort that is trying to bring focus and direction back to Wikipedia, this is a disservice.
I think Wikipedia:CORP#Products and services is the overriding doctrine here, and I think it's too inspecific. I think it can be improved pretty simply.
Notability for a product is not conveyed by popularity; there are plenty of products that have sold billions of units and aren't notable -- staples, for instance. It probably makes sense for Wikipedia to have an article about staples, discussing their history and design. If we applied the status quo to such products, we'd see articles about every model of staple, from each vendor and each size, distinct articles about each style of staple. They'd all link to a 100-word "review" in Popular Mechanics which is essentially a reprint of the company's press kit announcing the product.
Some products don't sell many units, and are still notable. Collectible and exotic cars, for example, are undeniable on their influence in technology and the automobile industry, but might only sell a few hundred units.
Wikipedia:CORP#Products and services, then, should be amended to point out that notability is not demonstrated by a large number of sales.
I think either the general WP:N guidelines or the WP:CORP guidelines should explain what's meant by "substantial". For a commercial product, a substantial reference certainly isn't a press release. And it isn't an article written in response to a press release -- 150-word "what's new?!" articles are usually not written with the product in hand and are all about marketing and placement.
What constitutes substantial coverage are articles about the design or implementation of the product, not articles dumping tables of features. How did the design team do their job? What were their goals? How did the engineering team come together? What's the vision for the product? and so on. These things are interesting; they convey the history of the product and demonstrate that it is substantial. They explain its notability by demonstrating its influence on the market, on commerce, or on culture.
For truly notable products, like the Corvette or the Macintosh or Microsoft Word, it's easy to find books discussing the product, its use, its design, and its influence on culture, technology, or its home industry. For non notable products, like model n of a cell phone, a line of computer servers, or just another "gaming mouse", these references aren't available. And for good reason: there's nothing interesting to convey about the product's design or development, or its impact on the industry.
I think a lot of electronics products claim to be the first to implement some feature or some standard. I believe that Wikipedia:CORP#Products and services should be amended to indicate that this is not a claim to notability. The first phone to implement XYZ protocol is not notable, for example; XYZ protocol itself certainly is. This extends to one off features; the first phone to implement a thought-sensitive input screen isn't notable. The thought-sensitive screen itself, however, is, and should have it's own article.
My reasoning is that the technology is interesting of its own right, and might be applied to many other devices than the product in which it was first found. Its development is more likely to be an interesting design, engineering, development, or manufacturing story. That doesn't need to be replicated across each product which bears the feature or the technology -- not even just the first one.
Books, along with substantial and single-subject magazine articles that are reports and not just reviews, are notable references for products. Reviews, particularly web-based reviews, are absolutely not references adequate to demonstrate notability. It's not hard to find a book about the design of the Apple Macintosh; it's not hard to find books about using Microsoft Word. Where are the books about cell phones, or gaming mouses? -- Mikeblas (talk) 14:51, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Hi, I'm a new-ish Wikipedian, and not completely fluent in WP policy, but this topic interests me. Hopefully I won't make too many misstatements.
I (respectfully) disagree with Mikeblas's implication that physical books are the best reference for use when defending the notability of something. While it is true that many (probably most) notable things will have books published about them, not all notable things do. Increasingly often, written materials for a product, whether those materials are reviews or how-to manuals or design documents, are primarily available online. (Give me some time to find references for that, please)
Mikeblas (and others) additionally note that "iteration n" of a company's product line, or even products in general are not terribly notable. While I agree that this is often the case -- consumer electronics are myriad --, I do not believe that cell phones are the best example of non-notability. It is my opinion that cell phones, unlike staples, vinyl flooring, etc., which are relatively generic, are becoming an item people display, a status symbol, resulting in people wanting to know more about particular models of cell phone. This then leads to other people looking up phone models on Wikipedia. Whether or not this is the correct course of action for the user is certainly debatable, but I'm not going to debate it, but simply postulate it.
Furthermore, unlike staples and so forth, cell phones are relatively monolithic, and change happens rapidly. By stating this, I would disagree with the statement that only the technology, not the product is notable. It is interesting to me to read about the technology, and be able to see a device or product in which it was implemented, be it a cell phone or some other product.
To digress slightly, one of my favorite activities (and I'm sure some of your favorite activities) is to go "wikispreeing". It continues to amaze me how Wikipedia has an article on almost any topic I wish to read about. Certainly the articles should be taken with a grain of salt, but they are an easy, fast, fun resource, and quite possibly the "killer app" of the World Wide Web. I would very much like to maintain this ability for other users. While I would agree that there are other topics more notable than cell phones, I would not say that individual cell phones are so non-notable as to have no mention at all on Wikipedia.
Finally, I would vote for a mix of two options. Particularly famous, popular, or verifiably notable cell phones should be granted their own articles. For the glut of other phones, I would say that a product-family article would suffice. If anything I said in here can be considered flaming or disrespectful to other users, it was not intentional. This is meant very constructively and calmly. Thank you for your time and consideration. TMSTKSBK (talk) 04:55, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
  • There is clearly something special about mobile phones - we don't see similar activity for wristwatches, cameras and televisions, let alone staples or hammers. I suppose that they are special because they are becoming an essential part of everyone's life and because so many functions are converging upon them: timepiece, diary, telephone, calculator, television, music player, radio, camera, mailbox etc. The rate of development is quite amazing - I can remember the time when they did not exist - and it would be presumptious for us to lay down strict rules for such an embryonic field of study.
Regarding the AFD discussions, it is commonly stated that reviews are not evidence of notability. This seems an absurd falsehood to me as a review seems prima facie evidence of notability. I suppose that it is said because, otherwise, there would be no hope of deleting the article.
If folk wish to merge articles or otherwise organise them better then they should just get on with it. The AFD proposals are not a sensible way forward, as the outcomes show. Colonel Warden (talk) 10:08, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree with you as far as mobile phones being a special case; such is where this particular class of device has become an issue, they're commonplace so more people would have an interest. This will lead to more articles like what see AfD; but, this does not mean this phenomenon won't spread to other types of devices as well. An overall Product/Service guideline, further than what WP:CORP provides, is likely a necessary evil.
However, I disagree that reviews can be used as a reference to notability; for the most part, a review is an expanded regurgitation of the manufacturer's spec sheet with quite a bit of opinion mixed in, and with the base sources being the manufacturer or the subject (i.e., the phone) itself, reviews hardly become a secondary source. Also, most of the review sources themselves handle only such things, and it cannot be easily discerned whether they hand-pick the devices to review, or whether they receive test models from the manufacturer to review as a means to raise publicity. Barring this, it cannot really be determined if such sources are reliable.
The best way, at least in the meantime, would be to merge all of these articles (at the least, articles which borderline meet existing guidelines) into family- or manufacturer-centred articles (as per WP:CORP, but to make such major moves would require further discussion to do, lest an edit war break out; and in the end, would such a discussion yield any different results, on the whole? Aeternitas827 (talk) 06:46, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
I have a serious problem with the base of this argumentation, and that is "reviews is an expanded regurgitation of the manufacturers spec sheet with quite a bit of opinion mixed in". This must be seriously flawed, the use of a word as regurgitation aside. As we are talking about reviews in major newspapers, are we supposed to not believe what the newspapers write anymore because someone is feeding them? This cannot be according to the typical policy. I would rather say with a review, you get a chance to falsify what in the specs do not live up to the promises, and you get - by this- a verification of the specs. Also, you get an opinion of the kind we can use in an encyclopedia: an opinion from a source. Given the base of argumentation above hence is IMHO flawed, the conclusions get non-interesting. Greswik (talk) 19:06, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm not saying that's what a newspaper article is; in fact, nowhere have I mentioned a failing of a newspaper article as a reference whatsoever. As a matter of fact, if a newspaper were to be able to issue a review of a product that was compelling beyond saying 'It's 1.2MP camera is a nice plus, but the lack of video on the camera was a real letdown' (not an actual quotation, but the likes of what you'll get from a site like [www.gsmarena.com GSMArena] or [www.phonescoop.com Phone Scoop]--and is nothing more than re-stating the manufacturers specs in a way that does not demonstrate that a phone is anything special. A newspaper would have much more to say and is indeed a reliable source. Further, the fact that a manufacturer may or may not provide what essentially is a web forum a device to test drive will skew the resulting review, because there is a vested interest for both sides for a good review if the manufacturer is giving early use of a device to someone; a newspaper writer/editor would not allow themselves to be compromised that way; if they did, then no, no one would care what the newspaper would say because it would essentially become a puppet of whatever organization(s) had the strings. Aeternitas827 (talk) 05:29, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Moving navigational lists to portal namespace

I've started Wikipedia:Move navigational lists to portal namespace as an idea to move navigational lists into the portal namespace to improve navigation, unclutter Wikipedia's mainspace and give portals greater exposure. Any comments or suggestions are appreciated -Halo (talk) 12:50, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

This has also been listed on Wikipedia:requested moves#January 13, 2008. I have doubts that requested moves is really the place for it, see Wikipedia talk:Move navigational lists to portal namespace. Andrewa (talk) 21:04, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Quoting really really bad spelling

The article about the song "Killa" has a quote "It's not what you think, it's about a guy who has hot killa looks!", attributed to <http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=54041721&blogID=308052249>. However, on that page, it says “IT'S NOT WHAT YOU THINK????? IT'S ABOUT A GUY WHO HAS HOT KILLA LOOKS!!!!!” Yup. (And yes, that's the official band blog.)

In general, what do we do with these kinds of quotes? My first shot would be to paraphrase the quote as “The song is about "a guy who has hot killa looks"<ref>...</ref>.” But is it appropriate to simply lowercase the quote? And at what cost should these kinds of quotes be avoided? -- Ddxc (talk) 14:22, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

That's one of the few case where you can quote the (hideous) original with [sic]. Dan Beale-Cocks 17:51, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
You're asking about two different things: spelling and capitalization. If you can fairly conclude that the caps-lock key was stuck on, it's fair to place the quotation into ordinary capitalization. But you should keep the spelling mistakes and excessive punctuation if there's a reasonable chance they're intentional. Argyriou (talk) 19:07, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Silence as consensus

To ensure that I notify all relevant instances, made an essay at Wikipedia:Silence as consensus AzaToth 19:53, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

I disagree.
Silence is disinterest, not consensus. A strong lack of interest may be sufficient grounds for taking an action, but it should not be interpreted as a "consensus". Argyriou (talk) 19:04, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
Agreed. Apathy and consensus are not the same concept. Rather, for Wikipedia's purposes, any proposal met with silence should be treated exactly the opposite as this essay proposes. To build consensus, people need to buy-in to the proposal. No support = no consensus. Resolute 00:54, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia being USpedia,proportional rep of knowledge of the world's other continents too is VITAL

when i clicked on the Random Article in the navpanel ten times nine wre about US and one about Russia,i believe that wikipedia policy should be to encourage volunteers to research and creat articles proportionately about all continents,once US articles exceed 20% app.ly,there should be a freeze on US articles until all continents catch up.Now very inane and sundry subjects on US find place in wikipedia while India etc have absolutely very few articles.Wikipedia stands as the proof of US citizens' obsession with themselves to the point of neglecting every thing else on the world to oblivion.Policies can change all this wikipedia being USpedia status.We need a really strong move towards keeping knowledge of the world proportionately. Plantgrowreap (talk) 20:41, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

The key word is 'volunteer'. No one is the boss of anyone. Everyone edits as a hobby. This particular part of Wikipedia is written in English. Thus, U.S. editors will dominate by far. By the way, there is Wikipedia:WikiProject Countering systemic bias. Cheers! Wassupwestcoast (talk) 20:50, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Then I propose we add an IP check for all visitors. As soon as we have more than 20% US visitors, we should disallow all US visitors until the rest of the world catches up with visiting Wikipedia. </sarcasm> --TheDJ (talkcontribs) 20:52, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
Why 20% Is this a reference to continents? By English speaking population, it would be about 70% U.S. visitors :-) And, the flip side of the coin is that most readers are also American. Cheers! Wassupwestcoast (talk) 20:58, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
And there's too much Star Trek stuff. And too much str wars stuff. And the Anime crowd is adding articles at a furious pace. Editors will work on what interests them. If you want to see coverage expanded in non-American topics, you don't accomplish that by stopping other people. you do it by contributing to that expansion. For example, you could join something like Wikiproject India and help improve coverage of non-American topics. -- Whpq (talk) 14:30, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
Not enough ice hockey though.  ;) FWIW, I just did a random sample of 20 articles. Eight American, eleven from the rest of the world (two Canadian) and one general (Aircraft lavatory). That is actually not a bad representation given Wikipedia's contributing population is overwhelmingly American. Resolute 16:52, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
Is it overwhelmingly American? Perhaps it is - I'd be interested to see a survey. Maybe it's just where I hang around, but I seem to see a lot of Brits and quite a lot of Australians, as well as a fair assortment of non-native English speakers. TSP (talk) 16:57, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
A slight exaggeration, perhaps, but Americans easily make up the single largest group of users at wikipedia.org according to Alexa. It seems logical to assume that that group will be heavily concentrated at en.wikipedia. Though such a survey would be very interesting, I agree. Resolute 17:04, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

To be fair, while the US may make up the bulk of editors here, the English readership is the US, Canada, the Caribbean, the UK, Ireland, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and every country where they teach ESL (English as a second language). Adding just India alone into the mix, where English is very common, and the United States is a very small piece of the Wikipedia pie. Lawrence Cohen 17:10, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

in terms of population and compared to the USA the UK, ireland, australia and new zealand are pretty tiny. Plugwash (talk) 17:18, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
According to Alexa, 54% of Wikipedia's users go to the English Wikipedia, and 17% of them come from the US. Even assuming that all US users use the English Wikipedia (I'd guess that actually a few percent of that is for the Spanish Wikipedia, which is the second most popular with 15% of users) that's still under a third of English Wikipedia's users. The UK, Canada and Australia make up about another sixth, then the rest is made up from hundreds of smaller countries. So, yes, a plurality, but far from a majority. TSP (talk) 17:28, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
From our own article: List of countries by English-speaking population.
  1. United States: 251,388,301
  2. Everyone else: 551,000,000 (rounding down heavily, just adding all the values that are 1,000,000+, and excluding all the -1,000,000 nations because I don't want to spreadsheet this--this is actually closer to 600+ million)
Like I said, the United States isn't that important in the Wikipedia scheme of things. It's inflated simply because a lot more people edit today from here. That artificial primacy will fail more each year the more that high speed internet access trickles down to second and third world nations. Lawrence Cohen 17:31, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
Let us know what a sample of 1,000 articles is like, instead of 10. I wouldn't be surprised if there is much more USA material simply because more of it is available to the majority of current editors. Editors will participate in topics in which they are interested and have information about. If you have an interest in topics outside the USA then please do edit related articles. I know I've done a lot of US-focused articles but also topics in the USSR, India, Peru, and the Pacific Ocean. And I've got a book on Flanders in which I'm trying to find useful material. -- SEWilco (talk) 19:00, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
The stuff lawrecnce quotes is basically useless information "This includes both native speakers and second language speakers of English. Statistics on second language speakers are usually imprecise, in part because there is no widely agreed definition of second language speakers, so these figures should be treated with caution.". Looking at the first language only figures paints a very different picture with the US having about double the number as everyone else put together. Some people with other first languages may choose to contribute to en rather than thier local wikipedia but I bet USians will continue to be the dominant contributors to en wikipedia for a very very long time. Plugwash (talk) 19:12, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

It's not just the English Wikipedia with bias on local areas, but all Wikipedias. The Wikipedia-World project has coverage maps of articles with coordinates across different languages for the English, German, French, Dutch, Portuguese, Russian, and Finnish Wikipedia, and a combined coverage map of all Wikipedias. These images don't say anything about quality, but show the number of articles and their area of interest. I'm also assuming that all Wikipedias have coordinates in location related articles to make this comparison method possible, though that's probably not the case. But if it is, then by comparing the English Wikipedia to all Wikipedias together we can see that the other languages mostly add to European areas, while the rest of the world is not significantly better covered than on the English Wikipedia. India however seems to be well represented, it's the "etc" that's lacking. --Para (talk) 22:14, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Clearly this study shows that Russia is heavily overrepresented on the English Wikipedia. --Golbez (talk) 22:23, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Couple of points, firstly you can't legislate what people choose to create and edit and given that more editors are from the US then it is likely that more articles are written about US topics than not and that this will be reflected accross the board. There is nothing wrong with that. If you don't like it create more articles that are not US based. Secondly concerning the distribution of English speaking people, all the statistics quoted are nonsense. Take myself as a case in point, I come from what is considered a non-native speaking country, except I am a native speaker (I am fluent in no other language). I have lived in both the US and the UK and know many people in both countries who are not native speakers. As such trying to attribute a person's language capability based on their geography is ridiculous. Oh and I know some non-native speakers who have a much better grasp of the language than some of the native speakers I know.Pbradbury (talk) 22:34, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

A better 3RR policy

The problem with the current 3RR policy is that it personalises a content dispute. In a genuine content dispute between two parties with strong opinions, it sometimes happens that the dispute degenerates into a revert war. In this situation an admin ends up blocking one of the parties, even though both may be equally guilty of revert warring. The problem with this approach is that the admin appears to be taking sides by blocking one party and not the other. A better approach is not to personalise the content dispute by punishing one of the parties, but rather protect the article until the content dispute is settled.

Therefore the 3RR counter should be applied to the article, not the individual. For further detail of this approach see User:Alexia_Death/Accusations_of_collaboration:_3RR_hurts_Wikipedia. Martintg (talk) 04:16, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Or we could block both parties. One doesn't have to make 4 reverts in a day to be blocked for disruptive edit warring. The reason for 3RR is less for 2 person disputes and more for cases where one person is reverting multiple people. See Wikipedia:Edit war. Mr.Z-man 17:31, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
Blocking both editors in a two person dispute would be an improvement, but it rarely happens, in practice only one gets the block. Indeed one doesn't have to make 4 reverts, I've seen one editor blocked for a week for one single revert to an article he created himself. In the case of one reverting against a number, invariably the single reverter is less experienced than the group and hasn't formed a network of like minded individuals in Wikipedia. This then opens up that meat/sock puppetry can of worms and the resultant angst of checkuser cases, accusations of xxxx-POV-pushers (where xxxx=religious/nationalist/ethnic/etc) and cabalism. Jimbo laments the lack of WikiLove, yet this whole punitive approach could well be one of the contributors to the lack of it.
One only has to look at the volume of disputes on ANI and before ArbCom to wonder whether some of these Wiki policies are unbalanced and contribute to the problem rather than to the solution. One approach to finding the answer is to model Wikipedia behaviour on computer and then game various policies it to see which policy is most effective (any prospective PhD candidates looking for a topic out there?). Martintg (talk) 20:15, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Abusive semi-protection?

please see Wikipedia_talk:Protection_policy#Request_for_clarification_on_semi-protection. dab (𒁳) 10:59, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Notability, lists, links and stubs

I am unhappy with the resolution of a recent AfD discussion (namely, Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/James Barker (athlete)), but my objections raise broader issues that I'd like to discuss in a new topic. Specifically, I'd like to see some guidelines about how to handle notable lists of items, each element of which may or may not be notable on its own.

In the "Barker case", he was an athlete who competed in the 1912 Olympic Games. The event in which he competed is documented at Athletics at the 1912 Summer Olympics - Men's 100 metres. This article is really a list in disguise, as it lists the names and results of the 70 men who competed in this event. Clearly the event itself is notable, justifying the existence of that page, but what of the athletes themselves? As discussed on the AfD page, and earlier on this page (Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#Athletes and exemption from WP:N, WP:RS, WP:V, and WP:BIO), there are compelling reasons not to expect that any Olympic competitor is inherently notable by that fact alone. After all, there are about 115,000 unique individuals who have competed in any past Games (about half what I had estimated before, but still a very large number!), but I'm not trying to restart that debate here.

Instead, I'm looking for comments about the more generic problem of lists like these. For example, the current practice appears to be to wikilink all list items. For some editors, that's an invitation to create stub articles for each redlink, which leads us to thousands of stubs like James Barker. Personally, I don't mind redlinks, as the link color tells me if an article exists or not. Also, I can still check "what links here" for redlinks to see if that athlete competed in multiple events and/or multiple Games.

The alternative is to only link names for which an article exists (i.e. the list item is otherwise notable). As an example, I happened across Punch-up in Piestany today, in which the rosters for the two teams contain no redlinks, because several player names are unlinked altogether.

A related issue is the disposition of articles like James Barker (athlete), which was turned into a redirect to 1912 Summer Olympics. I had argued vigorously in the AfD discussion against a redirect of any kind, as I don't think any target is useful. I am also concerned that this might be a precedent — let's say that several other of those athletes in the 1912 100 metres go through the AfD process and those articles aren't kept. We may end up with a results page that is very awkward to navigate as most of the blue-linked names on that list would draw the reader back to the top-level 1912 Games page. What use is that?

To summarize, I'm looking for feedback on:

  • What is the preferred approach for lists, in which each list item might not warrant it's own article? Do we link all items anyway, or selectively link items?
  • Do we want to discourage stub creation by changing the perception that redlinks must be "fixed" in order for a list article to be "complete"?
  • What is the purpose of redirects (versus outright deletion) to dispose of non-notable articles?

Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 23:07, 15 January 2008 (UTC)