Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 24

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All-red DAB pages?

Is there a policy with regard to the existence of DAB pages where all the DABed links are red? For example: Sainte-Barbe. Thanks! -- Avocado (talk) 02:38, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

It just means the articles haven't been written yet. Though unattractive, I don't think it's too big of a problem. EVula // talk // // 02:40, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
If you are asking if they are "allowed" then yes, they are. We just don't have articles about those things yet, although those things do exist. - Rjd0060 (talk) 04:49, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
And since populated places like those are generally considered inherently notable, it is not unreasonable to expect that we could have articles on them. If it was full of redlinks for non-notable people or companies, it may be inappropriate. Mr.Z-man 20:58, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Sounds good -- thank you all for the clarification! -- Avocado (talk) 16:13, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps someone could scare up a list of disambiguation pages with red links (comparable to Wikipedia:Templates with red links? bd2412 T 22:15, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

A simple on site reference

I am very much a newbie in the area of editing articles What would be very nice and helpful is a simple reference of what each tag does, and how to add it in Also, in trying to find information *about* editing articles it is very hard. Everything in Wikipedia about Wikipedia is a Wiki - kind of annoying, when you want to discuss an issue with someone - I don't want to be involved in policy making, and I think its great that things are wiki, but there needs to be more clarity at finding information on editing - what each tag does.

Also there is such a plethora of information, it is not well organized in the site, its taken me three months to discover that there is a general discussion forum. and 'community portal' a simple link to a reference guide that tells me what every kind of tag does, would be helpful. I agree that it is important to know how to do it, and why one should do it. Having a quick reference of every single tag, would be terribly useful. It took me hours to discover how to put up a page for review etc. It shouldn't be the case

Thank you. Dannyza1981 (talk) 16:27, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

I agree that it's a right royal pain to find anything, but you might find the Wikipedia:Editor's index to Wikipedia helpful. Foxhill (talk) 16:40, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
Depending on the type of tags you want, see for example Help:Editing, Help:Wikitext examples and Help:HTML in wikitext, or Wikipedia:Template messages/Maintenance and Category:Wikipedia maintenance templates. The interaction box to the left has a link to Help:Contents. It includes links to Wikipedia:Village pump and to Wikipedia:Help desk where you can ask questions about using Wikipedia (which can admittedly be hard). PrimeHunter (talk) 16:47, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Ipblock exempt proposal

Wider audience for commenting requested...

A proposal has started to allow established or trusted editors to edit via Tor, or other anon proxy. This discussion is located at

talk page

The proposed policy in its “needs to be worked on” form is located at

project page

Mercury at 20:42, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Official names

Guideline proposal. Please comment at Wikipedia talk:official names. Andrewa (talk) 22:43, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

when to include country information

Where can I find policy or simple guidelines on when it's necessary to include the county when identifying a city. Some editors feel it necessary to add the country to each and every mention of a city even when it's either obvious from the context of the article, or the city name is linked to an article on the city itself.--Rtphokie (talk) 14:51, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Once context is extablished with the first instance, then it is no longer necessary. For example, look at Manchester, New Hampshire. Once it is mentioned in the lead which state it is in, the rest of the article just calls it Manchester. It's like an article on John Smith. Once we have established that his full name is John Smith, we can call him John in the rest of the article without need to further elaborate... --Jayron32|talk|contribs 18:01, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
That makes sense but I'm still wondering if every article that includes a city include the country in the first mention? Again if it's obvious from the context of the article, is including the country name really necessary?--Rtphokie (talk) 00:24, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
I see no need to mention it in every mention of a location, but it should be mentioned the first time a location is mentioned in an article unless there is no possible way of someone, especially from outside that country, misinterpreting it. It's simply good writing practice no matter the kind of writing you are doing, all international journalism, reports, papers etc will include a country to establish context, it's just common sense. It gives context to the article, allows the readership from all over the world to understand where is being discussed immediately, and just makes good sense. For the example of Manchester, New Hampshire it is established in the first sentence that it is in the United States (though not necessarily massively clearly to those unfamiliar with the US state system like most people from outside the US, but at least there is something.) I see no reason to not include a country for context in any article that discusses a location, and every reason to include it. The article that prompted this discussion was KTEP to which I added that it was in the United States, and Rtphokie removed it again (in a good faith edit, this isn't a war or argument) saying the context was obvious from the article. I don't believe it is, not everyone knows what or where Texas is, nevermind the university at El Paso, especially those outside the US. It must be noted the majority of these articles (simply by the demographics of editors) that don't have countries are US ones created by US editors. I can't see an article that mentions a location in Zimbabwe for instance not having the country, no one would know where was being discussed. Ben W Bell talk 14:05, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
One reason not to include a country name is in order not to be condescending when a general but educated readership can be expected to know what's going on; e.g., we all know that Beijing is in China and that Hawaii is in the United States. I started a thread on this below (see "Hanover, New Hampshire, United States", below) before having read this one. modify 20:00, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Excessive tagging of the day

A question on the reference desk prompted me to look at Parallax barrier. At the time of writing, this article contains one sentence of 17 words, which are followed by a stupid logo and a 13-word "this article is a stub" notice. Fine.

However, this content is also preceded by a much more prominent box (with a gray background, colored stripe, and another stupid logo), which takes 19 words to ask for the article to be cleaned up "to meet Wikipedia's quality standards". Well, of course the article needs improvement: it's a stub. No, worse yet, the box doesn't even say that the article needs improvement; it says it may need improvement. Why are articles being cluttered with boxes like this if it isn't even known whether they're needed?

And then there's still another prominent box with a gray background, a colored stripe, a third stupid logo, and 23 more words of self-important text from the "all Wikipedia articles must bristle with footnotes" brigade.

Good grief.

Okay, done ranting. I'll go away now. -- (talk) 03:16, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

And its been an unsourced stub with almost no content since 2006. {{sofixit}}. Mr.Z-man 07:10, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

Agree. But what riles me is that there's no attempt to control putting ugly and ineffective tags on good articles either. It doesn't normally help an article to put a {{fact}} tag on a statement; Anyone can see that there's no reference supporting it. What the tag normally means is I don't agree with this but I can't be bothered checking it, and as such it's inherently both POV, and unsourced!
I think we need a policy allowing any such tags that are not backed up by an entry in the talk page to be removed on sight, and a bot to back it up. The effect of this would be that there were very few such tags; People considering putting one on would find it was normally less work to actually fix the article themselves, assuming they had a case. And if they had no case, this would be obvious in their comments, and again the tag would be removed. They'd get sick of this. Or, if they had no case and decided to update the article anyway, they'd get reverted, and again they'd get sick of it.
But I can't see such a policy getting up. Too many people like slapping these useless tags on. Andrewa (talk) 23:45, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
I sometimes put a fact tag on a sentence because I have managed to source every other sentence in that paragraph except that one. By leaving the sentence without a fact tag, the reader could easily assume that the fact was covered by the next source, which is incorrect. I'm not about to leave a talk page message for every fact tag (it's pretty self-explanatory), and the alternative to not putting one is to delete the sentence, as I could not verify it. That means someone with access to different material than I have wouldn't have the opportunity to fix it, because they might not have known about that fact. Tags are really useful—both to editors and readers—so that we know what to fix or so we can warn readers that what they are reading might have an issue. Karanacs (talk) 17:50, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Hanover, New Hampshire, United States

I've noticed that it's pretty common to use country names where they're not needed, as in the title for this comment. My understanding is that this is to make it easier for everyone to know what's going on and to avoid ethnocentrism. But often it goes too far in my opinion and becomes condescending. You'd never see "Hawaii, USA" in the Economist, even though it's not a US publication, because they assume an educated readership. My question is, is there a relevant policy of Wikipedia? Can someone direct me to a page from the manual of style so that I can find out more information? modify 11:32, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

I believe you're looking for Wikipedia:Naming conventions (settlements) --W.marsh 15:24, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
I guess I'm confused--the example that you give doesn't seem to exist. The title of the article is Hanover, New Hampshire, and the logs do not show that the page has ever been moved. The article title Hanover, New Hampshire conforms to Wikipedia:Naming conventions (settlements). Darkspots (talk) 19:40, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you're asking. Hanover, New Hampshire conforms to naming guidelines. --W.marsh 19:43, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
modify is under the impression that the article title is Hanover, New Hampshire, United States. I suppose my question is, why does he/she think that's the title when it isn't? Darkspots (talk) 19:49, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
Unless perhaps Modify is giving "Hanover, New Hampshire, United States" as a hypothetical title that contains the country name, and is saying titles like this one (but not necessarily this exact title) exist and are undesirable. Modify, If you could perhaps clarify what you mean, it would be much appreciated. Tra (Talk) 20:02, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
Or is modify asking about something like this? When I asked, several people agreed with me that it is useful to include the country with the first mention of the placename in the lead para (unless it's really obvious).  —SMALLJIM  21:00, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

I think you're right, SmallJim, and that clears it up for me. I think putting the country name in articles about towns or provinces is a very good idea. I think we have to assume our readers are less sophisticated than the Economist does, simply because our readers could be anywhere, from any background. And I for one want to know that the small town I'm reading about is in India--and I think you'd find a number of Americans, for instance, who don't know where Queensland is, to pick a random example. Darkspots (talk) 00:07, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Sorry about that, I should have given a specific reference. In this instance I was thinking of the lede of the featured article on the Tuck School of Business. I should read the link that Smalljim has pointed to. As for sophistication of the reader, it's obvious that all kinds of people read Wikipedia and that they come from a range of educational backgrounds. But we should not assume that they are unable to learn about these things just as we did ourselves when we knew less. The example of the small town in India is in a different category altogether from Mumbai, which everyone should know is in India. It seems really condescending to me when obvious details are put in articles simply for the sake of the uneducated. A little like speaking really loud and slowly to someone who doesn't know your language. Not to criticize some good points that have been made to the contrary. Thanks for the pointer, W.marsh. modify 19:44, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Version 1.0 Editorial Team/Assessment is marked as a policy

Wikipedia:Version 1.0 Editorial Team/Assessment (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been marked as a policy. This is an automated notice of the change. -- VeblenBot (talk) 19:02, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#Wikipedia:Version 1.0 Editorial Team/Assessment is no longer marked as a policy, below. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 23:05, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Purpose of policy

I think it might be useful to understand and clarify the purpose of policy in Wikipedia. Is it to express aspirational ideals we hope to reach eventually? Or is it to express a minimum enforcement standard below which administrators should block editors for disrupting the encyclopedia? Most likely somewhere in between, but leaning in which direction? The more I read policy discussions the clearer it is becoming to me that there is basic disagreement as to what level we want "policy" to reflect. It might be useful to clarify this if possible. If policies are aspirational, WP:IAR should be used very frequently and we should be very lenient with editors since policies may well be inappropriate for addressing actual day-to-day matters. If policies are enforcement standards, WP:IAR should be rare (although still occassionally appropriate), but policies would be based not on what we'd like to happen but what we can realistically enforce under present circumstances. Much of this is part of unspoken Wikipedia culture. But if we could speak of it, we might be able to reach agreement on policy discussions more readily. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 15:50, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

there is basic disagreement as to what level we want "policy" to reflect - Would you mind actually citing a specific example or two? I think that would be helpful. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 23:03, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:User page is marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:User page (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been marked as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change. -- VeblenBot (talk) 18:50, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

False positive - as this diff shows, the page is the same now as it was 12 days ago. There was some intervening vandalism (blanking the page) that removed the marking of the page as a guideline. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 23:00, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Version 1.0 Editorial Team/Assessment is no longer marked as a policy

Wikipedia:Version 1.0 Editorial Team/Assessment (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) is no longer marked as a policy. It was previously marked as a policy. This is an automated notice of the change. -- VeblenBot (talk) 18:50, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

"Policy" for less than 24 hours. Robots are cute, but not terribly bright. • Anakin (contribscomplaints) 20:35, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
Options for making this one more intelligent are under discussion at Wikipedia:Bots/Requests_for_approval/VeblenBot_6. The current proposal would remove additional notices such as this one, where the status changed back within 24 hours of the first change. — Carl (CBM · talk) 22:05, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
On the other hand, let me point out that without this announcement, it would probably have taken a long time for anyone to notice that a little-noticed page like Wikipedia:Version 1.0 Editorial Team/Assessment had been marked as policy. Having some sort of automated announcement ensures community visibility of changes like this. The initial issues with repetitive announcements will be addressed, but shouldn't overshadow the benefits of having announcements when pages are promoted the first time. — Carl (CBM · talk) 22:08, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
Definitely valuable; an occasional false positive is a small price to pay. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 22:56, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Proposed extension of Wikipedia:No original research

I've proposed a short extension of Wikipedia:No original research to clarify the requirements on descriptions of images (in brief, interpretations of images must be based on specifically relevant reliable sources, just like any other assertion of fact in an article). Please feel free to comment on this proposal at Wikipedia talk:No original research#Interpretation of images. -- ChrisO (talk) 19:12, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

My Account...

I created an account with wikipedia in my freshmen year. Now a Junior I see someone got into my account and has been posting porn on wikipedia. I am wondering how I would delete this account so I can end him putting up these things, but also make sure my name is not associated with it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:57, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Try going to Special:Userlogin. If your password still works, log in with it and immediately change your password; this will lock out whoever got in to it. If your password no longer works, try sending a password reminder to your e-mail address - hopefully it won't already have been changed. If neither of these work, you will no longer be able to access your account, although if the actions as mentioned above are taking place, the account will probably be blocked, which will prevent further misuse. It's not possible to delete accounts on Wikipedia, I'm afraid. Tra (Talk) 00:39, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Hoping I'm doing this right. It was Cj Will Win maybe no spaces. I found out about it by putting cjwillwin into google. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:35, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for the help. Neither is working, but I guess if he's blocked he can't do anything further. I was just upset that the first thing I find on google about my online name is something saying I've been posting porn and wrecking pages. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:53, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Looking at the account name Cjwillwin (talk · contribs), it last edited in 2006 so although he's not currently blocked, it's unlikely they will edit further. I have blanked the talk page so that when the acount name is searched for in Google, you won't see the pictures added listed, unless you know what you are doing and look into the page history. I'm sorry, there's not much else I can do since there's no way for you to prove ownership of the account. Tra (Talk) 01:03, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for all your help. I really appreciate it =) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:18, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Content ratings

I understand that "Wikipedia is not censored" and agree with the policy. However, I don't know that we have taken any steps to allow parents / schools to easily make that choice for themselves - sort of an all or nothing. Should we not have templates or include code in the Category template (not visible on the article) that would apply an ICRA rating (built into content filtering software, such as Internet Explorer) to a page (and possibly the talk) of certain articles? So if a child browses to an article that has the presence of nudity, sexual content, depiction of violence, explicit language, or other potentially harmful content such as gambling, drugs and alcohol, we have the standard ratings applied so such content can be filtered if desired. While it is not our policy to protect anyone from potentially harmful material, should we not have the ratings in place to allow parents to make those choices? The parent would be the censor, not us. It seems to me that this would be the responsible thing for an online encyclopedia to do. Morphh (talk) 15:35, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

I do not see how helping censorship would fit with Wikipedia's "not censored" position. DuncanHill (talk) 15:52, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
ICRA ratings are applied to a website as a whole and not a particular page. (talk) 16:34, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
A proposal similar to yours was Wikipedia:Graphic and potentially disturbing images. It was rejected, and I agree with that choice. The main problem is that it's hard to determine what's inappropriate, see Wikipedia:Graphic_and_potentially_disturbing_images#Actual_examples for what exactly I mean. There are numerous other reasons for rejection, I strongly encourage you to read the original debate (caveat:it's really long). Puchiko (Talk-email) 16:48, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
You are mistaken, ICRA does support labeling individual pages. Personally, I think self-labeling would be a useful step to increasing the appearance of professionalism, but I think it is unlikely to happen here. Dragons flight (talk) 17:06, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
It probably is unlikely to happen here, partially because the content of pages can and actually is supposed to change. We would thus have to change the rating every time an image is changed. If one were to go ahead with your idea, though, it might not be a bad idea to create a program which would automatically label an individual page based on the inclusion of a particular image, if one would be able to be developed. John Carter (talk) 17:55, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Any image, words or information used is used in an educational way. We would be lowering the educational value of the encyclopedia aiding censorship in such a way. Not to mention it would lead to drama, instruction creep and another element of the encyclopedia that people would have to worry about when writing. It's difficult enough for new users anyway- images are hell, categories are awkward, sourcing doesn't seem so important, NPOV can be difficult to get your head around... And now, you are proposing that we start judging the content of the articles we write in terms of suitability for children? Something else- what about fundamentalist Christians who may not appreciate their children viewing information about atheism? What about fundamentalist Muslims who may not want their children seeing a woman's face uncovered? If you ask me, censorship is Pandora's box. Don't even go there. J Milburn (talk) 18:10, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
There are already ICRA classifications and they are very broad. It is not that hard to think that the anal sex or vagina article might be labeled for sex or nudity. We don't have to go crazy. This would likely be simpler then most content discussions and would be at the discretion of article editors. This is not censorship. This is choice. We're not censoring the material - we're only providing metadata so that viewers can make that choice on there own. ICRA labels are part of a global effort known as the "Semantic Web". These are common standards on the Internet that Wikipedia should include. Morphh (talk) 18:40, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
(ec) You're beating at a straw man. Many of the ICRA categories are objectively structured, e.g. "exposed breasts", "blood and dismemberment", etc. Some are subjective, but Wikipedia deals with subjective content disputes all the time. Even if we were to ignore the more subjective terms, I can't see how labeling images of "exposed genitalia" in a machine readable fashion would either lead to drama or decrease the educational value. Supporting such labeling schemes increases the usability of Wikipedia by encouraging it to be used in contexts where it would otherwise be excluded. Labeling is not censorship. Dragons flight (talk) 18:47, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Labeling collaborates with and facilitates censorship. --Lquilter (talk) 18:53, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
And thank you for the link to the ICRA rating categories. I can now see where homophobic editors would place LGBT content: "Content that sets a bad example for young children: that teaches or encourages children to perform harmful acts or imitate dangerous behaviour". --Lquilter (talk) 18:55, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Not unlike the content disputes. I think such might fall under NPOV policy. Morphh (talk) 19:08, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Any per-page rating would necessarily lag the page's content; the rating would not always reflect the material on the page, even discounting the obvious problem of vandalism. Ratings would be imposed by volunteers who may or may not be familiar with the rating system. POV pushers would know that they could limit access to certain pages by deliberately misstating their content. Vandals could fiddle with ratings in addition to screwing with the rest of the page content. We would be able to add all kinds of new entries to WP:LAME as editors battled for their preferred ratings. If we narrowly restrict the ability to set or change page ratings, then we're never going to get all of Wikipedia rated (we've more than a million articles).
If a parent is uncomfortable with leaving a child alone with a copy of Britannica – with its articles on anal sex, body parts, Michelangelo's David, and so forth – then that parent shouldn't be letting their precious snowflake near a computer unsupervised. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 19:00, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Bascially what you just wrote is a rehash of the arguments that vandalism, ignorance, and incompetence will obviously destroy any knowledge gathering effort that relies on the open participation of volunteers. Funny, I seem to remember some very successful encyclopedia project that demonstrated that creating and organizing content can be successful even in spite of all those faults. Dragons flight (talk) 19:11, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
I think that you've missed an important distinction. A culture of eventualism works just fine for writing an encyclopedia. We acknowledge that much of what is here is a work in progress. We warn readers that material here may be incomplete, biased, or flatly wrong. Content ratings, however, aren't compatible with an eventualist philosophy. Take Victorian poet Robert Browning. He's a nice, child-safe topic. It gets the green light—kids can read it, it's got nothing naughty. What happens if someone adds a discussion about the sexual themes in Browning's dramatic monologues to the article? That person might not change the article rating to reflect the new content. Eventually someone might get around to updating the rating, but in the meantime the rating is worse than useless—it's flatly misleading. One could request a software change that stripped out ratings every time the article was edited, but most editors just wouldn't care enough to re-add them. How many editors are going to be willing to learn the ICRA standards to the point where they apply the rules correctly, or are going to be willing to review every edit made to the encyclopedia? TenOfAllTrades(talk) 20:35, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Content ratings are lame, schools can have readily avaible systems that wont desplay articles if they have alot of certian black listed words. BonesBrigade 19:22, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
So parents who want to filter, they should purchase software to view the free encyclopedia. Don't use open Internet standards but rely on proprietary software. Is that your take? If you think it's lame, you don't have to add them.. I'm just suggesting that we allow it. See how it goes. Morphh (talk) 19:29, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Such a tag would likely have no performance hit, not lag as you describe. It would be smaller then most templates on an article. Regarding that it may not reflect content on the page, vandalism, etc... You're describing the challenges that happen on wikipedia every day in numerous areas. The categories are specific enough that there would likely be little dispute and the vast majority of people don't use any filtering so there would be little to gain in applying a improper rating. It would be treated like any other form of vandalism. You wouldn't have to apply this to every article. Apply it to the articles where it makes sense. Give the control to the editors. Morphh (talk) 19:24, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
When I say that the rating would 'lag' the page's content I mean that the tag wouldn't necessarily remain up-to-date with changes to the page content, not that it would slow down page loads. (I agree that while the tags are a pointless waste of bandwidth they would represent a very small waste.)
The tags would offer a false sense of security that doesn't now exist: a warm fuzzy security blanket, Dumbo's feather, a golden hammer. It would say to parents, "See? Wikipedia is a safe place to let your children play unsupervised, because our pages have been tagged with content warnings that will be automagically recognized by your screening software!" Frankly, Wikipedia is almost uniquely unqualified to even hint at such an assertion. Most web sites vet their own content before it goes live. That does not happen here. It's ludicrous for us to have a mechanism that announces some pages are unequivocally safe for children when a vandal or POV-pusher can for minutes, hours, or days at a time make liars of us.
The most that we can ever say is "This page ought to usually be safe for children, but may – from time to time – contain objectionable material. The page may occasionally be vandalized, and you might be looking at a penis. Sorry about that. On the other hand, this very rating may in fact be the creation of a vandal, and you're actually reading at an article on anal sex. We apologize for that, too. Sucker." TenOfAllTrades(talk) 20:21, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
I'd agree with those points but I'm not sure we need to state Wikipedia is somehow fully compliant or that we proclaim we're kid safe. Wikipedia is what it is and that should be understood but I'm not sure that prevents us from doing what we can. Morphh (talk) 20:40, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
The problem is that if we can't be fully compliant, then the ratings would be worse than useless—they would be deceptive. We shouldn't pretend to be child-safe (or even to have child-safe pages) when – with our present software and policies – we simply can't make that guarantee. As you say, Wikipedia is what it is. If we want to protect children, we should work to make parents aware that there is material on Wikipedia that is potentially controversial or offensive. Trying to keep on top of rating all the content of all our pages won't work. It would generate only an illusory sense of security. The first time someone posts a picture of a penis under a CHILD-SAFE ARTICLE banner, not only would we have failed to protect anyone, we also shoot our credibility in the foot. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 21:00, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
We wouldn't need to tag every article, very far from it. You also wouldn't have a banner. They would see the penis either way. However, you could apply it to articles that make sense. No banners, nothing to see... if they have the content filtering turn on, and they come to an article with such a tag, it would let the know and filter the content. It is just metadata about the article and should be treated like any content. Morphh (talk) 21:10, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Something has just occurred to me- what's the most objectionable content we have? What images do we have that could not be found in a standard school library? Some really offensive album covers or something? If we look at it from a school point of view (even a primary school) there are going to be textbooks that contains biological pictures of a human body, and that seems to be the example most people are giving. What are reasonable people actually going to object to? Do tell me if what I'm saying is ridiculous... J Milburn (talk) 21:29, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

We're not talking about censoring articles. This would only apply to those that actually want and choose to filter content (or the parent / school wants them to filtered). If someone uses the basic tools in Internet Explorer or any other program to filter content, should we try to respect it. That's all we're talking about... The Internet is a different form of medium and we should consider the technology and standards available to us to present the material. What is wrong with trying to respect a readers content settings? Morphh (talk) 21:57, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

TenOfAllTrades raises some valid concerns above about user expectations and time lag. I think those problems are likely correct. Nevertheless, I think this approach, if done on a voluntary basis, could be consistent with the principle of Eventualism. We're a volunteer organization using a tool that requires us to constantly fight vandalism. Any effort we make will be imperfect yet we still keep working on the encyclopedia. (And despite all the vandals, it gets better almost every day.)
If anyone was offended because a tag was not on a page where they thought it belonged, the right answer is to encourage them to fix it. An incorrect or missing tag would no more damage Wikipedia's reputation than the routine vandalism that we deal with daily.
These proposed tags strike me as just a particular form of categorization. I never add categories to a page and think that most of them are pretty pointless but I don't object when someone else adds them because I know that not everyone uses the encyclopedia the same way I do. If the category was added in good faith, presumably it is helpful to the person adding it. If a tag is added in good faith, it's not going to get in my way and might help the person adding the tag. Go for it. Rossami (talk) 23:17, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

I'm certainly all for automatically tagging articles with an ICRA rating. It would hardly be difficult to do with a bot and would increase Wikipedia's accessibility by allowing access to those who want a filtered view while maintaining transparency. I can't see maintenance of the tags causing much overhead. In fact, we already have vandal bots that hunt down naughty words. The ICRA rating and tagging would not be substantially different. Cheers! Wassupwestcoast (talk) 23:20, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
(edit conflict) The one concern I have after looking into ICRA's methodology is the impact this would have on page-bloat. If implemented, it would need to be something as clean and non-intrusive as the existing categories or the interlanguage references. Clogging up the page with html code, even if hidden, would be a bad thing. Rossami (talk)
Wait a sec. If they are offended, we should just tell them to fix it?? What's the point, then, of having a content ratings system anyway? "Sure, come visit our encyclopedia, but you have to vet the articles before showing them to your kids, because the content ratings might not be there, or they might be wrong." How exactly is that different than what we have now? --Kbdank71 16:22, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
There may be nothing to fix if they are offended - that's the way the article is if it is uncensored, unless it is incorrect. How is this different from anything else on wikipedia? The content might not be there or it may be wrong - it's Wikipedia and it has been shown to do well despite such faults. Morphh (talk) 17:02, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
You wouldn't see any of it in the article as it would be a simple template tag at the top or bottom of the article. The code itself would cause little to no time lag (as TenOfAllTrades stated above, this was a misunderstanding of the term - he meant that the tag wouldn't necessarily remain up-to-date, not loading performance). Morphh (talk) 0:46, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Totally wrong in principle. This is supporting the worst tendencies in those who wish to censor the internet. The limited view that would result is would be a parody of WP. It would bias editing: we would find people arguing we should remove an image of, say, exposed breasts, so the page wouldn't be tagged. Much much better to have WP as the example for why libraries and schools should not censor. But if someone wants to fork a WP and add tags, there's nothing to stop them. It's perfectly legal. DGG (talk) 15:59, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
So we should force this view on everyone and remove their personal choice to filter using open technologies. This is the other extreme of censoring. Forced censorsed or forced uncensored. Respect what the reader chooses to filter - it is there personal choice. Why should we decide that they not be able to filter using standard technologies. They can do so with more sophisticated proprietary software they have to purchase. Your not stopping it, your just saying you don't want to make it easier for them to make that choice. As for the picture example, removing such a picture would be against the "Wikipedia is not censored" policy, unless it had no value in the article at which point it might be argued that it is better off without it. This is not unlike any other discussion of image inclusion. Morphh (talk) 16:24, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
What ever happened to the parents being responsible for what their child sees? Why is it up to us? --Kbdank71 16:29, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Exactly but this would not make us responsible for what their child sees. The parent being responsible should have the ability to use standard Internet technologies to do this. We should only try to add metadata that allows such technologies to work. They choose and they are responsible. Morphh (talk) 16:48, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
That's not true at all. Any parent using such technology is relying on us to make sure the tags are there and they are correct. --Kbdank71 17:18, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Metadata is not any different then content. Are they also relying on us to make sure the content is correct? We do our best and wikipedia is what it is. Finding the most obvious articles for tags would not be such a difficult task and would be easy to manage. The percentage of such content on Wikipedia is very small. Morphh (talk) 17:59, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Correctness of content doesn't matter. The content ratings do. If a parent is using technology to keep their kids away from WP's naughty bits, they are relying on Wikipedia to make sure the ratings are correct, or else the use of the technology is pointless, as is the content ratings themselves. So going back to my original point, that makes US responsible for what they see. And I'd like to know when we became babysitters. --Kbdank71 18:14, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
To your point above, it is the parents responsibility. We can only try to accommodate the browser preferences and we make no claims that they may not end up looking at a penis by vandalism or run into a page that no one has bothered to rate. They can choose to fix it at that point. Morphh (talk) 18:21, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm still not sure you're understanding my point. By the time someone's child has seen that article with a penis on it, their technology and the content ratings system is completely and utterly useless. What you are saying is that in order for the content ratings to work, parents who want to use it are going to have to visit every article first, to make sure that the tag is there and correct. And if they have to do that, why use the technology/content ratings at all? --Kbdank71 18:33, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Editors would keep up the tags just as they keep up content and once it is placed it will likely be the same tag. Parents are not under the false security that this protects them from everything. It is helpful and that's all it is. I say if editors want to add a nudity rating to an article that contains such, great. If not, then no big deal, nothing lost nothing gained. Morphh (talk) 19:06, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
I think I'm going to bow out now, as it seems that neither of us will convince the other. I will leave you with this, phrased differently, one last time: if nobody adds a nudity rating to an article that contains such, what is the point of this? If a parent feels comfortable letting their child visit Wikipedia because we use content ratings, but that same child is surfing through articles with nudity, don't you think that parent is going to be a little pissed off? --Kbdank71 19:12, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Hear, hear, Kbdank71. As for adding content or attempting to label or tag content to facilitate various censorware programs -- oh my god, what a disaster. Even if this were a good idea policy-wise (it's not), it's a horrible idea technology-wise and Wiki-community-wise. First, there are a gajillion such programs with all sorts of metrics and tags. How on earth would we pick and choose which sorts of programs to facilitate or work with or adopt their labeling? Why would we pick ICRA? How would we keep it up to date? And those programs have their own different internal sets, too. We'd have to develop our own labeling system and then the commercial censorware programs would develop interpretations -- omg what a pain. We should just have content and people can use whatever censorware they want. Censorware is already available to let people filter out words and images. We don't need to do a da*n thing to facilitate it. Second, community-wise, seriously. We have massive community flame-wars just over merging TV episodes to a list; can you imagine the horror if we started labeling sexual health content, LGBT content, "controversial" political content, and so on? Endless nightmares. --Lquilter (talk) 17:01, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Almost all content filter programs can utilize ICRA. You wouldn't have to create anything. The technology is simple and a common Internet standard. I can't understand this argument about keeping this up to date. This is wikipedia and what we do best. Excuses, Excuses, nothing would get done pessimism that exist here on how wikipedia works. Morphh (talk) 17:12, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
I think you misunderstand me. I am not opposing because I am pessimistic, I am opposing out of principle -- I am virulently opposed to collaborating with censorship. Moreover, I am not, in fact, "pessimistic"; I am optimistic -- that this proposal will go nowhere. --Lquilter (talk) 18:29, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
This is a fucking brilliant proposal. This motherfucking comment is rated PG, and if any asshole disagrees, I'll bash his kneecap with a crowbar, pour half a bottle of cask-strength Whisky into me and the other onto the poor sob, and light a match...! As an alternative, there is not reason why someone who wants to limit access cannot take a copy and add culturally appropriate ratings as an value-added service. I strongly doubt that USians would be happy with Swedish standards for nudity, or that Germans would like US ratings for violence. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 16:56, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
There are already common Internet standards that define what each category is - that is what the ICRA is. Morphh (talk) 17:06, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
That may be the most sensible approach. Wikipedia's content – every last word – is freely available under the GFDL. Someone – and by 'someone' I mean an individual, a company, a nonprofit foundation, or a whole country – who would like to add content ratings can take a complete dump of the database and add whatever ratings they see fit. By working from a stable version of Wikipedia and controlling what revisions and updates are added, such an organization could ensure that the ratings were both up-to-date and 'accurate'—the two things that we cannot offer on Wikipedia, and the two problems that make content ratings worse than useless here. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 17:09, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia cannot ensure that anything here is up-to-date or accurate. That is not the point. If it turns out to be a mess, then it could easily be removed. A bot could quickly remove all the templates. Why is it difficult to allow people to try to offer this metadata?
I'm certain it would be a mess. Vandals would have a field day with changing or removing the tags. --Kbdank71 17:28, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Such is life on wikipedia. With this argument, nothing would work h
I'm repeating myself at this point so I'll stop after this comment. To reiterate, unreliable content ratings are worse than no content ratings. They would fail to protect children from unsavoury content, and they would bar children from accessing age-appropriate content. Unreliable content ratings would give a false sense of security to parents...until those parents noticed that our ratings were unreliable—at which point we'd get hit with a backlash. No thanks; we don't need the black eye, and modifying Wikipedia for the benefit of censorware is well out of the scope of our mandate. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 17:39, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Like saying that an unreliable encyclopedia is "worse" than no encyclopedia. Morphh (talk) 17:53, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
In a sense it is, but the goals of the Wikimedia Foundation still propel us forward to create a better encyclopedia. That which propels us forward for an improved content rating system is... uh... I don't know, think of the children! GracenotesT § 18:18, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
How is adding metadata about the content not an improvement for the encyclopedia. Giving an article that contains nudity a rating that it contains nudity seems to improve the encyclopedia, not make it worse. Morphh (talk) 18:58, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Good point: anyone has the right to fork Wikipedia under the GFDL. If you want to set up a complete copy of all our articles that has a ratings system, there's nothing stopping you, but making swarms of Wikipedia editors acheive goals of content presentation that run contrary to content goals is not desirable. GracenotesT § 17:24, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
You wouldn't have to make anybody do anything.. it is a volunteer effort. I'll also don't think it is contrary to the content goals. You're not removing anything, your adding choice. Morphh (talk) 17:50, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Is that how we'd sell this? "Wikipedia, now with content ratings on a small section of articles, if the volunteers around here want to add them, and make sure they are correct, and make sure they haven't been vandalized." Wouldn't it be more honest to at least tell it like it is? "Wikipedia, we're not censored, nor are we going to pretend like we are." --Kbdank71 18:18, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Not to mention the fact that a lot of people would refrain from contributing if WP were collaborating with censorware. --Lquilter (talk) 17:43, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Now your just making stuff up... The excuses are endless. Give me a break. Morphh (talk) 17:50, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Calling other people's arguments & concerns "excuses" is a good example of a fallacious argument. Instead of merely attacking-by-labeling, why don't you give us a positive reason to do it, other than "it seems [to you] the responsible thing for an online encyclopedia to do"? There are numerous technical, community, and philosophical/policy problems with the idea. Why is it necessary, given that third-parties are completely capable of either (a) censoring/filtering content on their own, or (b) forking WP & offering a censored version? --Lquilter (talk) 18:01, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Sorry for calling your argument an excuse but you labeled it as a fact with nothing to support such an assumption. We're not talking about every article, but a very small group that would be relatively easy to identify and manage. Why should we restrict this? Why not let editors do this if they so choose? Why fork anything. It is our job to create the best encyclopedia possible and why wouldn't metadata about the content using common standards included in most browsers be part of that. Morphh (talk) 18:07, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Here is the short answer: You will not get consensus to do this or how to do it, and while that is a prediction, not a fact, I am willing to bet cold hard cash on it. The reasons why include: (1) it is controversial, (2) a lot harder than you suggest to make the judgment calls about which "small group of articles" would get tagged (and how); (3) would add technical overhead to the project, and, most importantly, (4) not necessary because if there is a market for it, the GFDL licensing at WP means that other people (third-party developers, content-forkers) can and will do it. --Lquilter (talk) 18:25, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm still mixed on whether or not this is a good idea, but I doubt you'd get the Wikimedia Foundation to go along with this, at least not the ICRA ratings. Correct me if I'm wrong, but they seem to use proprietary, copyrighted software. A plugin for the MediaWiki software might be possible, but software won't be installed here unless it is under a free license (such as the GPL) and is open source. This is why we use Ogg instead of MPEG and why we don't use reCAPTCHA. Mr.Z-man 18:20, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
ICRA labels are expressed using the Resource Description Framework (RDF) as defined by the World Wide Web Consortium. Specifically, ICRA was instrumental in defining and now uses RDF Content Labels, a generic platform designed to support digital labels and trustmarks of all kinds. Use of RDF means that ICRA labels are part of a much bigger global effort to make sense of the mass of online data known as the "Semantic Web." RSS news feeds, blogs, shared bookmarks and many other technologies are based on RDF and related standards. In order to facilitate filtering for parents using PICS filters (such as Microsoft Internet Explorer's Content Advisor), since January 2006 ICRA has also provided a simplified PICS interpretation of the current vocabulary alongside the RDF labels. Morphh (talk) 18:32, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

As a proud, card-carrying member of Wikipedia:WikiProject Pornography ... I support the basic idea behind the proposal. No, it would not be perfect, but nothing in Wikipedia is. Yes, it would make us vulnerable to vandalism, but (shock) we are already, it would not increase that. As for implementation, the devil is in the details, of course. It would need to be per-page, and it would need to be easy to apply, and it would probably require a developer hack. So it probably won't happen. :-(. But for what it's worth, I support the idea. --AnonEMouse (squeak) 18:39, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

While it may not happen, ICRA tagging is not alien to what already happens on Wikipedia. We already have two processes to rate the 'quality' of articles: GA and FA. We already have vandal-fighting bots that hunt down and revert instances of naughty words. In other words, we do clean-up Wikipedia and try to present the best; see today's FA on the main page. A truly, absolutist, non-censured, free speech text would include all the nonsense that is dumped into Wikipedia hourly. We remove it freely. We call our censoring 'vandal-fighting'. Seriously, labeling content would allow parents the freedom to act responsibly by providing information. Cheers! Wassupwestcoast (talk) 19:17, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia should never change content to conform to ICRA's (or anyone's) standards. Unobtrusive ICRA tagging is okay, but that may mean frequent updating of the tags. Superm401 - Talk 19:39, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
it should never be tagged at all, according to anyone standards. This is a direct violation of NOT CENSORED. Tagging is a form of censorship, and inevitably leads to more overt censorship. We prevent nobody from filtering,but they must add whatever they need by themselves. We'd as soon attach tags: this article offends/A/B/C... whatever. If you wouldnt support adding unobtrusive tags for those articles that might not be readable in the PRC, you should not support this proposal either. DGG (talk) 22:22, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
This is a Internet standard, not some selective made up criteria. It is not a violation of not censored as we do not sensor the content, we would change nothing on the content. It is metadata to describe the content and it would only effect those who choose to use the metadata to filter thier viewing. You're preventing them from using open standard technology built into the browser and forcing them to pay for products to filter the content. Morphh (talk) 0:54, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
Even "Internet standards" of filtering / tagging terms are "selective made up criteria"; they're not holy writ. WP's content is open; fork it, tag it, and filter it all you like. --Lquilter (talk) 03:46, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
My computer science professors taught me that a false sense of security is actually worse than having no security system in place, because with a crappy security system people THINK they are safe and are not as watchful. As a parent, I'd be awfully ticked off to find out that a software I **thought** filtered out inappropriate content actually only filtered out 50% or 80% of the inappropriateness. For an open wiki like this, the only way for people to verify whether the content is really inappropriate is to look at it. I also agree with those that predict that this will cause huge edit wars all over wikipedia as varying factions argue over what should be labelled. Karanacs (talk) 03:50, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
Ah yes, it's "an Internet standard." Made by "the Internet," no doubt! *cough*

"ICRA, the Internet Content Rating Association, is an international non-profit organization with offices in the United States and the United Kingdom."

So, the standards for the whole world are based on the social needs of the USA and the UK. This is not, in any definition of the word, inclusive for the entire world. As someone stated above, Germany would not accept the US/UK levels of violence nor would the US/UK accept Sweden's level of nudity. This would not be useful to nations with different social norms. Rather, it would be quite disruptive as people argue over the "correct" level of tagging for articles/images. This is a proposal doomed to failure. -- (talk) 22:36, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
I think you misunderstand. The ratings are a description of the data, not a judgement. Internet standards refer to the technology used and integrated into products like Internet Explorer. Judgement is determined by the end user and that is country / family / person independent. An article would be labeled for "bare breasts", and what this describes is no different in China then it is in the U.S. It tags what the data is, and the person that filters it determins what their level of filtering is and they can do so in whatever moral belief or country they so choose. Morphh (talk) 22:50, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
Does The Birth of Venus (Botticelli) depict full-frontal nudity, yes or no? I've had folks argue that it does, even though she's covered by her hair. So, now we introduce a new form of Wikilawyering: does X fall under category Y or Z of the ICRA? It doesn't solve anything, and just introduces more stuff for people to argue over. And, as others have pointed out, IE doesn't actually follow the granular approach of the ICRA: it just has a blanket "sliding scale" that interprets those items for the user. The user doesn't get to determine particular levels at all. Face it, this isn't going to work. -- Kesh (talk) 21:29, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

I like how this proposal, as opposed to some of the other content-rating proposals that have appeared here over the years, does not seem to cast judgments, as Morphh states. However, I don't think it's that simple. Tagging pages with ICRA criteria would imply endorsement of the ICRA system. If some organization on its own initiative wants to enter Wikipedia URLs into a database based on criteria they have drawn up, that's their prerogative. If we do it, or if we adapt our code to sort their purposes, we are actually participating in the process, which raises a whole other set of issues.

The ICRA may say that it is a buffet system, where people can pick and choose what they want to ban. My understanding is, though, that the most widely known application of the ICRA ratings is in Internet Explorer, where they are converted into a series of sliding scales on language, nudity, sex and violence. For example, a user can set the Content Adviser to "nudity rating 2," which allows "partial nudity" but not "frontal nudity." This approach appears to be inconsistent with the predominant current of thought on Wikipedia, which is that nude images -- for example -- should be included or not included based on its "encyclopedic nature" rather than on whether it is frontal, rear or whatever.

I certainly understand the concern many users have about the content in Wikipedia. My big issue is the accidental display of unwanted material -- as in the case when I clicked on the word "buggery" on the Oscar Wilde article while at work and was taken to the anal sex page. (We don't use the word "buggery" in America, and I had no idea what it meant.) Last year, I proposed a guideline on "not safe for work" material. My idea was that NSFW content be placed "below the fold" (that is, not visible until you scroll down), with a warning template at the top and, when appropriate, an option to view the page without the NSFW material. The idea was dismissed because of -- you guessed it -- the "no censorship" policy. But I think that a system of warning templates, while raising its own series of issues, is less offensive from a censorship point of view than participation in a commercial ratings system. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 06:28, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

I'm not sure I would call the ICRA commercial. It's an international non-profit organization, similar to Wikipedia - are we commercial? They are the only open standard content rating system that I am familar with. Morphh (talk) 17:57, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia is commercial in nature - in fact, having an NC Creative Commons license is a disqualifying factor for an image. It's the Wikimedia Foundation that's the non-profit organization. -Jéské (Blah v^_^v) 08:14, 22 January 2008 (UTC)