Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 34

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Linking units on infoboxes

Just wondering if there was anything out there, perhaps MOS, that discouraged the linking of units of height or weight in infoboxes.Londo06 14:55, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

How to remove duplicated content from Wikipedia?

You may want to join in the discussion at the Village Pump (proposals) about eliminating duplicated content from Wikipedia. This topic started in the talk page of the Summary style article. Emmanuelm (talk) 19:02, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

Creation Science

Silly Rabbit,

I was the first one to make a refining change to the article. I would appreciate it if you would adjudicate the user WLU, who has reached the three revert limit. (talk) 14:38, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Actually, we both have, and I don't think this is the appropriate place to discuss this. WLU (talk) 14:52, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

"Wiki Policy"

Today, I was reading an article on policies that affect the current US economic situation in New York Times and I browsed through the reader comments made in response to these proposals. Many of the recommendations in the comments were also quite valid and interesting. After thinking about it, I thought, "What if Wikipedia started a 'Wiki Policy', where anyone could propose solutions to a current issue in the US? Then as people read these policies, they could point out flaws and solutions to these policies and propose "amendments" under the original policy. People can then vote for the most appealing amendments, and the amendment with the most votes could be modified and added into the original policy. The new, revised policy then becomes open for critique afterwards. After all, the best policies result from mutual collaboration, and no collaborative tool is better than Wikipedia. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:37, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Interesting idea, but it would have to be a separate wiki and not part of Wikipedia. Sbowers3 (talk) 23:23, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Futurology or Futures studies?

There's an argument at talk:Futurology over what that article should be called, and whether the policy WP:NAMING applies. Your opinion there would be appreciated. The Transhumanist 03:42, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

well if it was up to me I'd probably call it future speculations. But I agree that most users would probably use futurology, since most of them are probably futurists, and as far as I know it's the main "catch phrase" concerning scientific speculation.--Sparkygravity (talk) 15:07, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Statement on book of mormon related pages

Is it necessary to put such a statement as "The historicity of <Book of Mormon person's name> is not generally accepted by non-Mormon historians or archaeologists" on every single page for individuals from the Book of Mormon narrative? Such a statement was added to a few pages some months ago, though to much disagreement. Now another editor has taken to including on all the other pages. In my opinion, such a statements comes off as needlessly and subtly POV. It should be sufficient for NPOV to simply state "According to the Book of Mormon..." or something similar at the start, as is done on such pages for biblical characters from Genesis and the Exodus, both which describe equally historically questionable events. I'm not against having such a statement on the Nephite or Lamanite page since the opinion of the historians and archaeologists is usually in direct relation to those groups, but putting something like this on Enos (Book of Mormon) seems overdoing it. Since this covers such a broad number of articles, and has implication on pages relating to individuals mentioned in other religious texts, I was hoping to see what the larger community thought. So, thoughts and directions on what policy would dictate? --FyzixFighter (talk) 06:25, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

I think "According to the Book of Mormon" would satisfy accuracy concerns and be more NPOV. If there is a large amount of archaelogical proof against the events listed, then it might warrant a section in the article describing that. Karanacs (talk) 15:28, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
If there is a general article or section on the archaeological reliability of the Book Of Mormon, then the phrase "According to the Book of Mormon" could be linked (or redirected) there. Bovlb (talk) 00:32, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

Maintenance categories

Would there be any support for getting rid of the maintenance categories (things like "Articles with unsourced statements from...")? These get mixed in with the pertinent categories at the bottom of articles and make it more difficult for ordinary users to find the categories which are likely to be of use to them. They seem unnecessary anyway, since "What links here" (from the relevant template page) can be used instead.

This proposal has also been raised at Wikipedia talk:Categorization#Maintenance categories (with nosome opposition so far).--Kotniski (talk) 15:06, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Categorization of living people by religion

There is disagreement on how to apply WP:Categorization of people when it concerns living people and religion. Please participate in the discussion here. Karanacs (talk) 18:26, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Soft redirects

Within the last couple of days a specific "soft redirect" was placed for AFD discussion. In the middle of the discussion the redirect was A3 speedy deleted. I have strong feelings that this is not a proper A3 speedy, and have contacted the deleting admin about this before possibly taking the A3 to WP:DRV. But the wider issue of soft redirects, and how to handle them, remains. Do see Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Omglolwtfbbq for some of my earlier comments on the situation.

There are currently over 1200 soft redirects on the project. Most are to Wiktionary, but a number are to other projects.

The key questions that I see coming out of the AFD/speedy situation are:

  1. Are soft redirects good for the project in general? Glancing through the old WP:RFD talk pages it appears obvious that, a couple of years back they were highly frowned upon. But somewhere along the way that disapproval seems to have faded, for their number to rise to over 1200.
  2. Are soft redirects to be treated as articles or redirects? If articles, then they are subject to AFD and A# speedy deletion. If Redirect, then RFD and R# deletions are the rule. This goes to the heart of my problems with the A3 speedy deletion. If A3 can apply to one soft redirect, then it can be applied to all of them. Like regular redirects, there is generally little on the page besides the soft redirect itself, and a long comment to keep the soft redirects off of the Short Pages reports.

I'm not here to DRV argue the case of Omglolwtfbbq, but to start discussion on the larger issues of all the soft redirects in general, and how they should be handled. - TexasAndroid (talk) 18:44, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Quick update, the speedy deleting admin has reversed himself, so DRV is not an issue. The wider issues remain, though. - TexasAndroid (talk) —Preceding comment was added at 18:46, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
  • As you noted, soft-redirects are most commonly used to show that a definition has been moved to Wiktionary and that Wikipedia does not yet have an article on the topic (and maybe doesn't expect that we can ever get one). Soft-redirects are often used to preserve the contribution history of the moved content (a requirement of GFDL). Soft-redirects also have the advantage of clearly telling new editors that we don't want a repeat of the same mistake.
    Consider the scenario where a user creates a definition for "foo" and it get's transwiki'd. If you delete it, sooner or later someone will recreate it in ignorance of the prior decision. If you leave behind the soft-redirect, the template includes the note that we don't have and don't want another mere dictionary definition. And we helpfully point them to a place where people do work on definitions. The same could often be true in my mind for contributions which really fit better either in WikiQuote or WikiBooks. So to answer your first question, soft-redirect to the other projects seem reasonable to me.
    Note: If the content was moved via a recent transwiki process, the contribution history should have been moved with the page. Older transwikis and content moved via cut-and-paste still require some other step such as history-preservation to satisfy GFDL.
    As to whether a soft-redirect is an article or a redirect for the purposes of deletion, I could argue it both ways. It's a close call and either deletion forum could properly decide a case based on the specific merits. CSD A3 (no content), however, would never apply to a soft-redirect anymore than it would apply to a hard-redirect. Rossami (talk) 20:20, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Movie studio portraits

I would like to address the subject of the copyright status of movie and television studio portraits of actors. By these, I mean photographs meant to publicize the actor as a personality, and not still photos taken in costume or in character on the set of a particular production. The kind of photos studios and television networks would send out to newspapers and magazines to publicize the actor.

Wikipedia currently has a policy of almost never allowing the use of these images, out of the belief that they are under copyright. And so, Wikipedia editors must resort to using low quality screen captures of the actors from movie trailers that are not under copyright, or screen captures from public domain motion pictures the actors may have appeared in. Because of this over caution, many articles on actors are left without any photo at all.

As a law student going into the specialty of intellectual property, and as someone who formerly worked in the industry, I am very familiar with materials and the issues involved. And that is why I can state this was some confidence: the U.S. copyrights of studio and network issued publicity photographs published before 1964 were virtually never renewed after their first 28-year term. I have never found one instance of a copyright renewal for a pre-1964 studio or network publicity photograph in the online U.S. Copyright Catalog. This online catalog contains all renewals made from 1978 forward, hence it would contain the renewal (if it was made) of any work originally published from 1950 to 1963. (For works first published from 1964 through 1977, copyright renewal was automatic; works first published from 1978 onward are given one continuous term of copyright.)

If virtually no renewals exist for studio portrait photos first published 1950-1963, it is just as unlikely that any renewals exist for studio portrait photos first published 1923-1949.

I can perhaps understand Wikipedia's reluctance to consider still photos from motion pictures and television shows to be in the public domain, because even if the still photo itself was not under its own copyright, it may have a derivative copyright from the film or television program it depicts. But in the case of a studio portrait of an actor, not depicting any particular production, there can be no such derivative copyright. The portrait photo stands on its own.

Can it be stated with confidence that the copyright on a studio portrait photo has never been renewed? No, which is why I say "virtually never". It is always possible that a handful of the copyrights, out of thousands, have been renewed. But the vast majority have not. Thus it is a shame to let a valuable source of public domain images go by unused out of a fear of copyright infringement, a fear not justified by the facts.

Proposed: that studio and television network issued portrait photos of actors published before 1964 be considered, by default, out of copyright and permissible for the use of illustrating the actor in articles.

I welcome any discussion. — Walloon (talk) 23:24, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

That still sounds like a dangerous amount of conjecture and assumption. If the copyright on a particular image was filed and not renewed, why not trace it to the source and make some effort to demonstrate that it was not renewed? Wikidemo (talk) 10:03, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
Studio and network issued publicity photos (both production stills and actor portraits) were virtually never registered for copyright, although the photos usually bore a copyright notice. The copyright notice alone protected the photo for its first 28-year copyright term. But a copyright could not be renewed for a second term until it was registered within its first 28-year term. — Walloon (talk) 18:50, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
I suggest you take this to Wikipedia:Media copyright questions. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 22:20, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

Avoid systemic bias

We already have a clearly established ethos that Wikipedia should avoid systemic bias such as US-centrism, westernism, anglophonism, etc; and we have cleanup templates ({{globalise}}, etc) and a WikiProject (WikiProject Countering systemic bias) to deal with it, yet there is no specific guideline I can see that actually enshrines this widely accepted rule. Does anyone want to help write Wikipedia:Avoid systemic bias as a potential guideline to fill this gap? I know that WP:CREEP will be invoked, but I don't really see why: this is in many respects merely tidying-up around a rule which is already accepted as a guideline, not an attempt to create new policy or extend existing ones. It's already argued as a guideline, it already has its own shortcut (WP:BIAS, which currently redirects to the WikiProject), and yet there is always going to be someone who extends the "it's only an essay" argument one step further and say "it's only a WikiProject, who cares?". I don't think it will be a controversial guideline proposal, and if it makes administrating the project easier, why not? Commments? Happymelon 21:11, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

I think the idea that Wikipedia should "Avoid systemic bias" is already covered in WP:NPOV. -Icewedge (talk) 06:15, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Neutral point of view/FAQ#Anglo-American focus and systematic bias is probably the closest to what you're looking for. -- RoninBK T C 09:01, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

Trivia sections "discouraged"

I'd like to get some outside comment on Trivia section removals. I'm not a fan of trivia sections, but believe that generally they should not be indiscriminately deleted/blanked. Either work to incorporate information into the article as possible or leave it be (so someone else will). A new user (started 04 Feb as I can tell), WillOakland, has gone on a spree of deleting every trivia section he finds. I have discussed it with him on his talk page and encouraged him to work to improve articles through incorporation rather than simply deleting content, but he doesn't feel the need to not be unilaterally removing content in such a way. Am I too sensitive about it? Again, I do not like trivia sections, but I think this is just the wholly wrong way to go about the issue, and there is absolutely no policy prohibitin them. I'd appreciate outside observations, thoughts, and experiences. Feel free to bring it to my talk page to prevent this section/page from growing unmanagable big. Thanks! VigilancePrime (talk) 08:19, 15 February 2008 (UTC) :-)

RTFM or in this case RTFG. Direct quote from WP:TRIVIA: "This guideline does not suggest removing trivia sections, or moving them to the talk page. - If information is otherwise suitable, it is better that it be poorly presented than not presented at all." Seems fairly unambiguous to me. -- RoninBK T C 08:33, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

External links

I am trying to resolve the removal of an external link. I run a website for the actors Joe, Paul, Mark and Stephen McGann and had an external link on each of their pages to the site ( These links were recently removed but I believe under the terms of Wikipedia they were removed in error. The site I run is not a discussion or fan site, it is purely an information site run with the full knowledge and co-operation of the brothers. The site contains no advertising and I receive no money for or through it. To my mind, if people are interested enough to view the individual pages on Wikipedia they may like further information on current projects, which is where my site comes in. I would appreciate some feedback on this - I have, as advised by one of your editors, posted on each individual discussion page and on the blp page, without response. Thanks Micharris (talk) 09:10, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

  • Please read WP:COI. You are welcome to suggest inclusion on the article talk pages. If the site is deems suitable someone can add it but you should not add it yourself. Spartaz Humbug! 11:53, 15 February 2008 (UTC)}

Wikipedia:Version 1.0 Editorial Team/Assessment has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Version 1.0 Editorial Team/Assessment (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been edited to mark it as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change. -- VeblenBot (talk) 18:51, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:User talk page has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:User talk page (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been edited to mark it as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change. -- VeblenBot (talk) 18:51, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

The page has been converted from a redirect to a new guideline (copying info from other guidelines) by Law Lord. The proposal to do so was made at Wikipedia talk:Talk page#Policy for user talk pages, yesterday, and no other editors have commented on it. I've reverted the new guideline back to a redirect and posted a note on the talk page about the need for consensus. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 22:03, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
As I have answered, I merely quoted relevant parts from 3 different guidelines and even marked the source for each one as a footnote.
Please explain why you think existing and approved guidelines need new consensus. --Law Lord (talk) 02:01, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
I changed WP:UTP from a guideline to a proposal. I think this succinct statement of user talk page policy is a great idea--it could help to stop some harassment of newbies--there needs to be at least a little consensus that Wikipedia:User talk page should be the place to pull it together, and that the page is necessary in and of itself, before it's marked as a guideline. I think that you should wait for that consensus, Law Lord, before marking it as a guideline again. John Broughton, I don't see the harm in hosting the policy proposal at Wikipedia:User talk page, with all respect. We can link to Wikipedia:Talk page from this proposal page, right? Darkspots (talk) 14:33, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. I think I understand now. Well, to clarify, my proposal is just to put the current guidelines regarding user talk pages (found in three different guidelines) into one guideline. That can then later be improved if need be. I think it is very relevant because some people yelled at me in the past when I removed harassment from my own talk page. Cheers. --Law Lord (talk) 15:08, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
I have no strong objection to the proposal being at what was a redirect. But it still needs to be a proposal - it's quite possible that some editors will object to yet another guideline, feeling that the info is fine where it is. Moreover, I don't believe the info was removed from the other guidelines, which means the new (proposed) guideline is simply duplication.
There is another option - simply make Wikipedia:User talk page an information page - that is, a page that simply says that guideline information about user talk pages can be found at X, Y, and Z. Information pages don't really require consensus (assuming that they aren't controversial). -- John Broughton (♫♫) 16:17, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Growing XfD nominations of non-controversial userboxes


Otolemur crassicaudatus (talk · contribs) believes he's on a cleanup crusade for userboxes, including ones that are already userfied. I'm trying to explain why they're generally acceptable, but it doesn't seem like I'm getting through to him. I pointed out WP:GUS and he told me he wanted to make a proposal to stop these kinds of userboxes, so I thought that was going to be the end of it. Then he nominated {{User wikipedia}}. -- Ned Scott 09:09, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Seems more of a WP:AN issue than policy. There's nothing strictly against these noms, aside from being pointless. — Trust not the Penguin (T | C) 09:26, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Non-US postage stamp images

I am almost afraid to ask a question, seeing as how I am new and don't really want to draw too much attention as yet.

I am wondering, since non-US postage stamps are not covered under US copyright law, if therefore a person's image on a stamp, from a third world country perhaps may be used as an illustration? EraserGirl (talk) 16:41, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

We have a special page for questions on this topic: Wikipedia:Media copyright questions. The short answer is that U.S. law respects copyrights in other countries, and hence so does Wikipedia. Bovlb (talk) 16:57, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

thanks sometimes it takes a WHILE to find the right page, it seems there are an infinite number of wikipedia internal pages. EraserGirl (talk) 22:10, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

You're welcome. And never be afraid to ask. :) Bovlb (talk) 07:49, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
I have a private conspiracy theory that the system of "internal pages" is kept deliberately complex and opaque, just to ensure that newcomers don't become too knowledgeable too quickly. A bit like the Bible used to be available only in Latin. This way newbies can be kept in their rightful place at the bottom of the hierarchy, at least till they've been here long enough to learn to respect their betters and appreciate the perfection of the way things are done here. --Kotniski (talk) 07:55, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
That assumes that "the betters" know what's going on in half of those pages, which is a rather large assumption. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 08:11, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Anonymize contributions

Hi, I'm sure this topic has been covered before but I couldn't find anything related to it. So here is my proposal/question: Why is it not possible to anonymize a registered account? When I say anonymize I think of

  • the possibility to disable the account
  • lock/remove user and discussion page
  • replace username in histories with a placeholder like e.g. anon contribution

The process would be for example: A user decides to disable his/her account, meaning that one is no longer able to contribute with this account (maybe with exception of the talk page). After 30 days or so the contributions of the account will be associated with an depersonalized/anonymous account (to avoid that vandals are able to hide their actions by instantly disabling their account after their work). As an alternative to ultimately anonymizing contribution, Wikipedia could just hide the contributor by storing the information in a non-public database. So the information would not be lost but would be inaccessible for the web.

Why am I proposing this? Because people make statements, in the real world they will eventually be forgotten - Wikipedia does not forget. Maybe someone made statements and does not want to be associated to it by e.g. his human resources superior. I know it's illegal to not hire someone based on his view on politics/whatever etc. etc. but this is definitely an issue. OK, someone can respond that one should have used a non-personalized username which can not be linked back to a person in the first place but I say: If someone actively contributes to Wikipedia e.g. over mailing lists/etc, most people will at some point give out their real names. Wikipedia should respect the wish for privacy. Views and characters change but Wikipedia does not forget - do we really want this? If this process should be implemented there is perhaps an open question regarding licensing. Who has the copyright of a text if the authors are all unknown or do not wish to be named? Or is this no problem at all because it's highly unlikely that all authors of an article do not wish to be named? I'm looking forward for your views on this topic. -- ReallyNobody (talk) 12:45, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

You don't mention Wikipedia:Right to vanish in your question/proposal, so I'm not sure if you're aware of it. RTV lets you change your username, delete all personal information, and walk away. Of course you can come back with a new, more anonymous account if you like. Can you compare your proposal to this guideline? Darkspots (talk) 14:15, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
You might also want to have a look at mw:Bitfields for rev deleted, a very slow-moving enhancement for MediaWiki which has the potential to largely effect this idea. Note, however, that this development is likely to be used only as an enhancement to oversight, not as a regular action for users who have vanished. If a vanishing user knows that they have posted personal information in a particular edit, the authorship of that edit can be hidden carefully with this new software, or obliterated by the sledgehammer of the current oversight system. However, anonymising all the contributions of an editor just because they have left strikes me as unnecessary, and would certainly damage the culture of openness and good faith that Wikipedia currently fosters. The fact that your angry words or inappropriate edits might be forgiven but will never be forgotten, is what compels many editors to remain civil and to assume good faith. Knowing the complete history of an article (or more usefully, things like user-talk or project pages) is invaluable in a whole host of tasks. If you had to dig up an old RfA to check for meatpuppetry or an old AfD to contest a WP:CSD#G4 violation, would you want to see that half the votes had been anonymised because editors had left? We have a crude system in place to deal with individual inappropriate contributions, and that system will become more elegant and precise with the software update I mentioned above. Beyond that, if you choose a username which allows personal identification and air questionable views on a site which you know will record your contributions for the rest of time, that's your own silly fault.
Thomas Melon,
14 Fruit Avenue,
Upper Bowl,
:D Happymelon 15:31, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
Hi, thanks for your input - I wasn't aware about the right to vanish policy. Although this is an interesting feature it does not solve the problem I have in mind. This only blocks very basic attempts of, let's say, snooping. What if a person knows to which articles or fields of interest I have contributed? It should be easy for this person to reveal my new/renamed username and thus the right to vanish itself would be useless. What if my career/job/life depends on destroying the link username <-> realname ? This is currently NOT possible and I don't see why archived, ancient votes are a reason against anonymization. Validity of votes was checked before so why should this be an issue?
You mentioned that the non-forgetting party of WP keeps people social - I think your view narrows it too much down to a Wikipedia internal issue. But I am thinking more of a real world issue. You know, it's not all about WP, people tend to have lives outside the internet and try to make a living. I guess you've heard about human resources folks googl'ing the names of applicants?
So, besides old vote results is there anything that stands in the way for such a feature? In my view, the personal lives of contributors should rank higher than Wikipedia internal politics. Regards -- ReallyNobody (talk) 20:51, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
PS: Just to make it clear: anonymization means permanently disabling the account AND anonymize contributions (it's a logical and).
We can rename the account, but we can't change old versions of pages. If you sign a page, every time someone edits the page and doesn't remove your signature, a new version of the page is created that has your username in it. The only way to do remedy this would be to modify the software to be able to edit old revisions in a way that most people can't see what was changed, but this could still require thousands of edits to be made if you sign a page like WP:ANI a few times or just delete everything that you have ever signed, which would be incredibly disruptive (and impossible in the case of pages like this or WP:ANI). So you can't stop someone who is determined to dig up dirt on you from Wikipedia. If you have a good reason though, along with a rename, you can have your signature removed/replaced on the current version of pages that its on. Mr.Z-man 21:52, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Image policies too harsh?

Hi, I have noticed that we have bots which are going around tagging hundreds of images for deletion because of their licensing/rationales etc, such as the Betacommond bot. I can't see anything wrong with this as policy is policy and fair enough, however how these rules are coming out may come across as aggressive and hard towards many users, I would like to propose some possible changes to how this works.

For instance images without licensing and proper rationales are tagged for deletion by the bots, however many of the images are uploaded by new users who do not understand the rationales, licensings, etc, and they get instantly nominated for deletion by the bots, the bots slapping a template warning on the users talk page. Often since they are new users the very first message they recieve is a notification that the image they have uploaded is up for deletion. They are not going to understand it is a template message, and may recieve it as harsh. The way this is done could come up as WP:BITE, and I think seven days is a bit too soon, often the users will upload the image and not edit again, so shouldn't we consider that the way this is carried out could be done be softened?

Some things to consider

1) Shouldn't we Increase the length of time the image is tagged for deletion for, 10 days maybe? and perhaps increase the publicity and teaching of these policies?

2) What happens if a fair use image is in an article and removed by a vandal which does it slyly on a small article which gets no attention, the image is therefore tagged for deletion for not being in the article and deleted by accident.

3) Shouldn't how to put a proper rationale on an image be simplier? because even if a rationale is there, betacommond bot will class it as "invalid" and have it up for deletion. Because for it to "leave the image" alone, it has to be a big complicated template

4) Shouldn't we make the bots deletion proposal less of a "threat", which is the manner it appears to carry out the edits and many a times betacommond will spam a talkpage with the same warning template intimidatingly.

5) Shouldn't the reasons why the bots tag the images for deletion be softer?

6) Has there been a wikiproject considered to sort out rationales, fair use and orphaned images?

7) should admins be allowed to run through them and delete them with bots, which such admins like User:Misza13 has been doing? AndreNatas (talk) 15:56, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Thank you. AndreNatas (talk) 14:10, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

You're proposing a lot of things there, but the thing that you seem to fail to realise is the scale of the problem. However, I will answer each of your points in turn. Firstly, seven days is long enough for someone to write a flaming rationale. It takes two minutes. Other than having thousands more invalid fair use images hanging around, what will increasing the time achieve? Secondly, the image is still seen by a human- the deleting administrator. If it's an album cover for instance, and the rationale mentions that and links to the article, any decent admin will check the article in question. I am not aware of that happening at all, and it'd be pretty pathetic vandalism if it was. However, what do you propose to remedy it? In answer to your third point- no. A rationale needs to include everything it needs to include, and it doesn't have to be in template form. I used to not write my rationales in templates, instead favouring a list of reasons. They would not be tagged, that's not the way Betacommandbot works. Your fourth point- the bot notifies every time an image is nominated. Imagine how ratty people would get if their images were nominated and they weren't told. I should know- it's happened to me, twice. The messages themselves aren't threatening, they are polite, and explain why this is happening to the image and what can be done about it. If people actually read them, there would be no problem. I have no idea what your next point means, and in response to your final point- again, you don't understand the scale of the problem. "Rationales, fair use and orphaned images" is not something that a few editors can sort out in a few hours- every image needs to be correctly licensed, with a full rationale for each article it is in if used under a claim of fair use, and every fair use image must be used in at least one article to prevent deletion. People should add these rationales and details when they upload the images. If I were you, I would not attempt to pursue all of these ideas at once, as you will achieve nothing apart from getting into a very long and boring discussion on the subject. I instead reccomend that you decide what the biggest problem with the way we deal with the issues is, and find a remedy, and attempt to implement said remedy. But please, please consider the size of this problem, as this is something you don't seem to quite grasp. J Milburn (talk) 15:45, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
(ec)The issue of fair-use images on Wikipedia is a continually debated topic which is probably the single largest cause of controversy and discussion. Betacommandbot has over four megabytes of archives containing mainly complaints about the way the bot handles image tagging, and has been blocked (at the last count) 34 times by irate admins. While Betacommand and his bot take an enormous amount of stick for the work it does, Wikipedia fair-use policy is ultimately governed by the Wikimedia foundation's resolution on image licensing. Wikipedia actually interprets this resolution extremely liberally, and has resisted complying fully for almost a year now. However, new images simply must meet the requirements of that resolution - there can be no discussion or dissention on this. So in response to the general question that has been raised countless times, no, Wikipedia cannot become more friendly to non-free images and media than it already is: in some respects, it must eventually become less so.
It is in response to Wikipedia's reluctance to come into full compliance with this resolution that image taggers like BetacommandBot present their admittedly aggressive approach to image tagging. There is almost no one who argues that BCB's modus operandi is gentle or not bitey, but a majority seem to agree that it is ultimately necessary.
In response to your specific questions:
  1. It is generally accepted that altering the length of time allowed does not really affect either the effectiveness or the friendliness of the system. A message saying "you have ten days to fix this image or it will be deleted" is not really much different to one saying "you have seven days to fix this image or it will be deleted".
  2. Image uploaders have seven days to fix this problem, and it is usually obvious where an image was supposed to go. If the image had a proper fair-use rationale including an article backlink, this would be very easy to fix.
  3. How, exactly, is the process currently complicated and how could it be made simpler? We would all like to hear any specific suggestions you or anyone else can offer for making it even easier to provide fair-use rationales.
  4. No matter how it's worded, the message is ultimately saying "fix this image or it will be deleted", which is a threat. There has been much discussion about BCB combining notifications to avoid making multiple posts to a single talk page (the current record is 85 in two days), but it is usually noted that this would enormously slow down BCB's rate of operation.
  5. This is not possible under the resolution I mentioned above - in some respects the bots are not hard enough.
  6. I'm not sure about this, but I would expect it has been at least proposed in the past. With nearly 300,000 non-free images on Wikipedia, such a project would dwarf even WP:BIO or WP:MILHIST in scale and complexity.
Happymelon 15:57, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
And in response to point 1, if there's anything that extending the deadline would do, it would create more red tape and clutter. What would be next; 2 months?--WaltCip (talk) 18:18, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
Though I agree with most of the content of the responses above, I will say that the purpose of having a longer notice time is because not every Wikipeida editor comes here every day. Most of us do, who are Wikihobbyists, but there are a lot of causal users who come here now and then, and spend some time fixing up articles, and then they go away for a while. So the suggestion to have a longer warning period is not for you and me, but a different class of editor. -Freekee (talk) 01:10, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
In a more general tone, we've extended the deadlines on a soft-basis whenever there is a day that BCB tags like 5000 images, to give more time to correct them. I've expressed concern before about deletion-bots and scripts being run from admin accounts, but it seems there is a latent consensus to accept such things. WP:TODAY is a project to address the backlog that never got off the ground (but did create some useful tools). Remember the Dot and I have been working on ways to make FU image uploads easier and have submitted a bug request to MediaWiki at bugzilla:12452, but they have been busy with actual bugs and haven't been able to get to new features. MBisanz talk 02:28, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
[edit confict] True, but we can't wait forever just because someone might not check in once every week either (I've had people contact me about images I tagged 6 months after they where delted). Back in the "good old days" the predecesors of the current speedy deletion tags would just say something along the lines of "image has no source, please fix", and they tended to just stay like that, some for years. Granted part of the problem was that back then images could not be undeleted, so deleting them was a "big deal". These days image deletions are just as reversable as any other deletion so we no longer need long grace pediods, what we need is a way to keep the number of "bad" images down, and knocking them off after X days does the job. If anyone then comes up with a new infromation/rationale that would allow the image to be used after it has been deleted they can simply request to have it undeleted. Considering how many people get all worked up about "perfectly good" images getting deleted over technicalities we could probably be doing a better job at informing people about the posibility of undeletion though... --Sherool (talk) 02:32, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
Sure, but wouldn't it be easier to give extra time, than to go through the hassle of undeleting? :-) And newbies aren't necessarily going to know it can be done, so it gets a bit BITEy. Anyway, as long as the warning period doesn't drop below a week, I'm not too concerned about it. I was just pointing out some rationale that wasn't quite true. -Freekee (talk) 18:16, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
The problem is that there is an absolute deadline set by the Wikimedia Foundation of March 23, 2008 (see wikimedia:Resolution:Licensing policy). So slightly softer deadlines can be set - and as mentioned above, the 7 days is often relaxed a bit when BCB does a large batch - but as we're coming up to that deadline rather quickly and there are still a lot of images that don't even come close to satisfying the resolution, what's really needed is for people to look into the list of images that need fixed rationales and, well, fix them (I've done one or two, but I've been a bit busy IRL). Confusing Manifestation(Say hi!) 04:17, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Flexibility of Standards - NPOV, Citations, Notability

One of my ongoing gripes about Wikipedia is that while there are stated standards, these standards are frequently ignored. The guidelines governing NPOV, citations and notability may be strenuously enforced in regard to some entries while completely ignored in others.

I've just read, and provided discussion on, the entry American Patriot Party. The entry is obviously written by a partisan of the Patriot Party, it refers to no cited sources, and as a political party without recognition lacks notability yet it remains in place and without flags. Last night I read an entry about the Art Renewal Center which was flagged by an earnest SuperEditor as lacking notability.

While in two subject areas I note the difference in treatment, the ARC, the net's largest collection of online art, which has been referenced as a source by a number of Wiki contributors, lacks "notability", while some little political party operating out of a true-believer's basement is accorded unchallenged status.

My guess for the difference is that the SuperEditors are more likely to be intimidated by political kooks than by art critics.

If there are to be standards then let's see them universally applied, if not universally applied, then just let everybody write anything.LAWinans (talk) 19:20, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Your post would be perfectly valid if Wikipedia was run by some type of being with godlike powers, able to monitor, tag and enforce everything equally, at the same time, with perfect knowledge of policy and its judicious application. Ah, but that is not the case at all. We are a collection of thousands and thousands of separate and individual volunteers, each editing by their own lights. Where you contrast two articles' treatment and conclude that there is some actual, considered reason behind the difference in application of policies as to them (and come to a highly speculative result), I see chaos and individual action and thus no direct connection between the two articles' treatment whatever.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 02:26, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
Fugghettaboutit's post is accurate. While I'm not sure what you mean by "SuperEditor" -- can I apply for admission to this category? -- I suggest a minor exercise that would help: rewrite the first paragraph of your post in the active rather than the passive voice. That might add the necessary precision -- doing so will make you think about who writes, edits, and patrols articles here. Cheers, Antandrus (talk) 14:16, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm not a supereditor, but I am the superluser. Does that count?
Political parties are pretty easy to satisfy notability. States have published standards for being registered with that state. If it meets those standards, the state finds it notable, and if a state finds it notable, it's pretty much a shoo-in to pass WP:N.
On the other hand, I've never heard of the Art Renewal Center. Doesn't mean it's not notable, it just means that you should look up the phrase on Google News. Just because I'm a rube and have missed this site doesn't mean that we need to change our operating procedures. superlusertc 2008 February 19, 02:51 (UTC)

Proper content, notability, vandalism,

deletion, banning, locking, protecting... all censorship. The problem with all of the above is the amount of freedom provided to collaborators by the powers to be. The people locking, banning, deleting, etc are simply: 1. not perfect 1.1. not completely objective. 1.2. maybe with a hidden personall agenda Maybe putting an article against a government wouldnt be proper content and render the collaborator banned? Why not just ditch the 'proper content' thing. Maybe the person who locks articles is the most savvy and knowledgeable in the world? Why not simply put an official wikipedia page on that article and any subsequent edition just not being official. Who is to say what is notable and what is not? Archeologists treasure past-times trash mounds as an invaluable tool to unearth history. Vandalism? It happens. Just make a different version of each page. Or make a category called: vandalism and non-notable content. Banning and all of that is just a policy asking for trouble. Trouble being restricting knowledge. And what is an encyclopedia but a compendium of knowledge, ideally all knowledge? Verifiable? Like from the American Diabetes Association which for years said lowering blood sugar in diabetics prevents heart attacks and now finds out the complete opposite is true (GOOGLE IT)? Or what about the blasphemic thought that the earth is round? Very easy to find reputable references for the theory that the earth is not flat. Are rules good? Maybe, maybe not. But I would say -in principle- avoid messing with so many rules and just stick with advice. --WonderingAngel-aesc78 (talk) 16:19, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

I'm sorry, what are you actually proposing? We allow people to write absolutely anything on Wikipedia? J Milburn (talk) 14:17, 11 February 2008 (UTC)
No, every word anyone writes is not knowledge. This place is an encyclopedia, and without policies and enforcement of policies that keep this place on that track, we would very quickly be something else, like a random massive biased chaotic myspace-forum-blog, with people foisting ridiculous fringe theories on the readers such as that the earth is flat. If you want to push that agenda somewhere, there are lots of places to do so that aren't encyclopedias.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 19:00, 11 February 2008 (UTC)
Not to even mention the potential legal implications of such a thing... I suppose you could create your own Wiki with no rules, but I can't see Wikipedia becoming like that any time soon. In fact, it is heading in the opposite direction. J Milburn (talk) 11:39, 12 February 2008 (UTC)
Indeed, we are becomming a very oppressed bunch. Gavin Scott (talk) 00:13, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Audio samples

Hi. Where can I find a discussion regarding audio samples like here and the involving copy right issues? --Tantalos (talk) 22:46, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

You could try Wikipedia:Media copyright questions. Confusing Manifestation(Say hi!) 02:34, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

_fD results

I've been watching and/or participating in various AfD discussions. Ostensibly, the results of these discussions are determined by some meaningful notion(s) of consensus. But I have repeatedly noticed that some closers are ignoring consensus in favor of their judgment of who has provided the best arguments, or even of for which side the best argument could be made. I don't know whether this same sort of thing is happening in CfD discussion and so forth, but I certainly can't rule that out.

I think that there needs to be either

  • a reäffirmation that the rôle of a closing admin is to identify, respect, and effect the consensus decision (if there is one); or
  • an admission that consensus will no longer be as prevailing a principle as previously been asserted.

SlamDiego←T 15:29, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Please see Wikipedia:Deletion policy#Deletion discussion and Wikipedia:Deletion guidelines for administrators#Rough consensus, in particular, "Consensus is not determined by counting heads, but by looking at strength of argument, and underlying policy (if any)." Bovlb (talk) 15:53, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
I disagree that this guideline can be interpreted to permit an admin to simply ignore the community and substitute the admin's own judgment for what the best outocme should be. Admins do not know policy any better than anyone else. The community, not the admin, arrives at consensus. The admin merely identifies it. The intent is for the admin's action to reflect what the community has determined to be the stronger arguments. The key area where the admin weighs in on is to determine whether genuine policy arguments are being used and discount editors who are simply ignoring policy. But as long as genuine policy arguments are being used, the community, not the admin, determines which ones are stronger. Otherwise we may as well stop wasting editors' time, dispense with AfD, and use CSD for everything. There's a wide area between a pure headcount and basing things on the admin's own idea of what should be done. AfD is intended to be resolved within that wide area in between, not at either extreme. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 16:08, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
I think we're in agreement. Closers should rely primarily on evaluating the weight of the policy-based arguments expressed. This may give rise to the appearance of disregarding consensus if there are many arguments (or plain votes) not grounded in policy. Bovlb (talk) 18:04, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Yesd, closers will sometimes simply use their own interpretation of policy, and that is wrong. They should judge what arguments are not based on policy, eliminate them, and see what the consensus is. this is different from trying to judge which of two competitive policy based arguments is the stronger--that is for the community to judge, not the admin. they should not be judging strength of policy, and if the wording in deletion policy implies we should, it needs to be changed. Our role is to know what is not policy so we can ignore it, and to discard irrelevant arguments. if w disagree with what the consensus considers to be the most relevant policy, we should be joining the argument and not closing it. DGG (talk) 05:16, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
Having participated in an AfD where I kept saying "no reliables sources exist for this subject" and others simply said "well, I think it's notable" and similar arguments not grounded in policy, I can assure you that at least one closing admin didn't eliminate all opinions which had weak arguments.
More to the point, nowhere in the guideline does it say "eliminate type X arguments", then count the rest of the opinions. If several editors make a nonsensical argument based on WP:COI, for example, the closing admin is perfectly within rights to ignore or heavily discount those arguments. If we didn't want to give admins discretion, someone would write a bot for closing XfDs.
What SlamDiego didn't say was the extent to which problem XfDs (problems as far as he/she is concerned) went to DRV, and whether they were overturned there. If a number of such XfDs did go to DRV, and did not get overturned, then what is being proposed is clearly a significant change. Examples would really help. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 22:03, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm well aware that there are admins who do a superlative job of various things, including of closing _fDs; but I'm not quite sure why that point should here be relevant, as what I said was “some closers are ignoring consensus”.
Nor would I waste time if admins were merely ignoring arguments such as “Keep. I think this is kewl.”
Having observed the emotionalism that has attended most of the DRVs that I have seen, I decided that examples would not help. Instead, people would fight over single trees, rather than recognizing that overall some of the forest were diseased. (A DRV or new AfD are of course the places to go to reconsider the fates of single trees.) —SlamDiego←T 04:04, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
The process looks weak when a closer closes pages and pages of debate without typing a rationale. –Pomte 02:48, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

Footnote placement

After this version of Economy of Ohio appeared at WP:FAC, discussion of a return to the previous long-standing wording at WP:FN and WP:CITE about footnote placement was initiated here. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:48, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

Ability to share articles on Facebook, etc.

I would like to be able to share wikipedia articles on sies like facebook. Sites like these allow people to share articles from many news sources, and I consider Wikipedia articles to be article just like any other, though they are not always as timely.

Just my two cents. Thanks, Michael —Preceding unsigned comment added by Belgrade18 (talkcontribs) 00:09, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

I think you're referring to Wikipedia adding links to each article like this: Save to • Share on Facebook • Digg This! • geotag this story • Discuss on Newsvine • Stumble It! • Sphere: Related Content • Add to (For an example, see this blog page.
It's an interesting idea; it's something that could go into the left margin (quickbar) below everything else. Thoughts by other editors? -- John Broughton (♫♫) 22:10, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
No, too spammy. We're effectively endorsing those sites by doing so. J Milburn (talk) 11:30, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
Not to mention such a feature can be used for spamming. We have a big enough problem with spam as it is. MER-C 12:52, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure how links generated by MediaWiki software could be used for spamming, but I agree that there would be a problem deciding which sites should get "endorsed" by Wikipedia. (Maybe we could charge any interested website, say, $100,000 per year for a standard link on every article?) -- John Broughton (♫♫) 15:10, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
Actually, that's already been implemented on Facebook's side. Instructions can be found here; I imagine the other sharing sites have similar setups. --jonny-mt 15:16, 20 February 2008 (UTC)