Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 48

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Wikipedia:Attribution/Header has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Attribution/Header (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been edited to mark it as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 18:48, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Template messages/Wikipedia namespace no longer marked as a policy

Wikipedia:Template messages/Wikipedia namespace (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has been edited so that it is no longer marked as a policy. It was previously marked as a policy. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 18:48, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

Please Post On Bugzilla, Thanks!

I would be great if we could click on the version instead of having to have to click on the 2 radio buttons just to get to the later version. Please post this on bugzilla, because I don't have an account, thanks! (talk) 02:22, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

Clicking on the time/date stamp to the right of the radio buttons brings up that version. You don't get the comparison chart, because you need to specify 2 versions to be compared. Is this what you're looking for? --A Knight Who Says Ni (talk) 04:45, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

Proposed change to banning policy

I have just noticed a puzzling formulation in Wikipedia:Banning policy, one that (I checked) was introduced in the very first version of the policy, few years back - but one that also seems contrary to our goal of building an encyclopedia. The formulation is: Any edits made in defiance of a ban may be reverted to enforce the ban, regardless of the merits of the edits themselves. In other words, this can be used (and I have seen this used in such a way) to justify reverting completly innocent edits such as Manual of Style changes (typo fixes, punctuation), addition of interlinks, or fixing of obvious errors. I think it is common sense that non controversial, innocent edits by banned editors should not be reverted just because they were carried out by a banned editor (or usually a suspected or confirmed sock of one). Of course, just be clear, if such a sock makes controversial edits, they should be reverted immediately and the block extended. But the idea that we should put enforcing our bans to the letter over the spirit of building an encyclopedia is just plain wrong. Feel free to comment at the policy talk page.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 12:15, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

I have changed the above heading from blocking to banning, because this is what it is about. The two terms are not synonymous. Waltham, The Duke of 20:13, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
They may be reverted, it doesn't force anyone to perform those reversions, it could be a bit clearer on that --Enric Naval (talk) 18:19, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Piotrus. What troubles me about this section is that I've seen people who believe that all edits by a sock of a banned user should be reverted immediately, as it is too much trouble to check and see which edits are good and which are bad. This is not a constructive activity. I've even seen an instance where a perfectly acceptable article was deleted, after multiple edits by other editors were made, because the originating author was a sock. This in particular is indefensible and unjustifiable. If someone is too lazy to actually look at edits before reverting/deleting them, than find someone who isn't. Due to the wording of the policy, the people doing this are fully within their rights, and I simply do not agree that this should be universally permissible, let alone encouraged. I will admit that this is sometimes necessary, in situations where a large number of edits were made, and there is little chance, due to the nature of the sock, that there were any good edits. However, in many cases the application of blanket reversion is extreme, and it is an activity with the potential for mass disruption, not to mention unnecessary duplication of effort. In my view if an edit is good, who made it is utterly immaterial. The purpose of banning, in my interpretation, is to relieve the Wikipedia community of an editor whose editing, for whatever reason, has been determined to be a consistent net negative to the extent that there is no logical purpose for allowing their continued participation in the project. If they edit constructively while banned, reversion of those edits to "enforce" the ban is a net negative, and is thus utterly at odds for the original reason for banning them.--Dycedarg ж 21:01, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
I realize it's being a bit dickish to the banned user to revert even their innocent, good-faith changes, but this rule was created because some banned users were continuing to edit anyway, and after a certain point, we just have to give them the cold shoulder. Allowing those changes to stick gives them the satisfaction they need to continue editing, and they really aren't supposed to continue. Users are not banned lightly, and they aren't banned in ignorance of that rule, but rather with a clear awareness of it. Mangojuicetalk 15:55, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
Banned means banned. Not "banned when you are not nice". Everything by banned users should go. Dsmdgold (talk) 19:20, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
One reason – not the only one – why such reversions are permitted by the banning policy is that in some cases the banned editor will continue to make superficially constructive edits as part of a pattern of stalking or harrassment. Continuing to conspicuously edit pages that are watched by a former adversary can be a way to stir the pot even after a ban—particularly if well-meaning editors jump in with 'Why are you reverting those apparently-reasonable minor edits?'. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 19:29, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
Banning means the person is not welcome to edit here, so the rules makes a lot of sense to me. 1 != 2 19:52, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
As we're here to write an encyclopedia, an edit that advances the encyclopedia should stay, regardless of who makes it. A good quality edit by VoB should be kept in preference to a poor quality edit from me, for example. If not, then we're asserting that some other consideration should come ahead of writing the encyclopedia. --SSBohio 03:33, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
I couldn't put it better myself. If it serves the interests of the encyclopedia, then it doesn't matter who made it. It improves the project; in my opinion, reverting a good edit is a much more serious offense than breaking a ban to make a good-faith edit that isn't controversial or otherwise in obvious bad faith. Celarnor Talk to me 03:56, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

Reverting the edits of the banned user doesn't bother me, but insisting that nobody else is even allowed to re-make the same edits if that other (non-banned) user finds them worthwhile, as is sometimes loudly argued (complete with threats of blocks against that latter user) does. *Dan T.* (talk) 04:07, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

The point of the policy, as I understand it, is basically an extension of WP:Deny recognition. If they think they can contribute, they may think they're pulling their weight and should be allowed to stay or they may think they can get the last word in indirectly through another editor or otherwise disrupt the project. Repeating the edit may be tossing them a bone instead of a steak dinner, but it's still feeding a troll.Somedumbyankee (talk) 04:17, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
So, someone on some kind of ban reverts libel on a BLP subject, someone else restores it with an "OH NOES TEH BANNED UZER" edit summary, and we leave it there? Placing our community problems above furthering project seems kind of backwards to me. Celarnor Talk to me 04:20, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
The policy addresses that specific issue: "When reverting edits, care should be taken not to reinstate material that may be in violation of core policies such as Neutrality, Verifiability, and Biographies of Living Persons." As for backwards, without the community, there is no project. The vicious circle adds that without the project, there is no community. There has to be some sort of balance, and shunning and denying any access to banned users conserves the community at an acceptable loss to the project.Somedumbyankee (talk) 05:11, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Of course there's a project without the community. If we shut down editing tommorow and made wikipedia read-only it would continue to be a useful resource for years to come. The same cannot be said the other way around.--Phoenix-wiki 19:38, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

Sister sites for well-researched miscellany

A search for all Wikipedia entries containing "Enterprise episode" reveals a jumbled mess: a separate entry for nearly every episode of the TV show, inconsistently including (Enterprise episode) or a variation thereof for the sake of disambiguation -- perhaps extinction and Extinction (Star Trek: Enterprise) coexisting in the same directory space is indicative of a much larger problem. It's great that Wikipedia provides information like this in a convenient place, but when it goes against the site's own policies, and when a more specialized wiki exists just to cater to this topic, why not remove the offending sites from Wikipedia and redirect instead to the specialized wiki? -- (talk) 22:15, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

Because we can't be sure of the content or policies on those other specialized Wikis not controlled by the Wikimedia Foundation. For example, Memory Alpha (pretty much the accepted Wiki for ST content) could change its policies tomorrow to not allow edits from the outside, and then start changing crap randomly. Generally, in the case of television episodes, we provide an external link. Celarnor Talk to me 23:38, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
With regards to the INDISCRIMINATE accusation, there's content guidelines for episodes at EPISODE. Celarnor Talk to me 23:38, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
They don't violate Wikipedia's own policies. Wikipedia is not paper, articles should be verifiable, contain no original research, and be written from a neutral point of view. The phrase "Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information" is not meant to be applied to any article you personally don't like. I'm sure Memory Alpha goes into more detail than Wikipedia, but how does Extinction (Star Trek: Enterprise) turn Wikipedia into a an "indiscriminate collection of information" but the extinction article does not? What were you looking for when you searched for "Enterprise episode"? --Pixelface (talk) 20:48, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

starred Language

Why is there a language starred in the language box? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:57, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

Featured article in the "starred" language sister project Arnoutf (talk) 21:29, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
It means that article is a Featured Article on the corresponding-language Wikipedia version. --tiny plastic Grey Knight 15:51, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
Is there an echo in here? --tiny plastic Grey Knight 15:52, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

Recursive page moves (rev:33565) is a great tool for vandals

I started a thread at WP:VPT#Recursive page moves (rev:33565) is a great tool for vandals which may have been appropriate here too. All are welcome. —Wknight94 (talk) 01:12, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

Inconsistency with articles about retailers

I am somewhat confused as to what articles about retailers should be called on Wikipedia, and Wikipedia:Naming conventions (companies) didn't really answer my question, so I'll post it here.

Some retailers (e.g. Tesco) have only their names as their article titles, whereas others have various different things in brackets after their names (e.g. Iceland (supermarket) and Argos (retailer)). Shouldn't there only be one way of doing things, and do some of these articles need renaming? It Is Me Here (talk) 14:26, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

As for Tesco, it's best not to use any parenthetical if there is no other topic with the same title: obviously Iceland (supermarket) and Iceland are distinct topics. But for those with parentheticals, there is some value to having them be consistent if it's possible. I don't like (supermarket) as it's a bit too specific -- that could just be (store)... (retailer) could work, but something about calling a supermarket a "retailer" strikes me as wrong somehow. Mangojuicetalk 15:39, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
Calling Tesco or Iceland a 'store' would violate WP:ENGVAR. Algebraist 22:52, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
Indeed, a Tesco store would be a place where Tescos store things. DuncanHill (talk) 22:54, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
I think that would be a Tesco warehouse. A Tesco store would be a place where Tescos are stored. Algebraist 22:57, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
Isn't English fun? DuncanHill (talk) 23:07, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
As Mango mentioned, it's common practice to avoid parentheticals in article titles unless they're specifically needed. I also agree there's some advantage to uniformity, though. Seems "store" is out, but what about "retailer"? – Luna Santin (talk) 23:06, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
'Retailer' sounds reasonable. Any idea how much work this would entail? Algebraist 23:17, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
According to AWB, we have 582 pages in Category:Supermarkets by country, 79 of which have some parenthetical or other. A fair number of those parentheticals are a country name, a few are cities or state/provinces, but the majority look to be some variety of (store), (supermarket), (supermarket chain), and so on. – Luna Santin (talk) 03:23, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
I'm with Mangojuice: calling a supermarket a "retailer" seems slightly wrong. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I think that in UK English "retailer" has some connotations that it might not have in US English. Bluap (talk) 12:39, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
I'm surprised no-one's linked this, but the parentheticals are not actually meant to be taken as part of the actual title, but as a means of disambiguating them from other possible uses of the name - as mentioned above, there is already Iceland (the country) and Argos (the Greek city), but the majority of people who recognise the name "Tesco" would be thinking, first and foremost, of the chain of supermarkets, hence the lack of a parenthetical. Confusing Manifestation(Say hi!) 07:01, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
I've got no problem with that, I'm mainly after uniformity being enforced in the articles about shops (or whatever) that do have something in brackets after them. It Is Me Here (talk) 11:57, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

"Mahatma" (Great-Souled) or his name?

The Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi page is again beset with arguments about whether or not its name should be Mahatma Gandhi instead. Since this seems to happen from time to time, I thought I'd bring it up at the Village Pump.

"Mahatma" ("Great Souled") is a honorific, which was first applied to Gandhi around 1915, when he was 46 years old. He himself always signed his name M. K. Gandhi. My understanding of WP:NAMEPEOPLE is that it is very clear on "qualifiers" (which include honorifics). It says unambiguously (off the bat): "Do not have additional qualifiers (such as "King", "Saint", "Dr.", "(person)", "(ship)"), except when this is the simplest and most NPOV way to deal with disambiguation." Since there is no other person with the same name (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi), the "Mahatma" is not needed for disambiguation. In addition, WP:NC says, "When in doubt, consult a standard mainstream reference work." There are no more standard tertiary sources than the following below and they are all agreed on the name.

  1. Encyclopaedia Britannica: (Signed article by B. R. Nanda, Former Director, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi.) "Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, born Oct. 2, 1869, Porbandar, India, died Jan. 30, 1948, Delhi, byname Mahatma (“Great-Souled”) Gandhi leader of the Indian nationalist movement against British rule, considered to be the father of his country."
  2. Encyclopedia Encarta: Gandhi, Mohandas Karamchand (1869-1948), Indian nationalist leader, who established his country's freedom through a nonviolent revolution.
  3. Columbia Encyclopedia: Gandhi, Mohandas Karamchand, 1869–1948, Indian political and spiritual leader, b. Porbandar.
  4. World Book Encyclopedia. Signed article by Iyer, Raghavan. Gandhi, Mohandas Karamchand. The World Book Encyclopedia, Millennium 2000 Edition. World Book, Inc., Chicago, 2000.
  5. Webster's Collegiate Encyclopedia: Main Entry: Gandhi, Mohandas K(aramchand) Pronunciation Guide. Variant(s): known as Mahatma Gandhi Date: (1869-1948). Preeminent leader of Indian nationalism and prophet of nonviolence in the 20th cent.
  6. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Signed article. Judith M. Brown, (Beit Professor of Commonwealth History, University of Oxford), Gandhi, Mohandas Karamchand [Mahatma Gandhi] (1869–1948)’, first published Sept 2004, 6400 words.

My understanding, therefore, is that the name should remain "Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi." Please advise. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 02:48, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

The only credible argument I could make against you is that the person is more widely-known by the name "Mahatma Gandhi" in the English-speaking world, many of whom are unaware that "Mahatma" is an honorific and not a first name; for this reason, many artists such as Jewel (singer) and Madonna (entertainer) are listed by their stage names, and Lewis Carroll is listed under his pen name, although none of these are their legal names. Nevertheless, I support your position, partly because of precedent in other encyclopedias, and partly because "Mahatma Gandhi" does not clearly refer to a single person. Dcoetzee 19:17, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
  • I agree with Fowler's description. WE have articles on many Indian subjects who are referred to by supports with honorific titles such as "Shri". If the subject has a clear birth name that he used himself and that is used by other reference works, then we should avoid using an honorary title in the article name. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 20:35, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

Flagged revision talk

Now that flagged revisions are available on all projects, we need to figure out what en-wiki is going to do with them. Many people have made their opinions known in smaller discussions or on the mailing lists, but for an issue this big I think we need to set up one big centralized discussion page for everyone in the project to give their two cents, possibly set up in a way that lets us tally support for each of a few different setups. --Arctic Gnome (talkcontribs) 16:09, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

You mean like Wikipedia:Flagged revisions? Bluap (talk) 16:57, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
That page is an example of a collection of small conversations. I think to reach a final conclusion we'll need a more formalized process of arranging the various proposals and have a pre-determined way of deciding on which we have consensus. --Arctic Gnome (talkcontribs) 17:36, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
And that should take place at Wikipedia talk:Flagged revisions, not here, or anyplace else. Of course you can add links to there from here for 'advertising'. - Rjd0060 (talk) 14:58, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

Diacritics in tennis

I'm not sure I can fully keep up with everything that's going on regarding moves of tennis players, but the main discussion seems to be here. The question is whether foreign tennis players' names should include diacritics. In any case I think we badly need a general policy on such matters, so it isn't decided separately (and likely inconsistently) for every sport or particular line of activity.--Kotniski (talk) 08:02, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Naming conventions (use English)#Modified letters, WP:NCP. What name do publications in English (i.e. Sports Illustrated) use? If they've played at Wimbledon or the U.S. Open, how are the names spelled at those events? Somedumbyankee (talk) 16:05, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
It would be better for the above editors to join the discussion at Wikipedia:Requested_moves/Tennis. If that thread doesn't come to an agreement I don't see how we'll be able to adopt a general policy here. As threads go, it is not a bad discussion, and it is somewhat cooperative. EdJohnston (talk) 16:35, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
Seems to me that there's only 26 letters in the English alphabet, and we should stick to those for article titles. Remember that some users may not have the necessary fonts to display some of those exotic accent marks. Squidfryerchef (talk) 20:22, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

Can we have wp:mosnum back?

The wp:mosnum policy page cannot be used for reference because it contains non-policy. Anyone that reads it could be mislead into thinking that non-policy is policy. This is acceptable to the people that are controlling wp:mosnum now. Anyone that tries to remove non-policy is just reverted.

The wp:mosnum talk page used to be active with discussions on a variety of topics. It is now dominated by the binary prefix war and its collateral damage. The binary prefix war was moved to a page called Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (binary prefixes) but that lasted just a shortwhile before the page and the warfighting was moved back. It is a place for sockpuppets, puppetmasters and anonymous editors. They keep saying that the war will soon be over and then normal service will be resumed ...

The policy page and its talk page used to be worthwhile places. It had contributions on a variety of topics from many editors. Sadly, the policy page is not reliable and the talk page is scary. Does anybody have any suggestions as to how we can have a policy page and talk page where things other than binary prefixes matter? Lightmouse (talk) 15:47, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

Please respond at: Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style#Can we have wp:mosnum back?

Can you explain to the rest of us what "mosnum" is and what in the world "binary prefixes" are? Squidfryerchef (talk) 18:32, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

Apologies for the abbreviation, wp:mosnum is the abbreviation that you can type into the search field, it goes to Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers). As for binary prefixes, it is a huge tedious war in the bit/byte community over 1000 versus 1024. Lightmouse (talk) 19:04, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

Is this the whole "kibibytes" nonsense? I've just started seeing that and my own opinion is its a borderline neologism that nobody uses in the computer industry. It also sounds like a brand of dog food. Squidfryerchef (talk) 20:11, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

Diacritics proposal

Further to the penultimate section, I have started constructing a proposal to make explicit our general policy on diacritics. Improvements and comments are welcome here.--Kotniski (talk) 05:37, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

the "table of contents" of many articles break contents down into a single "part"

I learned in grammar school that one of the most basic rules of creating an outline is something like:

if you are going to create an indented sub-topic, you must create at least two sub-topics.

I think the idea is that in creating an indented sub-topic, you are breaking an idea into its component parts; but if a concept only has one part, then that part must be the whole concept. In that case, creating a sub-topic is misleading and not justified.

I think this is relevant in wikipedia because the tables of contents in many articles are in outline form, and so should follow the rules for outlining.

By the way, it bothers me that I have edited pages here on wikipedia at least twice in the past to make this suggestion and my edits were deleted. Please don't delete my request; instead justify your reasons for not implementing it if that is what you are going to do. What I would like to see is a generally available discusssion about this very non-trivial subject.

Please note that outlining is an important process: useful for organizing ideas before writing any complicated document, and probably useful for almost any planning. Wikipedia arguably is a very powerful standard setter, and as such may have a profound (in this case negative, I think) effect on the ability of many whom wikipedia influences to outline, write, think and plan.

Allow me to introduce an example below of what I mean:

From the "Quantum" article in wikipedia:

Contents [hide] 1 Development of quantum theory

    1.1 The quantum black-body radiation formula 

2 Beyond electromagnetic radiation

    2.1 The birthday of quantum mechanics 

3 See also 4 References 5 Notes

Above, "1 Development of quantum theory" is broken down (or outlined) into one component part. It seems to me that for this to adhere to the basic rule for outlining I am requesting that it must be either broken down into more than one part, or that "1.1 The quantum black-body radiation formula" should be "demoted" to a lower level, i.e. 1.1 would be demoted to replace "2 Beyond electromagnetic radiation" and "2 Beyond electromagnetic radiation" would be renumbered as "3 Beyond electromagnetic radiation" with remaining entries renumbered sequentially.

Another way of saying this is: Surely there is more than one part to item number 1 "the development of quantum theory"; if not, then I think "1.1 The quantum black-body radiation formula" should join the line above it or replace the line above it.

Summary: though it will be expensive in terms of person-hours, I think wikipedia should adopt a standard (which, considering wikipedia's considerable and growing influence will set a nearly universal standard) of not allowing solitary sub-topics in outlines (i.e. table of contents, etc). This would not be a new standard, it would merely be following long established rules of language (and thought). (talk) 04:27, 3 June 2008 (UTC) Joe Cash email: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:28, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

I agree in principle, and if you want to make such edits, then please do so. In addition, you could find the WP page outlining the policy about headers — wherever it might exist — and present your idea as an edit to that page; then see if it flies. Sincerely, GeorgeLouis (talk) 07:25, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
  • I agree, with one provision: sometimes a section will have a lead/introduction, and then a subsection. This mught be legitimate style, but still render a TOC as you described?  — Xiutwel ♫☺♥♪ (speech has the power to bind the absolute) 05:11, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

I agree with the above stated rule about outlines as I was taught the same thing. However, when I brought the subject up to the Wikipedia:Featured articles grammar and layout guru, User:Tony1, he stated he had never heard of such rule and that is was not in the critera for a FAC. So there you go! –Mattisse (Talk) 17:53, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia "Probation," rehabilitation of problem users, and article improvement

An idea came to me this weekend as I was reading about users, who for whatever reason, have been placed on "probation" (either under "community" supervision or the supervision of a single "mentor"). My theory relies on the tenet that the best way to improve Wikipedia is 1) through the writing of new articles on notable subjects and 2) through the addition of clearly-written, NPOV, and referenced edits to existing articles. Users placed on community oversight or probation should therefore be required as a condition of their probation to make a certain number of reliably sourced, well-written article edits each month. Failure to do so would result in the revocation of the probation and the blocking of the user (indefinately if necessary). Those users who are incapable of constructive improvement of the articles directly, however, could be assigned to assist an editor in good standing or a group of article-contributors (like a wiki-project), where the user on probation would do research for the editor, write memoranda, and copyedit the prose of his "mentor." I think of it as "community service" requirement of probation.

This can only be a benefit to the encyclopedia, as not only will this result in literally thousands of good article edits a month, but also will teach the probationer-users the value of research, good writing skills, and how to work with others the Wikipedia way. As always, I appreciate your thoughts. Thanks, JeanLatore (talk) 00:44, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

I'm a bit more skeptical that trying to force people to do some sort of "community service" will really result in much of an improvement to the encyclopedia. More likely, it will just drive the person away or result in half-assed contributions that are little better than nothing. It also IMO violates the Wikipedia principle that such actions should be preventative of future problems rather than punitive for past actions. Anomie 01:23, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
But it is preventative, not punitive. If a probationer is busy writing articles and doing research for his study-group or mentor he has less time for disruption. And if it drives the person away, tis no big loss, since the "probation" would have been imposed in lieu of a ban anyway. JeanLatore (talk) 01:37, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
As shocking as it seems, some Wikipedia editors are grown-ups. We can't very well require that they do any work at all, since they might have other obligations. I edit WP whenever I get the urge and I'm sure that many probationary editors do the same. Putting them on a work schedule seems unfeasible and counterproductive. Phiwum (talk) 02:06, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Why is it "counterproductive"? The situation will either stay the same or get better -- keep in mind the proposal calls for "reliably sourced, well-written article edits each month," not simply any edits to articles will do. Edits that are simple spamming or tagging simply won't count. And this proposal is quite feasible, given that it would be extended in lieu of a total ban. Thus it would give the user a second chance, can only be a benefit to the project, and would serve as rehabilitation. JeanLatore (talk) 02:13, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
It is counter-productive because there's a strong possibility that it can drive people away and make them no longer want to participate. The tenets of the projects are openness and that anyone can be redeemed. Indefinite blocks are extremely rare and are only used in the most egregious of circumstances. Anyone can be 'rehabiliated', and it is left up to the user to figure out how best to do that; it doesn't matter *how* they redeem themselves, just that they do, whether it be contributions in the mainspace, MedCab, RfA, reasoned arguments at XfDs or policy proposals. Having a hard-set "This is what you have to do or you get blocked" doesn't really make sense. People get blocked because they've done something incredibly stupid or wrong, have gotten warned multiple times (as you were before your block for incivility) and haven't gone along with policy. A block is a block. It's meant to be a block, to prevent them from doing anything further to damage the project, and hopefully knock some sense into them as a result. Celarnor Talk to me 03:55, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
An interesting and novel idea, but I don't like it. More likely than not, it's just going to drive people away. Like some other things that you've said elsewhere, this really brings to light the fact that you don't realize that there's a lot more to Wikipedia than sourcing and article-writing. You have to remember that not everyone here is a writer; we have people who spend most of their time in the Wikipedia space discussing policy or on the noticeboard giving their opinions on various things, other people who spend most of their time reverting vandalism and dubious unsourced statements from articles, people who spend their time copyediting, and people who spend their time at XfD discussing what does and doesn't merit inclusion in the mainspace. There are many things that have to happen here to make a quality encyclopedia, and as odd as it may sound, writing articles is only one of them. Regulating the behavior of editors so they *have* to make edits seems counterproductive to me; its important that we don't regulate off-wiki behavior, and forcing people to either stay on-wiki long enough to make so many edits a month constitutes exactly that. Celarnor Talk to me 03:55, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Indeed an interesting and novel idea. I think some of the editors on probation are there because they honestly don't understand how to contribute, and some 'rehabilitation' process may help them. Others I am not sure about, and I seriously doubt we can find enough capable, professional, and more than all patient editors who could be the tutor in the process. So although the idea sounds sympathetic I seriously doubt it will ever fly. (besides this is agree with some of the above issues) Arnoutf (talk) 13:45, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
While I don't support the idea because it seems punitive and fails to consider the personal motivations (and abilities) of individual editors, I think it's worth a try. Specifically, I think JeanLatore should try it themselves. Decide on the number of "reliably sourced, well-written article edits" that might be expected from a probationary user and try it for a month. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 14:16, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
I already do that. If you would stop making fun of my ideas you would see that most of my editing is to law articles. JeanLatore (talk) 18:09, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
I have to strongly object to the statement "The tenets of the projects are openness and that anyone can be redeemed." Redemption is not our business. It's irrelevant to what we do here. We don't try to make editors who want to contribute usefully; we merely welcome those who already meet that basic requirement. Wikipedia is not therapy. Friday (talk) 14:24, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
I agree completely with Friday's comments, so consider my first thought to be a 'me-too'. Wikipedia isn't therapy, and it's not worth our while to coddle editors who can only be made to contribute constructively while they are held cornered at gunpoint.
Beyond that, I am concerned that probation of this type would (further) entrench the mistaken notion that the most valuable – or only valuable – edits to Wikipedia are always those that add material. It just ain't so. Wikipedia is stuffed full of tremendous amounts of information. We've got raw data just coming out of our ears. What many of our articles need most desperately is not the addition of more information (however well-referenced) but rather the judicious use of red pencil. We have fertile soil and the healthy plants; now we need to mow the lawn and pull the weeds. We're building a botanical garden, not a jungle. Imposing some semblance of order – within and across articles – is a valuable service to our readers. I'm tired of seeing editors who actually edit being treated as second-class contributors. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 16:14, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

This is a very great idea, JeanLatore. Speaking of edits, the article for Grandpa's Magical Toys has been merged unfairly. Angie Y. (talk) 19:38, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

I see. It didn't realise the variegated nature of participation on wikipedia per "Celarnor." So are you saying I could just cease article writing and simply pontificate on policy full time? What good would that do? JeanLatore (talk) 00:58, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

With your understanding of policy, very little. However, there are others which a much greater understanding of policy than you, and their focus is beneficial to Wikipedia through maintaining and/or improving those policies. — Trust not the Penguin (T | C) 01:07, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
But aren't those admins? I would assume they got to be admins through first editing articles no? Or does Wikipedia have a divide between the "workers" who write and "wonks" for administrate and opine on policy? JeanLatore (talk) 01:19, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
One does not need to be an admin to understand or edit policy, one only needs to be able to do so. People become admins through an understanding of most aspects of Wikipedia (usually). Your idea of how Wikipedia works is incorrect. — Trust not the Penguin (T | C) 01:21, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Friday as well. I don't see a good reason why editors who could be contributing content themselves should instead be holding the hand and reviewing all the edits of a troublesome user through some sort of probationary period. If someone actually cares enough to want to reform to help the project, we can certainly help them, but if they just want to avoid getting banned, don't waste people's time. Mr.Z-man 02:00, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Question about WP:COI and what it means to "exercise great caution"

Since the end of April, I've used this account to make suggestions on talk pages of articles within the scope of WP:FILM. I have limited my participation on these articles about upcoming Disney releases because the studio is a client of my employer. To be doubly sure I did not find myself on the wrong side of WP:COI, I started using this account only after a helpful discussion on this page.

Now, another question: Oftentimes I've found that my suggestions are not picked up after a few days of waiting. In these cases I've tried to locate editors who had already contributed to the article, or failing that, posted a comment on the WikiProject discussion page. This works, albeit quite slowly. After doing this for a couple weeks, I found a comment from the lead coordinator of WP:FILM following me on the discussion page of one such film:

There's absolutely nothing in COI that prevents you from editing the article, so long as you are performing neutral, uncontroversial edits. I appreciate your candor in disclosing possible bias, but if your edits involve facts which are unlikely to be contested and are reliably sourced, then - IMHO - by all means go for it.

I'm curious to know if other editors and administrators here agree with this suggestion? I don't know what WP:COI means precisely by "exercise great caution" but this strikes me as a reasonable interpretation.

My requests to date have been entirely factual in nature -- this film is rated PG-13, here is the official website, that producer's name is wrong, and so forth. (Click here to see my contributions.) And I have always provided reliable sources -- no IMDb, for example. If at some point one of my contributions was disputed, or I wished to join a pre-existing debate, then I think it would be prudent to cease direct edits and involve myself only with discussion pages.

But I'd like to hear from the community first. It would no doubt make my life easier, the movie pages more complete, and it would free up time for other editors as well. But I'm unsure what WP:COI allows exactly, so I'd love to get a second (and third and fourth...) opinion on the matter. Thanks. NMS Bill (talk) 16:42, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

My view is that for the sort of changes that you describe, ie. simple facts with no interpretation provided, then you should go ahead with the changes. As long as you are open about the possibility that a coi exists. For changes that could be controversial, or if you are reverted, it's better to use the procedure you describe and try to get an editor without a coi to make the changes. And even in these cases, if no one responds on the talk page within a couple of days you should feel free to make the changes yourself. Taemyr (talk) 17:46, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
In the Starwood Arbitration which was on the issue of COI of an editor (he was editing many, many article on the subject of which he had a financial interest in and entering his company name and link), the finding of ArbcomWikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Starwood/Proposed decision was the following:
Wikipedia:Conflict of interest, a guideline, discourages editing of articles concerning matters you have a substantial personal interest in, such as articles about an organization you are deeply involved with. However, such editing is not prohibited, if editing is responsible. –Mattisse (Talk) 18:01, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
I was not familiar with that ArbCom ruling, but I think that addresses my situation. I have no interest in spamming up Wikipedia, I just want to make sure that these articles are brought up to Wikipedia standards. And Taemyr's points about a waiting period for more controversial edits and resorting to discussion if reverted are well-taken also. NMS Bill (talk) 18:22, 9 June 2008 (UTC)


I honestly don't think this is necessary, nor any of it's associated other pages. If content complies WP:V, WP:OR, WP:NPOV and WP:NOT then surely it should be included? I'd like to know what other people think.--Phoenix-wiki 13:38, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

No, we have our standards for a reason. We're an encyclopedia not a directory of everything that has been mentioned ever. Al Tally talk 14:09, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
Of course we're not, which is what WP:NOT is for. While wikipedia discriminates against such things as opinion columns and speculation, the policy associated with wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information does not discriminate against notability. The policy lists specific things that articles cannot be - none of these taboos mention that non-notable aren't allowed, although non-notable articles must still establish importance or the topic's "claim to fame".--Phoenix-wiki 14:20, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
Agreed. (BTW, V, OR and NPOV (bar POVFORK) are content criterion, so they can't render N redundant anyway). Orderinchaos 14:14, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
Unreferenced articles can be deleted, and I don't see the problem. Why should we keep out stuff like Garage bands? In practice, it would be very difficult to make the article verifiable, but if someone manages it, there's nothing wrong with letting it sit unviewed. Saying that something "does not belong" is not a reasoned argument; what are the costs and benefits?--Phoenix-wiki 14:20, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
None of the three are in fact deletion criteria - if they're being used as such, they're being used improperly. An article which can pass WP:N but which may have problems in *all* of the other three would always be kept providing there was no outright consensus to delete, but with a recommendation to fix urgently. If the problems are so major as to cause major concern (eg BLP) it's usual to stub the article. Orderinchaos 14:26, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
They aren't common deletion criteria at AFD, but take a look at the new sourcing adjudication board proposal, and new page patrol. Unreferenced material may be removed per WP:V, and I for one am prepared to do this. (See also:[1])--Phoenix-wiki 14:33, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

Phoenix, this page is for discussing policy. "Notability" has never been policy and by the grace of G-wd never will be Smiley.svg. — CharlotteWebb 14:42, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

Lol Well It might as well be a policy, and the only other place this fits is misc, which isn't exactly where it fits, though according to that narration at the top, this is for guidelines too ;-)--Phoenix-wiki 14:45, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
Actually, since the deletion policy says a topic not meeting the notability guidelines is a reason for deletion, the notability guidelines are often treated like policy — somehow ABOVE WP:V, WP:NOR, and WP:NPOV. Mentions of "notability" have been creeping into WP:NOT, another policy. An essay, WP:ATA, is cited whenever anyone gives their personal opinion that something is notable. But that's all "nn" ever was — an opinion in AFD debates. And "nn" was flipped and turned into WP:NN in a horribly misguided move. Now, I've argued to delete because I thought something was non-notable too, but that's just my personal opinion...out of billions.
I think many of the current notability guidelines need to be deleted or re-started from scratch. The problem though with guidelines is that once created, they're rarely deleted. So I guess I would support marking them rejected or historical, and at least disputed. I suppose one could even create a competing guideline about the "presumed" notability across an entire group of subjects — although creating parallel guidelines is discouraged. Some topics are generally considered to be notable by default — mountains and cities for example. If editors want to say that a topic needs outside coverage before a topic can have an article, that's fine I guess — but coverage does not make something worthy of notice. WP:N should be deleted. I can understand why coverage would be a good idea for biographies of living people, bands, and some other topics, but "notability" has become a black hole that no topic can escape.
What started as an excuse to get rid of articles on garage bands and people/websites nobody cared about has transformed into Frankenstein's monster. Is Frankenstein's monster notable? This isn't the Notability Project anyone can edit. And I've seen no evidence that other encyclopedias use "notability" as their criteria for inclusion. The Wikimedia Foundation's vision statement is "the sum of all knowledge", not "the sum of all knowledge that's worthy of notice." — and who exactly is it supposed to be "worthy of notice" to anyway? The notability guidelines are a prime example of how inventing new rules you think everyone else should follow is actually detrimental to Wikipedia. If it's common practice for people to argue to delete an article because they think a topic is non-notable, fine, tell people that. If it's common practice for people to argue to keep an article if it cites a lot of outside coverage, fine, tell people that. But don't create a new round hoop while thousands of square articles are laying around and say "These square articles don't fit through this new hoop I invented!" Wikipedia was not paper and Wikipedia was not a bureaucracy, LONG before Wikipedia mutated into the Notability Project.
Do I think Project Chanology is worthy of notice? No. Do I think the article should be deleted? No. I'm sure someone else thinks it's worthy of notice. Do I think every topic in Encyclopedia Brittanica is worthy of notice? No, and it doesn't have to be. Is there some way to quantify the "value" of attention? The DGAF scale? Is the thinking that because certain sources have "noted" a topic, then the topic must be "note-able"? Does a source writing about a topic mean they think the topic is worthy of notice, or that they have a mortgage payment this month? The notability guidelines are, for the most part, broken. And I blame Radiant! for starting this mess, by tagging WP:N as a guideline after 16 days. I can understand that "Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information." But the notability guidelines are not what keeps Wikipedia from becoming an indiscriminate collection of information. No, what keeps Wikipedia from becoming an indiscriminate collection of information are editors. Editors are trusted to use their judgement to evaluate whether an article is neutral or not. Do editors have to provide outside evidence that an article is neutral? No. So why can't editors use their judgement to evaluate whether a topic is "notable" or not? Even better, remove the whole question of "notability" from the equation. What does "notability" have to do with encyclopedia articles? --Pixelface (talk) 19:51, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
Hear hear!--Phoenix-wiki 20:07, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

Notability guidelines might as well be policy, unfortunately. Hopefully one day we'll see them gone. While it isn't an opinion held by many editors, I would rather see a low-quality article with a few sources on an obscure subject than no article at all. I think that it'll be gone eventually once Wikipedia is mature enough. Celarnor Talk to me 20:32, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

Interesting. The reason I created this thread was to get rid of it in the very near future (The next month or so).--Phoenix-wiki 20:49, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

If you believe that we do not need notability, try doing some new page patrol. Notability provides us with a way to delete the tripe. Maybe we don't technically need notability due to our other, more important policies. However, 'notability' is easy to judge- it can be quickly judged, and the crap can be deleted. Our other policies require a little thought, and we just don't have that time, nor can we afford for the piles and piles and piles of rubbish to stay lying around while we all argue about whether it is technically verifiable. I just don't think that removing notability is, at this time, a good idea. It would create far more problems than it would solve. J Milburn (talk) 21:10, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

There's no speedy deletion criteria for being non-notable, and the usual crap falls under WP:NOT, the rest of the non-notable stuff, why not keep it if it's verified etc?--Phoenix-wiki 21:40, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
"Notability provides us with a way to delete the tripe" ← If no other concerns apply, I seriously doubt the content is "tripe". — CharlotteWebb 19:11, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
Something could easily be verifiable without being notable - a minor mention, a mention in a minor publication, or a mention in a source that is reliable for what it is cited for but not reliable to establish that it's worth reading. Almost every person, thing, and business establishment has been mentioned in the paper - who hasn't had their name in the paper? So with a verifiability standard alone, nearly everything in the world could be the subject for an article here. That would be nice but it's not going to happen, and if it did it would be a much very different project than Wikipedia. With the number of volunteer editors we have, we simply can't write a good article and keep enough interest to maintain it, about everything in the world. If we try, coverage will be spotty and uneven, we will have lots of bad articles, and visitors will have a lot of junk to wade through before they find anything useful to read. That's one of the main argument for notability, in my mind. Also, being forced to explain why something is notable helps article creation - it makes editors cut to the chase and state, concisely, why something matters. Practically, more power to you if you want to make a change but it seems very unlikely that enough people could be convinced to do away with the notability requirement. Wikidemo (talk) 21:14, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
You seem to be confused here. We want to let the previously non-notable things in, and not bother with notability at all. WP:NOT keeps out most of the crap. We're not saying to go out there and launch a drive to create the articles (I persoanlly think we should get our topics up to scratch first, they're a disgrace), but if some random new editor creates a verifiable, neutral article about their pet dog, why would we delete it? In practice, it would be very difficult to make the article verifiable. But if someone manages it, there's nothing wrong with letting it sit unviewed.--Phoenix-wiki 21:40, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
I couldn't get behind articles for pet dogs and I suspect most people couldn't either. --Pixelface (talk) 21:57, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
They would be almost impossible to reference, but if they were good and verifiable, why not?--Phoenix-wiki 22:01, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
Because Wikipedia is not your personal webhost, and if the dog is dead, Wikipedia is not a memorial. --Pixelface (talk) 22:08, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
That's not per WP:N then, that's WP:NOT, which, while debatable and lacking an objective set of criteria, is certainly more objective than WP:N, which is just not needed.--Phoenix-wiki 22:20, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
An important point to note here is that WP:NOT, while it contains some inclusion (or more specifically disclusion) guidelines, is mostly content and behavior issues - things that can be fixed without removing articles. While notability is mentioned in NOT, it is not called out as a specific guideline that falls under NOT. In other words, for the bulk of articles on WP, NOT does not say anything about if they should stay or go, only about their content. We need some inclusion guideline to keep WP maintainable and not an indiscriminate collection of information. Thus, we need something like NOTE to have that inplace. --MASEM 23:11, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia is whatever its users want it to be. If you think that the notability guidelines are no longer supported by the community, then start a discussion to abandon them. But from what I've seen, they're pretty well accepted and I don't think you'll be able to convince enough people to abandon them, but you're free to try. Considering we have WP:IAR, whether WP:N is policy or guideline is mostly irrelevant. Mr.Z-man 21:58, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

Can't you just go and create the articles on whatever you like without worrying about this? More than likely it will be noteworthy, and even if it has no refs, if you write well and it's beleivable and all people normally just ignore the fact that it has no references and take your word for it.--Serviam (talk) 22:18, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

You know, I was going to argue against this, on the basis that not everything that is verifiable really merits inclusion in Wikipedia, but then I realized that WP:NOT already says that anyway. In fact, having actually read that policy in its entirety, I've come to feel that Phoenix-wiki's suggestion might not really be a bad idea at all. The point being that most of the notability guideline is actually redundant with various sections of WP:NOT, whereas I'm not at all convinced that the remainder is all that useful in the end. To take an example, it would be extremely difficult for an article on a garage band or a student club to pass all of WP:V, WP:SOAP, WP:FUTURE and WP:INDISCRIMINATE; but if it did somehow clear all of those hurdles, it might well be worth having. Of course, if we did get rid of WP:N, I'm sure some of its content would just end up moving to WP:NOT, insofar as it's not already covered there. I'm not convinced that this would necessarily be a bad thing. —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 22:49, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

  • First, this discussion should be at Wikipedia talk:Notability. This village pump was, I thought, for notices about discussions elsewhere. Second, people sometimes forget that notability applies to articles, not to the information contained in an article. Sometimes verifiable information is presented under too specific and non-notable a title, and the solution is not to delete, but to merge the information to the correct location. Notability is, in essence, less about deletion, than about correct presentation of information: ie. arrange material so that the notability is obvious to the reader as they read the article. Put minor stuff within an article, rather than creating a new one. Get the balance right within an article (per WP:UNDUE and WP:NPOV). Another way to look at it is to say that WP:UNDUE and WP:NPOV concern the arrangement and presentation of verifiable information within individual articles, while WP:NOTABILITY and WP:NOT concern the arrangement of information within the encyclopedia as a whole, and to what degree the information should be distributed between different articles, or presented in its own article. All these references to information refer to, of course, verifiable information. Does this way of looking at things make sense to people? Carcharoth (talk) 23:28, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

I think notability is such a basic policy of Wikipedia, it wasn't initially called out, but just asssumed as obvious in WP:NOT, and should be strengthened, not weakened. And I agree that the discussion should move to Wikipedia talk:Notability. --Alvestrand (talk) 07:35, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

The problem with relying on WP:NOT is that this policy is consistently under attack from the uber-inclusionists as well, including some of those that have commented above. A quick perusal of the wikilawyering and edit warring at WP:NOT and WT:NOT over the last few months would be useful. If we really want Wikipedia not to be an encyclopedia, but a repository of everything that has ever existed, this would be a good way to do it. Black Kite 10:38, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

Notability is important. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, and every topic must be worthy of notice. Every time someone creates an article about a garage band, or their WoW guild, or their fanfiction, Wikipedia gets worse. Wikipedia grows ever more unreliable with every assertion that some gaming clan is "THE GREATEST EVAR!" People will, in good faith, claim a MySpace page is a good source for their garage band. With a project this size, a line must be drawn in the sand, and reliable secondary sources is a good place for that line. --Phirazo 04:35, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

I'm inclined to agree with you; but RS already requires that reliable sources be present for articles, and myspace simply doesn't qualify. Having a guideline that says "you need at least two RS for an article" is all fine and good; its when there gets to be too much creep (ATHLETE, CORP, MUSIC), that it becomes a problem. Things are no longer eligible for inclusion because they have secondary sources discussing them; they're eligible for inclusion because of some other arbitrary criteria (played on one of a set number of teams, an album in a set number of labels, etc). I don't have a problem with something saying "you need RS for an article", thats simply obvious and part of being an encyclopedia rather than a vast repository of FRINGE and OR, but all the separate notability guidelines create a lot of problems. Celarnor Talk to me 06:53, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
WP:ATHLETE (and the rest of WP:BIO), WP:CORP, WP:MUSIC, and so far as I'm aware all of the other secondary notability guidelines state that the main criterion is the presence of reliable sources. They identify cases where we accept articles even when there aren't any reliable sources. I'd be perfectly happy to get rid of them all and cut our content back to what can be sourced, too, but I suspect for reasons diametrically opposed to yours. —Cryptic 07:47, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

I am of two views on this one. Notability is important but it is used as an indiscrimate weapon in deletion debates. I think the notability guidelines are quite suitable to invoke on content debates for any given article. In those cases, both sides of the debate must make their notability claims with vigor and well cited sources. On the other hand, deletion debates are a poor place for notability discussions because any editor can merely say Not Notable without justifying it. This happens all too often when editors with little or no content knowledge on a subject weigh in on a deletion debate. They just say its not notable as if they really knew that. If they know its not notable, then they need to cite some evidence to that effect by challenging the evidence that others claim make it notable. In content debates, notability ought to endure rigourous scrutiny. In deletion debates, notablity ought to be assumed unless there is indisputable evidence that something is not notable.--Mike Cline (talk) 12:40, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

I think you'll find that plain Keep votes claiming "It's notable" are far more likely to occur than Delete "It's not notable". Surely if we are going to have quality articles, the burden of proof should be on article editors to show that something is notable? Black Kite 14:21, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
I agree with your 2nd thought wholeheartedly. However, my experience with deletion debates tells me that when notability guidelines are cited, its not a debate about the actual evidence or lack of evidence of notability, but merely a Its Notable--No Its Not Notable exchange. I would much rather see a deletion debate made on real notability substance rather than an exchange without substance. Here's a typical entry: Delete Fails my notability checking. Had this entry said: Delete Sources A and B do not meet the criteria for notability because ...... the debate would be on substance, not opinion.--Mike Cline (talk) 17:29, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
Of course. Conclusively proving that something isn't notable is basically impossible, you have to prove a negative - that there aren't any sources. Whereas to prove that something is notable, you only have to show that some sources do exist. Mr.Z-man 22:55, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
WP:N was created precisely because people were saying "Delete, it's not notable" in AFD debates. That statement was then twisted around into "Every topic on Wikipedia should be notable" — instead of what it should have been, "If you create an article and editors think it's about a non-notable topic, there's a good chance the article will be deleted." Black Kite, are you also saying that the burden of proof should be on article editors to show that something *is* neutral? That significant views *are* presented "fairly"? Editors should cite some outside evidence for an article's neutrality? If editors don't have to prove an article is neutral, why must they prove the topic is notable? Notability is totally subjective and varies from person to person, group to group, culture to culture, place to place, and time to time. The quality of an article doesn't depend on whether the topic is "worthy of notice" or not. --Pixelface (talk) 08:59, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Personally I see the concept of notability as it is used currently on Wikipedia primarily as a way of enforcing our core (and not really contested) inclusion standards of no original research, verifiability and neutral point of view. Take the base notability criteria - "If a topic has received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject, it is presumed to be notable.". If there are no reliable sources on a topic it will not be possible to verify the information within the article (WP:V), if those sources are not independent of the subject they are likely to have inherent bias (WP:NPOV) and if the topic hasn't received a certain level of coverage then it won't be possible to write a coherent article without editors introducing their own work (WP:OR). There are exceptions such as with fictional elements where primary sources are considered a reliable basis for an article, in those situations it really becomes an editorial decision rather one of delete/don't delete on how the information should be presented (as lists, group articles, individual articles, etc.) and how much detail is appropriate for the encyclopaedia. Guest9999 (talk) 16:51, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

LOL at the remark about "what started as a rationale for getting rid of articles about garage bands" because that is totally correct. Seriously, notability has become a big stick for the deletionists to whomp around, and I'd love to see it gone. Obscure crap is one of the things Wikipedia does best. :) I'd LOVE to kill that notability business. Barring that, could I please have a stick labelled "persnickety bitches" that I can use to whomp all the deletionists with. I've said it before and I'll said it again: We're all nerds by dint of being Wikipedia editors, but he who has nothing to contribute ornothing better to do than patrol, deletion and fuss his or her way through the Wiki bureaucracy is a sad, sad soul. Get a life. Or maybe just go away and leave us alone. If you only have negative energy to contribute, get the eff out of here. jengod (talk) 15:50, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
"primarily as a way of enforcing our core [...] standards of no no original research, verifiability and neutral point of view" ← This is also how "BLP" was advertised in the beginning. How ironic. — CharlotteWebb 16:41, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Deletionistists will just find another stick if notability is taken away. There's still WP:OR and WP:V, which are also good reasons to delete garage bands and fancruft. Most of the time "not notable" means "no sources" or "lousy sources." --Phirazo 03:28, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Arbitrary subheading

Phirazo's comment above says what's important to this: 'Most of the time "not notable" means "no sources" or "lousy sources."' While I agree with the inherent idea that our notability guides are not useful in and of themselves, they are an important tool in the policing of the junk. It's a matter that notability is a pretty well established standard: if it has sources or sources are evident, then it is notable. Notability is a mere extension of verifiability as I understand it, and it's useful as the hundreds of random bands (et cetera) can protest wildly about their many fans only until we say "Fine; prove it." That's why it's not policy, not anything else. If there's any change to be made it should not be to delete the page, but rather to make it more clear: it is verifiability that matters, and these are guidelines which suggest, in general, what will pass the notability barrier and what should be SNOWed and upon what we're generally agreed. It should not be a matter of codifying practice, but of recording it: general rules that everyone can agree on to avoid arguing the same points for every dubious topic. {{Nihiltres|talk|log}} 03:34, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

use of youtube

I was told that use of youtube videos was discouraged on Wikipedia because of copyright problems etc. Today someone added a youtube clip to Gideon v. Wainwright under External links. My edit removing it was reverted with the comment that the youtube clip was the work of the editor introducing it into the article and that was sufficient for copyright and GNU issues. Is it correct that youtube clips can be added on the say-so of the editor, without a more formal release process? Thanks, –Mattisse (Talk) 17:44, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

No, it's not, especially when they're actual TV clips. The program itself would have to run under a similar license. Removed again. — Trust not the Penguin (T | C) 19:43, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Thanks! –Mattisse (Talk) 20:20, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

That makes no sense. The video, copyrighted or not, is not hosted on Wikipedia, it's hosted on YouTube. Only a link is provided here and the link per se is not copyrighted. Using that same theory, we could not provide links to The New York Times or to any other source either, as that content is copyrighted. This looks like a misunderstanding of copyright to me. What does the WMF lawyer say? — Becksguy (talk) 20:39, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

You can be considered as aiding copyvios by willfully providing links to copyright infringing material. It's one thing to provide a link to the NYT which has published that information for reading on the web, it's different to link to a video that was only shown once on broadcast television. This is not to say that you can't link to a youtube video that the copyright holder has put up on youtube specifically (as some bands and network stations do). --MASEM 20:43, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

I have to disagree with the statement that providing a link can be considered as aiding copyright violations. Are there any legally authoritative reliable sources that support that? Ultimately this is a first amendment issue. I might point out that self censorship is even worse than imposed censorship. In either case it has a chilling effect. Yes, I read WP:EL, but that specifically doesn't forbid YouTube links. It's cautionary concern places an intolerable burden on editors that have no training to determine what might be a copyright violation on YouTube, or anywhere else. Unless a YouTube poster announces that the content is illegally ripped, or the content has a copyright notice, we have no reliable way of knowing that it is a copyright violation. In any case, if there is a copyright violation, it's committed by the person posting it, not the host, nor us, per the DMCA. IMHO. I think it's ironic the link in this case is to a YouTube video that is about another great constitutional right; due process. Note that there are currently 1750 external YouTube links in the Wikipedia domain. — Becksguy (talk) 00:39, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

I agree with Becksguy, that unless there is a specific WP policy approved by WP's attorneys, the rest is just POV and amateur interpretaion of the law. Until such policy is determined, I see no reason to delete links to relevant content. I'm not sure -- see question below. --Kevin Murray (talk) 02:18, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

WP policy states the following: "However, if you know that an external Web site is carrying a work in violation of the creator's copyright, do not link to that copy of the work." How do we know? --Kevin Murray (talk) 02:27, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
There has become a "strict" almost unwritten policy that linking to Youtube as a reference isn't allowed - but this is not accurate. You can link to YouTube as far as I know so long as you're sure that that reproduction of material as posted on YouTube isn't in violation of copyright, i.e. whoever posts it on YouTube has permission from the copyright holder to put it there. Does that mean you have to now verify if the YouTube content isn't violating copyright? Probably - if you don't want some naysayers to remove it then go for it. I suppose it can be considered a bit beaurocratic, but on the other hand it's reasonably common on Wikipedia - for example to use copyrighted material (such as images) on Wikipedia you have to get permission or else it gets removed. Here you could say the same thing applies, except instead of using the copyrighted material we are simply linking to it. So it's not a case of directly violating copyright, but rather a case of contributing to copyright infringement. My extra 2cents is that Wikipedia should by now have an official policy on the whole YouTube thing - the issue has been brought up above on 9th June 2008, I brought it up a few months back and they then referred me to a post several months back about the same thing. This means people have brought this same issue at least 3 times now. Surely we can put up a policy somewhere? Run it by the wikilawyers if necessary. Rfwoolf (talk) 02:36, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
From WP:YouTube "Linking to YouTube, Google Video, and similar sites: There is no blanket ban on linking to these sites as long as the links abide by the guidelines on this page (which would happen infrequently). See also Wikipedia:Copyrights for the prohibition on linking to pages that violate copyrights. Therefore, each instance of allowance is on a case-by-case basis." Rfwoolf (talk) 02:39, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
I just cited the WP policy above your comments. It does not say "as long as you're sure that" ... it is not ... you can link to it. It says that you can't link to it if you "know" that it is a violation. I interpret that as, if you or others don't know one way or the other, then linking is alright. I beleive that WP policy remains purposely ambiguous and reading more than that into policy is POV. --Kevin Murray (talk) 02:44, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
You've got it exactly backwards. You may not link to a Youtube link unless you know that it is not violating copyright. It's the same thing as copying and pasting material from somewhere else -- don't do it unless you know it isn't a copyright violation. Corvus cornixtalk 16:35, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Corvus, how can I have it backwards when the policy page says: "However, if you know that an external Web site is carrying a work in violation of the creator's copyright, do not link to that copy of the work."? --Kevin Murray (talk) 16:52, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Unless there is a specific copyright listed on the youtube page, you must assume that it's a copyright violation. Therefore you may not link to it. Corvus cornixtalk 17:12, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
CC, can you point me to or quote from a WP policy which supports your statement, or is this just your opinion? --Kevin Murray (talk) 17:15, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Policy is cited above. Additionaly Wikipedia:External_links#Restrictions_on_linking. If a link to youtube has a CBS show posted by "bobotheclown6251", one easily assumes (common sense) this user does not have copyright permission, so per WP:COPYRIGHT (external Web site appears to be carrying work in violation of the creator's copyright).--Hu12 (talk) 17:43, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
I don't see the connection between "one easily assumes (common sense)" and WP policy. This still seems like personal opinion/preference to me. I wouldn't oppose developing a more specific policy, but I do oppose people citing their interpretations as policy. I think this sets bad precedent. --Kevin Murray (talk) 17:48, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Let's put it this way: If you insist on inserting a link to youtube based on your personal interpretation that you are allowed to do so because you aren't specifically forbidden to do so, you're liable to find yourself blocked. Corvus cornixtalk 17:54, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Yup, --Hu12 (talk) 18:41, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

The provided policy quote from Kevin Murray clearly says that one can link unless one knows it's a copyright violation. The assumption is clear, it's not a copyright violation, unless known to be. Just like the assumption of good faith here, or the assumption of innocence in the American judicial system. Is there a suggestion to reverse that and assume guilt initially and then have to prove innocence, which in this case, would be copyright violation innocence? — Becksguy (talk) 18:06, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

It isn't going to happen. Unless you can prove that the youtube link belongs to the uploader, it will be removed. That's clear precedent, and will continue to be so. Corvus cornixtalk 18:16, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
'Assume good faith' does not mean 'assume correctness'. Links to YouTube should be removed where there is a reasonable doubt about the content's provenance. The test that we apply here is one of common sense. Assuming that material on YouTube is not a copyright violation unless proven otherwise seems an unreasonable assumption at odds with widely-acknowledged reality. Besides, linking to material of unknown source on YouTube does a disservice to our readers—such content does get caught by YouTube (or the content's copyright holders) eventually, leaving us with aggravating, broken links.
Our obligation to extend good faith only goes as far as assuming that the editor adding such YouTube links means well but is misguided. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 18:30, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
In most cases, YouTube links are unnecessary despite any copyright issues. External links should be kept to a minimum, those that add significantly to the article. As YouTube content is user generated, it is rarely a reliable source for anything either. Mr.Z-man 05:00, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Actually, we do NOT AGF on copyright issues. If someone uploads a clearly commercial video clip, and claims that it is their own work or they have permission from the copyright holder, but the contributor is unable to provide satisafictory evidence that their claims are true, then the content will be deleted. AFAIK, this has always been the case with copyright issues, and I suspect it always will. Now, we may AGF that the contributor just doesn't understand copyright issues, but that doesn't mean we keep the content. We do the same for external links hosted by someone or somewhere that makes it similarly unlikely the person really has permission or is the creator Nil Einne (talk)

If the article would be enhanced with a video then upload the video to Wikipedia. If for some reason the video isn't acceptable by WP policies, then it's not really acceptable to evade those policies by linking externally. The same approach is generally taken with respect to (still) image galleries. While Wikipedia provides a lot of value by linking externally, in an ideal world Wikipedia would also be reasonably complete in isolation from the rest of the internet (DVD versions, etc). Internal completeness also avoids issues of outside content becoming unavailable. We can't approach the completeness goal if people are constantly external-linking materials of types which could be appropriately included. --Gmaxwell (talk) 18:49, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Reautoconfim after long absences for semi-protected articles

It seems to me after seeing stuff like this that there needs to be a smarter way of auto-confirming users. I believe the current policy is that the account must have a certain number of edits and be a certain minimum age. Perhaps we should require that there be a number of edits over a particular period of time. I'm not sure how it would work exactly, but it seems like there should be a better way of weeding out accounts that are designed to evade semi-protection. --Selket Talk 06:17, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

An interesting idea, but I'd be very concerned about discouraging users from returning at all -- as seems to be the common sentiment when discussing periodic removal of the +sysop bit for inactivity, generally speaking we should try to make it as easy as possible to return from an absence. – Luna Santin (talk) 03:02, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

"No other restrictions"

Okay, after seeing a start of a debate on if Trademarks would be considered non-free, sparked by someone moving {{trademark}} to {{non-free trademark}}, I noticed a line in Wikipedia's holy definition of what's free and what's not, the Definition of Free Cultural Works:

*No other restrictions or limitations: The work itself must not be covered by legal restrictions (patents, contracts, etc.) or limitations (such as privacy rights) which would impede the freedoms enumerated above. A work may make use of existing legal exemptions to copyright (in order to cite copyrighted works), though only the portions of it which are unambiguously free constitute a free work.

In other words, whenever the user of a work cannot legally or practically exercise his or her basic freedoms, the work cannot be considered and should not be called "free"

There it was, black and white, and is a trademark a "legal restriction" in the eyes of something Wikimedia policies actually use, so, is this enough? I'm not siding anywhere, I just wanna kinda get something going here. ViperSnake151 20:34, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

It's not a relevant legal restriction. No words or images exist that can be used for every purpose in every context without any legal consequence. The issue here is whether the mere reproduction and distribution of that content infringes someone's right to prevent such reproduction and distribution without their authorization. Trademarks only function as trademarks in particular contexts for certain specific uses, to identify the source of commercial products and services, and are not even restricted to words or images that the commercial producer created. You can copy this picture freely, but someone will get litigious if you copy it in the form of advertising for your own brand of computer. Postdlf (talk) 20:58, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
That is a vivid example, Postdlf. I think we can now be sure that the Board resolution and the EDP don't apply to trademarks (or insignia or ...). Editors should collaborate to ensure that the project stays within these other laws, but we can be assured that we are neither interfering with, nor supported by, the free content pillar in such endeavours. As an exmaple (that is under discussion elsewhere) I am now fairly happy that the image of a London police box is free (provided the architect died more that 70 years ago - did they?) but I still oppose its use in Template:TardisIndexFile and other templates on trademark grounds, and basic fairness to an organization that I pay a licence fee to every month! --Hroðulf (or Hrothulf) (Talk) 21:20, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
[ Darn. I just read that Trench died in 1979 [4]. This restricts police box image use in those jurisdictions where 2D images of 3D structures are derivative works. --Hroðulf (or Hrothulf) (Talk) 21:49, 10 June 2008 (UTC) ]
To follow up on your digression... The police box could only be copyrighted to the extent that it has some nonfunctional, original sculptural form. It looks just like a rectangular box with panel doors on the sides, so I'm not sure what could qualify it for copyright protection. Furthermore, doesn't the UK have freedom of panorama? So its placement in a public place would permit anyone to freely take derivative photographs of it. Postdlf (talk) 21:55, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Yes police box photo must be free thanks to UK freedom of panorama (though I am not 100% sure if the fiberglass prop in the BBC Wales reception is permanently installed) - the Earls Court would make me happier. The lack of non-functional originality may also help. That doesn't get us around the BBC's (admittedly bizarre, and quite frankly annoying, but tested in court) trademark registration. --Hroðulf (or Hrothulf) (Talk) 22:55, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Creation of New Negotiation Board in the Dispute Resolution Process

I have noticed that there is a current hole in the negotiation step of DR that none of the current processes cover. I would like to propose that a new board be created for disputes which range over multiple articles/pages but which don’t require the intervention of administrators and in which both parties are civil. Most of these types of threads get posted at ANI are disputes even though it is specifically mentioned in the ANI header that ANI is not part of the DR process. RFC works great for a single article but when there is the same dispute on multiple articles it falls outside the scope of RFC. The only processes that are currently set up to handle such a thing that are part of the DR process is Wikiquette alerts and that only applies if a party is uncivil. To my understanding ANI is mainly to report abuse that requires administer intervention that is too complex for AIV but in which there is no real dispute. All you have to do is take a quick look at ANI to realize that even though there is a notice there that specifically says its not part of DR people ignore that and post disputes there anyways. If we are not to create a new board to deal with this type of dispute then I think we should consider adding ANI to the dispute resolution process as that is what is happening anyways. --Nn123645 (talk) 10:01, 8 June 2008 (UTC-4)

It's sometimes helpful to cross-post notice of ongoing discussion, pointing people to a centralized location (whether it's a noticeboard or just another talk page). Just something quick, a brief summary and a link to a main thread. – Luna Santin (talk) 03:44, 11 June 2008 (UTC)


It appears that after a long but failed effort to adopt Wikipedia:Attribution the proponents have devised a new unique and confusing custom tag to legitimize the instructions as a "summary" of other processes. This lacks the consensus to be anything other than Essay status and should be so tagged. While I don't specifically oppose or support ATT, I don't think that we need to confuse the issue with a new process category which is not described at WP:Policy. --Kevin Murray (talk) 14:17, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

This is a slight mistatement of the situation... the page has been marked as a Summary for almost a year now (first tagged as such back in June 07) but that designation has not been without opposition. There are some who feel it should be marked as historical, there are some who feel it should be made an Essay, and there are some who feel it should be made a Policy or Guideline. Everyone is pointing fingers, saying that the other editor's views do not have consensus... but no one has demonstrated that their view does have consensus. While "polls are evil"... I have started one in an attempt to see if there actually is any consensus. Please opine at WT:ATTBlueboar (talk) 22:19, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
I stand corrected and have ammeded my comment above (italics). I agree with Blueboar that there are many opinions of what ATT should be, but in the absense of consensus after this much time there are but two options: (1) Failed (formerly known as rejected) and (2) an Essay which reflects the opinions of the proponents. However, there is a relatively new subcategory of Essay known as Supplement, which may apply here. I see this as less of an issue with the content of ATT, but more related to clarity in defining what it is. A bigger question is why we have developed policy pages that are so complex that they need summaries to be effective. At minimum the policy should be summarized within its own page, and more preferable would be just cutting the crap from the policy pages, so that these are more readable, understandable, and actionable. --Kevin Murray (talk) 15:09, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

Notability of High School Organziations

Resolved: §hep¡Talk to me! 21:59, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

Per an exteremely lengthy Afd discussion it was propsed by the closing admin that a centralized discussion take place to determine the notability of High School Athletic Conferences and other organizations that bind schools together. I and many others agree that we need a guidelien when it comes to the notability of schools Wikipedia:Notability (schools) and the organziations that bind them. The main category under discussion is Category:High school sports conferences and leagues in the United States. Thanks for your time. §hep¡Talk to me! 19:17, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

I think that all High School sports conferences and leagues should be considered notable. High school sports are given significant media coverage in the United States, and sources should be available for all high school conferences; they may not be readily available online, but they will be found in newspaper archives that aren't always available on the internet. High schools are typically considered notable and these organizations group and supersede the high schools themselves, functioning much the way that college athletic conferences do. Obviously these are different in scope than college conferences, but I believe there will be significant sourcing to indicate notability for high school conferences as well. matt91486 (talk) 22:15, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
As usual, if people do their work in order, this becomes a non-issue. The initial stub should contain links to direct and detailed discussions of the topic in multiple independent sources. Those links can certainly be to paper sources, not on-line ones. There is no reason to produce any kind of special guidance for school organizations ... either they meet the general criteria, or they are not notable.
Kww (talk) 22:21, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Indeed. A rush for specialized rule sets only seems to complicate the field. – Luna Santin (talk) 03:23, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
All attempts to develop sports realted notability guidelines have failed. There have been many attempts and these all unravel into the basics of WP:N - significant and independent third party recognition. --Kevin Murray (talk) 15:13, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
OKay, I didn't realize past failed attempts at this. Thanks for your time. §hep¡Talk to me! 21:59, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

Resolving unresolvable disputes

At the current ongoing RFC for WP:FICT, we basically currently have 3 main stances to this in the !voting: ~50% believing the middle-of-the-road solution to be fine, ~25% believing it to be too lax, and the other ~25% believing it to be too harsh. I am not trying to get input on the core policy/guideline issues which have been expanded to WP:NOTE, but trying to figure out what can be done here from the difficult time we've had trying to gain any consensus.

The problem is that those that believe it too lax and those that believe it too harsh are not offering any other solutions or suggestions that make concessions that the other extreme viewpoint. The overall goal of the FICT rewrite was to plant something in the middle of these views that could be seen as, at worst, a starting point to fine-tune the opposing inclusionist/deletionist views, but neither side seems to be moving, nor do I expect them to. While there is discussion of how strict

So, my question or what I'm trying to figure out is:

  • Can I say anything about consensus towards the guideline per the AFD (given that it's still open and things may change)? At some point, are these extreme points ignorable and/or cancel each other out, despite their points being backed by reasonable interpretation of policy and guidelines?
  • Is there some higher level of authority to take the dispute to? ArbCom is not the place, since this is primary content related, and there's no significant behavioral issues involved (and I'm sure they're sick of hearing these types of cases).
  • Because this is such a key issue to how a significant fraction of WP articles are approached, is it possible to get a statement by the Foundation, in context of WP's mission, as what they want to see done with these types of articles? I really don't want to take it this way, but if neither side is going to budge to the other and/or calmly accept that a solution that weakens their view, this may be the only way to break the conflict. --MASEM 14:10, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
I probably can't offer a good solution, but here are some thoughts. I, like probably many others, have stopped following the WP:FICT dispute for quite a while. It just takes too much of my time. From the little that I saw, it seems to me that an attempt for compromise is probably ill-advised. Sometimes one has to go either left or right: Either treat fictional topics like everything else (i.e. they must show notability individually, by means of independent sources, for each article); or allow them in unlimited amounts, as long as they can be verified against the fictional work. Compromise will only lead to inconsistency, tons of borderline cases, and endless fight, and will make no one happy. Now what to do? Maybe draft two competing proposals, and then decide on one of them. Unfortunately there's no governing body on Wikipedia who could clearly make that decision (a problem that goes far beyond the present case). But perhaps, invite everybody for comments. Let the foundation say what they have to say on the topic, if anything. Let the lawyers say what they have to say, if anything. If there are hard restrictions from that side (so that one of the proposals would be ruled out from the start), the matter is solved. Otherwise, hold a poll, and keep to the results. --B. Wolterding (talk) 14:56, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

Articles that promote business

While browsing I came across CLAAS - An article on a company that appears to be just a promotion for that company. How are they able to get away with that when other businesses cannot? What have they done different that put them under the radar? All I see basically is a list of products and a link to their "offical website." It appears this is against Wikipedia policy and not fair to other businesses! —Preceding unsigned comment added by Cinamongurl (talkcontribs) 16:55, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

If that's the case, feel free to follow WP:DELETE and propose it for deletion as spam. We can't keep track of every article, and depend on users to watch out for violations — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 17:24, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Global rights usage has been marked as a policy

Wikipedia:Global rights usage (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been edited to mark it as a policy. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 18:51, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

Article specific blocks

Has the possibility of article specific blocks been previously discussed? It seems like a simple and effective method of enforcing topic bans without fully blocking a user whose conduct hasn't already risen to the level requiring such a measure. Article blocks could be used for articles and subject areas under probation, as a result of an Arbitration case, etc.

A simple mechanism, such as a log that allows you to add usernames to a list of article-blocked editors and also view the list, would be all that is necessary as far as interface goes. These blocks could appear in the block actions log of the administrator, and may or may not need to be listed in the block log of the individual editor (probably, it would be beneficial if it were included).

Additionally, it would be handy to be able to block editors from a particular namespace or other defined area - like protected categories established for problem areas (like all articles associated with Israel-Palestine, various other nationalist conflicts, etc.).

Thoughts? AvruchT * ER 21:59, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

Article-specific blocks would be useful in enforcing WP:COI. We could create the mechanism and let admins use it for a while. I'm not sure if protected categories would be practical. You'd need to have a category that couldn't be removed from a page except by an administrator. That sounds like it could be tricky to implement. EdJohnston (talk) 01:33, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
Hmm, could you just do it by linking to the page from the category page? Kind of like protection people used to use for salt pages? AvruchT * ER 01:39, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
A closely related discussion is archived here.
Kww (talk) 01:44, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Important BLP issues remain somewhat un-addressed - views sought on WP:OPTOUT

The issue of Wikipedia's responsibility to living people continues to be important - and I asked a question about this to the current candidates for election to the board of trustees here.

If you take a look, you'll see an emerging consensus that this is a matter for us here on en-wikipedia to at least try and address, and you'll also see a pretty clear view that there is a significant problem here, and our systems to prevent defamation and harmful material being published may not be working as well as they need to.

With that in mind, I'd like folks to take another look at WP:OPTOUT - and I'd especially like to encourage as many people as possible to register their views at Wikipedia:OPTOUT/Long_Term_Straw_Poll. Thanks for taking some time to consider this very important issue! cheers, Privatemusings (talk) 01:53, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Date links suck.


I dislike date links. I think they should be excised from Wikipedia because they make articles harder to read.

I understand the main reason to keep them is to preserve autoformatting.

How would I propose that date links be invisible when reading the article? So a wikilink for 30 June 1944 would simply appear in the browser thus:

30 June 1944

Tempshill (talk) 18:03, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

P.S. I know date links in general are a longstanding point of contention and irritation. I just don't know where to make the proposal. Over at the Manual of Style (dates and numbers) link there's just a large intimidating longstanding flame war about something I don't even know what they're arguing about. Tempshill (talk) 18:07, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

Would you like a javascript tool to make them invisible to you? — CharlotteWebb 18:15, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

I can't speak for Tempshill, but I believe he or she is asking for a change in policy whereby the links would not be visible to the researcher (most of our visitors). Perhaps the Javascript tool should instead make them VISIBLE. I agree that highlighting the dates in blue is really silly and makes WP look like a conclave of nerds rather than serious writers and editors. Sincerely, GeorgeLouis (talk) 20:34, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

You say "sincerely" as if I might otherwise doubt the sincerity of your comment Smiley.svg. In any case I do not understand why a casual reader would consider blue, clickable links to June 4, 2008 any nerdier than blue, clickable links to any other topic. Sincerely. — CharlotteWebb 13:46, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

I agree 99% that date links suck. However there are a few cases where they are useful to readers, e.g. in Guns, Germs, and Steel "trying into explain why, for example, in 1492 Eurasia was almost entirely populated by settled societies with governments, literacy, iron technology and standing armies while the other continents were almost entirely populated by stone age tribes of hunter-gatherers" provides an opportunity to remind readers of Columbus' voyage across the Atlantic, which effectively started modern European colonialism - which is very relevant to the theme of the book. I can also think of a few day-month dates that might usefully be wikilinked: 1 January, 1 April, 25 December, etc.
I think what's needed is:
  • A flexible policy based on whether the value of a date is significant to the reader, which generally depends on the context.
  • A mechanism for formatting dates (e.g. dd-mm-yyyy vs mm-dd-yyyy) without wikilinking. But IMO it must also be one that's easy for editors to use - unlike e.g. the requirement to use ISO format (yyyy-mm-dd) for accessdate in "cite web". That's a matter for the techies to resolve. Philcha (talk) 21:39, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

One thing that bugs me is overprecision about dates--which I think is related to the aesthetics of the blue date link. I have removed day or month information from dates to get rid of the wikilink--for example, who cares when in 1988 a particular book was released? I'd be very much in favor of a software solution to make date linking invisible. Darkspots (talk) 21:57, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

If we can verify the exact date of book publication (or any other event) the relevant articles should include the date in some form or fashion. The other obvious advantage of wiki-linking dates is that a list of referring pages makes it easier to add births, deaths, and other cataclysmic events to our day/month/year articles. I would support a "software solution" in the form of a "[x] Suppress links to day/month/year articles" (replacing them by "plain text") in Special:Preferences as long as it is unchecked (keeping status quo) by default. Failing that (I doubt the devs would consider this a high-priority issue — bigger fish to fry, you know...) I have offered to create a javascript tool to do pretty much the same thing, for users who do not wish to see (or, worse, accidentally click on) links to day/month/year articles. Blurring chronological information, i.e. changing a known and undisputed exact date to an approximate time-span (solely to avoid formatting it as a date), is disruptive and downright harmful. Please do not do this. — CharlotteWebb 13:46, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

When you have a series of events--let's say a list of novels written by an author in a biography of the author--and some of the dates have day, month, year, some have month, year, and some have only the year, that date link really stands out and looks ugly. I'm not talking about changing the date of a battle or an election from a day to a year. but in that list of books, making all the past dates have the same level of precision--like month, year--helps a lot. When reading a biography, do you really care on what date in May 1988, say, an author had a book published? Not really. You want to know the chronological order in which things happened, you want to know about what was happening in history at that moment. Now there are no doubt countless exceptions to this--Van Gogh scholars care deeply what happened on each date of the last years of his life, as a random example. In a more general way, if an author has multiple works published every month, obviously more specific dates would be in order. But unnecessary precision is no service to our readers. I wouldn't change a date just to get rid of a link, but it's definitely one of a lot of considerations. I try to edit in every situation with an eye to what's going to make the encyclopedia better. Darkspots (talk) 16:17, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

I see what you mean but the exact date (if known) should at least be mentioned in the article about each book (if the article exists). If the article about the book doesn't exist yet (and we are unwilling to create it at the moment) but the exact date of publication is verifiable and undisputed, it should be mentioned somewhere in the list as the book title should probably redirect to the list (which may itself be a sub-section of the author's biography), and the list is a logical starting point for anyone aspiring to create articles about these particular books.
Of course this is something that applies broadly to all topics and types of verifiable information — somebody somewhere will be looking for it, so if we have it, it should be available without having to dig through old revisions.
Back on topic, I'm willing to acknowledge that there are several users who do not like to see links to day/month/year articles for whatever reason I will not speculate. But I would like to know whether they would prefer that any sort of automatic de-linking of dates is done only for themselves and others sharing this sentiment, or for everyone reading the content. I would be amenable only to the former option. — CharlotteWebb 17:07, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

I completely agree that the articles for the books themselves should have the exact date, in this little example. Darkspots (talk) 17:11, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

Could you add nowiki tags to the date to make it not get autoformatted? It seems to me these are more useful by default than not; in the instances where you just have a list of chronological events, you could put tags around it so it wouldn't get linked. Celarnor Talk to me 16:32, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

Or just not use any brackets, perhaps. — CharlotteWebb 17:07, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

There are quite a few users that are unhappy with:
  • mandatory date links. This is due to a bad software design that combines two entirely independent functions: (a) hyperlinks to date articles; and (b) formatting of dates. The cure is worse than the disease. Very few people have the disease but we are all forced to take the medicine. If you want a plain date, just take the square brackets out.
  • the use of the Manual of Style (dates and numbers) talk pages for a war over binary prefixes. The policy page is defunct because you cannot read it and assume that it is policy. The binary prefix warriors decided that policy pages can contain proposals.
I would recommend that you take this issue to Manual of Style (dates and numbers), but like you, I am avoiding it and regard it as unserviceable for those of us outside that would prefer to remain unaffected by that war. Lightmouse (talk) 16:50, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Yup, the autodud system certainly does suck. All of our attempts to get the developers at Bugzilla to decouple autoformatting from linking have met a dead end. Brion Viber there doesn't seem at all keen to push things forward, despite a petition I organised more than a year ago with nearly 90 WPian signatories (I'm quite sure I could raise many hundreds now). See HERE (Comment 35 ff.
  • But the main point I have to make here is that autodud is not mandatory. See MOSNUM , which says "A combination of a day number and a month can be autoformatted by adding square brackets". I'm unsure how that can be contrued as compulsion. I encourage people not to use autodud at all. TONY (talk) 02:58, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for correcting my statement and pointing out the exact wording of the guideline. Links to dates are not mandatory. Lightmouse (talk) 09:07, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

But but by not linking, and in the current arrangement therefore disabling autoformatting, it gives the outward appearance of "This is the US Wikipedia. US date format rules!". Perhaps a Wikipedia International English Edition might solve it. I don't like being the doom monger, but its little things like this that I believe will eventually lead to a WP schism. There are international differences on date formats and it may have a massive amount of "I don't like it" in it but users should be able to come to Wikipedia and see something as simple as a date in the format that they want to see it in. A simple cookie and a some coding and people could have dates that are blue, black, pink or whatever colour they want and in the format that they want. The autolinking should be kept and should be mandatory but it should also have the ability for users to select the date appearance they want. It could even be made to work for IP users, with a splash screen allowing a user to set preferences (cookie) on their browser's first visit to WP and reading the preferences from the cookie on subsequent visits. I hope both sides of this debate can unite behind a common flag of getting a proper working solution implemented by the devs. - X201 (talk) 10:10, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

The same issue applies to spelling. There is US spelling and non-US spelling. We solved that without autoformatting of 'color' into 'colour'. Lightmouse (talk) 10:17, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

Well, most non-US spelling isn't confusing to a U.S. reader; when I see 'colour' I just smile about the silly 'u' in there but I still understand it means 'color'. Same for 'kerb' and 'curb', and so on. Dates, however, are more confusing; June 8, 2008 would be rendered 6/8/2008 in American short date format and 8/6/2008 in some non-U.S. date formats. Which is actively confusing, because to the U.S. reader, the second example means August 6, 2008. Apart from forcing everyone to use ISO standard 2008-06-08 (which I'd love, but nobody else would) making the server automagically display dates in their preferred format is a great idea.
That said, I never understood why the "this is a date" syntax is the same as the "this is a link" syntax. It's pretty non-orthogonal. Instead, it would be nice if some new syntax was invented to flag dates, like (( )) or something. That way, if you have your prefs set to, say, ISO date format like me, ((October 20, 2005)), ((20 Oct 2005)), ((2005-10-20)), ((20/10/2005)), ((10/20/2005 US)), etc could all render as a plain, unlinked "2005-10-20". This would have the added benefit of being able to do ((20 Oct [[2005]])) or even something like ((20 Oct [[2005 in film|2005]])) and get "2005-10-20". —Scott5114 [EXACT CHANGE ONLY] 09:07, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
The principle of least astonishment should preclude us from piping date-links to a non-obvious target. A reader seeing "2005" in blue should expect it to link to the main article for that year (the fact that it also breaks existing date-formatting mechanisms is secondary to this). The effect of the "new syntax" you describe could be achieved using a variety of parser functions (without linking the result) by using a #switch statement and some variable representing the viewer's preferred date format (if the devs are willing to add the latter). Alternatively the #time function could be made more robust (it is apparently limited to 1970 and later).
Back on topic how would you feel about an option in Special:Preferences to make date links appear as plain text? — CharlotteWebb 10:48, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
This seems to be a perennial discussion. See {{date}} and [5]. --B. Wolterding (talk) 10:38, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Charlotte, a preference to that effect would be great, and better than nothing; so then dates would appear as they do after our signatures: BLACK (except that they would be formatted according to the original: 8 September 2005 OR September 6, 2005, not the British/Australian formatting that automatically appears after all signatures). However, this wouldn't solve the larger issue, which is that 99% of readers are not registered and logged in, so don't ever benefit from the actual autoformatting—they just cop the bright-blue irritation.
  • X201: no, we'd like either no autoformatting at all (big deal, it just appears as either well-known system, like spelling variants) or as now, but not bright-blue and underlined. TONY (talk) 14:38, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

I think user:Scott5114 has expressed several of the same thoughts as I have. The software has combined two orthogonal issues ('this is a link' and 'this is a date'). The issue is very important when there is ambiguity (i.e. slash format dates) but less so when there is no ambiguity (ISO dates, mmm dates, mmmm dates). We are fortunate that most editors write dates in an unambiguous format, I can't recall the last time I saw a slash date here. As user:CharlotteWebb says, on principle, a link that looks like '2005' should not be a hidden link to somewhere else. In practice, such links do not achieve their aim anyway because readers will treat them as solitary years and just ignore them so they are a waste. Like user:Tony1, I want an end to blue linked dates whether in full or in fragmented form. We should simply format the date appropriate for the region. If anyone wants to use automatic formatting, then it should not involve the current mechanism. Lightmouse (talk) 15:06, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

This had been a perennially occurring issue for at least two years. Is there any definitive answer on what the developers' plans are? Are they planning to implement it eventually? Have they decided to never implement it, and simply to ignore all discussion? Bluap (talk) 16:00, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
"If anyone wants to use automatic formatting, then it should not involve the current mechanism." ← What about anyone who wants to click on a year, month, or day and see what other events occurred on that year, month, day... or to see whether the (potentially major) event they are reading about (i.e. the context in which the year, month, or day appears) is properly listed in the article for that year, month, or day... or to use Special:Whatlinkshere to assist in populating year, month, or day articles with topics/events associated with a specific year, month, or day? For one, I fear that explicitly de-linking dates on a non-trivial scale would impede or even stifle the development of year, month, and day articles. This is why I would strongly favor a user preference to render bracketed years, months, and days as plain text (in the user's preferred format) rather than as links.
The counter-argument to that, of course, is that maybe "dates should be plain text by default and we can someday rely on the parser to determine whether or not certain parts of a sentence resemble a year, a month, a day, or a range of years, months, or days, or anything else with chronological significance, which could be reliably auto-formatted according each user's preferences... and... (optionally) appear as links for all the nerds who want to have links." March 2000 feet north and deliver June 3 lost Cleavers and 1 October Sky DVD (director's cut!) and you will understand the difficulty of fool-proofing this approach.
So Scott suggests above that we use a different syntax to inform the parser that a certain string of text is supposed to be a date, one which would accept a greater variety of formats (perhaps even "slash dates" — with a big red "ambiguity error" if the month and day are both 12 or less), and output it the date in whatever format the reader prefers. That would be fine as long as there is an easy way for the reader to make links appear and disappear as desired, ideally as a Special:Preferences setting. — CharlotteWebb 16:27, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
One note on your question, What about anyone who wants to click on a year, month, or day -- I don't feel any need to make life easier for this hypothetical person at the expense of putting in a date link. They can click over in "Search" and type "December 7". If people of this type exist and if they number more than 12 worldwide. Tempshill (talk) 20:06, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
Did we mention that search sucks too? Unlike some engines, on mediawiki search "December 7" and "7 December" are different queries. It's only the use of redirects that makes them work alike. Nobody's about to redirect "12-7" anywhere. We've got to get a "Did you mean...?" capability added. LeadSongDog (talk) 21:07, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
What is this expense of which you speak? If it doesn't appear on your screen, why would you care? — CharlotteWebb 18:30, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Is using pictures from wikimedia on other sites hotlinking?

I get stock pictures for another forum from wikimedia, and don't host it elsewhere. I've been accused of hotlinking. Is it hotlinking? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:12, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

I call it leeching, but 'yes', according to the definition at hotlinking. --Hroðulf (or Hrothulf) (Talk) 22:29, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
Not that there's anything wrong with that. J Milburn (talk) 21:13, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
Keep in mind that hotlinking has its risks. --Carnildo (talk) 21:59, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
Hotlinking is against the Wikimedia Commons policy (see Commons:Commons:Reusing_content_outside_Wikimedia#Hotlinking). I don't know about the English Wikipedia policy, but I think some of the same justifications would apply. Dcoetzee 23:37, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Crediting the photographer in image captions

I recently came across a case where an editor felt that to satisfy the CC-BY license, the copyright holder must be credited in the caption every time the photo is used in the article. I'm pretty sure this is not the case, as the credit on the image page satisfies the attribution requirement, but IANAL and there is no WP policy/guideline directly addressing this subject. Language at Help:Image page#Source and author implies this, but does not directly state it. If my assumption is correct, adding photo credits in articles should be expressly forbidden for consistency of style and consistency with WP:OWN (with limited excepions, of course, such as when the photographer of the image is relevant to the article). However I'm not sure the appropriate place to add it... Help:Image page? Wikipedia:Image use policy? Wikipedia:Captions? Some/all of the above? Other? – flamurai (t) 00:30, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Unless the photographer is relevant to the picture, which most often isn't the case, they shouldn't be listed in the caption. Who took the picture is irrelevant to the commentary on it. Not sure if it should be added anywhere, but it's basically common sense. — Trust not the Penguin (T | C) 00:39, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
Flamurai is quite right and I stand corrected - section 4c of the by-sa license says "Such credit may be implemented in any reasonable manner; provided, however, that in the case of a Derivative Work or Collective Work, at a minimum such credit will appear where any other comparable authorship credit appears and in a manner at least as prominent as such other comparable authorship credit." So as long as we are crediting authors of images on the image page consistently, looks like we're ok. --Joopercoopers (talk) 00:57, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
Additionally, if the photographer is notable in her or his own right (i.e. has a WP article) it may be beneficial to add their name in a caption. I often add photographers' names to captions - of course, I'm mostly working on 19th century topics in Japan... Pinkville (talk) 01:32, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
Was a discussion topic a few months ago: Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/Archive 25#Photograph attribution in image captions, enjoy. x42bn6 Talk Mess 00:02, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

Notability RFC

Apologies for delayed posting of this here; there's a current RFC at Wikipedia talk:Notability#Notability, the GNG, subject specific guidelines, and definition, characterisation, or evidence?

This is discussing very broad topics and reasonings, and the broadest reasonable participation would be useful. As yet, there's no intended or expected outcome, just a common feeling that something isn't quite working right. SamBC(talk) 15:48, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Size of talk pages

Somebody just changed the automatic archive setting of Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (dates and numbers) from 150 kbyte to 750 kbyte. There are some users for whom that will be inconvenient, expensive, or both. Some people pay for data or download time. Some people use small screen devices. I know that there is no fixed size threshold but there is a convention for article size that results in a size warning notice. Is there a size convention for talk pages? Lightmouse (talk) 07:13, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Yeah, that's way too much. WP:ANI is 250, so I reduced it to that. — Trust not the Penguin (T | C) 07:33, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
To answer your question, 100 is the common size for your average talk page. However, with pages that have hundreds of archives, double or triple that is probably better in the long run. — Trust not the Penguin (T | C) 07:35, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Help needed

Could someone come over please to Talk:Philosophy to help on explaining WP:NPOV. I'm not asking for any help on the technical details of the subject, just another helping hand to explain what the policy is. The problem is that some of the sources conflict (not very much). I explained WP:NPOV and what is required in such cases (we present alternatives and so forth - I have put a quotations from policy on the talk page). But I am rather getting at end of tether. Thanks in advance! Peter Damian (talk) 13:53, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

PS this refers.Peter Damian (talk) 13:54, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Neutral point of view/Noticeboard? Mr.Z-man 17:26, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. Didn't know about that. Peter Damian (talk) 17:52, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

sourcing adjudication board

Just wanted to be sure that everybody is aware of this proposal. (Discuss.) (talk) 06:20, 14 June 2008 (UTC)


I am certain I have read a policy about articles being located at the most assumable location, but I am finding nothing right now. In other words, if someone is looking for Nike, Inc., they should not find Nike (mythology) or a disambiguation page, as the company is the most commonly searched for usage. Any ideas? JohnnyMrNinja 15:30, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

You are probably thinking of Wikipedia:Disambiguation (which is a content guideline rather than a policy, but anyway). Sometimes it's hard to tell what the default article should be, personally I prefer to err on the side of caution and have the disambiguation page itself be the default (without a pressing need to the contrary). --tiny plastic Grey Knight 15:41, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
Alright, if there is no policy on it, then what are thoughts on making one? I personally do not like dab pages as default because they tend to be over-used. I think Nike is a great example. It can easily7 be assumed that someone searching Google for Nike is looking for the Nike brand (to test this, search google for "Nike" and see how many pages you have to go through to get a "goddess" or "missle" page). As such, I would think a simple hatlink on the company page could handle it, saying "For the goddess, see Nike (mythology). For other uses, see Nike (disambiguation)." I agree as a matter of aesthetics that I would like the original meaning to be default, but Wikipedia isn't about aesthetics, it's about getting information to people that are looking for it. Putting the information in the most logical location for people to access seems vital. JohnnyMrNinja 15:53, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
I don't think that follows; Nike, Inc. might crop up a lot in Google, but that doesn't mean most people are looking for it, just that they have a high Google index (which they can afford to achieve, while I understand shares in Nike (mythology) are at a bit of a low this century ;-) ). I know that for me, personally, I'd expect to get the latter if anything, since I'm far more likely to be looking for it than the company. Any given person's mileage will, as usual, vary.
I wouldn't support moving to a policy because one of the tests of whether something should be a policy is "what can/should be done if somebody breaks it?", and as I say it's too subjective to even tell if somebody has broken it. --tiny plastic Grey Knight 16:02, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Johnny, from your frame of reference Nike shoes are the most common use of Nike. For me I think of the Nike missle system, because my interest is in history and shoes are just something to wear, when crocs are inappropriate. Others think of the Greek goddess. Who is right? There is no universal right, that's why we have the disambiguation pages. --Kevin Murray (talk) 16:13, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Disambiguation pages are probably best when there are multiple significant uses of the word. Look at America, for example. Most people are probably searching for the US, but... Somedumbyankee (talk) 16:19, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
  • One problem with linking to a main article and having a hatnote is that it can become very hard to search "what links here" for misdirected links. Far better, in my opinion, to have a disambiguation page. DuncanHill (talk) 16:32, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
Indeed. I have been fixing those links by regularly checking new incoming ones since January 2007. - Ev (talk) 17:50, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Let's take page views for 2008-05, as those aren't subjective: Nike (the dab page) 55,398, Nike (mythology) 31,281, Project Nike 10,223, Nike, Inc. 172,441. As the dab page hits are higher than the goddess page and the missile page combined, it is most likely that people searching for Nike are not looking for these pages. As the company's hits are far higher than all other pages combined, it is clear that this article is what most visitors are trying to read. Further, though most of the links to Nike have been un-disambiguated, it is clear through the remaining talk and user page links that the vast majority of people who link to Nike assume it is about a company or brand, and not a goddess or missle. Personal interests should not come into play. I am not saying I have an interest in the company. I have an interest in putting things where people can find them. JohnnyMrNinja 16:34, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

How are people not finding the shoe company if it is listed among the options at the DAB page? The statistics you cite are a form of recentism and popularity; what is popular now may shift. --Kevin Murray (talk) 16:56, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
According to the page views, they are not finding it through the dab page, so they are probably either finding it in Google or through links from other articles. It is unlikely that they are typing in "Nike, Inc." to find it. JohnnyMrNinja 17:21, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
By that same argument, it would be very difficult for someone to find "Nike (Goddess)", especially without a disambig page at the proper place. I think a better solution to the issue is to leave the dab page there and let people pick what they mean. Celarnor Talk to me 17:31, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
The disambig page is very important. It doesn't make sense to me why we would want to inconvenience readers who don't care about shoes by removing a disambig page with several good academic and historical references linking from it. Celarnor Talk to me 17:19, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
Not removing, moving. And those people are very much in the minority (based on how much the pages are read, at least). JohnnyMrNinja 17:21, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
You're removing it from where it belongs, at Nike. People search for Nike, they could be studying Greek Mythology, they could be studying military history, or they could be looking for shoes. Per DISAMBIG guidelines, if there's a risk of confusion, then the disambig should be there at the search result. Judging that the numbers of views for stuff other than shoes are well into the thousands, I'd say there's certainly a risk of confusion. Celarnor Talk to me 17:31, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
Well, I already said my prejudices regarding disambiguation :-), that I prefer leaving them as primary when there's disagreement on the question. As you say, most people aren't hitting the disambiguation page anyway, they're going straight to the article. Do we have a style guideline on whether corporations should have suffixes like "Inc." in their title, now that I come to think of it? --tiny plastic Grey Knight 17:37, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
(e/c)We generally only bypass disambig pages in cases where it is really obvious like Detroit. There are other Detroits, but given their relative importance, it can be expected that the vast majority of users will be looking for the city of 900,000 in Michigan rather than the city of 247 in Alabama or the 1993 DOS video game. Mr.Z-man 17:39, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
I don't think the missile links really qualify as none of them are actually titled "Nike", but "Project Nike", "Nike-Hercules", "Nike Apache", etc. The company's article has over 5x as many visits as the goddess, so what would the problem be with a hatlink? What about Jupiter? Should that be moved? JohnnyMrNinja 17:44, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps. After all, the disambiguation page Mercury is the first example given in the disambiguation guideline. - Ev (talk) 18:00, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
Johnny is right, Jupiter should be a DAB page, following the example of Mercury and Nike. --Kevin Murray (talk) 18:03, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
I would say yes to the Jupiter move, considering the number of entries in the disambig page. Like Z-man said, we don't bypass disambig pages with a hatlink unless it is really, really unlikely that you're looking for anything else, and I don't think that's the case here. Judging from the numbers you gave, the mythological subject alone is getting tens of thousands of hits; not to mention that the shoe company's hits most probably come from google, considering there are way more hits to that page than the dab page. Celarnor Talk to me 18:03, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
(don't want to get too indented) Mercury is an element, a planet, and a company, all of which have modern currency, so that doesn't really apply (it's also a God probably, though Google doesn't show that Wikipedia article). At the very least, there should be some sort of rule about this. Currently this is very inconsistent. JohnnyMrNinja 18:16, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
There are already guidelines at DISAMBIG. If there's a risk that someone is searching for something else, then you have a dab page. It isn't really that complicated. Celarnor Talk to me 18:22, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Google versus WP Johnny a constant theme in your discussion is what Google does. Why I love WP is that it does not cater to all the crap, hype, and recentism, that is inherent in any search engine. I come to WP as a first resource to quickly get unbiased information. However, if I am doing exhaustive research, then this is just the first step. Look at Britannica, how do they handle multiple topics with the same name? We can't precisely follow that model, but we can try to emulate the logic based on our electronic restrictions. --Kevin Murray (talk) 18:32, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

JohnnyMrNinja's figures show that the shoes manufacturer is clearly the most viewed article of this disambiguation page, and by a significant margin. However, I don't think that viewing rates should be our main deciding factor for how to disambiguate. The somewhat subjective ideas of "encyclopedic significance" and the general expectations with which a reader approaches a book, a dictionary or -more specifically- an encyclopedia should be just as important. I see taking these other factors into account as the common sense and occasional exceptions with which our guidelines should be treated.

What does a reader expect to find in an encyclopedic context ? A search for "Nike" at Britannica, or a quick look at whatever encyclopedia or dictionary you have at home shows how these subjects are usually presented. For me at least, searching for "Nike" in an encyclopedia and automatically finding myself looking at that swoosh would be a big surprise... something contrary to every expectation that years of reading have generated. — For me personally, such difference of priorities is the one that differentiates between the yellow pages I have by the phone and the books I have at my right.

Sure, when watching TV, talking on the street or at the mall, Nike means shoes... but when opening a book that is most certainly not the case. — The moment something that calls itself an encyclopedia chooses to give prominence to a shoes manufacturer over the millennia of Greco-Roman heritage that forms the very core of our Western civilization... well... I'm at a loss for words... - Ev (talk) 18:43, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Kudos to JohnnyMrNinja for soliciting input at Wikipedia:WikiProject Disambiguation. However, there's no problem to solve here. Somebody types "Nike" in the search box, gets the dab page, clicks on the link to the shoe company or the link to the goddess or the link to the missile system of their choice ... it works just fine. Nothing to solve. Let's move on. --AndrewHowse (talk) 19:00, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
I consider the dab page to be a powerful educational tool. Someone comes here looking for shoes, and accidentally learns something about Greek mythology. It recalls one of the great pleasures of paper encyclopedias: serendipitous discovery. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 20:14, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia suffers from a lot of systemic bias, especially technological and US related bias. Disambiguation pages allows us to undue some of this bias, in a way. When it is obvious that there is one topic much more notable than the other topic (the primary topic, then that page is located at "Term" and the disambiguation page is located at "Term (disambiguation)". Sometimes, like in this case, there are multiple topics that seem prominent, depending on one's field. Thus, we get the disambiguation page located at "Term". The general guidelines for determining this are that if there is enough disagreement about the primary topic, that is an indication that there is in fact, not a primary topic (as mentioned at Wikipedia:Disambiguation#Primary_topic. In this way, when a topic is obviously the most prominent, it is made the primary topic, and when there are multiple topics all notable, there is no primary topic. Yes, we can look at Google hits and Wikipedia page stats, but internet users are also subject to their own bias. While disambiguation pages are there to help people get to the page they want to get to, and while we often want to make this as fast as possible, we sometimes have to sacrifice just a tiny bit of time convenience to keep Wikipedia unbiased. -- Natalya 21:16, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Indeed, to use another example, we have Java which is about the island. I suspect that most people looking for Java are actually looking for something else, probably either the coffee or the programming language/platform (for example [6] shows 2x more for the programming language and we have to assume a resomable percentage of those at [7] were actually looking for the programming language as well). And Google hits shows the the programming language predominates. But all proposed moves have been rejected, and rightfully so. The island home to ~125 million people is clearly the primary topic, heck most of the other things probably got the name directly or indirectly from the island. Anything else is a clear cut case of systemic bias Nil Einne (talk) 15:18, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

Request for Comments re WP:SOCK#LEGIT

There is a Request for Comments on the talk page of WP:SOCK regarding the use of alternative accounts.

All editors are invited to enter comments at the RFC to help clarify the policy on limited legitimate use of multiple user names. --Jack-A-Roe (talk) 22:05, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

Uh oh, ads?

So this edit was pointed out today in IRC

the edit

So its come to that has it now? Does that mean we will be getting popups as of Tuesday? or with the next change of skins and advertising?

This really seems to be a drastic measure, so has Wikia really not got that much revenue?? Are the servers suddenly going to stop?

On the other hand this could just be an honest, "We dont know what will happen in XXX years" and so we remove it.

But whatever it is, it worries me. Could anyone from Wikia enlighten us? (talk) 03:41, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

You'd be better off asking there. — Trust not the Penguin (T | C) 03:45, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
Yep. Wikia and Wikipedia are not the same entity. Risker (talk) 03:46, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

Unflagged quotes

I have been informed that the article Edmonton municipal election, 1963 contains a quote. Now that I know it is a quote, I can see it. However, I have mistaken it more than once for ordinary text and converted a unit in the text. This has unintentionally annoyed the most frequent editor (User:Sarcasticidealist). I think that there is something unusual about unflagged quotes. There must be some way in which that article can flag quote text to the uninitiated user. Can anyone suggest what needs to be done? Lightmouse (talk) 09:37, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

Discussion moved to Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style#Unflagged_quotes. Regards Lightmouse (talk) 11:06, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

Cosprings user page and piracy

User:Cosprings keeps linking to blatant sources of copyvio on his user page despite being warned. The last time he was advised by an administrator here, he removed a slew of bit torrent links. I just deleted two of the music piracy blogs from his user page, but even his own personal blog ("Silentsprings, the official blog of Sybylys") is nothing but links to torrents containing complete discographies of musical artists. Someone stop this guy from flaunting his user page as a one-stop illegal download hub. Also, his personal music he's linking there is admittedly in violation of copyrights via sampling. (talk) 22:54, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

I suspect this user is using Wikipedia as somewhat a webhost, and the history of his userpage is full of torrent links. I'll crosspost this to WP:AN/I which is probably a better venue. x42bn6 Talk Mess 00:29, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
And you can continue discussion here. x42bn6 Talk Mess 00:31, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

Imagemap & external links

Recently, I discovered that Extension:ImageMap allows for placing external links under the image. This feature has been abused and it's not really something that this project (or any of the Wikimedia projects) needs as a feature. The ability to turn on/off this feature is seen here.

Again, the real question is, does the English Wikipedia need the capability to link to other websites by clicking on one of the images hosted on Wikimedia servers?—Ryūlóng (竜龙) 15:12, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

How has the feature been abused? Is it spamming or is it some other vulnerability? Tra (Talk) 15:48, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

Is this being "abused" in any way that would be less likely using the well-known hack which does pretty much the same thing? — CharlotteWebb 15:56, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

It is the exact same thing, but it is a hell of a lot more easier with imagemap. And, there is currently a sockpuppeteer who is using a transclusion of his/her user space into high-use templates which includes an image displayed with imagemap and linking to an external website. This feature isn't necessary for encyclopedic use on Wikipedia (and people don't like the idea of semiprotecting the Template space). Honestly both work, but if you made that image larger, then you would see the real issue and abuse of the "hack."—Ryūlóng (竜龙) 15:59, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
I don't think that removing the feature would help much - there are workarounds (like the old version of {{click}} before it was converted to use ImageMap itself, an example of which is presented above) which would allow the same thing as long as external links were allowed on Wikipedia, and it would limit potential valid uses for the extension. If one particular user (or a sock) is abusing the feature, we block them as necessary and perhaps add the particular spam or vandalism to the spam blacklist. One might argue similarly that we should remove the move feature due to Grawp, who is surely a greater problem. {{Nihiltres|talk|log}} 17:22, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Restricted materials has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Restricted materials (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been edited to mark it as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 18:51, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

Reference density

I think it would be interesting to introduce new value - reference density. It has been talked already: Template talk:Refimprove#Reference density. --Kozuch (talk) 19:21, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

ArbCom trying to sneak in policy change on BLP

Those interested in the ongoing development of BLP policy might be interested to read this current proposed ArbCom decision. It's been attached to a seemingly unrelated case regarding a boring, technical issue of formatting of reference quotes, where few would be likely to see it before it's a fait accompli, and it grants sweeping new powers to admins to impose their will unilaterally on anything pertaining to a BLP. *Dan T.* (talk) 03:34, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

Incidentally, it does not just apply to articles about living persons, it applies to any content relating to a living person. The proposed remedy thus affects about 25% of our content. Risker (talk) 03:47, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
I find that pretty disturbing. Anything that clearly and obviously doesn't belong in a BLP is already easily removable; hell, we even ignore the three-revert rule when it comes to BLP. If something is too controversial to be immediately reverted as vandalism or is complicated/potentially real enough to be libel, then it should be reverted and discussed. Anything else needs discussion and consensus for or against inclusion. The regular editing process is absolutely fine for that. If you don't agree with a change, revert it, discuss it, get consensus and either put it back, keep it out, or change it somehow and put it back in. Under no circumstances should such carte blanche measures be granted like this. Between this and their "sourcing adjudication board", I'd say ArbCom needs a serious re-examination from the community. This is starting to get out of hand.Comment copied from BLPN Celarnor Talk to me 03:49, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
I think people are overreacting here. All this does is cement the fact that admins can page protect/delete to prevent BLP violations, and enforce bans against those who repeatedly violate BLP, without having to go through the mess of a formal ArbCom (again). It's not "unilateral," as any of these actions can be appealed to a community decision at WP:ANI. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 11:58, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
Umm, no. Admins may unilaterally impose sanctions as well as use their administrative tools. The sanctions can only be appealed to Arbcom or WP:AE; WP:ANI discussions are essentially irrelevant. The current wording of the remedy means that any administrative action involving an editor that is identified as being BLP-related cannot be undone without either of those two fora making such a decision; that would include responding to unblock requests or modifying page protection. Arbcom still has the opportunity to improve the wording, but I wouldn't bet on it. Risker (talk) 04:18, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
No. This is an attempt at a power grab. Generally, ArbCom can only act when a case is brought to it. ArbCom is a dispute-resolution body. ArbCom is making broad policy here: "Administrators are authorized to use any and all means at their disposal to ensure that every Wikipedia article is in full compliance with the letter and spirit of the biographies of living persons policy." That exceeds ArbCom's authority. --John Nagle (talk) 05:36, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
Spoil sport! I was looking forward to the news story where a WP Administrator commandeers an ICMB in order nuke a nogoodnick from orbit. "any and all means" :( --Gmaxwell (talk) 07:34, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
There's a good reason that the arbitration committee is a committee, and not some BLPite admin going happy on editors. ArbCom is the proper place for wide disputes that can't be handled by discussions, blocks and obvious vandalism, not one person. Like Risker said, only ArbCom has the power of undoing these potentially ruinous blocks; posting a thread at ANI won't help you in the least. To undo something caused under this ruling, you have to go directly to ArbCom. This cements an oligarchy and weakens the power of discussion and consensus between editors. Celarnor Talk to me 15:15, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
Looks interesting, can't wait to see where it goes. Oh an Celarnor, it explicitly says that if there is a consensus at a noticeboard to reverse a decision under this ruling then it can be reversed, you don't need arbcom to reverse it only consensus. 1 != 2 15:18, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
Actually, the link in the decision is specific to WP:AE, and appeals of blocks linked to arbitration cases are a little difficult to discuss there when the blocked editor can't participate (transclusion notwithstanding). Risker (talk) 15:37, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

Independently of the merits and demerits of the specific changes, I find it highly offensive that ArbCom imposed such a remedy in a case ostensibly about boring technical issues regarding reference syntax, without the slightest bit of relevant evidence being presented to justify the remedy. I have to suppose that this was done on purpose in order to get this remedy in effect with minimum "drama" (or community discussion). *Dan T.* (talk) 20:35, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

In particular, the rules about BLP-related blocks advanced in this remedy go substantially beyond existing practice (and since they do not bear directly on the content we show to our viewers, are much harder to justify). I believe that clear community consensus should be required to enact page bans, etc., not that clear community consensus should be required to reverse them when made unilaterally. Beyond this, I am not sure that the ruling differs substantially from current practice. That said, this sort of remedy seems very far beyond the scope of "arbitration" as a dispute resolution process. Christopher Parham (talk) 00:55, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

Well, it does somewhat reflect a current, problematic practice, but it strengthens the that practice, strengthens the idea that "invoking BLP is a blank check for doing whatever you want and not having to deal with the consequences"; even more problematic than that is the fact that it removes the community's ability to do anything about it. But yeah; even more problematic than both of those is that it was enacted without any community involvement or discussion by fiat, and that some people are actually accepting it. Celarnor Talk to me 01:36, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

Message box standardisation

Last summer the style for message boxes in articles were standardised and the meta-template {{ambox}} was implemented to allow easy creation of such boxes. Some weeks ago we standardised the styles for image page and category page message boxes by deploying the {{imbox}} and {{cmbox}}.

Now we have coded up the {{tmbox}} for talk pages and the {{ombox}} for all other types of pages such as "Wikipedia:" pages. This means all the namespaces are covered.

These meta-templates in effect become style guidelines since they tend to be pretty well enforced. Thus everyone is invited to take a look at the new boxes and have a say at their talk pages. We would like more comments before we can declare a consensus and deploy them.

Please discuss at their talk pages and not here. This is just an announcement.

--David Göthberg (talk) 18:07, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Restricted materials no longer marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Restricted materials (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has been edited so that it is no longer marked as a guideline. It was previously marked as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 18:52, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Global rights usage no longer marked as a policy

Wikipedia:Global rights usage (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has been edited so that it is no longer marked as a policy. It was previously marked as a policy. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 18:52, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

  • This began about 11 days ago, and the proponents had alraeady declared it to be policy. WOW! --Kevin Murray (talk) 20:24, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

Precedent-setting inclusion criteria for lists, categories, or portals?

Hi all. I am locked in an epic struggle over inclusion standards for a Portal on a topic that tends to invite controversy in individual cases (never in the general case, though). Certainly there must be some guideline against unreasonable criteria and how to determine whether criteria is reasonable or not -- but I haven't been able to find it. Of course, I'm sure there must be other categorical topics that incur similar controversy (the best I've found is a discussion regarding categorizing people as LGBT). I'm hoping such cases exist; even better would be policies/guidelines. TIA. - Keith D. Tyler 19:50, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Parental Advisory

I started this a moment ago because I think it could be very useful. Although it's only really descriptive of other policies, and really plays a communicative role, rather than instructional, I think it would probably be best if it could be wiki-edited away until improved enough to gain the same community consensus as a policy - which is how I'm tempted to tag it.... all thoughts and feedback most welcome. Privatemusings (talk) 02:09, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

It wouldn't be a policy, though. It'd be more like WP:WIARM if anything. Furthermore, I can't see the need. For one, when certain people inevitably complain, we point them to WP:NOTCENSORED. Why point them to a page that just points them to another page? — Trust not the Penguin (T | C) 02:14, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
ah - well this isn't about handling complaints at all! - perhaps the name I chose to kick off with has too many overtones, but I've been thinking for a while that an information page for teachers, parents etc. dealing with some of this stuff would be a good idea. I don't think the section in the 'not' article does the job very well at the moment, to be honest... it's intended to be a more comprehensive answer to the "should I let my child edit wikipedia?" question which comes up once in a while, do you think it helps at all in that way? Privatemusings (talk) 02:18, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
There's really nothing to enforce, require, or suggest on it, so I don't see how it could be a policy or a guideline. Mr.Z-man 02:31, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
yeah - it certainly doesn't offer any rules to follow or anything like that. I think though that it might be a good idea for a page like this to be worked on as hard as any policy, and that we, as a community, can come up with some sort of label along the lines of "This page documents official English Wikipedia advice, and is widely accepted." (clumsily cribbed from the policy template thing!) - thoughts most welcome of course.... Privatemusings (talk) 02:38, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
It's basically an essay. I've seen a few projectspace pages in the past few months that people didn't want to class as essays because of the "just an essay" attitude implying that "essay" means "irrelevant". I wonder if I should write an essay saying "essays are important"... :-) --tiny plastic Grey Knight 12:36, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
Well, it's also been pointed out in the past that not every page in projectspace needs to be classified as one of the Great Three Things (Essay, Guideline, Policy), so who cares anyway! ;-P --tiny plastic Grey Knight 12:43, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
This would be more like one of the pages in the oft-forgotten "Help" namespace or a page like WP:Introduction. Mr.Z-man 18:52, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
Yeah - I think it might fit well as a link from the 'About Wikipedia' page, which is after all linked to from every page on the site! - I'd still like it to be as rigorously vetted as possible.... :-) Privatemusings (talk) 03:10, 20 June 2008 (UTC)


Many articles about episode in a fiction TV series, movie, books, video games, ect. often use the word "We" or "Us" in an unencyclopediac context. Take the following (constructed) example:

Plot Summary Bobby goes to camp. At the camp, a girl walks out of the tent. We do not see who she is. Later, Bobby fishes. He does not inform us what fish he caught. The girl comes out and attacks Bobby. Then we are left with a cliffhanger, until the next episode.

See? I propose that a rule be set in place to prevent this. If one is already in place ( don't know how to check), it needs to enforced! Down with "We"! —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tutthoth-Ankhre (talkcontribs) 02:50, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

There are rules in place. That's why we have WP:BOLD. See the "we", fix the "we". — Trust not the Penguin (T | C) 02:55, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia:MOS#Avoid first-person pronouns. "per WP:MOS" is an appropriate edit summary when making this change. xenocidic (talk) 11:40, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

The first person pluralis majestatis should be replaced by "the reader" or "the viewer" or "the listener" depending on the medium, and hopefully only as a temporary fix as such sentences should probably be re-written from scratch with a less awkward structure. — CharlotteWebb 16:24, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

WP:ATT - update

In reply to the RfC on the status of WP:ATT (see above) we have had only 15 editors opine... hardly enough for anyone to determine consensus. Furthermore the responses are essentially deadlocked, with no consensus emerging between marking the page as "failed", marking the page as "Essay" or marking the page as "Summary"... We really need a lot of outside input on this so we can reach closure on what the status of the page should be. Please help. Blueboar (talk) 16:52, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

Proposal to discourage pagemove archiving

moved discussion

I suggest we begin to discourage pagemove archiving of article talk pages for a number of reasons

  • Bots use the cut-and-paste method, therefore making it a de facto standard
  • The one stated advantage of pagemove archiving, namely that it "makes it easier to prove that the archive is a true copy of the talk page before it was archived" is not compelling - how often does someone really try to tamper with an archive when cut-and-paste archiving it? Deal with problem users, don't assume bad faith.
  • Having the page history in a single location is far superior - if I want to find a particular contribution I made to a talk page, I don't have to search the history of several archives individually.
  • Pagemove archiving stifles ongoing discussions and also encourages harvesting the entire talk page, there's no need to have a completely empty talk page even if the discussions aren't active.

This proposal is related to several complaints with respect to pagemove archiving by Koavf (talk · contribs · count · logs · page moves · block log) - I'm not faulting the user as both methods are currently deemed acceptable, but you can see the complaints on his talk page. xenocidic (talk) 14:46, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

  • Disclosure notice: I have invited 5 users to comment here, two are proponents of page-move archiving, three are proponents of cut-and-paste. Koavf is one, the other three were the ones who took issue with the archiving. The last one is someone who reverted a bold change I tried to make to WP:ARCHIVE. I have also posted a note here. xenocidic (talk) 14:51, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Xenocidic here, and with Tyrenius' arguments on the user talk page. --John (talk) 14:53, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
People can just archive how they see fit. 1 != 2 15:08, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
Just to clarify, I'm talking about article talk page archiving. People can archive (or not archive) their talk pages as they see fit. xenocidic (talk) 15:18, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
Oh, I thought you meant user talk pages. 1 != 2 16:30, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
Clarified the first sentence. xenocidic (talk) 16:39, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
Something that might help with copy-and-paste archiving is to make sure that the archive has a diff or diffs at the top to where the information was archived from? Or perhaps an oldid? That might help with the "provability" (not a big concern as you say), and gives a point of reference. I see your point about having a unified history for the page. --tiny plastic Grey Knight 15:54, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
Interesting point regarding the use of diffs. I personally do not see the need, but would support it if others felt it would be helpful. Dbiel (Talk) 19:45, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

By all means advertise this discussion here, but the place to discuss changes to Help:Archiving a talk page is on the talk page Help talk:Archiving a talk page. For the record here, I disagree with xenocidic and think that moving is simpler and quicker than any other method. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 16:22, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

The resultant discussion archived can always be copied to the help talk page. As for pagemove archiving being simpler, and quicker, yes, it's certainly easier, but that doesn't make it superior. xenocidic (talk) 16:29, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

My two cents As stated above, I am in favor of page-moving personally and I am basically indifferent to whichever method someone chooses to use. As WP:ARCHIVE explains, there are advantages and disadvantages to both. The only really novel points I have are these:

  • If a method has been used on a talk page, it is probably best to continue using that method.
  • If anyone actually has any numbers on which method is used more frequently (and I find this doubtful) or any kind of polling data suggesting that one method is more confounding than another, I'd like to see it. Assertions that X method is the "normal" way to do it or is done "by the majority" are not useful unless they are substantiated in some way.

I doubt I have anything more to add, really, so I won't be watching this discussion. Thanks for inviting me, though. —Justin (koavf)TCM☯ 19:12, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

I agree with your point:
  • If a method has been used on a talk page, it is probably best to continue using that method
The problem is that even you fail to follow it as per the example indicated below in which you created archive #6 Dbiel (Talk) 19:37, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
I think that this is a new opinion that he developed after our discussions. xenocidic (talk) 19:41, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
Possibly, but he (Kovaf) had previous made strong references to the policy page that contains this point to support his use of the move method. But this is just one more reason to discourage pagemove archiving and to standardize one one single method for article talk pages. Dbiel (Talk) 20:02, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

Very Strong Support I fully agree will all points made by Xenocidic in the initial proposal. The following talk page is an example of the mess that gets made with the history files Talk:Nicolaus Copernicus Archives 1 & 2 were cut and paste, archive 3 was move, archive 4&5 were cut and paste, archive 6 was move. With the help of an administrator we were above to revert archive #6, but to restore the rest of the history is a much bigger undertaking. Current policy states that this type of mixed archiving should not be done, yet most/many/some users do not take the time to check how the previous pages were archived as was the case with this page. Also I challenge the point that move archiving is easier as if it is done correctly, you still have to cut and paste the portions of the talk page that should not have been moved which includes all headers and any recent discussions. I am one of the 5 invitied by Xenocidic Dbiel (Talk) 19:32, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

I've fixed the inconsistency for you: it's not very hard for an admin to merge the history back from a moved archive page (ironically, using the technique usually used to fix cut-and-paste moves in article space), effectively turning it into a cut-and-paste archive after the fact. Unfortunately, the opposite conversion is not usually practical, at least not if the archival was only partial. That probably constitutes an argument for one side or the other here, though I'm not sure which... —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 23:59, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Support – The advantage of keeping the history intact is overwhelmng, as far as I'm concerned. It's hard enough finding diffs of old discussions without having to play guessing games about why the history of the page just stops. Even if you do know about this issue it's a fiddle jumping across archive histories, expecially if there's an overlap for discussions in progress at the time of archiving. . . dave souza, talk 19:41, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
  • sup Ya, that makes sense if it for article talk page archiving we need to keep a but of a unified style. 1 != 2 20:02, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Support discouraging page move archiving instead we should consider history link archiving for places where whole pages are archived. Simply blank the page and provide a link to the history of the page just before the blanking. ;) --Gmaxwell (talk) 20:51, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Strong support Page move archiving makes it too difficult for non-expert users to find the history, and requires extra steps for expert users. It also indiscriminately removes the links to archives and any other special matter that is often found at the top of Talk pages. Someone comes to a Talk page that has been move-archived, sees very little there, sees very little page history, and assumes that is all there is. Finell [User_talk:Finell|(Talk)]] 21:22, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose general deprecation — although I wouldn't mind standardizing to one style for article talk pages, even if that style is suboptimal. Still, I really wish the reference desks (or the village pumps, for that matter), for example, were move archived. The big advantage of properly done move archiving is that the history of each discussion stays with the discussion: if you're reading an archived discussion, you know that clicking the "history" tab will take you to the history of that discussion, and that the history will be of manageable length. Conversely, on cut-and-paste archived pages, the history of a discussion will be at a different title than the archived discussion itself, and, on busy pages, often buried thousands of revisions deep. It's particularly bad on pages like the refdesks, which combine cut-and-paste archiving with archive transclusion: this causes the history of a single discussion to often be split between two pages, if the discussion has continued after archiving. I'm also having trouble understanding some of the objections to move archiving given above: to take Finell's comment above for example, surely a pagemove leaves a much more recognizable mark in the page history than a cut-and-paste, particularly if the latter is done without proper edit summaries. —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 23:43, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
This proposal only deals with article talk name space. Dbiel (Talk) 00:45, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose We have multiple styles because they're preferable in different instances. There is no good reason to discourage certain methods, because the method to use should be judged on a case by case basis. — Trust not the Penguin (T | C) 23:49, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Support use of cut-and-paste for article talk pages. User talk pages can do what they want and WP pages are a different issue. Article talk pages need consistency to avoid the mess resulting from mixed methods. Cut-and-paste is intuitive for all users and also flexible: sections of talk can easily be added to an existing archive when they are no longer needed. This cannot be done (for all practical purposes) with a move archive method. Ty 00:06, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Support encouraging cut-and-paste method for article talk pages. For reasons, Ty stated it well. --Jack-A-Roe (talk) 02:23, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Support use of cut-and-paste archiving for article talk pages, per Xenocidic. EdJohnston (talk) 13:47, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Strong support for all the very good reasons given in the initial proposal. To answer The Rogue Penguin above, that there is more than one way to do it is a disadvantage in a majority of cases, because it increases the possibility of someone doing it the suboptimal way. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 14:28, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Support cut 'n paste as the default option for article talk page archives. R. Baley (talk) 14:47, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Support for article talk pages. I'm not sure if the point has been raised, but pagemoving also distorts an editors contributions when viewed through edit counters (e.g. 23 edits to Talk:article/Archive1, 10 to Talk:article/Archive2 instead of 33 edits to Talk:archive). This is unfortunate and could give rise to misperceptions i.e. in RfA "Editor has 340 edits to Controversial Article but only 10 edits to Talk:Controversial Article. This shows the editor is not willing to use communication to resolve disputes". Skomorokh 20:04, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Support encouraging cut-and-paste archiving for article Talk pages. I would also like to encourage including historical revisions, diffs, and perhaps &offset= history links to increase transparency, as suggested above, but that can be discussed separately. Flatscan (talk) 03:24, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
    • It is a good idea, in my opinion, to include diffs. I normally write the dates of archiving in the intro of my talk-page archives, and I have just turned them all into diffs documenting the actual archiving (the fact that I had the dates written already helped me tremendously with finding the diffs, needless to say). Waltham, The Duke of 05:40, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Support – More consistency, unified history, less trouble than re-creating the talk-page templates and erasing them from the archive each time. Strictly for the Talk: namespace, of course. Waltham, The Duke of 05:40, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Support for talk pages. TONY (talk) 07:01, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

This poll if that is what it is should take place on the talk page of the page under discussion not on another page. This is a well established principle which has been in effect for a long time. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 18:01, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

Moved to WT:ARCHIVE#Proposal to discourage pagemove archiving. For how much longer would you like it to run for? xenocidic (talk) 18:07, 20 June 2008 (UTC)


New discussion should be at Wikipedia talk:Plagiarism

This is a follow-up to this recent ANI thread (and the bits before it). We currently don't do much to address possible plagiarism, as opposed to copyright violations. In fact, Wikipedia:Plagiarism is currently a redirect to Wikipedia:Copyright problems. We do have a bit at this section, but nothing covering and explaining plagiarism. We do have User:Andries/Wikipedia:plagiarism and User:MPD01605/Template:Plagiarism. I would like to challenge Wikipedia editors here to create something at Wikipedia:Plagiarism (ie. turn the redirect page into a guideline or policy) so we can address these concerns better. Some resources (remember not to plagiarise them!) are: here and here (lots more exist out there). Carcharoth (talk) 19:51, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

I have no time to contribute to this now (I'm about to get on a plane, and will be away for a few weeks), but I wholeheartedly concur with Carcharoth's suggestion. I've long thought that it's a great error that Wikipedia, which has help and advice on a whole multitude of other things, often with much redundancy and repetition, has absolutely nothing to say about plagiarism, even though this is one of its greatest weaknesses. See also the Editor's Guide to Wikipedia, which merely says for "Plagiarism," see "Copyright." This is an intolerable lacuna. --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 20:12, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
Rather than have a separate article, would it not be prudent to either rename Wikipedia:Copyright problems to something like Wikipedia:Copyright problems and Plagiarism (actually that doesn't work so well). But should be discussed there as it is an overlapping issue. There are so many separate pages that I stil haven't found some. Examples can then be spun off into a separate page, like Tony's writing excercises, illustrating what is acceptable and what isn't. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 21:03, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
PS:To add, that page seems to have a backlog and is possibly undervisited, so bolstering it and directing folks there to learn about how to avoid writing in a plagiaristic fashion would increase traffic and hopefully get issues resolved more promptly. Just please keep it centralised. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 21:06, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
OK, well the first question is: what constitutes plagiarism? Other than "I know it when I see it", what is our working definition? Franamax (talk) 21:29, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
Excellent idea. Plagiarism is a distinct concept from copyright. Although in some ways the two overlap, it is certainly possible to plagiarize public domain material. DurovaCharge! 21:31, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
So Carcharoth, where should we discuss a working proposal? And Franamax, it's possible to plagiarize public domain material. Imagine walking up to a theater company and asking them to consider a production of "your new play", Hamlet. DurovaCharge! 21:49, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
Yes, it's actually the issue of PD copying that we need to define. It's easy enough to call a copyvio, it's the broader issue of copying others works that we need to address. I do have a lot of Hamlet memorized though ;) Franamax (talk) 21:56, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
Definition A (I wish I could say I copied this from somewhere :) :
  • "Plagiarism is the copying of material produced by others, either verbatim or with only minimal changes, without attributing that material to the original author. Material can be plagiarized from books and other printed media, websites, and GFDL-licensed works, such as the work of other Wikipedia editors. The copyright status of the work is irrelevant, directly copying a public-domain work is still plagiarism unless the original work is noted. Material in infoboxes (corporate data, species taxonomy, etc.) is not considered as plagiarized." Franamax (talk) 21:56, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
Anyone have a suggestion for where we should work on this? Franamax (talk) 21:56, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
For now, suggest Wikipedia talk:Plagiarism. DurovaCharge! 21:57, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
  • I don't understand the problem, If it is copyrighted then we have Wikipedia:Copyright problems if it plagiarism of public domain work we have {{unreferenced}}. The only other consideration I see is that most public domain plagiarism (i.e. EB1911) is not appropriate for Wikipedia in its plagiarized version so it needs to be modified and modernized. As original work is not accepted in Wikipedia all materiel is sourced from some place, any work submitted as the persons own work would be deleted as WP:OR. So what is the problem that needs to be addressed? Jeepday (talk) 22:33, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
    • It is possible to reference a public domain work while still plagiarizing it. Let's say you copy/paste a paragraph create a reference, but you quote it without stating that you're quoting it. For example, imagine the blockquote at Felbrigge Psalter without source introduction or blockquote format--presented as if those were the Wikipedia editor's original synthesis instead of the cited source's actual text. DurovaCharge! 22:50, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
    • There is a spectrum between outright copying (Wikipedia:Copyright problems) and original research (Wikipedia:Original research). At various points, you have plagiarism and failure to attribute and you also have various forms of synthesis, varying from normal synthesis from sources, to synthesising sources to create an original position (WP:SYN). It's probably more complicated than a spectrum. And there are GFDL and PD points mixed up here. The key thing is to write about what others have said, but to credit and attribute them, and say you are quoting when you quote, but not to introduce original material. Carcharoth (talk) 22:57, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

Already have a guideline: Wikipedia:Citing sources says

Wikipedia:Verifiability, which is policy, says that attribution is required for direct quotes ...

Oddly, Wikipedia:Verifiability does not say that right now, but the guideline still does. Failure to rewrite source material in your own words without attribution is plagiarism; perhaps the guideline should say that, but as it stands, it covers the issue fully in 6 words. In an ideal world, ignoring the style guide shouldn't get the attention of WP:AN/I. Persistently (but arguably not disruptively) ignoring Wikipedia:Verifiability will probably get someone an RFC.

So, no need for a new page, in my opinion. --Hroðulf (or Hrothulf) (Talk) 08:18, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

That fails to cover cases where people still give a source, but chose to rewrite the information instead of quoting it directly. Insufficiently rewriting from a source, or poor rewriting from a source, is still plagiarism. We don't have anything covering that, and we should have. Carcharoth (talk) 11:43, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
Carcharoth, I hear you saying we should have a policy for plagiarism of public domain works, but I am not hearing you say why. It is not illegal and lack of citation is already covered by established policy. Lack of a policy does not indicate need of a policy. Jeepday (talk) 13:26, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
Since it is our goal to make an enyclopedia, I think we should draw the line regarding plagiarism with the law. Forms of "plagiarism" that are unfashionable in academic circles but are legal and do not damage our GFDL license should be fine. Now where that line is I do not know. 1 != 2 13:31, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
So if some Wikipedia editor found some PD source somewhere, copy pasted it in, and with minimal changes got a featured article, and claimed the work was all his, would that be acceptable? Not all PD sources are old. US government PD sources are possible as well, for example. It might be legal, but it is very dodgy ethically. Also, there is the issue of plagiarism of copyrighted works. Not all those examples are copyvios. There is a grey area where rewriting makes something no longer a copyvio, but it is still plagiarism. Carcharoth (talk) 13:54, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
Oh, gah! I'm doing it now. Wikipedia talk:Plagiarism. Please? Carcharoth (talk) 13:56, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
For a wholesale example, consider how much we've used Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "article name needed". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. . Attribution still matters. It's a simple question of intellectual honesty. There will of course be violations, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't attempt to do right.LeadSongDog (talk) 14:00, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
(ec) The comment above is of the sort that makes my little academia-addled head explode. What some might call 'unfashionable' might also be described as 'dishonest', 'deceptive', 'unethical', and just 'really, really, slimy'. I would be so bold as to say that if we're unwilling to adhere to minimum, widely-held standards of academic honesty, then we are failing to achieve our goal of creating an encyclopedia. Any project worthy of that name must take proper attribution seriously. On a project like Wikipedia, where the only compensation any of us is likely to receive for our work is recognition as authors, the importance of giving credit where it is due should not be difficult to understand.
Since when did we decide that any process or policy on Wikipedia ought to be defined by the minimum standard acceptable under the law? That's the territory of sleazy lawyers and greedy slumlords. We set standards that are appropriate to the nature of the project—to its goals and ideals. Wikipedia: The Free, Legal, but Unethical Encyclopedia just doesn't have quite the same ring to it. We keep telling people that this project is a serious scholarly work, that we want to build a trustworthy, honourable legacy for the good of humanity. Well, we have to walk that walk. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 14:07, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

Plagiarising while still being verifiable is possible.. Consider the following (all names and texts are completely made up) text which is the opening of the journal paper "Money does not Stink" by Jack Daniels : "In economics, it is common knowledge that money is important (Jones, 1970); therefore the transfer is money is often studies (see, Smith, 2000; White 2001)".
Now consider the exact copy of that line into a Wikipedia article without any reference to the Money does not Stink paper. Plagiarism: YES (the editor did not collate the sources, and the prose it not that of the editor), Verifiable: YES (we have Jones, Smith and White). Arnoutf (talk) 14:27, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

After reading the above, I'm still having a hard time seeing why plagiarism should be a concern for Wikipedia beyond copyright concerns. I just don't see author attribution as problematic when everyone here contributes pseudonymously (effectively so even if your username happens to be your real name) and no one has ownership over an article. The moral concerns would seem to arise only if someone tried to gain some benefit from a third party (perhaps to get a job?) through representing that what they posted was their own original words, which is a contributor's own responsibility, not Wikipedia's. Perhaps if someone could draft a proposed plagiarism essay/guideline, it might lay out exactly what the concerns are and what we think we should be telling contributors to do or not do, as well as to point out some identified instances in which plagiarism has occurred and the problems that resulted. Postdlf (talk) 15:45, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

From concerns expressed elsewhere, I get the impression that some academics see their work plagerised on Wikipedia. They don't complain, but someday someone might. It can't be nice to see stuff that you have written being put into Wikipedia practically unchanged (if it was unchanged it would be a copyright violation) and without any attribution. The reverse side of the coin is that said external authors can then be accused of plagiarising Wikipedia, when in fact it is Wikipedia that has plagiarised them. Does that begin to make sense now? Carcharoth (talk) 15:59, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
If the academics are living, then their work would be copyrighted and would be infringed if incorporated verbatim or "practically unchanged." Short of that, these concerns all seem very vague and hypothetical unless we can point to specific documented instances of complaints and problems. Postdlf (talk) 16:15, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
(1) Most copyrights for academic work are with the publisher, not the author.
(2) Plagiarism may not be illegal (in all cases), in any case it is unethical. Do we want to allow unethical behaviour on Wikipedia? Arnoutf (talk) 16:50, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
Living academics (or others) may choose to contribute their works to the public domain, or they may do it as a condition of employment (consider the works of U.S. Government employees, for instance). We could stuff as much of their work as we wanted to into Wikipedia without any attribution at all and never infringe a copyright. Nevertheless, we would still be very much in the wrong. It costs us nothing to give credit to other people for their work; why would we not? TenOfAllTrades(talk) 17:35, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
While editors on Wikipedia have chosen to voluntarily contribute their time, effort, and intelligence to this project – and many of us have chosen to do so pseudonymously – we have no right whatsoever to make that decision on the part of other people. That is the chief moral concern. (Incidentally, while few editors here would expect to see any sort of direct financial benefit from our contributions to Wikipedia, there are certainly other benefits which accrue. In a community like this one, there are significant social rewards to making contributions. An editor who claims the words and ideas of others as his own is garnering undeserved respect and reputation; he may also enjoy an undeserved reputation as a subject matter expert whose opinions may improperly sway editorial decisions here. The saddest part is that an editor who made identical contributions but with proper sourcing and attribution would probably be just as highly respected and valued.) TenOfAllTrades(talk) 17:35, 20 June 2008 (UTC)