Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 52

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Sensitive information

Is there a policy that covers including information that the government might consider sensitive? See the reason provided for a recent change here. Vegaswikian (talk) 19:40, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

No I don't believe there is one. I'm sure the DHS would get in touch with the Foundation if it wanted something removed due to security reasons. I reverted the IP edits. --Patrick (talk) 20:02, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
DHS? Department of Health Services? Corvus cornixtalk 20:09, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
Department of Homeland Security. If something has been published in a reliable source, WP shouldn't be removing the information without a darn good request from the government, not an anon IP. Karanacs (talk) 20:11, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
Department of Homeland Security, Health and Human Services is now HHS. This was changed a few years ago, you didn't get the official government memo? --Patrick (talk) 20:13, 5 August 2008 (UTC) :) Corvus cornixtalk 18:07, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

Any claim that the information is sensitive is nonsense, given that it was all sourced to major reliable sources (as it should be) and therefore already publicly distributed. As long as we conform to WP:V and WP:OR, government secrecy or sensitivity is simply a non-issue. Postdlf (talk) 20:16, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

The IP is way out of line. The so-called "sensitive information", well-known criteria that increase the chance of getting an SSSS on one's boarding pass, have been printed and reprinted in dozens of newspapers for years. Squidfryerchef (talk) 20:22, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

Does WP:LEGAL apply here? If so, is an AN/I report in order? --Clubjuggle T/C 20:32, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
It might just be a simple matter of WP:DFTT. Postdlf (talk) 20:46, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
Or, more healthily, it might be a matter of Wikipedia:Assume good faith. It can be briefly explained why the user is wrong (the edit summary is enough) and we can all move on. Sam Korn (smoddy) 20:49, 5 August 2008 (UTC)


Can somebody sort this out? It's used by valid articles such as grok but also as a cleanup category by {{neologism}}. --NE2 06:28, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

I think you may have posted this is in the wrong place. This page is for Wikipedia policy discussions. --MZMcBride (talk) 06:31, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
Can you post it where it belongs then? I figured something that presumably violates a policy would belong here. --NE2 06:41, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

ctitizenship -- which country, the old or the new?

In many infoboxes, there's a section for citizenship. What should be inserted if the country that a person lived in changed? For instance Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. As it absorbed more places, the Kingdom of England absorbed the Kingdom of Scotland and became the Kingdom of Great Britain which then absorbed the Kingdom of Ireland and became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, until part of Ireland split off from it and that main body became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland or United Kingdom for short. Should we put down the country that existed when the person was born, when they died, the largest period that they were alive? When a country splits or absorbs another country and a person's citizenship changes, do we need to wander through every article that has a likely citizenship marking and change it? Obviously, if someone has expressed a desire to be known as a particular nationality, we should follow that lead. A stalwart follower of William of Orange, for instance, probably would prefer their citizenship to be the Kingdom of Scotland and would probably turn over in their grave if we listed the UK. But what about the vast bulk of humanity? Personally, I think we should list citizenship according to what that area was called during the vast bulk of the person's life. Banaticus (talk) 10:36, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

The place of birth should be whatever the birthplace was called when they were born; the place of death should be whatever the deathplace was called when they died. − Twas Now ( talkcontribse-mail ) 11:35, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
I absolutely agree. But as far as their citizenship goes, I think we should use the name of the place according to how the place was named for the longest period of time that they lived in it. Banaticus (talk) 12:14, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
So Gerry Adams is British not Irish! Was George Washington a Virginian and not an American? --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 12:39, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
What infoboxes are you referring to? There are usually very few that ask for citizenship, instead preferring nationality. As such, Gerry Adams (who is of course a citizen of the Republic of Ireland too) can be called Irish without any ambiguous British/Irish issue arising.
If citizenship was asked, I'd be inclined to list all applicable, but the longer timeframe argument seems fairly do-able. Incidentally, you seem to have William of Orange confused with someone else: most of his followers consider themselves (particularly in the modern day) would consider themselves British over their home nations identities.--Breadandcheese (talk) 12:49, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
Think outside the box.
How about we should draw the obvious consequence of such dilemmas and just not list nationality in infoboxes, at least in such cases? Nothing that is in any way questionabe, open to interpretation, or in need of additional explanation or hedging, should ever be in an infobox. Fut.Perf. 12:51, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

For the most part, this is an issue of common sense and I don't think an overarching rule is appropriate. If a person, such as Mr. Adams or Mr. Washington, has their notability entertwined with a specific country that they were a citizen of, that should probably be listed if there was a burning need to list something. It's not unusual for people to have held multiple citizenships during their lifetime anyway, so it doesn't seem to be one of those "quick and dirty factoids" that should go in an infobox in the first place. SDY (talk) 14:53, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

New CSD criterion proposal

Just a quick note to invite comment here on a proposal to create a new criterion for speedy deletion. The proposed criterion is that where an uploader has supplied a copyright tag but has specified a third party as the content owner, without any evidence that their permission was ever given, the media will be speedied seven days after the uploader is notified if no such permission is forthcoming. This is equivalent to the NPD process used at Commons, and parallel to our NSD and NLD. Please weigh in! --Rlandmann (talk) 21:02, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

User-created illustrations of extinct animal species... being discussed here. I started the discussion out of the concern that such illustrations, which are necessarily speculative when based only on a fossil record, violate WP:OR, at least when no cites are provided to the reliable sources upon which the images are based. There seems to be a presumption in some of the comments that illustrations are categorically excluded from OR considerations, or that there's no difference between articles including speculative illustrations first published in a reliable source and speculative illustrations first published on Wikipedia. Postdlf (talk) 01:45, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

Consulting OR policy on images, the answers are less than obvious, but there is no clear proscription on works such as these. The only aspect of the OI policy which could bar these images is the final clause — "Images that constitute original research in any other way are not allowed" — but the example given makes clear that the clause refers to images created to advance original theories or propositions: "such as a diagram of a hydrogen atom showing extra particles in the nucleus as theorized by the uploader." This final clause on the OI section of OR policy does not, then, refer to images which merely seek to illustrate existing records and research, as these images do.
Moreover, the central body of policy does seem to allow for these images: "[a] notable exception to this policy concerns images: Wikipedia editors are draw...diagrams and upload them." Every diagram which is drawn for Wikipedia is a visual extrapolation of existing data, just like these drawings. These are a little off the beaten path and somewhat sui generis as relates to policy, but as there is no clear proscription, this is as perfect a case for Ignore All Rules as I have ever seen. The images are clearly improving Wikipedia, and we should make absolutely sure they are not removed. Mr. IP Defender of Open Editing 18:36, 8 August 2008 (UTC)


I know that some K-12 institutions block pages like myspace. I was wondering if Wikipedia could also be blocked. I take that back. Blocked from editing, not viewing. This would prevent problems with multiple users discrediting an IP or IP range. Sometimes there are some legit edits while others people are just playing around. This would not exclude younger editors. They would simply have to edit elsewhere, preferably at home. Libro0 (talk) 01:12, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

If you want to block editing of Wikipedia while still allowing it to be viewed, the block would have to come in place on Wikipedia's side of the connection. I think that they would probably refuse to instate a block like that unless there was already a history of vandalism from that IP range. They dont tend to put in a block before the trouble even begins. Soap Talk/Contributions 01:18, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

I agree, it would be a preventative measure given the higher potential at the elementary and middle school levels. Libro0 (talk) 01:36, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

On the other hand, we have middle-schoolers who are great editors. Sure, people who wanted to could make an account at home to log in with at school. But I think that, in principle, we are the encyclopedia that anyone may edit. Darkspots (talk) 01:47, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
These kind of vandals tend to be the easy ones to fix anyway (pageblanks, profanity and other dysphemisms, other obvious problems). The older vandals are a bigger problem, since they tend to believe in the righteousness of their cause and aren't susceptible to just being reverted and being ignored. SDY (talk) 01:57, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

We can block schools. We have done so from time to time when there is a serious problem but we generaly avoid doing so for anything short of that (and we once got an apology for vandalism written on an actual typewriter from a schoolkid).Geni 02:11, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Soap is incorrect, schools can block editing without viewing, and they should be doing it, not us. They would simply block, articles can still be viewed at, or if you want to allow viewing of history, and printable pages, block*&action=edit, and &action=move, etc. Prodego talk 03:22, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
If schools wish to allow their pupils to edit that is there choice. We of course may dispute that choice in specific cases but not as a general princple.Geni 03:38, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

We can and do block schools for periods of time, but we don't do it just because they're schools; in fact, we're more hesitant to block schools, seeing as they're, you know, schools, and only do it when it gets particularly bad. We do it because there has been a rash of vandalism from a specific range of IP address, and blocking that range of IP addresses is our last option. It doesn't have anything to do with them being a school; by your logic, we should also block workplaces, which suffer from similar problems. This is not 1984, we are not the thought police. We don't block people preemptively. We are the encyclopedia anyone can edit, and I don't see how your idea promotes that. In fact, it only contravenes it, as far as I can see. Celarnor Talk to me 12:35, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Pages like myspace and facebook that don't really serve any educational value make sense to be blocked at a school, where you're there to learn. Editing an encyclopedia is quite the opposite; you can't get much more educational than that. There's no comparison between the two whatsoever. Celarnor Talk to me 12:42, 8 August 2008 (UTC)


Given recent issues over civility, I've started an RFC at Wikipedia_talk:Civility#Policy_or_guideline.3F. Comments are welcome. MBisanz talk 02:41, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

Date of WP:N

Hi, can anyone tell me when the current version of WP:N went into effect? I understand that the policy itself was rewritten some time last year and just want to know when exactly it ocurred.

S. Luke 23:46, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

I found what I think is the first version that uses current nutshell with reliable secondary sources sentence. [1] Look at newer and older versions (and talkpage) to get the context of discussion at the time. (talk) 00:01, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
A much belated thank you.
S. Luke 12:34, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

Is this libel or should it be edited?

Noob here. Hope I'm doing this right. Does this constitute libel or weasel words? From article: Antony Flew There was a short discussion between me and one other person over there that appears to have fizzled out.

"Journalist Mark Oppenheimer suggested that Flew, then 84 years of age at the time of Oppenheimer's statement, has been suffering from a mild form of senile dementia for at least three or four years.[6]"

The actual words "senile" and "dementia" don't occur anywhere in the article that I can find, though it may have been inferred. Thanks. Here is the article: [2] Rrand (talk) 04:58, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

I haven't read all 6 pages of that article, but I did do Ctrl+F on it, and also didn't find a single mention of the word "dementia". Unless there is a synonym in that article for it, or another source can be found that says that, I suggest that that sentence be removed post-haste per WP:BLP. Deamon138 (talk) 14:31, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
I have read the whole article and the sentence is definitely not supported. Oppenheimer suggests Flew is mentally "in decline" and says that Flew states he suffers from nominal aphasia (described as a difficulty remembering names). Oppenheimer's article depicts Flew as dottery and unable to stand up intellectually to the people who have befriended him. And he suggests that the nominal aphasia is not a sufficient explanation for Flew's difficulties in recalling past conversations and definitions (though the examples given don't seem definitive to me). But other than the nominal aphasia no clinical terms are used. Most of this is covered in page 5 of the interview if anyone else wants to skip to the most relevant bit. -- SiobhanHansa 15:42, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
I've removed the line as per WP:LIBEL. Thank you for your input. :)--Rrand (talk) 22:49, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

Prodding user pages

I've proposed that user and user talk pages should not be eligible for PROD. See WT:PROD#Prodding user pages -- Ned Scott 06:57, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

Manual for new and small Wikipedias

Hello, at Meta there is the project of a Manual to help new and small Wikipedias, and a set of Wikipedia pages and help pages every Wikipedia should have. I would like you to have a look and comment. Kind regards --Ziko (talk) 11:25, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

I did a copyedit.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 14:46, 9 August 2008 (UTC)


Hello, I am a recently registered user, although I edited as an IP for a few weeks. After all seeing a lot of the Wikipedia, I decided I am going to spend all my time on Wikipedia namespace stuff, like studying policy and procedures. I do not intend to do article work at all. DrugProblemm (talk) 19:00, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

I'm not sure that this necessitated a VPP post, but wouldn't doing no article work at all kind of dissociate yourself with the whole point of policies and procedures you're studying? Anyhow, you may wish to join this group. –xeno (talk) 19:03, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
We welcome all people to WP, but I think that you will find quite a bit of resistance to an outsider coming here to tell us how to run the project. I would suggest that you spend some time contributing to articles in your areas of interest and later get involved in policy issues when you understand how things work. --Kevin Murray (talk) 23:21, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

I am a very very fast learner, thank you. DrugProblemm (talk) 23:53, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

I see you changed your mind about working on articles and created College fuck fest. Perhaps you've edited before under a different name? Delicious carbuncle (talk) 00:01, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
Sigh, time to block and get it over with. — Trust not the Penguin (T | C) 00:06, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
  • User:DrugProblemm was blocked as a sock. Let's archive this discussion to the round-file and be done with it. --Kevin Murray (talk) 04:08, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Arbitration Committee/Summary

There is a is now a Summary of statements from the Arbitration Committee RfC which had significantly more support than opposition. The summary clearly identifies suggested changes to the Arbitration Policy. And where further discussion is needed over the choice between some contradictory suggested changes. --Barberio (talk) 15:07, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

Any summary is dangerous because it contains the subjective editing of the current and future authors in deciding what to omit and how to paraphrase. Summaries can be manipulated to reflect POV. Why do we need this? --Kevin Murray (talk) 15:21, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
Because the main RfC page is currently around 100,000 words long, and it's hard to identify what the policy changes are.
The criteria I used to select the statements was as non-subjective as I could make it (10 net support), and if the original commenter wants to change their policy-changes summary there's nothing stopping them.
While it's nice that everyone got a chance to vent, engage in long threaded discussions, and so on, it is now time to work out what the product of the RfC is going to be. The point of the RfC was not to 'hear everyone out', the point of the RfC was to identify and fix the problems with the Arbitration Process-Barberio (talk) 15:37, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
How significant 10 net support is depends on a lot of things. If 30 people is against a statement and 40 is for I would have trouble seeing this as significant support. Also since when did number start to be the deciding messure. 1 opposing vote can mean outweigh a lot of supports if it raises a pertinent argument. Taemyr (talk) 21:28, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
I've no ownership of the summary page. If you think I've missed off ones that should be there, or included ones that shouldn't, you're free to fix it.
But I reject the idea that we shouldn't even bother to try distilling out some policy changes from the RfC, because we can't do so 'completely objectively'. What was the point of the whole thing, if not to decide on how to change the policy. --Barberio (talk) 22:16, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
The point of that wasn't to 'vent'. The point was to identify problems with which the committee, in that it has been allowed to disregarded its electorate and the limits of its powers and try to find ways to fix those problems without crippling the committee as a dispute resolution body. I think the discussion did a good job with that; the next step is to solidify the changes with the most support (i.e, no new policy, limiting arbcom so it doesn't doesn't exercise its power at will, and some common sense courtesy measures of notifying users when they're being discussed). Celarnor Talk to me 22:43, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

WP:LOGOS rewrite

After seeing attempts to use WP:LOGOS to bypass the non-free content criteria, I have proposed a rewrite of the guideline. Comments are welcome on the guideline talk page. J Milburn (talk) 14:19, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Template:PROD on User pages

There is a discussion as to whether {{PROD}} should be allowed on User pages. Please comment at Wikipedia talk:Proposed deletion#Prodding user pages. ~ JohnnyMrNinja 16:37, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Commons Scope: a proposal to clarify and re-write

The Commons Scope proposal now includes a suggestion, based on feedback so far, as to how Commons should handle Pdf and Djvu file types. Comments are welcome at Commons:Commons talk:Project scope/Proposal#Pdf and Djvu files. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 20:31, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Threats of Violence - when is a policy not a policy?

My attention was drawn to AN/I yesterday (due to a guest appearance) - and I noticed that another threat of violence had been made on wiki, was reported at AN/I and ultimately involved various authorities being contacted. I have noticed this occurring several times - and people seem to follow the exact approach outlined at this proposal.

The proposal does not require any editor to do anything, but simply offers what I consider to be good advice, and a concrete course of action if editors have unresolved concerns. It also has the benefit of accurately describing what is happening with regularity already. Is it time to mark this as policy? Privatemusings (talk) 01:56, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

Yes. Or at least as a guideline. Bstone (talk) 20:07, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for your support Privatemusings, glad to see someone can understand where this comes from =) NeuroLogic 01:32, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
Absolutely not as a policy, maybe a guideline if tweaked a little to make it clear that you won't suffer anything for not reporting threats if you come across them. As a policy, people could be sanctioned for not reporting threats of violence; sanctioning people for not contacting authorities (especially in this day and age) is completely unacceptable. Not all Wikipedians enjoy the freedoms to be had outside of the US and would prefer to minimize contact with law enforcement if at all possible. Besides, we shouldn't enforce off-wiki behavior; that should be up to the editors whether or not they want to have their name on a a police report and in databases.
Obviously, I wouldn't follow it regardless of policy/guideline status, but I shouldn't be able to be sanctioned or banned because I refuse to do something off-wiki. The only reason to make something policy is to be able to punish people for not following it, and if you don't want to do that, then why have it as a policy? Celarnor Talk to me 17:52, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

WP:FLAG and lists of bands

(This seems to me like the best place for this discussion, but feel free to let me know if it's more appropriate elsewhere. I'm still learning.) I have recently been removing flag icons from a number of lists of bands (for example, List of symphonic metal bands, List of progressive metal artists, List of power metal bands, and more) because I feel that they violated WP:FLAG. My arguments are mostly at Talk:List of black metal bands but I'll summarize them here:

  • Not for use in general article prose: "If the use of flags in a list, table or infobox makes it unclear, ambiguous or controversial, it is better to remove the flags". There are a number of reasons why a flag could be included on a list of bands, such as where the band was founded, where it is currently located, where the members were born or currently live, what style or subgenre of music the band plays, or even if they are some kind of an official band of that nation. I feel that their use is ambiguous enough to warrant removal.
  • Do not emphasize nationality without good reason: Nationality is not "intimately tied to the topic at hand" as WP:FLAG requires for them to be used.
  • Using too many flags: Most lists are filled with them.
  • Accompany flags with country names: "When a flag icon is used for the first time in a list or table, it needs to appear adjacent to its respective country (or province, etc.) name". This is rarely done.

A discussion at WP:FLAG (in the archives here) seemed to indicate that they should not be used in lists of bands, but there weren't a large number of participants in that discussion. In any case, my edits have all been reverted (in a way that I feel almost borders on WP:OWN) and discussions on the Talk pages aren't going anywhere. I think it's in everyone's best interests to get a wider discussion going as to where flag icons are and aren't appropriate. Ideas? Wyatt Riot (talk) 22:49, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

I agree: the flags aren't appropriate per your first two points. What flag for example would AC/DC get? Australian or Scottish? Deamon138 (talk) 23:04, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

I work in the field of black metal, so, I will comment from that standpoint. In the genre of black metal, the origin of the band has a lot to do with the style of playing. For example, scandanavian metal sounds different from U.S. metal and Norwegian metal. (Compare Von to Dimmu Borgir and you might just see a difference) Now, the flags on the lists of music serve more than a decorative purpose, they tell you where the band is from. That information gives a brief detail of the playing style of that band. Here is a scenario. Little "Johnny" is looking for a band, but he has no clue of the name. He knows of wikipedia and he knows the style of playing and the origin of the band. He can look at the list for that genre, and associate the origin to the flag. He can then search for the band with a more limited area. It's not like we have obscure flags. (We don't have any micronation flags) The flags serve a purpose of informatio/education only. That does not violate the flag guidelines. Undeath (talk) 04:30, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

You might have a point if every band played only the genre or subgenre of music associated with their area (if NWOBHM were confined only to Great Britain, for instance) and every user intuitively understood this simply by looking at the flag, but neither are true. As it stands, the meaning is ambiguous. Wyatt Riot (talk) 10:52, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
I agree that it can be ambiguous, also the current state of most of those lists seems to be "Bands+flags". I think either these should be a category (since they don't contain any detail which lists usually do) or be a list, but contain 2/3 sentences on each band. Those 2/3 sentences could contain info on where they/their members are from in more detail than a flag could (amongst other things). This would solve Undead Warrior's problem that all the nationalities would be on the page, but there would be no need for the flags. This extra info could then contain thins such as "year formed", "notable albums/songs", "band members", and whether they touch on any other genres, or anything else that can be thought of and reliably sourced. At the moment, those lists should be categories, but if you expanded it, then you get more info on there and solve the flags problem. What do you think? Deamon138 (talk) 16:40, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
You need to realize how big the band lists can get. Some of them, if we were to add the sentences, would become extremely long and extremely cluttered. This would pose a problem to people with a slow connection or a dialup service. The flags are small, and if you mouse over them, it says "Flag of (insert country name here)". Flags, in music lists, are space savers and are more effective on more browsers. Undeath (talk) 16:48, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
I agree. Flags are a wonderful shorthand — very, very useful for a quick assessment of the information at hand. Mr. IP Defender of Open Editing 18:42, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
Are you suggesting that the flag icons result in less data being sent? If so, I'd love to see the support for that. Text is clearly faster on low speed connections for the end user. Vegaswikian (talk) 18:49, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
If a list is too big to do anything except have the names, then a category is more appropriate. Said category could also contain more sub-categories by nationality e.g. English Black Metal bands or whatever. As for the fact that a list with more info would be longer, well yes visually it would, but I did a few test edits on one of my own sub-userpages, and it turns out that the word "Austrian" takes less bytes than the mini-Austrian flag, making your whole argument void. Besides, List of black metal bands is only 18kB ish, so there's plenty of room to expand that list. What are you worried about? Deamon138 (talk) 18:49, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
A category is almost always acompanied by a list. There are categories for 90% of the lists available on wikipedia. Also, a flag icon is not as big as a few lines of text. The flags are very small and loading them is faster than loading multiple paragraphs(which it would be considering all the bands). And, like it was said before, it's a wonderful shorthand. You can see the country just with a mouseover, which makes it easier than typing and reading the sentences. Undeath (talk) 21:50, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
"A category is almost always acompanied by a list." If a category contains the same info as a list then there is no point to the list. If there is room to expand the list, then expand it.
Also, a flag icon is not as big as a few lines of text. The flags are very small and loading them is faster than loading multiple paragraphs(which it would be considering all the bands)." Well physically the flag may be bigger, but as me and Vegaswikian said, the flags take more kilobytes than the equivalent text (i.e. the word "Austrian" which is not paragraphs), so flags HINDER dial-up users if anything. Besides, your point is mute anyway since when an article is only 18kB you don't need to be thinking about loading times.
"And, like it was said before, it's a wonderful shorthand." This is an encyclopaedia. We don't need to worry about shorthand. Shorthand belongs in dictionaries (i.e. just the definition and nothing else) or on msn. This isn't either.
"You can see the country just with a mouseover, which makes it easier than typing and reading the sentences." You don't need to mouseover at all to read. Plus words can be hyperlinks to the countries' articles, while flags can only be links to the images.
"In the genre of black metal, the origin of the band has a lot to do with the style of playing." I can't speak for black metal myself, but I can speak for rock music in general, and surely the era of the band is more important than the nationality? For instance, Black Sabbath sound a lot different to Iron Maiden, despite both being Metal. Deamon138 (talk) 22:54, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Related to an earlier comment why flags maybe usefull. I tend to disagree the flag is the best suited symbol. For example in the Punkrock scene there were at one time three styles classified as "east coast" - "west coast" (Both USA) and "British" were dominant. How to distinguish between two very different USA subgenres using the flag? Furhtermore, international band tended to adopt these styles, for example the Dutch punkrock band Heideroosjes plays in a "west coast style" which you could not make out from the Dutch flag. So while there is some relation between nationality and subgenre; that maybe informative to some degree for the informed reader; it does not meet the requirement in WP:FLAG that Nationality is intimately tied to the topic. Arnoutf (talk) 22:04, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

I think that, to properly address this issue, you need to take it with a case by case basis. Not all genres are like the others. Metal is not like rock or hard rock. Metal is tied with it's origins. That is why the flagicons are there. Undeath (talk) 03:56, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
So you're saying that every metal band sounds like the subgenre of metal associated with their location? Black metal bands from France sound like "French black metal" and Symphonic metal bands from Italy sound like "Italian symphonic metal"? Wyatt Riot (talk) 13:24, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
"Metal is not like rock or hard rock." Metal can be like hard rock. Think AC/DC. Also lots of bands dip into more than one genre. For instance, of two songs by Soundgarden, "Black Hole Sun" received the award for Best Hard Rock Performance and "Spoonman" received the award for Best Metal Performance at the Grammys, despite the band being mainly Grunge.
"Metal is tied with it's origins." All music is tied to it's origins. For instance, the British Invasion of the mid-60s had a less psychedelic sound to the following American Invasion of the late-60s. Also, I would say that with all genres, metal or whatever, the sound is more intimately linked with the era of origin than the location of origin. As for location in metal defining sound: Guns N Roses and Metallica are both from LA, are both Metal, and yet have differing sounds. Deamon138 (talk) 01:09, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
When I talk about metal, I'm talking about black metal only. (because this affects the proposed change to a list that I frequent daily) AC/DC is nowhere near like any black metal bands. Also, French black metal does sound different than Italian black metal, which, in turn, sounds different from Norwegian and Scandanavian black metal. Each place has a sound. For example, if you listen to a band like Behemoth(Polish) and compare it to a band like Deathspell Omega(French), not only will there be different lyrical content, but they sound different. I don't know how best to say it other than that. Also, to change the flags on the black metal list, you need a consensus, which you do not have. It's a stalemate, just like the last time. Undeath (talk) 06:56, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
But how can you guarantee that every visitor understands the flags to have that purpose? I mean, on Talk:List of black metal bands there were several explanations for what they mean, so it's obvious that they aren't viewed the same way by everyone. That's really what we're talking about here. The icons may be useful for some people, but they are very ambiguous, which is Reason #1 for not allowing them on pages where (to quote WP:FLAG) nationality isn't "intimately tied to the topic at hand", which it isn't on any list of bands which aren't official representatives of their respective nations. Wyatt Riot (talk) 02:11, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
And what about, "Accompany flags with country names"? That isn't being done. And if it is done, it defeats the purpose of the flags i.e. to show nationality easily. If I want to find the nationality of some band, I wouldn't necessarily now all the flags as well. A category is better than a list in my opinion, the lists aren't providing any extra info, hence they are just like the lists in the following category: Category:Lists_that_should_be_categories. Deamon138 (talk) 18:36, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
With respect, anyone whose primary defence is "This X is not like all other X" loses by default. There's no argument to be made that "metal is not like any other genre of music", other than perhaps on from a stylistic perspective. There's nothing anywhere which says that all Norwegian metal bands play in the same style, and that this style is radically different from British metal bands. It may be that each nation tends to favour a different sub-genre of metal, in which case the nationality is a red herring of sorts, and it would actually be the sub-genre that is "intimately tied to the topic at hand". (talk) 12:16, 13 August 2008 (UTC)


With the help of user:bstone, user:L'Aquatique, I've provided a re-write on WP:TOV as I feel this essay should most certainly be a guideline or policy. I've resubmitted it for policy, with three supports and no other interaction I'm not sure how to proceed...But I would like to see more community involvement. If the administrators check the history of the AN/I you'll see an incident just a few days ago, that clearly required attention to this as policy.

The original article is at WP:TOV and was previously denied as policy, L'Aqua, Bstone, and myself, are hoping the rewrite, will gain more consensus. I unfortunately have the feeling that because I am new, I'm being ignored for this sort of thing...I sincerely hope that's not the case, and that the Request for Feedback, will gain a positive result.

Thank you,
NeuroLogic 17:38, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

I don't think there is any way we can demand editors to go to the appropriate authorities. Consider the following (fictitious) case. A Spanish editor notices a Nepalese editor making a threat against a Argentinian co-editor. What should this editor do? (I can think of 4 authorities outside the Wikipedia community to go to)
  • Report this to his local Spanish authorities - This seems irrelevant as the threat was made on a US based site, from Nigeria and directed towards Japan.
  • Report this to the US authorities as that is the location of Wikipedia, the platform - It is very doubtful whether the US police would take such a report serious, and how they can act. Furthermore we cannot expect the Spanish editor to know which US police division is the appropriate authority (I am not from the US myself and I would have no idea, Id probably send a mail to or something???).
  • Report this to the Nepalese authorities as that is the origin of the threat - It is very doubtful whether the Nepalese police would have sufficient command of either Spanish or English (our editor speaks no other languages) to understand the original report and anyway, how should the editor find out which is the appropriate Nepalese authority.
  • Report this to the Japanese authorities as that is the location of the threatened editor - Again, it is very doubtful whether the Japanese police would have sufficient command of either Spanish or English to understand the original report and anyway, how should the editor find out which is the appropriate Japanese authority.
Hence there is no way that this can be a policy that demands something from editors; as asking the impossible is invalidating the policy. Arnoutf (talk) 17:50, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
I beg to differ, you seem to assume that authorities would be unwilling to route you to the appropriate law enforcement officials, to deal with a threat. It's a serious issue, an administrator can check the AN/I history for the incident, a threat was reported, and L'Aquatique and Bstone insured they contacted the proper authorities, and the offending editor was Canadian. There is always some channel of communication to a law enforcement official. Collaboration with wikipedians from that region, or administrators even, will allow an even simpler means of communication to them. It's a serious issue that goes ignored, and when people suggest that it go ignored, you see that high school threats went ignored on a wikipedia page, and victims relatives were furious because it was swept under the table, this day in age this is no excuse for ignoring such an issue. International communication makes it difficult, I will concede that, however should a threat of terrorism or murder come from another country, to another, you honestly believe the law enforcement officials would, ignore it? You're making broad assumptions not only on the intelligence and seriousness of the United States law enforcement, but the other countries...Such assumptions are gambling with people's lives. Unacceptable, even Jimbo urged threats to be reported, I fail to see how this is opposed? NeuroLogic 18:22, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
I only say that making it a policy, hence actively demanding it from an editor will be difficult; if not impossible. As an essay or gideline it is fine with me, and people should try to report threats (no discussion there) but I don't think it can be enforced (would you block an editor for failing to report a threat?); for that reason I do not think it cannot be a policy. Arnoutf (talk) 18:40, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

I think that TOV as a policy would be rejected, despite the clear logic and huge importance as keeping it as a policy. If we can settle on a guideline then let us do just that. It's absolutely horrifying that threats made by a psycho student of a high school which identify other students by name a targets for murder can be simply reverted and ignored. WP:RBI does not apply to such specific threats and anyone who thinks that this is the proper course of action is absolutely wrong. Just imagine for one moment if your daughter's name appeared on the article for her high school with a very specific statement that she will be murdered. Would you be perfectly content for Wikipedia editors and admins to simply revert and ignore this? Would you be more content if they reverted it but then put a note on AN/I asking/pleading for someone to report it? Or would you think the most appropriate course of action is for it to be reported, without delay, to the local police? Certainly option 1 is unconscionable and absolutely wrong by any measure. Two is perhaps the best we can ask for on Wiki. The third is the most appropriate and correct thing to do according to any sane, rational person. Anyone who passes off (and advocates passing off) these threats are simple vandalism ought to not get involved and find some article to write/edit. Bstone (talk) 18:56, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Your example is indeed a simple case, where it should work and should and could be reported to the local police. For this to be a policy it should also be applicable for complex cases, such as the example provided by me. As I stated above; no problem with guideline, policy is not possible to uphold; so we should not go there..... Arnoutf (talk) 19:20, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
The interesting thing about my scenario is it has happened in the identical way I described at least twice. The most recent time the revision was reverted, deleted, ignored and marked as resolved on AN/I. It had not been reported to authorities so it absolutely was not resolved. Fortunately L'Aquatique and I were able to dig this up and make the right call. In this case it was indeed an international call- to the Canadian RCMP in that area (I am in Boston). Thus, I believe that TOV does and can work in international situations (with some common sense built in). I agree that this should be a guideline. Do you support the current version of the "new" version as a guideline? Bstone (talk) 20:11, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
I would like to clarify I support it as a guideline, considering there would be notable exceptions, such as joke threats, some friend of an editor signing "I'mma kill yew!" on their talk page...That sort of thing. Just to clarify. NeuroLogic 21:33, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Ok, so it looks like we're all agreed. So, should we mark is as a guideline per this discussion? Bstone (talk) 09:16, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
 Done If there's an issue it will be reverted, but I believe we have enough support to keep this as a guideline. Thanks everyone who supported us. NeuroLogic 14:27, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Articles on elections has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Articles on elections (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) 18:47, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Politician Signatures on Wikipedia

Dear Wikipedia (and wikipedians),

I don't see why there should be signatures of celebrity's (in particular political figures) on the wikipedia pages.

To begin:

  • It carries no encyclopedic value.
  • Obama's signature might be unique, but so is every other signature. The fact that everyone has a unique signature makes it not unique for anyone to have.
  • People who want to know more about Obama, do not need the signature of him.

I'm not asking that wikipedia should be placed under ANY censorship. However Wikipedia should remain to the point and be the best encyclopedia available without useless signatures that cause bandwidth which will need atleast 1 more server to serve, especially if it carries no function what so ever.

I hope more people can agree with me. I really like Wikipedia but i also remember Wikipedia to refuse useless content that does not meet the standards. Wikipedia can only remain high quality if it doesn't drift off to deep into the sea. You'll lose the shore view that way. (talk) 01:13, 8 August 2008 (UTC) also know as: MuisjeNL (talk) 01:16, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

  • I do agree that signatures of non-leading politicians have little reason to be included here (e.g. the sigs appearing at Barak Obama and John McCain); i.e. politicians who do not have signatory power to enact law or otherwise sign on behalf of a branch of government or a nation. However, once a politician is in a position of having such signatory power (governor, president, prime minister, etc.), that leader's signature carries meaning (depending upon the context of its rendering) that is more than simply a personal identity mark, but rather a mark that indicates the signatory exercising official authority on behalf of a government. However there is that matter of celebrity that you brought up. Signatures of celebrities can have tangible financial value depending upon the context in which they appear (e.g. guitar used on stage by a rock star; sports item from a particular game or season signed by a sports star). If the signature has been documented to have value in such a context, then that makes sense to include (with proper supporting citations). --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 02:31, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
  • How are John McCain and Barack Obama "non-leading politicians"? One of them will be the next US president (barring a hugely unlikely turn of events). Both also have power that you say they don't have: they are Senators after all. As for the question of whether we should have signatures on Wikipedia: WP:NOTPAPER. Deamon138 (talk) 16:49, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
Neither of them can create a law by signing a piece of paper right now. --Carnildo (talk) 22:18, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
What does that have to do with whether we should have their signature or not? Their signature is verifiable, and signatures are in general notable information, therefore they go in. Deamon138 (talk) 22:58, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
We differ on whether signatures are intrinsically notable or not: I do not consider signatures in general notable information unless they have a meaning that goes beyond simply identifying a person. In my comment above, I outlined conditions under which a signature could be considered to be notable, in my opinion. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 11:33, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
I would say one of the main reasons why they notable is that a lot of people like collecting signatures when they meet someone famous. Clearly the signatures carry either monetary or sentimental value to all those people at football games or other gatherings of famous people. To me, that is notable. Deamon138 (talk) 01:13, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
I agree with the monetary value argument but not the sentimental value argument; I have included the notion of 'demonstrated monetary value' as one case. Take baseball or football as an example, following from your comment; the signature of a benchwarmer would likely never have demonstrated monetary value, but that of a modern star quarterback or pitcher might (WP:CRYSTAL, though) and of a historical star quarterback or pitcher can (given citation to support monetary value). Now, I understand that only a topic need demonstrate notability and that facts within a notable topic need only demonstrate verifiability; however, I would personally come down on the side of "demonstrated" value, where you might come down on the side of "potential" value, and I certainly wouldn't remove your addition of a signature under those circumstances because we are really talking about guideline-level statements rather than policy-level. In the case of "leader signatures" I would replace "monetary value" with "proxy value" in the form of signing for the State (proxy for the collective entity that is the Government). --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 01:20, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
I think though that if a person was notable enough to have an article, then they are notable to have their signature wanted by some people. I don't think we can demonstrate monetary value of a particular signature due to the difficulty of finding such info (cite to ebay lol?!), but I think we can assume it has value, since the subject is notable (no matter that the person is a benchwarmer, there are some crazy fans out there who want those signatures). My point was though, that the idea of a signature of a famous person carries value to at least a certain group of people, the more famous, the more people. And I reckon it can carry sentimental value, most likely to those who collect such things, or are fans of such teams etc. My argument is not "Obama's signature carries value", but "signatures of notable people carry value (of some form) to society, therefore if a signature of person X is verifiable, it can be included in X's article due to its probable societal value". I think the fact that society deems signatures to be valuable or noteworthy shows the difference between that and random pieces of insignificant information. For instance, you wouldn't add "X has green eyes" to an article, because that is insignificant, but a signature can be significant in societies eyes. Btw, I'm English, so when I mentioned football above, I was actually talking about soccer, but no matter, the analogy applies to all sports really, and I know what a quarterback is so that was ok (although that's the only American football position I know of). Deamon138 (talk) 23:12, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
The fact that they take up a (minuscule) amount of space and bandwidth is a non-issue. Don't worry about performance. It's certainly not a server's-worth. By my reckoning we'd need over 100,000 signatures just to take up 1GB of disk space. — Matt Eason (Talk • Contribs) 17:16, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
I don't see much positive purpose in including a person's signature whether they have "signatory power" or not (maybe because a bogstandard forgery looks more believable than cheques I've written while drunk... but that's another matter). Apparently a lot of people feel that this is useful information, so I can't be bothered enough to complain... as long as the licensing is not suspect (hmm... is Obama's sig really a work of the U.S. Federal Government as defined by Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105? Would it depend on what document Obama was signing? What does the uploader mean by "information that is common property and contains no original authorship"? That's what I really want to know...) — CharlotteWebb 04:08, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

page protection banner

Is there a policy on the use of the "small" parameter in page-protection notices? I feel like the giant banner across the top of a protected article just makes the whole project look cheap, especially to the vast majority of readers who have no intention of even trying to edit it in the first place. Am I wrong? I Imagine this has been discussed before, but I couldn't find it. --Coemgenus 14:49, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

For a concrete example of what I mean, see Georgia (country). --Coemgenus 14:50, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
I don't know if there's an actual policy or guideline, but the normal convention is short-term protections get the full banner, while long-term protections get the small icon. I don't think there's an official definition of short vs. long term though. Mr.Z-man 15:58, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
Agreed, that's common practice as I know it. Especially for longish protection resulting from ongoing, but non-dispute, vandalism issues -- no edit wars, just the article gets a lot of crap in the wind -- I favor using the small icons. In the particular case of the Georgia article with such a very current issue getting a great deal of attention, I could go either way, but the larger banner does make sense. – Luna Santin (talk) 16:04, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
I understand why people want the large banner -- I'm sure the article is attracting a lot of new editors and anons -- but when a reader sees an article, the first thing he sees should not be something to do with editing. Or, at least that's my take on it. Maybe I should come up with a proposal for something better. --Coemgenus 17:17, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
We went around and around with this on Burmyanmar during the rather ugly name dispute. My feeling at the time was that it was appropriate to include it clearly on the main page from the standpoint of honesty: if a page is protected for some reason it tells a reader "take this with a grain of salt, it's under construction and there are some problems." The entire project should be read with that disclaimer, but people don't always get that message. SDY (talk) 17:23, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Which is a fair point. I believe the idea is to remind readers that the article can be edited and is currently the subject of controversy, which alerts them to a variety of possibilities regarding its content. Now and then we see proposals for a system message indicating a page is protected (probably displaying the protection summary, so we'd need to use pretty ones), which might work out better from a user standpoint. (post-ec, I see I pretty much duplicated SDY's reasoning, which I suppose is a good sign? :p) – Luna Santin (talk) 17:27, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
You both make a good point: sometimes it looks bad for a reason. Better to let readers know up front that there are problems than to possibly give inaccurate or incomplete information. I guess that, unless the software is developed to do it as a system message, the current method is as good as it can be. --Coemgenus 17:37, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

People of X country

I have found the lists at Lists of people by nationality, and I'm not sure about them. Those list simply enumerate "famous" or "notable" people, just by listing names.

The problem with those lists is that they are completely open (they could never be considered to be complete), no rationale to sort who belongs to it and who doesn't (except for the nationality itself), no order, no explanations or detail besides a "president" or "actor" single word note, they are not based over a given source that determines who would indeed be those "most notable" people of the country, and so on. All those disadvantages would make those lists strong candidates to be categories instead. However, such categories already exist anyway.

I thought about starting a deletion discussion, but it's really a huge number of lists. Before doing so, I would like to know if there is some consensus to start such deletion or consider it.

I have noticed that there was a previous discussion at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Lists of people by nationality, the list of lists was not deleted because it's useful unless all the specific lists were deleted. I agree with that, of course, but I wouldn't be talking about just the list of lists but about all the lists in it. Benito Sifaratti (talk) 02:38, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

These may be useful if they include all people with articles (and only people with articles); they can be better than categories because they'd organize the people within each nationality in some fashion (such as by profession). Ideally, I believe this sort of thing would be carried out by dynamic list generation using category intersection; but not technical support for such a thing is currently available. Dcoetzee 06:57, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
List pages can give us functionality which categories cannot easily offer, though currently these lists seem to give only profession, nationality, and date of birth/death. With very large listings, it makes sense and I believe is common practice to limit entries to subjects which already have or obviously could have articles. Would it make sense to offer slightly more information? Say, a book or two a given author has written, a movie or two an act(or|tress) has been in, an office or two a politician has held? I see some athlete entries mention teams they've played for. This could open up a can of worms, without some pretty objective criteria (how do we pick a handful of movies, out of dozens?), but could greatly increase utility for our readers. – Luna Santin (talk) 16:13, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
Actually, subcategories of "people of X country" of the type "people of Y proffesion at X country" do exist ("Actors of Spain", "Singers of France", etc). I know that lists have a number of advantages if compared with categories, but those lists in particular do not employ any of them, and do not provide any use that isn't already served by the categories, wich would make them completely redundant. Benito Sifaratti (talk) 16:20, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
I was trying to avoid being long-winded and may have inadvertently omitted the thought, but felt roughly the same way. Thus, the suggestion to add more utility if we can. :) – Luna Santin (talk) 16:28, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
I think the right solution in the long term is to allow attribute-value pairs to be attached to article topics, and allow list pages to display queries over these. Lists are 100% redundant information, only summarizing a few key pieces of information from each article in the list. This would be quite an endeavor to produce of course, but it would be a hell of a lot more efficient - and less work to maintain - than generating lists by hand. Dcoetzee 23:37, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
This happens regularly at AfD; I've said it hthere, and I'll say it here. Categories are ugly, all but unreadable to humans, and can't contain much more information than the title of the article itself. This makes them good for machine organization, but bad for human readership. For people, we have lists. Lists work much better in presenting information that can be easily synchronized from a category (and vice versa); they allow formatting, citation, and extra information that can further subdivide the lists. For me, the value of them is clear, with the last part alone. Celarnor Talk to me 01:38, 16 August 2008 (UTC)


The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.
Resolved: Blocked sock trolling

I have started an essay at WP:SLUT. Its a work in progress and i dont have time to write more tonight. Feel free to add your thoughts on it though. Ritchie Family 78 (talk) 03:57, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

All parts of the project are important, from articles to XfD to our internal policy; while, ultimately, we're here to present an encyclopedia, there's a lot more to that process than simply writing articles, at least in an environment where anyone can freely edit pretty much anything on the project. People do what they do they do best; if copyediting is what they do best, then they should feel free to do that. If reverting simple vandalism is what someone does best, then they should feel free to do that. If knowing all of the ins and outs of the current incarnation of policy is what someone does best, then they can lend their knowledge at XfD or new policy discussion. If someone's talent is writing bots to perform automated editing tasks that no one really wants to do, there's nothing wrong with that. It all helps the project, and I don't think that calling those who don't have FAs to their name deserve to be called "sluts" simply because they perform different, yet just as essential tasks as everyone else. This will probably get MfD'd anyway, but for what its worth, I find it more than a little insulting and prefer that it be gone. Celarnor Talk to me 04:05, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Deleted. BJTalk 04:10, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

What was the essay about? People who don't contribute to FAs are sluts? I am confused... this account was created a little over a day ago and has four edits. SLUT! — Twas Now ( talkcontribse-mail ) 04:17, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for pointing that out Twas, you turned a lightbulb on for me. The essay was basically describing someone who engages totally in the meta side of the 'ped without contributing to articles. –xeno (talk) 04:27, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm starting to think that it wasn't really about that; when I first saw it, I thought that it was critical of users who mainly reside in the project space, but looking at the users contributions, I'm thinking maybe it was more geared toward this type of thing. Celarnor Talk to me 04:33, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
No, I think it's geared towards myspacers or the people who spend most of their time in user talk just "shooting the shit". That talk page was forumy but doesn't reach the levels that the slut essay is critical of. –xeno (talk) 04:47, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Oh, I was right, by the way. confirmed sock of Jean Latore. thanks again for turning on that lightbulb, Twas. –xeno (talk) 04:50, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
    No problem. I was just looking for an excuse to call another editor a slut. Man, these Wikipedia "civility" guidelines are oppressive! — Twas Now ( talkcontribse-mail ) 05:03, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I also believe that editors who help encourage contributors, maintain social integrity, and encourage collaboration are just as critical, even if they edit nothing but user talk pages. If corporations spend resources boosting morale, so should we. Dcoetzee 21:31, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Bot creating unreferenced articles about geographic places

A bot, User:Kotbot is creating innumerable unreferenced stub articles about villages in Poland, such as Kosiorów, Łódź Voivodeship. I am not specifically complaining about this one article, but about the whole series being created by Kotbot [3], which is growing at the rate of hundreds per hour. The only "source" is the corresponding Polish Wikipedia article. No Wikipedia constitutes a reliable source, so these myriad articles violate WP:V and have no reliable sources. It seems a big mistake to unleash a bot to create Wikipedia articles with no sourcing to any reliable source, such as a government census database. The result of this practice is that hoax articles about nonexistent hamlets will get translated into unsourced articles in all the other language Wikipedias. Even if we grant inherent notability to real census units, villages and hamlets, many such articles get deleted through AFD because they are non-notable neighborhoods within cities, or ar merely a street where a developer has erected a housing development, are are purely made up, or are fictional. The source articles in the Polish encyclopedia are themselves in some cases apparently without references, such asBielawy, Łęczyca County and[4]. (Perhaps a bilingual editor can better evaluate the sourcing in the non-English article). Many of the source articles are just based on there being a name on an online map. This bot was approved by two editors at a thinly attended Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval/Kotbot 3, but it was supposed to include population and area, which seem to be missing, and there was no discussion there of the applicable policies WP:V or WP:RS. I have never been involved with bot approval or bot approval revocation. What is the forum for that? Edison (talk) 17:13, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

This thing needs to be stopped, and have all of its contributions rolled back immediately. The contributions don't meet the requirements of WP:N, or the criteria in the proposed geographic location notability guideline, which read A human settlement such as a city, town or village is considered notable if it has received significant coverage in reliable secondary sources. Inclusion on an atlas or in a census is generally not be sufficient to demonstrate notability, as the coverage in an atlas is unlikely to count as significant and a census would count as a primary, rather than secondary source. Nonetheless, information sourced to an atlas or a census would be valid information to include in an article. All it is creating is information-free stubs.
Kww (talk) 18:04, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Bot policy says one requirement is that it ":* carefully adheres to relevant policies and guidelines" which include WP:V and WP:RS. When a user contacted the Bot operator earlier with complaints about nonadherence to WP:V and WP:RS, he said it was "against common sense to have the results of the hard work of other-language Wikipedians left inaccessible to our readers because of over-zealous application of rules on sourcing." But the source articles in most cases appear to be simply drawn from a geographic database in online maps. Edison (talk) 18:15, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I don't agree with the proposed guideline you quote above and it seems to run counter to what the practice acutally is at AFD so does not seem to be descriptive of the current consensus. The best thing to do would be to ask the bot operator to get the bot to add the source to the articles being created. I note that on his talk page - here User talk:Ajh1492#Unreferenced, bot created stub articles he has stated the source and that they will be expanding the articles. I feel and hope he would be receptive to getting the bot to make the source part of the initial creation. Davewild (talk) 18:18, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
(discuss)-- The population data is based off the Central Statistical Office (GUS) Population: Size and Structure by Administrative Division (in Polish) dated 2007-12-31. GUS is partially equivalent to the US Department of Commerce. The villages are also only the Sołectwo, so there is a basis for creation. As the KotBot page says, it only creates the pages that it has been instructed to create - it's not a free-range bot :). Kotniski and myself, as native English speakers who understand Polish fluently, are verifying the pages as they are created (I suggest you look at Lublin Voivodeship for articles which have been reviewed, not Lodz Voivodeship where they are in process). We will be increasing content, over time, as additional passes are made through the articles, so by no means are the articles completed.
KotBot is an approved 'Bot doing the task it was designed to perform.
Ajh1492 (talk) 18:21, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

We are both planning on adding additional relevant historical (post-WWII boundary changes, etc.) and geographical information (geographical mezoregions, rivers, etc.) to each entry. Currently KotBot adds national/regional parks that are adjacent/within the boundaries of the Villages.

No WP article is absolute, total and completed prior to it's posting. What you are complaining about are active works in progress.

In reply to the statement that is just producing useless articles, the Villages being created are the smallest administrative units within the Republic of Poland.

Ajh1492 (talk) 18:30, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Thank you for the excellent work you are doing. I believe that the articles being created are 100% notable, and any standard which would exclude them is not a standard fit for an encyclopedia. Mr. IP Defender of Open Editing 18:39, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Davewild offered a reasonable suggestion. I've updated and tested KotBot's code to include the GUS reference in the initial creation of the article, starting with Osiny, Łowicz County. We will catch the previously created articles on our next pass through.

I think Kotniski should be thanked for being BOLD and having a PLAN to increase useful content on EN.WP and PL.WP. Me? I'm assisting and adding my programming skills.

Ajh1492 (talk) 19:14, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

I seriously doubt whether all these villages are notable; especially since the few I checked were stubs even in Polish Wiki; and thus are borderline notable at best in Polish Wikipedia. Furthermore, a small village that may be notable in Poland may not be notabel on the internation scale English Wikipedia is reporting. So I tend to agree with the original post here that the bot is a bit hyperactive in taking over these articles. Could the bot not be programmed to include only articles that have a certain length (say more than 2kbyte) to prevent inserting all these stubs into the English Wikipedia? Arnoutf (talk) 22:28, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
This bot does not comply with WP:N, in that it is not using a list of villages that have been discussed in multiple, independent, reliable sources. It is using a list of villages from one source, and is not making any effort at all to guarantee that the villages it lists have other sourcing. It should never have been approved, and needs to be stopped. Now.
Kww (talk) 22:40, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
These articles seem to be well in line with normal practice on wiki with regard to the notability of populated places. Can you point to instances where notability was interpreted in a way that would result in the deletion of this sort of article? Christopher Parham (talk) 22:51, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
I have seen several villages been nominated for deletion, but because a human editor had been creating these articles in many cases the creator succesfully argued for maintaining the article. My issue here is that a bot is indiscriminantly translating stubs from another language Wiki into the English version; I think the decision to copy a foreign stub (if it is longer, fair enough, I trust the bot - see my suggestion above) into English wiki requires an editorial decision whether it meets WP:N. I do not think a bot can make these decisions. Of course the bot could compile lists of "stubs of Polish settlement for potential inclusion in English Wikipedia" but I do not think the bot should make the decision. Arnoutf (talk) 23:04, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
Personally, I don't think there should be any lower bound on size for the inclusion of incorporated towns and villages, so I consider all verifiable villages to be worthy of inclusion, no further judgment necessary. Hence it seems like a fine bot task to use an official list of villages to build up Wikipedia. Dragons flight (talk) 23:19, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
I agree, and move that we ignore notability where it goes agains our goals. --NE2 23:33, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
Re: DragonsFlight. Ok, I think we have a different idea here, but I see and respect your opinion on this (although I don't agree). Re:NE2 Can you tell me what our goals are; creating many stub articles (in which case I would agree with you, but I dont think that is, or should be our goal), or fewer high quality larger articles (in which case I think the bot is being counter productive by creating a lot of irrelevant articles)? Arnoutf (talk) 23:41, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
Providing information about important things such as incorporated towns. That's our goal. --NE2 23:48, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
Oh come off it. We have an article about every settlement in the U.S. (even those whose entire population could occupy a mid-size automobile). Please explain how these (or any other group of verifiable stubs) are "irrelevant" or how they reduce the number of "high quality larger articles". — CharlotteWebb 03:43, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

Reply to Christopher Parkham, way back up there: There has been an unfortunate history of editors ignoring the notability guidelines when it comes to geographic locations. I've never understood why some feel that their particular interests are so special that they get get bypass the rules that others follow. In terms of this kind of issue, do you remember Fritzpolbot? It eventually became [| GEOBOT], and that was approved only after it was agreed that the bot would only include towns with evidence of notability, and that it would not run automatically off a database. I don't see how this bot is any different. It should not have been approved, and, even if people want to apply WP:IAR to this, the bot approval group cannot make that decision. This bot should be stopped now, and all of its edits rolled back until it is modified to only create articles about places that have evidence of notability.
Kww (talk) 00:30, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

  • I concur. As these stub creation projects work their way down to smaller and smaller geographic locations, the likelihood of creating inaccurate articles that fail WP:V increases. Total reliance on government databases violates WP:PSTS because the source is primary. All articles are required to have secondary sources, even if all populated places are "notable." Phlegm Rooster (talk) 01:09, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
    • The government is a reliable source, so there's no issue with verifiability. --NE2 01:14, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
      • Not always, and such databases are primary sources. Phlegm Rooster (talk) 01:18, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
        • You seem to misunderstand PSTS (which is a subtopic of original research, not verifiability). Primary sources shouldn't be used for original synthesis, but there is no original synthesis in saying "X is a town in Poland". Using primary source to verify facts is encouraged; they aren't evil. Dragons flight (talk) 01:34, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
          • The synthesis is in assuming the database is correct. If the town really exists, at the location specified, no problem. But what if there is no town? That's where a secondary source would come in handy. Phlegm Rooster (talk) 02:26, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
            • Phlegm, I must disagree that assuming the database is correct is in any way synthesis. Synthesis is sifting through multiple primary sources for the purpose of interpretation or advancing a position. The description of the contents of a single primary source cannot be called synthesis. Assumptions about the reliability of a source can also not be called synthesis. As for the reliability of this source, I think that the Polish government's Central Statistical Office qualifies as "credible published materials with a reliable publication process". I believe strongly that we should support the creation of these articles, and that they are likely to have a higher rate of accuracy than the average WP article. Mr. IP Defender of Open Editing 09:20, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
  • There is no such thing as "stub creation projects". There was a decision, years ago before the deletionist power grabs, that WP ought to cover U.S. geography to the level of Census designated places ( which normally means "towns" ), and a bot was created to go about and do that. It was rightfully presumed that any town would be covered in secondary sources over and over again. So why shouldn't we do the same thing for Poland? Squidfryerchef (talk) 01:29, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Look at any of the articles about small towns/villages/census units in the US. Each has a reference, unlike these bot created articles, and each gives the population of the place. The claim was made that these are all "incorporated towns" but I sincerely doubt that. Is there a database that verifies they are "incorporated?" Please add the year they were incorporated. In the U.S., I have seen a village of 250 become an incorporated town, then unincorporate because it cost too much to meet the requirements. The source article do not seem to have references other than a dot on a map, or an entry in a geographic database program. Not even the population is included in most of the stubs. The bot-created articles say nothing whatsoever, in most cases, other than the geographic cordinates and the political subdivision the geographic coordinates fall in. Recently, the vast majority of new Wikipedia articles have been these stubs, filling English Wikipedia with the coordinates of dots on maps. Handwaving is not a substitute for WP:N and WP:V. When did English Wikipdeia become a mirror site for unreferenced articles in foreign language Wikipdeias? The folks who approve bots apparently do a good job of making sure the bot works, but do not always address policy issues of WP:V and WP:N. Edison (talk) 01:45, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
    • That's a good question; they're being categorized as "villages", but I can't find any definition of what that means in Poland. They do, at least sometimes, have coats of arms. Sokołowsko#History claims that there is a "village status". From maps such as Image:Gmina Kurów.svg, they appear to be well-defined with boundaries. --NE2 02:00, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
      • Mebbe they're like census tracts? Phlegm Rooster (talk) 02:32, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
        • These articles appear to be solectwo, which would be subdivisions of townships in the United States. Solectwo are official administrative divisions and are the smallest entity that the Polish Central Statistics Office tabulates data for. --Polaron | Talk 03:10, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

I think the bot author should be commended for their good work in creating useful content for the project. I agree with Mr. IP above in that as real-life places recognized by a sovereign national governing body, these are a hundred percent notable. We have tons and tons of articles about podunk villages in Alabama; there's no reason we can't have articles about the lesser geographic locations in other countries as well if they can be verified. Celarnor Talk to me 02:10, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

The articles for villages generally have no "proof they are recognized" by anything other than some online map the article was automatically created from. The vendors of geographic data systems are far from infallible. WP:V requires a reference. Edison (talk) 02:34, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

      • (ec) Okay, how do we know a database is wrong without secondary sources? Phlegm Rooster (talk) 02:35, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
        • In this particular case, the list is based on an official Polish list of administrative areas. I don't doubt that if we looked closely enough, there would be plenty of secondary sources for every one of these. It's no different from Rambot creating a lot of articles for US places, based on US census data Bluap (talk) 02:39, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
        • We have secondary sources. They're called maps. --NE2 02:39, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
          • There is a big difference between an encyclopedia and an atlas. Maps and censuses are great for building atlases, but they have nothing at all to do with building an encyclopedia. Nothing about being on a map or in a census establishes notability for a location. All it does is demonstrate existence. They do not pass the requirement of being a direct and detailed examination of the subject. At best, they are a passing mention. Articles should not be built on any topic whatsoever until multiple independent sources have been found that examine the topic directly and in detail. If an author won't take the time to locate those sources, he should not create the article at all. Geographic locations do not have any special exemption from WP:N. As to Celarnor's comments above, I have no problem at all with wiping out massive swaths of Alabama if we have articles about places there that can't demonstrate notability. This isn't a problem with Poland ... it's a problem with a large group of editors that feel that their favorite topic is too special to abide by the same rules as all other topics. Until this bot abides by WP:N, it needs to be stopped, and all articles that it has created should be deleted immediately.
            Kww (talk) 02:58, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
  • The most recent creation by the bot, Szczukwin references a government database called GUS. Is this village mentioned somewhere in that database? What page? Does it give population and ethnic composition? If so why are they not in the article? If the village is not in the reference, why is the reference even listed? Edison (talk) 02:47, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
    • (ec) So if I could find a database error, and the "town" did not appear on any map, and no secondary sources could be found, would you support deletion of the article? Phlegm Rooster (talk) 02:51, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
      • Who are you to second guess sources? Celarnor Talk to me 03:09, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
        • A lowly volunteer editor. Do I not have standing? Phlegm Rooster (talk) 03:55, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
      • Yes, if there was a good argument that this was a mistake. However, with 3500 Google hits (several attached to mapping programs), I'm fairly confident that Szczukwin is a place in Poland. Dragons flight (talk) 03:15, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
        • Szczukwin exists, I found this and this, which aren't terribly reliable, but are fine by me. It is not listed in GUS. Phlegm Rooster (talk) 03:49, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
          • Szczukwin From the Gmina - can't get any more primary source than that. Ajh1492 (talk) 03:58, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
  • I might suggest a check to see if the town once existed, but was eliminated when the government dammed a river to make a lake. Or everyone moved away. But if someone claims a village to be presently in existence, I would expect sources to exist, such as for the 90 person village of Foosland, Illinois, which has 2 references to satisfy WP:V. Edison (talk) 02:59, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Current status doesn't have anything to do with notability. If the town once existed but was eliminated when the government dammed a river, there would be coverage about it (probably plus news coverage about the damming, which is a bonus), then it absolutely should be included. Celarnor Talk to me 03:08, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
    • Continuing that thought, it must mean that Times Beach, Missouriisn't notable since it no longer exists. It must also mean that Lidice and Ležáky are also not notable. How about Treblinka? It doesn't exist - well the village does, but not what was on the other side of the railway track. Ajh1492 (talk) 04:00, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
Note that I was responding to "What would you do if the "town" did not appear on any map" with suggestions of where to look for sources to support keeping the article. I agree that notability does not expire. Edison (talk) 03:55, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

Let's make sure everyone understands the factual basis of the Kotbot's work:

  1. The villages being created are Sołectwo - an OFFICIAL designation for administrative purposes in Poland. They have a elected head, called the sołtys. They are valid census units. Sołectwo are subdivisions of Gmina which are subdivisions of Powiat that are subdivisions of Voivodeship.
  2. Data is being pulled from a number of sources from the Polish & US Government (including GUS and NGA's GEOnet) and verified against additional sources, PPWK S.A.'s POLSKA Atlas Samochodowy, ISBN 83-7329-526-7 and the [http//] online atlas (which WP itself uses). Both secondary sources are commonly available. So we have FOUR secondary sources, which more than satisfies WP:V. Governmental database are secondary sources, they have interpreted primary sources (photos, radar data, etc.). Atlases could be considered Tertiary sources since they use Secondary source data as input.
  3. Kotbot is not an unattended Bot. It is manually watched as it executes by one of two operators (Kotniski and myself - we happen to be on opposite sides of the planet, so we can have a larger operational window). Kotbot only processes what we tell it to process. We have control files that tell the Bot EXACTLY what to process.
  4. Kotbot operations are multi-pass. When Kotbot sees an error in any data it recovers it logs it to a file and does not include the erroneous data (it logs it to a file where one of the operators MANUALLY processes it). Kotbot is being prepped for an additional future passes through the village files to do some format updates and increase historical (notations on prior political structures, etc.) and geographic features (mezoregions, rivers/major lakes, etc.) content. All in the name of increasing accurate data.

Ajh1492 (talk) 03:28, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

      • Sounds good, except your characterization of the databases as "secondary sources". Wikipedia's own article disagrees. Phlegm Rooster (talk) 04:26, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
        • All four of our sources are Secondary sources. The government databases are secondary sources, not primary sources. The government data come from interpretation of photos or radar data (which are the primary sources). Ajh1492 (talk) 04:53, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
          • No, that's simply untrue. The raw data is not a source at all. Phlegm Rooster (talk) 05:25, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
            • I agree that the database is a primary source, but our policy makes it clear that primary sources are perfectly permissible for use in the event that a.) they are reliable, b.) our usage is a simple description of their contents, c.) the accuracy of that description (that description of the contents) is evident to all. This source is reliable, for reasons I noted above, our usage of that source is a description of its contents, and as to our fealty to the GUS database, I can't testify directly, but I think several good faith users have made it clear. This is an acceptable source for use on Wikipedia in the way that we're using it, and we should thank these two editors for their work. Mr. IP Defender of Open Editing 09:42, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
    • Thank you for the response. I added a link to Sołectwo in village#See also. --NE2 03:37, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
      • No problem, NE2, glad someone is reading the facts that I'm trying to present about Kotbot's operations Ajh1492 (talk) 03:49, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
    • Sounds like great work, keep it up. Christopher Parham (talk) 04:07, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
      • The articles don't all display the sources claimed. Slip-shod work. Phlegm Rooster (talk) 04:14, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
        • Please read the 3rd and 4th point listed above. Lodz Voivodeship has not gone through the manual verification/cleanup yet. The articles were mostly created today. I have not had time to work on much of them because I am trying to respond to people arguing over how many angels are dancing on the head of a pin. Ajh1492 (talk) 04:17, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
          • Several editors' concern's are not to be dismissed in that way. How do you explain the addition of GUS to to article when it is not mentioned in the source? I had to remove that incorrect "reference". Phlegm Rooster (talk) 04:22, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
            • Several, as in 2? How many Editors are on EN.WP? Ajh1492 (talk) 04:24, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
      • Thanks Christopher. Ajh1492 (talk) 04:14, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Szczyglice, Lower Silesian Voivodeship, which Kotbot created on 16 October 2007, has no sources. When do you expect sources to be added? Phlegm Rooster (talk) 04:51, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
    • Looks like all the articles the bot created back in Oct 2007 are unsourced. I'll sample a few from Nov. Phlegm Rooster (talk) 04:55, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
      • So add some sources. If the topic is worthy, it will get done eventually. Dragons flight (talk) 05:04, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
        • Ten months have gone by, and none of the 15 stubs I checked had any human input; this suggests the topics, as you say, are not worthy. Phlegm Rooster (talk) 05:21, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
        • It is the responsibility of the bot operators to live up to their words. Article creators are supposed to provide sources. It's a policy. Phlegm Rooster (talk) 05:18, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
    • Have you actually ever created an article? Ajh1492 (talk) 04:58, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
    • Since some people seem to have a lot of idle time, I would hope that they would volunteer to go through every stub here Category:Europe stubs and tag them for references also. There is a reason why they are labeled as stubs. As for Lower Silesian Voivodeship, Kotbot hasn't made a second pass through there yet. I said it would be done in the near future. People do have real things to do other than editing WP articles. Ajh1492 (talk) 05:09, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
        • Other editors are criticizing the content or notability of articles, not you personally, so please do not take it personally and start belittling them. Please remain civil. Edison (talk) 03:30, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
      • You run the bot, but you say you don't have time to edit its articles? Phlegm Rooster (talk) 05:22, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Wikipedia is not paper. Keep up the good work with Kotbot. Maybe have it reference things directly to this 'GUS' agency which has been mentioned as the source. Claims that primary sources are insufficient are contradicted by policy and practice. Ditto claims that stubs without sources must be deleted. Ditto 'notability' excluding small towns... unless the goal posts have shifted again, in which case they should be put back. I used to think the deletionist crusade was just going to be focused on fiction, but I've seen people challenging the 'notability' of lifeforms lately, and now this. This is what we are here FOR. --CBD 11:34, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
While (as stated above) I am not convinced the task this bot is performing is worthwhile (creating tons of stub articles on small Polish population centres), I think your control over the bot, and your sources are well thought out (indeed an official government database (while a primary source) is a perfectly good source for this type of simple facts).
Within this dicussion it appears that the majority thinks the concept of creating stubs for all these villages is a worthwhile concept. If we agree on that I see little problems with the way you implemented the bot. Good luck with it. Arnoutf (talk) 11:59, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

To those people who think Kotbot is a gross tool that should be stopped. I can see why you might not be welcome to unreferenced stubs en masse, but the world isn't going to end. All of its articles are created with a valid infobox and data and links to Polish wikipedia and this is stated. Remain positive that it is a working progression and they will all be expanded in the future and referenced. It is a good thing that somebody has taken the initiative to add potential resourceful content. It really is quite upsetting to see users of bots which really are trying to improve wikipedia presented at the village pump in this way. Resourceful people, particularly Polish wikipedians on here would find the comment that wikipedia is not an atlas a short sighted one. I am willing to bet that many of the villages have their own websites (in Polish) and that potentially full articles could be written for just about everyone of the places Kotbot has created. When things progress at a later date. the atlas comparison will be an unfounded one. If a great deal can be written about these places, then starting them on wikipedia is the gateway to knowledge which I believe should be our goal and work towards the "impossible" by adding real world content on which little is currently known in english. ♦ Dr. Blofeld ♦ "Talk"? 16:08, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

  • I think Kww is the only one arguing the bot should be stopped. At this point I would just like the sourcing they do have added to the stubs. Phlegm Rooster (talk) 16:20, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

One link would certainly help the good cause I agree ♦ Dr. Blofeld ♦ "Talk"? 16:27, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

I'll try manually adding the source to the earlier articles until Kotniski comes back from his wikibreak. --I'm an Editorofthewiki[citation needed] 16:34, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
Please do not add additional references to the articles, the Bot code is being written to look for certain things in the later passes in order to include additional content. The reference section is one of them. You are making my job harder in adding to the Bot code. BTW, there are a couple hundred articles . Please let the Bot do it's job. Ajh1492 (talk) 20:44, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
So not only are you creating myriads of stubs about non-notable topics, you are creating them in a format that requires that they not be edited? This thing gets worse and worse. Why didn't you create them in a sandbox, where you have control over them, until they were ready?
Kww (talk) 20:59, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
I had no particular comment up 'til now, I don't see a big problem with creating geographic stubs, per Blofeld's precedent with the French communes. But this changes things a bit. Ajh1492, are you creating Wikipedia articles that you now insist cannot be edited until you, the "owner" are done with them at some unspecified point in the future? That plain and simple is just not how Wikipedia works. Franamax (talk) 21:56, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, you post a Wikipedia article, it certainly doesn't have to be finished but it sure has to be editable. That's the whole point. Suggest you stop and rethink what you're doing. Darkspots (talk) 22:01, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
Just to clear up this point: of course there's no problem with people editing the stubs; that's the purpose of making them. The above remarks seems to have been just a clash over a particular edit being made manually at the same time it was being done by a bot.--Kotniski (talk) 06:57, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

The claim is made that these are inherently notable because they are "Sołectwo," which at least sets some lower standard, so that some small neighborhood in a Sołectwo or a sub-Sołectwo would not get an article created by this bot, But then the handwaving and false claims start, that the GUS is a references for particular villages, when they are not mentioned in it at all or that they are "incorporated" without any reference to that effect, or explanation of what it even means in that country. GUS should not be added to any article when the village is not mentioned in it. And if they are so notable, why is their population and other facts about them unknown and unreferencable? How many months or years are to pass before someone findsa a ref with this basic data, which was present from the first in the bot created articles about US cities and census units? Geographic information systems, such as the online maps behind these articles, are not infallible. Even in the US I have found things listed which do not exist, and have found the mapping companies not responsive to communications requesting corrections. The promise is given that someone in the future will add the missing information. Perhaps they can be improved to the level of the article about the 90 person Foosland,_Illinois article, say, in the U.S., but we are told we should avoid editing them, because that would make it hard for the bot to add information in the future. Sounds like permastubs which merely tell us the grid coordinates of dots on an online map. Edison (talk) 03:11, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

There is no "sub-Sołectwo". Sołectwo is the smallest unit, as was mentioned earlier.
Ajh1492 (talk) 02:15, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
The article on the smallest listed town in Romania, Băile Tuşnad, even in its earliest edit, had far more information than these "dot on map" articles have, including referenced population data. That is also true of the bot created articles on US census units of miniscule population. They were more informative than just giving the grid coordinates and the higher level administrative unit. There should be a certain miinimum amount of referenced information for an article to be encyclopedic. Edison (talk) 03:48, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

Let's make sure everyone understands the problem the Kotbot's work:

It takes four primary sources whose goal is to be exhaustive, combines them, and generates a stub. This stub violates WP:N, because WP:N demands coverage in the form of a direct and detailed examination in multiple, reliable, secondary sources. This bot makes no attempt to comply with this ... it simply creates stub after stub without regard to the notability of the result, using only primary sources as input. None of the sources constitute a direct and detailed examination. It probably does get the simple facts correct, but that has no relationship whatsoever to whether those facts justify and independent article. This is exactly the same argument we had over Geobot, and Geobot's operators were required to insert a step justifying the notability of each article, by validating that the town actually was referenced in secondary sources and inserting them in the article. That's all that is necessary to fix this one: validate, prior to creation of the article, the existence of reliable secondary sources with a direct and detailed examination of the town, and insert those into the article.
Kww (talk) 14:58, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

Note: Apparently unsatisfied with the reaction he's seen here, Kww asked ANI to block this bot. Dragons flight (talk) 16:08, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
That's true, because I can't seem to get a single person on this board to care about WP:N, which I find ironic for a policy discussion page. It would be nice if someone could even explain how they think this bot even approaches compliance with WP:N, which is a completely separate discussion from whether or not you think Polish villages are inherently notable. If you think Polish villages are inherently notable, fine: get a consensus to modify WP:N to include being a Polish village as an indicator of notability. But until then, admit that the actions of this bot violate WP:N, and stop its operation.
Kww (talk) 16:34, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
This was already discussed at Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/FritzpollBot. The concensus was that villages are inherantly notable. --I'm an Editorofthewiki[citation needed] 16:36, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
  • That grossly misrepresents the results. The closer said that the strongest argument against the bot was that villages are not inherently notable. In order to get approved, Geobot included this statement:
    • Individual articles cannot be created without some evidence of notability, so this is where the most evidence gathering will take place by volunteers through searches of the internet, paper sources, etc. Discussion should take place on whether sources are suitable, and also how to integrate the data. This can either be by editing the lists created in Phase 2 so that the bot creates the articles, or a commitment to add the information manually, in which case a simple mark can be made within the lists so that the bot knows that the article can be created in isolation.
Where is the equivalent step in this bot's operation?Kww (talk) 17:00, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
Kww, I care about WP:N. But the idea of deleting these stubs on principle is too radical for most people to contemplate. It would be more productive to get the bot operators to improve the quality of their stubs. Phlegm Rooster (talk) 16:46, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but there is a much more important principle at stake: groups of editors cannot agree to designate topics they are interested in as inherently notable. If a topic is so overwhelmingly interesting that it is obviously notable, sources can be found. If the topic has generated no interest in secondary sources, it obviously isn't notable. There is no support for the contention that these villages are inherently notable in any policy or guideline. We've had several groups try to bypass WP:N, and the more that are allowed to do it, the weaker the argument becomes against the next group. We've already had people try the argument that television episodes are inherently notable. If obscure villages that nobody cares to write about are notable, why not? Even the garage bands with a MySpace page probably have a greater following and fan-base than the average 10 person rural village. This is an extremely dangerous precedent being formed, and I see no reason to tolerate it.Kww (talk) 17:06, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
The precedent was formed long ago. I agree that people will exploit the "inherent" notability of populated places to push their own agendas. How do you propose to change people's minds? Phlegm Rooster (talk) 17:13, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure how it could be described as a consensus only just being formed, it has been on Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Common outcomes since at least the start of 2007 that "Cities and villages are notable, regardless of size" - quote from the beginning of 2007 version of that page, and has always been accepted at AFD, where the existence of the village as a seperate entity has been verified. Davewild (talk) 17:19, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
At what point does a group of houses stop becoming a village? How are sections of villages (i.e. neighborhoods) treated as a general rule? If someone creates an article for a section of a village, is it notable? --Polaron | Talk 17:22, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
Not that I oppose the inclusion of towns, but Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Common outcomes does not reflect consensus. It is an unlabeled page with no particular standing or standards for the entries. WP:N should be applied to all articles. --Kevin Murray (talk) 17:26, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

I think the major issue is exposing these issues on a wider scale, and not just agreeing to them. The precedent set by Geobot was an important one, and one that I think all similar bots should be expected to follow. That discussion made it clear that there was not a consensus that geographic places were inherently notable. The fact that no guideline or policy stating that geographic places are inherently notable has ever been approved is quite telling. AFD's do tend to get decided in favor of villages, but that seems to me to be more a case of special interests dominating the AFD discussions, similar to the problem we have had with fictional articles. I agree that getting people to agree to rollback the bots articles is unlikely, and working to get the stubs that have already been created improved is high priority. Stopping the bot so that it doesn't create any more non-compliant articles is a higher priority, though.
Kww (talk) 17:28, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
The precedent of Rambot far predates any discussions triggered by Geobot. I also noticde that the Wikipedia:Notability (Geographic locations) quoted is an active proposal, not an accepted one and currently says almost the exact opposite of what it did when first proposed (at least concerning populated places). And it is still without consensus. Rmhermen (talk) 21:00, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
Right. It sounds like most of the effort should be towards editing Wikipedia:Notability (Geographic locations) and gaining enough consensus to make it a guideline. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 13:47, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

(fairly arbitrary break)

(the bot owner writes): Hi all, I'm just back from a Wikibreak and I see all this has erupted while I've been away. Don't have time to read all the arguments immediately in detail, just a few observations:

  • This activity has been going on for some time (the first batch was done last autumn, it was restarted over a month ago). People must have been noticing it in the recent changes/new articles logs, yet no objection has been raised before, so I find it strange that people are suddenly making a huge fuss about it at this stage;
  • This is, as has been pointed out, work in progress; stubs will be expanded manually over time, including the addition of sources for facts;
  • I think I would want to contend, whatever the rules say, that Polish Wikipedia is a reliable initial source for the existence and notability of these places. But this will be rather an involved argument which I need sleep before pursuing.

Anyway, I'm here and listening.--Kotniski (talk) 20:19, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

  • Just to summarize then, Kww and Edison wanted the bot stopped and rolled back. Nobody else did. I and a few others were concerned about the lack of citations in the older stubs, and there is no real support for putting the sentence about the Polish Wikipedia in every stub, since the pl interwiki link is sufficient. Then Ajh1492 said not to edit the stubs because the bot can't work on them afterwards, which is, I think, a serious problem. That flies in the face of WP:OWN and "the encyclopedia that anyone can edit". Can you get some technical assistance from the bot group on that problem? Phlegm Rooster (talk) 20:35, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for that summary:) I don't understand the problem about not editing the stubs though; I'll discuss it with Ajh, it should be something that can be fairly easily resolved. --Kotniski (talk) 20:51, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm in the middle of writing the code for the changes. Additional arbitrary changes mean coding more cases into the Bot to take into consideration varied states of articles. I never said that the Bot couldn't handle the changes, I'm just trying to reduce the MANUAL effort required after a Bot pass. Ajh1492 (talk) 15:40, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
The rules pretty clearly state that Polish Wikipedia is not a source at all. None of your stubs meet the requirements of WP:N, in that you are creating articles where you cannot show that they have received a detailed examination in multiple secondary sources. The BAG group cannot authorize a bot to WP:IAR, because WP:BOT demands that all bots carefully adhere to all relevant guidelines. The inherent notability argument doesn't fly, either, because not only was GEOBOT required to add a notability step before it was approved, the discussion at Wikipedia talk:Notability (Geographic locations) just closed with the following result: by a 2:1 margin, editors felt that inclusion in an atlas or a census did not provide sufficient notability to create an article about a human settlement. Even if there was a consensus in the other direction in the past, said consensus no longer exists. Please stop running your bot until you can provide evidence of notability for each and every article you create before creating it.
Kww (talk) 23:21, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
Welcome back, and I hope the Wikibreak was a good time. Someone complained to you before the break about the bot-created articles not complying with WP:V and WP:N, and you did not see that as a problem. The authorization for the bot said it should include the area and population of the entities. That was satisfied for the gmina, such as the recent Gmina Tuszyn, but not generally for the villages, such as the recent Syski, Łódź East County, which apparently lacks any reliable sources to satisfy the need for verifiability. Some of the village article cited GUS,a Polish government source, but it was admitted by your associate that the villages in question did not appear in the GUS, only the larger geopolitical entities, the gmina. I have suggested that instead of village articles, where no reliable sources exist to prove more than a dot exists on an online map with certain grid coordinates, there just be a listing of the villages in a gmina in the article for the gmina. If some village has references for its geographic area and population, or is notable or historical, then the referenced information can be used to create a proper article, rather than making English Wikipedia a mirror of every online map in the world with dots and village names. Edison (talk) 01:07, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Yes thanks, had a nice vacation in the Masurian Lakes. About notability: I don't believe the long-standing accepted standard that villages are always notable is going to change; if it is then thousands of US and UK articles, at least, would presumably have to be deleted; a very backward step for WP. Accordingly, we want to build articles on all the Polish villages for which Kotbot has been creating stubs. Naturally this will happen over time, as human editors get to work on them; automated creation of the stubs is only a step in the process. But a positive step in my view, firstly just because it relieves the potential human editor of some of the work (thus possibly increasing the number of willing editors), and secondly because it imposes some initial uniformity on the naming conventions, layout, disambiguation entries, etc. - something which can be seen to be lacking in many of the cases where such articles have been initiated by hand (usually, as is natural, by non-native English speakers). So please see this work primarily as something which is contributing to the encyclopedia over the longer term; not as something that stands on its own as a finished work. In the same spirit, I believe we can accept Polish Wikipedia as an initial source for this information, though naturally we will want to find published sources as information gets added. The scrutiny of the Polish Wikipedia community, which naturally contains people with local knowledge of the places in question, will (in my view) have ensured that the information being transferred - at least the existence of village X within municipality Y - is about as accurate in practice as we would expect from any published source (in both cases, of course, there will be occasional mistakes). We will try to establish what sources were used over at PL.WP, though - admittedly many of the village articles there don't explicitly list their sources. --Kotniski (talk) 05:48, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Would you please address where you believe WP:RS permits using a Wiki as a source? It pretty explicitly forbids it. Why do you believe WP:N permits articles on geographic locations using only atlas and census information? It isn't mentioned in WP:N, and forbidden in the draft guideline. Why do you think Wikipedia rules only apply to other editors?
Kww (talk) 13:27, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Fortunately our rules are quite flexible, and building the encyclopedia takes precedence over their letter. There is plenty of precedent for creating articles on "obscure" geographic locations, even starting from minimal sources. This is something which the community in general seems willing to let grow, along the lines I've explained above. --Kotniski (talk) 13:52, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Fortunately our rules are quite flexible, and building the encyclopedia takes precedence over their letter. Fortunately, we believe that consensus is the way to decide when there are content disagreements, and that no editor has the right to ignore consensus (or, if you will, an editor who does ignore consensus should be warned, an, if he/she continues to ignore consensus, blocked). If a large number of other editors disagree with what you regarding what the bot is doing, that needs to be taken very seriously. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 15:32, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
For me , even if every village in the entire world has inhenert notability by courtesy or custom, I still need to see WP:V verified. This certainly does not apply only to Polish villages. When some anonymous person enters a dot on an online map and gives it a name, I want assurance that it truly is a village, and not just an identified spot along the road where a farmhouse stands, or where the gas station is. It also seems basic to include referenced information on the population and preferably the area. More places are likely to have population figures than surveyd area. For the Kotbot articles, citation of the official government document listing it as a "Sołectwo" is a good start, to rule out any hoaxes or other places which do not qualify as "villages" in the Polish encyclopedia. Is there really no official source for the village populations? If not, how likely are there to be reliable sources be used to expand and improve the articles? I could not find information about a sample of the villages in several travel guides to Poland, books on Polish history, and a giant 3 volume world Gazzeteer. How do we know more with an article that gives the village's map coordinates than is given by the Gmina article with a list of its included villages, and reference to an online map?Edison (talk) 20:47, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

I always thought that for an article to meet notability requirements, it had to be mentioned in reliable, English language, secondary sources. This bot seems not to be doing that. The Polish Wikipedia is not a secondary source, or in English. Neither is the Polish source being used here. Nor is a map a reliable source, since it just mentions the existence of the place, and doesn't show whether it is notable or not. If proof of its existence on a map is all that is necessary, then I may as well write an article on my house, because we have a map of that. Clearly my house is notable then. I have to stand by Kww here, this bot is violating WP:N requirements, and if a stub is only sourced in primary/tertiary sources then said stub would fail an AfD.

The quote, "Ajh1492, are you creating Wikipedia articles that you now insist cannot be edited until you, the "owner" are done with them at some unspecified point in the future? That plain and simple is just not how Wikipedia works" by Franamax above, just says it all really. Deamon138 (talk) 21:04, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

I don't know why you believe the sources have to be English-language. Foreign-language sources are quite permissible, even though English is preferred. If someone could demonstrate that these have been covered in multiple secondary Polish sources, I'd be satisfied. So far, the logic seems to be more along the lines of Articles about villages are good, therefore, any rule which prevent such an article from being created will be ignored.
Kww (talk) 21:48, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Well it does say at WP:V that, "Where editors use a non-English source to support material that others are likely to challenge, or translate any direct quote, they need to quote the relevant portion of the original text in a footnote or in the article, so readers can check that it agrees with the article content. Translations published by reliable sources are preferred over translations made by Wikipedia editors." That hasn't been done. Of course, English sources are always more preferable, which is what I meant above. Also, at the moment, it seems to be a bot making these articles. Who is making sure that the titles follow the naming conventions that it should be the most common English name used? If no-one has checked, how can we know that the articles are at the right locations even if they are notable? Deamon138 (talk) 23:27, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Naming is the least of our problems here. These are not the sort of places that have English names any different from their native names. All that needs to be done is to add a disambiguating tag - this is done in accordance with Wikipedia style and doesn't have to be supported by sources. As to the sources for verifiability, we're working on making these more explicit. It won't be ideal - stubs are by definition not ideal - but it should be enough to make the articles supportable when the bot is started up again.--Kotniski (talk) 10:18, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
Many villages in former East Prussia which are now in Poland had name changes from German to Polish and many Polish towns have had several names. I hope the bot is noting these. Is it correct that you will be able to cite a government source showning that each is a ""Sołectwo"' but that no additional reliable sources exist to say the population, the area, the industrial or agricultural activities, or other encyclopedic details such as its place in history, in tourism, natural wonders, etc? Perhaps someone could take a sample village (such as Syski, Łódź East County mentioned above) and show, as a sample, how it could be upgraded from reliable sources at the local or regional library in Poland up to an article at the level of at least the Foosland, Illinois (population 90) article. Edison (talk) 16:47, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
German names were noted for the Lower Silesian villages, when found by the bot in Polish Wikipedia or when added by hand from various other sources. A note was added to all of the villages (regardless of whether the German name was found) saying that they were German before 1945 (I think we also started adding a link to an article on the territorial changes). I will do something similar (suggestions for improvements always welcome) when we get on to the former East Prussian and Pomeranian provinces. You're pretty much correct about the sources, except that not all the villages are sołectwos (the source ought to say which are and which aren't). The sample idea sounds reasonable; I'll see what I can do with Głęboczek, Greater Poland Voivodeship (which wasn't created by the bot but obviously would have been if it had got to that province).--Kotniski (talk) 12:26, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
Well actually, now I've added a couple of references (I'll dig around for more; obviously photos could be obtained as well), I think Głęboczek is already in a good enough state to serve as a sample. It's not going to win any awards, but I think it's up to Foosland's standard (different types of information but equally encyclopedic). --Kotniski (talk) 13:00, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
Question: Does "Głęboczek, Greater Poland Voivodeship" really require the "Greater Poland Voivodeship" part in its name? That part seems like county/state/region/whatever. There is no disambiguation problem because Głęboczek redirects there. Is the place's most common name really all four words? Deamon138 (talk) 23:02, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
"Głęboczek, Wielkopolskie" would probably be the closest equivalent to Turin, Iowa. That's the standard format for most US cities. Looking at European cities, though, for example the List of cities in Germany most do not have a province/county/state/voivodeship/etc... attached to them, for example Alsleben or Paris. SDY (talk) 00:02, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
As a rule, for Polish placenames we add a disambiguating tag only if actually needed for disambiguation (we don't add a state name automatically as is done for U.S. places). Generally speaking a town or especially significant village would be treated as a primary topic, with no dab tag. In the case of Głęboczek, there are other Głęboczeks in Poland, none of them appearing to qualify as a primary topic, so Głęboczek will be a dab page and all the villages so named will have tags. (Only one of them has an article now, but others will do shortly, so the tag is anticipatory.) As to Wielkopolskie vs. Greater Poland Voivodeship, that's another question, which was settled in favour of the latter a long time ago (before I arrived here anyway).--Kotniski (talk) 08:33, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
Okay, thanks SDY. Being a Brit, I've mainly seen only place articles from my own country, which follow the rest of Europe ones that you showed. What is the particular reasoning behind adding the state to US place names then, rather than doing what's done in the European ones? Sorry to derail the topic here so speak, but I'm still learning all these slightly different naming conventions and manual of style conventions. Bewildering. :S Deamon138 (talk) 23:19, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
The short answer (and by no means authoritative) is that most US place names are terribly unoriginal, so we're all used to tagging a state name after them. For example, there is a Portland in more than a third of the states of the union, two of which are the largest cities in their respective states (Portland, ME and Portland, OR). There are a couple of outliers, such as Boring, OR and North Pole, NY (there's also North Pole, AK though), but otherwise they tend to be repetitive. SDY (talk) 23:34, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
I suspect that it's also at least partly because the state name is a mandatory part of mailing addresses in the US, whereas it's generally not required in European countries. (In many ways, the states of European countries are closer to US counties in terms of power and importance in the nation than they are to US states, from my understanding--much more of the power is held in the national government, and as a result, the states are more administrative divisions than anything.) Rdfox 76 (talk) 00:42, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
I just find it surprising that at least when Poland was run by Communists, they did not keep a tally of how many people lived in Głęboczek so they could keep track of who was loyal/disloyal, and to make sure that the farmers/workers were producing according to their ability and not consuming beyond their need. Grams of wheat grown per peasant-day per hectare of arable land and all that, such as that every adult turned out to vote for the party officials or had a good reason for his/her absence, that all qualified adults registered for military service, etc. Edison (talk) 02:28, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm sure they did keep a tally, just as the present authorities keep a tally. Unfortunately this population information doesn't seem to be available in a single national database, so can't be imported uniformly like the U.S. census data was - the records are only published at local authority level. --Kotniski (talk) 14:06, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Well when Poland was Communist, I'm thinking it was a puppet state of the USSR (or at least strongly linked to it). Either way, the Governments of totalitarian states like those are unlikely to release data that today would be considered part of the public record. Deamon138 (talk) 00:39, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
So we are left with the question of whether a dot anonymous people placed on an online map is inherently notable, when there are no prospects for any sources to expand the article beyond grid coordinates and what municipality/county/whatever is the next largest geopolitical unit. I'm thinking merge/redirect. I find lot of villages in the U.S with thousands of inhabitants which have no articles. See Calloway County, Kentucky where only two towns have articles, and 13 villages which are shown on maps do not, such as Almo (population 2235)[5]. Why should Polish villages smaller than many of these have inherent notability? The calculations above show that many of these vilages must average 100 or so population, and some would likely be less.Edison (talk) 04:30, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

(unindent) When this is started up again the stubs will include an official source (for status as village within a particular municipality, unfortunately not for population), so these will no longer be anonymous dots on maps. I don't know why certain U.S. places are missing - I thought all the official census locations had been uploaded - but established practice is to consider all such places notable enough to have articles, and there are certainly many articles on U.S. places (and in other countries) of this sort of size or even smaller. What the bot is doing (or will do, with improved sourcing) is entirely in line with established Wikipedia practice.--Kotniski (talk) 07:18, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

One of our pumps is missing!

Okay, I really have no objection to the removal of the "assistance" Village Pump page, since it has been merged into WP:Help desk. But what I miss is this box which was at the top of the Assistance page:

Off the top of my head, I don't know of any quick way of getting to any page that uses this template, from the main page. I used to go from the main page, to the Village Pump, to Assistance, and there would be this handy box pointing me to other pages where issues about WP are discussed, and help in specific areas could be obtained. This box is not on the Help Desk page.

In fact I think it was one level too deep when it was on the assistance page. I would have preferred to see this box on the village pump index page.

I wonder if this box is being deliberately obscured. Maybe someone thinks these pages are for administrator use, and there is no purpose in exposing new users to them. Frankly, I think that the more new users get to see of the behind-the-scenes work in keeping Wikipedia running, the better they will understand and appreciate how the whole thing works. I was a Wikipedia reader long before I made my first edit, and spent some time trying to understand what WP is all about before becoming a contributor. I was well aware of the pages linked from this template, and they gave me clarity in understanding what kinds of editing habits are problematic, for example.

Please consider putting this template back in a prominent place where I, and newcomers can find it! WP:Village pump (the index page) would be great. WP:Help desk would be almost as good. --A Knight Who Says Ni (talk) 01:05, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

Nice template. I just added it to my user page. Emmanuelm (talk) 20:23, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
Hypothetically/usually, each navbox template should appear on every page it links to. WP:Help desk is crowded/complicated enough that I'd suggest asking at WT:Help desk first though. -- Quiddity 18:04, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

Users with noticeable mental illness

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.
Resolved: Do not send to ask for whom the sockpuppet trolls


MTV News reported (quite credibly) that a significant percentage of Wikipedians suffer from mild to sometimes severe mental illness, with the highest percentage of users who would be considered mentally ill being within Wikipedians who edit regularly [citation needed]. As someone who has spent time undergoing rehab for a mental affliction I am particularly attuned to the problems and opportunities that mental illness presents.

Has wikipedia addressed this problem explicitly? What happens when a user, or even an administrator is severely mentally ill? Furthermore, I find it quite possible that famously persistent vandals and trolls (those that operate on Wikipedia for months, even years at a time) might be mentally ill. If so, does Wikipedia run afoul of the Americans with Disabilities act of 1991 by denying them access to Wikipedia? This story has opened up a lot of interesting questions -- perhaps we can resolve them before it's too late to. Pernambuco Boy (talk) 01:41, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

This, unfortunately, smacks of a Foundation, not a Wikipedia, issue. You'd be best off placing this at Meta; I'm not sure what good it will be discussing it on Wikipedia. However, I would note that the only time we've banned someone for being mentally ill is because they've been unrepentant vandals or otherwise wholly unwilling to cooperate with others. (Full disclosure: I have Asperger's Syndrome.) -Jéské (v^_^v Bodging WP edit by edit) 01:48, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia is a bit of a meritocracy, where the merits are valued by how well you write an article, or by how well you can handle a content dispute. If a mentally ill person can do those things correctly, then nobody will have a problem with him.
Also, you don't even need to know how to handle content disputes. Some people don't know how to handle disputes or don't want to handle them, so they just go to non-controversial articles where they can toil away at writing articles that they like without having to communicate much with other users. Those persons only need to write articles well. Looking at the wikifauna catalogue, the nearest type I can find is the Wikignome.
Also, on the internet it's difficult to assess the real life circumstances of other persons. You can only see what they write, you can't hear their voice tone or see their face expressions. So, it's difficult to learn who is mentally ill and who is just having problems with the english language, or who has problems with communicating complicated issues to other editors in a written form (people who can't write clearly). I hope that helped, Pernambuco. --Enric Naval (talk) 02:13, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
So it was only one user? Who was it? What were the facts? Pernambuco Boy (talk) 01:52, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
I can't find anything about this at MTV News. Hoax? --A Knight Who Says Ni (talk) 01:56, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
I think it was MTV news...something on television. A more tangible (and VERY credible) instance of a Wikipedian with some major issues is the "Anthrax Guy" who put the nation in a veritable panic seven years ago -- see [6]. Whatever his issues were, I don't think that being criminally insane wasn't one of them. Pernambuco Boy (talk) 01:59, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
Didn't JeanLatore and his socks claim to have something mental? Celarnor Talk to me 01:59, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
Curious that you mention that, because this user has been listed as a possible sock of JeanLatore here --Enric Naval (talk) 11:00, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
Don't forget our friend in the moose costume. -Jéské (v^_^v Bodging WP edit by edit) 02:19, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
I know of a few users that disclose the fact that they have a mental illness, but I'm not sure where anyone would be able to get "a significant percentage" (did they do a poll or something?) when we can barely agree on how many active users we even have. As for the ADA, it isn't a free pass to get away with anything. We don't block people because they admit to having a mental illness, we block them because they are unable to edit according to our policies. I'm not sure exactly what part of the ADA applies to websites though. Mr.Z-man 02:45, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
Please don't wave warnings about the ADA around, because it can look like a forbidden threat of legal action. The vast majority of editors are completely anonymous, so if MTV (What a highly credible source of medical info!) made such a claim, it was clearly unfounded. Edison (talk) 03:23, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

Personally, I sometimes wonder if assuming good faith despite all evidence to the contrary isn't some kind of shared delusion. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 03:25, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

 Declined All editors of Wikipedia are insane; no action possible.--Father Goose (talk) 05:09, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Improper Sources?

While searching to see if Wikipedia had an article about a website, I found a link to an article containing links to an illegal download of a movie. Upon further investigation, I realized that this was actually being used as a reference for the purpose of providing factual evidence that a movie was leaked a month prior to release. While I question whether or not that is relevant for Wikipedia (it is a pretty common occurrence with DVDs), it did raise the question: Is this an acceptable source? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gundato (talkcontribs) 20:36, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

No; we don't link to copyvios. What was the article? Celarnor Talk to me 20:42, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
WarGames: The Dead Code is the article. My main concern was how exactly to make the bad thing go away. While I question whether or not the leak itself is wiki-worthy, that is an argument for another day. But just deleting the reference seemed counter-intuitive as well. Gundato (talk) 21:11, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
I removed the link to the copyright violation and replaced it with a {{fact}} tag. If someone can't come up with a source that doesn't display links to copyvio, then the statement will have to be removed. Celarnor Talk to me 21:26, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
That sounds a bit like babies-and-bathwater - can't we cite the source without linking to it, for example?--Kotniski (talk) 10:21, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, this has been turned into a Catch-22. The information is verifiable but the verification is in the form of a copyvio therefore the information is not verifiable.
Remove the link to the copyvio, leave in the information. I wouldn't even bother putting a {{cn}} on it, unless the claim that it was pirated is actually being disputed.--Father Goose (talk) 10:44, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
I would contend that the leak, unless reported, is not that relevant. --Farix (Talk) 17:04, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
Indeed. If the only source that we can find for a particular factoid is this problematic, the question of "is this worth saying?" rears its head. EVula // talk // // 13:56, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
Once a robot removed one of my link to an page, (http: // stating the site was blacklisted (see Wikipedia:Spam blacklist). I reintroduced the link as text, not an html link, just like I did in this comment, and it worked. You have to modify the text so that the WP server does not recognize it as a link; here, I added a space after http. I think this is the way to go. Another, even safer approach is to suggest a Google search that will lead to the site in question. Here is, for example, a Google search that will return my deadly link on top. Emmanuelm (talk) 14:32, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Actually, circumventing the rules by introducing blacklisted spam is not the way to go. — Twas Now ( talkcontribse-mail ) 14:47, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Twas Now, you sound like a Victorian doctor discussing sexuality. I think that, with proper containment and warning, examples of garbage, including spam sites, belong in a universal encyclopedia. Emmanuelm (talk) 18:56, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

No-indexing of project-space pages

During the past several months there has been discussion on the WikiEn-l mailing list of "no-indexing" (i.e., excluding from Google and other search-engine results) pages in Wikipedia space and possibly in userspace. It has been suggested that this discussion be taken on-wiki to reach a consensus, and I hope this can be done. However, not having been active onsite recently, I don't want to create a duplicative discussion if this is already being discussed on-wiki elsewhere. If this is not the case, I will copy some of my WikiEn-l posts and attempt to summarize others' comments so that the discussion can get started. Thanks. Newyorkbrad (talk) 01:10, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

There was some discussion a few months ago at Wikipedia talk:Talk pages not indexed by Google, but it was before the __NOINDEX__ magic word was introduced though (or maybe it led to it), so it only focused on entire namespaces. I don't know of any current discussions. Mr.Z-man 01:41, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
I recommend keeping userspace pages in the index. Since users can control them harm is very unlikely. If a user is attacked on another site, their Wikipedia userpage is likely to rank higher for their username than the attack page. This is a significant benefit. Project space pages can be noindexed, but if that is done we should try to upgrade Wikipedia's site search feature, which is not as good as Google search. Jehochman Talk 02:25, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
If a user is attacked on another site, I'm fairly sure that using Wikipedia as a soapbox to answer would be an abuse of WP's high search ranking. There are some templates and lists that are not useful to index, but I've had cause to search for old discussions before now and the MediaWiki search has been left wanting, so a blanket no-index of the entire project space is probably a bad idea. There is also some useful content in userspace (some essays, etc.), so a blanket no-index there is also a bad idea, though probably a less bad idea than project space. (talk) 08:07, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
  • I'm strongly opposed to any no-indexing of pages. Google is a great way to search Wikipedia, and I've used it on a number of occasions to find a particular policy, guideline, help page, piece of wiki-code, etc. Deal with attack pages on a case-by-case basis. No need to severely limit the ability to effectively find meta-content just because of a few nutcases. –xeno (talk) 13:01, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
I have been following the discussion on wikiEN-l, but am not aware of any main on-wiki counterpart to it. I'd suggest Wikipedia:Centralized discussion, if you're interested in getting quite a few eyes on it at once. And of course, while we're at it, people should be using {{NOINDEX}} rather than the magic word. – Luna Santin (talk) 16:18, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
I suppose this is the discussion before the discussion, but I still want to speak up here. Wikipedia's search engine is so abysmal that everything should be done to make its pages (project or otherwise) searchable by outside search engines. I have to use Google all the time to find project, template, image, category, and other pages that have disappeared into the haystack, and am utterly unable to find via MediaWiki search (yes, I tick the right namespace buttons). Crippling the accessibility of the project space is a very high price to pay for... what in return? "Noindex" should only be used on pages that we have to hide from public view; the XfD hierarchy is arguably such a case, but the rest of the project space is not.--Father Goose (talk) 01:31, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
Most of the XFD hierarchy was hidden from google another way several months back. Unfortunately, whoever implemented that left DRV exposed to Google. Given prior arbcomm rulings, DRV discussions about BLP speedy deletions always include the substance and merits ... and often include negative material about the article subject. So we've used {{NOINDEX}} at DRV on every days log, hoping to plug the hole in the implementation used to hide XFD from Google. (I don't know if it will work given transclusions onto a page that is not NOINDEX'ed. (It would need to be hand added if a subpage of a daily log is opened.) Special:WhatLinksHere on the first AFD for an article will find any DRVs, and should find any later AFDs. For non-article pages, that method should work when used on the first XFD for that page. GRBerry 02:43, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
Is there any reason we don't use Robots.txt to hide directories that we don't want indexed. This method is much more reliable than sprinkly NOINDEX hither and thither. Jehochman Talk 02:46, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
I believe that was the method used to hide XfD. But I've never figured out either how to add DRV to it myself or how to put up a bugzilla thingy to have someone else do it - and neither have any of the folks I trusted enough to email about it. As far as I can tell, robots.txt is not available through the MediaWiki namespace, so changing it is a developer only function. This does limit the ability to manage it dynamically. GRBerry 03:05, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
(e/c)bugzilla:15220 filed to do that. There are several ways to no-index content. {{NOINDEX}}} should only be used when we need to no-index a handful of pages. If we want to do an entire namespace, or a whole directory of pages like DRV, a bugzilla request should be filed to do it more efficiently with robots.txt or $wgNamespaceRobotPolicies. Mr.Z-man 03:11, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
XfD is arguably the one set of pages where losing Google search hurts the most, particularly if you need to look up precedent (for want of a better word), and if anything would be the one place where no-index would not be appropriate. (talk) 12:30, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

I would be opposed to noindexing anything like Wikipedia:WikiProject Utah State Highways/Early state roads. It's not organized or complete enough for Wikisource, but is a useful resource not found elsewhere. --NE2 12:37, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Page Numbers On Citations

I've been meaning to ask this for a while but never had gotten round to asking. Is it preferred to add specific page numbers in a citation of a source in a book or not? A fellow Wikipedian objected to me adding page numbers because there were several citations from the same book and he wanted all the footnotes to point to the same reference entry. I guess I'm just a bit set in my ways but I thought I understood that good practice dictated that a citation should always include a page number if possible. Is there an existing wikipedia policy on this question? Should we ignore page numbers in order to reduce the number of citations at the bottom of the page especially when there are a lot of references in one article to the exact same work?--Onorio (talk) 14:45, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

WP:CITE identifies page numbers as typical. Not only that, but page numbers help identify the portion of a book or periodical that specifically are supporting the article content. So for me, yes page numbers should be added, and making the reference section smaller by being imprecise is not a good reason to leave out page numbers. -- Whpq (talk) 15:30, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
Agreed. If the size of the references list is a concern, shortened references may be used. Anomie 17:13, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for your input.--Onorio (talk) 21:29, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
Page numbers: absolutely. Try checking the accuracy of a citation that is no more specific than "it's somewhere in this 450-page book". - Jmabel | Talk 21:31, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
By the way, the combination of {{Harvnb}} and {{citation}} is one good way to do this. See, for example, the handling of the Peterson citations in Regrading in Seattle. - Jmabel | Talk 21:36, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
Thank you for that pointer.--Onorio (talk) 21:39, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

I like Template:Rp myself. It's like Harvard citations in that it adds the page number in-text, but it's less obtrusive since it is a footnote.1:15 II | (t - c) 23:10, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:WikiProject Micronations/Micronation convention has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:WikiProject Micronations/Micronation convention (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) 18:47, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Revision to existing Civility policy

Discussion is under way at WP:Civility concerning changes to the second and third paragraphs of the introduction [7]. Wider community input is requested. Thanks.(olive (talk) 19:27, 18 August 2008 (UTC))

Trolling threads

The above thread, Users with noticeable mental illness, was obviously created by a Jean Latore sock. Everyone knows the pattern by now, right? And everyone seems to be enjoying themselves in the conversation, which I don't have a problem with. I guess my question is, should we have a standard procedure for dealing with these threads? We could remove the threads on sight, if we want to keep this board tightly focused on, you know, policy. Or we could just wallow around in the silliness until daddy takes the T-bird away. Thoughts? Darkspots (talk) 07:14, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

Thoughts, you ask? First thought: That's the best Easter egg piped link I've seen in a while! Next thought: I think, if we looked at the user's page, we would have suspected something was up, and some of us were probably having fun with it. As for deleting posts just to discourage this, I disagree. Posts only last 1 week on the Pump, once others stop posting to it, which will happen when (a) people like you and me call attention to what's going on (I was the one who said the MTV News article doesn't exist, and it's a hoax), and (b) the section is no longer near the bottom of the page. A non-deletion policy for talk pages is the standard. --A Knight Who Says Ni (talk) 12:47, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
I've removed threads in the past, though I generally wait until it starts getting bad. Mr.Z-man 14:37, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
Indeed, it was that removal of a thread that got me thinking that there might be a better way than what we've been doing. Doesn't seem like folks really have a problem with the way we're handling the situation right now. I have put {{resolved}} on threads in the past. Will archive the above and I may archive these threads as they arise. Darkspots (talk) 02:11, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
I disagree with the idea concept of deleting or "resolving" threads solely as a means of controlling conflict. It's presumptuous - regardless of the intention of the original flamebaiter, other contributors may have something worthwhile to say relevant to the subject. By far the best action you can take is simply to point out in the thread itself the identity and motivation of the original poster, and let those who would reply take that information into account. Dcoetzee 07:05, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm not interested in the least in controlling conflict. I think that there comes a point when a significant decline in the signal-to-noise ratio of a noticeboard causes serious users to lose interest.
There's a real difference between trying to "control conflict" on, say, a thread created by a tendentious editor pushing a policy in the interest of his/her editing (which can spark a useful discussion), and trying to reduce the number of active threads created by someone who just wants to fuck with us. Darkspots (talk) 11:46, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
I maintain my objection. It's presumptuous to suppose one's own interest in a thread reflects that of all "serious users," or that a thread started by a flamebaiter can't nevertheless spark useful discussion. Each poster should have an informed choice on whether or not to post, and those who aren't interested should have the option to ignore it (ideally, the software would support hiding threads of no interest to you, among other important features). Dcoetzee 17:45, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
It's no great presumption on my part to assume that the contributions of the various sockpuppets of a banned user are without value; indeed Wikipedia:Banning policy#Enforcement by reverting edits says that By banning a user, the community has decided that their edits are prima facie unwanted and may be reverted without a further reason. This user has been banned by Arbcom and by the community. And I don't think that our actual experience with these threads supports your point in concrete terms—bunch of useless trolling as far as I can see. Darkspots (talk) 21:08, 19 August 2008 (UTC)


... of "Popular Culture" (a.k.a. "trivia") sections, especially where there is valid attribution, is tantamount to exclusion of information that may advance understanding of information. The inclusion of any idea in a work of art, especially those that are experienced by many people, is indicative of its importance to both its author and his or her audience. Please change this policy immediately, and only enforce exclusion of "Popular Culture" sections where there is no attribution. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:38, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

We can use the "external links" section to point to other websites with more information about subjects, including popular culture that is outside WP's scope. This is the correct way to address your concern. --A Knight Who Says Ni (talk) 00:39, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
Is it now a fixed policy that these are disallowed? I see them all the time (and a box saying they are discouraged). Can someone point me to said policy/guideline? Hobit (talk) 03:04, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

GenWeb a reliable source?

As a geography-focused editor, I occasionally run into instances where people use GenWeb (a The Generations Network website) as a source. Here is an example: an editor used a GenWeb page (here) to supersede the official local government site for Niobrara, Nebraska. I can't imagine a way in which the GenWeb site would be more authoritative than the local, so I tried to balance them, but I wonder: are GenWeb pages to be considered at all reliable, since (if you look at the bottom of the GenWeb pages) they appear to be individual user pages which anyone can post? Nyttend (talk) 13:22, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

I have used GenWeb extensively for genealogy research, but I would not consider it a reliable source for Wikipedia purposes. The local coordinators can post anything that is submitted by anyone. Occassionally, they post excerpts from books, databases, or censuses. That information would be reliable, but I would much rather see it come from the original source, as transcription errors can always be a problem. In my opinion, the GenWeb sites should be treated the same as any self-published website. Karanacs (talk) 13:32, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
I tend to agree with Karanacs. Certainly, GenWeb should not supercede more reliable sources, such as information available from a government. However, it is not unreasonable to use GenWeb as a source with appropriate citation for purposes of WP:Verification, though it could not be considered a source on which notability of a topic could hang. Further, data relying on GenWeb could be challenged with "replacement" data from a more reliable source. The key is attribution. This actually touches on the entire topic of 'blog-type web content'. The content of GenWeb, I believe, can generally be considered a good faith attempt on the part of contributors to provide accurate information; however, there is no limit to the degree of inference from original data that can be made, nor is there any obligation on the part of the contributor to provide citations to or even definition of original sources. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 01:21, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Cultural References / Family Guy

Can I suggest (and I know this is opening up a great can of worms) that we move every single "family guy" cultural reference to a page called "list of cultural references in family guy", thus removing the dire and pointless amount of Family Guy references on every other page which don't seem to be a relevant piece of information to have in any encyclopaedia. Then, if anyone wanted to find out if family guy referenced any particular thing, there would be one easy place to find so, and all the other pages wouldn't need to have a load of shoddy in-jokes on them?Bradley10 (talk) 13:40, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Trivial information should always be removed if the removal makes the article better. Dumping trivial information in a separate article smells of "better there than here", which usually results in the deletion of the "new" popcult article anyway. – sgeureka tc 16:39, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
I think a lot of the "In Popular Culture" stuff from Family Guy is the better side to those sections. Something that is referenced in Family Guy (or one of the other similar animated shows) is a more notable occurence than in some random film or some of the other places references come from. Deamon138 (talk) 17:01, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
A word of warning against this proposal comes from the awesome xkcd. See here, and be sure to hover your cursor over the image too! Deamon138 (talk) 17:03, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
You mean that a person like Benjamin Disraeli is becoming more notable because some fairly minor cartoon series is refering to him??? I think that is really a lot of irrelevant trivia for someone of his level. BTW I like your link to xkcd which shows pretty clearly the triviality of the whole popular culture links. Arnoutf (talk) 17:13, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
Strangely enough, pop-culture references like this one are many people's first introduction to a topic: [8]. The Bush Administration has been subliminably inserting educational matter into our cartoons, and we're fighting back by inserting cartoons into our educational matter.--Father Goose (talk) 18:15, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
Lol @ the best answer: *link to Wikipedia article*! Why even bother using Yahoo answers? Cut out the middle man and come straight here. Deamon138 (talk) 23:16, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
Ref Wikipedia:Trivia sections, Wikipedia:Handling trivia. It's a side effect of our editor demographic that Family Guy references get added a lot, and they frequently deserve to be pruned, so just be bold. Dcoetzee 17:36, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
The Disraeli thing makes no sense. The section heading is "Films featuring Disraeli", yet there is Family Guy listed. As far as I know, there has only been one Family Guy film, and that didn't contain a reference to him as far as I remember (in fact the yahoo link says "episode", and I don't think anyone on there is stupid enough to confuse episodes and films, no matter how unreliable that would be as a source). So it's strange that it's listed there: rename section heading or make new section or remove Family Guy from there. It doesn't say how exactly Disraeli was referenced in the episode, so I can't tell whether that's a good one to have or not.
Basically, I reckon most "In popular culture" sections should just be treated with common sense. It's usually obvious if something should be in or not: an elaborate joke or even whole episode of (say) the Simpsons inspired by the article topic is usually a very good example, while a tiny one joke mention in some tinpot poorly received film or sketch show or whatever is unlikely to be acceptable imo. I know that's not very specific, but if we all just use common sense, it should be fine. Personally, if I see such a section, I leave it alone if the article isn't too big. So when the article's small to medium, I think it doesn't matter so much. But if an article is approaching a large size, then I say only include the ones that make the most common sense. Deamon138 (talk) 23:32, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

A story from 1971

 Note: thread created by blocked sock of JeanLatore Darkspots (talk) 20:29, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

As you may have read, Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971 to the New York Times, which caused a major uproar in both the courts and the Nixon administration. The attorney general, John Mitchell, issued an order to the times to cease publication, which was appealed in a landmark Surpeme Court case, and Nixon personally plotted all-out retaliation with tactics that eventually lead to Watergate. What does this have to do with Wikipedia in 2007 you might ask?

What would happen if a modern day Ellsberg leaked top secret documents, but instead of the old-fashioned leak to the press, what if he "leaked" them by posting to Wikipedia, either through an article, or even userspace, etc)?

What could happen to wikipedia and would it lead to criminal and civil liablity? What about for the editors who "revert" the article if others try to censor it on national security grounds. Even a court order could not prevent wikipedia editors from re-posting this material, if it got that far. Perhaps the government would try to shut Wikipedia down? The possibilities are many. Brown Univ 77 (talk) 18:47, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

It would presumably get deleted, added to the blacklist, and the leaker would feel stupid for not using Wikileaks. --NE2 18:52, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
So Wikipedia would become simply a tool of the establishment by deleting it. At least publications in print have the courage to print important leaked documents. And a major leak like the Pentagon papers would acheive much more visibility on Wikipedia rather than on wikileaks. Brown Univ 77 (talk) 18:57, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
You misunderstand what Wikipedia is for; it's not for new theories, research, or documents. --NE2 19:39, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
(ec)It's not a matter of courage, it's a matter of focus. Please read WP:NOT. And as for publicity, wikileaks has demonstrated that it gets plenty when it puts up something interesting. Nor is there any more credibility - actually, probably less - if a document is hosted here rather than there, given that Wikipedia has absolutely no processes for corroborating the authenticity of source documents (because, per the guideline Wikipedia:Do not include copies of primary sources, editors are not supposed to post them here, among other reasons). -- John Broughton (♫♫) 19:43, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

New policy proposal and draft help

Wikipedia:Scientific standards

I have drafted a new proposal and would like help in clarifying, adjusting, adapting, and improving it. It is based on five years of work here at Wikipedia (not always the prettiest, I might add). I think it summarizes the opinions of a great majority of editors as to how to handle scientific situations. This proposal serves as a nexus between WP:NPOV and WP:RS for cases where we are dealing with observable reality. It is needed because there are a lot of editors who don't seem to understand what entails best-practices when writing a reliable reference work about observable reality. I don't pretend that this version is perfect, and would appreciate any and all additions, suggestions people may have for getting to some well-regarded scientific standards.

Note that these standards would apply only when discussing matters directly related to observable reality. These standards are inspired in part by WP:SPOV but avoid some of the major pitfalls of that particular proposal. In particular, the idea that SPOV even exists is a real problem. However, I think it is undeniable that we should have some standards for writing about scientific topics.

See also WP:SCI for another failed proposal that dovetails with this one. I hope this particular proposal is more in-line with the hole I see in policy/guidelines for dealing with these situations.

ScienceApologist (talk) 19:52, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

User Page Content?

I'll be the first say that I am a bit new to Wikipedia policy and what is/is not acceptable on the site. However I can across a User Page that seems completely inappropriate for Wikipedia. User:DarkFireYoshi's user page is being used for nothing more than personal web storage. The information on the page and his talk page are merely information of a fictional Survivor-like competition. I Googled some of the information on his page to check the legitimacy, and all that I found was a YouTube account under the same name, listing his talk page as the "official website" (seen here[9] and here[10]. So long story short... is this allowable? If not, what needs to be done about it? Thank you in advance for you help. Bvlax2005 (talk) 04:25, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Send them to MFD. Wikipedia isn't a webhost, after all. — Trust not the Penguin (T | C) 04:53, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
Also note: User:DarkFireYoshi/Sandbox, User:DarkFireYoshi/Sandbox/Sandbox, and User:DarkFireYoshi/Sandbox/Sandbox/Sandbox. — Trust not the Penguin (T | C) 04:58, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
I MfD'd the userpage and his talk page, but someone already blanked the talk page. Celarnor Talk to me 05:15, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

I recently encountered User:Initialdesign who appears to be writing highly professional articles on borderline-notable doctors. The articles are entirely positive and include corporate photographs of the subject.

I strongly suspect that the user is from initaldesign, inc and is being paid to do this work. This is obviously bad for Wikipedia, but what I want to talk about is a proposed new policy. It would be a simple policy, though it might have to be fleshed out a bit:

Being paid to add or remove content to Wikipedeia is completely forbidden

Opinions? DJ Clayworth (talk) 14:11, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

This already exixts. WP:SPAM and WP:COI. Mr.Z-man 14:16, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
I disagree strongly with the suggested policy; WP:COI covers this in a more reasonable manner. There's nothing wrong with people being paid to add content to Wikipedia, as long as they fully disclose their affiliation, and follow other policies like NPOV to the best of their ability. Even more importantly, nonprofit organizations may choose to hire people to expand Wikipedia in certain areas, for the public good. Dcoetzee 17:40, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Dcoetzee; as Wikipedia becomes more and more important, the likelihood of organizations (and individuals) paying for content edits is just going to increase. We need to make sure paid editors follow the rules - and if they do, they help Wikipedia get better - rather than spending lots of time trying to identify such editors. We already have processes (and editors) focused on removing PR spin, paid or unpaid, and non-notable articles, regardless of why they were created; let's trust those processes. (If anything, we need more clearly defined ways for COI content to be added to mainspace articles - for example, by going through WP:COI/N.) -- John Broughton (♫♫) 19:48, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
signing in agreement with Dcoetzee and John Broughton --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 01:02, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

I bet also the Foundation is paying staff to remove any libel or other undesirables. Deamon138 (talk) 00:49, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Quite useless. Judge the contribution alone, not the authors' identity. NVO (talk) 15:44, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

RFC on September 11, 2001 attacks

Talk:September 11, 2001 attacks#RFC on page title and comma - We need outside opinions on what the appropriate grammar and application of the manual of style is here in this situation. Should the page title and the article start out with "September 11, 2001 attacks" (no comma) or "September 11, 2001, attacks"? A third option is to rename the page to something like "September 11 attacks". We would appreciate comments on the article talk page. Thanks. --Aude (talk) 20:17, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia talk:Biographies of living persons/BLP Special Enforcement

Posting this here, because it needs to be spotlighted and have more eyes on it.

The ArbCom RfC came up with two pretty clear statements in Wikipedia:Requests_for_comment/Arbitration_Committee#View_by_Celarnor_.282.29 Wikipedia:Requests_for_comment/Arbitration_Committee#No_New_Policy that gained a large number of endorsement that I view as an indication of consensus support. In light of that I've called for the BLP Special Enforcement to be marked historical because it's lost community support.

In response, User:Ncmvocalist has threatened to have me blocked for making "tendentious argument against the enforcement of a core policy".

Community input would be welcome. --Barberio (talk) 01:42, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

I have commented there, but I do not see that anyone is serious threatening to consider the mere discussion of the question as disruptive. DGG (talk) 08:23, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Gregorian calendar, all-numeric dates, and autoformatting

Please see discussion at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)#Gregorian calendar.

Dates like 1582-10-10 appear to be in ISO 8601 format. This is especially true for autoformatted dates, because the user preferences window indicates this format with the text "2001-01-15T16:12:34", which is unmistakably in the ISO 8601 format. The ISO 8601 format requires the use of the Gregorian calendar, and for dates before that calender was introduced, the proleptic Gregorian calendar. Browsing a few articles suggests that many editors do not understand this convention, and are therefore presenting incorrect dates to readers. Also, a date in a non-numeric format such as 10 October 1582 will generally be presumed to be in the Julian calendar (since it is before the introduction of the Gregorian calendar) so if it is autoformatted, the meaning of the date changes depending on the reader's preference setting.

Please note that discussions on this matter have been quite amicable and this RFC is only to attract a wider audience.


  • It is the policy of the English Wikipedia to regard all dates in the form YYYY-MM-DD as governed by the ISO 8601 standard, and to regard all such dates as being in either the Gregorian calendar or proleptic Gregorian calendar.
  • The proleptic Gregorian calendar should usually be avoided; the Julian calendar should be used instead.
  • The format YYYY-MM-DD should never be used for a date in any calendar except the (proleptic) Gregorian calendar (except in a direct quotation).
  • Editors should not wikilink, or otherwise cause autoformatting, to any date that is not in the (proleptic) Gregorian calendar, and are encouraged to remove any such autoformatting from existing articles (with due care to insure the resulting dates are correct).
  • Appropriate changes should be made to the relevant manuals of style and the Date and Time user preference page (that page should have an explicit statement that the format is governed by ISO 8601).

--Gerry Ashton (talk) 18:00, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

For what years should the Julian calendar be applied? Between 1582 and 1923 it is ambiguous. --Random832 (contribs) 17:36, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
As above, please direct discussion to Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)#Gregorian calendar.LeadSongDog (talk) 18:06, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

Revertion of the Wikipedia to the mindset of a printed publication

 Note: This discussion was initiated by another sock of Julie Dancer; see also Wikipedia:Requests for checkuser/Case/Julie Dancer. Pretty much anything in the 71.100 range that posts to the Village Pump can be considered trolling. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 01:23, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

Back in 2003, the idea of the Wikipedia was that an article could be started even if it did not meet most of the requirements for an article and from there be lovingly edited by users until whatever problems it had eventually went away in a collaborative effort toward eventual perfection of the article. Today, however, no such thing is possible. All articles whether new or existing are not treated as Wiki articles anymore but rather as printed publications sent to a publisher for review. The idea of online collaboration and perfection, which is what a Wiki is suppose to be all about, has been abandoned in favor of treating all works as a submittal to a publisher for acceptance or rejection. Rather than as a bee hive where honey is produced the Wikipedia seems to be now more like a pool full of piranha looking for the next article to attack. The Wikipedia has gone from being a place where content providers can collaborate to the mindset of a printed publication where articles not already perfected are simply destroyed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 15:17, 21 August 2008

This is, of course, grossly exaggerated. A look at Wikipedia:Criteria for deletion shows that new articles do not require references, good writing, links and sectioning, images, or many other important features. While there has been some notable expansion of CSD over the years, particularly G11 (blatant advertising) and T1 (divisive and inflammatory templates), these do not substantially up the quality standard for new articles. As for AfD, many deletion discussions include eventualists who will be quick to point out that a poorly-written article just needs time to improve; and our scope of inclusion has broadened rather than narrowed. Dcoetzee 18:50, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
It seems that more of the successfull principles are abandoned, like the one we all contribute for free[11], turning wikipedia into knol. Mion (talk) 19:02, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
I think the post is exaggerating the problem. In my opinion, quality control, similar to that of article review, should be applied before promoting articles to the upper levels (GA-A-FA) of the project. Before that the beehive action should have taken place. That these upper quality levels are protected by a fairly negative evaluative filter has a lot to do with over-optimistic editors, who fail to judge the quality of their own contribution fairly (but consider it brilliant FA level in all case).
That said for FA and GA articles, I think the somewhat aggressive article for deletion approach, and even more the littering of stub and start articles with templates shouting to the reader that the article is a load of nonsense is indeed discouraging, and I think not a good motivator to invest in such articles.
So yes I see some of this problem for articles in an early or immature state, but also notice that for article aiming for high quality assessments the critical review procedure is needed. Arnoutf (talk) 19:18, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
Where did it say we contribute for free? It's a free encyclopaedia, not necessarily free work. Deamon138 (talk) 23:21, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
For the former, Dcoetzee already stated it was exaggerated, he was only pointing that the low entry level should get more attention, on EN there is a good functioning Wikipedia:Version 1.0 Editorial Team/Assessment system which is different from your favorit german system gesichteten Versionen[[12]], that is, if you're not a certified wikipedian and you're not able to start your article in {{A-Class}} the article gets kicked. For the latter i hope you're joking. Mion (talk) 23:52, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
I can't imagine most people didn't see this coming. I mean, at some point we had to say: "Okay, less random crap, more quality." When Wikipedia was just a little website, lots of random crap wasn't a problem. Now that its a major website, people want information that's accurate, relevant, and well-presented. Mr.Z-man 23:54, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
So we do, we have the assessment scale, in that way we can keep the open source principle, three lines of text is enough for a start where we can build upon AND you can view it in the quality you want, so what didn't see we coming ? Mion (talk) 00:02, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
Unfortunately, the old principles of "It may start as crap, but we can probably improve it over time", don't really apply anymore. Rather than having a bunch of people seeing errors and fixing them or expanding on stubs, we have a bunch of people who go around tagging things for deletion, who have gotten RfAs passed of a number of people with a similar mindset who are all too happy to delete less-than-perfect articles about excellent subjects. This, in turn, draws further people away from article improvement and into monitoring PROD, speedy candidates and AfD to make sure nothing gets deleted that shouldn't.
The days where someone who watches a lot of TV or reads a lot of news could start an article with a few references after seeing something about it and counting on other people familiar with the material to improve on it are over. If you don't write a multiparagraph GA-viable article, then it's just going to get deleted and you either have to write it again yourself (and possibly endure speedies for recreation of deleted material) or do all the improvement yourself, which used to be done collectively in the traditional wiki way, or it simply isn't going to happen. The days of working together to create articles are over; we're now in the day where we maintain and slowly improve and copyedit articles; just above, we have people arguing over petty things like whether or not there should be a comma in the title of the page on the September 11th attacks when there are hundreds of stub-class articles that could use some serious improvement on their prose and references.
Until this changes, or we get people who are willing to write GA-level material with a single edit, we're destined to stagnate in the cycle of "start article, delete article, start article, get speedied as recreated deleted material, DRV, get permission to start new article, start article, get article deleted again due to similarity to previous version, get disgusted and give up, repeat with new topic." Celarnor Talk to me 01:09, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
Huh? If all non-GA-level articles get deleted, how in the name of the All-Merciful are we getting bigger by well over a thousand articles a day? Algebraist 01:17, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
We're getting bigger, still, fortunately, but nowhere near the rate at which we used to. I'm not saying the current policy and community incarnation results in an unworkable encyclopedia or anything like that, but I do think we aren't in the position to be as successful a project in terms of including and accepting new topics as we used to be; what we are doing well is custodial work of the feature-length articles that we do have.
My overall point is that we no longer discuss topics. We discuss articles; we've switched from looking at the long term to looking at the short term. Celarnor Talk to me 02:33, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Celarnor on this; and repeat my above statement, that the problem is in how we treat startup articles as a community. Article for deletion discussion should on topic, not on the quality of the stub (I have seen noteworthy but non-US relevant stubs being tagged and deleted within hours after being created, often during US-daytime / European nighttime; not even allowing the original creator (being asleep) to respond to the AfD. This is especially the case if the topics noteworthiness cannot be easily assessed based on a google search using only English search terms (often not relevant to assess noteworthiness of topics from non-English native countries) Arnoutf (talk) 08:51, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps the wrong metric is being employed. What is the average number of pageviews per day (or month) per article? What is the mode? I suspect that the average (or mode of the) number of page views has declined, even as Wikipedia's total number of views increases or holds the same. If the number of pageviews per article is declining faster than would be expected by simply dividing the total pageviews by the total number of articles, it would suggest that most of the articles being created nowadays are not interesting to Wikipedia's users. Phlegm Rooster (talk) 09:29, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
While such metrics maybe relevant to flag up trends for all articles in Wikipedia, such a (population) metric has little to nothing to say about individual articles. Therefore, I do not see how engaging in such metrics will lead to solutions to the issues discussed above. Arnoutf (talk) 10:28, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
I was saying there is no problem. Phlegm Rooster (talk) 16:38, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
Ok, I think I misunderstood your intention. Arnoutf (talk) 16:42, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
a google search using only English search terms (often not relevant to assess noteworthiness of topics from non-English native countries) - Please remember that this is the English Wikipedia. If a topic has been extensively discussed only in another language, that that language Wikipedia is the proper place for an article. It doesn't follow, I think, that something never covered by an English-language newspaper or magazine (let's say, for example, a regional election in a foreign country) is notable at the English Wikipedia, just (I'd argue) not all U.S. Senate elections (nor all members of the U.S. Congress, for that matter) are automatically notable in all language Wikipedias, whereas they clearly are notable in the English one. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 13:09, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
I totally disagree. English Wikipedia is not supposed to be an encyclopedia of the English-speaking world (although it inevitably ends up having that bias). The notability-giving value of sources may depend on many things, but not on the language they are written in. (I actually regret the fact that many different language Wikipedias have been allowed to come into being. Since the goal in each case is the same, modulo language, there ought to be just one Wikipedia with the possibility of creating localized versions of articles within it. But we're stuck with the system we've got now.)--Kotniski (talk) 13:28, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm with Kotniski on this one. Ideally all wikipedias in all languages would cover exactly the same topics. Qin Shi Huang is a more notable figure and far more "worthy" of an encyclopedia article than George W. Bush (another George W. might be a better comparison). WP:N is not solely a function of available English sources and is not a function of the bias of the editing community. There is no "Notability in English" there is only "Notability." SDY (talk) 14:16, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
An area in which I agree with Kotniski ... the language of a source is completely irrelevant. Using an area in which we wholly disagree as an example, if he could demonstrate the existence of detailed historical writeups of Polish villages in Polish, I would have no objection at all to including articles about those villages in English Wikipedia. Most educated English speakers have some fluency in other languages, and we rely on those editors to help broaden and expand Wikipedia. We also rely on those editors to help us with fact checking when foreign language articles are used. There are probably only a handful of languages with published sources that are so obscure that we don't have a dozen editors that can read and write them.
Kww (talk) 14:44, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
I also agree with the above. Notability is notability; language is no barrier to that. As long as there is coverage, then it doesn't matter. United States politicians are notable because they have coverage in multiple reliable secondary sources; assuming the Chinese wikipedia has identical or similar notability guidelines, then they're still notable. The fact that the sources which prove their notability may be harder to find for those at the Chinese wikipedia only mean that the subject's notability might be harder to discover; however, it nonetheless exists. Celarnor Talk to me 02:58, 23 August 2008 (UTC)