Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 53

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Page name grammar

Is there an wp:en guidline on grammar in page names/titles? I notice that a lot of categories get renamed from "fooian foos" to "foos in foo" (or "Spanish cyclists" and "Cyclists from Spain") for example, and was wondering if a guideline along these lines existed (especially for articles). Help:Page name just lists technical issues. SharkD (talk) 11:16, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

That'll be WP:NAME - X201 (talk) 11:47, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks! SharkD (talk) 18:01, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

Does consensus subordinate to policy?

There is an interesting discussion at Wikipedia talk:Consensus about whether consensus is subordinate to policy. --Kevin Murray (talk) 19:11, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

Reliable sources guidelines for articles about small companies - the question of PR

Recently I wrote an article about a new website created by a small, non-US-based company (MeeMix). The article was soon after nominated for deletion, since the reviewers suggested it lacked coverage in reliable sources. Some of the sources I supplied were reviews in professional blogs, which are quite relevant to this field. However, blogs are by large not considered reliable sources. The issue I’m trying to discuss here is whether there are situations in which the existing WP guidelines for reliable sources should be reviewed.

Generally, when concerning articles about websites, reliable sources according to WP are big, corporate magazines centered on internet topics. It is widely known that big PR companies can point the spotlights of these magazines on their clients. That’s their business. Since obtaining the services of big PR companies concerns a lot of money and many small, new companies cannot afford these services, I think we present a biased picture when using this method for screening articles. That is, we rely mostly on big magazine coverage (at least in the area of internet companies) as the primary method for deeming something as worthy of WP existence. Thus, smaller companies that inherently have a much smaller chance of getting big media coverage than larger companies (due to the latter hiring PR companies), subsequently have a smaller chance of acquiring WP notability. We’re kind of “helping the rich get richer”.

I think that perhaps, at least at first for articles about internet companies, we should consider additional indicators of relative importance, so as to have more information available on WP, rather than less information. For example, many experts on this topic (internet) express themselves via notable blogs. As such, I think that certain blogs should be considered as reliable sources.

This way, we’re trying harder to keep $$ out of influencing the objective reflection of the world we’re trying to create. Rabend (talk) 14:32, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

The proposed deletion because of a "reliable sources" problem is not about doubting the website or the company exists, or that the article is accurate. It's more of a concern that websites and small companies are generally not worthy of an encyclopedia entry. There are millions of small companies and websites in the world, and they would all like to have an article to establish their presence. At WP, we consider this advertising and spamming, and we've decided we don't want these kinds of articles here. A company has to accomplish things that have an impact on the world, not just on itself or its industry. Sorry for the bad news, but there are other websites which do encourage these kinds of articles. --A Knight Who Says Ni (talk) 15:49, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
Assuming an article is not ad/spam, shouldn't we in theory want to include it in WP? Shouldn't we generally strive to increase the knowledgebase? I think that the meaning of 'encyclopedia' has changed since its medium transferred from a physical entity to a virtual one. When it was printed, indeed a threshold was needed since the volumes would get too numerous. But now that we don't have this limitation, why not include more? Rabend (talk) 16:53, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
We have more than 2.5 million articles, and nowhere near enough editors to address all the known problems and needs for fixing and improving those articles. If we open the floodgates to millions (literally) of articles about non-notable (currently) subjects, we're going to stretch even thinner our limited resources for fighting vandalism and spam. And we'd weaken our standards for what is reliable sources, something that would affect not only the new articles but things like content disagreements on more important articles. In short, Wikipedia isn't broken now, and a radical change like this could easily damage Wikipedia significantly. What we lose by not including millions of articles about very much less important subjects is more than offset by our being able to focus the limited resource of editor time on the more important subjects that we do have articles on. (And there are plenty of other places for someone to put up information about small companies; but, of course, Wikipedia has more credibility and a better Google page rank.) -- John Broughton (♫♫) 20:08, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
I understand what you're saying, but I'm at a position where the subject of my article is mentioned and reviewed in more than 10 places, one of these is a site that is part of the NY Times Company, for example. Most of these are important, influential blogs on this particular field, yet since blogs are overall not considered reliable, it's as if my article's subject does not exist, notability-wise. Indeed it is more feasible to enforce a more strict rule, but I think that this policy may in turn neglect certain fields. Rabend (talk) 10:12, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
Blogs by newspaper reporters are - I think, though I'm not sure I'd want to be quoted on this - considered to be acceptable as a source (not the comments, of course), because (a) the reporter still has to meet the journalistic standards of the newspaper, and (b) if there is an error of fact, the blogger is expected to correct it. I've cited blogs by newspapers before (NY Times, Washington Post, and others), and no one has (to my recollection) objected (though I've not done monitoring for more than a couple of days, generally). And yes, I think that for technical subjects, they're more likely to be discussed in technical blogs well before they make the main stream media; I'd argue that means that the vast majority of Wikipedia readers aren't going to find such technical information - the latest version of 802.11z, or whatever - to be useful, and those that would find it useful almost certainly know how to find such information via Google or other search. Perhaps Wikipedia is erring by setting too strict standards, but once blogs are permissible (other than those with proven journalistic standards), then the door is wide open for thousands of arguments - unresolvable - as to whether this particular blog is "good enough" or not. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 01:14, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
What, then, should the specification for the use of allowed blogs be? On the one hand, we're saying that blogs should not be used; on the other, blogs with journalistic records are ok. This leaves room for interpretation, or judgement by editors. Noting this, it is my opinion that the best solution, albeit possibly requiring more effort from editors, is that blogs as a rule are not permissible, except for cases where the author argues convincingly that for their particular article/field, referenced blogs are indeed reliable. This way, the burden of proof is on the author, which should stop what could have been a potential flood of blog references, yet flexibility is given to authors willing to go the extra mile in proving the reliability of their source, and ultimate judgement is in the hand of the editor, on an ad hoc basis, and not through an all-encompassing, hard-coded WP rule which may be crippling many articles. Rabend (talk) 17:07, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

Self Published Source vs. Reliable Source


If a Reliable Source has a story that is getting it's information wrong and can only be disputed by a Self Published Source, What is the correct thing to be done?


For example on the game Final Fantasy XI there is an incident where a group fought a boss in the game called Pandemonium Warden. They had this attempt for 18 hours. However the article quoted (and most if not all articles about this story) have gotten the information wrong. I can only prove the information is wrong by linking to the group leader's Livejournal where he disputes those stories and a thread on a message board where the original discussion and first mention of the 18 hour fight took place. So my question goes back to what is the correct thing to be done when a news outlet is being quoted and can only be disproved by what Wikipedia calls a Self Published Source.

Things to Note

The article that was quoted can be found here.

The original discussion for this group started here. Please notice that the 3rd post from a user named "Sylphet" contains the quote used in the Yahoo! article.

The group leader who made the first post as linked to above has a blog in his signature that he discusses the fight in detail. For ease of navigation you can simply go straight to it here.

The blog post predates the Yahoo! article. The posts on the message board predate the articles listed in the blog regarding their attempt.

Minor update

Square Enix came out and said that unanticipated methods were used which led to a long fight. Together with Absolute Virtue, it has been deemed that the combative techniques for weakening these NMs are too difficult. As a result, some players have engaged these enemies using unanticipated methods which led to extended battle times. ( Playonline)

Personal Thought

I personally think the information should be removed from the article because information found at the same source that the media used also later contradicts what the media says. Posts by the leader even clarify what happened which put a different spin on how the media states it happened. Even confirmed by Square Enix it was not their intention to create such a battle but a fault of the gamers. Wiresite (talk) 02:20, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

If a reliable source identifies a person in a story, and it can be proven that the person maintains a website or blog, then it might be appropriate to quote both. But it is usually difficult to prove that a particular website or blog really belongs to a particular person, unless it was mentioned in the reliable source. For example, the September issue of Scientific American contains an article by Esther Dyson, and gives the URL of her web site, so we can be sure which one is hers. If it weren't in the article, it would be hard to be sure that statements on some unknown website were really her's. --Gerry Ashton (talk) 03:00, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
Yes, the best option is to cite both and note the differences, giving them the same weight and avoid confussion when a reader just has knowledge of one side before. – sgeureka tc 09:56, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

In the spirit of WP:SOCK#LEGIT

Pictogram voting info.svg Note: This thread was initiated by a Julie Dancer (talk · contribs) sock. Darkspots (talk) 09:29, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

It seems like in the old days the only reason for being against a user having more than one account was the absence of WP:RCU which allowed more than one account to be used for the purpose of sock puppetry. In most courts, however, a thing is not considered a weapon unless it is intentionally used in that way. By defeating sock puppetry WP:RCU defeats the need to be against a user having more than one account in the spirit of WP:SOCK#LEGIT. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:27, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

Users with multiple accounts don't really bother me as much as they do some people. I only see it as a problem when you use more than one username in the same venue without making it clear that both accounts have the same owner; while I don't understand why you wouldn't simply use the same account for everything, I'm mature enough to realize that different people have different ways of doing things, and as long as they aren't using their multiple accounts to create false consensus, I don't particularly have any opinion one way or the other, although I do think that those who do use them abusively should be severely punished. Celarnor Talk to me 08:54, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
When you read WP:SOCK#LEGIT it becomes abundantly clear that there are multiple reasons for having more than one user name. In my case its to track each computer I have since each computer after it was put into service got its own email account and correspondingly used that email account in most cases as its user name or email account to open accounts at various web sites. Consequently each computer as it was put into service developed a usage which was consistent with the original reason for its purchase or the main project it was used for at the time. As time progressed and older computers were used for archival storage they were used less to access accounts but the accounts were still maintained. This is quite different than a user opening several accounts to try and show support or non-support for an issue from more than one user. Besides that trolls have found ways now around having several hidden accounts by becoming administrators or by joining forces with other trolls to do their evil deeds, many of which revolve around disruptive tags and comments such as we have at the top. — (Unsigned comment left by (talk · contribs))
Death by sock puppet? — Twas Now ( talkcontribse-mail ) 09:28, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
Yes, in terms of religious discrimination it could very easily be characterized as persecution of Jews only for that reason. — (Unsigned comment left by (talk · contribs))

Redirect following AfD debate

AfD debate results in decision to Keep. One editor disagrees. The editor blanks the page and substitutes a redirect (without merging any content). Argument is that Redirect is not the same as Deletion. True up to a point: Redirect preserves the history, and does not require Administrator action. But the most obvious effect is the same. Is there anything in WP policy to discourage this?

For the debate, see Talk:A4018 road and User talk: (the editor is anonymous, but fairly active). (Personal attack removed) There was a 2 year interval between the Keep decision and the Redirect, but if there is no policy against this, presumably it could be done immediately after a debate.Mhockey (talk) 11:56, 18 August 2008 (UTC) (Note re rpa tag added: the comment was certainly not intended to be a personal attack - I am sorry if it was taken that way.)Mhockey (talk) 14:50, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

The important parts here are that a redirect does not amount to anything near deletion, and that AfD's mandate is limited to "delete" and "do not delete" (whether an article stands or is redirected is beyond its scope). IMO, the reference to the AfD is a red herring, as is the reference I have removed from the above comment which happened to be entirely irrelevant to the point at hand. (talk) 13:01, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
  • While that is AfD's mandate, it isn't how things go in reality. Merge and redirect is a fairly common outcome. I haven't looked at this case, but I'd say that taking what has been agreed to be a notable article and redirecting without a merger is quite WP:BOLD and if someone reverts a discussion seeking consensus should occur. Hobit (talk) 14:06, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
    "Merge and redirect" = "do not delete", yes? I don't believe that it was "agreed to be a notable article", and as I said introducing the AfD on the topic of whether or not an article should be redirected is a red herring. (talk) 14:21, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
If the consensus is to keep the content, then deleting it is not keeping with the consensus. There is no distinction between blanking the page and deleting it. ---J.S (T/C/WRE) 20:19, 18 August 2008 (UTC) (Merging, is different however, since the content is being kept). ---J.S (T/C/WRE) 20:19, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

In response to the original comment, the time between the AfD and the blank/redirect is relevant. Blanking immediately after an unambiguous keep result will probably be seen as disruptive editing against consensus. Revisiting the issue after a reasonable delay, hopefully with novel arguments, is acceptable, even if initiated via WP:BRD. Flatscan (talk) 02:07, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Is there anything in WP policy to discourage this? We have a standard process for when an editor does something that other editors disagree with - it's called a revert. We really don't need lots of guidelines going into intricate detail about when an editor shouldn't do a particular type of edit; rather, we need to encourage editors who disagree with an edit to follow the standard process when there is a content disagreement. That includes seeking (rough) consensus, informally, and when consensus is not obvious, follow dispute resolution processes. An editor who knows how to properly deal with content disputes doesn't need to have read hundreds of guidelines in order to understand, ahead of time, what are and are not acceptable edits; he/she just needs to have common sense and a willingness to abide by consensus. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 20:16, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
OK, I should have said: is there any consensus (which is the source of WP policy) whether blanking a page (redirect without merge) after an AfD is an acceptable edit? So far, I hear a consensus that blanking immediately after an AfD debate would be disruptive, but blanking some time after (when consensus may have changed): some editors feel that it is much the same as Delete (which suggests that there ought to be either another AfD debate or something similar, perhaps on the basis that blanking in lieu of Delete is gaming the system), and some editors think that it is the same as any other edit to be resolved through the normal processes of Revert and dispute resolution (e.g. WP:BRD). If the latter view is the consensus, perhaps WP:VAN, which cites page blanking as a form of vandalism, should be clarified to say that page blanking in lieu of deletion (i.e. because an editor believes, in good faith, that the article should not be there) is acceptable. Mhockey (talk) 10:05, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
The blanking that is a form of vandalism is simply blanking without any other edits. Converting an article to a redirect should not automatically be classed as vandalism unless it is not reasonable to assume good faith (i.e. AGF except where there is contrary evidence). --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 10:22, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
mmm, the issue I see with that is that it suggests that if you do not believe that an article should be there, you needn't bother with the Delete process, just blank the page and redirect to another article (without merging). Doesn't sound right to me - consensus on the basic issue of whether an article should exist is likely to be harder to elucidate (and take longer) in a revert war and dispute resolution than in an AfD debate. Mhockey (talk) 22:13, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
I wouldn't say that one edit-revert cycle constitutes a revert war; revert wars are avoided in part by not simply reverting and calling the edit action vandalism - rather suggest that the person take the article to AfD if they believe the article should be deleted. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 22:41, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
Actually the article which prompted this discussion (A4018 road) has been blanked/redirected 5 times (by the same editor), and reverted 5 times (by different editors), over a period of 3 weeks. A similar thing has happened on at least 12 articles on similar topics, although I am not aware of previous AfD debates on the other articles. The editor blanking/redirecting has declined a suggestion to propose the article for deletion. It occurred to me that an editor who wants to keep the article could WP:PROD it - it might look a bit odd, but it should at least force the issue - i.e. elucidate consensus on whether the article should be there.Mhockey (talk) 09:52, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
The slow-speed edit war across many articles is cause for concern. I think it would be best if all editors withdrew from reverting and participated in a centralized discussion at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject UK Roads#Notability for UK A-Roads. Establish a more precise set of guidelines, then discuss each disputed article. Nominating for PROD or AfD should be considered very carefully by an editor who wants the article kept – such noms may be considered WP:POINTy or not good-faith. Flatscan (talk) 18:05, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
This is a pretty good idea from Flatscan. My comment above about 'one [cycle] does not constitute an edit war' was directed to the more general topic rather than the specific instance that began this thread. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 11:21, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
Agreed, consensus is the important concept here. In addition to a binary 'keep vs. no-keep', one thing that can emerge from an AfD — which I believe at one time was 'Articles for Discussion' rather than 'Articles for Deletion' — is a rough consensus as to what the next steps for the article should be. That is the principle behind a template such as {{Cleanup-afd}}, for instance. A 'keep' decision is usually not equivalent to a 'redirect' decision. I also agree that the 2 year interim is a major factor here ... it is generally not valid to say that circumstances 2 years ago that led to outcome X of an AfD have remained unchanged up to the present day; this is described in part in the passage WP:CCC, part of the Consensus policy. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 00:58, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Binding administrator recall

Discuss. --Random832 (contribs) 23:10, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

Proposed Guideline: NOTED PLAYER

See Wikipedia:NOTED PLAYER. MickMacNee (talk) 01:31, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

I agree with most of the criteria for inclusion, however the Golden Generation definition is vague, and is likely to result in disputes over what constitutes a "Golden Generation" and who is included/excluded. --Snigbrook (talk) 04:00, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Demote a guideline page

I'm proposing that Wikipedia:Disambiguation and abbreviations no longer be marked as a guideline. Please discuss there. --Kotniski (talk) 19:38, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

Now Yes check.svg Done.--Kotniski (talk) 07:47, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Parental control

Hi, I had a question. I was trying to find out if wikipedia has some way of preventing underage people from reading sensitive content (necrophilia, S&M, sex toys, Pope Benedict XVI…) I didn't succeed, so I thought I'd ask here.--Jinger (talk) 13:00, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

Nope although it would be posible to modify say DansGuardian to block whatever pages you wanted.Geni 13:04, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
Nope, I think this would come close to violating WP:CENSOR; and as the original poster already shows with his pope Benedict XVI example, would lead to endless POV fork what would be sensitive (for example, many US citizens would feel that the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse article is sensitive, while atheist might like to protect their children from any article about religion and pacifists would ask for children to be protected from any article related to the military). Arnoutf (talk) 17:27, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, protecting children from aspects of Wikipedia is up to the parents and schools, not Wikipedia, nor should it be. Deamon138 (talk) 18:31, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
Nope. That's the responsibility of parents, and possibly schools, depending on what kind of schools you're talking about. Celarnor Talk to me 00:57, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure that Celarnor's and Jinger's comments are actually mutually exclusive... I think I agree with both of them! - I certainly think Wikipedia has a responsibility to clearly communicate the range of content found on the site, and I wonder if some sort of technical addon might just be a cool software feature (I'm thinking of some way a school, for example, could just block all images with a certain 'inappropriate for kids' wiki tag / cat or somesuch). Folk may be interested in the Wikipedia:Advice for parents which covers this a bit, and here's an incidental note - I was chatting last night to a friend about this sort of thing, and they indicated that they felt this advice should be more explicit (ironic, no?!) - saying something like 'Wikipedia contains some images which may reasonably be defined as pornography' - I'll pop a note to this effect on the talk page there, but it seems relevant here too... Privatemusings (talk) 01:38, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Who says sexual articles are "inappropriate" for children? — Werdna • talk 02:53, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

"Boobies!" — Twas Now ( talkcontribse-mail ) 03:58, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

I don't believe any Wikipedia content can "reasonably be defined as pornography." Exploding Boy (talk) 04:20, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Disambiguation and abbreviations no longer marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Disambiguation and abbreviations (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has been edited so that it is no longer marked as a guideline. It was previously marked as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 18:46, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Wiki Policy on frequency of updates?

An editor, to make a political point, is updating fatalities (let's say) on an article on public safety on a daily basis, one edit for each of four or five places. Four more items to scroll through to "watch" the article. The one benefit may be to discourage all but his side, then they would have the article "to themselves!" Discussion has produced nothing useful. Once a month would be about right. At this point I don't even care if they WP:CRYSTAL ball it a month in advance. Just to shut them up so the rest of us could focus on something useful.

There must be a policy somewhere that discourages absurdly frequent updates well beyond what an encyclopedia would require. I would like to see Wikipedia return to being an encyclopedia rather than a breathless "news at 11" media outlet. Is there any such policy?Student7 (talk) 00:34, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with frequent edits. However, if the editing activity constitutes news coverage in Wikipedia, it would be better for the editor to contribute to Wikinews and link from the Wikipedia article to Wikinews coverage. In that way, the editor's interest in the topic is satisfied while maintaining the Wikipedia article's encyclopedic focus. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 00:45, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

All "faithful reproduction" photographs of 2D public domain works of art are now allowed on Commons

Following an official position statement in July 2008 by the Board of the Wikimedia Foundation, and a subsequent poll of Commons users, Commons policy now allows "faithful reproduction" photographs of 2D public domain works of art, even where the photograph was taken in a previously-disallowed country such as the UK or the Nordic countries. For details, see Commons:Commons:When to use the PD-Art tag. The Commons PD-Art tag has been amended accordingly.

As a result of this change in Commons policy, "faithful reproduction" photographs taken in the UK and elsewhere can now be hosted on Commons and will no longer have to be transwikied to Wikipedia (where they have long been allowed on the basis that Wikipedia only considers US law). --MichaelMaggs (talk) 17:54, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Such countries are wrong-headed to begin with for contradicting the U.S. decision of Bridgeman v. Corel. Ignoring them is the correct action. — CharlotteWebb 22:38, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
Another irrational twist of the management. Ain't so bad if they stick to it. Don't hurry deleting local copies, though. Things may change. Even the copyright term of the original work can be extended retroactively, making a chunk of commons "illegal". NVO (talk) 15:37, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
Theoretically, the WMF could choose to disregard that too - there are similar philosophical objections that may come into play there as here. In the end it comes down to what Mike Godwin thinks in terms of how likely they are to be sued and whether they'd be willing to fight it. --Random832 (contribs) 18:26, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

Holes in GA / FA review process for "academic" or "technical" subjects

Evolutionary history of life has been promoted to GA, but has a lot of holes - see Talk:Evolutionary history of life #Structure and questions. I was strongly tempted to put a "needs expert attention" tag on it, but it would be embarassing for Wikipedia to have this banner on a GA. I really hate being so harsh, but one could produce a better article from almost any Paleontology 101 textbook, i.e. a better article with just one source. Articles on science subjects need to be reviewed for content as well as compliance with WP:rules_on_everything. I suspect reviews of articles on other "academic" or "technical" subjects are in a similar situation, e.g. history, music.

PS Do not take this as criticism of the reviewer, who was friendly, helpful and as, as far as I could see, did what current policies require. It's the policies that have the problems. Unfortunately it's not even a new problem - Cambrian explosion was once FA, but a review in the scientific journal Nature pointed out a lot of errors. -- Philcha (talk) 10:25, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

I think there are several problems here
  1. The lack of academic rigorousness of many editors is likely to lead to popular views (which are especially problematic in scientific compexities, the more so if there are both non-contested scientific and a sensitive social elements). This is an inherent problem in Wikipedia a problem Citizendium tries to cope with. However, the broad editor involvement has very many strong elements (ie almost unlimited person hours being invested in Wikipedia but not Citizendium).
  2. Non-academic experienced editors will and can mainly use Wikipedia standards to build articles. These standards are here to assure a certain level of correctness, but cannot fully compensate for the many years of training needed to be allowed into academic discourse. For many articles this will be sufficient but for the complex, and socially contested type of articles on Science, they are probably not. Tailoring guidelines to specific types of articles will shy away good-faith editors thus leaving these topics undeveloped; and will put unreasonable stress on the whole system
  3. Reviewing is on "passerby" occurence, and while I respect the reviewers and recommend their good and undervalued work this has several setbacks. First of all, the reviewer system is heavily overburdened with a few reviewers doing a lot of work. Secondly, the reviewers tend to be "rule experts" rather than topic experts. Without some kind of editorial system assigning reviews and keeping track of reviewer specialties this cannot be changed. Furthermore, such an editorial system ges beyond the way Wikipedia is organised.
So in brief, even if anyone involves acts in good faith (which we assume) and to the best of their knowledge and capacties, the problem with these issues is that the Wikipedia approach of everyone can edit (with all the advantages it has) can in specific situations create an issues where neither the editors, nor the reviewers are sufficiently schooled in the relevant type of academic discourse to make a fully justified expert content decisions, which leads to following de minimis rules Wikipedia rules for content.
If you think expert opinion is strongly needed, you may have to place the tag anyway. This may result to removing GA status later on, but if it really needs expert opinion that is just a consequence. Arnoutf (talk) 18:59, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand Arnoutf's first 2 items, but I think item 3 raises some important points:
  • The reviewers tend to be "rule experts" rather than topic experts - too true. I think this has some undesirable consequences:
    • It can be a deterrent to submitting articles of review. My User page has a couple of quotes about this from editors I respect.
    • It may reduce the pool of people willing to be reviewers. I don't think I'll ever want to be a reviewer, as it would require me to spend a long time learning the whole of WP:MOS etc. when I'd rather be editing content, and then I'd be required to enfore WP:minutiae with some of which I disagree.
  • What's the obstacle to assigning reviews and keeping track of reviewer specialties? I admit this is a 2-edged idea, as over-expert reviewers may miss failures to explain things simply enough for non-specialist readers. But without some knowledge of topics they risk promoting articles that have weaknesses in content. Some Wikiprojects are good at eliminating serious content weaknesses (Wikiprojects Dinosaur and Chess have some very active and knowledgeable members) but some appear to be almost inactive, hence there's a risk that content weaknesses will remain uncorrected. -- Philcha (talk) 21:14, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
I personally have no problem with reviewing an article in terms of content and letting others pick apart the prose/MOS-stuff. I can do the content stuff, at least for ecology and biology, but I am not good at the "which comma should I use?" stuff. I agree with the comments you've posted on your userpage about the suckiness of the review process and have been sitting on an FA-quality article since May because I cannot face the process again. My time is better spent on other things. Sabine's Sunbird talk 00:03, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
Just because it's listed as a GA doesn't mean it can't be tagged. Such articles attain GA without expert review. Mainly because there is a shortage of experts available/willing to review. Typically once an article receives such expert attention and is determined to be well-written and complete, it is give A-class. If however, this article fails to meet the criteria listed at WP:WIAGA, and it's not practical to assume it can be improved to those standards within a weeks time, then it can be removed from WP:GA by anyone. My review of the article was close to a year ago. I believed it met all of the GA criteria, though I'm not an expert on the topic. Jennavecia (Talk) 20:56, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
IMO Evolutionary history of life falls short in both aspects of the "Broad in its coverage" criterion of WP:WIAGA: it omits some important points and goes into too much detail in others. It structure also seems not to tell the story in the most straightforward manner. Two of us made similar points, and we're the 2 most active members of WP:CEX, so we're moderately well-informed about Precambrian life - mainly animals: I admit I'm weak on the evolution of plants and fungi and I also suspect my colleague (on vacation) would admit the same. What's most troubling is that we posted our comments at the Talk:Evolutionary history of life in early July and there has been no response. -- Philcha (talk) 21:28, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
It's very good to have knowledgeable people like you looking at our articles. Unfortunately, often the only way to see an article improved is to slowly work on making the changes you'd like to see. As for GA and FA, they are completely optional processes; if you find that their criteria are at odds with your own, you're free to ignore them entirely. I do agree with the criticism that those processes focus on style over substance, although I also empathize with the reasoning that leads them to be that way. — Carl (CBM · talk) 21:38, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
I share the concern that too many of us reviewing articles have a tendency to dwell on style rather than content - even at FAC. Here's a suggestion. Let's leave GA alone - it's doing a fine job in improving articles and on the assumption that only a few editors are nominating articles on subjects where their knowledge base is weak, it may not be a major problem. FAC is sometimes more a test of patience and knowledge of MOS as it is a genuine "peer review" from a content perspective, but by and large the system works and is not need of fixing. 'A' class on the other hand is very under-used; only 0.05% of all assessed articles are in this category, about a quarter of the total in FA. (See Wikipedia:Version 1.0 Editorial Team/Index.) If a cadre of "experts" could be identified for various fields, and any new A class article had to be successfully reviewed by one or more such appropriate to the article's subject, then this could:
  • invigorate A class and make it something to aim at.
  • involve experts who want to focus on content but for whom MOS is a distant and unvisited continent.
  • Conceivably, if this was organised on a WikiProject basis it might encourage some camaraderie and dialogue in a few quiet corners as well.
If such experts proved hard to find or engage, that might also tell us something interesting. I can see various difficulties, but I believe the idea is worth exploring. Ben MacDui 10:11, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

Policy on retired user's sub pages

If a user has retired, what is the policy on the subpages the user has created on his user-space? (talk) 03:33, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Usually they can just be left there as they are. WODUP 03:42, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
However, if a retired user wants to delete her subpages, she put {{db-author}} on her subpages. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 04:45, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
Alternatively, you can always take them to Wikipedia:Miscellany for Deletion. Terraxos (talk) 05:22, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
Pages lying stagnant have no impact on anything and should be left alone. Arguments for deleting them (so as to save disk space) are bogus, as it would actually take more space to delete them (they'd still be saved somewhere, but then the system would log the deletion information as well). Besides, a subpage might still be useful, and that's more likely to happen if it's still around than if it's deleted. EVula // talk // // 18:14, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia is so large, a handful of pages extra would do nothing to the servers/other behind-the-scenes technical stuff. Certain users have guideline-like or historical reference-like subpages, and deleting them would only serve to hamper the community. Lastly, there's always the possibility the user returns, and wouldn't be very pleased to find all his/her pages have been deleted. Unless a retired user's subpage blatantly violates policy (i.e. "Fuck George Bush he is a stupid monkey"), there's no need to delete it. Calor (talk) 01:05, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
Nice explanation by EVula. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 10:08, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

New article notability

In all cases that I've come across, Wikipedia has pretty clear guidelines that help determine whether or not an article belongs here. Obviously there are contentious cases, but on the whole it's something we do quite well. However, I think it's too easy to create articles with little or no actual use. For instance, these three articles meet the notablity criteria, and meet the requirements of WP:STUB, but I don't understand how pages like this enhance Wikipedia. Another classic example would be football players (of any code) who have just reached the notability criteria. I'm not a deletionist, but if there's nothing to write about these topics then we shouldn't create articles based on arbitrary milestones, however logical these milestones might be.

I understand that a policy which required all articles to be pre-checked were adopted it would create a HUGE amount of work. We could largely counteract this by setting a minimum limit below which an article needs to be pre-approved. There would still be a lot of articles to cover, but it would be relatively easy to "create" or "more content required" these. On the plus side, this would largely be offset by less work for AfD (as fewer "non-notable" articles would end up there), and (less measurably but more importantly) we would get a higher standard of new articles. BeL1EveR (talk) 08:01, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

While I understand where you're coming from, I can't say that I agree with you. Even regarding those three examples you provided, they have potential to contain expanded on information that couldn't be contained within the confines of the (presumably) much larger article on the 1920 Olympics. If there's nothing more than what is already there to write about them, then good; that means there isn't any work that they need right now. That doesn't necessarily mean that they're useless topics. It just means that the article is inclusive of all the information available "at press time", as it were.
Our "milestones" boil down to coverage in multiple reliable sources. Coverage in reliable sources means that there is something that you can write about a given subject. That's the whole point. Stricter notability criteria (i.e, footballers have to play in such and such a team/league/group/club/whatever before they're considered notable, per ATHLETE) allow this to be refined a bit more, but, personally, I think that's pushing it. If there's enough material available to write an article, then, in my opinion, it should have one.
I think you're trying to place length metrics where they aren't really needed. An article on a presidential candidate is, of course, going to have substantially more content on it than an article about a town in New Jersey. This makes sense; there is a great deal more to work with when you're writing an article about a presidential candidate who is the subject of numerous editorials, biographies, exposes, and news articles campaign milestones. The town in New Jersey may not have anything more than a few local news articles about a convent that did something interesting in the early 20th century and the relevant census and geographical data to craft an article from. However, an encyclopedia needs to contain them both, or it isn't really an encyclopedia (Greek for "general knowledge"). Just because there's less to work with doesn't make it a "worse" article here. It just makes it a shorter one. Celarnor Talk to me 08:34, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the reply.
I'm certainly not suggesting that all articles below a certain length are not worthy of a place on wikipedia. As for your example, I agree. A distinct settlement which has something to verify its existance, is worthy of an article. But even then, at the very least you would expect an indication of its location, size, and some sort of local website which at the very least acknowledges the town's existance. Under this proposal the reviewer would look at the proposed content, see that the town had this information, and promptly add it.
I've used sports examples because this is a particular problem, but the same could be said of, say "xxxx earthquake in xyzland", which contained "There was an earthquake in abctown, xyzland on dd/mm/yyyy which measured 4 on the richter scale." (with proper formatting and a reference). This could be worthy of an article if there were more to it, i.e. the impact. But if an article is created of this type, in all likelihood it will never be expanded upon. In your example, there is prospect for improvement, and even if there isn't any improvement, as it stands it's informative. BeL1EveR (talk) 09:15, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
As a side note, this seems like a pretty relevant discussion. There didn't seem to be a clear consensus either way. The fundamental argument I'm making is that if something is notable and verifiable, by definition there should surely be a bit that can be written about it. I'm not suggesting the policy is wrong per se, rather that meeting criteria shouldn't automatically justify articles which could be consolidated into a table with no loss of information. Instead, notablility policy should set the level at which it's okay to begin a "comprehensive" article on the subject. By "comprehensive", I mean that in some cases a paragraph could in certain cases be considered "comprehensive". My proposal wouldn't prevent such articles from being created, it would merely ensure that new short articles were at least useful stubs. For comparison, this is a useful stub. BeL1EveR (talk) 10:59, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
This sounds like instruction creep to me. There's nothing in WP:N that says anything must have an article; if the information could be better presented merged into some other article, propose the merge or be bold and do it. Remember, there is no deadline, we don't have to have every article perfect on creation. Anomie 12:01, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
With regard to WP:DEADLINE, I think it's fair to say that I hold viewpoint number one, whilst I'm going to guess that you lean towards view two. Articles should be created if they meet WP:N and the author is adding something of significance or use that is more than a table or list could contain. On WP:CREEP; I see your point, but I'm only really taking something further that is already a guideline for new articles, and suggesting it should be enforced as a policy for the benefit of content. Perhaps you're right. Perhaps you and others will come to the conclusion that it would be going too far. My stance is that I want whichever solution leads to wikipedia containing the maximum amount of information, but that article count isn't a measure of this, and we should discourage having articles for articles sake, but always contain the information on wiki somewhere. As for WP:N, whilst you're right, the reverse is also true, a deletion can be contested on the grounds that it meets WP:N, even if it's a one liner.
Finally, whilst you're right that I could and should be bold, I'm thinking about the bigger picture. Let's say I were to create the article Neverland at the 2012 Summer Olympics. Neverland sends 100 athletes, and brings back seven medals. These seven will certainly get reasonable articles created; if I don't write them somebody else will. As for the other 93, it's likely that a further dozen or two dozen will have substantial stubs (or better) created, and would therefore quite rightly be left as articles. This would probably leave you with 40 "Joe Bloggs is a Neverlandish athlete who competed at the 2012 Olympic games" and 30 redlinks; redlinks usually being an indicator that a topic might meet notability but has not yet been given an article. What I'm thinking is that it would surely be easier to split the 30 notable articles from a parent one, than it would to merge 100 and then wikilink back to the 30 that exist. Again, I want to emphasise that I don't want to do anything that would reduce the amount of content on wikipedia, I merely want to consolidate it where it makes sense to do so. BeL1EveR (talk) 14:18, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

IRC logging

This is not directly relevant to Wikipedia itself, but it is peripherally relevant because of the occasional use of IRC logs in Arbcom cases etc, so I am posting it here. There's a discussion happening on Meta at this link about the current "no-public-logging" rule which applies in the #wikipedia and #wikipedia-en IRC channels. Discussion is being centred on whether the rule actually works, whether we should remove the rule and allow anyone to log the channels, or whether we should create an "official" logging bot to create logs for us. The opinions of any IRC users or wider Wikimedia community members are wanted. I'd particularly welcome anyone's opinion on this: if we currently don't allow the redistribution of IRC logs, how is it alright for people to pass on those logs to ArbCom? What makes ArbCom at all special in this regard, copyright and privacy-wise? - Mark 01:45, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Assume good faith now a behavioral guideline

Wikipedia:Assume good faith (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has been edited so that it is no longer marked as a guideline. It was previously marked as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 18:48, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

False positive: it is now marked as a 'behavioral guideline'. Algebraist 18:54, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Out of curiosity, is there any actual difference or is it just an organizational tool for guidelines? On a related note, it appears that VeblenBot does not track these subtypes of guidelines, and that may be worth fixing. SDY (talk) 20:38, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
I think it's just an organizational tool (though there seems to have been some disagreement on this in the past). The template {{subcat guideline}} uses the exact same wording (and formatting) as {{guideline}} (except for the subcat, obviously). I'll bug CBM about his bot. Algebraist 21:37, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
The bot only looks at categories, not at the contents of the pages. I'll need to add some of the guidelines subcategories to the bot, it seems. That's very easy to do, I just need to know which subcategories of Category:Wikipedia guidelines the bot should track. — Carl (CBM · talk) 23:16, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
I was pretty freaked out for a second. Celarnor Talk to me 21:41, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Updating VeblenBot

I changed VeblenBot to follow these categories for guidelines:

  • Wikipedia behavioral guidelines
  • Wikipedia content guidelines
  • Wikipedia editing guidelines
  • Wikipedia naming conventions
  • Wikipedia notability guidelines
  • Wikipedia guidelines

This leaves only the strangely named Category:Conflict of interest and the manual of style. I think the CoI category should be renamed something like Category:Wikipedia conflict of interest guidelines. I am torn whether to track the MoS categories. — Carl (CBM · talk) 23:34, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Might be worth setting up a parallel bot tracking the MoS categories that reports to WT:MOS instead of here. SDY (talk) 18:00, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
Good thought. – Luna Santin (talk) 16:21, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
This sounds like a great tool. Over there at MoS main, we'd love to be alerted when the MoS template is added to or removed from a page. It's hard to keep track of and coordinate all 50-plus MoS pages, yet this is, increasingly, the task at hand. Tony (talk) 08:57, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

It looks like these are the categories that need to be tracked:

Should the announcements go to WT:MOS ? — Carl (CBM · talk) 12:49, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

Personally, I think WT:MOSCO would be an excellent venue; the project's purpose, after all, is to co-ordinate MoS pages and keep them consistent. Having the notices there (and thus giving people a good reason to watch the page) would revitalise the page and, consequently, the effort for consistency. Waltham, The Duke of 22:25, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
I think I disagree, Duke; having notification show up in a place that just about no one ever visits might seem clubby. Guidelines aren't going to come and go so often that it would be a distraction to get the notifications at WT:MOS. Also, the two middle categories were BeBestBe's work, but he hasn't made any edits since July 21, and I'm not aware that anyone else wants to do anything with them. - Dan Dank55 (talk)(mistakes) 20:13, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
I can send the announcements to multiple places, if that's requested. I'm looking for that type of feedback. — Carl (CBM · talk) 20:40, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
Ah ... in that case, I like the Duke's suggestion; it would be easier to keep track of a list of notifications at WT:WPMOS than at WT:MOS, so let's get notified of changes to Category:Wikipedia style guidelines and Category:General style guidelines in both places. - Dan Dank55 (talk)(mistakes) 01:26, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
I suggested MOSCO because i) it is more suitable a venue (it has been created for the very purpose of co-ordinating the Manual, even if it has not yet been activated for this purpose, and ii) because it is a page that should be watched, and having the notifications there will provide an excellent impetus for people to start watching. I shouldn't mind receiving the notifications at the MoS talk page, but then the current situation would not change. And the discussion about the Manual lower on this page indicates that the MoS WikiProject needs to finally start working. A number of MoS regulars have signed up as members of the project; notifying them to start watching the page (if they have ever stopped) might actually be effective.
We should, of course, quickly follow it with further activity on the page, since, as Dan says, these notices will not appear often. Waltham, The Duke of 08:59, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
If it's tracking guidelines, the MOS pages should be tracked, since they're guidelines. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 21:03, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Articles about fictional characters

  • The user query User talk:Anthony Appleyard#Melissa Wu (Flight 29 Down) got me wondering about policy re where:
    • A fictional series has a page.
    • Each of its fictional characters has a page, pointed to from the page about the series.
    • A user wants to replace all its fictional character pages to redirects to the series page.
    Would it be acceptable to AfD the series page with first discussion message "Keep this page, but replace all its individual character pages by redirects to the series page."? Or what? Anthony Appleyard (talk) 05:07, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
  • It would make more sense to batch AfD the character pages, rather than placing the tag on a page that would obviously be kept. — Trust not the Penguin (T | C) 05:09, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
  • If they are redirected, watch for cases where the character page has a hatlink pointing to someone else who is not in the series, for example Melissa Wu (Flight 29 Down) has a hatlink pointing to Melissa Wu (diver). Anthony Appleyard (talk) 05:14, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
    The hatlink shouldn't be there. Melissa Wu (Flight 29 Down) and Melissa Wu (diver) both have a disambiguation note in their titles. Someone browsing for either will end up at the disambiguation page first. — Trust not the Penguin (T | C) 05:16, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Listification is always an option. (And a better one than merely deletion, I would think. Though noting that I don't know the specifics of the article or the character articles.) - jc37 22:09, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Proposal: Allow stewards to deadmin based on community consensus

I'm sure many of you have heard of the recent "scandal" involving User:Elonka and her failure to honor a pledge to the community that she made during her third Request for Adminship: "My standards will be pretty straightforward. If six editors in good standing post to my talkpage and ask me to step down, I will immediately resign my adminship."[1]. During a current recall motion[2], 29 community members were for a recall. However, Elonka has refused to give up "the bit." Since it seems like that ArbCom will decline the Request for Arbitration[3] on grounds that it would be "legislating from the bench" (User:Morven or User:Jpgordon) or "RfA is very much the community's preserve (User:Charles Matthews).

As a community member, I would like to start a proposal to be applied as policy if there is enough consensus to do so. I hope this is alright, and people don't think of me as being too bold. Feel free to come up with your own suggestions if you think it is better."

Any uninvolved steward may desysop an administrator who fails a good-faith recall motion and refuses to resign or run for reconfirmation. Any uninvolved steward may also desysop an administrator who, by broad community consensus, "fails" a RfC.

Thanks for your time guys, and feel free to comment and improve. Also, I'm crossposting a notification about this to WP:AN, WP:BN, CAT:AOR's deletion discussion, and Wikipedia_talk:RfA. NuclearWarfare contact meMy work 23:23, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

This would not be a useful change. Nor is it likely that stewards will want the burden of assessing a complex consensus within the Wikipedia community. The proposal also introduces new, undefined terms: "recall process", which evidently cannot mean the current system where the subject defines success or failure, and "failing an RFC". Christopher Parham (talk) 23:36, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
I, too, oppose this proposal. I don't think we should be desysopping based on community consensus at all without an ArbCom official decision. Too much potential for abuse. —Cyclonenim (talk · contribs) 23:37, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
Stewards do not read consensus on Projects. Their job is to flip a switch off or on. On Wikipedia-en, there is no Community consensus process to determine when to remove admin access. There are too many confusing criteria by different admins to make it clear when a desysop is warranted. This is the reason that the voluntary recall can not be binding. Please know that I sympathize with your frustration. But I do not think that this is the solution. FloNight♥♥♥ 23:39, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
  • You discuss failing and consensus, but only present the 27 (now 29) for recall without mentioning the 46 against recall. That doesn't look like consensus to me. Incidentally, does this proposal apply to admins who pledged to be open to recall, or all of them? Sabine's Sunbird talk 23:41, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
The first part would apply only to people who specifically opted in to CAT:AOR; the second wouldn't. I figure, if the admins mentioned a set number of people and not a percentage, then the percentage shouldn't matter as long as the supporters of the recall weren't canvassing. NuclearWarfare contact meMy work 23:43, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
Some thoughts:
  • How does this differ from the existing Request for Arbitration process?
  • There is currently no accepted recall process
  • There is no consensus regarding "campaign promises" made during Requests for Adminship, and there is no conditional adminship.
  • What basis of need is there for this? Is there a problem with rogue admins? Is it difficult or impossible to control admins who misuse their tools?
  • How would such a system be administered? What process would there be for users and admins? How would "good faith" be determined?
For a start.... Exploding Boy (talk) 23:45, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

I support this; a community desysopping mechanism is badly needed. Everyking (talk) 23:45, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

  • How would everyone feel if instead of stewards, crats were given the power to judge and they would simply have to ask a steward to flip the switch for them? After all, crats are people who we choose to judge consensus.? NuclearWarfare contact meMy work 23:49, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
  • A terrible solution to a non-existent issue. 29 in favor of de-sysoping via a flawed process versus 46 not in favor of de-sysoping is not consensus. How does this differ from Request for Arbitration... which is leaning towards a rejection in the case of Elonka? And how does this address Administrators Open to Recall, a visibly failed process to which there is no set standard or organization to the madness? Forum shopping until Elonka is recalled is not an acceptable manner of debate. We've got the RfC open, a lot of discussions on her talk page, something at ANI/AN, RFAR and now this. seicer | talk | contribs 23:58, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
I am not forum shopping. I would be fine if this policy passed with a start date of January 1st or something. This is more to do with how an administrator failed to live up to a promise, withdrawing if there were 6 or more people opposed to them, that directly led them to "the bit," and now can get away with it because there is no community mechanism for forced withdrawal. NuclearWarfare contact meMy work 00:11, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Agreed, RFAR should make these decisions based upon serious concerns. I can imagine a horrible scenario where a few editors decide to start trying to persuade a 'crat to desysop someone because they disagree with some of that admins (often rightful) actions. —Cyclonenim (talk · contribs) 00:02, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
I think we can trust the crats to decide on what is a proper decision and have the crats verify consensus accurately. Don't you? NuclearWarfare contact meMy work 00:11, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
  • I have asked this on several different pages over the last few days: what exactly is the problem to which this is a proposed solution? Exploding Boy (talk) 00:05, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
    • A administrator failed to honor a promise that directly led to her gaining the bit. Since she has failed to honor that promise, her access should be revoked, based on a community decision using rules that she set up herself. But, there is no way for anyone to enforce the decision, as she has backed out of her rules. NuclearWarfare contact meMy work 00:11, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
      • Now you see, I find this extremely problematic. As I've said, there is no such thing as conditional adminship, so a user cannot have been sysopped based on a promise made during her RFA. And again I ask: is there really a need for this? Are there problem admins running around who cannot be reined in? Are our existing tools for dealing with inappropriate behaviour insufficient for dealing with admins who exhibit problem behaviour? Do we have difficulty de-sysopping people who abuse the admin tools with our existing processes? Exploding Boy (talk) 04:08, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
  • I think that this proposal could work so long as the ArbCom is the group entrusted with gauging the community consensus. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 00:07, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Not a steward job to judge consensus on local wikis and too much potential for abuse. As for Elonka, I don't a consensus either way from her RFC to step down. RlevseTalk 00:09, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
I did indeed suggest a crat do it instead later. Also, perhaps this policy should be split, one for ones who opted into AOR and then the second one. NuclearWarfare contact meMy work 00:11, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
  • I would actually support something along the lines of this proposal, though not for any reason to do with Elonka - I've simply long felt that adminship should be easier to lose, and gain, than it is at the moment. However, I would note that (i) this proposal has a snowball's chance in hell of passing - similar proposals have always been rejected before, and in less contentious times than this - and (ii) that if it did, I'm not sure our bureaucrats/stewards would actually want the additional responsibility and hassle of having to deal with it. Bureaucrats, at least, seem to be overworked enough as they are without having to rule on recall cases as well. Terraxos (talk) 01:11, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
The ability of the community to nullify the powers of those who are no longer held in the trust of the community is one of the things that we've been missing for a long time. Not having this is simply a grossly unbalanced political system vastly open to abuse. However, I don't think that this is the mechanism to do it with. I think that it should be done by bureaucrats, and then the stewards perform the action. Celarnor Talk to me 01:17, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
I think a community-based process to deadmin is definitely something we need. I don't see any need to base it on whether or not admins promise at their RfAs to be accountable to the community or not; they should inherently be accountable to the community. I think that making an Elonka-based policy is a nonstarter. Let that issue play itself out in the forums already dedicated to it, as Seicer points out. Then we can maybe work on a new plan to bell the cat. As to that, keep it simple, just like for community bans, would be my guess as to the best way to proceed. Darkspots (talk) 01:27, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
I think a community-based process to deadmin will be a drama-magnet trainwreck. --Carnildo (talk) 01:36, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
  • It would not be appropriate for the role of the steward to include determining the existence of consensus. It would be more appropriate for that to be determined by a en.Wikipedia 'crat - they have been chosen by the en.Wikipedia community to determine RFA consensus, so this would be a much smaller change to their roles. So, it is clear to me who should determine consensus. But it is not clear to me that we have a viable means of evaluating consensus; AOR was never intended to be about consensus, and User conduct RFCs rarely produce a consensus on anything at all. GRBerry 02:18, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Whether a policy is passed allowing stewards to determine consensus regarding desysopping users or not doesn't matter: Stewards are bound by their own policy to not make such determinations. Finding a process that allows for community input and decision regarding removal of admin access is a bit more massive an undertaking than simply stating "Let the stewards decide." Sadly, I have no solution to the dilemma. Kylu (talk) 02:25, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
  • I am not sure if something as big as desysopping an admin is something that should simply be determined by someone's interpretation of consensus in a discussion. I think a more formal process may be useful. While nothing comes to mind for me, I am not sure if it is necessary to have a community desysopping procedure. I think we have gotten along fine without one for now. Captain panda 02:51, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Section Break

OK, I've reread this, and it seems that people are generally opposed to the idea of stewards and favorable to the idea of crats judging some form of consensus where it is possible to deadmin sysops easily. Currently, the only real way nowadays is through ArbCom and the God King. So, does anyone have a viable idea for a formal desysoping process?—Preceding unsigned comment added by NuclearWarfare (talkcontribs)

  • I think the current process is working (ArbCom). Quite frankly, I don't trust the community to make this sort of decision, and I believe it is definitely better left to the Arbitration Committee. - Rjd0060 (talk) 02:54, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
    • That doesn't make sense to me. The ArbCom is supposed to be an extension of the community, to be used only when all other matters have been exhausted. If possible, it is always preferable to work things out via community discussion in my opinion, so that we get all the relevant opinions. Why don't you trust the community for desysoping admins when you do trust them for sysoping them. NuclearWarfare contact meMy work 03:15, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
      • Because I've seen enough rushes to judgment that I don't agree with. Is there any evidence to indicate that ArbCom isn't doing an acceptable job on their own? - Rjd0060 (talk) 03:23, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
  • This is a solution to a nonexistent problem. Besides, every active admin will make enough "waah you deleted the page on my band" enemies to generate a "consensus" that they're the most evil thing that ever lived. Which was exactly the problem with AOR. – iridescent 03:44, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose for the same reason I felt that AOR was a poor solution to a difficult problem, and spoke about at length at my RfB. Wikipedia is large enough now that every admin will amass a sizable contingent of "haters" in due time just enforcing poliy and guideline. As I have said before, we need a more streamlined ArbCom, or an ArbCom-sanctioned body to rule on these admin-issues, not an enforced AOR. -- Avi (talk) 03:50, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
  • I personally believe that a community desysopping mechanism is needed. Many admins have abuse their power and got away with it. We have more than 1500 admins and this number will go up. I agree with what NuclearWarfare is saying. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 03:56, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
    Uh...go to ArbCom then. Apparently ArbCom isn't failing to resolve these issues, but the community is failing to report them. - Rjd0060 (talk) 03:59, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
    Rjd0060, there are many admins who have blocked good-faith editors for making innocent mistakes. If the community can decide who can become an admin, they have a right to decide who should be de-sysoped. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 04:14, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
    You do - simply open a request for arbitration. - Rjd0060 (talk) 04:16, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
    The process is complex. Many new editors who suffer from admin abuse don't know anything about ArbCom. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 04:24, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
    And these new editors will understand how to raise this process properly and will presumably only be supported by a contingent of other new editors who don't understand the ARBCOM process, anyone who does is presumably turning a blind eye or supporting the admin? If it is only the new editors who belive the behaviour is admin abuse, it would actually suggest that the admin is acting within community norms and it is the new editor misunderstanding those norms. -- (talk) 10:10, 25 August 2008 (UTC), please read WP:CIVIL. When did I suggest that only the new editors believe in admin abuse? Many established users have suffered from admin abuse., if you are serious about Wikipedia, please create an account and edit Wikipedia. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 03:56, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
    I already understand WP:CIVIL and also understand that my post above doesn't break it, it isn't uncivil. Your complaint against using arbcom was in relation to new users. More established users shouldn't find that an issue. It would then seem to follow that if the only bar is the complexity of dealing with arbcom and that only affects new editors, that the abuse must only be occuring on new editors. If that isn't the case (and are saying now that there are established editors who have suffered from admin abuse) why aren't these being raised through arbcom today? As to my choice to create an account or not has not impact on my ability to contribute and indeed my choice is nobodies concern but mine. -- (talk) 18:31, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
  • ArbCom is doing a fine job removing admins who display a pattern of actual misconduct, and ignoring pleas to remove those who make one time mistakes or have only attracted some vague dissatisfaction. I think a community process would be very hit-or-miss. Christopher Parham (talk) 04:09, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Posting here as lost in the ether above: Now you see, I find this extremely problematic. As I've said, there is no such thing as conditional adminship, so a user cannot have been sysopped based on a promise made during her RFA. And again I ask: is there really a need for this? Are there problem admins running around who cannot be reined in? Are our existing tools for dealing with inappropriate behaviour insufficient for dealing with admins who exhibit problem behaviour? Do we have difficulty de-sysopping people who abuse the admin tools with our existing processes? Exploding Boy (talk) 04:17, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose per my above comments. AOR is a horribly designed process that is entirely optional. Nothing more than a campaign-getter at an RFA, where an optional question, "Will you include yourself in AOR..." must be replied with a "yes." We have RFAR for situations like this, and at present, it'll be rejected. The RfC is still open, as is Elonka's talk page. This doesn't need to be shopped around (not pointing at the OP here). seicer | talk | contribs 04:25, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Will the shortcut for these requests be at WP:LYNCHMOB? This idea would cause serious problems in areas where there are well-organised POV-pushing campaigns, notable gobal warming, Israel-Palestine, homeopathy and the like. Guy (Help!) 08:56, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
  • I'm opposed to an instant gratification process for de-sysopping, ANI can/does respond quickly to urgent issues, and ARBCOM though slower is able to assess the issue as a whole and it works. The issue of the RFA in particular, the lesson here is if one needs reassurances, via an agreement to be part of a voluntary process that an admin can opt out of at any time to sway ones support then maybe one shouldn't be supporting, remember WP:AGF isnt a suicide pact. Gnangarra 09:34, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Strong Support What is there to be afraid of? The same people who helped you become an admin now withdrawing their support because you've lost their confidence? Notice the ones who strongly disagree with this are admins. Bstone (talk) 09:34, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
    The issue is generally that admins suffer a certain amount of unpopularity for perfomring the very duties their status requires, the issue is not those who originally supported but those who crawl out of the woodwork as perceiving themselves victims of the system. This has an bad effect since it means either we end up with lots of admins unwilling to make difficult/potentially unpopular decisions (Consider the effect on some of the MFD/AFD decisions, those working on OTRS issues, those working on the ever popular please don't delete my pretty picture I copied from elsewhere decisions, those blocking the numerous socks of numerous vandals etc.) The ability of an admin to work based on what is right for the encyclopedia not what is popular at the moment is important. The failed Wikipedia:Quickpolls and Wikipedia:Community sanction noticeboard are good examples of reactionary measures -- (talk) 10:19, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
  • As a steward who'd be one of the "executors" (as I've already been), I'd like to support this. Most communities have such straightforward policies and there's no reason to be confined to ArbCom rulings. --Filip (§) 09:57, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
    Would it be a fair assesment that those other wikis have significantly smaller active userbases? -- (talk) 10:21, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
    Of course, but I don't see that as a justification. Just to be clear because I see some different opinions here on the basic premise: I wouldn't like to decide as a steward whether the consensus has been reached or not. What I'd like to happen is for enwiki to adopt a policy where community vote can lead to desysopping with whatever percentage is agreed. --Filip (§) 11:34, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
    Well it is a question of scalability, en wikipedia does many things differently to the smaller wiki's, simply because as it has grown it has had to adapt. Some wiki's also regularly reaffirm their admins, with 1500+ such an undertaking on en wikipedia would be impractical. Maybe a desysop process is practical on en wiki, but defining a desirability to have such a process without determining what it is, and if it can be practically instanced, seems to be a futile exercise. -- (talk) 11:48, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose the idea of stewards assessing consensus - they're not best placed to evaluate complex policies and discussions, given that they have 749 other wikis to worry about. Ditto giving 'crats the technical means to desysop: it's one of the most extreme actions possible to take on-wiki, and the stewards have done an excellent job of exercising it so far, with no indication that it needs to be more widely distributed. Just a straight oppose to the concept of 'crats evaluating consensus to desysop: I haven't seen any evidence that the current system is not working. Has anyone considered the possibility that ArbCom declining the Elonka case might be the right thing to do? I don't know - I'm unfamiliar with the situation - but it strikes me as POV to assume that because ArbCom have done X, they must be failing their mandate... it depends on your personal opinion of how X should have been handled. Happymelon 10:09, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose. Admins will inevitably make enemies. While ArbCom occasionally messes up, these look like individual lapses rather than systemic failures, and such errors can be corrected because ArbCom's process is well-defined and public. -- Philcha (talk) 11:17, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Support, sort of - Hash out some details on a specific number of people who believe the admin should be desysopped. Perhaps stipulate that so many of that number, or all, must also be admins themselves, as it's more difficult to get a lynchmob of admins. Rather than have stewards or 'crats determine consensus and immediately desysop if that's the outcome, have them start an reconf RFA, and leave it to the community. Such an RFA should be listed at the appropriate noticeboards to draw in the necessary community input. At this point, it truly becomes a community decision. Considering all the enemies an admin makes carrying our regular tasks, the passing range, in my opinion, should be lower than that of a new RFA. Simple majority, for example. Have a 'crat determine consensus at the end, discounting any bad faith opposes. If the community shows a clear majority that the admin has lost their trust, a steward would then be called in to desysop. Seems like a fair process, no easier to game or abuse than the current RFA system... and that shouldn't really be taken as a positive here, but it's the best we can apparently manage. Jennavecia (Talk) 13:35, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
    The problem with saying it has to be a number of admins involved, leads to claims of cabalism or ultimately leads to all admins being cast from the same basic mold. Maintaining a diversity of admins view point is important. -- (talk) 14:01, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
    I'm not sure what you mean. What I meant was that we should, for example, say that the process needs 10 editors to agree that an admin has abused their position to the point that their adminship needs to be reevaluated. Of those 10 editors, so many must be admins. So, if there was an editor or a group of editors who were upset with the actions of an admin, they could express their concerns on ANI. If, after some discussion, the request gained the necessary support, then a reconf RFA would be initiated. Jennavecia (Talk) 17:38, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
    I was suggesting that such a system could just end up with admins of a certain persuasion ending up the norm as those of a different view gradually get removed or potential warring within that (tit for tat nomination etc.) e.g. The disdain certain admins have for IRC suggesting everything discussed there must be in someway underhand, and the converse of that those who would be happy to have every discussion on IRC and see no problem with the perceived lack of oversight. The resultant RfA process would only help a little on that, for the same reasons elsewhere admins make unpopular decisions to some parts of the community at some point, history has shown that admin who work in image deletion areas for instance seem to take a lot of flack. Not to mention enough nominations would soon overwhelm the RFA system. -- (talk) 19:08, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Heh If we could ever get a standardized deadmin system in place, it would be perfectly acceptable for stewards to be responsible for unflip the sysop switch; all they'd have to do is look at the final result of the process (the closure of which would probably end up in the 'crat's hands) and not execute any judgement, which is specifically what they're supposed to not do. EVula // talk // // 15:14, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
I disagree that we have "got along fine." However, the basic problem is that we don't know how to do deliberative process to make community decisions, we use a chaotic process that works very well sometimes (i.e., efficiently makes decisions that the community actually supports), and that can work very, very badly, too often (i.e., makes decisions that would not be supported by the general community, that haven't considered the evidence, and that waste huge amounts of editor time. -- if we don't vote, then it should be enough that any argument is stated once, but, in fact, we do vote, it's just that we don't have crisp standards that can be used for making decisions. These are problems that were solved, for ordinary people meeting face-to-face, centuries ago, and we, quite simply, haven't, for the most part. ArbComm functions deliberatively, to a degree. RfC can be somewhat orderly. Mediation, if the mediator is effective, can be, as well, but it's largely toothless. And if a pile-on at AN/I can overrule a pending RfC, I just saw as case which showed a contrary result (AN/I, enforced, vs. RfC, not) as general consensus, we've made voting superior to thoughtful and careful process. --Abd (talk) 16:24, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose because we don't have a clear process that is also safe enough to use. That's what the Elonka situation showed. Develop such a process, we should use it. --Abd (talk) 16:25, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
    • First, we must assert that we the community has the power to desysop. Once we seize this power, then we can formulate a process for using it. Jehochman Talk 02:25, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Enculturate the community to be deliberative and proactive instead of reactive - sorry if that sounds patronising, but if people don't uphold the values they believe in, they end up with the community (of editors and admins) that they deserve. Some may say that current problems are due to scale and factions within the community, but those who really want to effect change from the ground up need to get out there and argue their case out in the many project and talk pages that make up the "meta" Wikipedia space. Become knowledgeable in areas you care about and slowly gather evidence and present it and, if it makes sense and seems useful, change will, slowly, be effected and those who encounter this process will, hopefully, adopt best practices. Once you have most of the community in agreement on the basics, once more, things may become simpler. Essentially, attempt to reduce the "chaotic" aspect of things that Abd is referring to, and make things more deliberative again, like they used to be (years ago). Carcharoth (talk) 16:39, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
I've followed this discussion, and have put something concrete together at WP:Desysop - perhaps that's a good spot to continue this discussion? cheers, Privatemusings (talk) 02:16, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Support - in some manner anyway. The community determines who becomes an admin and should be able to determine who should cease to be admin. There is no necessity that a sysop bit needs to be a lifetime event that can only be taken away via an RfAr. We don't feel it necessary to go through ArbComm to create admins, no reason the reverse should be any different. Rlendog (talk) 03:35, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose The community chooses these admins after long consideration. Rather like tenure for a teacher or judge, the admins have earned the right to be required to have done something wrong, and proved wrong, at the very least, before they can be desysoped. I hate to even consider how much good editing has been lost by the requirement of Elonka and others to answer charges in one forum after another here, intended, finally, to require Elonka to step down despite having done nothing wrong, and in the view of many of us, to have in fact done something right. To me and others here this is a travesty, and some of us believe the desysoping is aimed at the wrong administrator. One final point, long ago Elonka clarified and expanded on her "6 admin" requirement. I notice no one brought it up, though Elonka provided the diffs. Much as I would like to assume good faith, why does no one discuss her caveat-- ie --"abuse of [her] admin tools"? Could it be that they are well aware that she has done nothing wrong, as they continue to hound her? Tundrabuggy (talk) 02:51, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

How about this - since Arbcom already has the authority to have stewards desysop...

The arbitration committee is directed to evaluate the consensus of the community in any recall discussion where the administrator declines to step down. Any administrator who resigns during or following a recall discussion is considered to have resigned "under a cloud" and must have a new RFA to become an administrator again.

Short and simple. Recall would still be voluntary, only difference is now it'd be binding as well. If Arbcom does not voluntarily accept this responsibility, this proposal constitutes an amendment to the arbitration policy, and as such must be passed by the community in a vote with at least 100 participants in total and at least an 80% majority. --Random832 (contribs) 14:28, 26 August 2008 (UTC) SavedURI :Show URL

SavedURI :Hide URL

Regarding Wikipedia's links

Special:Statistics includes a link to do with Wikipedia usage statistics. All well and good, but when I clicked on that link, my McAfee SiteAdvisor told me the site was potentially dangerous. Perhaps we should consider removing all links to and using another website to monitor Wikipedia's usage statistics? It Is Me Here (talk) 09:12, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

Try upgrading to a less paranoid security package, preferably one that you can actually verify is doing the things you're expecting it to do, such as ClamWin. Also upgrade to a browser with that idea in mind.  :P
McAfee's heuristics probably decided that the IEPlugin was potentially malicious; it might install unsigned registry entries or something, I'm not sure. In any case, Alexa is pretty much the most widely used statistical service on the internet serving that function. Google's web analytical software is getting there, but its really better for demographics, not comparison with other web presences. Celarnor Talk to me 09:22, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
Well, the McAfee link I posted does seem to include a number of user reviews of the site which state that its toolbar download contains spyware, so it looks like it is not only the software itself that has detected a problem. It Is Me Here (talk) 12:40, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
The Alexa toolbar does track what websites you visit, but it's quite open about it. Calling it "spyware" is simply being paranoid. --Carnildo (talk) 21:40, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, it's kind of the point. In any case, the data is better than we could get pretty much anywhere else. I don't really see the value in not utilizing it simply because the methodology used to gain that data throws warnings from extraparanoid heuristics. Celarnor Talk to me 00:45, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
signing in agreement with Celarnor and Carnildo --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 01:15, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Well, if you guys are sure it's safe...It Is Me Here (talk) 11:38, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

WikiProject banners in multiple namespaces?

I remember reading (somehwere) that the primary purpose of placing WikiProject banners on article talk pages is so that WikiProjects can keep track of the number and quality of articles that are within their scope. But what's the point of having banners on non-article talk pages? There are approximately 2,000 categories dedicated to housing talk pages (most likely well in excess of 100,000 pages) of category, image, redirect, template, project, and portal pages that contain no content except a WikiProject banner.

All of this requires resources to maintain (creating categories to house these pages, updating tags when the main project banner is changed) and perpetuate (tagging previously-untagged pages), yet I can see no real benefit from it. What is the reason for this practice? –Black Falcon (Talk) 19:43, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

I'd like to know the answer to this question, too. This practice recently came to attention of a few editors of WP:RUSSIA, and we decided to not tag the pages outside the article namespace and to untag those which have been previously tagged (luckily, there were only about a hundred or so instances) for precisely the same reason Black Falcon outlined above.—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); 19:54, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
Keeping track of these issues can help to keep track of projects. For example, some images may be useful to use in other project pages, categories may incorrectly combine topics from a project, unless some expert control (ie that of the project) is ensured through tagging, similar arguments can be considered for the other examples.
I am not completely sure what you mean with resources. Do you mean server capacity? I am not sure this really is that much of a problem, but am no expert. About human resources, if editors are tagging these thing, keeping track of, and removing the tags (possibly repeatedly) is in my opinion more work then tagging once, and forget forever (stating it bluntly). Arnoutf (talk) 20:05, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
But, as you note, most of these pages seem to be tagged and forgotten forever, meaning that no one is keeping track of them. As for the issue of resources, I was referring to human resources (i.e. time). You raise a good point regarding the work required to remove these tags, but it could theoretically be done by a bot. –Black Falcon (Talk) 20:21, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
As a WP:CFD semi-regular, I'd point out that one possible benefit of tagging a category talk page is that, if renaming, merging or deleting the category is under consideration, the relevant WikiProjects can be notified easily. If a WikiProject isn't concerned about categories, then its members can hardly complain later that they weren't notified that the category was being changed/deleted... BencherliteTalk 21:45, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
That's something I hadn't really considered, but it shouldn't be too hard to identify and notify relevant WikiProjects (it's generally not done, and with good reason, but that's another issue) even without tag. Still, it's a benefit, but it seems to be a case of "99% process, 1% result". In any case, I've linked to this discussion at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject and Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Council. –Black Falcon (Talk) 23:11, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
I kinda disagree. However, I don't think one template should be doing all of this. In that, I agree with Black Falcon. The #parser usage is a bit out of control : )
How about limiting this template to articles' talk pages, and creating a "WikiProject tools" template for marking and categorising things like templates and categories. (Or even separate ones for each namespace) Marking them as such can be actually rather useful and necessary. - jc37 23:58, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
I support the notion of having some template that is distinct from the standard WikiProject Banner for non-article pages. I don't support this out of a concern for resources - I would venture that non-article application of WikiProject Banner templates is well less than 10% of the article application volume, perhaps less than 1%. Rather, the WikiProject Banner was originally considered to be a combination of a) a notice to editors (and vandals) that the page has some eyes upon it who are interested in the topic area and b) an invitation for people who find the article of interest to join the topical WikiProject and immerse themselves in topic-related articles. The role of the Banner has evolved over time so that now it is a part of the mechanics of WikiProject self-awareness (e.g. how big are we in terms of articles in our topic area; what is the status-breakdown for articles in this topic area) and therefore an aid to better group-editing.
Back to the topic of non-article pages, I think that a small banner that indicates WikiProject interest, perhaps the size of a userbox, would be appropriate and could be affixed to the non-article page itself rather than the associated talk page. Also, if the Assessment Team could be persuaded, one could expand the Assessment matrix to include non-article page types so that both article and non-article page type counts could be included in the same matrix. Using a different "bannerette" for each non-article page type or using a parameter in a pan-non-article type template would each be viable solutions; I like the different-template-for-different-type because that provides two measures of article # - one via Assessment Tools and one via what-links-here for the template.
--User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 00:57, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Most project banners support the small=yes parameter to shrink the size of the banner to more closely resemble a userbox. For example, I know that {{TrainsWikiProject}}, which I maintain, supports this parameter. Slambo (Speak) 11:10, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
  • You'd be better off raising this at User:WP 1.0 bot/Second generation, given they are implementing a bot to start counting and collating pages in various name-spaces so tagged. From a personal point of view, they're useful in tracking pages, and it allows a lot of cross referencing using the list comparing tools of awb, so I can build lists for bot tasks. Given that Portals have a featured process, there is talk of looking at instigating a Featured Portal class, to allow WikiProjects to assess portals and improve them. Tagging redirects is quite important, since these are in article space, and don't always remain redirects. Tagging and reviewing them allows the tags and assessments to be updated. There isn;t really that much of a resource drain in creating anything, either. Most of it is now done automatically through templates; you can fill in the fields and it near enough generates it all for you, if memory serves. Tagging categories allows you to build a list of categories and then you can use that raw data to build up a map of category structuires. It's little things, but I wouldn't say it is futile. The IGOR tool displays the info and allows a quick method of correcting any errors in tagging, so again there's not much effort in maintaining it. Hiding T 00:39, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
this may be interesting, as well... - jc37 00:55, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Hadn't realised that had got to the testing stage. And dammit, why were those categories deleted. That debate failed to take into account a category structure. You can't now get to Eclipse comics titles from Comics publishers, which seems silly. Sigh. This is why this tool is needed. Hiding T 01:09, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
  • As a remark, the tool also tracks other namespaces than Main and Category (through TfD and MfD), although there are no examples at this time. I'm not sure whether a relevant number of WikiProjects places tags in the Image: namespace too, but I've occasionaly seen some banners there. --B. Wolterding (talk) 09:55, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
One problem I have observed with redirects - there are those editors who believe that a talk page for a redirect should not exist, but rather the talk page for the redirect should be redirected to the talk page for the target page. I (almost said vehemently violently) strongly oppose this view, but I have seen it in action not a small number of times over the past couple of years. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 01:02, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
(ec) That's a most interesting application. In light of all of the comments above, I think I have found an answer to my initial question. Thanks, –Black Falcon (Talk) 01:04, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
There are two WikiProjects that I found a while ago who implemented "fully automated" solutions to deletion-type alerting: WikiProject Mathematics and WikiProject Paranormal. See User:Ceyockey/Notifying WikiProjects of Deletion Proposals#Fully Automated Solutions for my comments on these. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 01:09, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

I understand and to a certain extent agree with the arguments presented above, but I don't understand why they should lead to us legislating against their use. Yes, tagging categories, templates and other-namespace pages is going to cause extra work for a project. If they're prepared to undertake that extra overhead, why are we trying to stop them? WikiProjects aren't, can't and shan't ever be centrally-organised - groups like WP:COUNCIL and WP:1.0 are simply advisory and exist to provide WikiProjects with potentially useful tools and advice. Recently we created a new tool - the C-Class assessment grade - and the majority of WikiProjects have now adopted it. But we can't, and won't, ever force projects to use (or not to use) tools when they don't want to. Unless someone can present evidence that tagging non-article talk pages with WikiProject banners is doing tangible harm to as a whole, then there is no justification for outlawing a practice which is very widespread, and hence must have some perceived benefit to the projects which practise it. Happymelon 10:13, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedian police state?

many vandals over and over again abuse Wikipedia sometimes over months, many times after being blocked and then unblocked. I suggest after two admin blocks that the blockage last for one year I think its ridiculous that we actualy keep corecting thier vandalisim and by doing so risk compromizing the respect of the article instead of banning them outright, by adding stricter retaliation ( blocking ) we can significantly reduce vandalism. I understand this is a wiki social expiriment and I beleive we should instatute more harsh blocking for Hardened vandals. I hope I left this note in the correct space, I think this is a good policy.

this is an example of a hardened vandal User talk: here to User talk:

I also believe that we should make a list ( or special page ) akin to Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard to help wikipedians counter the hard core vandals "special contributions". --Zaharous (talk) 22:33, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

The problem with making lists of vandals is that they get notoriety and attention, which is what many of them were looking for in the first place. Rewarding bad behavior isn't exactly going to stop it. SDY (talk) 00:10, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
A person who vandalizes for recognition enjoys the attention that public chastisement brings. However, the attention-seeking vandal is not the one I am most concerned about. Fact-vandalism and agenda-driven editing (which is not classified as vandalism, but could be if one were to stretch the definition to its logical limit) are more difficult to detect, more difficult to counter systematically and more damaging to Wikipedia as a whole. One thing that I have encouraged my colleagues at work to do is that if they link to Wikipedia from our private intranet sites, link to a clean version that they have verified as being reasonably vandalism free, not to the 'live' version of the article. I think this is reasonable advice for anyone linking to Wikipedia manually. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 00:34, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
yes SDY you have a valid point however Wikipedia is like a maze with many features I think the fact that vandals dont remove thier names from the reported vandal list (to my knowledge) shows they dont know it exists. with me most wikipedia features have came to my attention only in this last year, but what do I know this is my opinion no more. --Zaharous (talk) 00:45, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
But surely one look at their talk page shows that a lot of vandalism comes from that IP? Plus, IPs can change too, can't they? Deamon138 (talk) 18:54, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

About Brand Name or Company Included in Wikipedia

Since wikipedia is a nonprofit organization to collect and develop educational content. Why are there brand names or company introductions included in the database? Are those information educational? If they are, what kind of brand name or company can be listed in this public nonprofit knowledge resource?

Is this fair for business competition. Famous companies become more famous not only because they have huge ads budget, marketing network, they also have public exposure totally for free. While small company takes none advantage from this new and neutural-like resource.

If this was fair, there would be protest against crocs in Facebook.

Highly appreciate for any answers —Preceding unsigned comment added by Vickylady (talkcontribs) 03:47, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Brand names are notable, it's as simple as that. Small businesses usually aren't. Big businesses have worked their way to the top and made themselves notable by virtue of their effect on the market. — Trust not the Penguin (T | C) 04:00, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
so what is the policy when list those company in wiki? --Vickylady (talk) 06:29, 27 August 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Vickylady (talkcontribs) 06:28, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
See WP:NOTABILITY. Also see WP:CORP. — Trust not the Penguin (T | C) 06:29, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Isn't it curious that your post actually ends up with a big brand name? Is this fair for business competition? As to your questions, yes, existing policy may be considered discriminating. But is it possible to produce a neutral, properly referenced article about a corner grocery? Very few small businesses (notability aside) will have public reliable sources on them. You cannot use private insider information or original research here: these are not veryfiable, and the former also invokes concerns about conflict of interest. NVO (talk) 11:23, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)/Date autoformatting has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)/Date autoformatting (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) 18:46, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

This message is because the page was added to Category:Wikipedia naming conventions. The style guideline category isn't a factor in the announcement here. — Carl (CBM · talk) 18:50, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
It shouldn't have been. It has nothing to say on article naming, and it's not a guideline; it doesn't guide. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:20, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
Please note that PMAnderson has been conducting a persistent war against the status and content of WP's Manual of Style for nearly two years now, I think it is. He has had marginal influences here and there (sometimes not bad ones, actually), but his key message has utterly failed to gain traction. His comments should be seen in this light. Tony (talk) 01:49, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
Oh, come on, Tony; you agreed that this subpage of a subpage should not contain guidance yourself. Please stop cutting and pasting this assumption of bad faith all over Wikipedia. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:12, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Burden of evidence has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Burden of evidence (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) 18:46, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

I've reverted it and made it into a "proposed" page. Don't think we need it myself, but Wikipedians: have a look and see yourselves! Deamon138 (talk) 19:07, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
We don't need it. In particular "The onus is on the editor(s) seeking to include disputed content, to achieve consensus for its inclusion" has major flaws:
  • "Incumbents" should have no privileges.
  • It's an invitation to POV-pushing cliques to take over articles and then claim the burden of proof is on those who wish to restore WP:NPOV.
So I think WP:NPOV is sufficient. -- Philcha (talk) 17:07, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Short articles

If I'm raising a perennial question, please excuse me and point me to the relevant pages.

At present short articles are labelled "stub" or "start-class" even if they cover the ground and are fully referenced. For example Vernanimalcula cites all 3 of the current WP:RS on this fossil. That does not mean it's not notable: if the original diagnosis of the fossil is right, Vernanimalcula is the earliest known bilaterian, triploblast and coelomate. Dead Clade Walking has exactly one relevant source, because this paleontological insight is universally accepted. Signor-Lipps effect could do with 2 or 3 cites about its implications, but at present there's little incentive.

None of these articles is ever likely to grow long enough to justfy a division into lead and main text. I'm sure there plenty of similar cases in other subjects. Is there any classification which acknowledges that such articles do a good job on small but significant topics? -- Philcha (talk) 09:51, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

The definitions of the assessment levels at WP:1.0/A make no mention of the size of the article that I can see, just completeness of the content. Anomie 11:08, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Apparently it is theoretically possible to get FA status with a stub. Deamon138 (talk) 15:15, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the encouragement - I've just nominated Dead Clade Walking. -- Philcha (talk) 15:43, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Well good luck with that. I'm still waiting for someone to review my first GA on there. As for whether your's will pass or not, I have no idea, theoretically if there's only one source then it should pass, but in practice: who knows? By the way, are you sure there's only one source for that topic. I did a search here and found a few. Whether they're any use to that article or not I have no idea though. Deamon138 (talk) 16:15, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the good wishes and for the search. But it seems the hits are cites of the cited article. -- Philcha (talk) 17:00, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Question about policy for replacement with SVGs

Recently started creating an SVG of a relativly complex image. I've made sure that the repoduction is as close as I can muster. The current differences in file sizes are 87.5 kB (for the .png) and 14.9 kB (for the .svg). I know for a fact that when I finish it will be smaller than 20 kB. But being inexperienced with edited wikipedia, and reading about an SVG policy that I was unable to find, I would like to know what that SVG policy is. Could someone direct me to it, or explain how the policy works? Tindytim (talk) 10:32, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Just upload it (consider doing so at Commons if possible), and add a {{vector version available}} template to the PNG. If it's effectively identical, be bold and change the pages using the PNG to use the new one; if "as close as you can muster" is of noticeably lower quality/detail, post a notice of the SVG on the appropriate article talk pages and see which people prefer. I don't know of any specific SVG policy. Anomie 11:07, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Information on translations in book articles?

I am not sure whether there is a policy or some consensus somewhere about this. I noticed that, in the articles about books, there are sometimes data about the translations of the book into languages other than the original one. Is this encouraged/deprecated/nothing? I for one am in favour of it, at the very least because such data give verifiable information about such claim as "translated into XXX languages" and the like. Moreover, where and when a book has been translated is a part of its history and of its success. For an instance where this apparently has been done in a quite thorough way, see We. Goochelaar (talk) 12:32, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

I don't know that it needs a policy, nor am I aware of one. I think it falls under the normal rules of weighting: if I saw an article that was 90% about a translation of a book and 10% about the original, someone would have to convince me that the translation was 9 times as important as the original. Aside from concerns like that, I can't see that there is any controversy about including information about translations.
Kww (talk) 12:49, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
Curious: why would anyone object at all? Just be reasonable: translation of a forgettable run-of-the-mill paperback is hardly notable. NVO (talk) 13:06, 28 August 2008 (UTC) p.s. Although there were instances when a forgettable original, forgotten in its homeland, did become a perennial hit or a cult reading in other languages. NVO (talk) 13:16, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
Yep. That's why I said "I would have to be convinced". It's happened. There are also times when a translation failed, but a second translation resulted in acclaim for the novel. I know that that happened with the Japanese translation of Vonnegut's Mother Night. The first one (unfortunately, the one I own) is dreadful, because it is apparent that the translator had no skill at translating English figures of speech. The later translation was very well received, and the Japanese consider it to be one of Vonnegut's major works, even though it is nearly forgotten in the states.Kww (talk) 13:22, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
I don't see anything wrong, per se, about discussing translations. I can think of some books where the translations were considered especially remarkable, or controversial, that they deserve significant coverage; but I agree with Kww that, as a rule, the discussion of translations would not normally form the bulk of the article. — Coren (talk) 17:07, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Another issue is raised as well. Fans of authors often claim "His books have been translated in 10,000 languages". Frequently Google, Amazon searches yield none of these translations. I think this is troublesome as it introduces an unverifiable claim to importance of the author. That alone would ask for some sourcing on the actual translations. Arnoutf (talk) 17:17, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for the answers. Seeing both articles with very detailed translation listings and articles without any hint at them, I was a bit doubtful. Happy editing!
P.S. Kww, why don't you add something about the reception of Mother Night in Japan? I my easily find something about Italian editions. Goochelaar (talk) 19:59, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Burden of evidence no longer marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Burden of evidence (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has been edited so that it is no longer marked as a guideline. It was previously marked as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 18:46, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Checkuser granting

I want to sound it out here before I create a policy proposal. I propose community granted checkuser permissions. I'm thinking 80 percent support and 100 votes of support (note: I did not say !votes). What are the thoughts here, alternatives? NonvocalScream (talk) 02:39, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Voting without an exclamation point? Outrage! I don't really see a need to change the process. I'm a don't know too much about how ArbCom does it, but I haven't seen many problems. If it ain't broke don't fix it. Paragon12321 02:47, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
NVS' proposal is fine for me. ArbCom sometimes take too way long in deciding; C68 serves as an example. Sceptre (talk) 02:49, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
Take a look at Wikipedia talk:Requests for checkusership which has many good reasons why this should be left with ArbCom. Further considerations than popularity have to be made when considering access to CU data. Ryan PostlethwaiteSee the mess I've created or let's have banter 02:51, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
"100 supports, <80% support" removes this. Though 85% maybe better. It's futile to oppose something because it'd make it a popularity contest; any poll or discussion about someone, in the real world or on-wiki, invariably turns into a popularity contest over a certain point of people. RFA is a popularity contest. RFB is a popularity contest. Et cetera. Sceptre (talk) 02:57, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
I'd strongly oppose this. ArbCom, in my opinion, is doing a fine job as far as appointing checkusers goes. - Rjd0060 (talk) 03:51, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
Yes, they are. I see some sentiment to permit the community to do this thing, and I think it is a step in the right direction. NonvocalScream (talk) 04:13, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
While I reserve comment on whether or not the granting of checkuser should go to a community vote, it should be pointed out that checkuser privileges are qualitatively different from all of the other privileges. If administrators make an error, it can be undone (undeleting, unblocking, moving things back where they were, and so on). Bureaucrats are limited to renames and closing RFA/RFB discussions; the worst they can do is grant admin privileges outside of consensus, and their decisions can be reviewed if necessary by Arbcom. Neither of these two require any specific technical skills or even much analytical ability - consensus is usually pretty clear. Oversight requires somewhat of a higher degree of judgment and its effects are permanent, but it is also a logged action and is a relatively infrequent event; again, it does not require a great deal of technical knowledge or analysis.
Checkuser, on the other hand, requires a relatively high level of understanding of certain technical factors, and more particularly (for complex cases) some fairly extensive analytical skills that go well beyond the technical data. It also requires a satisfactory self-identification to the Foundation, a sound understanding of the privacy policy, and an acceptance on the part of both the community and the candidate that what the CU does cannot always be transparent and may in some cases require misdirection. Like oversight, checkuser is a logged action and cannot be undone; there is always a trace available, even if it is only available to a limited number of people. The selection of checkusers needs to be more than a popularity or "trust-based" vote; some manner of assessing the technical/analytic abilities needs to be part of the equation as well. Risker (talk) 04:21, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
Checkuser Approvals Group, anyone? 718smiley.svg --NE2 04:33, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
Well, isn't that more or less how Arbcom is operating right about now, with the exception of keeping the emails private? The shortlist will be named, comments including concerns are invited, but nobody has to openly voice concerns so they will have no fear of retribution regardless of which candidate(s) Arbcom chooses to recommend. Risker (talk) 05:04, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
I think this would make more sense if the proposal required approval by both the Arbcom and the community. Dragons flight (talk) 08:37, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
This was already cancelled and shut down by Jimbo and/or the WMF, as far as I remember. Stifle (talk) 08:57, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
Actually this thread is a response to this general process, which is ongoing. Dragons flight (talk) 09:06, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
The community, as a whole, does not know what the CU tool process entails and therefore cannot judge the suitability of a candidate except the level of trustworthiness (and that does also mean that some parties will oppose as to which "camp" the candidate may <be perceived to> belong to, rather than upon evidence of past impropriety). Generally, the existing CU's and the ArbCom are best placed to decide which candidates fulfill all the requirements. The community may consider candidate V completely trustworthy, while the CU's/ArbCom are aware of their habit of making mistakes in interpreting data... Is there any basis to believe the recruitment of CU's, as is, is broken? LessHeard vanU (talk) 11:57, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Granting CUship should be firmly in the hands of the community, not ArbCom. Period. Bstone (talk) 12:31, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

I think Dragons flight is right, if the process is changed at all, it would preferably be a confirmation discussion (ok, 'vote') to an appointment, or, if you prefer, nomination, by arbcom. Prodego talk 13:47, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

While I believe the community should have a veto power, I do not believe it should have an affirmative decision power. It already has, and has long had, a nomination power. GRBerry 14:34, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

If the CU granting process were to change at all, it should be like that (giving the community some veto power). The system as it stands isn't broken, but veto abilities isn't too terribly bad an idea. (I'd be just as fine with it not changing at all, though) EVula // talk // // 15:24, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

I like to put things in perspective here. 80% support is failure for a would-be bureaucrat, and "bureaucrat" is a position where potential for abuse is absolutely negligible compared to checkuser. — CharlotteWebb 16:02, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

To paraphrase what I said somewhere else, RFA is teh suck, the community can barely promote users to admin and bureacrat without some sort of drama explosion. Expand that to checkuser? I don't think so. Reform RFA first, then we can talk about this. Mr.Z-man 18:14, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
ArbCom has already said the process will be a black box, where you email thoughts to them and maybe they respond, or not. So we'll never know the details. WilyD 21:11, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
I am really not too sure what is wrong with the current process, other than the fact that we have too few CheckUsers and the ones that we do have are overworked. In all honesty, RfA sucks, and is nothing more than a popularity contest and I know that that's not how I want CheckUser's to be elected, so that is out of the question. A confirmation process is just all around too much process, I mean we have elected Arb's with the understanding they will have CU powers and the ability to grant CU to users they feel can be trusted and can will do well with the flag. Do we really need to elected them, so that they can elect CU's, so that we can put them through confirmation? That would result in zero CU's and a waste of the communities time. So like I said before, I am really not sure what is wrong with the current way we elect them. Tiptoety talk 02:14, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

new guideline on template editing?

while dealing with some issues on a info-box template page (had an editor trying to use the template to promote a particular off-beat worldview - the issue has largely been resolved now), I spent some time looking through Wikipedia policies and guidelines for template-specific rules, and didn't find any. It seems clear to me that templates should have different (more restrictive) content-editing guidelines than normal articles, and it would have helped in the debate to have had something guideline-like to point to. so I thought I'd raise the issue here - should we have a guideline that puts some limits on what can be put in info-type templates, or is this not a major concern? mostly it would point out that info templates need to be strictly conventional, and that no content should be added to templates unless it has been established as relevant on the article pages that the template is transcluded into. the point would be to push arguments out of template-space into mainspace where they can be handled more effectively.

I'm happy to write a rough up, if there's any interest in the proposal at all. your opinions? --Ludwigs2 01:17, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Sounds like instruction creep to me; we already have WP:NPOV, WP:V, and such to cover content issues and WP:DISRUPT to cover people being generally disruptive. We also tend to protect templates that are widely used to minimize the disruption that could be caused by vandalizing such a template. Anomie 02:20, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
well, maybe... functional templates (like maintenance or deletion templates) are often protected, but info-box type templates generally aren't, since they are content-based. the real problem (based on my recent experiences) is that if someone tries to push an opinion on an info-box template, it's very difficult to moderate or mediate - there's no room in an info box to offer contrasting opinions, cite references, or to use the normal tools of WP:NPOV and WP:V to settle the matter. but... <shrug> --Ludwigs2 04:02, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
I've seen protected infoboxes, for example {{Infobox VG}}; it's just a matter of it being used widely enough that an admin can be convinced it would be better to be protected.
I see this may have come up over some persistent POV pushing and trolling on Template talk:Sexual orientation; it seems to me that the community is dealing with such a controversial topic admirably without need for any extra "rules". Anomie 11:01, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
I agree that no broadbrush action is needed. As Anomie said (02:20, 29 August 2008), we tend to protect templates that are widely used. Hasty broadbrush action would risk making it difficult to extend or fix existing templates, as I did a little earlier to-day. -- Philcha (talk) 11:35, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
I was sure that our infobox guidelines already indicated that infoboxen were to be used specifically for comparative, at-a-glance information. At any rate, a line like that is all that would be needed. I'm loathe to see any more infoboxen pre-emptively protected, which just adds unnecessary barriers to editing templatespace. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 11:53, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
Chris, maybe that's the best solution. if you could provide a link for the infobox guideline (because I didn't see it in my own search, for some reason), I'll happily add a line about this there if there isn't one already, and we can let this suggestion drop. no sense making more rules if we don't need to. Face-smile.svg --Ludwigs2 19:45, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Foreign Language clone links

Where is policy that governs clone linking to foreign language articles? I just discovered that a scandal article links to two foreign language articles where a differently named but vaguely similar scandal is reported. Like "The Warren Commission" being clone-linked to an foreign language article on "The Crime of Lee Harvey Oswald." Sort of but not quite. I was hoping that this imagined policy would describe how similar the articles have to be.Student7 (talk) 12:00, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

It doesn't appear that there is one (at least, not linked from WP:IL). Common sense would imply that this is taken care of by virtue of other languages being held by WP:NPOV, and by it presumably being obvious when two articles do not have the same subject. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 13:33, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Culture wars: hostile cite tagging and pseudo-justified data effacement

For the last few days my husband nagasiva and i have been discussing the concepts of hostile cite tagging on low-traffic pages and the resultant pseudo-justified data effacement on those pages, using Wallace Wattles and Talk:Wallace Wattles as an example of how both techniques can be, and are, deployed at Wikipedia (and other Wiki-based collaborative knowledge-bases) to enforce coercive political, religious, and scientistic agendas. What happened there, in the small biography of a man who died almost 100 years ago, is a clear example that supports not only the theory that deletion of information is a weapon of strife but also the theory that data effacement is a weapon of territory-taking in battles of hegemonic cultural warfare within wiki-style data-banks.

Nagasiva then proposed a checks-and-balances system whereby modified wiki software would allow editor-writers to make erasures and deletions only if they had previously built up edit-credits -- "(cr)edits" -- for making contributions and additions to the wiki.

I noted that although his proposal rested on soundly implementable software concepts of key-logging, it would work best on limited-category wikis, and would not work very well in a cross-cultural encyclopedia such as Wikipedia, unless the (cr)edits were logged by category, because without such a category limitation, nothing would prevent a culture-warrior from building up (cr)edits in his own area of interest (or in a quite neutral area, such as "species of flowers") and then using those (cr)edits to make hostile cite-tags, and the subsequnet pseudo-justified erasures and effacements on targeted political, religious, or scientific pages.

The most strict form of an edit-crediting system such as nagasiva proposed would impose the requirement that the deletor have earned his or her (cr)edits through previous contribution to the page on which he or she was also placing cite-tag-deletion notices. Using the Talk:Wallace Wattles page as an example, this "build the page before you tear it down" principle was what -- in an inarticulated appeal to personal morality and conscience -- Madman and i were asking hrafn to observe.

But, of course, there is no such principle or policy at Wikipedia, much less a software-implemented constraint on hostile deletions.

Cordially, catherine yronwode a.k.a. User:Catherineyronwode a.k.a. "64" (talk) 14:44, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Strict code against tendentious editing would kind of violate the spirit of "ignore all rules" and "Wikipedia is not a bureaucracy", two of our most basic premises. An unchecked ability to demand that articles are based on real facts makes Wikipedia not "just a couple of guys on the internet making stuff up." If you have a problem with an editor's behavior, consider talking to people about their behavior or getting an outside voice or getting multiple outside opinions on the facts. The NPOV noticeboard may also help if you believe an editor is trying to push an agenda on an article. SDY (talk) 15:37, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
I understand and, to a certain extent, agree with your points. However, after a fairly long time spent writing and editing for Wikipedia -- and having engaged all of the ameliorative social techniques you have mentioned, only to see them fail to resolve issues, as well as becoming huge time-sinks because, in the worst instances, admins became involved who had agendas as well -- i think that policy needs to be engaged.
As i noted at Talk:Wallace Wattles :

Hostile cite-tagging is one of the strongest weapons against philosophical or political opponents in Wikipedia. It takes literally seconds to pepper an article with hostile cite tags and place an intention-to-delete notice on the corresponding talk page. If the article's previous editors are not alerted, one can then return in a month and delete all of the material that was cite-tagged. If the article is sufficently gutted, one can then ask for its merger or deletion. Furthermore, even if a previous editor re-appears and notices the hostile cite-tags, the scholar whom one is attacking is forced to spend hours coming up with references -- and these can be knocked aside with another scatter-shot blast of cite-tags. There is no Wiki-tag that cites cite-tags as suspected hostile cite-tags.

Whole entire religious denominations have been speedy-deleted or AfD'd and even banned from re-creation at Wikipedia. Don't believe me? Need proof? Check out the back-history of the take-down and banning of the Church of Reality Wikipedia entry -- it took Jimbo's *personal* intercession to get that religious denomination reinstated!

I was suggesting a policy-based solution to the problem. What nagasiva was proposing was a neutral and software-based way to obviate the most egregous examples of tendentious editing before they could escalate to full edit-war status.
Thanks for at least taking time to discuss the matter. I appreciate your response. cat yronwode a.k.a. "64" (talk) 16:14, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm not 100% convinced that tagging something as "Citation needed" is really all that hostile. Ultimately it makes for a better article. There are instances of "citation cruft" which make the article unattractive, but otherwise more cites makes a better article. This can be taken to extremes when people want a cite to demonstrate that the Pope is a Catholic (though there are certain radical conservative catholic groups that argue that point), but denying people the ability to challenge what they see as false information will not help wikipedia. There are users that are notorious for this and their contributions make articles better, even if they are a little annoying at times. SDY (talk) 16:59, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
Okay, first, a system that requires certain amounts of content to be added before you can remove content is not going to happen. There's several reasons why its a bad idea. The fact that you're effectively removing half of a user's editing ability until they satisfy some arbitrary metric being the big one. As for the "'build the page before you tear it down' principle." - there are several reasons why pages should be torn apart before rebuilding should start. Creating another policy about this when A) Its a fairly rare occurrence, and B) existing policies already cover most of it, seems unnecessary. Mr.Z-man 17:16, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
It may also be helpful to remember that Wikipedia is not a battlefield, and removal of content is probably best understood as a disagreement regarding its encyclopedicity rather than a "hostile weapon" being used against you. MastCell Talk 17:53, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

First, to Mr. Z. Man, who said, "Okay, first, a system that requires certain amounts of content to be added before you can remove content is not going to happen. " I was not proposing a policy of "build edit credits before you delete" for Wikipedia. The idea came up in a theoretical discussion of wikis in general, as i explained. Sorry if it seemed confined to Wikipedia -- it was not. There are many wikis out there, and they each have their own systems of granting authority to make edits. In some cases a password is required, in other cases there no way to block "bad" users, or even to lock down pages, as we see here at Wikipedia. So that was just about theory. Another theory nagasiva has proposed is that new editor-writers might start with a certain amount of credits (as in a role-playing game or in the game of Monopoly) and could earn more credits as they went, gaining credits for writing (adding data) and losing points for deleting material (effacing data without rewriting it). It's a theory, that's all -- game theory applied to wiki-making.

Second, to Mastcell, who wrote, "removal of content is probably best understood as a disagreement regarding its encyclopedicity rather than a "hostile weapon" being used against you." Please do not think that i have taken something *personally*. Mastcell seemed to think this might have been what i meant by posting. I did not have anything personal in mind. I was describing a pattern of behaviour that i have seen happen many times in those portions of Wikipedia that deal with topics that are -- in the wider range of events, far beyond the internet -- also contended areas over which "culture wars" are being fought. Surely you know what is being referred to here. If not, here are a few examples: the theory of evolution, the existence of human souls, the behaviours that God(s) forbid(s), the survival of consciousness after death, the rights of women, the rights of homosexuals, the rights of animals, antisemitism, the Armenian genocide of 1915, global warming, and what constitues a sin. Topics like these are hotly contended, despite the assumption of good faith. The contention surrounding these topics has nothing to do with *me* and i do not take the contention *personally."

Third, to Somedumbyankee, who wrote, "I'm not 100% convinced that tagging something as "Citation needed" is really all that hostile." Well, i am not talking about the normal kind of cite-tagging. If you have never encountered what i am talking about, count yourself lucky. I am talking about 20 cite tags being placed on a six-paragraph article, with stated threats to delete all the tagged material if cites are not added immediately -- and then, when the cites are made, another 15 cite tags being made on the article, under the same threat, possibly escalated as a threat to move for article deletion. If you have never encountered this, you are blessed. I have encountered it three times now. It is a particular form of tendentious editing that masquerades as wiki-lawyering, but really has as its goal the elimination of articles that deal with "hot button" topics to the one making the cite-tags.

Thanks again to all for reading this and discussing it. cat yronwode a.k.a. "64" (talk) 01:23, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:GlobalBlocking has been marked as a policy

Wikipedia:GlobalBlocking (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been edited to mark it as a policy. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 18:46, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:WikiProject/Naming convention has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:WikiProject/Naming 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) 18:46, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Racial identities on Wikipedia

I'm not sure this is the right place for this, but many articles consider middle easterners as "white", others do not. So, what does Wikipedia consider Indians and other arabs?--S00porz2 (talk) 23:59, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Whatever the census taker says. "Wikipedia" doesn't take a stand, it just reports classifications that others have made.Kww (talk) 00:15, 30 August 2008 (UTC)
The article White people is the place to start, being specific to to the subject, all other articles need to reference to this one for the 'wikipedia' definition. If you don't get what you seek at that article then escalate your dispute through WP:NPOV or other routes. LeeVJ (talk) 00:55, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

Question about discussion of porn with minors

A policy question : a user who says that she/he is minor in his personnal page starts to post in the talk page of a porn or sexuality related article, or to propose for deletion some porn related articles, or any other such action. Are there legal issues to engage in a written conversation about porn or sex acts with a minor for adult wikipedians? Hektor (talk) 05:53, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Talking about it? I'm pretty sure speech is still free in most places. I don't quite know what you mean, or why there would be any legal issues involved... Celarnor Talk to me 05:58, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm guessing that as long as you have solely a Wikipedia-based discussion, you should have no problem. Although, keep in mind that I'm not a lawyer. SMP0328. (talk) 06:03, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
In the US, free speech protects nearly anything you could say provided that you avoid encouraging him or her to engage in conduct that would be criminal (e.g. encouraging him or her to have sex with you or other adults is not okay). Though discussing sexual issues in a frank and adult manner with a minor may be morally questionable, and I would encourage you to use good sense, it is not likely to get you in legal trouble. Dragons flight (talk) 06:15, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
Why is it morally questionable to discuss with a minor, in a frank and adult manner, the topic of sex? I think that is how one is supposed to discuss the topic with minors. — Twas Now ( talkcontribse-mail ) 08:45, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
Note "may be", depends on circumstances. In general, most people would find it inappropriate to discuss detailed sexuality with a young child, especially if you did so without the parent's consent. I also think children don't need to have adult explanations of some forms of kink under any circumstances. That's generally different than providing a sexually maturing adolescent a basic understanding of sex at an age appropriate time in their life. Since "minor" can mean anything under 18, it encompasses a wide range of circumstances. Dragons flight (talk) 09:17, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
I don't think it's a child; I believe it is User:JoshuaD1991, who has made a bunch of porn star AfDs, some of which User:Hektor later commented on. If any children were making AfDs, I would want to know why the child is spending all this time looking up porn stars? and where are the parents? But I might also think the child was pretty intelligent, to be able to navigate and understand the AfD process. — Twas Now ( talkcontribse-mail ) 16:22, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
Yes indeed it is User:JoshuaD1991, who writes on his user page I am 16 years old and I come from Banbury. I didn't want to be specific and I don't see what being specific and quoting user names brings to the debate ; the question came to my mind when I explored his user page. So, starting from a peculiar case, I brought up a general question. I didn't ask the question about a child, but about s.o. who is legally minor (for instance less than 18 in France). Hektor (talk) 11:38, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

< in my view this is one of the tips of the iceberg of a pretty serious issue... tread extremely carefully would be my advice, for what it's worth.... my feeling is that awareness of all consequences of the 'not censored' approach are not understood (or really yet considered) by much of wider society... (yet). As I mentioned when I drafted Wikipedia:Advice for parents, I believe many would be shocked at some imagery available freely... and I say that without prejudice as to its merits.. Privatemusings (talk) 06:16, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

There are certain laws against communication with minors for "indecent" purposes, like to solicit a meetup for sex online. I'm not a lawyer, but common sense says that a discussion not constructed to encourage any particular action should be legal (well, unless it's a trade secret or military secret). Dcoetzee 06:46, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
We mustn't forget that different countries have different rules (in fact different states too). How would that affect it? If the under 18 year old is in another country where the conversation is okay, but is not okay where Wikipedia or ever the user having the discussion with them, or vice versa, then what? Whose law does the discussion have to follow? Deamon138 (talk) 19:59, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

There are laws against encouraging minors to engage in sexual activity. Even an objective discussion about sexual topics with a minor may be construed to be "encouraging" the minor because society will view the adult as having a certain "sway" over the minor because of the age difference. So i would recommend against any discussions with minors, just to be on the safe side. Halli B (talk) 06:48, 31 August 2008 (UTC)

And I would recommend not being so paranoid. --Carnildo (talk) 22:44, 31 August 2008 (UTC)

Standards in closing

What's the standard close on Wikipedia for a debate with nobody commenting bar the nominator? Relist, no consensus or close per nominator's wishes? Hiding T 20:09, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

For an AFD, I've seen both relisting and close as nominated. For other purposes, I'd generally say keep it open. In my mind, however, it is a lot more useful for someone considering closing such a discussion to actually opine and let the next person along close. With that little discussion, you need to review the suggestion for accuracy, by which point you should have an opinion. GRBerry 20:22, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
Depends what it is. Generally, closing per nominator's request is the usual outcome if there's been no objection after a week or so. WP:SILENCE may be worth reading. Policy or guideline changes with no support should probably be relisted with a little publicity (this page or WT:MOS, WT:N, etc... as appropriate are good places to start) to try and generate some sort of comment. SDY (talk) 20:27, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
Oh, I know about SILENCE, but when it comes to deletion let's remember that we have a speedy for anything deleted in a deletion debate, and for renaming and so on it can become harder to get the move overturned. Hiding T 20:47, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
For an AfD, I'd certainly say that relisting is the way to go. As GRBerry says, I'd suggest you actually !vote and let someone else deal with the close... Hobit (talk) 20:45, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
How about for XFD? Hiding T 20:47, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
I'd say the same thing personally, but I think IfD tends to not behave that way (deleted if no one comments). I've never seen DRV or AfD close without any comments other than the nom. This realizing I'm giving "advice" to someone I consider one of the major authors of policy around here. (I'd missed who was asking the first time) Hobit (talk) 20:57, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
Oh, I know what I'd do, and I know what I think policy is, but I'm just sounding out opinion to make sure I'm blowing the right way before I get a little more specific. And I didn't really write all that much policy, I just happen to have been here long enough it seems that way. Hiding T 22:27, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
My experience with CFD is "it depends". Sometimes the result will be "per nom", and sometimes a relist. (I've even seen a "pernom" which still "fixed" the target cat name - due to a typo, or to match convention.)
That said, if someone has a concern "after the fact", the best thing to do is drop a note with the closer. In my experience, they almost always will relist - though there are, unfortunately, exceptions. In which case, a DRV is likely appropriate.
And of course, YMMV : ) - jc37 22:55, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
So no-one knows of anything explicit in guidance? I mean, my issue is this: we're looking for a rough consensus. If nobody is commenting, we're not generating a rough consensus, we've just got one opinion. For me the default should be a re-listing to force editors to engage; I tend to take GRBerry's point of view; no admin should close an xfd with no comments; they should instead give their considered opinion and allow the next admin to close. But if that's not considered best practise, fair enough. Hiding T 18:07, 30 August 2008 (UTC)
I'd say it's clearly the right thing to do. But I don't think it's what's done. I'd support a change to formally do that however. Hobit (talk) 17:44, 31 August 2008 (UTC)

Working towards a compromise between inclusionists and deletionists

There have been several heated disputes over the notability guidelines. After huge arguments from inclusionists, deletionists, and all those in between... a few compromises have gained conditional support. We are now putting a few of those compromises to the larger community at a request for comment.

Please chime in at: Wikipedia talk:Notability/RFC:compromise. Randomran (talk) 03:39, 1 September 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:WikiProject Medicine/Reliable sources has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:WikiProject Medicine/Reliable sources (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) 18:45, 1 September 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Rollback feature has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Rollback feature (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) 18:46, 1 September 2008 (UTC)

Denial of ownership advice or template?

I wish to make clear in article I edit on a regular basis Huntington's Disease that I do not claim Wikipedia talk:Ownership of articles, since I have the impression ( after seeing in another editors talk worries of 'stepping on my toes'!) that editors coming to the page seeing my number of edits and regular appearance on the talk page might be putoff making their own - all of which are welcome! I think I've made it clear, when asked and in my comments, that I shun ownership so sought the guidelines for the solution, expecting a nice little template or something. There wasn't a section in the ownership guideline addressing this scenario and I haven't had a response from my question there, so where else do I ask - here? I've made a mock-up User:Leevanjackson/noowntemplate of the sort of thing I am looking for - or even as a proposal if this is an uncovered issue, any thoughts or pointers ? many thanks LeeVJ (talk) 13:27, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Nice idea - a couple of us are in a similar situation with articles listed at WP:CEX. Currently your proposed wording is "There are regular editors who contribute heavily to this article, but are adverse to article ownership and actively encourage any new edits, comments or criticism; no matter how bold." Might I make some suggestions:
  • "There are regular editors who contribute heavily to this article, and we would be delighted to have new contributors join us. Please make sure your edits come with references to suitable publications - if in doubt, see WP:RS or ask us."
  • Then add one of the variants of WP:TRIFECTA.
With luck this will become a standard feature of Talk pages. -- Philcha (talk) 13:51, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
I like the 'delighted', but newbies and flypast editors might baulk at labelling themselves 'contributors' and 'joining us', maybe a nudge in the direction of verifiability - but I was looking for a sense of no hard and fast rules...I guess from your reply that this scenario is missing in the guidelines then!LeeVJ (talk) 15:38, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
Which WP:TRIFECTA variant did you mean - I make out Wikipedia:Be_bold_in_updating_pages to be the relevant one? LeeVJ (talk) 15:38, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
I've cobbled another template example based on your comments - any good? LeeVJ (talk) 18:40, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
Just FYI, there's also WP:MAINTAIN which has a template, but that's a specific case of this issue. SDY (talk) 14:09, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
I saw that but it requires a thorough knowledge of the article's subject and strays too close to ownership with the editors listed for me, I imagine it's great (though under-used) for guidelines and project pages though! LeeVJ (talk) 15:38, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Since this is an article on denial, I would like help because one of the admins, (I shall not make his name public for wikipedia policy) on Wiki game has refused me an account due to 'cross wiki hacking' but I have not hacked at all on wiki since I signed in to wikipedia as a new user on the 29th August 2008 does anybody have some advice on this matter? Because it was hard to find a specific page. Also i would like to get or get advice on how to access semi locked wiki articles E.G Wii. Mcjakeqcool (talk) 2nd September 2008 —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mcjakeqcool (talkcontribs) 16:21, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

Use of non-free images in articles

Hi. Non-free images of live people are not allowed in articles of living persons right? But if say in articles of actors, are we allowed to use film footage as an image of them in the article? Since I see some articles use those kinds of images for the infobox images, I would like to ask this. Also, if we scan in a magazine which has an image of the actor there, does that count as free or something? Thanks. ~Milnivri~ 17:47, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

If an actor article, say Morgan Freeman is using a screenshot from a film to show what Freeman looks like then that does not meet our NFCC policy and can be removed from the article. If it is a character, say Batman, then a valid rationale could be drawn up to show it meets the NFCC policy. Scanning an image from a magazine would be a breach of copyright and is in no-way a free image. It is highly unlikely, but you might be able to draw up a fair-use rationale depending on the image. See WP:NFCC for more information, particularly 1. No free equivalent. (With a living person, there will always be the possibility of a free-equivalent.) Woody (talk) 20:04, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
Ok thanks. Then can you help handle these images, which are not fair use? Image:Felicia Chin.jpg and Image:Just Follow Law Gurmit.jpg (heh I uploaded that...) Thanks. ~Milnivri~ 08:18, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

Date auto-formatting being removed ?

Is there a consensus that we should remove all links to auto-format dates?

  • It appears that various parts of discussions about this were moved around into archives without a clear consensus.
  • A section stating "linking of dates purely for the purpose of autoformatting is now deprecated.", but this resulted in an edit war.

I suggest that we refrain from de-linking dates there is a clear consensus to stop using this feature. -- User:Docu

There was a clear consensus reached in the (very long) discussions that took place at WT:MOSNUM (much of which are now archived). The "deprecation" wording actually seemed to end the edit war - it's been stable for a couple of weeks(?) now. There's a subpage of MOSNUM with the arguments set out in detail, but basically, the reason is that autoformatting provides very negligible benefits to a very small proportion of readers, at the cost of grossly overlinked articles for everyone. (There are other more technical reasons too.)--Kotniski (talk) 15:44, 30 August 2008 (UTC)
The page is currently fully protected from edit warring over the word "deprecated." Woody (talk) 15:55, 30 August 2008 (UTC)
The section should probably be marked as disputed. Some editors seem to use it to justify stripping links. -- User:Docu
And rightly so - that's why it's there. There has been no recent edit-warring over the word "deprecated". The warring that led to the protection was over a different issue - whether articles on non-English speaking nations should use a date format similar to that in use in the nation in question. (Oh maybe the most recent revert cycle was in the paragraph connected with deprecation, but it was only a minor skirmish over the wording, not over the fact of the deprecation).--Kotniski (talk) 17:13, 30 August 2008 (UTC)
Just wondering, on which archive page is the discussion that is said to have created this consensus? -- User:Docu
Much of it is here, and some discussion continues on the main talk page. I should point out, though, that while there is deemed to be consensus over "deprecating" DAs, there has as of yet been no consensus established on how existing links are to be handled. Some want a "hard deprecation" approach – essentially banning them and calling for prompt mass removal; others (such as myself) consider this disruptive and note that there has been no consensus beyond a "soft" approach established to date. (In fact, it has not been formally addressed.) Other options are possible, such as leaving it to article's editors to develop a consensus over. Nonetheless, whether this is done quickly or slowly, I would expect to see DA links disappear eventually. What most of the editors involved in the discussions tended to agree on was that it would be preferable for the developers to create and implement a template that would enable all readers to be able to select their preference, not merely a few registered users who have chosen to set them. Askari Mark (Talk) 00:54, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
Most of Wikipedia users - like about 99% - are casual readers. Just an IP address that may belong to a school or an internet cafe or a dial-up pool. Getting these people to set date preferences, or indeed giving them a mechanism to do so, is extremely problematic. --Pete (talk) 01:21, 1 September 2008 (UTC)

In fact, the consensus (insofar as it exists) was that date formatting is a bad idea; whether it should be deprecated, or merely no longer encouraged, is still under discussion. The position that it is a good idea is being upheld by a single editor; if there are more, and especially if there are more arguments why it's a good idea (as it presently exists, as an optional choice for editors only), they should speak up. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:52, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

Which date format to use?

There is an ongoing debate at the talk page for WP:Manual of Style (dates and numbers) as to whether to use day-month-year or month-day-year date format in articles with a strong tie to a specific country. The debate has reached the point where the choice is between the format actually used in the country, or dependent on the variety of English used in articles about that country. This is straightforward for countries such as the U.S.A. or the U.K., but problematic when considering countries where English is not an official language. With the removal of date autoformatting, editors will increasingly see dates presented in "raw" form, rather than as set in user preferences. The current proposal is found here. --Pete (talk) 10:44, 31 August 2008 (UTC)

Pete does not even state the majority position correctly: that articles in American should usually use September 2, 2008, and articles in Commonwealth English should ususlly use 2 September 2008. (Articles in Canadian can use either, as long as they are consistent.) See this survey. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:59, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Bureaucrat discussion has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Bureaucrat discussion (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) 18:45, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Reliable sources (medicine-related articles) has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Reliable sources (medicine-related articles) (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) 18:46, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

Flag use in info boxes

Ive recently started a debate about the use of flag icons in Military equipment info boxes. I felt there is a need for a set of rules relating directly to this. At the moment it seems to vary wildly. For example French World War II tanks have flag icons for most of there units. Where the Germany now have none. I feel we need a to agree on a standard and make all the info boxes the same. If your interested in giving your opinion you can here.

Thanks for your input :) Wonx2150 (talk) 04:27, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

user guestbooks

Ok, so there appears to be some confusion over whether users are permitted to maintain "guestbooks" or "autograph books" on their user and user sub pages. There was some discussion on Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Autograph books and Wikipedia:Deletion review/Log/2007 March 30, but it appears inconclusive. WP:MYSPACE says that Wikipedia is not a social networking site. WP:UP adds "Your userpage is for anything that is compatible with the Wikipedia project. It is a mistake to think of it as a homepage as Wikipedia is not a blog, webspace provider, nor social networking site. Instead, think of it as a way of organizing the work that you are doing on the articles in Wikipedia, and also a way of helping other editors to understand with whom they are working," while WP:UP#NOT more or less repeats this. However, there's nothing clear. My request to one user to remove a user subpage dedicated to autographs was removed by another user, and I can't seem to get any definitive answer. Thoughts? Exploding Boy (talk) 19:01, 1 September 2008 (UTC)

I suppose you could also take a look at WP:UP#NOT, which actually allows editors with good edit histories to have a bit of community building activities. I personally am quite fond of little quirky subpages of editors who I seek out for help. Some has guestbooks, others have "invisible" subpages, some more has halls of glory, and more than few has strangest of subpages. Wikipedia is not just an encyclopedia, it also is a vibrant community that builds the encyclopedia. Without the community the whole project will cease to exist. Wikipedia doesn't pay editors, and it doesn't make them famous. At least it can let them have some fun with other members of the community. Well, if you find that the fun-loving person is doing just that (i.e. having fun) and neither editing the encyclopedia or participating in the community to help build a better encyclopedia, please, blast'em away. This still remains an encyclopedia and a community of encyclopedists. Aditya(talkcontribs) 20:34, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
Wales himself has been recorded as being in support of "guestbooks". Think of that what you will. (talk) 21:41, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
Where? Exploding Boy (talk) 22:27, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
He certainly signs them occasionally, which is at least an implicit endorsement ([4], [5], [6], [7]) – iridescent (who is no fan of guestbooks) 00:15, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
I think all guestbooks should be summarily deleted, along with most user boxes. Anything that does not directly write articles should be banned. Or perhaps instead of going through the trouble of deleting the guestbooks, we could conspicuously post a warning that users who do not have their guestbook deleted by a certain date will be blocked for 30 days. That might work. Halli B (talk) 01:45, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
So, because an admin hasn't deleted the guestbook, the editor with the guestbook gets blocked? That is very unreasonable. Not every editor has the rights to delete pages, even subpages to their own user page. — Twas Now ( talkcontribse-mail ) 01:58, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure that's the way to go either, but I still think that guestbooks are iffy in terms of WP:MYSPACE. Exploding Boy (talk) 02:16, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
As Wikipedia attracts overwhelming numbers of casual users, it is imperative to get back to our ethos of the only thing that matters is writing the encyclopedia. Any users who come here just for the "collegial" atmosphere and socialization should be put in their place. In addition to requiring editors to have a substantial percentage of their edits to be articles, any editor who clutters the server with guestbooks, user boxes, and other useless personal trivia should be removed from the community by force (a block). Halli B (talk) 02:25, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
I agree that the focus should be to improving the encyclopedia. However, I don't think the number of edits in article space really matters. Editors can spend days discussing possible solutions to an article on the Talk: page, and implement the changes in a single edit. This would show as a very high Talk:Article ratio, but obviously the Talk: edits are for the benefit of the encyclopedia. (Interestingly, only three of your 21 edits are to article space.) — Twas Now ( talkcontribse-mail ) 02:42, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

I have had many more article contributions and creations. Unfortunately, most of them have been deleted and no longer show up in the contribution history. Halli B (talk) 02:55, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

Here's a thought. Instead of wasting your time with this piffle, you could be doing something productive, like the unpatrolled backlog, which stretches to almost a full month. DS (talk) 03:01, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
Who was that directed to? Exploding Boy (talk) 03:16, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

WP:IU (Inappropriate usernames) wording

You will notice that the first and third section of WP:IU contains criteria that apply to both usernames and signatures. However, the second section on dealing with inappropriate usernames does not contain any wording for signatures. I would think that "and signatures" should be added to that section and WP:UAA and WP:RFCN should be tweaked to allow for signature issues also. GtstrickyTalk or C 20:38, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

Rather, there should be a section for dealing with inappropriate sigs. I'm not sure whether admins can just change somebody's sig, but we should warn people to change their sig before we block; we autoblock clearly inappropriate usernames because they can't be changed. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:46, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

Unblocking by donation?

I have encountered much talk regarding instances where blocked or banned users attempt to come back to Wikipedia and appeal to the community or ArbCom to have their ban overturned. Since economic times are tough, Wikipedia's donations must be down. Instead of a formal discussion about a ban, or placing the user through a cumbersome and taxing "probation" period if unblocked, I propose that we give the banned user who wants to return the option of donating a certain sum to the Wikipedia foundation in exchange for having his block removed. The price would be commensurate with the infractions that earned the block in the first place. I'm thinking about $50-100 for a user who was banned for simple vandalism, anywhere up to $5000 or more to reinstate the worst offenders. Of course they could be re-banned if they start abusing wikipedia again, or the cost of the "unblock option" could be increased for repeat offenders. Halli B (talk) 02:52, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

Are you a banned user? Delicious carbuncle (talk) 03:30, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
Unbanning isn't for sale. EVula // talk // // 03:37, 4 September 2008 (UTC) The Foundation hasn't reached that level of corruptness yet. Celarnor Talk to me 03:45, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
Lol "yet"! Deamon138 (talk) 03:50, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
Cash for Honours? Deamon138 (talk) 03:51, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
The sale of indulgences? — Twas Now ( talkcontribse-mail ) 04:23, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

Yeeees, judging by some of her(?) other suggestions, I'm thinking Halli (Berry, is it?) is having a bit of a laugh. Exploding Boy (talk) 04:53, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

Use of comments made as satire by Stephen Colbert (character)

Ok. This issue started on the Media Matters for America talk page (here), was sent to the BLP noticeboards and the Reliable source noticeboards. Since the discussion doesn't strictly relate to the television show the Colbert Report as a reliable source regarding the events that transpire on it, I'm moving the discussion here.

As I see it, the issue is this: Media Matters for America posted a transcript of the Rush Limbaugh show regarding the Phony soldiers controversy in 2007. the colbert report later made the issue a subject on "the word". To acknowledge this, editors wanted to add a sentence like this:

"Stephen Colbert, in character as a right-wing pundit, replied by satirically blaming Media Matters for the controversy. "By posting [Limbaugh's remarks] on the Internet," Colbert said, "the general public [heard] words that were meant for people who already agree with us. Hey, Media Matters, you want to end offensive speech? Then stop recording it for people who would be offended."

Those who wished to add the sentence felt that the satire/criticism was topical and noteworthy. Those who wished to remove the section felt that the text confused Colbert the actor with Colbert the character and constituted original research regarding the interpretation of satire. their basic concerns (in my estimation) are these:

  • Satire is a difficult art to understand and interpret and few interpretations of satire are unambiguous. the inclusion of this reference puts the onus on the editor to determine the target and meaning of criticism.
  • Polticial criticism, when quoted on wikipedia, gets its authority from the speaker (as we commonly note the speaker and list the criticism as opinion). The fact that Stephen Colbert plays a role on television and the fact that his speech is written by a team of writers should give us pause when interpreting the speech of Colbert's character as criticism.
  • Wikipedia is not a venue for irony. We don't insert satire into ostensibly factual articles and leave the determination of the nature of speech to the reader.
  • Inclusion of satire as commentary would somehow place us on a slippery slope leading to the diminution of legitimate commentary.

Those who wish to add the sentence have some other concerns and responses (Again, my estimation, some are my concerns).

  • Satire may be presented as satire without interpretation as to the motivation, target or intended audience.
  • The notion that all commentary derives force and weight from the authority and authenticity of the speaker is false. It is especially counterfactual to demand that satire (a form of speech almost always delivered tongue in cheek) derive its significance from the authentic belief of the speaker.
  • Satire is a legitimate form of political commentary and, when topical, belongs in the discourse of an event.
  • Careful and judicious quotation of satire in articles (especially where the use is substantiated by third party sources) does not lead to a slippery slope or present the reader with an ironic view of a situation.

The exact issue is partially moot as a third party source has been found and inserted into the article. However I hope to invite some uninvolved editors to review the basic idea and answer a few questions:

  1. Is it ever appropriate to include topical references made as satirical commentary using only primary sources? (i.e. just the episode as a source)
  2. Does the issue of an actor playing a character (rather than a commentator providing a view) change the issue at all? Is George Carlin's criticism of the FCC for the Seven dirty words more suitable for inclusion because Carlin wasn't obviously playing a character?
  3. How much of the weight of political commentary stems from the authentic belief of the commentator in the view she presents? In other words, if James Carville actually liked Dennis Kucinich but pretended to like Clinton because it was good television, does that weaken his remarks?
  4. Where does the line get drawn on interpretation of material?

I'm including the Reliable Sources Noticeboard discussion here as an archive so that commentators can see past arguments (and to get it off RS/N). Please respond below the archived sections. Thank you. Protonk (talk) 21:24, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Discussion from Reliable Sources

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

At the article Media Matters for America something Stephen Colbert said while playing his characther is used in the article as a Reliable Source, and the following statement keeps getting inserted,

"Stephen Colbert, in character as a right-wing pundit, replied by satirically blaming Media Matters for the controversy. "By posting [Limbaugh's remarks] on the Internet," Colbert said, "the general public [heard] words that were meant for people who already agree with us. Hey, Media Matters, you want to end offensive speech? Then stop recording it for people who would be offended."

Is Colbert a reliable source to be used in this way? Is it OK to use him in various articles on which he commented such as Media Matters? Hobartimus (talk) 15:32, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

In that way, where it is clear that the figure talking is a television character and the nature of the speech is satire, it is probably ok. This seems to me to be an attempt to bring material into the body of the article versus leave it in an "In Pop culture" section. I don't think it belongs in the "criticism" section in the middle of a paragraph, but that is an editorial matter. Protonk (talk) 15:44, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
I said this over at Talk:Media Matters for America, but say it here too since the discussion has (maybe) moved here: "The Colbert Report is obviously the most reliable source for Colbert's opinion (albeit a satirical opinion) and that's all it's being used for so there is no WP:RS issue. If the Report was being used as a source for some factoid--Obama is Frankenstien, for example--that would violate WP:RS, but using it for Colbert's opinion is fine." Yilloslime (t) 16:01, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

So is it OK to use qoutes from him in every article he ever commented on as long as it's accurately described as satirical speech? Hobartimus (talk) 15:53, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
I mean, it's case by case, right? I don't think an unequivocal statement can be made about this. We should obviously note Stephen Colbert at the 2006 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner but a throwaway gag at the beginning of an episode doesn't really count. And in looking at the MMFA article again, the Colbert quote placement isn't really bad at all. Protonk (talk) 15:58, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
I agree with ProtonK. Just as with Bill O'Reilly or any other guy with an opinion and a microphone, whether it's OK to use Colbert commentary depends on the article and the context. This is a WP:WEIGHT issue not a WP:RS issue. Yilloslime (t) 16:01, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
I don't think the comparsion with Bill O'Reilly is relevant, most of what Colbert says in Characther is patent nonsense, trying to make people laugh and not serious in any way. The same thing would be adding to the Bear article that Colbert states that Bears are the biggest threat to humans and often features them at the top of Threat-Down ... Colbert quotes should best remain in articles directly about Colbert and not creep into other articles such as Elephant (the Elephant-Colbert connection is arguably much more notable than the Colbert-Media Matters connection to boot). Hobartimus (talk) 17:00, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Agree, comments stated while in character have no purpose in articles outside his articles. This is a dangerous precedent to claim that this instance is ok because he is SC since it sets up future situations where personal opinion and not policy dictate what should be used on contencious issues. Arzel (talk) 17:08, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
  • (ec)Well, in all fairness, I think most of what bill o'rielly says is patent nonsense, trying to get his audience lathered up about some non-issue in order to keep ratings high. But most satire seems like patent nonsense to some people. A Modest Proposal is pretty nonsensical, but discussion of it in an article on english nationalism at the time would be wholly appropriate. Comedy has to get a laugh or it people don't watch it. that doesn't dilute the underlying point: that MMFA spends a lot of time and money bringing what is essentially hate speech from an echo chamber out into the rest of the world. It is valid criticism to say that fanning outrage over Limbaugh's comments spoils an easy method to minimize their impact: just don't look. The source of that criticism is important to note but not vital to its inclusion. George Carlin was a funny-man, but his thoughts on television censorship are germane and notable. Protonk (talk) 17:12, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
I think you are confusing Colbert the person with Colbert the FICTIONAL character. Your strawman arguement of BOR is nonsensical, but your comparison to Carlin is interesting. Carlin was always Carlin, he didn't change his point of view depending upon the situation (the same could be said with BOR). However, Colbert does. By his own admission he does not believe almost anything he purports to believe while in character, and to try and diferentiate between the two to use as a rebuttal on the behalf of MMfA is simply incredulous, it is stuff like this that garners WP almost no respeact within actual academia. Arzel (talk) 17:19, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
I don't think I am at all. Carlin was who he was on stage for a reason. The same with Colbert. The writers of the Colbert report chose to criticize MMFA for their actions and we are noting that criticism in its proper place. The Billo comment was mostly to put that issue aside, I didn't make the comparison in the first place. We aren't confusing Colbert and Colbert. We are noting that Stephen Colbert (character) lampooned MMFA for their actions. That doesn't require that we conflate two topics or that we insinuate Colbert the person believes the criticism. That isn't a requirement. If the article doesn't make it perfectly clear that the figure talking is fictional, then we can fix that. But as I see it, lampooning is lampooning. given that the Limbaugh 'phony soldiers bit' was drawn out and discussed for some time, it seems appropriate. Protonk (talk) 17:26, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
The key here is that there is a big difference between Colbert's personal opinion (which I supposed could be notable in some rare instances), and something his charatcer says on his show. The comic material stated by Colbert (the character) is scripted... writen by Colbert's team of writers in order to be humerous. It is not a reliable source for Colbert (the person)'s opinion. The same is not true with statements by Rush Limbaugh. In his cases the person is/was not playing a character. The opinion expressed is his own. In the case of George Carlin... his thoughts on censorship are reliable sources because both he and others have commented on them outside of the comic routine itself. Blueboar (talk) 18:41, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
that shouldn't be the key issue at all. Opinions don't become invalid because they make people laugh. the whole point of what people like carlin did was that their humor on stage was partially funny because it was also criticism. Things that Carlin said about the church or about the FCC didn't become relevant only because they (presumably) echoed how he felt off state. His feelings as expressed in interviews and non-stage appearances are important in determining things about Carlin the man, but that doesn't mean that only opinions espoused offstage are relevant as criticism of other people and things. We wouldn't take carlin's stage act speech about censorship as a source for facts on the issue, just an opinion. In this specific case we are not presenting it as the opinion of the speaker but as criticism itself, offered by an organization (comedy Central) that approves content and has limitations (30 minutes a day, 4 days a week) n what it produces. I note a similar situation at Hot Pockets. No need to assert that each persona quoted actually feels that way about the microwave dinners. Again, if the article presents the joke as Colbert's (the person) opinion and not the speech of the fictional character colbert, it should be fixed immediately. the sentence, insofar as it notes the criticism of the organization in question as satire and presents it as speech from a fictional character, isn't wrong. We could argue that it isn't terribly important (WP:UNDUE), but that is different. Protonk (talk) 18:56, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Agreed. An opinion is an opinion is an opinion. It doesn't matter if that opinion is expressed as an obvious political satire in a comedy routine, or in an OpEd in a newspaper. It does matters that opinions are presented as opinions and not as fact, but that's not the issue here. And it also matters that the mix of opinions presented in an article adheres to WP:NPOV, but that's not a matter for this board to decide. Yilloslime (t) 19:04, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Incredulous. If you can't seperate the shaff from the wheat before you make bread you usually end up with a loaf of in point here. Arzel (talk) 19:07, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
(outdent) You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. :) Protonk (talk) 19:11, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
No, I am using it correctly. My mind cannot literally not comprehend how some people think that the musings of a fictional character somehow belong within in a supposed encyclopedia, maybe this is really just a gossip encyclopedia, if that it the case then I am using that word incorrectly. Arzel (talk) 19:18, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Dude, I guess I can't share your outrage. If Stephen colbert (the person) were a stand-up comedian and made the exact same joke on an HBO special, would this same conversation be taking place? Protonk (talk) 19:24, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Look. What happens on the Colbert Report, the Daily Show, and certain sketches on Saturday Night Live is obviously, unabashedly political satire. They are also very widely viewed. Therefore, the opinions expressed in these shows are sometimes an important part of the media dialog. Some people here seem to be arguing that because the criticism is conveyed through this fictionalized character it's somehow automatically invalid. That's a strawman argument. Yes, I agree that the opinions of fictional characters generally have no place in an encyclopedia--spongebob's thoughts on the cheese or the '08 elections would never be appropriate--but in the specific case of a show that all about political satire, a show that people watch expecting political satire, these opinions are relevant, and can in some cases be given parity with opinions expressed through standard channels. Yilloslime (t) 19:28, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
You seem to be arguing that because SC is notable than his comments are notable, all this will do is give a free pass to include anything he says anywhere. Arzel (talk) 19:40, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
(ec)Well firstly, SC the person would never make that joke. His joke is based off feigned anger at MMfA because he is playing a supposed conservative talk-show host (although to be accurate he takes extreme positions from both sides of the isle). The real SC wouldn't have to feign any anger. Secondly, are you suggesting that simply because this was on TV it is suddenly viable? If Colbert (the character) had not made this joke on TV but had done so in a comedy show and then MMfA picked it up it would still be worthy of inclusion? Perhaps you should share my outrage, because all stuff like this does is make WP look like an ecyclopedia put together by first year college students without anything better to do with their time. You know I really like SC, but I see time and time again (as with his presidential run) many people have a very difficult time pulling the real SC out of the character. And to make things worse he plays on it by mentioning WP in his show further making WP look like a pile of crap. To top if off most people don't even realize that they are playing right into his hand. They think they are playing along, when in reality he is only further mocking them and the WP project.....but then again maybe WP is just a big joke and a waste of time. Arzel (talk) 19:38, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Well, step one to cooperating with people is to deride the work they do as a pile of crap, that's for sure. As for "that's what makes wikipedia bad...etc....bllarrgh". I don't care. Take the drama and issues you have with your perceptions of wikipedia elsewhere. Protonk (talk) 19:48, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
We probably won't come to agreement on the subject in general, but I'll try and illustrate my feelings clearly. Satire does not become insignificant because of how it is voiced. The south park movie better be on the criticism of the MPAA section because it is legitimate criticism of the organization's goals and methods. thank you for smoking (the book or movie) should be noted somewhere on the subject of anti-tobacco crusading. The point of comedians doing satire is that the medium should prejudge the message: Colbert (the character) made a joke at MMFA's expense on a subject. Look, it doesn't matter what stephen colbert the actor thinks. that isn't the purpose of the quote. The purpose is to make a topical (and yes) humorous interlink between a brief scandal and a television personality. That joke is included with the show cited as a source. As far as RS is concerned, as long as the text is clear that this is a fictional character and the speech is satire, no issue exists with reliability. there may be an issue that colbert's criticism just wasn't that important. Take that up at WP:NPOV/N. Protonk (talk) 19:48, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Also, we don't need to believe that Jonathan Swift actually wanted to feed Irish babies to the poor in order to accept his work of satire. Protonk (talk) 20:33, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

I want to note that, in a general sense, it might be appropriate to just delete the entire criticism section. That, of course, is not a reliable sources argument, though really nothing here is. None of these criticisms are especially strong, and if the issue that some people here have is that it's bad to report an opinion expressed through comedy (which it clearly is not), we could solve that by just removing everything. That solution, which I have proposed numerous times, has not gained traction (or even much of a response) from some of those who want to remove the Colbert bit. That leaves me to suspect that for at least some of them, this is more about excluding an opinion that defends Media Matters than anything else. We could just avert this entire issue by deleting the relatively weak criticisms we have there. If we're going to include them, we need to follow the NPOV policy and also include opinions that defend Media Matters. Croctotheface (talk) 19:45, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Let's get to the point... a satirical comedy sketch is not a reliable source for any statement about a third party. It is not even a reliable source for opinion (unless a reliable source can verify that the view experessed in the sketch is actually held by the person who wrote it... in which case you should use the source that verifies this, and not the sketch itself). A satirical sketch is a work of fiction. The only situation where it might be considered reliable is as a self-citation for an outline of the plot of the sketch. There is only one circumstance where the plot of a sketch should be outlined... in an article about the sketch itself (or the show in which it occured).Blueboar (talk) 20:16, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Far from getting to the point, this reply completely ignores my point and repeats the same argument that others here have rejected over and over. If you want to exclude Colbert's opinion, we could do that just by saying that the entire criticism section is not important enough to include, which it arguably is not. If you want to exclude ONLY Colbert's opinion that defends Media Matters, and leave in those that criticize MM, then that's a violation of our policy of writing from a neutral point of view. Croctotheface (talk) 20:20, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
How can you verify that this is Colbert's opinion? Let's take another of his bits as a counter point... he frequently says (in character) that "Obama is a secret Muslem"... do you seriously think this Colbert's out of character opinion on Barak Obama? How do you know? Blueboar (talk) 21:01, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
It doesn't need to be. Like I said above, Jonathan Swift probably didn't actually want to feed irish babies to the poor of england. Protonk (talk) 21:02, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
And thus we should not say that this was Swift's opinion. Blueboar (talk) 21:08, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
And the sentence quoted above doesn't do that. Protonk (talk) 21:09, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
I really have no idea why any of this is in response to what I wrote. If the overarching concern is to get rid of the Colbert piece, we can do that by deleting the entire criticism section, which really doesn't describe anything of much merit. As I said above, the fact that people who want to remove the stuff about Colbert (in general) don't want to address this possibility, it leaves me with grave NPOV concerns. Croctotheface (talk) 21:12, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Croctotheface, as you noted yourself above your suggestion is not about reliability, and that discussion belongs on the entry talk page. Protonk, while I agree in spirit with much of what you are arguing for, I don't think we can accept satire as a reliable source of criticism ("opinion" or no opinion) at least not until other sources have been published about the satirical piece and then its best to use those sources. In other words it would be ill advised to use Swift directly as well. The problem lies in the fact that satire is not even close to being literal, and thus requires interpretation. However obvious this interpretation may seem to you and I or anyone else commenting here, it is still interpretation either by us (which means OR) or by the reader (which means that the meaning is not clear). Either way its unacceptable here. I agree that it is highly unfortunate, because a whole lot of notable political critique comes from satire. Anyway once someone publishes about Colbert's satire then it will be another story.PelleSmith (talk) 21:26, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
(ec) @ BB: "How can you verify that this is Colbert's opinion?" THe article doesn't say it's Colbert's opinion, the article says: " Stephen Colbert, in character as a right-wing pundit, replied by satirically blaming Media Matters for the controversy," and then goes on to give the quote.Yilloslime (t) 21:27, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
No, but several people have tried to defend including the comment by saying that it is Colbert's opinion. My comments are directed at them.
@ Pelle "I don't think we can accept satire as a reliable source of criticism ("opinion" or no opinion) at least not until other sources have been published about the satirical piece and then its best to use those sources." From what wikipolicy does this flow?Yilloslime (t) 21:31, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
(ec)It is explained below it. Comprehending the intended meaning of satire requires a level of interpretation which is problematic in an encyclopedia which is meant to be clear and to be taken literally. Either we do the interpreting, and that violates WP:NOR or we leave it to the reader, which pretty much violates the very essence of this project--which is to be informative and clear. If you want to use Swift's satirical critique of something you would have to rely on third party scholarship which explains the intent or meaning of his satire. Same goes for Colbert. If the primary source cannot be taken literally it should not be used.PelleSmith (talk) 21:38, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, I'm just not buying it. I think you're really stretching what's meant by WP:OR here, and I also think that the context of Colbert's remarks is easily understood, even by readers unfamiliar with his show/character. Afterall, the quote is clearly labelled as satire, and readers who want or need more info can click the appropriate links. Yilloslime (t) 22:04, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Pelle, every word or sentence requires interpretation. Understanding a literal meaning is not "research," and neither is understanding a non-literal meaning. Regarding the notion that my suggestion is not about reliability, no argument here is really about reliability. Your argument, for instance, is an original research argument, not a reliable sources argument. Croctotheface (talk) 21:33, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Explaining a non-literal meaning would be considered original research. It would also not be verifiably the "intended" meaning unless the person who authored it did the explanation. Regarding reliability you are entirely wrong. Discussing whether or not satire can be used as a reliable source of criticism is apropos here, while discussing whether or not the entire criticism section of an entry should be deleted is clearly not.PelleSmith (talk) 21:44, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
If that's so, then isn't determining that the meaning is non-literal also "research"? Croctotheface (talk) 22:06, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm not going to engage you in this pomo language game which could go on ad infinitum. We assume sincerity in expression in various contexts, like in reference works for instance. Satire by definition disturbs this assumption because satire is not meant to be sincere. In fact if you assume sincerity you wont get the intended meaning of a given work of satire. A reference work is meant to be sincere and we also experience some amount of stability based upon this assumption of sincerity. You can go on and on all you want about how everything requires interpretation or how all meaning is constructed or how there are no given natural relationships between sign and signifier and yada yada yada. That makes no difference here. There are pragmatic reasons for assuming that some expression are more literal than others, and in fact some expression are intended to be more literal than others. Satire is not intended to be literal. It requires an amount of interpretation that goes above and beyond that which is necessary for basic literal forms of communication. That is a problem.PelleSmith (talk) 22:43, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
But that's really what I'm getting at here: you say that we can't include any opinions expressed through satire because recognizing that they are satire is "research" and we don't do original research. I say that recognizing that they're satire is necessary to say that in the first place. You're correcr that we presume sincerity in certain cases, but that doesn't somehow make that not an act of interpretation. Understanding irony or satire is not "research." Croctotheface (talk) 22:50, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
WP:NOR is the closest thing we have to express the point. No its not strictly speaking "research", but it requires explanation or interpretation at a level well above plain expression and that's the problem.PelleSmith (talk) 01:19, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
It doesn't serve our readers or anyone else to pretend that satire or irony is incomprehensible. As I said, even recognizing that words are not being used literally is interpretive. That's just basically saying to anyone who uses non-literal means to communicate ideas that Wikipedia is closed to you, that you need to be ignored. Croctotheface (talk) 01:28, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
I have not said it is incomprehensible in the least--and excluding various literary devices from the writing of a reference work does not make such a statement either. Irony and satire are not precise, and they do not meet the levels of obvious clarity that we want in a reference work, to provide the clarity for the reader requires levels of analysis that are not deemed OK vis-a-vis WP:NOR. I'm still stupefied that someone is arguing for the use of irony and satire in a reference work. When a literal accounting of the meaning produced by satire is available it is another matter. For instance no editorial reading of Jonathan Swift's intended meaning is required because its all there in third party sources, and reliable academic sources at that.PelleSmith (talk) 12:43, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
Context is everything... Let's look at the material in context:
  • In September 2007, the conservative National Review accused Media Matters of creating a "phony controversy" and trying to "manufacture outrage" regarding Rush Limbaugh's controversial remark about "phony soldiers". National Review wrote that Media Matters took Limbaugh out of context and suggested that they may have intended to present a "completely false account of what happened". Media Matters has argued that their item was accurate and included context and that Limbaugh and his defenders sought to remove context to cast his remarks in a more favorable light. John Gibson, while a commentator of Fox News Channel, offered an opinion that criticized Media Matters' reporting of Limbaugh. Stephen Colbert, in character as a right-wing pundit, replied by satirically blaming Media Matters for the controversy.
Stephen Colbert's character is not a reliable source in this context. His character is not reliable for a "reply" to a real statement of fact or opinion. It may be funny, but it is not appropriate to include it in the section. Blueboar (talk) 22:02, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
You're misusing the notion of "reliability," as others have explained already. His words clearly communicate something "real," even though it's done humorously. Croctotheface (talk) 22:06, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
No, I'm not... everything else in the paragraph relates to the opinions of real people... a reliable reply would be that of another real person. Colbert the character is not real... a fictional character can not be a reliable source for a "reply".
  • I'm marking this as resolved since the question of including or excluding the material is no longer related to this noticeboard. Protonk (talk) 22:03, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
I disagree... but am happy to carry the discussion to another forum... where are you contuing the conversation?
I don't have a horse in this race, but anyone is free to copy/paste it on the MMFA talk page. Protonk (talk) 22:14, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
This is much bigger than just one article can Colbert in character be cited in Bear, Elephant and gazillion of other articles potentially? If this discussion would reach a consensus for example that it's OK to include than people editing Elephant can reference it in their own discussions, this is the reason to have a centralized discussion about whether it is appropriate to cite Colbert in charather articles NOT about Colbert. Hobartimus (talk) 22:49, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
And my honest opinion on that is that we can't make a sweeping recommendation. It would be ill advised to say that the colbert report should never be mentioned outside of the scope of Stephen Colbert articles. It would also be wrong to say that inclusion of a reference is always justified. From a reliable source standpoint, an episode of the colbert report is a perfectly reasonable source for stating the goings-on of that show. Whether or not the goings-on of that show relate to any other article is an individual issue for that article. A general answer is liable to come from judiciously applying WP:UNDUE and WP:OR as appropriate. I can't say that it is inappropriate to use material from the Colbert report on the MMFA article and (in the same breath) say that it is innapropriate to do so on the Lynn Westmoreland article as well. In my opinion the discussion doesn't belong here. Protonk (talk) 22:58, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
(ec)Hobatimus, the devil is always in the details. If you're looking for a blanket statement that "Yes Colbert is always quotable" or "No you're never allowed to quote Colbert" I'm sorry but you're not going to get it. You've got to look at things on a case by case basis. Yilloslime (t) 22:59, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Well a definitive result would be nice but I thought about something like "Stephen Colbert in characther counts as a reliable source and can be cited unless the citation conflicts with other policy" OR "Stephen Colbert in characther should only be cited in articles directly related to Colbert and not in any other articles or topics on which he only commented such as Bear or Elephant"
I think a general statement about Colbert qoutes can be made and I'm sure this will come up plenty of times in the future as well on countless talk pages without centralized discussion so with a result here we would save a lot of time later. Hobartimus (talk) 23:06, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
False dilemma Protonk (talk) 23:09, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Yes, this is certainly a false choice. There are opinions on Colbert's show that are designed to be, in the words of a lot of people, "brilliant satire." Those types of comments can certainly be quoted. We have an entire article about Stephen Colbert at the 2006 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner. I suppose that nothing he said there can be relayed, since it concerned serious topics but was delivered in character. Croctotheface (talk) 23:12, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Obviously in articles about Colbert and directly related to Colbert quotes can be used as said above. However Elephant and Media Matters are not about Colbert not related to Colbert and don't contain his name in the title. Hobartimus (talk) 00:39, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
Stephen Colbert at the 2006 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner is an article about Steven Colbert, so things he said are very appropriate to quote and comment upon. And I agree that there will be other articles where it might be appropriate to mention something he said "in character". I can even see mentioning his remarks in the MM article (as an example of the controversy reaching a wider audience for example)... but as currently used, it is completely inappropriate and unreliable. People keep saying that the article does not quote him as an opinion... and yet if you look at the talk page and at numerous comments made here this is exactly the argument made for keeping it in the article. it is being used as areliable source for an opinion when it shouldn't be. It is being used as a rebuttal to various criticisms. But it isn't a rebuttal... it is a satire of them. It isn't a reliable source for rebuttal. There may be other reasons, and other ways to include the comment... but not the ones that have been stated here or stated on the talk page of the article. Blueboar (talk) 00:44, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
People are saying not that the quote does not express an opinion; they are saying that it expresses an opinion ironically. That is offered in response to the notion that comedy is basically incapable of expressing anything, which is the opinion that some have taken here. I offered the WHCA dinner article to give an example of a featured article that clearly does interpret his comments as satirical, which is what some here have said that we can't do without resorting to OR, which is clearly untrue. Croctotheface (talk) 00:53, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

(Unindent) The idea of using his satirical comments as criticism of another entity goes well above and beyond simply stating that his comments are satirical. It requires using the meaning of his satirical comments as if that meaning is clear, which it is not. The fact that you and I understand them makes no difference. It certainly isn't clear without at the very least identifying the comments as satirical, but even that is not enough for many many possible readers. What's next we start using poetry? How about song lyrics? I know, we should just paste jpgs of abstract expressionist paintings into various articles ... I mean I get them so who cares if younger people or those simply unfamiliar with that mode of expression do not have the cognitive apparatus to understand them. Lets do it!!! I'm amazed that this conversation persists as if there is ever going to be a defensible way to call a satirical primary source reliable for criticism.PelleSmith (talk) 01:33, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Satire is often the most powerful form of criticism. We can certainly quote a song or reference a painting that's critical of someone. There's a reference to the kiss sculpure, for instance, in the Joe Lieberman article. The idea that we need to write articles for people who lack the "cognitive apparatus" to understand irony. Croctotheface (talk) 01:41, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
What guidebook to reference writing told you to use irony because you should burn it? When do we ever employ irony in our writing here? I agree 100% that some of the best political critique available comes through satire, and it always has. But that does not mean that we employ satire as a primary source for criticism in a reference work. How about you find any published reference work that uses satire in this manner.PelleSmith (talk) 01:50, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

I would like to add that a google search provided no reliable third party sources that discuss Colbert's joke regarding this matter. MMfA is the primary reference for the discussion, other than the show itself, would that make this not even a third party source (MMfA is a primary source, and it using it for its own purpose to mock Limbaugh). Arzel (talk) 03:00, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

This is getting out of hand

This is not germane to the RS noticeboard. I can move this to the Village Pump or move it to the MMFA talk page and start a content RfC if wider user input and centralized discussion is required but it doesn't really belong here. Thoughts? Protonk (talk) 05:39, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Close the thread, mark it resolved, and let those who want to pursue this further WP:Forum shop it to where ever they'd like. Yilloslime (t) 05:55, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
I don't want to close the thread as an adversarial decision. I just don't want an already long RS/N page to get longer for what is largely a parochial discussion. Protonk (talk) 05:56, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
Colbert is used as a source wiki wide. Would it be better to have this discussion in 10 different places? Hobartimus (talk) 12:25, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
You didn't read what I wrote. I'm HAPPY to move this to a different location for central discussion. Protonk (talk) 15:19, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
I don't think anyone is saying that Colbert can never be used as a source... only that he was an unreliable source as used in this article. In any case, the wording of the sentence at issue has now been changed... it now reads: "Lampooning O'Reilly, Gibson, and other conservatives who rallied behind Limbaugh, Stephen Colbert satirically blamed Media Matters for the controversy...." As now used, there is no longer an RS issue... The comment is not being presented as an opinion or a reply to an opinion. It is being presented as what it is... a lampoon of the criticisms. That is an appropriate use of the quote as far as RS is concerned. (I leave other potential objections to another venue). Blueboar (talk) 14:10, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
I agree that the new language is clearer. However, the notion that it is "Stephen Colbert" who "blamed Media Matters" is still an unresolved RS problem per threads above. Stephen Colbert is a real person and also a fictional character. It is the fictional character that delivered this lampooning, and the real source of this material is an unknown collaboration from a team of writers. Calling this resolved in terms of RS opens the door for two possible problems: 1) Allowing fictional characters to be sources or conversely 2) sourcing the opinions of writers to the statements made by their fictional characters. I really don't see these issues resolved. The other issue I have with satire in general, I will concede, belongs elsewhere.PelleSmith (talk) 14:32, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
Colbert is no more "fictional" than any other satirist who uses some kind of comic conceit like this. And the "fictional" issue doesn't seem to bother, for example, the Peabody Awards, as they've given Colbert more than one for his work. That's a very prestigious journalism award, incidentally, not a comedy award. The notion that this is really the opinion of "writers" is no more salient for this case than it is for any broadcast, since even "serious" shows use writers. In general, I find it troubling that for some people, there would be no issue at all if a hack like Chris Matthews presented the same opinion in a "serious" way on his "serious" show. Croctotheface (talk) 17:17, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
Strawman arguments abound. Colbert the person is NOT responsible for anything he says because he is making the statement within the context of his fictional character. Colbert the character is no more real than Happy Gillmore or Patch Adams or any other character. The fact that Colbert uses the same name as his real name for his fictional character doesn't change this. Croc, you really need to get past this belief you have that they are one in the same. Colbert the person has recieved awards for his work playing Colbert the fictional character. Arzel (talk) 17:36, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
Those awards are for journalism, not acting. Croctotheface (talk) 17:43, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
And........this makes a difference how? Arzel (talk) 17:46, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
It makes no difference what the awards are for. A more apt example here would be Borat or Ali G. Colbert, when in character on the show, is completely fictional. It makes no amount of difference if Colbert the person agrees 100% with the satirical critique produced by his "fictional" character. Unless you have a quote from Colbert out of character you are quoting a fictional character. This gets very tiring because you have resorted to non-relevant arguments. Do you disagree that Colbert on the show is a fictional character? Please answer that question emphatically. All else follows from that question. I love Colbert, btw, and agree with the slant of his satire, but I'm entirely unwilling to open up this pandora's box of RS problems just because I agree with him.PelleSmith (talk) 17:47, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
This will be my last post on this thread, as it's clear we're not getting anywhere. This is clearly not a reliable source issue. I don't deny that the question of how much WP:WEIGHT—if any—to give to the commentary of a fictionalized character is a relevant one. But it's simply not a sourcing issue. It is undeniable that Steven Colbert the human being uttered those remarks as the character Steven Colbert while hosting the Colbert Report. If we were dealing with a transcript posted on a blog or WP:SPS that'd be a different story, but clearly the sourcing here is solid. Please pursue the broader WP:WEIGHT issues elsewhere.
I'll retire from this absurdity as well, but only with a parting comment. I think there is a lesson here to learn from a good friend of Colbert's. When Jon Stewart was on Crossfire and he very sincerely and straightforwardly lambasted the commentators for "hurting America", they responded by criticizing him for not asking tough questions on his own "news show". He responded at first by saying "if you want to compare your show to a comedy show you are more than welcome to." Other responses included, "I didn't realize that the news organizations look to Comedy Central for integrity," and "the show that leads into me is puppets making crank phone calls, what is wrong with you?" In case you haven't seen this episode I highly suggest watching it. One of Stewart's main criticisms of Crossfire is that its like "theater" and that it isn't "genuine". I'm sure that both Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert, however earnestly they believe in the substance of their own shows' various satirical critiques can appreciate the absurdity of the conclusion reached above. Let the fictional comedy character sourcing begin!!PelleSmith (talk) 20:23, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
Yes... shall we start by editing the Barak Obama article so that it says that it is Stephen Colbert's opinion that "Obama is a secret muslem"? After all, if everyone agrees that Colbert is a reliable source for his opinions, they should welcome the comment. Blueboar (talk) 20:45, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
That might be relevant as a satire of the people who are alleging he is a muslim. The basic premise of all these comments seems to be either that satire is incomprehensible or that we need to pretend it is. To a point raised elsewhere, why does it not matter what his awards are for? He has received awards for journalism. Clearly there are respected organizations out there who take his satire seriously. If Sacha Cohen has received journalism awards, then maybe Borat would be relevant to this discussion. Croctotheface (talk) 20:50, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

New discussion of the issue can go here

Thank you Protonk - just to clarify, the sentence containing the Colbert quote has been in the article since early January 2008 and (FWIW) has maintained consensus to stay in since then. The discussion about the quote has been on-going since then and flares up a bit every few months. The past few weeks have seen the widest discussion on this quote with the BLP noticeboard and RS queries. thanks again, --guyzero | talk 21:41, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Responses to questions

1. I wouldn't say "never" since there is historical satire that can be used appropriately, but primary sources not interpreted through the lens of reliable secondary sources are clearly inappropriate as original research, regardless of context. I would also hold that Colbert is not a reliable source on anything but Colbert, given that the purpose of the program is satire and intentional and blatant subversion for the sake of humor.

2. "In character" or "not in character" is a fine line, and I don't think we can make a hard and fast distinction. Does Papa Bear really hold the views he promotes on his show or is that an act as well? I don't believe it changes the issue, though it's obviously an important point of context.

3. A classic pitfall of primary sources. We cannot determine their authentic belief, we can only report what they say. If what they say is misleading, we should provide appropriate context. I would probably cite WP:UNDUE as the guide on this issue, not sure if there's a more specific policy.

4. If the interpretation is not patently obvious (i.e. unit conversions), it should not be included unless it agrees with the interpretation of a cited reliable secondary source.

Overall, quoted satire is not something we should "ban outright" given the rich history of that form. There are some caveats, though. To quote WP:QUOTE "Quotations should be put in context and given any necessary explanation. As an editor, it is your responsibility to read the source of the quotation thoroughly, in order to prevent misrepresentation."

That it is satire is certainly "necessary explanation" and that explanation should come from a reliable secondary source if there is any question. WP:WEIGHT handles the rest. SDY (talk) 21:57, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

I disagree with most of this, as my comments in the archived might indicate. I don't think that "satire is so sophisticated that we can't hope to understand it" is a very useful approach to take, and I don't think that Stephen Colbert at the 2006 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner would not be possible if we pretended that satire was so confusing and opaque that we could never understand it.
However, we can avert this whole issue based on something you said in your first numbered response. The Colbert quote shows up in the context of criticism from, basically, primary sources. The National Review made an original criticism of Media Matters. If the notion is that there needs to be secondary source coverage, then there's an easy fix that solves the problem of whether Colbert goes in: remove the entire criticism section, since it's pretty much all coming from primary sources. My issue has always been that I think Colbert has the most relevant perspective on the criticism he is discussing. We can just decide that the whole criticism section, or at least this particular criticism, is not important enough to have in the encyclopedia. That averts the whole debate over whether satire can express anything. Croctotheface (talk) 02:22, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure exactly what you're disagreeing with. If satire is straightforward enough that there is no "necessary explanation" then go ahead and put it in. The interpretation is a fact, and if meaningfully challenged it should be cited. If you're just reporting what he said and leaving it up to the reader to make heads or tails of it, the primary source is fine. If Colbert explains what he means, then he's both primary and secondary source. If he's just being satirical and funny without honest explanation, someone else's honest explanation (someone who is not a Wikipedia editor) is needed. SDY (talk) 03:13, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
I agree. The context of the quote in the article does identify it as satire and that Colbert was in character as a right-wing pundit, which should provide the "necessary explanation" for the reader who is interested criticisms about Media Matters but has somehow never heard of what Colbert is about. Other than identifying the quote as satire, it really is up to the reader to interpret it -- we should provide no interpretation of our own. With regards to 3rd party analysis, several have commented on Colbert's general use of satire: [8], [9], [10], [11]. Colbert's picture even appears on the wikipedia article of satire. kind regards, --guyzero | talk 03:33, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
Regarding "leaving it up to the reader to make heads of tails of it", it is crucial to follow this WP:RS guideline: Primary sources — writings on or about a topic by key figures of the topic — may be allowable, but should be restricted to purely descriptive explanations of the subject or its core concepts. They should not be used for interpretation or evaluation; use the interpretations and evaluations of reliable secondary sources for that purpose. Switzpaw (talk) 03:45, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
My reading of the guidelines is that Colbert is not a "primary source" on Media Matters (he doesn't work for MMfA) or the criticism around Media Matters and the Rush Limbaugh affair (which I believe would be the National Review?) But.. he and others are commenting on the controversy, does that make them a secondary source? Or a primary source for their own words? Do we really have to have 4th party analysis of 3rd party opinions/quotes even if they are just presented in context with no analysis? Apologies, I'm honestly not trying to be obtuse, I just don't understand the point being made here.
Anyway, which part of the original implementation of the quote contains OR/interpretation: "Stephen Colbert, in character as a right-wing pundit, replied by satirically blaming Media Matters for the controversy. "By posting [Limbaugh's remarks] on the Internet," Colbert said, "the general public [heard] words that were meant for people who already agree with us. Hey, Media Matters, you want to end offensive speech? Then stop recording it for people who would be offended."? thanks and regards, --guyzero | talk 04:36, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
That's kind of what I'm confused about as well, the way that SDY puts it. I believe that he would be a secondary source on the National Review/Media Matters controversy. It should then follow that he be vetted as a reliable secondary source by this guideline in WP:RS: Reliable sources are credible published materials with a reliable publication process; their authors are generally regarded as trustworthy or authoritative in relation to the subject at hand. How reliable a source is depends on context. As a rule of thumb, the more people engaged in checking facts, analyzing legal issues, and scrutinizing the writing, the more reliable the publication. Switzpaw (talk) 04:45, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
I was looking at the questions in general. For the specific source, there's a slight stretch that we assume our readers know who Colbert's character is, but other than that I think the comment is fine since it doesn't really OR any interpretation other than it is satire. I would hold Colbert to be an unreliable source given that he intentionally subverts the positions he claims to hold. He's a professional straw man. SDY (talk) 05:07, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
How can you say the passage is fine for inclusion while regarding him to be an unreliable source? Switzpaw (talk) 05:16, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
This is totally through the lens of my own bias, but I don't believe a reader who knows who Media Matters, the National Review, and Rush Limbaugh are wouldn't have some idea of who Stephen Colbert is..? Though I concede that Rush Limbaugh is probably the most well known of the bunch. cheers, --guyzero | talk 05:25, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
Hence why the stretch is slight. Colbert is a reliable source on Colbert and his own satire, which is a very narrow field. He's otherwise a source that I would avoid. SDY (talk) 05:53, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
So he would be a reliable secondary source if he was explaining a skit that he did while out of character. Would he ever be a reliable secondary source if he was in character? Switzpaw (talk) 06:25, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
(ec)In general, I totally agree. Colbert shouldn't be applied liberally to articles where he has commented on the subject, unless that commentary is itself notable for some reason -- which this isn't, or the commentary makes sense in context, doesn't mislead the reader, and balances the paragraph (i.e. helps to maintain NPOV) -- which this does. My own opinion too is that his comment is a good one in that it goes to the heart of the criticism that MMfA reprints false or out of context information.
This quote has been under discussion since January 08, the paragraph is fairly one sided without it, but while we've generated over 20,000 words for far on talk pages and various noticeboards discussing this quote (yes, I counted!) there have been no proposals that I'm aware of for rewording the paragraph without the quote but using another, probably better source to balance it. Anyhow, can you please clarify if there is a policy issue with this application of Colbert's quote? thank you! --guyzero | talk 06:35, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
Actually, I did suggested a way to do that over at Talk:Media Matters, but it didn't get much uptake.Yilloslime (t) 15:35, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
Well, your proposed addition didn't address the criticism of Media Matters, if I recall, just the controversy in general. It didn't really substitute for the material in question. I've said all along that a similar opinion from a non-comedian would be a fine substitute. The problem is that this was not a similar opinion. Croctotheface (talk) 18:07, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
Consider this Bill Ayers was featured on Colbert's show for his relationship with Barack Obama. Is it appropriate the use the material that was presented by Colbert and qoute what he said in articles like, Bill Ayers, Obama-Ayers controversy, Obama-Biden 2008 etc etc? Is it appropriate to use Colbert in this fashion? Hobartimus (talk) 17:13, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
You seem to be suggesting that we need to use everything a satirist or comedian says about any topic, or nothing at all. That is a false choice. We can and should always use editorial discretion about what enhances the encyclopedia and what does not. I'm not familiar with what was said here, but if Colbert's satire really cut to the heart of the issue, and especially if nobody else made a similar point, then I could see it being appropriate to use. Otherwise, we probably should not use it. Croctotheface (talk) 18:07, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

(outdent) Then exactly who is going to be the arbiter of what can and cannot be used? These kinds of comments should fall under the same category as SNL skits. The incident should be noted if it garners some notable attention from outside press, and then it should be specified that the satire was what became notable. This case should be closed, SC is not a reliable source for opinion within the context of his character. To cut the line here will remove future argument about interpretation of what and how those comments should be included. This is especially important on contencious issues where a living person is mocked and then those comments are used within an article. Arzel (talk) 19:16, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Editor consensus, as always, would determine what should and should not be used. That's how we do things here. The rest of your comments have been discussed over and over, and there's no reason to address them yet again here. Croctotheface (talk) 22:26, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
Agree with Arzel the best would be to nip this in the bud. Look at the sheer amount of energy wasted to keep this single Colbert qoute in the article. Similar qoutes (rightfully) will be challanged as well, as this is supposed to be an encylopedia. Hobartimus (talk) 23:21, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
In a similar situation Jon Stewert is being used as opinion on Steve Doocy's article here. If a standard is not set it opens up free reign to incorporate these stupid comments into BLP articles. Arzel (talk) 23:41, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
There is now a Daily Show thread on Talk:Sarah_Palin#Daily_Show_on_Gender_Hypocrisy. Switzpaw (talk) 22:07, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
This has nothing to do with the Colbert quote in the Media Matters article other than the idea presented above that we should create a "standard" with regards to their (Stewart/Colbert) use. Do we have such standards for Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, etc? Yes: RS, NPOV, WEIGHT, consensus, etc etc. Those same standards apply to Colbert and Stewart and need to be weighed in each and every instance their opinion is stated in an article. We have spent 8 months weighing all of those standards with regards to this single Colbert quote and no policies here or at the BLP or RS noticeboards have been identified that precludes the use of that quote. Alternatives have been proposed in the spirit of working together: please find another quote or another way to balance the phony soldiers criticism besides Colbert (maintain npov) -- please use the article talk page for that discussion as there is no policy issue. thanks, --guyzero | talk 00:00, 5 September 2008 (UTC)
Huh? What? This is village pump. I'm not talking about the Colbert quote. I posted a link to how another article is responding to a similar inquiry for the purposes of furthering general discussion? Which is an appropriate use of this forum? Switzpaw (talk) 00:18, 5 September 2008 (UTC)
I appreciate that you deleted the personal attack. This is the policy pump (see the description above, "is used to discuss existing and proposed policies and guidelines") - but there appears to be no policy issue with regards to the Colbert quote, the subject of this thread. I agree that there are going to be inappropriate uses of Colbert or Stewart or O'Reilly or Bart Simpson or whomever forever. The policies that cover those uses are still in effect and should be weighed for each inclusion. thanks, --guyzero | talk 01:10, 5 September 2008 (UTC)