Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 59

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Time Top 100

I'm often seeing people's Time Top 100 of most influential people listings getting mentioned in lead sections of biography articles. But there are some reasons why that may not be the most helpful information:

  • There are 100 People listed every year since 2004, which makes the list not that much of an exclusive club.
  • Other media do such lists as well, which makes anyone getting listed somewhere.
  • The list is very heterogeneous: Leading scientist are listed alongside popular TV show hosts.
  • The selection may be biased by factors such as entertainment value, US media attention or political correctness. After all, Time wants to sell magazines and advertisement space.
  • Mentioning am Top 100 listing often functions as an circumvention of the show, don't tell principle by citing Time's verdict instead of describing what makes the person influential.

For that I'd like to propose a policy that Time listings not be mentioned in the lead section and later not without citing Time's reasons. -- (talk) 08:07, 13 December 2008 (UTC)

My understanding was that most wikipedians were aware that this was bad practice. I don't recall seeing this list getting mentioned int he lead section of any featured articles. --ScWizard (talk) 05:37, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Lists in articles

I am trying to do some cleanup on Isaac Shelby, and I have a question. There are a number of places named for Governor Shelby; currently they are in list form at the end of the article. This seems like bad style. In this specific case, would it be correct to split this into a separate article (List of places named after Isaac Shelby)? In general, approximately how many items is too many for an embedded list like this? Acdixon (talk contribs count) 02:04, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

It (wait for it...) depends. If you have a long article to begin with, it's best to make the list a separate page, really a "daughter" rather than a true separate article. I'd expect that if you have a list of more than 20 things it should be a separate list, but that's just my opinion. Given the current article, I think it's fine, but if the current list doubled in size I'd say get it a page of its own. SDY (talk) 02:31, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Merge 3RR with EW

(Background: an attempt was made to merge WP:3RR with WP:Edit warring. This bold change was reverted; discussion continues below.)

It was not discussed at the relevant policy talk pages. My objection is that the changes were not discussed properly. We could merge all policies to m:Dick and WP:IAR, but that wouldn't be very useful, would it. We have created separate policy pages for clarity. Merging them may make things less clear. Jehochman Talk 14:46, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

"May", but do you think it does in this case? All the substantial material was retained, it was put on one page for ease of use, and the resulting page was not too long by any means. This is the sort of thing we should be encouraging. Don't you read the frequent expressions of amazement (like those above) at the vastness and fragmentariness of WP policy? If someone's prepared to put in work to do something about this problem, then at least make constructive criticism instead of "I'm not sure if I like this, so I'm just going to undo it". --Kotniski (talk) 14:57, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
Please, no end runs around consensus. While you may think having a single page of policy represents ease of use, the administrators who block people for violations may prefer to have specific pages for each type of violation to be better able to explain to people why they have been blocked, to give just one example why separate pages may be needed. Jehochman Talk 15:01, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
I don't see that's a reason for separate pages. Do parliaments pass separate acts for every punishable offence? Directing people to a section of a page is just as good as directing them to a separate page (better even, since it gives them more context), provided the target page is not too long (which it clearly wasn't in this case).--Kotniski (talk) 15:10, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
I completely agree that there should be separate pages for different types of violation. However, violation of the three-revert rule and violation of the more general edit warring policy amount to the same thing -- edit warring. Similarly, violation of the wheel warring policy is simply edit warring with things other than edits (and administrators hardly need explaining to them why edit warring is prohibited) -- Gurch (talk) 15:50, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
Yes, quite apart from the general desirability of merging related policy pages, by including 3RR under edit warring we make the point - which many people fail to get at the moment - that 3RR violations are just a special case of edit warring. This is line with the recent change to the admin noticeboard, whereby we now have a general edit-warring nboard instead of a specific 3RR one.--Kotniski (talk) 16:10, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
I agree with merging these two policies, but we need more input before taking this action. Please post notices on all the relevant talk page(s) and consider starting a Policy RFC. Jehochman Talk 16:13, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
I am not really a fan of process for process' sake. I fail to see a significant issue with making changes and then waiting to see if anyone objects. Objecting on the grounds that someone else might object for as yet unknown reasons kind of spoils that approach, and I wish it didn't because it makes doing things a lot more difficult. -- Gurch (talk) 16:16, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
Exactly what I was just about to say.--Kotniski (talk) 16:20, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
First, WP:Edit warring does not cover the ground very well. Despite the sentence "Edit warring is not necessarily any single action; instead, it is any mindset that tolerates confrontational tactics to affect content disputes," the page focusses far to much on reverting, which is by no means the only way to edit war. There's room for debate about how far it should go into what tactics constitute or might be indicators of edit warring. It should probably also say more about which of the parties is regarded as the aggressor.
However at present WP:3RR has little to content that's not already in WP:Edit warring, so it was sensible to merge them, provided WP:3RR redirects to the approprate section of WP:Edit warring. With articles it's normal to keep related content together until either an article becomes unwieldy or it becomes apparent that part of it has aspects that do not fit easily with the rest of the article. I see no reason to treat guidelines differently from articles - both are attempts to communicate, and the same principles should apply. --Philcha (talk) 16:57, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
I oppose the merger of the policies. WP:3RR is an electric fence rule voted into policy by the community to keep edit-warring down, and shouldn't be removed just because some admins with more judgmentalism than content-experience want to send out a less nuanced, but more righteous, message about all "revert-warring". Although a violation of 3RR is likely to be edit-warring, the term "edit-warring" can suggest anything from reverting vandals, to enforcing content policies to performing multiple pov-reversions, and so is good or bad depending on what the editor is doing. The creep of the anti-edit-warring ideology among the admin class at wikipedia has been truly devastating to the ability of good editors to keep POV-warriors and their nonsense out of articles. This creep should not be consolidated. For these reasons and others, the renaming of AN/3 by was wrong too, though the bot thingie probably spells the beginning of the end for that board. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 17:10, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
So you're saying edit warring is OK if it's being done for certain purposes? Sorry, but both policy and consensus are against you there. Nobody ever suggeste removing the three-revert rule. Violating the three-revert rule is defined to be edit warring, that's the whole point. How on earth is being anti-edit-warring a bad thing? -- Gurch (talk) 18:08, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
This is the kind of confusion I'm talking about. Deacon is confusing the concept of struggling or having a conflict with "warring," which has a more specific meaning. Mangojuicetalk 18:17, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
No guys, I'm not confusing anything. I'm fully aware many of you think edit-warring is a specific kind of reverting; please read my statement more carefully, paying special attention to the part I bolded because I'm psychic and knew this would be said in response. Yes, Gurch, continually reverting is in principle OK in order to enforce wikipedia's content policies [in practice, obviously, you'll get blocked for it]. Why wouldn't it be? Our goal is to provide reliable information to our readership, not act like some super-egalitarian high school debating club. Seriously, the reason I get mad at this kind of dogma is that it makes us forget this and it makes us elevate the editor over the reader. What certainly shouldn't happen is that expert editors are in principle forced either to spend most of their wiki time talking to a nutter and/or else get blocked and/or driven away just because they want to enforce WP:V or WP:RS or WP:NPOV [yes, they can figure out the better ways of enforcing these if they invest enough time and acquire enough friends]. There was a time btw when policies like that had the same status as discipline policies (before 3rr and the like existed), and though there are historical reasons why this in time did go away, I've never seen the reason it should have. Regards, Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 18:32, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
The concept you have in your head of what "edit warring", if it can (1) include good behavior, or (2) can include things like reverting vandals, is not what is meant at WP:EW. If your point is that the terminology is poor, okay. But I think that you and I otherwise agree; edit warring (in the sense of what kind of non-cooperative behavior is bad for Wikipedia) is tricky and subtle to define, and jamming the 3RR on the same page will only make it more difficult to say properly. Mangojuicetalk 18:48, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
Oh, we sure agree on that last point. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 18:51, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
I strongly oppose the merger. The 3-revert rule is one of very few explicit rules on Wikipedia regarding editor behavior. It is not subservient to the rule on edit warring: the whole point of the 3RR is that there are certain kinds of behavior that you can be blocked for with no subjective decision, such as whether it is disruptive edit warring... so that administrators can act with something really solid to back them up. There are explicit exceptions, and specific things people need to know about the 3-revert rule. There is no section in the text of WP:3RR that we can do without; all that is there needs to be documented and explained, explicitly on its own page. No one has proposed merging in the opposite direction, because the 3RR relates to edit warring, which can be a problem even when users obey the 3RR. WP:EW, on the other hand, documents a subjective rule and much broader principles. The only way I can see the pages being merged appropriately is if discussion of the 3-revert rule dominates WP:EW, which it really should not, since edit warring deserves its own description, and one shouldn't have to read about all the nuances of the 3RR in order to learn about edit warring. Mangojuicetalk 17:55, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
So just put the section on 3RR underneath the more general stuff? Wouldn't that solve your concerns? No-one's changing the policy or the rules here. It's perfectly normal to have general waffle and specific norms on the same page, and it's misleading to separate them so that people reading about one are unaware of the other. It's not really a great philosophical problem, it's just easier if we put stuff related to the same subject on the same page, up to a certain point when the page starts to get too big. In this way we avoid duplication (and subsequent drifting apart), make it easier for everyone to find what they're looking for, and (in this case) make it clear that 3RR is about edit-warring (it's a kind of edit-warring benchmark, not a rule dreamt up for no purpose or in isolation). --Kotniski (talk) 18:56, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
If we merge the pages together, going by their current size in bytes, more than half the content will relate specifically to the 3-revert rule. I would call that very unwieldy. Even worse, I think a lot of the material currently at WP:EW could be cut down, whereas WP:3RR is about as small as it can be. "Avoiding duplication" is a good goal, if these policies duplicated each other, which they don't. Each policy page should contain one key idea, not two. Edit warring is a key idea. The 3RR is a specific rule we have that needs coverage, and it's not the same thing. Two topics, two pages. Mangojuicetalk 19:17, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
Much of what the two pages say is redundant. For example, the section in the three-revert rule policy about how to avoid breaking it is pretty similar to the equivalent section in the edit warring policy. If you look at my merged version, you'll see it's actually far smaller than the sum of the two page sizes, even with the wheel war policy too -- Gurch (talk) 19:51, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
Hmm, that's pretty convincing. On the other hand, an advantage of merging is the people would be less apt to rules lawyer by arguing that they had not broken 3RR. If 3RR is a section on the edit warring page, I think they have less wiggle room. Jehochman Talk 19:27, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
Mango, I don't see what you mean about it being two topics, or "not the same thing". 3RR is about preventing edit-warring, isn't it? It's part of the same topic. Having it on two separate pages is likely to make people forget that - perhaps it's that separation that's affected even your way of thinking? Anyone who wants to know what WP does about edit-warring needs to know about 3RR; anyone reading about 3RR needs to be aware that it exists in the context of a wider policy on edit-warring. Of course we can link prominently between two pages, but what's the point when the combined page can be so neat and compact as Gurch has shown us?--Kotniski (talk) 20:24, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
@Jehochman -- if admins are careful to refer to 3RR only in cases where the 3RR really applies or blatantly obvious gaming attempts, there's no need to worry. I agree, people would have less wiggle-room as to whether they were edit warring if we thought of 3RR and EW as the same... but they would have a lot more room to accuse the blocking admin of bias. That's the most important aspect of the 3RR: it really enables administrators to make blocks in certain circumstances with a real rule to back you up. "No, I am not a left-wing cabalist, you just violated this rule here, so I blocked you." True 3RR violations can even be enforced (in my opinion) by involved administrators, because the rule is clearly impartial. Kotniski: you are almost categorically wrong. Yes, obviously, the 3RR is meant to work against edit warring. But no, it's not necessary to really understand what edit warring is to understand the 3RR: it's a relatively simple rule that even new users can understand and be warned about without having a lot of experience in Wikipedia collaboration. They are related, but they aren't the same. I have a lot of experience reviewing unblocks, and a lot of those requests are 3RR-related blocks, so I really am very aware of the distinction. The distinction that is most important is the objectivity of the definition of improper behavior that the 3RR presents, one that is basically missing in WP:EW, and must be missing. They are closely related topics but that doesn't mean they must have one and only one page; in my view, this case is somewhat exceptional because of the actual "rule" status of the 3RR, which almost nothing else has. Mangojuicetalk 18:10, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

Respectfully, I think some of the discussion above overlooks the difference between how WP:3RR is written and how it is enforced. For example, Deacon of Pndapetzim called 3RR "an electric fence rule," but in practice it is enforced subjectively; sticking with the fence metaphor, individuals who walk near 3RR (without crossing or even touching it) get shocked, while cabals jump over it with impunity. (On the 3RR discussion page [1], I described an edit disagreement in which one side expressly refused my repeated invitations to discuss - for example here [2]. I followed 3RR carefully but got blocked anyway, and the wrong version got protected. Other editors then stepped in and the consensus version was restored. The best advice I received was to request page protection, which I had never known how to do before.) If 3RR is to stay on its own page, then its enforcement should be what Mango imagines it to be, i.e. a bright line rule with no subjective enforcement. (If the definition is considered inadequate, it could be changed to match the definition of edit warring, i.e. reverting "instead of discussion," and possibly to lengthen the period from 1 day to 3 days). If 3RR is going to be enforced as it is currently, then I agree with Kotniski and Gurch that it should be merged into WP:EW for context.TVC 15 (talk) 23:28, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

You followed 3RR carefully? You mean you spaced out your reverts so you didn't have more than 3 in any 24 hour period? This is the kind of rules lawyering that WP:EW and a merge is intended to avoid. An edit war is alwasy disruptive. It doesn't magically become one after 4 reverts in 24 hours. The 3 revert rule is supposed to just be an obvious line - "This is almost always disruptive and almost always block-worthy" - its not an entitlement to revert war as much as you want as long as you don't cross it. All rules are enforced subjectively. That's the difference between the Wikipedia we have now, and the bureaucracy it could potentially become if we stuck to strict interpretation of every rule. Mr.Z-man 00:09, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
You mean it could be more of a bureaucracy than it is now? *gulp* -- Gurch (talk) 00:32, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
Z-man, you're fighting the example rather than addressing the issue and the interests. I offered the example but the rule is not about me - having been burned I won't go near it. The point is, a rule either provides a bright line or it doesn't. If you want subjective enforcement, instead of the clarity of a bright line, then 3RR should be merged into the page about edit warring. If you want the clarity of a bright line, then wider principles can only be addressed separately. For example, a speed limit provides a bright line and can stand on its own sign. If you drive 20mph in a 25 zone, you will not be stopped for speeding. You might still be driving recklessly (for example if you are careening through the middle of a parade, scattering floats and cheerleaders in all directions), but you are not speeding. A rule can either provide a bright line or it can address wider principles, but it cannot do both. A problem with how 3RR is enforced currently is, it is written as a bright line on its own page but enforced subjectively as different admins' views of a principle from another page. And, instead of personalizing the issue with misdirected and unnecessary criticism, please try to remember that we are all volunteers; collaboration depends on assuming good faith. Your view of what "is intended" may differ from others' view. As I understand it, the intent of this discussion is to clarify the rules so they become easier to find and follow. If your intent is to find opportunities to rebuke people, then that might belong on a different page.TVC 15 (talk) 01:41, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

Regarding definitions and merger, please note there is a noticeboard page with definitions of 3RR and edit warring: [[3]]. If a definition is updated or merged on one page, the other(s) should be consistent.TVC 15 (talk) 02:13, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

Mr. Z-Man, any rules you put on anything are going to be gamed by the most experienced. That's what human beings do and is inevitable, and if you wanna start a fight against it by replacing clear rules with admin lottery and increasingly the meaning of the assertion "enforce content policies at your own risk", then this is a fight that - being futile - not only will be lost, but will do little to improve the quality of the encyclopedia's content. Remember, 3RR being separate doesn't prevent a righteous EW fundie admin blocking experts for reverting POV-trolls and it doesn't stop another admin showing leniency for mistakes, so its presense shouldn't be too troublesome to either side and hasn't been so until now. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 10:14, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
Of course rules are always going to be gamed. 3RR is just especially easy to game. Most of your reasons have nothing to do with 3RR and EW in particular and seem to come from some sort of general mistrust of admins and would apply to any enforceable policy. In case you haven't noticed, 3RR is one of few, if not the only, "bright line" policy we have. All the rest have a significant amount of subjectivity in them, for good reasons. Despite this, the project hasn't imploded from abusive admins chasing away everyone. Mr.Z-man 13:31, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

We seem to be straying from the point somewhat - we were only talking about compacting policy by putting related points on one page; this won't affect the content or interpretation of those policies (except in that it makes it easier for learning editors to see the whole picture). Are there any remaining objections to doing that?--Kotniski (talk) 10:54, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

We aren't straying. 3RR is something the community got together and approved of, EW and its specific interpretations is available to fluctuate. Merging the policies is proof of and facilitates attitude creep. Merging them will make it easier for admins to believe that they are not really distinct offences, something which, although it already happens to some extent, doesn't need extra encouragement or validation. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 11:02, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
As far as I'm aware, the community "got together and approved of" the edit warring policy as well; if they didn't, and it's subject to "fluctuation", why is it a policy at all? -- Gurch (talk) 12:13, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
Huh? How are they distinct offences? 3RR was approved and serves specifically as a weapon against edit warring. 3RR violations are edit warring offences. If merging helps people to understand that, then that's another argument in its favour.--Kotniski (talk) 11:12, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
No. A violation of 3RR is a violation of wikipedia policy whether there is an Edit-warring policy or not. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 12:12, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
Still not understanding you. There is an edit warring policy, and 3RR is part of it, regardless of whether it has its own page. In the unlikely event that the community decides it doesn't need an edit warring policy, or that 3RR is the only edit-warring policy it needs, then we can refactor the page again accordingly.--Kotniski (talk) 12:31, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
But, hey, you're talking like you have proven there is a great reason to merge the two, whereas you haven't, and the burden of prove lies with you {pl.}; and what's more, that's merely one of several reasons not to merge them. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 12:35, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
Let's hear the others then. There's maybe no great reason to merge them, but given the gross excess quantity of policy that we have (see the thread above), anything that reduces that quantity (particularly if it reduces both the number of pages and the total amount of reading material) is manifestly a good thing.--Kotniski (talk) 12:48, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
Reducing the number of policy pages by 1 is not a worthy goal, and is certainly a very weak reason on its own. The only good reason to merge the pages is if people feel they are redundant to one another. They aren't. One page could be written to encompass both but we would still need a 3RR page to describe the 3RR itself clearly. If there are too many policies, there are better candidates for deprecating or merging; WP:NPOV/FAQ comes to mind, as does WP:ATP and WP:HARASS. But the absolute number of policies really isn't that large. Guidelines, that's another matter. Mangojuicetalk 17:45, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
The longest journey begins with a single step; if you say the number of policy pages is too large to be reduced by one, then it will only get even larger. The 3RR page became redundant to the EW page as soon as people decided 3RR could be enforced subjectively/approximately (as part of EW), instead of as a bright line rule on its own. In fact, it is worse than redundant: it is misdirection, because EW issues get mislabeled as 3RR violations, adding even further to the confusion. (And the confusion is widespread.) If the idea of 3RR was to provide a mechanical rule that could be applied simply without the extra effort of figuring out who was at fault in an edit war, then subjective/approximate enforcement has led to an opposite result: individuals following the rules get blocked, while edit-warring cabals flout the rules with impunity, and the larger principle of edit warring gets lost. If the people enforcing the rules (i.e. the most experienced users) do not apply them as separate rules, then they should not be on separate pages. In practice, current enforcement of 3RR can only be understood as an approximate guideline within EW. Most here, including Z-man, seem to support that practice. So, 3RR should be merged into EW's page.TVC 15 (talk) 19:24, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
A 3RR vio is specific and if it is mislabled that is a matter of human competence. But not a serious one as it is very easy to tell the difference, though I don't see it getting easier if they are put on the same page. Edit-warring cabals will have as much, actually more success, if one blurs the line between edit-warring and 3rr vios. Doing this is a crazy step in any war against that kind of thing. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 10:24, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
But there isn't a line between edit-warring and 3rr vios! 3RR vios are (a special case of) edit-warring! The fact that so many experienced editors in this discussion are demonstrating difficulty understanding this is surely one more argument in favour of merging the two pages - if it misleads some of us, then it's certainly going to mislead the new editors that the pages are intended for.--Kotniski (talk) 11:30, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
A 3RR vio is always a EW vio. An EW vio may not be a 3RR vio. But its not possible to violate 3RR without also violating EW. Who cares if a block for EW that doesn't technically meet 3RR is accidentally mislabeled as a 3RR block? Its still a valid block. If they're put on the same page, it will give fewer chances for people to try to rules-lawyer out of a "mislabeled" block. Mr.Z-man 20:38, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
I think Z-man has the right answer, albeit for the wrong reasons. Alas in America the Republican party has made a strategy of turning people against "activist judges" (i.e. judges who protect people's legal rights) and "trial lawyers" (who also protect people's legal rights and usually support Democrats), so somehow the words 'lawyer' and even 'judge' have taken on pejorative connotations in some people's minds and the whole concept of democratic self-government has been devalued. In answer to Z-man's question, the reason why mislabeling is bad is because it sends people to the wrong page, i.e. a 3RR warning or a 3RR block tells them not to do something they may never have done, so they don't learn anything - except that seemingly clear rules can be enforced arbitrarily and incorrectly. That makes it more difficult to learn and follow the rules, which is what most lawyers and judges spend most of their time doing, no matter what the Republican party may have (mis)led you to believe. Again, WP editors are volunteers trying to help out, so mislabeling and misdirection simply discourage well-intentioned people. At best, that makes it more difficult for them to help; at worst, it risks alienating them entirely.TVC 15 (talk) 01:54, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

The 3RR policy is actively harmful

3RR encourages tag teaming and Wikilawyering. It should be stricken. Taemyr (talk) 22:18, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

Don't be silly. Then administrators would actually have to exercise judgement when blocking people for edit warring, we can't have that -- Gurch (talk) 22:39, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
Tag teaming is indeed a problem of sorts and there must be a better way to promote consensus building and more eyes are on the disputed article. I'm guessing some anti-tag rule/notice should be added somehow but I don't have a great suggestion at the moment for addressing it. This brings to mind an odd event a few months back where I complained about an editor who asked a friend to revert for him and was blocked a week for "edit warring" while all three of us made only a single revert. Good times! JaakobouChalk Talk 03:04, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
Tag team reverting and wikilawyering are indeed harmful to the project. That said, is there really anyone here who think that ∞RR would cause fewer problems? The three-revert-rule works as well as it does because while 90% of us are able to restrain our impulse to hit the revert button that fourth time, 10% of people just do not care because they know they are right and that is the only thing that matters. Once that 10% is blocked for WP:EW, then the rest of us can get back to work on a consensus solution. --Kralizec! (talk) 04:26, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
Tag team reverting is a good thing, isn't it? It is consensus in action to defeat edit warring, POV-warriors and other disruptive editors without the intervention of administrators. It seems to me that it is the wiki way, and if I recall correctly, it was once encouraged by a policy or guideline. --Hroðulf (or Hrothulf) (Talk) 05:39, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
If that policy or guideline can be found, it would be interesting to read more about, but I think the preferred solution is now to request page protection. Tag team reverting may defeat some edit warriors, but not others, and it cannot provide stability. For example, where an edit war results from religious differences, the article could bounce constantly between the beliefs of different teams, and every reader could get a different version of the page every time.TVC 15 (talk) 08:30, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
And when you request page protection, the administrator is expressly forbidden from exercising any judgement as to which version of the page to protect. So readers may well end up with stable WRONG information; and no-one seems to care much about that, they just pat themselves on the back for ending the edit war.--Kotniski (talk) 09:12, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
You forgot your wikilink: m:The Wrong Version. You also misstate the case: admins do not have to protect a version with vandalism, BLP violations, copyright violations, and the like; and if there is a version clearly prior to the edit war they may revert to that instead of an arbitrary current version. Anomie 13:09, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
They "may", yes. So in fact they can do whatever they like, and don't need to justify it when challenged. So is it really very surprising that editors who care about WP being right and not just stable are reluctant to ask for page protection? (And is it any wonder people edit war when the policy contains an inbuilt reward for the more aggressive warriors?)--Kotniski (talk) 15:08, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
@TVC 15. I think that page protection is still a last resort. If there are 2 tag teams on opposing sides, then page protection may be the only option. Using a tag team to enforce a POV is, without doubt, harmful edit warring. --Hroðulf (or Hrothulf) (Talk) 14:58, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
Tag team reverting is certainly not a good thing, ever. All it does is lengthen edit wars by bypassing the rules in the hope that the other side of the dispute doesn't have as many people to edit war. Its far more harmful than a normal edit war. In the case of tag team revert warring, the page shouldn't be protected, the users involved should all be blocked for disruption. Calling in backup to revert war is certainly not the "wiki way." Mr.Z-man 17:56, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
Note that 3RR is only one rule of thumb to end an edit war. If support troops are brought in by conflict partners the disruptive editing warrants blocking even if 3RR is not officially violated. Arnoutf (talk) 18:09, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
Hmm, when I complained about the apparent irrationality of 3RR a long time ago, I was advised that the way to proceed in an edit war situation (where the other party won't discuss) was to "get more eyes on the article" by bringing in other editors. Now we're being told that doing this is even more disruptive than lone edit-warring. So what's it to be?--Kotniski (talk) 09:58, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
Any restrictive policy provokes go-around scheming, so what? Any serious conflict encourages parties to consolidate, quite likely off wiki, so what? It's inevitable, unless the community prefers to slip down to complete anarchism. 3RR is actually one of the best-laid policies for its simplicity, just like a highway speed speed limit. Keep it, and keep it separate. NVO (talk) 10:20, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
Hi NVO, thanks for making the speed limit analogy, but please see the discussion above about whether to consolidate WP:3RR into WP:EW's page. If 3RR were enforced the way you and some others imagine, i.e. if it were enforced the way it is written, then I would agree with your praise of its simplicity. However, many don't want it enforced that way (they deride reading the rule and following it as 'lawyering', as if that were a bad thing), and in practice it is enforced as a subjective/approximate guideline within EW. That leads to misdirection and becomes harmful. If the most experienced users cannot or will not apply the simplicity of 3RR, then 3RR loses its standalone utility, and can only function as an approximate guideline within EW.TVC 15 (talk) 23:01, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
The problem with 3RR is that it is an editor policy. It should be a guideline for admins, saying if you see that many reverts you should pay attention, nothing more. Guido den Broeder (talk, visit) 22:36, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
That might work better, and it could even be automated: if an article has more than three reverts in a defined period (one day or three), all revertors could be warned against edit warring; if reverts continue, the article could pop up on a list of articles that appear to be suffering from edit wars. That list could then function as an automatic request for page protection, with the request coming from WP itself instead of from one side. Admins could then be encouraged to look at both versions and protect one. (Murphy's Law being constant, I assume the protected version will always be WP:The_Wrong_Version, regardless of policy.) Having looked at both sides of the edit war, the protecting admin could also block one side or both. (Incidentally, I wonder if there might be a similar article noting that whichever side gets blocked, it is always the wrong side?) Anyway changing WP:3RR from an editor rule to an admin guideline might address the issue of selective/uneven enforcement.TVC 15 (talk) 23:33, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
Your proposal neglects to factor in vandalism reversions, which do not fall under 3RR and may come with rapid-fire reversions. The last thing we need is to have vandal patrol (if those still exist; haven't been in that business for a long time) constantly bombarded with automated messages warning of nonexistent violations. And arguing about whether it's "editor policy" or "admin guideline" is a massive waste of our time; it's both, depending on how you interpret the comment. About selective/uneven enforcement, that's the problem of bring violations to light, not of a fundamental error or semantic designation of policy. —kurykh 00:10, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
Your first objection is easy to address: warn once per account. Your second objection, that this discussion is "a massive waste of time," does not appear to be shared by any of the participants. Your last objection, "that's the problem of bring violations to light," seems to have a typo and I am not sure what you mean?TVC 15 (talk) 01:16, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
Automation is hard because not all reverts are done per undo-button. I agree that the best immediate reaction to an editwar is to protect the article. Blocking editors only serves to turn a content dispute into a personal conflict, which is never good. Since either version will be the wrong one, the protection should IMHO always come with a tag that informs the reader of the nature of the dispute, and that it is currently being sorted out. That way, neither side will feel offended. Now, as I see it, whoever protects the article is also responsible for initiating resolution of the dispute, either by instructing the active editors or by asking others to take a look. Guido den Broeder (talk, visit) 13:44, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
Why not a 1RR instead? Go to talk. Go directly to talk. Do not pass go.LeadSongDog (talk) 16:44, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
...because reverting is helpful when dealing with the casual but misinformed (and often anonymous) edit. There are many 'drive-by' edits from anonymous people who won't come back to discuss anything. They sometimes replace a fact with a popular misconception, which is not vandalism, simply a mistake.TVC 15 (talk) 19:37, 13 December 2008 (UTC)

3RR is problematic

I've noticed the discussion here about 3RR and I thought some time about commenting here. I would like to share my ver recent experience - as I side result I might draw some attention to the, but that is not m intention: Some people here might be aware of the controversies surrounding the article that is currently called Ancient Egyptian race controversy. I am still working on the topic, albeit slowly. As part of this, I moved the material on the question whether the Sphinx would depict an African person, or to be less politically correct but more clear: a 'black' person, to Great Sphinx of Giza. There was some discussion in this an that talk page, and some work being done, and I think that we arrived at a version that everyone could agree. That is, until a very new editor came along and changed the the article drastically, especially concerning that point. In the previous version we had 8 references, most of the to written works - in the version he proposed we only had two, and those very only images of some Pharaoh statues. I reverted, but repeatedly requested in the edit summary that he would take the issue to the talk page and wrote an elaborate statement there, but he didn't and kept reverting. When I finally got him to write something on the talk page, he continued the edit war and finally broke 3rr. I reported it, and what happened?

The admin who took the issue up dealt out "warnings all round". [4] Sorry, if this is the outcome of a 3RR notification, I would have been better of not to report it. The inexperienced editor would not have known about 3RR had I not informed him about it, and since I already got him to concede at some point (at least for now), I probably could have worked out a compromise in the article (not all of his edits were bad, just the part were he removed sourced content). However, that would have been a partial revert, and it would be my 4th. Currently I don't think that 3RR is archiving it's intended purpose. I don't mind spending hours reading literature for Wikipedia and hours editing. I also don't mind spending hours on discussion pages. But every time I get an edit war I am little bit closer to quitting Wikipeida. This time I really hoped that I wouldn't be that disappointed, but the comment the admin made simply broke another straw. If Wikipedia doesn't find a better way to handle edit wars, editors like my, who are honestly only interested in writing good articles about controversial topics, will be disappointed and quit. This doesn't mean that Wikipedia will fail. But this would mean that we will only have articles about topics like the characters from Battlestar: Galactica,(see: [5]) and not about important, but difficult topics like Radical Afrocentric historiography (At least nothing better than the current Ancient Egyptian race controversy). I don't have any concept that I could propose to replace 3RR, but if possible I would like to hear some views on this. Zara1709 (talk) 01:02, 14 December 2008 (UTC)

Yes, I agree that this is probably a way we lose a lot of good editors, though it's not easy to find a perfect solution. I think the direction we should be going (and I know this is against some people's wikifaith, but I'll keep saying it all the same) is for admins to get involved in the rights and wrongs of a dispute, not just hand out warnings "fairly", page protection randomly and blocks arithmetically. An admin should look at the discussion so far, make a preliminary editorial decision as to what version to use temporarily, protect it or instruct people not to touch it, and instruct them to discuss, helping them if necessary by asking pertinent questions and closing the discussion if it isn't clear what consensus is. (And block people if they've clearly been edit warring without discussing or against consensus or against a policy or guideline that's been pointed out to them or against admin's instructions.) This is my vision in any case (and yes, I KNOW it's not how we do it at the moment, as some people are poised to write by way of an argument that we can't possibly do it like that...)--Kotniski (talk) 10:41, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

NPOV depends on a balanced cross section of editors showing up

I am sure that this has been discussed previously (possibly many times) but editing difficulties I experienced in editing the Anti-Zionism article has caused me to think that a balanced article on a controversial subject depends on who shows up to do the editing. In turn, who shows up depends on

  1. Who can show up. If the totality of Wikipedia users are weighted in a certain direction in their views of a subject, then the article on that subject will be weighted in that direction too.
  2. When the issue an article deals with is highly polarized, the editors who show up to edit, even if evenly balanced on each side of the issue, will have a great fight, but will have -- from the beginning -- absolutely no hope of creating a qualitatively informative article on the issue.
  3. When the issue an article deals with is highly polarized, and with editors weighted to one side, the larger group will shove their POV down the throat of the other side, and call the resulting crap "consensus."

Conclusion: a different process for editing articles on controversial issues is needed, or articles on controversial subjects should be excluded from Wikipedia. Why? Because crap articles, and bullshit articles, tend to discredit all of WP, and at minimum reflect badly on it. Malcolm Schosha (talk) 15:47, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

I have had similar problems in the polarized article. Nevertheless I don't think your proposal should be carried out.
First of all, consensus is something else from democracy. In special cases majority vote can create consensus, for example, if the people resisting consensus are supporters of a fringe theory. In other cases the view of a single editor unwilling to accept any form of compromise can be seen as outside consensus. However if there is a reasonable debate consensus will most likely not be by majority (however large). That said I agree the "consensus" claim is overused by editors who are in majority groups (even marginal majorities). The counter argument is that Wikipedia is not a democracy. But that will not solve the problem.
Excluding controversial articles is not an option as that would exclude many core topics (note that articles of little interest tend not to lead to controversies as nobody cares enough). Arnoutf (talk) 16:10, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
What you say makes a lot of sense, but it has not worked. What I suggested is just a suggestion, and I would be just as happy to see some different approach taken. But that is now in place is not working, and is not (it seems to me) in the best interest of Wikipedia. Malcolm Schosha (talk) 16:17, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
  • By the way, this thread on the Irgun talk page [6] is a perfect example of what I discussed above. It is beyond my comprehension how this sort of editing has go on for years without changing the system for editing controversial articles. Why are things like this on Wikipedia? It defies comprehension. Malcolm Schosha (talk) 23:00, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
There is a dispute resolution process with varying degrees of escalation. Have you tried it? Removal of "controversial" articles isn't going to happen. Little Red Riding Hoodtalk 23:43, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

The dispute resolution process has seldom, if ever, solved these issues. In this case, there has been arbitration here and it seems to have solved nothing.

Concerning the Irgun article (which I mentioned above), my only editing was yesterday, when I noticed this statement in the lead Initially, a central part of their efforts included attacks against Palestinian Arabs. That claim is a view that is disputed, and it was cited to a very main stream Jewish source; so I checked the source [7]. As is clear, the source says something rather different than what the lead presents it as saying, so I made this change [8]. That has been diverted back by two different users, and it seems unlikely that my correction can be gotten to replace the distortion because I am outvoted. If you refer to my original analysis of this sort of problem (above) you will see that in #2 I said: When the issue an article deals with is highly polarized, and with editors weighted to one side, the larger group will shove their POV down the throat of the other side, and call the resulting crap "consensus." This case is, it appears to me, a perfect example of that.

I already know that AN/I will not resolve this sort of problem. Also a look at the mediation and arbitration efforts of the past shows that will not resolve the problem either.

Challenge: I hope the users who read this understand that this a years old problem that can not be solved by any presently existing WP mechanism. Additionally, if WP wishes to be taken seriously as a reliable information source it is unacceptable to continue evading resolving the problem. The challenge is: do some brainstorming, and find a solution. Please, this really needs attention, and someone needs to hit the panic button. I brought this to Village pump (policy) because I hope someone here will start to think about finding a cure, instead of suggesting putting a band-aid on (what amounts to) a tumor. Malcolm Schosha (talk) 13:33, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

Ok back to the issue.
1) Controversial articles often result in edit wars.
2) Current conflict resolution does not always work and this is worrying
3) Deletion of controversial articles is not an option (these are just too important).
So in my view the core questions here are:
A) Do we need specific conflict resolution for controversial articles?
B) Do we need to adjust/tighten the current conflict resolution rules?
C) Should the editors in conflict articles use the current conflict resolution procedures more systematically?
Or any combination of these. Arnoutf (talk) 15:48, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for doing a good job of laying out the issues and possibilities so clearly. I have never been in a dispute that went to mediation and arbitration. From what I have seen of them, from the outside, large amounts of time get taken up in these (a real obstacle to users who have jobs), and the outcomes never seem to actually settle the problem. These, apparently, takes up ridiculous amounts to administrator time too. Perhaps a more rapid dispute resolution procedure would be good. I suspect the answer is in your item "A" Malcolm Schosha (talk) 16:35, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

Producing an NPOV article depends on following policy - which includes not overwhelming an article with a discussion of antisemitism (where in fact, it barely belongs) and then announcing that more or less everyone in the world is guilty of it. Policy would also stop us using a laughably poor source for an extraordinarily "surprising" quote from Joschka Fischer that "anti-Zionism inevitably leads to antisemitism". I'll need to remind everyone you've been warned not to remove other people's TalkPage contributions. PRtalk 21:18, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

PalestineRemembered, I am trying to see if it is possible to generate some ideas for resolving problems that are recognized by many WP editors. I have described how I see those problems at the top of this section. If you have any suggestions that apply to that, I certainly would be happy to hear them. If you have specific complaints about my editing deficiencies, that should not be made on Village Pump (policy), but on the talk page of the disputed article, or (if you think it justified) on AN/I. Malcolm Schosha (talk) 22:06, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
Sorry to be blunt, but this smacks of "changing the rules of the game because I didn't win". The mechanisms for dispute resolution work well enough, even for so-called controversial articles. Problems arise when editors refuse to concede when consensus or decisions run against whatever their position happened to be. Just as not everyone gets gets to be an astronaut when they grow up, not everyone gets to be right on the Wikipedia, either. In direct response to Arnoutf, A and B get a "no", C gets a "yes". Tarc (talk) 14:06, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
Tarc, please review WP:assume good faith.
I am far from the first editor to notice that there are problems with many articles that deal with controversial subjects. I am suggesting that something extra needs to be tried now, but I do not have the WP clout to control the direction taken. Malcolm Schosha (talk) 14:42, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
I am well familiar with WP:AGF and how it is alternately used as both a shield and a cudgel, thanks. And yes, I comprehend what you are suggesting. I am replying that nothing extra is necessary, as there isn't really a problem here in my opinion. There are countless hotspots across the project...I-P issues isn't the only one...that go through the systems of dispute resolution every day. I would be highly opposed to classifying particular articles or groups of articles as needing special rules, as I see it as creating a "some animals are more equal than others" type of hierarchy, which would run counter to the philosophy of an open-to-all encyclopedia. Tarc (talk) 18:21, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
Tarc, referring to WP:assume good faith I see it says: Assuming good faith is a fundamental principle on Wikipedia. I could not find anything about the dangers of it being used as "shield and a cudgel", and I do not think that is correct. Also, based on the comments made so far by uninvolved users, I seems that they do understand what I described concerning hotly contested articles really is a serious problem for WP. If there is a solution, I do not know....but I think that not finding a solution undermines the reputation of WP. Malcolm Schosha (talk) 22:13, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
I see in totality three other users who have commented in this topic besides us; one generally agrees with you, one does not, the other pointed you to existing dispute resolution. So declaring that you have "uninvolved users" behind you does not appear to be the case. Neither is your claim that dispute resolution does not work. It has worked, and worked well, even in very contentious Israel-Palestine articles. There used to be quite a row over Israel and the apartheid analogy for example, with massive move wars over the name and ad nauseam attempts to get the article deleted. Nowadays, the article is relatively calm and stable; mostly due to compromise, and partly due to tendentious editors being banned.
You say above that DR in the I-P arbitration "seems to have solved nothing". Well I must ask, what is your definition of "solved" ? Tarc (talk) 22:34, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Tarc, I did not say they (three users) are "behind me", I said that they acknowledge there is a problem that needs to be solved. I am not interested in getting anyone behind me. I am interested in solving a problem. If there is no solution forthcoming, then things will just continue in the direction in which they are now going. I have assumed that some users would find the present situation good, and others would not. (Actually the level of agreement with my view on this issue is better than I expected.) As I have explained, I think the situation with disputed articles is bad. Also, my own best guess is that the chances for change is remote, and the situation is hopeless. I decided to raise the question anyhow, but the thin response from users to this thread suggests that you have nothing to worry about. Malcolm Schosha (talk) 23:58, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Where did I say that I acknowledge there is a problem? I was only trying to be helpful to you to find a proper forum instead of trying to delete articles which aren't going to get deleted. Little Red Riding Hoodtalk 02:14, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
Little Red Riding Hood, sorry I misrepresented you. I wrote that in a rush and relied on my memory, which is sometimes a mistake. However you seem to have misunderstood my thinking, perhaps because I did not explain myself clearly enough. I do think that some articles might be better merged into other articles, such as Anti-Zionism with Zionism. But I never really thought that would actually solve the problems I listed when I started this thread. If you read back to that, particularly the "Conclusion", you will see that I wrote: a different process for editing articles on controversial issues is needed, or articles on controversial subjects should be excluded from Wikipedia. My assumption was that it would be understood my goal was developing better WP mechanisms for dealing with the problems and not deletion of important article content.
My suggestion was that a serious effort be made to find a solution to the problems that now exist, and for the reasons I explained. You seem to think, mistakenly, that I am trying to resolve a particular editing dispute. I would not bring an editing dispute here. I gave an example only to make clear how things go wrong. That was in the Irgun article, when I made an edit to correct some material that distorts the source cited. The Lead says this: Initially, a central part of their efforts included attacks against Palestinian Arabs,[2] but it increasingly shifted to attacks against the British. The source is to a book by Joseph Telushkin, who actually wrote in the book cited: The Irgun, a militant group -- originally founded by followers of Ze'ev Jabotinsky to retaliate against Arab terrorism, and which later to forcing the British out of Palistine... That the existing version rather distorts the meaning of the writer, and perhaps Tarc can explain his reasons for not wanting the mistake corrected.
The Irgun is not a group I personally like, and am not any more inclined to support it than Tarc; but Wikipedia intends articles to be accurate, and to have an article just reflect the personal judgments of its editors is deplorable. I used that example because it seems a pretty clear how things go wrong in articles on controversial subjects. Capisce? Malcolm Schosha (talk) 12:34, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

@Malcolm Schosha - it is extremely noticeable that you've again failed to deal with the first source-challenge that I presented you above (over the Anti-Zionism article). The content you wish to use from that source is "extreme" and the credibility of it is diminished and not enhanced by the better recorded material from the same subject that's been presented. (Your Telushkin edit also has serious problems, but we'll not go into that for a moment).

You've now Forum-shopped this highly contentious content dispute around various "conduct" based noticeboards at WP, starting with one at AN. This will not count in your favor since there is ArbCom Enforcement on this entire subject area, and it specifically refers to "conduct" of editors and adjudging whether such conduct is "disruptive". Administrators rightly have a short fuse in this particular area, and you will be blocked if you persist. If I had my way, you'd also be blocked for repeatedly addressing other editors in an ethnically-specific fashion, and your interference with TalkPages (even after being told repeatedly by an administrator to desist) does not bode well. PRtalk 12:29, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

PalestineRemembered, as far as I can see, your edit has nothing to do with the subject of this thread, and consists of a lot of accusations against me personally. I would suggest that you review WP:no personal attacks and WP:civil. Certainly, if you think I have violated WP rules, you have every right to take your accusations to AN/I. You will note, I hope, that this page is for discussing WP policy, and is not the place to discuss what you think is wrong with me. Malcolm Schosha (talk) 13:10, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
Nobody would guess you've been warned (3 times?) for re-factoring TalkPages and then reminded again when you've carried on doing it. The "arbitrary break" you took out is a normal and necessary part of the process. Nobody would guess that you've been repeatedly asked not to address people in an ethnically specific fashion. PRtalk 18:18, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
Normally issues in a content dispute should be decided by refs to WP:RS, not by head-counting the WP editors involved. However that approach assumes that it is easy to identify WP:RS. In a highly polarised subject such as the tensions in the Middle East, it is hard to identify any truly NPOV sources, even in publications that one would happily accept as WP:RS on 99.9% of other issues. A few of the POVs presented in sources will be those of individual writers, but more will be based in some wider context: the author's or publisher's perceptions of his / her / its country's national interest; the author's or publisher's political affiliations and / or beliefs; the author's or publisher's view of the policies and actions of of his / her / its country's current and recent governments; the author's or publisher's position in the spectrum from totally secularist to theocratic; etc., etc., etc., etc., .... Even academics are subject to such biases.
The only sensible way I see round such a situation is to use the concept of "balance", which some media outlets try to apply in coverage of controversial subjects. In other words, a WP article on such a divisive subject should go out of its way to avoid stating a specific position on the issues, supporting or blaming any of those involved in the real-world dispute, etc. That does not mean it should try to be bland, but that it should fairly and accurately represent the views of the parties in the real-world situation, including the most notable of their attempts to rebut the arguments or claims of other parties. All points of view expressed by normally reliable sources should be outlined, but equal weight should be given to each point of view rather than to each source - for example doing this will avoid issues about whether all the media controlled by a particular person or organisation count as one source or many. Statements should generally be attributed, e.g. "X said that A happened", rather than simply "A happened." For sources that publicly define the perspective from which they view an issue, these perspectives should be described - but descriptions of sources by opponents should be avoided.
The toughest part of articles on such divisive subjects is the lead, because it is supposed to summarise the content, summarisation normally implies selective use of content, and it is difficult to ensure that such selection is neutral. I suggest formulations such as "This action / policy / etc. of X has proved controversial; supporters of point-of-view A describe it as defensive precautions while supporters of point-of-view B describe it as aggressive provocation." --Philcha (talk) 22:14, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
My response to the original post is something like this: if all contributors to an article hold the same POV, the article will tend to be POV. However, it's also likely to go unnoticed, since only someone with a different POV is likely to notice - at which point that person can note the issue and fix the article. If they're not inclined to invest that much effort, they can bring it to the attention of other editors via cleanup templates, who can research the subject appropriately. This is largely a problem that we deal with pretty well. Dcoetzee 19:28, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
Dcoetzee is right to point out that POV issues surface only when someone with a different POV takes an interest. But that's when the problems start. Cleanup templates on their own are unhelpful, so fairly specific comments at the Talk page are required in order to make any progress. That's when the issues about which if any sources are NPOV make an impact. --Philcha (talk) 11:52, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
The main obstacle here seems to be that the concept of consensus is not working on Wikipedia. In my experience, the more active / popular side will simply declare that they have consensus, without actually trying to participate in any sort of fruitful discussion, and they invariably get away with it. The only solution that I can think of is that a knowledgeable editor, known to be impartial, gets to oversee a controversial article. Guido den Broeder (talk, visit) 21:56, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
Guido den Broeder, I'd prefer to avoid relying on the concept of consensus for many reasons, including the risk you mention, that a clique may try to take control of a topic. In most cases WP:V can prevent that - if 6 editors support view X with no citations and one supports view Y with relevant citations from WP:RS, Y stands and X is either removed or gets a {{fact}} tag and can be removed within a month if no citations are provided.
That's why I focused on topics where there are apparently no neutral sources, and tried to outline what a balanced approach would be. --Philcha (talk) 17:24, 11 December 2008 (UTC)
In either case, the current system does not work for some articles, usually articles on controversial subjects that have editors who are committed more to proving a POV than they are to a balanced article, but who have developed excellent abilities as wiki-lawyers, and/or with a well organized team. As a result many articles have material added in a way that unnecessarily emphasises, or interjects, a particular conflict, often with information added in a way to strengthen the position (arguing points) of one side. I think that I am pretty close to agreeing with Guido_den_Broeder's summery of the problem, and the solution he has suggested might be worth a try.
Otherwise, rather than chaotic articles or, unbalanced articles, it would be better to edit down the most problematic articles to a basic outline of the controversy, with a suggested reading list on the subject. Malcolm Schosha (talk) 20:42, 11 December 2008 (UTC)

Another article that's an example of this problem is this article. Reform is definitely needed. Consensus regarding controversial articles is usually impossible. SMP0328. (talk) 21:00, 11 December 2008 (UTC)

Access to some articles should be restricted to people :
1. who know the topic
2. who provide their real name
3. who can prove their scholarship on the issue.
this is why Citizendium was created.
We could just ask them to develop these controversial topics and we would copy/paste this here back.
Ceedjee (talk) 07:18, 12 December 2008 (UTC)

"a different process for editing articles on controversial issues is needed" What process do you suggest?
"articles on controversial subjects should be excluded from Wikipedia" This is a laughable suggestion. You are correct that wikipedia has problems dealing with controversial subject matter in a neutral fashion, but I can not think of any better way. --ScWizard (talk) 05:42, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

I do not have an answer. Perhaps such articles should have the editing process in a sand box, and only the most reliable sections would go into the actual article. Not every article needs to be a feature length article, at least until it is balanced. But, in fact, I do not have the answer...just the question. Sorry. Malcolm Schosha (talk) 19:18, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

I think I can quote anything from All non-GFDL texts

I want to cantact the Wikimedia foundation.

How to contact? I can't find the foundation's web page.

Korean Wikipedia Admins say that All non-GFDL texts can not be quoted, because Korean Wikipedia do not approve the fair use.

I can not quote anything from All non-GFDL texts?

What is the foundation's quotation policy?

Why the foundation makes the wikiquote korean?

I think I can quote anything from All non-GFDL texts.

I am right? or wrong?

Korean Wikipedia Admins are right? or wrong? -- WonRyong (talk) 00:59, 9 December 2008 (UTC)

Does WP:REUSE help? – ukexpat (talk) 01:44, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
I don't think so. This seems to be an editor who wants to use fair use quotations in Korean wiki articles. If Korean wiki does not allow non-GFDL material, then quotations from non-GFDL sources cannot be used, because they would be fair use. They will have to be paraphrased. Ty 02:41, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
Um. I think two meanings of fair use might be being conflated here. There's fair use as a US legal doctrine, which is presumably what the Korean WP doesn't allow. And then again there's the presumably universal convention that you're allowed to quote briefly from someone else's writing to illustrate a point. In the US that's considered part of fair use; other places there must be different legal circumlocutions involved, but surely it must be allowed everywhere, because it's an indispensible part of scholarship generally. I'm certainly no international lawyer (nor any sort of lawyer) so take this for what it's worth, but I just can't believe that you can't do this sort of quotation in Korea. --Trovatore (talk) 22:34, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
Especially for free/PD quotations, which are also non-GFDL texts! Johnbod (talk) 15:44, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
Meta:Meta:Babel is a much better place for a discussion about a problem on the Korean Wikipedia. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 22:22, 15 December 2008 (UTC)


Could we get some more input and discussion over at this policy page please? Wikipedia_talk:Image_use_policy#Removal_of_galleries. I have a feeling the current level of involvement won't quite be enough to solve it.--Crossmr (talk) 02:13, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

Cleanup templates: Is it time for a fundamental change?

I am a great supporter of the current array of templates available at Wikipedia:Template messages/Cleanup, as I feel that they invite editors to address issues such as {{notability}} by improving the articles in question. I use them often, and despite the fact their use brings me into conflict with other editors, I feel their benefit far outways their disadvantages.

However, there is an issue about their relevance to general reader. On the one hand, they act as a warning that there may be problems with the article subject, the content or viewpoint of the article itself, or that there are other quality issues that the reader should take account when forming their own views about a particular topic. On the other, cleanup issues such as notability really are not a major issue for most readers, and frankly notability is a rather esoteric subject in any case.

My proposal is that cleanup templates would be better placed on article talk pages, rather than added to the mainspace articles themselves on the grounds that they detract from the reader's experience of Wikipedia. In articles such as A Terrible Vengeance, the templates tend to disfigure the articles when looked from a purely presentational view, and the issues they are designed to address are probably better addressed through the talk pages in any case. Does anyone share this view, or should they remain on article page as is current practise? --Gavin Collins (talk) 11:20, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

I think it depends on the template, as you suggest. There's certainly no need for a notability template to be shown to readers; however some others do have a use on the article page, as a kind of warning (or apology) to readers. (I feel that these tags are overused, and are often used without enough specificity, but that's another issue.)--Kotniski (talk) 11:25, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
I support a review. I think there are many templates that can be on talk pages rather than articles. The 'machinery' of Wikipedia should be invisible to the casual reader in most cases. Lightmouse (talk) 11:33, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
I completely agree that we need to consider moving these to talk pages. Brief brainstorming: tags that go on the article should include only (1) tags that serve as early warnings for possible deletion (e.g. notability) and (2) tags that serve as a beneficial warning to the reader. So for instance, the main {{cleanup}} tag should probably go on the talk page... but {{unreferenced}} and {{notability}} maybe do belong on the article page. Mangojuicetalk 13:00, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
Moving the tags to the talk page misses a fundamental point: The purpose of the tag is not just to tell the reader that problems exist, but to invite the reader to help us fix them. If the tags are on the talk page, the only people who will see them are those who are already working on the article. If the new consensus is that we don't want to invite readers to help us fix problems anymore, fine, but any new consensus that does not address that issue IMO is fatally flawed. That said, I would support changing the instructions for various cleanup templates to state that any editor may remove the template from the article if there is no talk page discussion of the issue, but that anyone may re-add it if the discussion is started. That of course wouldn't apply to templates that are blatantly obvious, like "This article has no references". It may also be that we have tags for things that are really not needed; those could certainly be deleted. Anomie 13:49, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
I agree. Every "reader" is also a potential "editor". Even regarding the Notability tag, there is every chance that a reader would be aware of a source that would convey the notability of the subject, or make helpful additions to an article that needed work. I can't think of any cleanup tags that would work better if placed on the Talk page. And unneeded tags? Such as? -- Mwanner | Talk 14:04, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
The purpose of attracting editors is a good one, but I think very unsuccessful. Look at WP:TC -- all the templates include an invitation of some sort to improve the article, but most of these templates are fundamentally comments about the article that an editor wants to make. {{Essay-like}}, {{Fansite}}, {{Story}}, {{restructure}}, {{generalize}} just to name a few, all give non-specific criticism of an article and don't give good opportunities to improve. Comments on an article belong on the talk page, that's what it's there for. Maybe it's not moving the templates to the talk page that's necessary; maybe what we really need to do is some house cleaning on the templates. Mangojuicetalk 14:26, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
I like them the way they are. However, the "mere invitations to help clean up the article"-type templates could be replaced by "1-line" templates that say something like
This article needs help in the following area: copy-editing You can help. [Show me how]
only prettier and with a drop-down with the full template in the dropdown section linked from "show me how." Other templates, such as content-quality or reference-quality issues, should remain as-is. This will also be much easier to implement and won't require retraining existing editors. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 14:46, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
I'm still opposed to this. Header templates, just like hatnotes and inline cleanup comments, are of service to the project's goals, and help to flag issues which can affect a reader's perception of the article's coverage. There are not as widespread as is occasionally reported anecdotally, primarily being used by articles which are of low quality. Furthermore, our approach to talkheader templates means that they're usually useless and ignored entirely (being primarily composed of WikiProject spam). The only arguments I can see for moving cleanup tags to talkspace are the avoidance of self-references and a general sense of aesthetics; in the former I feel that the selfref is useful if it helps improve a bad article, and I believe that our current tags are stylish and only minimally intrustive for the most part. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 15:57, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
Agree with Lightmouse. Agree with Anomie that we want to invite the reader to help, but mainspace could make the invitation without explaining to the reader what job needs to be done; that could be on the talk page. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 16:54, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
Oppose the move to talk pages. As a reader (as well as as an editor), I find these notes helpful. Libcub (talk) 17:05, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Just a short note to tell that I strongly support moving cleanup tags to talk pages. Every article is in need of improvements. Let us have an encyclopedia with a decent layout and appearance, instead of cluttering tags on almost every article. --Kildor (talk) 21:20, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

I'm indifferent towards the proposal. I agree that numerous cleanup tags on one out of every few articles looks encyclopedic, but if they're moved to the talk namespace, they'll surely go unseen by the vast majority of readers. I've found some cleanup tags to be somewhat helpful, particularly {{refimprove}} and {{copyedit}}, but {{notability}} is rarely of use, at least to me. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 21:38, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
I oppose this proposal. Ideally, all readers are editors and we should be encouraging people to edit, giving them ideas is a way to do that. Unless there's some sort of evidence that cleanup tags attract no editors, I don't see how we can assume that they don't. Additionally, if a reader comes across a crappy article, they're going to get a very negative impression about Wikipedia's quality. But if the crappy article is tagged as being a crappy article, they'll at least know that crappiness is not supposed to be the norm and that the article probably isn't a representative sample. There's also massive implementation costs with this. As of this comment, 379,559 articles (about 14%) contain Template:Ambox, it would take a bot editing nonstop 20 pages per minute 26.4 days to move them all (since each article requires 2 edits, one to remove from the article, another to add to the talk page). The documentation pages for hundreds of templates would have to be updated to reflect the new rule. It would also create issues with section-specific templates. The implementation costs and possible loss of new editors far outweigh the potential benefits. Mr.Z-man 22:36, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

I'm surprised that this perennial proposal hasn't made it to Wikipedia:Perennial proposals by now. Uncle G (talk) 19:16, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

Response to original poster: there are two main reasons to place templates in article space: as content warnings (take this with a grain of salt, as there is reason to suspect it is inaccurate), and in order to recruit assistance from readers, who can all be editors and may be able to help if they just know what needs to be done. That said, templates that cover things like process that require significant familiarity with Wikipedia to understand are better left to talk pages. Dcoetzee 19:30, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
  • I am not disagreeing with you but on the point of content warnings, as this a more serious issue. For instance, if the article content is disputed, I can understand why cleanup templates (perhaps these could be renamed "reader advisory notices") which address issues of bias or content dispute should be visible to the general reader and displayed on the article page. However, for cleanup issues that are a matter of internal procedure and process (such as notability, context, overlong plot) are you suggesting that perhaps these are better left to the talk page of the article concened? --Gavin Collins (talk) 15:08, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

It is important for a reader to know that an article is not up to Wikipedia snuff. Tags belong atop articles that need major work. Tags can also serve to invite a reader to participate. Kingturtle (talk) 16:04, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

Articles at FA get a bronze star on their top line. Other assessment levels are hidden. Why not be up front with all the assessments?LeadSongDog (talk) 16:18, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
I too believe that we should not "hide" cleanup notices on talk pages for the sake of making articles more visualy pleasing. The main purpose of this site is to facilitate the colaborative creation of good quality free licensed content, providing a great reading experience of the work in progress, while importnat, is of secondary concern IMHO. Once in a while someone will see a notice on an article they know something about and descide to do something about it. It may not happen very often, but it does and if even a tiny fraction of our readers descide to take action to inprove the content based on a cleanup tag then that's of far greater value to the project than making a flawed version of the article look more visualy pleasing to casual readers. Besides I do believe a good numbers of "read only" people actualy appreciate us beeing up front and obvious about problems and concerns about the article they are reading. --Sherool (talk) 20:09, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
  • I tried this once before here it didn't go the way I wanted. I've become a big fan of at least using {{articleissues}} if there are two or more tags on the page, and I generally remove any expansion or referencing tags from one or two line stubs as it seems rather obvious. I agree that it is important for users to know if an article is unsourced, but many of the other tags could go on the talk page, or be more unobtrusive like {{stub}}. I have also seen folks using WP:Friendly in ways that don't strike me as friendly at all. That is, adding three or four tags to a two line stub that has been up for about two minutes. I don't think that helps anyone. So I guess my view is that tags indicating possible factual errors should remain on the page as a warning to readers, but other tags, especially if there are several that could be added, should go under the umbrella of the article issues tag and discussion should be on the talk page instead of trying to talk it out with tags all over the article. Beeblebrox (talk) 21:05, 13 December 2008 (UTC)
  • I am getting the impression that there is a good argument to move some templates to the talk page, but not all. However, this would create a problem in itself: how would you know which ones go where? It seems to me that having some cleanup templates on the article page and some on the talk page would be difficult to apply without making mistakes. Would any agree that this is an "all or nothing" change? If so would it still be worth moving all cleanup templates to the article talk page? --Gavin Collins (talk) 15:14, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

Cleanup tags should be in prominant locations on the article page (top of page; top of section) because they serve two purposes: 1) they alert readers of weaknesses of the article they are reading so they do not assume an article with serious problems is reliable; 2) they alert potential editors of important areas where the article needs improvements. Neither of these purposes would be served by hiding the notices on the talk pages.  —Chris Capoccia TC 14:17, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

As noted by many others above, cleanup tags serve important functions for wikipedia readers as well as wikipedia editors, not least of which is the conversion of one into the other :D. I agree with the sentiment that there should be no cleanup tags on any of our articles. However, it should be so because there aren't any cleanup issues to resolve. That is our real priority. Happymelon 15:53, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

  • Support Gavin's proposal is quite sound. Furthermore, my experience is that the worst sort of tag - those which take the form of a large, intrusive banner - are often placed in a combatative manner by editors who are opposed in some way to the article's contents. Warring over the appearance or placement of such banners is common and this does not assist dispute resolution. Such tags should be placed on talk pages in order to encourage editors to talk about the issue there, rather than warring over the article itself. Colonel Warden (talk) 23:45, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose While over-tagging may be an issue on the lower-quality articles, you rarely an excess of tags on FA and GA. Tags are supposed to be annoying, they're sort of a motivator to get people to address the issues to make them go away; when you hide them on the talk page, it just becomes another {{todo}} list. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 09:58, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

was just about to suggest something similar myself.

boilerplates in general can do two things:

  • alert reader to issues with text -- reader beware, plus don't judge all our articles by this one: we know this one might be cack.
  • alert editor to issues that need to be addressed (directly, + through auto-categorisation that comes with the boilerplates).

on the downside, they really make the article ugly if too many are used.

I'd suggest leaving boilerplates up the top of an article soley for reader warnings, e.g. 'the factual accuracy of this article is disputed' (reader beware + editor help out) to alert them to issues before they've read the article, whilst all of the other maintanance crap goes down the bottom under a ==maintanance== header (e.g., crystal, wikify, deletion, etc). possible exeption for speedy-delete, which needs to be up the top to quickly grab an editors attention. this would be consistant with the 'this is a stub -- help inprove it' note to editors, which is discreetly placed down the bottom of the article.

example Jonathan_Sprout --Dak (talk) 21:46, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

  • I am getting the impression from the contributions so far that there is no consensus for fundamental change. I could initiate an RFC on whether cleanup templates would be better placed on article talk pages, rather than added to the mainspace articles themselves, but I get the feeling that opinion would be split fairly evenly, and so I think the status quo would be likely to prevail in any case. --Gavin Collins (talk) 14:30, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Speaking as somebody who thinks cleanup tags are mostly a waste of time and effort that should absolutely be put on the Talk page, out of the way, I think you're correct - there is no consensus on this issue. Many good editors love them. (They're wrong, but such is life!) - DavidWBrooks (talk) 20:05, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

Citations should include page number

Hello, I don't have much experience editing wikipedia, but I have a lot of experience learning from it. I just wanted to point out that it's very annoying when a one sentence "fact" has a 200 page PDF as its citation, and the citation doesn't reference what page of the PDF the "fact" comes from. You end up digging through a very long and technical document, looking for verification of a fact that for all you know the document may not even verify.

So I thought perhaps the policy on citations could be changed to require citations to mention on what page of the document the "fact" they cite is documented. When books are cited the page number is included in the citation, I don't see how a lengthly PDF should be any different. If requiring this would be too radical a change, policy should at least encourage this. It seems like this bit of extra information could only help. --ScWizard (talk) 05:34, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

I'd guess that none of our 40+ policies mentions page numbers, but that several of the guidelines related to citations do. Or should. It's probably not a big deal to change a guideline to say that when a cited source is more than ten (or twenty or whatever) pages, it is appropriate to include a page number in the citation - I really can't see anyone objecting. (So all that needs to be done now is to identify the guidelines that need to be changed, and then to change them.) -- John Broughton (♫♫) 22:12, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
Ugg :effort: I'll get around to it eventually I guess, but I was kind of hoping someone would deal with the issue if it was raised. --ScWizard (talk) 21:30, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

You can always tag the citations with {{pn}}. This adds them to Category:Wikipedia articles needing page number citations.  —Chris Capoccia TC 22:38, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

Thanks! That's very useful information :) --ScWizard (talk) 07:51, 20 December 2008 (UTC)

oppose - I see no reason for individual page numbers on items of less than 30 pages, including chapters in books. To given an example, I've improved some articles on animal phlya, some to GA level. Journal articles are not written about such basic zoology, so textbooks are the only option. Typically I've used 2 textbooks for most of the hard-core zoology, and their sections on a single phylum are typically 20-30 pages. I typically use different refs for blocks of 5-10 pages, where possible. Giving individual page numbers would simply add increase the number of items in the "Footnotes" section by 30-50. Reviewers often don't have the books, and top text books tend not to be viewable in Google Books, so reviewers generally have to WP:AGF with refs to textbooks - as well as with refs to journals for which they do not have subscriptions. Specifying page numbers for each statement is meaningless extra work for editors, with no likely benefit for readers or reviewers. --Philcha (talk) 15:02, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

comment support - I disagree with Philcha's statement that "Specifying page numbers for each statement is meaningless extra work for editors, with no likely benefit for readers or reviewers." Citations have several purposes: (1) to permit the source of facts stated in an article to be verified by others, (2) to identify the source of quotations, (3) to provide readers with a place or places to find more detailed and/or additional information, and (4) to point out opposing viewpoints or controversy. The specificity of the page reference in a citation should depend on its purpose. Sources of facts and quotations (particularly) should be given with specificity — otherwise, the job of verification is made unnecessarily difficult, and editors may be tempted to "slide by" with work that isn't careful. Purposes (3) and (4) are best served in many cases by broader page references. It shouldn't be necessary in most cases to footnote every sentence — citations can be gathered in a omnibus single footnote at the end of a paragraph (a common academic practice). This is one of many issues for which good judgment is the key, and which should be reviewed carefully as part of the FAC process. If WP is ever going to overcome the disdain with which academics and educators now view it, our citation practice is going to have to improve. Simmaren (talk) 15:14, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Page citation is already policy. WP:CITE, which is policy, instructs authors to use any standard citation system when citing sources (all other style manuals specify one system, but that is a different issue). All standard citation systems require page citations for specific facts. In fact, How to format citations specifies including page numbers. All of Wikipedia's citation templates have a parameter for page numbers. Finell (Talk) 02:03, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

Needs resolution: Are places inherently notable?

This is a problem that has bugged me since the conclusion of Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/FritzpollBot: the community were relatively ambiguous about the notability of places and settlements. The purpose of the bot, which has already been approved by community consensus but as yet not ever run, was to eliminate the need for writers such as User:Dr. Blofeld to do it manually, which takes place to this day, albeit with limited speed and semi-automated tools rather than bots. Now I have been asked about Wikipedia_talk:Noticeboard_for_India-related_topics#Bot_to_create_articles_on_missing_settlements_and_places_in_India on my talkpage and I went there to offer my assistance, and save Tinu from creating the bot himself when one already exists in an approved form. And I noticed in the proposal the old chestnut of "inherent notability" - I'm afraid I can't let this one go, because if Tinu gets approved to run in this fashion, I will wonder why the community bothered having the argument with me on notability in the first place, and I want to know if the consensus on the notability of places has changed.
I don't think this needs to be resolved for the purposes of bots, but for the simple fact that these articles are regularly created en masse manually. If they aren't notable, we need to decide to prevent this creation. If they are notable, it frees up some work for BRFA if other automated/semi-automated means are proposed. SO this isn't about Bots, and those who know me will understand why I want to avoid that discussion - this is a matter of notability (never cleared up at the essentially defunct Wikipedia:Notability (Places and transportation)) that needs to be decided one way or the other without people referring to the non-policy/guideline of common deletion outcomes. I hope you can all be of help Fritzpoll (talk) 08:28, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Yes, places (i.e. towns, villages and settlements, but not necessarily streets or parts of towns) are notable. This is built very much into the way Wikipedia is, and ought to be stated unambiguously in the policy/guidelines. Some people don't like it, but community consensus has decided in practice that it is to be thus.--Kotniski (talk) 09:02, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
"Places are inherently notable" is a bit tricky one. Though it is not unanimously accepted ( apparently not liked by a very few) but it is the generally accepted status quo in the community. Moreover I dont think of any reason, atleast an article of an inhabited settlement of more than 5000 people is not verifiable/notable. Quoting Sam at closure of FritzpollBot discussion, In this regard, "notability is a way that we judge the verifiability of information. I don't think anyone is proposing creating articles about places who's existence is unverifiable". Having said that , the consensus of the community as of now is that Cities and villages are acceptable, regardless of size, so long as their existence can be verified through a reliable source. See also Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Common_outcomes#Places, Wikipedia_talk:Notability_(Geographic_locations)#A_census_as_a_source_of_notability , Wikipedia:Notability (geography) , Wikipedia:Notability (Geographic locations) etc -- Tinu Cherian - 09:54, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Mmm a long standing question. Basically I think the fact that we have full detailed and encyclopedic articles on places with as little as 3 people and that some notability is asserted even for its history etc shows to me that anything can be written about just about any place. Any place is notable to the people who live there so if we are to think from a neutral viewpoint then I believe a high proportion of places are. I disagree with "places are inherently notable" as it suggests to me a gross generalisation of the world, given that many places however small or large often couldn't have a more different history or status. In reality though all cities, towns and villages are considered noteworthy on wikipedia as potentially a lot could be written about most places as has been proved. The main problem is undoubtedly equal access to information on all world places and indeed whether every hamlet or small village in the world needs including in wikipedia. As much as I want full world coverage, creating a high number of stub articles may be problematic given the gross uneveness in access to information and undoubtedly the uneven way in which editors edit wikipedia. If we were to create an article for every place in India as a stub how long to we think it would take manually for editors to fully expand them all? How many articles do you think would attract Indian IP's or vandals which post unintelligible text into them as has happened already on many articles and going undetected? I fully support the idea in principle but in reality the uneven acces in information and indeed the number of editors willing or interested in expand them is shockingly low given the scale of the project. I must have come across thousands of RamBot articles even on the United States which have barely been edited since so if we were to do the same for countries in Asian And Africa it is highly likely most will remain sub stubs for 5-10 years at least. So while I support the idea that a lot of notable information can be written for just about anywhere, the question is do we want hundreds of thousands of new articles with nothing more than a population figure sitting around for a long time without being expanded? As I said before on numerous occasions with Fritz if we can compile some sentences of information and start articles as meatier stubs rather than one liners I'll fully support it if we maximise the utility of it. The Bald One White cat 11:44, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

I broadly agree with the practical points by the good Doctor here, but I think this issue of "inherent notability" needs to be sorted: is it right or not? Otherwise we're going to get botwriter after botwriter arguing that their bot is allowed to create such articles on the basis of nothing more than a line in common deletion outcomes. Fritzpoll (talk) 12:04, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
In all honesty I loathe the term "inherent notability" LOL. However in answer to your question settlements are widely accepted in our guidelines to content so yes places are generally considered notable on wikipedia. Testimony to this is how often to you see articles on villages at AFD snowballed with a reosunding keep?. It is up to editors to ensure that they contain resourceful content. So in theory every place can be considered "inherently notable" (cringe cringe) but it is the content of the articles which leaves an impression on the reader as to whether this article is notable. For instance I've lost count how many times somebody has placed one of my stubs at AFD and snorted "non notable place or person. No hits". Then 30 minutes later we suddenly have a fuller, well referenced article and they sheepishly go quiet as they can see that with content it puts it in a different perspective and gladly accept it as an encyclopedia article. The Bald One White cat 12:25, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
Absolutely not. No one, nothing,and no place is "inherently notable". Every addition to Wikipedia needs sources that describe the topic directly and in detail, per WP:N. It's true that virtually every place in the world has been so described, but the sources need to be in hand when the article is created. We don't need millions of permastubs that contain nothing but a geographic coordinate and a name. That's what an atlas is for, and an encyclopedia is not an atlas.
These groups of tiny little stubs are better off grouped: I'd rather see an article about "The Yak-herding villages of Northern Slobovia" that contained a map of where ten of them were, showing their physical relationship to each other and the terrain, than 10 individual stubs by a bot that didn't even know that the primary industry of each of the 10 little specks was yak-herding.—Kww(talk) 12:56, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
I agree with you, and I'm not suggesting I dust off the very old, and very misunderstood, FritzpollBot proposal that doesn't bear resemblance to the consensus reached over the summer. I'm not even really talking about bots: But Tinu's bot is planning to introduce 200,000 of the stubs with a little localised consensus based on the concept of inherent notability and I think that, since it was such a contentious issue previously, it needs airing now. Fritzpoll (talk) 15:41, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
"... millions of ..." was a short way of saying "... extremely large numbers of ...". I'd be upset about a hundred, so 200,000 is close enough to "millions" to get me upset.—Kww(talk) 15:45, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
Fair enough - either way, I agree with you. I'm just concerned that people think that I'm proposing something that I'm not - I'm just very concerned that, having established a community standard for this very kind of thing, local consensuses are being used to override a much wider and more detailed examination of what the community wants Fritzpoll (talk) 15:49, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
The fact that we have all these stub articles on places and the like makes it very very difficult when it comes to try to argue to others on the notability of topics in their field, particularly with fiction-related ones. It is hard to convince people when they throw "WP is not paper" and the existence of these back at you when you are trying to argue about reducing article count and helping to improve WP's commitment to its core policies and long-term maintainability. Location names should be included in WP, but not given the weight of their own article until more than just a coordinate and population figure can be provided, otherwise, these should be placed into tables with redirects to help with searching - the same as we typically do with other topics we want to include but not have their own article. --MASEM 13:05, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Which is exactly why lists of places by district with coordinates were considered a sensible alternative. The Bald One White cat 14:04, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

One thing that really buggeed me about the whole thing, which I didn't bring up when it had that major discussion earlier this year, is that somehow adding all those places with a bot was supposed to counter systemic bias. The thing is, to me it seems that adding them would be /increasing/ the bias, against other topics in the encyclopedia. But that's just me. Furthermore, it seems to me that stating "every place is inherently notable (because we can prove their existence)" is rather like saying "every book is inherently notable", or whatever. In fact, it seems to ME that things should be the opposite -- since settling in places together in a group is standard human behavior, doing so is the exact opposite of notable and any place needs to have a reason to be in the encyclopedia beyond existing. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 14:14, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Well if you created 2 million geo articles it would probably change the balance but to me indeed it would only exemplify the uneveness in quality and access to information for certain parts of the world when editors search through large categories finding nearly all of them one liners and devoid of content. The idea that the world is fully covered is right in principle but indeed we would be kidding ourselves if we had 2 million sub stubs on places and prentending that we had the world covered. We'll get there eventually but sensibly and at least compromising the number of articles with greater quality. ANyway this discussion is nothing about what happened in the summer so please lets discuss notabililty only. In regards to notability as I said above, if articles contain adequate content or at least have the potential to be fully expanded with what sources are avilabale at present then they become welcome additions to the encyclopedia in my book. For example at present I am working Mexican municipalities at present which can all be fully expanded within minutes using reliable sources and they are started well. I wouldn't be bothering to create them if I didn't feel they weren't notable or couldn't be expanded immediately. This is why I no longer create articles based on computer generated coordinates I'd like to add. Best ot work wirh the information and resources we have at present. A coimputer generated site only is not good enough in regards to starting places I think. The Bald One White cat 15:20, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

In my distorted view, notability is, in essence, a function of verifiability. If there isn't substantial secondary coverage of the topic, how can we verify that the article we write is at all accurate? If it's just census data, that's verifiable and it's not a problem, but probably best left as a table instead of opening the possibility of articles filled with WP:OR. SDY (talk) 18:11, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

I can't speak for outside the United States, but inside the United States, if a locality has the power to make and enforce criminal laws that apply to visitors, e.g. towns, villages, Native-American reservations, etc., or it is a major administrative geographic subdivision, such as a county, a non-charter township, etc., then it qualifies. Other places that might have quasi-governmental authority, such as special-purpose taxing districts, homeowners' associations, neighborhoods, etc. generally have to earn their notability the old fashioned way. Having said that, a lot of not-really-notable neighborhoods and taxing districts have pages because they are part of "a set" such as "neighborhoods in major city" or "hospital district in state." Whether they would survive AFD probably depends on who happens to see the AFD and voice their opinion more than anything else. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 18:31, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

nothing is inherently notable. every article must cite reliable and independant sources that provide significant coverage of the subject matter. The only questions should be hashing out the details of what all those words from WP:NN mean in terms of the sources usually available for places (for example, clarifying that a dot on a map does not count as significant coverage).  —Chris Capoccia TC 21:30, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

Coming down to the basics: What's a notable village and what's a non notable village? Should there be a criteria (eg population cut-off limit)? =Nichalp «Talk»= 15:03, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

This statement is a strong reason why I think we need to restructure what we say is notable and the like. Obviously no village that is on some public official record is non-notable (using the non-WP meaning of the word), but on WP, very small villages with little more than a population figure and geocoords may not need its own article. That is, we want to include any officially-recognized settlement, but inclusion is not the same as having its own article. We're relying on "notability" per WP:N to do two things: inclusion and the quality of having an article, when in fact they should be separate. I'm not proposing that we do away with the core of WP:N and the subguidelines, in the sense that for a topic to have an article, they need to have secondary sources or presumption of those, and if these are met, the topic most certainly meets inclusion guidelines. --MASEM 15:18, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
I think this is what it comes down to. Putting a settlement into a list is a good thing, but that doesn't mean there should be an article about it. To use an area of my own knowledge, it's like -- we don't necessarily need an article about every song by Franz Schubert (or perhaps a better name would be, say, Camille Saint-Saens) but listing them all in the works list is on the other hand something we do want. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 15:54, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
I think Masem is on to something here. We need to explicitly clarify that the degree of notability necessary to justify an article is greater than the degree necessary to justify a statement. We don't require every statement or entry in a table to be formally notable, so long as it contributes to understanding of the article's subject. In some cases, a text line in a DAB page will be the only justified entry. Creating an article for the two farmhouses at the "Corner of Fifth Line and Eighth Concession, Whosits Township, Whutstate" won't do much for the encyclopedia unless there is some distinctive character to the farmhouses. That said, I'd still like to see an article on the Antrim Truck Stop, Ontario, which narrowly escaped the fate of Radiator Springs. (Trivia side note: Guinness used to list the world's most remote tree, in North Africa-until someone managed to drive into it.) LeadSongDog (talk) 18:10, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

My fundamental question remains unaddressed. (These questions are not addressed to any person)

  1. Would a village in England with a population of 14 be more notable than a village of a greater population in Bhutan simply because no one has written independent sources on the subject? How does one determine that a village is notable?
  2. Assuming the local government has set parameters for classification of a settlement as a village, town, city & metropolis. Should WP follow the local government
  3. What do you mean by notability of a village? I can understand that verifiability is possible (census figures, postal codes, telephone codes, geocordinates). But what makes a village notable? I've written articles on sleepy towns in Sikkim. What then, makes a town notable?
  4. Again, what prevents village stubs from being expanded? I do not subscribe to the fact that villages will always remain stubs. I think content can be added. For example, climate, temperature and geography of the region can be borrowed from parent subdivision articles, given the fact that they are geographically localised. If villages are on a river or coast, those can be added too. The same could go for the history of the place too. IMO, ample scope for expansion. There is no deadline. =Nichalp «Talk»= 17:56, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
Be wary of using current population to decide if somewhere is notable, many interesting places have smaller populations today than when they became notable. Some places that are usually considered notable may never have been inhabited and others have fame out of all proportion to whatever population they once had. ϢereSpielChequers 11:21, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
  • As I said I don't think anybody here or on wikipedia is in a position to state what place is notable or not about places in the world many thousands of miles away to many people. We have clearly seen that a great deal can be written about the smallest of places even small monuments etc in tiny villages. I don't think anybody is in a position to say that a village with 15,000 odd people in India is not notable. From what I've seen most of the place started will have thousands of people living in them, which are widely accepted on wikipedia anyway. The main issue with me is information content, does the articles contian resoureful information to the reader which improves wikipedia? We know that articles can be expanded immediately after creation, the main concern was by me was that creating 200,000 new articles would take a great deal of time to develop particularly if they were just one liners. If, however they can be fleshed out a bit and started so they are a solid foundation initially rather than a useless sub stub then I would fully support it. As Ganeshk has indicated they will be filled out then I am more sympathetic to it. The main problem is who is going to expand everyone of the 200,000 articles, who is goiing to watch out for unsourced info or vandalsim that may be added to some of them, and indeed is there information on the web which can be used to fill them out completely? The Bald One White cat 11:00, 20 December 2008 (UTC)
  • 1) Niether are notable at this point because no sources have been provided that establish notability. 2) If the reliable sources cited in the article use a particular naming scheme, it should be followed. If the reliable sources cited in the article do not agree on a naming scheme then some judgement will have to be made for consistent naming. 3) Notability is loosely defined in WP:NN. 4) Nothing prevents stubs from being expanded, but there's also not very much that prevents a stub without significant coverage in reliable sources from being deleted either.  —Chris Capoccia TC 18:20, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

See User:Uncle G/On notability#Notability is not a blanket. You're looking for a blanket. Stop looking. Even Rambot worked from and cited sources. Uncle G (talk) 23:22, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

  • I read this as a "not inherently notable" thing - not sure who your "You're" is, but I'm not after a justification of inherent notability, which appears to me to be an anomalous concept as your essay describes. I just want to try and demonstrate to those at the India Noticeboard that this is not a position they can take as being the default view of the community at large Fritzpoll (talk) 08:37, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
    • Let me clarify this. At the India project, we are planning to create articles that have credible references (census, government websites, map websites etc). The articles are not going to be two line stubs, they will have sections, categories, infobox and location information, demographics enough to make a beefy article. We are not after inherent notability, we would like to know what makes a village notable? How many references will the community need before they let the bot create these articles? Regards, Ganeshk (talk) 03:08, 20 December 2008 (UTC)
      • I cannot answer for the community, but it is worth observing that that is the argument that allowed Rambot to create articles such as this. I notice that your example article is somewhat thinner, in comparison. Looking at the sources, I see that this is because they simply don't tell one very much about each subject, essentially giving it no more than a row in a table. Perhaps you should gather some more sources together, and find some more in-depth sources. One of the factors that govern notability is the depth of the sources. Uncle G (talk) 04:58, 20 December 2008 (UTC)
  • If you mean "places" to be anything on a map; then no, not every "place" is notable. That will exclude most houses/backyards/corner stores/hilltops/meadows/farms and so on. It is highly unlikely that anyone would be interested in reading encyclopedia articles about "places" like that. However, settlements, even very small ones, are the kind of subjects which you traditionally find in paper encyclopedias, and most people would expect to find subjects like that in an encyclopedia aspiring to be the most comprehensive in the world. I generally argue for very lenient notability standards when it comes to villages. If a stub on a village can be verifiable, I am all for keeping it, and applying the strict WP:N restraints that the sources must be "secondary" or "non trivial" is in my view rather unhelpful. In most cases, a map can provide a basis for a paragraph on location (district, roads, closest large city, etc.), and census data is a reasonable basis for rudimentary demographics. Together, information like this produces a stub, but not a useless article. Sjakkalle (Check!) 14:40, 22 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Even if you assume (for a moment) that settlments are inherently notable, such stubs fail WP:NOT#DIR, as Wikipedia is not a directory of everything that exists or has existed. However, you can't ignore the requirement of writing an encyclopedic article without reliable secondary sources. You argue that as long as you can obtain random verifiable stuff about a settlement, this would be sufficient justification for an article, but without the context, analysis or commentary which can only obtained from reliable secondary sources, you have basically written a group of stubs that have no content to differentiate between them except their coordinates on a map. The fact that this town has a town hall, and that one does not but it has 150 people does not provide enough information sufficient to write a stub that is even capable of getting past WP:NOT#GUIDE. In the absence of evidence of notability, you have to ask why are these stubs being created? I guess these stubs offer the opportunity for any editor (or bot) to create a thousand stubs complete with info box, links to google earth and a few stats. But what does this offer the reader? Nothing that is not already available from looking a map or reading a travel guide or a book of national statistics. The inclucsion criteria for encyclopedic articles is not just the fact that a place (by which I meant settlement) exists, but that there is evidence of notability which the reader can benefit from now, not at some future time which may never come to pass. A stub about a settlement is no different that a stub about the street where I live, because neither have any worthwhile content and both fail WP:N and WP:NOT, the only difference is your opinion says they don't. I say the emperor has no clothes. --Gavin Collins (talk) 22:14, 22 December 2008 (UTC)
In contemplation of WP:Build the web I offer the observation that when we geocode a place name we open a new linkage. Following that link to, for instance, google earth, we frequently discover that there are available images of those places, often with sufficient metadata to enable adoption or recruitment of the images into WP. This doesn't mean that we need articles to make those links (indeed a list of places in a district may be more appropriate), but it does mean that the tree of eventualism can bear fruit.LeadSongDog (talk) 22:19, 22 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Your analogy is interesting, but obtaining fruit from a tree is not a guarantee, othewise we would have stubs on everything under the sun in the hope that they would become articles some day in the future - this is streching notability too far into crystal ball gazing. I can see why leaving bots to create stubs in such a fashion might be attractive to some editors: they probably see themselves as the automated equivalent of Johnny Appleseed. However, their work still conflicts with WP:N and WP:NOT, and I suspect many of these stubs will be deleted eventually, not because the tree of eventualism is slow fruiting, but also because some of the data and images you place all your hopes on may turn out to be trivial. It still takes encyclopedic coverage to write an article, and if these bots are not smart enough to identify reliable secondary sources, then I think they should stop work, otherwise they are going to create a whole new category of Geocruft. --Gavin Collins (talk) 10:26, 23 December 2008 (UTC)
Some of this probalby requires a technical change, the first bit would only require a minor change however; Create a 'Places:' namespace and have these articles created by the bot there (with a draft layout), then have them linked from the actual, uncreated name to provide starters pre written when some one wants to create one, but without cluttering the main space with thousands of stubs. This could work so the 'Start the Foo place article' on the blank page thing would read Start the Foo place article, a Place template exists for a location with this name' . The basic idea could work even if the details were changed. --Nate1481 10:23, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
  • I think Nate proposal is a very clever idea. I think Wikipedia should only have articles about notable places, but this proposal still enables bots to be used in a constructive fashion rather than spamming stubs that contain only trivia. If anyone wants a comprehensive catalogue entry for every settlement, then I think they should be lobbying for the creation of Wikilocality along the lines of Wikispecies, or use existing Wiki's such as Wikitravel. In the long run, articles with insufficient content for an encyclopedic article will not unreasonably be merged or deleted. --Gavin Collins (talk) 14:43, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
If there is some general consensus that every single settlement on Earth is not inherently notable, it would still be a shame to see so many tens of thousands of actually notable places without stubs for decades (at the rate Wikipedia's growing) just because we couldn't move on from this point. It seems the issue is how to determine notability in a way that is compatible with the number of articles we're talking about (meaning individual human checking would be difficult). Population cutoffs were mentioned previously (ex: every village over 5000 people), though this has little to do with "significant coverage in reliable sources". Perhaps if a settlement was listed in multiple large databases (census, climate, atlas, etc), that cumulative coverage would merit notability. Joshdboz (talk) 17:19, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

User categorisation

Hi there, I have a question regarding user categorisations. As you all know users may categorize themselves base on their background, skills and interests etc. I want to know if there is any policy prohibiting users from identifying themselves as supporters or members of terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda or Hizbullah by using User categorisation? --Kaaveh (talk) 08:38, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Category:Wikipedians who support Hezbollah has been previously deleted, and its deletion endorsed by a subsequent deletion review. See Wikipedia:Deletion review/Log/2008 February 28. Also see Wikipedia:Userboxes#Content restrictions. -- Rick Block (talk) 11:28, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
All support/oppose user categories have been deleted, in fact. VegaDark (talk) 16:34, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

Self Identification

I wanted to mention/discuss Self Identification and related policies. Due to recent American Election, a couple of issues has come up that may or may not have been discussed before, mainly how a person's BLP reflects how they self identify and editor's POV on the issue. Most times this s not an issue, but with Barack Obama being elected as the President of the United States, we now have an issue. Mainly it is this: A person is born of mixed race/heritage. While they acknowledge their mixed race/heritage, they prefer to be identified as one race/heritage, various reliable sources refer to this person as that race/heritage, and the public seem them as they self identify as. While most of these articles do delve into the person's mixed race/heritage to some degree, some editors have issues with what the person of a BLP self Identifies as. If it is verifiable through reliable sources that the person self identifies as something, would it be a BLP violation not to refer to them as such? Should a policy, addition, whatever be written to address this issue? I've noticed in the past that some editors also have a problem disassociating themselves from their POV when it comes to this issue? They seem to take this issue very personal and, in my opinion, ignore how the person of the BLP views themselves even if it violates BLP and NPOV. Brothejr (talk) 15:43, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Well, what is Michael Jackson? If you look at the list of "lamest edit wars" you'll see some that are about ethnicity of living people. To a certain extent, the best thing to do is to "describe and not categorize." For someone like Mr. Obama, simply say that he has such and such father and such and such mother and is generally considered to be such and such ethnicity (citing important mainstream sources). WP:FRINGE explanations (i.e. that the people in Africa would consider him white if he were an African but are fine with considering him black since he's an American) should not be given WP:UNDUE weight. If the person's self-description conflicts with the mainstream interpretation, report both since both are of interest to a reader and the neutral stance is to report both sides of the issue. SDY (talk) 18:33, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
What if what he self identifies as does not conflict with the mainstream interpretation and if instead a group is pushing against the mainstream interpretation what should be done? As in the Obama article, his mixed race is covered both four paragraphs down from the lead and also in a sub article. Yet, the lead is written to reflect what the mainstream media and the public refer to him as. Yet, at various times a variety of people come to the talk page to push either for the mixed race or to remove AA completely from the lead against the mainstream media? Though I do agree with you about the "lamest edit wars!" Yet, this idea continues to come up on various related BLP's. I seem to remember a short bit ago one editor going around changing a whole bunch of BLP's over to mixed race against both consensus and mainstream media reliable references. Brothejr (talk) 19:03, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
Well, for Obama it's basically a question of WP:UNDUE. Even if it's verifiable, the lead and the article should reflect mainstream views (i.e. AA) with significant minority views covered and identified as minority views but otherwise treated in an NPOV fashion. Removing AA completely is inappropriate, even if calling him "mixed race" is the WP:TRUTH. SDY (talk) 19:10, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
(edit conflict) If reliable sources identify them as something other than (or in addition to) what they self-identify as, then it is not a WP:BLP violation to identify them as such. I guess this query is in response to Talk:Barack Obama#Media coverage of ethnicity controversy and the intro, which is really a completely different matter (which I'm not going to touch with a 39½-foot pole). Anomie 19:19, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
This query is related to that conversation but again not. It is more of a general question on the idea of a BLP subject's self identification and the repeated attempts to think that an editor's POV trumps mainstream media and BLP subject's self identification. (One person in that conversation came out and said that the subject's self identification did not matter. That got me thinking and asking the question here does the subject's self identification matter in their BLP?) Brothejr (talk) 19:56, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
You also came right out and said that it would be a violation of WP:BLP. For the most part the hundreds of threads started on the Obama talk page are people wanting something about his mixed heritage to be incorporated into the lead along with African American, not that AA be removed. Hundreds of thousands of sources say Obama has a black Kenyan father and a white American mother, hundreds call him bi, mixed, multi racial and so on. From what I've seen most ppl just want the lead to say "with a black Kenyan father and white American mother Obama is largely considered the first African American President" or simply "coming from a biracial background Obama is the first African American President." I feel that since reliable sources can be found in large number for his mixed heritage and African American it is a violation of WP:NPOV to pick one side over the other when labeling him a race. It is one thing to say he is largely considered and another to report it as fact, see WP:ASF. Landon1980 (talk) 22:05, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
I also want to ask a question regarding policy. Brotherj has repeatedly stated calling Obama anything other than AA is original research, is that true? Hundreds of sources can be found calling Obama bi-racial, multi-racial, and so on, so when a reliable third party source says something is it still OR like brotherj says? I am under the impression that what Obama self-identifies has nothing to do with BLP, and that one could call Obama anything they wanted as long as it can be verified by reliable sources without violating wp blp. According to brotherj, though, since Obama most of the time self-identifies as AA this would be a blp violation. Landon1980 (talk) 22:25, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
It is neither WP:OR nor a WP:BLP violation to state that Obama is bi-racial or multi-racial based on any of the many reliable sources that make such a statement. Anomie 03:07, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. I thought so I just wanted to make sure. Cheers, Landon1980 (talk) 03:49, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
And I stand corrected. Brothejr (talk) 10:19, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

Deletion Policy

Lately I've noticed a rise in seemingly unfounded deletions. As a non-admin editor, I have to say that the process for reviewing and correcting such deletions could use some improvement. Once a page is deleted, it would be nice if the page was still visible and any discussion of the deletion was easily accessible. In general, it seems that the current deletion policy gives a lot of power to admins, some of whom are abusing it, so I think the policy may need to be somehow revised. --Elplatt (talk) 05:43, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

If you have any specific concerns with deleted articles, please bring up those specific articles at WP:DRV. If you want to know why an administrator deleted an article, please contact that administrator directly on his/her user talk page. Please do not make vague comments about "admin abuse" without concrete evidence to back up such accusations. 05:46, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
As the editor is addressing policies in general I don't think trying to send them off to other venues is appropriate. If you don't think there are problems with the AfD process you are welcome to state your opinion. I have seen a number of editors express concerns and frustrations over the process and percieved misuse of it. So it seems like a topic worth discussing. As for alleging generalized Admin abuse, I agree that's not helpful. ChildofMidnight (talk) 08:00, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
Although I would substitute overusing for abusing, I otherwise concur with Elplatt's comments. Also I agree with Elplatt and (apparently) ChildofMidnight that this is a general problem and that insisting on continued ad hoc treatment of the problem is at best unhelpful and at worst counterproductive and potentially alienates well intentioned editors who perceive the dismissive deletion of their efforts as actively hostile instead of merely indifferent. See also various archived discussions. Nude Amazon (talk) 09:09, 16 December 2008 (UTC) (edit: Excessive Deletion has now been archived Nude Amazon (talk) 06:41, 1 January 2009 (UTC) )
"Once a page is deleted, it would be nice if the page was still visible" - Erm, how is that deletion? In any case, the foundation's legal counsel has said that making deleted content viewable to non-admins would be potentially problematic and would not be done. If there was a deletion discussion, it should be linked to in the deletion log, which is visible, though most pages are deleted through WP:PROD or WP:CSD which doesn't require discussion. Mr.Z-man 16:27, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
And of course there is Deletionpedia. – ukexpat (talk) 16:30, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
To clarify, it would be nice if the page was visible in the same sense that old revisions are visible. Really what I'm suggesting is 1. more transparency for the deletion process, and 2. making it harder to delete articles and easier to restore them, in the interest of balance. --Elplatt (talk) 21:49, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
If you delete something, its so its no longer around. If everyone can see it by clicking a few links, its not deleted, its just somewhat hidden. But as I said, the foundation's legal counsel has pretty much vetoed any chance of this change being made. Your second argument makes little sense. It assumes that there's just as many bad deletions as there is bad pages needing deletion, such that we need to be overturning massive amounts of deletion. Either you have no idea about the massive numbers of crappy pages deleted every day, or you're just not assuming good faith on the part of admins. The community-discussion based deletion process for articles, WP:AFD gets around 85-150 deletion discussions per day, the equivalent undeletion process for all pages (not just articles), WP:DRV, gets 1-5 discussions per day. If anything, we need to be making it easier to delete in the interest of expediting maintenance tasks and reducing backlogs. Mr.Z-man 23:06, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
Would I be right in thinking that the edit history of a deleted article actually remains somewhere in the database? If so, and if I discover quite some time later that an article I worked on has been deleted without my knowledge, how would I find out who deleted it, and how could I retrieve the content in order to attempt to improve it to the point of notability and beyond? Globbet (talk) 00:11, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
Search for the article title here, and contact the deleting admin, or just as a friendly admin to mail you a copy. Unless someone has been repeatedly re-posting or there is a legal issue, (it was deleted due to WP:BLP or WP:COPY problems) I imagine it wouldn't be an issue. --Nate1481 18:12, 23 December 2008 (UTC)
Many administrators (including myself) will undelete a page and move it to user space when requested. Personally, I will honor most requests except for pages that meet speedy deletion criteria and do not violate WP:BLP. If a page was popular, I will put it in a shared user space that I have created. When moved, I restore the entire history of the page and remove any categories. Personally, I think there needs to be a middle ground between "unacceptable for the mainspace and must be deleted" and "acceptable in the mainspace and must be kept". The world is not black and white. There are many shades of gray, and they change over time. I doubt that the articles that don't make it into the Encyclopedia Britannica get shredded after an edition gets sent to the printers. They keep files of information and potential articles. We should too. -- SamuelWantman 03:25, 25 December 2008 (UTC)

Copyright of animal pictures

We currently have the impressive and interesting File:Chimpanzee congo painting.jpg as a DYK hook to Congo (chimpanzee) on the main page. That picture's description states that "Animals have no copyright" and hence the image (and faithful photographic reproductions) are in the public domain. I have two conflicting thoughts about this. First, from a moral perspective I don't see why animals, or at least higher primates and cetaceans, should not enjoy copyright protection of their works (also see Great Ape Project). Of course, legally they don't, at least in most jurisdictions. That opens up the other angle. Isn't, in this case, the animal just a tool of the owner for producing pictures? In that case, the copyright would belong to whoever had the idea of getting Congo to paint and gave him the proper equipment. Would that be different from a modern artist who semi-randomly splashes paint onto a canvas? --Stephan Schulz (talk) 09:11, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

  • Related link: the Independent, 05.05.2007 Everything may change, and Europeans will eventually effect suffrage for animals :)) NVO (talk) 10:32, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
Well, I would say there is a difference, as this animal clearly has more artistic talent than people who just randomly splash paint on a canvas. I suppose on the first argument, however, if the chimp wishes to press a copyright claim, it can send Wikipedia a notice.  ;) The second argument is interesting though. I am not certain what the copyright rules are on a situation like this. It isn't really a policy issue though. Maybe bring it up at one of the image noticeboards? Resolute 22:25, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Common sense would suggest it is a "work for hire." Another legal parallel would be the creations of slaves in the United States before the civil war, even or especially if the creation was not specifically commissioned by the slave-owner. Another parallel would be the creation of "art" by a 2 year old making random scribbles with crayons. You could probably make a case that the latter was in the public domain because there was no creative element. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 00:42, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
I don't think "Work for hire" is appropriate, as there probably was no contract, and no meeting of minds ("if you paint, I give you this banana" ;-). But if it were, then the copyright would be with the zoo or the researcher. The slave analogy seems to be more appropriate. Does anybody know about the legal status of creative works created by slaves? I don't think they were in the public domain. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 08:53, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
I don't know of any historical arguments on this issue (it would be fascinating to see), but in the U.S., slaves were not legally people, so by consequence they couldn't create anything copyrightable either. Postdlf (talk) 21:26, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
The legal theory involved is pretty straightforward: an animal is not a legal person, and so cannot own anything (such as a copyright). The animal's owner didn't exercise creative effort in making the work, so he doesn't hold copyright to it either. --Carnildo (talk) 10:18, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
I would agree. But I'm not so sure that a judge would necessarily agree. The creativity is in giving the tools to the ape, and certainly in claiming that the result is art... -Stephan Schulz (talk) 20:53, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
Ideas aren't covered by copyright, so no one would have a copyright claim just because they thought of sticking the paintbrush in the ape's hand. Postdlf (talk) 21:26, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

Deletion was requested on copyright grounds, and the image was kept. See:

commons:Commons:Deletion requests/Image:Chimpanzee congo painting.jpg

--Hroðulf (or Hrothulf) (Talk) 10:37, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

Good discussion over there, especially the HLR article. I'm convinced enough that we are legally in the clear. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 20:53, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Fringe theories/Noticeboard

I am becoming increasingly concerned that the Fringe Theories Noticeboard is being used to enforce Political correctness, or in some cases just the personal preferences of a few users. See, for example, this discussion [9], in which a few users from that noticeboard argue for the removal of an article, which admittedly has problems, but which certainly has notability, based on premises that seem problematic. I want to put this here now, but do not have much time, and will fill this out better later, and supply some more examples too.

I have come to view the very existence of the Fringe theories/Noticeboard as more of a problem for WP, than as a solution to a problem. Malcolm Schosha (talk) 16:39, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

I would suggest that you are using the term "political correctness" in a way that is almost meaningless. It is reasonable to doubt the value of an article on a concept that very few people take seriously in the wider world. Paul B (talk) 21:09, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
this is, to put it politically incorrectly, a load of nonsense. FTN has done more to get rid of political correctness used as a tool to cirucumvent NPOV than any other project on Wikipedia. The only people complaining about FTN in the past have been conspiracy mongers wishing to push fringe topics (SRA comes to mind). Malcolm Schosha is trying to create political noise instead of a straightforward defense of the questionable article title "Eurabia" rather than the less sexy Islam in Western Europe within WP:NAME which it would be up to him to present if he wishes to keep the two articles separate, regardless of whether there has been any discussion at FTN prior to the merge request at Talk:Eurabia. It beats my how people can suggest that an issue of merging or cleaning up an article is somehow "tainted" or less valid if it has grown from a preliminary discussion at a noticeboard somewhere. Editors can just as well discuss things off-wiki, what counts is the merit of the issue raised, and not how it came to be raised. --dab (𒁳) 21:10, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
Dbachmann wrote: The only people complaining about FTN in the past have been conspiracy mongers wishing to push fringe topics...
Dbachmann, this amounts to an Ad hominem (the most notorious of logical fallacies) criticism of me -- or what you imagine about me -- and I want you to know that I do not appreciate that. I will fill out my criticism of the Fringe theories/Noticeboard as soon as I have more time, which will be tomorrow at the earliest. In the mean time, if you add further edits, I would appreciate your discussing the issues, instead of trying to discredit me.
I will say this, briefly. Placing an edit on the Fringe theories/Noticeboard (unlike most other noticeboards) usually has the effect of assembling a team of like minded editors who will then take action on the article targeted. The process is what for other editors, outside the fringe theories noticeboard, would be termed canvassing. Despite that inherent canvassing in the operation of the noticeboard, in many cases things works out okay, and sometimes problematic articles are trimmed back or re-written in a way that improves them. But there are also cases when this goes wrong. That is not surprising, and there are good reasons that canvassing is discouraged. I will add more to this later. Malcolm Schosha (talk) 22:50, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
There appears to be another ambiguity in your complaint: as I read the article talk page, the proposal is not to remove Eurabia but simply to merge it. It is quite appropriate to merge closely related articles when they are both notable. The redirect can simply be tagged {{R with possibilities}}, and they can be split again in the future. --Hroðulf (or Hrothulf) (Talk) 10:15, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
Hroðulf, my concern is not the Eurabia article, it is just an example; but, rather, with much more general problems with the fringe theories noticeboard. If I was only concerned about that article, I would not have initiated this discussion here, on a noticeboard concerned with WP policy. I will give an example, the particular example that first aroused my concern about the fringe theories noticeboard, as soon as I have enough time to put it together. (I have work in the outside world, that is close to a deadline, that needs some attention.) Malcolm Schosha (talk) 13:14, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

Re:the "inherent canvassing in the operation of the noticeboard". Your accusation might be applied with equal justice to any other noticeboard on Wikipedia, including this one. The rest of your argument amounts to little more than "When I like what the Fringe Theories Noticeboard does, it works; when I don't, it doesn't. Recently, I haven't liked it very much at all, so let's get rid of it altogether". Again, this argument might be applied to any other noticeboard on Wikipedia. --Folantin (talk) 10:57, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

I do not think that Folantin is correct about the canvassing problem being equally true of every noticeboard. For instance this notice board is intended to discuss WP policy, and (as far as I know) notices here do not server to assemble a team of editors to change an article in an agreed upon way. But that is exactly does happen when notices are placed on the fringe theory noticeboard. And, as often as not, there is nothing ever put on the article talk page to inform editors of the discussion at the fringe theory noticeboard, with its planning of major changes kept in secret, and that they really have every right to know.
There also seem to be many noticeboards (perhaps the majority) that exist to discuss improvement to articles in certain areas, i.e. religion noticeboards, visual arts noticeboards, etc. One could never compare any of that to canvassing. Malcolm Schosha (talk) 13:04, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

One has to wonder if there's a pattern developing here. Other editors don't like my changes to contentious articles? let's change the rules. Other editors don't agree with my point of view on FTN? FTN is useless. These policies and mechanisms appear to work for a great majority of the users, Malcolm. Why do they not work for you? Tarc (talk) 15:53, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

Rule? Which rule are you referring to? I have been fairly active on the fringe theories noticeboard, and I have no recollection of seeing you there. Concerning the Eurabia article, I only made a few edits none of them (as far as I can recall) recent. The issue is the fringe theories noticeboard, and not WP rules. Malcolm Schosha (talk) 17:07, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
Referring to the special editing rules for contentious articles that you tried, and failed, to push in the earlier section liked to above. And it does not matter where I am or am not active at the moment. "When I like what the Fringe Theories Noticeboard does, it works; when I don't, it doesn't. Recently, I haven't liked it very much at all, so let's get rid of it altogether" nailed this pretty perfectly as far as I am concerned, and I posted here to agree with that assessment. Tarc (talk) 17:39, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
That was a description of a WP problem, as I perceive it. As far as I know, that is what this noticeboard is for. It is a discussion, and not (as you try to portray it) a sneak attack. Concerning this, there was some interesting discussion, and I hope that other users will continue to think about the discussion. I did not "fail" because there was no specific suggestion I wanted to succeed. Malcolm Schosha (talk) 18:21, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

trust that Malcolm has taken the wikilawyering to the (predictable) next level of calling it ad hominem. Pointing out that your argument has no merit isn't ad hominem, give me a break. Next thing you'll claim I have threatened you with violence or insulted your mother. How about you stick to the actual issue and try to build a case instead of trying to drag it to the level of wikipolitics. Everyone is prepared to give your article a fair chance within WP:NOTE and WP:DUE, so how about trying some, dare I say it, WP:AGF. --dab (𒁳) 20:27, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Your direct implication has been that I, or anyone who opposes your editing goals, are a "conspiracy mongers" is most definitely an ad hominem. Believe it or not, ad hominem is not a wiki-term. As for wiki-lawering, usually I am accused of not understanding WP rules, which is mostly true; and not understanding wiki-speak, which is also mostly true.
What I see in your whole edit (above) is an attempt to discredit me personally (with accusations of wiki-lawering, wiki-politics); and, instead of responding to the actual problems. And what the hell is WP:NOTE and WP:DUE anyhow? All this wiki-speak (new speak?) is driving me nuts here. Can't someone here say anything in English? (In fact I have discussed notability and balance issues on the article talk page. Why would I discuss them here?) Malcolm Schosha (talk) 20:48, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
I tend to agree that WP:FTN has been quite useful. On a number of occasions, I've found useful feedback and sanity checking there when dealing with editing which violates WP:FRINGE or WP:NPOV. Our mechanisms for dealing with serious violations of content policy are slow, clunky, and often ineffective. The fringe theories noticeboard is a useful streamlining measure for dealing with clear-cut cases. In any case, if an editor feels the noticeboard is inappropriate or counterproductive, then the correct procedure would be to submit it to miscellany for deletion. MastCell Talk 21:53, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
MastCell, I agree that the fringe theories noticeboard is useful, and I do not think that contradicts my specific criticism of it. I was not thinking of nominating it for deletion. Rather I am interested in some fine tuning to reduce problems that come with canvassing like minded users, as does happen on that noticeboard. It is inevitable that users will think their POV is correct, but when an enthusiastic group of like minded users can be mobilized against articles, a lot of caution is necessary. Malcolm Schosha (talk) 22:14, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
This can happen on any noticeboard, project board, etc. It has the merit of being open, unlike the various mailing lists that exist for various 'causes'. So long as it is open, anyone can read it, right? And post there. I don't see a problem. You must have noticed that some stuff that gets brought there has been, after discussion, considered not to be fringe, or not suitable for whatever drastic (:-)) action was originally proposed. dougweller (talk) 19:33, 19 December 2008 (UTC)
No, it does not happen on just any noticeboard. The way it works is that, for instance, if you happen to decide an article is fringe, you put it on the noticeboard and you and a bunch of other editors descend on the targeted and make massive changes, or merge it. That is typically done by you without any previous discussion on the article talk page, much less trying to notify editors who have previously worked on the article. Your attitude is arrogant, and you think you have final ability to decide what is fringe and what is not. That sort of arrogance does not coincide with wiki-etiquette, nor even common decency. Malcolm Schosha (talk) 20:27, 19 December 2008 (UTC)
Well, that's kinda the nature of consensus there, pilgrim; when a broad majority of people come to an agreement on a given topic. If more people agree with them the there are people that agree wit you, then you kinda lose. No matter how much time is spent dragging this out, it is still coming across like a case of WP:SOURGRAPES (I'm surprised a page doesn't exist for that already, actually). Tarc (talk) 03:40, 20 December 2008 (UTC)
Tarc, it seems you may misunderstand what WP:Consensus is: Consensus develops from agreement of the parties involved. Consensus involves reasoned discussion, willingness to see the other side's point of view and (importantly) compromise[10]. Consensus is not one side outvoting the other and and then shoving their POV down the other side's throat in a winner take all in a zero sum game. Malcolm Schosha (talk) 13:14, 20 December 2008 (UTC)
Consensus does not mean unanimity, I'm afraid. We don't grind to a halt when a one voice or several still insist on swimming against the tide. Tarc (talk) 12:37, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

← Malcolm, it really sounds like the only solution for you would be to completely scrap our current Notice Board processes and invent something new. All the notice boards have a tendency to attract people interested in a particular topic. You may see that as PoV, but it's inherent to the system. Unless you propose and get community consensus to implement a new system, you're stuck with the consensus at the Fringe board. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 00:40, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

What you say about noticeboards is generally true, and I have no problem with that aspect of their functioning. My concern is cases like this [11] thread started on the fringe theories noticeboard. This is targeting an article for major change, and canvassing editors for the effort. It may be quite true that the article needed changes, and I do not object to that. The problem is the way it is done. For instance, you can see that the original canvassing was dated 27 November 2008, but there was not a single edit on the article's talk page before 2 December 2008 to explain the changes (really, not much then either). Certainly no effort was made to contact interested editors who had worked on the article, to explain why major changes were needed, and to solicit input from editors familiar with the content of the subject. I understand that the intention is good, but the way changes are made to articles by editors at FTN is often reprehensible. I do not think the system of noticeboards needs to be changed to correct that problem. All that is necessary is common decency and WP:etiquette. This was the first edit by an editor from the fringe theories noticeboard [12]. The massive change may have been justified, but by doing that without discussion and explanation, there followed a long edit war because there was nothing done to build understanding of the goals; and certainly the approach in the edits that followed did nothing to build understanding and good faith. Instead, that that edit did was communicate an attitude saying: the editors who wrote this article are a bunch of fools who don't understand or care about WP, we (at the fringe theory noticeboard) are going to make whatever changes we want to this article, and if you try to stop us you will get your buts kicked. So the intention of the FTN editors was good, but the approach was problematic. I think that can, and should, be changed without major changes to WP. (NB: The particular article is just given as an example, and there are countless other examples of this same over-aggressive approach to changing articles. I had nothing to do with the editing of the article ever, and am not interested in the subject.) Malcolm Schosha (talk) 13:23, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
hi Malcolm. your original contention was that you were (in my words) concerned that the Fringe Theories Noticeboard was being used to WP:POVPUSH and not maintaining WP:NPOV. your example was Seth Material and how social dynamics surrounding it coalesced to edit that page in a manner that was unpopular and unconsulting amongst those who ordinarily edited the page based on coordination on that noticeboard. you wondered whether the context of the Fringe Theories Noticeboard was a contributing stimulus to this social dynamic, and if it was this that led to a breach of WP:CONSENSUS.
  • first i encourage you to overlook the personal comments in response to you and have a fun time at Wikipedia. the wet blankets can sure sour the experience if one takes their critical, ad hominem responses to heart. generally you can ignore them and pretend that they are not there. certain ones will attempt to drive you away from their sandboxes with their acid and snide comments. get used to it, they appear to be gaining the upper hand in Wikipedia.
  • secondly, my examination (brief) of the FTNboard indicates that it is one of the zones of contention within which a general cultural struggle has ensued to which i have pointed within the Village Pump before (originally posted to the MISC section, see below for a link to its substance regard hierarchic wikis). from what i can tell some of the agents of this self-righteous struggle intentionally try to dishearten and disturb those with variant, esoteric, or 'fringe' paradigms as part of their agenda. at this point it has been incorporated as essential parts of WP:NPOV and WP:NPOVFAQ where it intersects WP:UNDUE, WP:FRINGE and the use of pejorative categories like Category:Pseudoscience. these are the launching points from which the hunting that occurs in your 'Fringe Theories Noticeboard' serve as target practice and nasty sociopolitics. there's such a divide about it that i don't think anyone is seriously addressing the issue as yet, though your consideration that certain forums lend themselves to the struggle seems to me somewhat accurate in a very specific way (the term 'fringe' is the lightning rod here).
  • finally, i would like to encourage you to consider the likelihood that Wikipedia is by its social choices pushing what it calls "fringe theories" and "pseudoscience" into other, more specialized wikis. consider my theory of hierarchical wikis ("The Bowl-Shaped Wikipedia"). there are other, non-encyclopedic and broader-minded, wikis to which the 'fringe' and esoteric authors are contributing instead. I've been trying to map them somewhat here.-- self-ref (nagasiva yronwode) (talk)
Hi Self-ref, and thanks for adding some interesting points to this discussion. I agree with most of what you have written. Perhaps I am more inclined to regard Wikipedia a lost cause than you.
There are, as you know other problematic areas in addition to the all too common disinclination of some editors to present esoteric subjects as they are, editors with a preference for adding negative editorialials. I started this discussion because of an effort to eliminate the Eurabia article. The basic idea of Eurabia is pretty simple, but highly problematic from the POV of those with a New Left, and university influenced Politically Correct thinking, and an inclination to impose that thinking on WP articles they find disagreeable. I suppose, in the final analysis, there are a growing number of editors who want articles on a number of subjects to conform to their POV, and then declaring their imposed POV to be WP:NPOV. (NB: my criticism of New Left and Politically Correct does not imply that I disagree with the entire content of either. Also my defense of the Eurabia article because of the notability of the subject mean I am in agreement with its premises.)
I do not have time now, but will write more later. Malcolm Schosha (talk) 13:09, 23 December 2008 (UTC)

A subject, and accusation, which has entered this conversation a few times is the claim that FTN is concerned about (to use Dbachmann's term) "conspiracy mongers." The fact is that discussion at Fringe theories/Noticeboard generates its own conspiracy theories -- I suppose created by its own participating conspiracy mongers.

An outstanding example is this [13] discussion, concerning the activities of Wikipedia's Baha'i editors. For those who are interested, the discussion continues here [14], where much of the discussion centers on objections of FTN editors to Baha'i coming at the top of alphabetical lists, and here [15], where a FTN editor made a major change to a well developed article without any explanation (much less discussion) on the article's talk page. There was, later, some discussion on the talk page [16], in which several FTN editors out voted an editor of the article, ensuring that (what they regarded) undeserving Baha'is would no longer be at the top of an alphabetical list. It was this series of editing events that first caused me to doubt the positive benefit of FTN. In the end, I quite regretted my participation, with the disregard of protests by an established editor of that article. I doubt that any change was necessary, and if change was made it should have been done in a way that was not so arrogant.

The situation on the Fringe theories/Noticeboard is of somewhat out of control editors, in my view loose cannons, who suspect that much of what they do not understand, or what they do not like, to be fringe; and consequently going on the attack based on ignorance and/or personal preferences. They claim the result is NPOV, but the result is all too frequently nothing more than their own POV.Malcolm Schosha (talk) 15:19, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

In the interests of disclosure, I will admit to being a follower of the noticeboard. But I would also invite people to take a look at Wikipedia:Fringe theories/Noticeboard/Archive 6#Jesus myth hypothesis for some further history of this particular dispute, history which I personally had forgotten. Cynically, I am moved to consider whether appealing to here isn't simply a much larger scale kind of canvassing. Mangoe (talk) 20:49, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
I have made almost no edits to that article, which is of very low importance to me. I have been involved -- on occasion -- in discussion on the article talk page, and Fringe theories/Noticeboard discussion. I have given examples (above) of FTN editing article that are of absolutely zero interest to me as articles, but which I think were handled far too aggressively by groups of editors from FTN. I do wish Mangoe would stop responding to every criticism I make of FTN, with accusations of self interest on my part. I have made no similar accusations of bad faith editing concerning him, or any other editor of FTN; and I assume they are acting in good faith...even if sometimes misguided. Malcolm Schosha (talk) 22:09, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Infobox for Lame Duck status?

I'm not sure if this has come up before, but would it be useful to add an infobox setting for outgoing incumbent officials? In other words, currently an official is listed as incumbent up until the end of his or her term, even if a successor has already been named. I just checked at George W. Bush, and there are warnings all over the place not to change it until 2009-01-20. Wouldn't it be less confusing and more information-rich to note these officials as "outgoing (on yyyy-mm-dd)" rather than "incumbent"? (also "outgoing" would seem better than "lame duck")

I checked on the Template:Infobox talk page and didn't see any comments there, but I thought I'd float the idea here first, since this page gets more traffic. I'll add a note there shortly. superlusertc 2008 December 17, 00:03 (UTC)

Since George W. Bush is still sitting in office making decisions, "Incumbent" would seem to be an accurate description of the situation. --Carnildo (talk) 00:36, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
That's not quite the point. Labelling such an official as "outgoing" would also inform readers that the official has not won re-election (if applicable) and that a replacement has been chosen, which is more information than is currently presented. Right now, this information is located in the article text and not as easily accessible. As I said, it would also reduce the need for the warnings (which people have placed in the article for Bush or had to create a separate template for).
For readers who do not come from the area in which the official rules, it can help to reduce confusion about upcoming events. I see that incumbent makes sense; I'm just wondering if outgoing makes more sense. superlusertc 2008 December 17, 05:07 (UTC)
Totally unnecessary. What gives you the impression that people do not follow the text? =Nichalp «Talk»= 17:33, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
Well, I see no fewer than eight reversions of George W. Bush regarding this, despite the page being semiprotected and having warnings in the text. That suggests that someone's not reading it.
Honestly, I don't have any real opinion on this, but it does seem more information-rich to describe it that way, and I don't think Wikipedia has ever had to deal with the issue before (though possibly in the wake of the Australian elections in 2004). I'm simply suggesting that we give the idea a fair hearing, because we won't have incentive to reevaluate this again for a few years. superlusertc 2008 December 17, 23:17 (UTC)

Let's not over explode the infoboxes. The US transition period is one of the longest in the world (to my knowledge). In most countries transitions between governments is an issues of weeks, if not days. As Wikipedia is not a news site adding a transition status for a fewdays would be over the top. So this expansion would be only relevant for those few countries with lengthy transition periods (ie the US) which happens only for a few months every 4 (or in the case of re-election) or 8 years. I think this is just over the top, to deal with a very specific and time-bound issue; so I would say, not relevant enough to implement. Arnoutf (talk) 22:22, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Further, when are you going to add "outgoing" to Bush's infobox? You could justify adding it as early as the evening of November 2, 2004. --Carnildo (talk) 23:33, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
Arnoutf makes some good points. I'll add that the issue comes up more frequently (though less prominently) every two years in the US, since there are approximately 60 days between the election and the inauguration of new Congresspeople. Again, I just want to give the idea a fair hearing because it will probably be a long time before we have a reason to revisit the issue. superlusertc 2008 December 19, 06:00 (UTC)
Adding it once there is a president (or whatever) elect would seem a neat place, as their successor could be linked (or Presidential transition of Barack Obama). I like the idea as it provides information and could be formattted as formatted as "Incumbent (outgoing January 20, 2009)" --Nate1481 19:03, 23 December 2008 (UTC)

New individual access level: editprotected

Moved to new proposal page: Wikipedia:Protected editing rights. Discussion moved to appropriate talk page. I just thought I would make a start. I strongly encourage everyone to mercilessly edit and improve the proposal page. --.:Alex:. 20:11, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

Podcasts and WP:RS

A question has arisen at WT:RS that I don't remember ever discussing before... are podcasts considered reliable sources? Assuming I am right and this is a new question, I think we need a fairly large sample of community opinion before we can determine consensus. Please swing by the guideline talk page an share your views. If it is not a new question... please point me to where it has been discussed. Blueboar (talk) 03:26, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

it depends. self-published podcasts should not generally be considered reliable (see WP:SPS). some podcasts are published in a way that makes them just as reliable as good magazines. in general, reliability is independent of whether the source is printed, video or audio.  —Chris Capoccia TC 14:03, 19 December 2008 (UTC)
Boy did this question ever baloon... we ended up discussing it a both RS and at V. It touched on several other policy statements such as WP:SPS (for example: just who is the publisher when someone is interviewed on a podcast... the interviewee, the interviewer, the website, etc.) However, I think the issue is stettled. Just so people have a chance to comment if needed... we have reached the following determinations at the relevant policy pages:
When dealing with podcasts, the publisher is the website where the podcast is found. The people speaking are to be considered the authors of their remarks. Since both publisher and author are aspects of "the source"... both need to be evaluated when determining RS. As for whether WP:SPS should apply to a podcast... this needs to be evaluated on a case by case basis. For example, if a noted expert is being interviewed on a podcast, WP:SPS would apply if the podcast is hosted (published) on a website that is reasonably tied to the expert (the author). It would not apply if there is no reasonable tie between the two. Blueboar (talk) 19:05, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

Input needed on use of non-free logos on sports team pages

Please provide your input on this RFC to resolve whether team logos can be used on pages that significantly talk about the team (such as per-season team pages or rivalry pages). --MASEM 14:52, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Protecting BLP articles feeler survey

FYI, based on a conversation on Jimmy Wales's talk page:

Your feedback is appreciated. rootology (C)(T) 19:27, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

I think flagged revisions are a wonderful idea, but should be strictly kept to featured articles (helps us look good) and biographies of living people (legal reasons). I am strongly opposed to them going farther than that, I think it would break the spirit of wikipedia and turn it into a cool kids club of people who can commit revisions. --ScWizard (talk) 08:10, 20 December 2008 (UTC)

Grammy Awards

Looking at 50th Grammy Awards and 51st Grammy Awards I observe that WP:MOSMUSIC has not been applied and that almost everything has been emboldened. I can, perhaps, understand emboldening the winner in a list of nominees, but can't see the point in a list of winners only or of nominees only. Should WP:MOSMUSIC be applied rigorously? -- SGBailey (talk) 23:24, 20 December 2008 (UTC)

  • Yes, I would say in such an instance. --➨♀♂Candlewicke ST # :) 16:16, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

Remove A7


I recall a discussion I had some time ago about trying to clarifying A7, so that it was made clear that any assertion of notability was enough to warrant an WP:AFD. However the discuss dried up and very little came of it . It still appears that user are devoting far too much time speeding articles under A7 and not understanding how it works or the subject at hand .Not wanting to single any user out but needing an example User:Adamfinmo has nominated four articles for A7 in the last day which have failed . This raises the question how many border line articles has the user nominated and a admin deleted. I propose A7 is removed and articles which have questionable notability are taken to AFD. If these articles are about a not notable person , band or what have you a WP:Snow consensus will form rather rapid. This will at least give the article author time to defend their work (a article can be A7 deleted in minutes) and will stop biting people.Gnevin (talk) 23:31, 20 December 2008 (UTC)

I for one value A7. I only delete articles under A7 where there is no assertion of meeting notability criteria. Things like, "my garage band is really cool," and "my boyfriend is so cute." There are way too many articles needing deletion under A7 to consider getting rid of it. It would be a monumental waste of time to AfD every article about a local band, small business or nn webpage that clearly makes no assertion of notability. That's why we have the speedy deletion process. If anything, we need more CSD categories to cover some of the drivel that does not fit. Dlohcierekim 23:37, 20 December 2008 (UTC)
The trouble is there are far to many A7 noms for stuff which asserts notability and they whole process gives very little time for user to say {{hangon}} Gnevin (talk) 23:45, 20 December 2008 (UTC)
Then the reviewing admin needs to remove the CSD tag. Just because someone sticks on a CSD tag does not mean the admin has to delete it. I have been known to detag articles I see as asserting notability. Dlohcierekim 23:47, 20 December 2008 (UTC)
This is not going to happen. About as many articles are deleted through A7 in a few hours are nominated for AFD in an entire day. The vast majority would just be a waste of community time to put through AFD. Mr.Z-man 00:00, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
The problem isn't the category, but rather then admin. There are admins who rush the process or actually simply don't care. I contacted one yesterday about his careless speedies, and his response was essentially, "I don't care that it is not technically a speedy, it's going to be deleted anyway, so, use SNOW to justify deleting it." If you are interested in who, you can probably figure it out via my talk page.---Balloonman PoppaBalloon 01:18, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
Maybe your right that it's a lack of understanding by admins or poorly applied policy take for example Boathouse_(band) which had BBC coverage and thus a level of notability and and Andrew Bonds which claimed 15,000 listeners and thus a modicum of notability .Both in my opinion should of went to AFD. Both haves No indication that the article may meet guidelines for inclusion) in the deletion log which seems totally wrong. I've asked both admin to discuss why the felt A7 applied here .Gnevin (talk) 02:02, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
@Balloonman: Its called WP:IAR, ignoring a rule to avoid wasting time. Its policy, admins are allowed to do it. In the case of obvious crap like Sandwichmas, its encouraged. And I'm curious as to how one "rushes" speedy deletion when there is no set time limit. And its not a "careless" deletion if they actually thought it out, which their response indicates they did. Mr.Z-man 16:54, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
I strongly disagree with removing it, as it is one of the most common ways IME of usefully getting rid of large amounts of non-notable spam articles that people create. Even with a WP:SNOW, it takes a lot longer to go through the AfD process, so this either significantly increases the workload, or means these articles never get removed. However, I do have concerns of admins who misinterpret this criterion. I think one problem is how explicit an assertion has to be. For example, should mentioning 15,000 listeners be enough, or do we have to spell it out with "This person is notable as he has 15,000 listeners"? Mdwh (talk) 02:46, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

Copied from Dlohcierekim talk page

Can you please review this and tell us why you felt Andrew Bonds had no indication of notability 02:04, 21 December 2008 (UTC)—Preceding unsigned comment added by Gnevin (talkcontribs) Dlohcierekim 02:12, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

I'm sorry, but there is no indication of meeting WP:BIO in the article. Dlohcierekim 02:11, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
The point of the discussion is that the article doesnt have to meet BIO or any other guideline/policy only assert notabilty can you reply at the discussionGnevin (talk) 02:16, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
If it wasn't under A7 (which I think is valid here, assertion that the guy is moderately successful is not the same as an assertion of notability), it could've just as easily been G11'd, since it was basically a glowing ad for the guy and his work. That's an entirely valid speedy. Speedy doesn't preclude a decent article being written, so if you can find a good number of independent and reliable sources which discuss this gentleman in depth, please feel free to write an article on him. Otherwise, you're arguing technicalities, we don't invalidate correct actions for not following the correct process. Seraphimblade Talk to me 02:37, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
Its not for the admin to decide what is notable just that their is an assertion and the claim of 15,000 is a claim of notability, I have no particular interest in this article it was picked at random Gnevin (talk) 02:49, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

copying omitted portion from my talk page ::::There is no need to restore as I don't feel it would stand a WP:Snow chance on passing. I'm not trying to pick on you in particular ,rather just highlighting how A7 is being using far outside the scope for which it is intended . Gnevin (talk) 02:33, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

Ok thanks for you feedback , I wasn't attempting to attack you or your decision , just trying to improve the A7 process which seems a litte off to me at the minute Gnevin (talk) 02:43, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

Copied from Gnevin talk page

I seem to be being drug into this discussion whether i want to or not.

I'm sorry, but there is no indication of meeting WP:BIO in the article. Dlohcierekim 02:11, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

I don't see that this asserts meeting notability. If you disagree, please let me know what I've missed. Cheers, Dlohcierekim 02:17, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
To continue, not asserting notability does not usually suffice with me. In searching for WP:RS providing verifiable information, I come up with nothing that would help me expand the article. Dlohcierekim 02:20, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
Having 15,000 listeners asserts notability? How? What wstandard of notability are you going by? There is no significant media coverage that aI can find. No third party sources? i seem to be missing something? Dlohcierekim 02:22, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
The scope of CSD is to remove article that unquestionably do not meet inclusion criteria. That, IMHO, is my remit. That's why admins are supposed o be trusted. I'm supposed to have the judgment to make this call, and the open mindedness to reverse myself when in error. Dlohcierekim 02:35, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

Survey of A7 Deletions

I've been doing some reviews lately on CSD work... A7 actually appears, based upon my limited non-scientific survey, to be one of the more reliably used tags. That being said, I think it is the one where (even when properly utilized) does the most biting of newbies.---EDIT: Forgot to sign:---Balloonman PoppaBalloon 17:53, 21 December 2008 (UTC)


I have restored my original heading. that was deleted as A7, not G11, as the below discussion shows, it was A7, with BLP concerns.

What about BLP , the guy ran for president if that isn't an assertion of notability I don't know what is. Of 20 articles tagged for speedy ,I found 5 which asserted some notablity , 3 where deleted thats 18% Gnevin (talk) 02:41, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

That's what I thought at first, too. As it turns out he really does not. The only claim is hopelessly ridden with BLP concerns. I contacted the original tagger, for WP:CSDG10. I hoped that the claim to notability would outweigh the BLP issue, but it does not. I searched for a way to source and save the article, and found nothing that would prevent its deletion. rather than deletig it myself, I retagged it for another look, and it was deleted. Dlohcierekim 02:48, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
BLP? Gnevin (talk) 02:50, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
You really need to read all of the article, in its original form. If you'd checked the sourcing on this you would know-- as its still out there, but not here. Saying you are running for President and being an actual candidate are very different things. Suffice it to say the guy had some issues and that an article would only hold him up to derision. There are no WP:RS to back any clam of notability. Any hope of a claim is hopelessly enmeshed in the BLP issue.There is still a cache of his candidacy page. The original has come down. Seriously, I don't just see a CSD tag and delete. I do look- for RS, for notability, for some way to save the article. If I do, I decline. If not, I delete.. Dlohcierekim 02:59, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
The point of A7 is that it doesn't need RS to back up the claim .So A7 didn't apply too quote or web content that does not indicate why its subject is important or significant. This is distinct from questions of verifiability and reliability of sources, and is a lower standard than notability .Now there may of been other reasons to delete but A7 was not one.Gnevin (talk) 03:10, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

A7: what is an assertion of notability and incorrect deletion logs

I've mark the above resolved as the issue has changed so much . As per above what is an assertion of notability? And are some admins confusing the issue by using A7 when more apt reasons would apply such as the Lee Mercer Jr. example above Gnevin (talk) 02:57, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

I don't think it's resolved. I think we still have much to discuss. I'm just one editor, and there has been no participation from anyone else. Dlohcierekim 03:00, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
Well deleting A7 is a non runner , even I can see that . The issue for me now is what is an assertion of notability and incorrect deletion logs but feel free to remove the tag above Gnevin (talk) 03:02, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

A7 text clarification proposal

See Wikipedia talk:Criteria for speedy deletion#Proposed clarification for A7. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 03:16, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

Photographs and Original research

I was wondering how the no original research policy works with photographs. For example, there will be a photo of a bird taken by a user and included with an article and the user will state that this photograph is in indeed of the bird the article is about. To me this seems like original research in itself -- it doesn't seem trivial to identify the species of any arbitrary bird just based on a photograph. And of course there is no published source for these photographs identifying their subjects as such. And many photographs appear to have this status. What is the policy for this? --Atethnekos (talk) 05:20, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

WP:OI is a good place to start. Anomie 05:30, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. So are such photographs considered to "illustrate or introduce unpublished ideas or arguments" or not? Say this photo: User Mbz1 made it and says it is of mallard ducklings, and it's placed on the Mallard article as such. But the idea that they are actually mallard ducklings is unpublished. How do we know they are mallard ducklings and not just some ducklings of some other type of duck? How did Mbz1 know? Didn't she just conclude on her own that they were? Is that not original research? --Atethnekos (talk) 06:06, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
Considering that there are images on the page to compare the one in question with, this seems a rather pointless exercise. Pictures like these aren't original research, because it isn't presenting any unpublished ideas or arguments. To point to that image and say, "This is a Mallard," is something that takes almost no effort to disprove if untrue, and is easy enough to confirm by its markings. — Trust not the Penguin (T | C) 06:12, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
If that picture isn't presenting any unpublished idea, then where is the idea that that picture is indeed of mallard ducklings published? Maybe it is published somewhere, but there is no link given or anything.--Atethnekos (talk) 06:20, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
How do I know this bird picture you uploaded is indeed of the bird in question? How do I know a picture of Barack Obama at some rally is really from that particular rally? Do you see what I'm getting at? Uploading pictures in encouraged, especially free ones, and there's no original research in taking a picture or describing its contents literally. The uploader is taken at their word. Worst case, they were wrong and the image is removed. This has long been accepted practice, and I've even argued it before with some picture of Japanese people. It's how we get free pictures of animals, people, etc. Unless you want to prove that this particular image is not what it claims to be, then this argument really has nowhere else to go. — Trust not the Penguin (T | C) 06:40, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
(It was thinking about the inclusion of that photo that I thought of this). So the policy is to accept as accurate people's statements regarding photographs they upload unless proven as false? Is there a standard of proof like maybe the standard is just community acceptance? Well anyway, if this is the policy, then why not include it in the policy page? The page as is stands seems to imply something different: "Image captions are subject to this policy no less than statements in the main text of the article. Great care should be taken not to introduce original research into an article when captioning images." --Atethnekos (talk) 17:30, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
Not policy, practice. Not everything has to have a rule. In short, yes, if you can prove the image is not being used properly, you can remove it. Otherwise, the uploader usually has no reason to lie about something as trivial as ducks. — Trust not the Penguin (T | C) 17:34, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

I think the undocumented photographs are reaching near-crisis proportions. I hereby call for all these dubious pictures to be quarantined pending review by a panel. Hole Punch 85 (talk) 22:26, 23 December 2008 (UTC)

WP:OI specifically addresses this situation, and says that original, editor created images are exempted from NOR is most situations... not only are such images allowed, they are encouraged. Please read the policy. Blueboar (talk) 18:47, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
Then the policy should be rescinded. The written description (caption) of the image is what the OP was mostly arguing about...the image might fall under the policy exception but the editor's commentary below the image (without which the image would have no context) is not. Pepe Machao (talk) 02:51, 25 December 2008 (UTC)
This is an example of what I'm talking about. The caption is OR with no exception.

WP:C, reference to derivative works

In WP:C, I'd like to propose including specific reference to abridgment as derivative work in the section Wikipedia:Copyrights#Using copyrighted work from others. Please see Wikipedia talk:Copyrights#Derivative works. I'd greatly appreciate feedback there as to the language used as well as with respect to potentially consensus-derailing problems. :) --Moonriddengirl (talk) 15:35, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

A modest proposal

I have just posted a proposal for a board tasked with ensuring transparency and accountability for Arbitration, Checkuser and Oversight. The proposal is available at Wikipedia:Review Board, and comments are welcome and sollicited.

Please note that this is a proposal from a new Arbitrator, but not a Committee proposal. Other arbitrators have examined, commented, and assisted in the crafting of this proposal, but in their individual capacities. — Coren (talk) 23:52, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

The original A Modest Proposal was that we should eat orphan children as a means of curtailing the population and famine. Is it safe to assume that your proposal is not satire? I don't mean to imply that it is--I'm just making sure. superlusertc 2008 December 22, 02:50 (UTC)
Who said anything about satire? Jonathan Swift (talk) 04:35, 22 December 1729 (UTC)

Numbers are not numbers, but years... why?

Hi, I want to understand the rationale of making number articles about years instead of about the actual numbers (i.e. this guideline). I hope that's clear enough: the article 1 is about the year, not about the actual number. I know there's a lot of discussion about it, but I haven't found a page that honestly explains why this is the way it was decided to be. (For the record, I find this convention totally ridiculous and the most annoying thing about Wikipedia). Kreachure (talk) 22:42, 23 December 2008 (UTC)

I seem to recall this coming up a long time ago, but I don't remember the details. In any event, my impression on it now is that bare numbers are considered to be years because most relevant links to bare numbers are to years. Is it more likely that someone that writes [[1979]] is writing about the year, or the number? In general, it's probably the year. Besides, it's more relevant to link years than link random numbers (despite that linking years, even, has fallen out of favour in some circles). I thought it was strange at first, but if you think about it, the way it is now makes a lot of sense. Besides, most of the year articles at low numbers have hatnotes linking to the relevant number article. {{Nihiltres|talk|log}} 23:07, 23 December 2008 (UTC)
Certain topics in Wiki circles get the hairs standing up on everyones shoulders. Cheese, members of the US Senate, and numbers. It's just one of those things which turn out through the organic evolution that is the crazy world of on-line encyclopedias. I would prefer a number such as 1 to link to the ordinal digit, while 1982 should always go to the year of my sister's birth. But knowing this wonderful place as I do, such logic will take three pages and months of discussion to go nowhere. doktorb wordsdeeds 23:19, 23 December 2008 (UTC)
(Edit Conflict) Well, sure, it probably works for articles like 1979, but what about far more common numbers, like 1-10, etc.? I could presume the contrary, that linking numbers (at least up to 100) is far more likely than linking to years (0-100 AD, I guess). Instead of giving the "numbers are years" a limit of some sort (1000 to 3000, for example), they decided that all numbers, including one through ten, should be years! That does not make a lick of sense to me, sorry. I find it particularly annoying because it's like asking Wikipedia "what is 1?" and Wikipedia answering "1 is a year." 1 is not a year, it's a number!!! :P Kreachure (talk) 23:28, 23 December 2008 (UTC)
It's because of the (now hopefully discontinued) practice of Date Autoformating. Taemyr (talk) 22:21, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

School exemption for Criteria for speedy deletion A7 up for discussion

The Criteria for speedy deletion A7 says articles about organizations except schools which do not claim notability can be speedy-deleted. This is up for discussion. See Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Schools/Criteria for Speedy Deletion A7 if you want to participate. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 04:41, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

Opinions of User:Gnevin/schools wanted

Can you have a look at User:Gnevin/schools and edit or comment as you see fit Gnevin (talk) 10:49, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

POV tag

Who changed the wording of this tag? It used to read "The neutrality of this article is disputed". Now it reads:

Editors are currently in dispute concerning points of view expressed in this article. Please help to discuss and resolve the dispute before removing this message.

The new wording is much more insipid and totally fails to get the point across in my view. I don't know who is responsible for the change, but I think it needs to be changed back to what it was, pronto. Gatoclass (talk) 16:56, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

The wording was changed as a result of this discussion - Template talk:POV#Proposed reworking. Davewild (talk) 17:02, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
I am not at all satisfied with that discussion. You have, apparently, three or four editors deciding on an out-of-the-way page that they are going to effect a change which effects thousands of articles. The new wording completely fails to get the point across. It just states that that there are some disputes. So what? Wikipages are always under some sort of dispute or another, but that is a very different issue to the neutrality of an article being disputed. There are a lot of articles on wikipedia that are clearly biased and need to have a strongly worded tag in order to draw attention to the problem, watering down tags because someone's feelings might be hurt is just pandering. I am strongly opposed to this change and I think it needs to be reversed. Gatoclass (talk) 17:23, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
Agree with Gatoclass. 5 days discussion, under a header that opens with layout issues, and a sudden change to one of the most used templates (in my opinion overused - but that is another matter) in the project and the view of thousands of pages decided between 4 editors. That should have been much more carefully approached. Arnoutf (talk) 17:37, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
I just think a few points need to be made here. Firstly, dispute tags are not placed on articles for the benefit of editors, they are placed there for the benefit of readers. A dispute tag alerts the reader to the fact that someone thinks the article is giving false or misleading information, that is a very important function that needs to be maintained.
Secondly, all our other dispute tags explain the nature of the dispute. So we have dispute tags about accuracy, possible hoaxes, original research, contradictions, imbalance, synthesis, advertisement, relevance etc etc etc. And now suddenly, a tag alerting readers to the highly important fact that an article may violate one of our most fundamental policies, NPOV, is stripped of its specifics and turned into a generic alert. That just defies logic, and serves our readership very poorly.
Thirdly, it has made the tag inconsistent with our other neutrality tags. We still have the totallydisputed tag which refers clearly to the neutrality problem, and the POV-title tag which does the same. And yet the basic neutrality tag has now been altered to say something else. That just doesn't make any sense.
Finally, I see this change as basically pandering to the most damaging kind of editor on wikipedia, the POV-pusher. The last thing we should be doing is making things easier for those who would use this project to try and peddle their own agenda. A major advantage of the previous POV tag is that it actually gave POV-pushers a strong incentive to work productively with other editors to get the whistle-blowing tag removed. Now that the tag has been stripped of effect, how much incentive are they going to have to work with other editors? This is just giving POV-pushers all over the encyclopedia a great big free kick.
Although I'm sure this change was made with the best of intentions, I don't believe we can effectively run an encyclopedia based on such considerations as the hypothetical "feelings" of some editors - particularly when those editors are likely to be amongst the most damaging to the project. Gatoclass (talk) 05:06, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
The tag has been reverted by User:Coren on the basis that there was insufficient discussion before the change. Gatoclass (talk) 07:08, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
I was involved in the discussed change and the problem we were trying to address is the other side to your concerns. The issue is that {{POV}} is regularly used not only to label biased sections as such but it is also often used speciously to label broadly neutral sections as biased. That is to say that {{POV}} is itself used to push a point-of-view; I was looking for a wording that would make it difficult to use in such a manner. CIreland (talk) 07:13, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
CIreland says it well.--Goodmorningworld (talk) 23:43, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
While I agree with CIreland, that does not mean the tag should be changed. It merely means that we should NOT ACCEPT that people pushing their own POV litter articles with multiple tags actively discouraging readers to take the article seriously. My own position in this is such that if there is a tag that refers to a talk page discussion (which POV does) and there is no clear talk page discussion, I just remove it with the summary something like "No discussion hence template not supported". This is about controlling POV pushing however, not the wording of the tag (POV pushers will find other means even after neutralising this template). Arnoutf (talk) 00:08, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

I'm sure CIreland is correct to say that some people exploit the POV tag to try and discredit articles they don't like. However, some users will exploit any policy to try and gain an advantage, the solution is not to start discarding the policies.

Apart from which, I think the problem CIreland alludes to is a relatively minor one. In my own experience, the addition of the neutrality tag will usually encourage POV-pushers to co-operate in getting the tag removed, so I think it is, more often than not, actually quite an effective tool against POV-pushing.

Regardless however, I believe that informing our readership of a POV dispute is a vital function that must not be compromised. Interested readers can always check the talk pages to decide for themselves how legitimate the POV complaint is, but if they aren't adequately warned of the problem in the first place, they are unlikely to even realize a POV dispute exists, and that would be a far greater evil in my book. Gatoclass (talk) 08:43, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

what is a 'valid' edit?

Other than the three pillars (verifiability, npov, ) and copyrite? I'm a new editor whose edits keep getting reverted (I'm told that my edits are 'invalid', but none of the reverters will tell me why my edits are 'invalid' or point me to the policy which explains what they mean by 'invalid'. Instead, I was told to ask the question here. (please ignore the header, my iPhone doesn't have an equals sign) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:46, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

What specific edits? Can you let us know your login name and/or the names of some of the articles you've been editing? -- Rick Block (talk) 19:44, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
It would help if you provided some articles you edited, so we can see what edits were called invalid (or you can provide your username so we can check some of the cases from your log). In general my opinion is most edits are valid; and more explanation should be given. However, there are a number of minor edits that can be considered "invalid". Most of these violage WP:MOS. For example adding too many wikilinks especially to dates, changing UK to US spelling, etc. Without examples however I cannot say this is the case with you. Arnoutf (talk) 19:46, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
The IP user was removing massive amounts of referenced encyclopedic content from Illegal immigration to the United States for no reason other than to shorten the article. The user did not even request that the data be moved to a new page. See this discussion. -- IRP 20:02, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
the content I removed was less than 3 percent of the article and was a discussion on whether to use "alien" or "immigrant". It was a muddled and brief discussion on what terms are used by the government and a much longer discussion on what terms are used by journalists. I may have mentioned before that many editors have said the current article is too long. If less than 3 percent is massive, what does "edit boldly" mean? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:02, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
Have a look at the page Wikipedia:Article size which tells you what to do with long articles. The usual approach is to move content to other pages, rather than just deleting it. Tra (Talk) 21:07, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
OP argued that the removed content was irrelevant. I don't think the content could be spun out, since we are talking about a discussion about the terminology used. If it's needed then it's needed in the article, if it isn't needed, ie. if the term "illegal alien" is unambiguous then the section should be deleted. Taemyr (talk) 21:22, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

You where not told that your edit was invalid, you where told that your arguments to support that edit was invalid. Which means that the editor making that claim did not feel that the argument was convincing. Taemyr (talk) 21:26, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

Re anonymous IP new editor. I think your approach was a bit too bold, not to say blunt, on the illegal immigration page. Some discussion on its talk page should have been started (by you) if you want to remove large sections of text (note that this is usually a sign of vandalism so the original reversion is likely the consequence of that similiarity). You certainly should have gone to the talk page after the first revert. Shortening the article without extensive discussion may sometimes be considered invalid.
Re anonymous IP, I would strongly suggest to start using talk pages and create a user account.
Re other involved editors; as this user claims to be a newby your responses do not align well with WP:BITE as it seems the anon editor was not consciously vandalising the article. Arnoutf (talk) 21:26, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

I kept telling that user over and over again to go to Talk:Illegal immigration to the United States and discuss it. That user refused to take the suggestion. -- IRP 21:49, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
Diff please, I can't find this. Taemyr (talk) 10:20, 25 December 2008 (UTC)Never mind, found it. [17],[18]. Taemyr (talk) 10:40, 25 December 2008 (UTC)
I personally think the IP had it right. He should be praised for his boldness and not chided like a deficient. In regard to what is "valid" here, I would think that edits dealing with drugs and pornography are the most valid but that's my own personal opinion. Pepe Machao (talk) 02:46, 25 December 2008 (UTC)
Making an edit once is being bold. Repeatedly doing it after multiple people revert it and refusing to discuss it is disruptive edit warring. Repeatedly doing it while citing a non-existent discussion as justification is just deception. Mr.Z-man 05:05, 25 December 2008 (UTC)
There are several discussions on the talk page pointing out that the article is too long. There does not appear to be any comments to the effect that the article is not to long. Those discussions is a bit old, however the current page is over 100 kb long. Taemyr (talk) 10:20, 25 December 2008 (UTC)
Something that continues to confuse me is that I can't find a policy which states that all edits must be discussed in the talk page before being made. I can find where Wikipedia says not to revert without giving a reason. Given that, continual unexplained reversions looked invalid and came across as article ownership. They were counter constructive. That's why I ignored them. When dealing with a group of editors who are owning an article, what is the appropriate course of action? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:17, 25 December 2008 (UTC)
Not all edits must be discussed on the talk page before being made. Making the change is very often a good way to start a discussion, if no one opposes then the edit has consensus.
When someone does oppose then disputes should be settled by developing consensus, and for that discussion is needed. Which is what the talk page is for. Reversion is not in itself an indication of ownership issues, reversion while ignoring discussion might be. But you have not initiatated any readily availiable discussion. Other than that, see WP:Dispute for how to handle content disputes.
Also note that outright deletion of material is a very common form of vandalism, so some editors have misconstrued your motives. Taemyr (talk) 13:39, 25 December 2008 (UTC)
I would note that removing properly referenced material without either discussion of the specifics of what to remove or mentioning it after the fact in the talk page is usually a bad idea and likely to be frowned upon. While material is never truly lost, usually if it's not noticed at the time of remove it more or less if. If you take the material to the talk page, it's easier for someone to see it and re-used it in some way. Secondly, not liking the tone of someone is NEVER and accuse to refuse to discuss a change. If a change is disputed you have to discuss it. Refusing to discuss a change but enforcing it anyway because you don't like the tone of other editors or because you think they have ownership issues is incredibly poor behaviour. Ultimately IMHO there's a fine line between being bold and being reckless and not everyone agrees where that line is. As such, if you do want to be bold, at the minimum you have to accept that people are not going to always agree your beind bold was a good idea. N.B. I'm not sure if you're aware but being bold is part of the WP:BRD cycle. Reversion which the other editors did is the second part of the cycle. Discussion is supposed to be the third Nil Einne (talk) 12:05, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the feedback. What happened was, in reading the talk page, I saw a consensus that the article was too long. I tried to fix that problem (and provided a statement in my edit summary to that effect). I was reverted without an explanation. One of the reverters said my edit was invalid. I asked him to point me to the relevant policy. He was unable to do so. You all are telling me that I should discuss my edits (at least those that get reverted) in the talk page. The lesson learned here is that if somebody makes an edit I don't like, I can revert it without an explanation and force him to respond to my reasons for reverting (reasons that I never actually gave him) before he can make the edit. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:07, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
I think you've mostly got it, although normally you should give an explanation when reverting, unless the edit looks like vandalism to you, which I think may have happened in this situation. It's good to respond to why an edit was reverted, although often you can't really force someone into a discussion. Tra (Talk) 00:19, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

Although I think the newbie IP editor was acting in good faith, (s)he was violating the three revert rule. Although we can't expect someone to learn Wikipedia in a day, or even a week, the user should get familiar with the policy to avoid future conflicts like this one. PCHS-NJROTC (Messages) 15:59, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

suggestion to add advertising

feel free to shoot me down for an already overwrought topic, but I would like to again suggest that instead of a [rather annoying] yearly banner add that wikipedia adopt google ads in a very conspicuously noted place [very bottom, somewhere where people can tell exactly what is going on]. Add a disclaimer, do what you need to do, but a fund drive is not necessary. Just my $0.02. Thoughts? Rogerdpack (talk) 16:10, 26 December 2008 (UTC)

No, no and thrice NO. – ukexpat (talk) 16:21, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
hm... no. although I wish Wikimedia would make a virtue of slimming down so they wouldn't need to go asking for multiple millions in the middle of an economic crisis. --dab (𒁳) 16:55, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
What needs to happen is an advertising-inserting gadget. I would have no problem whatsoever with an opt-in system, and it could net the Foundation a fair amount of funds without all the "but I don't want to see any ads!" nonsense that plagues this idea. EVula // talk // // 17:02, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
re: Opt-in advertising: Hmm, I'd actually go for that. However, I don't see it happening soon unless there's a financial crisis. It would give those of us who don't have a lot of cash a way to financially support the project. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 22:52, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
No, nein, le, nu, non, na, nei, nej, ne, and further more, NO doktorb wordsdeeds 17:41, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
Personally, I would like to suggest that instead of (rather annoying) google ads, Wikipedia adopt a yearly banner in a very conspicuously noted place. Goochelaar (talk) 14:16, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

Strong opposition. This is a perennial proposal and should probably be closed as per the snowball clause--Ipatrol (talk) 17:24, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

Even if WP were to adopt ads, it would have to be something they have better control over; with Google ads there are stories of people finding their websites suddenly displaying pro-Prop 8 ads or other sorts of things that could be objectionable to large numbers of people. Given the number of people who look at WP, someone would have to have pretty tight control over what ads are getting shown. —Politizer talk/contribs 20:28, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
I've found AdSense ads to be fairly relevant to whatever page they are displayed on; generally, stuff like pro-Prop8 ads get inserted when they don't have anything else to display. Besides, if it's strictly opt-in, the people that choose to have ads displayed will likely understand that there's going to be a small percentage that aren't relevant. Besides, if the Foundation takes a hands-off approach, that'll be that much less effort they have to put forth; I'd rather that they not have to hire a new person just to manage the ads. EVula // talk // // 23:29, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

Why start threads like this when you already know that the answer will always be no? This has been suggested many times, it has always received wide opposition, and you clearly know that this is a perennial proposal. Adding ads would completely contrast what Wikipedia is all about. PCHS-NJROTC (Messages) 15:47, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

Support opt-in advertising. Opt-in advertising is not a perennial proposal. It has been little discussed. There has never been community-wide discussion. For more info see Wikipedia:Advertisements and its talk page. It seems to have taken a long time to reach our fundraising goal this time. And even having reached it Wikipedia is badly in need of more funds. --Timeshifter (talk) 14:24, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

I support advertising in whole, I would want. Reasons l84. Silk Knot (talk) 17:18, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

Coatrack Policy discussion

There is an ongoing discussion as to weather Wikipedia:Coatrack should become a policy. This notice is here to attract the opinions of the wider community. Thank you.--Ipatrol (talk) 18:19, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

Question on wiki sister projects

I am unclear as to the status on Wikipedia of the wiki sister projects.

There has been a problem at FAC (and with articles in general) being translated automatically by Google or other automatic translating device. The translations obtained this way are usually inaccurate. There have been specific articles where the editor claimed to have translated it, then admitted it had been done automatically, then said he had a friend look over it for inaccuracies etc. It was agreed in FAC discussion that such translations were only acceptable if everyone involved in the translation was fluent both in English and in the language being translated. If not, then there would accuracy problems and a question of satisfying the fundamental policy of WP:V and WP:RS.

Also, at some point in the past there have been efforts to disallow links from wiki sister projects to be allowed in the body of an article on the ground that, although these projects are hosted by wiki servers, they are not Wikipedia, do not have the same standards and fact-checking requirements as Wikipedia, and should be treated just the same as links to article from any wiki. Therefore, they should go under External links only. As far as I know, this issue has not been definitively resolved.

There have been discussions over whether wiki sister projects should be promoted in any way on Wikipedia. That argument has apparently been decided in favor of allowing the links, as recently they have begun appearing to the right of Wikipedia links when a search of Wikipedia is done.

However, I am unclear as to the status regarding reliability of wiki sister projects and whether they have the same status on Wikipedia as articles produced for Wikipedia do. If anyone can point me to policy information on these issues, I would appreciate it. —Mattisse (Talk) 20:13, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

Since they're wikis, you couldn't use the sister projects as reliable sources. Your best bet is to take any citations on their pages and use the same citation here (although if they cite a source in a foreign language, an English language source would be better if it's available). If the sister project doesn't cite any sources, then either find some good sources or leave the information out. Tra (Talk) 23:10, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
Not only are they completely inappropriate as links in the bodies of articles (not just merely "efforts to disallow," totally disallowed), but they almost never qualify as good links under our external links standards. I hope tht clears the status up. DreamGuy (talk) 00:13, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
Huh? They aren't usable as reliable sources, but using the {{wiktionary}} template and the others for other projects in the external links section is encouraged. Mr.Z-man 01:44, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Naming conventions (flora) again

Hi, all.

I was hoping if anyone that has not yet commented on this disputed naming convention, that they could add to the discussion at Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (flora)#Two options (that's the most recent section, but feel free to jump in anywhere). I'm sure we've touched on pretty much every point multiple times, but there's always the possibility that another voice might bring up something we've overlooked (or maybe there's a particularly good arbiter out there?). Anyway, I believe the addition of new voices to the debate will bring some new perspectives to the discussion.

To make it a bit easier to understand, I offer this hopefully neutral summary. Several editors, including User:Born2cycle, User:Philip Baird Shearer (active earlier but has been contributing to the discussion recently), User:Pmanderson (who genuinely attempted to achieve consensus), and a few others, have indicated that they believe WP:NC (flora) as currently written (the "December 2 version") is in opposition to WP:COMMONNAME and it should be brought in line. Such examples would include preferring the vernacular name (botanists often call this the "common name" even though a species name may be more common), say Joshua tree over Yucca brevifolia. Virtually all of the active members of WP:PLANTS and several outside editors have come to the conclusion for many reasons (precision, lack of ambiguity, multiple "common names" applying to the same species often with BrE and AmE differences, etc.) that WP:COMMONNAME doesn't really apply to flora articles with very few exceptions, usually on the order of genus and higher. The most recent point I noted was that WP:COMMONNAME specifically states "Except where other accepted Wikipedia naming conventions give a different indication...", which doesn't give us carte blanche to do whatever we want for no reason. And now a biased opinion: As I see it, the plant editors had come together about two years ago and forged this convention for very explicit and well thought out reasons. A few editors don't buy the argument that flora articles require an exception to WP:COMMONNAME even after said reasons have been reiterated ad nauseum, so we're at a stand-still. If anyone is willing to wade through the various arguments and offer an opinion, I would appreciate it. Please offer your opinion at Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (flora). If you don't have the time to wade through the kilobytes and kilobytes spilled over this but have questions or want links to specific rationales or discussions, let me know here and I can provide them. Thank you, all. Cheers, Rkitko (talk) 20:16, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

One further thing. User:Hesperian has crafted a draft convention at Wikipedia:Naming conventions (flora)/Draft that discussions the rationales quite thoroughly. (permanent link). Cheers, Rkitko (talk) 20:19, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
WP:COMMONNAME does apply. I don't know why the people there seem to think they should be exempt from following it. It's there for a reason. DreamGuy (talk) 00:15, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
What about the bit that says "Except where other accepted Wikipedia naming conventions give a different indication"? Why can't there be consensus for that different indication? Why, then, do the people working biographies of royalty have a naming convention that ignores that bit of WP:COMMONNAME? Or ships, for that matter? There are good reasons for both and good reasons to use the scientific names for plants and other taxa that don't have unique, unambiguous, precise common names. --Rkitko (talk) 00:59, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

In the context of kinds of plants and animals, "common name" means vernacular name. In many (possibly most) cases, the scientific name is the most common (most used) name, especially in reliable sources. Also, in many cases the vernacular name is ambiguous. Hence we have Category:Plant common name disambiguation (also Category:Disambiguation plant pages) and Category:Fish common name disambiguation. --Una Smith (talk) 20:51, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Naming conventions (flora) has been fully protected for 2 weeks, so now the focus has shifted to Wikipedia:Naming conventions (common names). --Una Smith (talk) 20:35, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia Co-founder Jimmy Wales

Where is the best place to discuss the Personal Appeal From Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales that appears at the top of each page?? Thank you, --Tom 21:29, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

Depends on what exactly you want to discuss... If you just want to turn it off, there's a gadget in your preferences that you can activate. EVula // talk // // 21:32, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
I would like to change it to co-founder, small fact I know, but the facts still matter. Thanks, --Tom 21:35, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
While I agree with that change, good luck. You'll stir up a hornets nest with that attempt. - ALLST☆R echo 21:45, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
Oh in that case, never mind, we wouldn't want this project to be accurate, would we?? Having riden the NYC subways for years, this shouldn't hurt to much in comparison. Now which syop can help with this simple request? TIA, --Tom 22:03, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
EVula, thanks for your comment about turning off the appeal message. I find myself in an odd position here. I like Wikipedia, and I don't like advertising, so it seems I should donate. However, I find appeals for money even more distracting and irritating than advertisements, so if it's a choice between the two I'd really prefer Wikipedia to be funded by advertising. That suggests that I should not donate. It should be easy for Wikipedia to earn plenty of money from even fairly discreet and inoffensive advertising. Torve (talk) 15:20, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
The level of opposition to advertising is profound. It resulted in a split in the Spanish wikipedia which we are only now recovering from. While there is some opposition to these sort of fundraising notices, it's not nearly the level of opposition to advertising. In other words, the chance we are going to have ads is close to zero. Nil Einne (talk) 16:18, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

I have said this before but it bears repeating: the designation "Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales" says nothing one way or the other about whether there were also one or more other founders. After all, I can describe myself as "Wikipedia editor Newyorkbrad" without implying that I'm the only editor. (It is the formulation "the founder of Wikipedia" that raises the issue you have in mind, and that is not being used here.) Therefore, the change requested here is not necessary. In any event, the change requested bears on a disputed issue and it is highly unlikely that it would be made in the site notice. Newyorkbrad (talk) 22:07, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

I guess it worth repeating that stating that somebody is the founder of something usually means that they founded it and saying somebody is the co-founder usually means that they co-founded something as is the case here. Wales is the co-founder of Wikipedia. Time and distortion should not bastardize this fact or diminish the other co-founders role. Do you feel Wales is the founder or co-founder of this project? That could reveal alot about your reply. --Tom 22:14, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
Wales is co-founder as far as I'm concerned. But Newyorkbrad is right. Let sleeping dogs lie until the fund-raising effort is over. -- Derek Ross | Talk 22:22, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
Hey, if it is changed to co-founder, I will donate :) How long will I need to see that distortion in such large font?--Tom 22:25, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
But it doesn't say "the founder"; that's the distinction I was trying to draw before. As to whether I think Wales was the founder or a co-founder: I don't know; I wasn't there. Newyorkbrad (talk) 22:58, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
Ugh, donating isn't an opportunity to practice your negotiation skills. If you believe in the goals of the Foundation, donate. If you don't, don't. Semantic pedantry being used to beat a long-deceased horse is hardly a worthwhile exercise for anyone. EVula // talk // // 23:26, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
I was kidding about donating if it was changed. The goals of the foundation?? And they are?? If bastardizing Wales role in the founding of the project is acceptable to them, then no, I wouldn't be in agreement. --Tom 00:22, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
*woosh* EVula // talk // // 00:25, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
No, I sort of got your drift. You are the one who didn;t get my joke to begin with. Anyways...*double woosh*..whatever that means :) --Tom 00:31, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
And if you did want to discuss it, the English Wikipedia isn't the place to do so. You'd want someplace on meta:. I'm not sure where exactly, but these fundraising banners are wikimedia-wide. - Rjd0060 (talk) 01:23, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
Ok, I didn't know that, thank you. --Tom 15:35, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
The banner doesn't say Jimbo is the founder, it just says he is a founder. I don't believe a change is necessary. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 02:28, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
Ah, no, it doesn't say "a" it just says "founder". Anyways, read below, it must be me :) Cheers, --Tom 18:21, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

The banner is hosted on the Wikimedia Foundation official wiki, of which the Board of Trustees and employees are the final decision-makers. In this case, the decision is to go with this wording, and even a consensus of the Jedi Council can't do anything to practically fix it except put pressure on. Daniel (talk) 04:51, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Tom, User:Rand Montoya is the right person to talk to, if you really want to press the point. He is in charge of the fundraiser. Foundation-l is also a potential place to make your case. Personally, I think there is very little chance of getting people to tweak this, but you are welcome to try. Dragons flight (talk) 09:24, 30 December 2008 (UTC) Not to sound close minded or anything, but it seems to me that we're making a big deal out of a little issue here. PCHS-NJROTC (Messages) 15:41, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

I would have to agree this is a mountain out of a molehill, I guess primarily because of the history here. If you received a non-spammy message from Microsoft founder Bill Gates, I doubt many people would complain even though there is no dispute he isn't the only founder. In any case, as has also been stated us arguing here isn't doing anything Nil Einne (talk) 16:14, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
I understand that I am fighting windmills here, but it erks me everytime I see Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales since he is actually the co-founder of this project. But it must be me so I will bite my lip. Happy New Years to all! --Tom 18:18, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
Well perhaps spend your time e-mailing these sources [19] then. BTW as remarked above, both founder and co-founder are accurate provided we don't suggest he is the only founder. Nil Einne (talk) 04:38, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
Tom. You can leave a short, polite message here: User talk:Jimbo Wales. He is currently reading some of that talk page, I believe. I see recent replies from him there. See the talk page history too. You may not get a reply directly from him though. He is a busy guy from what I see. The Wikipedia article on Wikipedia describes the history and the founders. So the facts about the founders is not being hidden. I doubt that Jimbo Wales cares too much currently about the wording of the banner, because no one has probably pointed out the problem you see. As others discussed previously the banner doesn't say he is "the" founder. But you have a point that it could be interpreted that way. So let him know that this may be a problem, and that you believe more people may donate if the banner wording is clarified. --Timeshifter (talk) 07:57, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

OMG, look at this long discussion about some banner that's here today, gone tomarrow on a page where nothing is going to be accomplished because the banner isn't just on Wikipedia, but rather on every single Wikimedia Foundation wiki! Jimbo Wales is noted as the founder on many areas of Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects, so why not make this discussion about more than just a silly little banner if we're gonna have such a big discussion? PCHS-NJROTC (Messages) 01:38, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

Wonks needed!

I've been debating (mostly, but not by any means exclusively with myself) endlessly whether or not to post this here, but I really think it needs to be done: Wikiversity desperately needs the eyes and opinions of Wikipedia's policy wonks.

It's a bit of a long story, but the nutshell version is that until recently, we never really needed policies. In fact, we never wanted them... policies can (sometimes) be overly limiting, and we've had a bit of fear about those folks more interested enforcing rules than they are interested in encouraging learning and teaching. It kinda worked for us until this past (Northern Hemisphere) summer, but things have become unhappily complicated since then.

What happened this summer is that some of Wikipedia's "community banned" people arrived on Wikiversity, and were rather insistent that we should not be like Wikipedia in any way. Now, that seemed good at first (no offense, but the "management" of Wikiversity tends to be from a much older crowd, and we (yes, I'm an old guy too) were and remain a bit appalled by certain aspects of the "Wikipedian culture"), but it became clear in at least a couple of these cases that those folks were banned for good reason.

The problem, as I'm sure you all can anticipate, is this: we don't have policies to tell these people that they can't do that, and they're experienced enough from their Wikipedia "careers" to have leaned how to wikilawyer. So, we need policies. The problem is, most Wikiversity folks aren't interested in policies: we'd much rather spend (or waste) our time learning, sharing, or otherwise being creative. It even got to the point where Jimmy Wales himself had to get involved a couple times, because honestly our "staff" (sysops) just aren't interested in rassling with trolls.

One of our more serious problems lately is a guy who thinks "outing" people is a good way to get his point across (he was banned from WP for just that reason). We made a few ad-hoc rules and desysopped a very active Custodian (Custodian is "admin" to you guys and gals) who was very hostile to Wikipedians that had tried to get involved because of the outings (he was mostly outing Wikipedians, but recently outed a Custodian), calling interested Wikipedians "meddlers" and "outsiders"... but I'd much rather we didn't have to just make up rules when we needed them, and as far as I'm concerned, Wikiversity should above all be the "school" that's available to those who volunteer their efforts on Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia projects.

So here's the appeal (after the babble): If you're watching this page, you have an interest in policy. Wikipedia's policies always need a bit of tweaking, but Wikiversity's need is more dire right now. We really need your help.

If you're willing, please check in and introduce yourself on Wikiversity:Policy review, or even on the Wikiversity:Colloquium (our VP) to ask even the silliest of questions (helping the newcomer understand us is our most serious concern). Wikiversity has a lot of potential (at least I think so), but the idealists are getting beaten up by the assholes (can I say that on WP?), and we really don't deserve that kind of treatment. --SB_Johnny | talk 23:46, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

I'm certainly willing to help out (I love doing cross-wiki stuff, and I'm active on a number of projects, so I can provide more than just a WP-centric POV), though I'm a little unsure of where I should launch myself into. EVula // talk // // 00:14, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
Well, we have a couple on sitenotice now, but all of v:Wikiversity:Policy_review#Proposed_policies should be looked at too. It's a very long list unfortunately, but that's why it's a problem :-). Some of the issues that blew up on us this year are in the archives of v:WV:CR (which is sort of a combination between wikipedia's RfC and "user problem" ANs), with some other commentary on "Wikipedia Review" if you really want the dirt ;-). --SB_Johnny | talk 13:23, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
EVula, one of our recent attempts to deal with the conflicts was to extend v:WV:CIVIL to include v:Wikiversity:Civility/Extension 0.1 or v:Wikiversity:Civility/Extension 0.2. Then there was a newer proposal of v:Wikiversity:Respect people. The discussions [20] [21] got a bit bogged down, and are now inactive.
Currently, we are working on v:Wikiversity:What Wikiversity is not. (see talk and talk archive) Another current review is v:Wikiversity:Stubs. See [22] for some background. --mikeu talk 15:11, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

See also section Obama

Resolved: ukexpat (talk) 03:31, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Hi, I wondered if I could get some clarification about "see also" sections. I beleive that " conspiracy theories about Obama's place of birth' is peripherally realted to Barack Obama and that it is not a violation of policy to link to it after the article to help readers find the information if they are interested. I do not believe that Linking to it under the title saying that it is a conspiracy theory is an endorsement of the theory in anyway ,which seems to be other editors concerns. Any guidance from users not involved in the dispute would be welcomed by me. The policy on "see also " WP:ALSO appears to say that subject that are even peripherally related to the subject can be linked to there and no one will tell me how Barack Obama is not even peripherally related to conspiracy theories about himself.Thanks for any feed bak.Die4Dixie (talk) 20:04, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

This can be closed. No one seems inclined to address it, and I have conceded the point. Thank you.Die4Dixie (talk) 00:07, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

/Comments subpages

What is the idea here? I see more and more "/Comments" subpages to articles. How is a "comment" on a subpage different from a comment on a regular talkpage? Who is coordinating this? How are some people's comments worthy to be preserved enshrined in a special subpage, linked from {{WikiProjectBannerShell}} as "assessment summary page", while the "assessments" of mere mortals of course get archived or lost in the noise in due time?

Really, this seems to be a cheap attempt at inflating the importance of whoever it is creating these special "/Comments" pages. We do have pages where people comment on articles. They are known as talkpages. --dab (𒁳) 21:56, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

  • See Wikipedia:SUBPAGE#Articles do not have sub-pages (main namespace). Having a page named United States/Comments will be treated as its own article and it will show up in places like Special:Randompage. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 22:54, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Which is a bad thing. dab, I'd say it's worth WP:PRODing any /Comments pages you come across, and MfDing those whose prod gets removed. If there are objections, the comments could be merged to the appropriate Talk page, but the /Comments need to go. I don't know of any Speedy candidates that would apply here, unfortunately, though a healthy dose of WP:IAR from an admin would be helpful. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 09:13, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Following on to Bite's comments: Before PRODding, copy the content and edit history to the talk page. Another alternative is to move "foo/comments" to "Talk:foo/comments_DATE" or "Talk:foo/archive_DATE," mark the discussion as archived using {{archive top}} and {{archive bottom}} or putting "this page is an archive" at the top like you see on most discussion-archive pages using {{talkarchive}}, and put an "archive box" at the top of Talk:foo indicating the presence of the sub-page using {{archive}}. The advantage of moving the page is the edit history goes with it. If you copy the text into Talk:foo you'll also have to copy-and-paste the edit history before prodding. Once you've done the merge and tagged it for PROD, if the comment page had only 1 author you can ask the sole author to tag it {{db-author}} for speedy deletion. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 14:36, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
    You could also just move it to the proper talk page location and drop {{db-r2}} on the redirect. Anomie 01:52, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
  • {{WikiProjectBannerShell}} is a talk-page template, and (from looking at the template code) when properly applied the sub-page will be a sub-page of the article's talk page, not of the article itself. See Talk:( )/Comments for an example of this. Please point to an example of where this template has caused an article to have a "/Comments" page created. Uncle G (talk) 00:44, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
    There are none. The first few people who responded to this, misinterpreted the point. All these subpages are in talkspace. He/she was asking about their purpose. Martin 12:06, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
They are for the assessor of an article to say why they assessed it thus. If left on a talk page, it would get lost in the archives, but as a separate subpage, it can be linked from a WikiProect banner and allows people to see when the article was last assessed and whether the problems have been resolved - allowing for an updated and increased rating. Dendodge TalkContribs 15:58, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
anyone commenting on an article is an "assessor", "assessor" isn't a formal rank like administrator or bureaucrat. Also, anyone can link to an archived comment by a permanent link or a diff. In my view, "assessments" is the very purpose of talkpages. We don't need meta-talkpages (outside WP: namespace) or private talkpages (outside User: talkspace). If you want to present a personal "assessment" of an article, you should use your own User: space. --dab (𒁳) 17:45, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
This talk page subpage "comments" system was set up some time ago. At least two years ago. There are probably literally tens of thousands of these (though I can't think of a convenient way to find and list or categorise them all). I agree with what you say, but dismantling that system might be a bit late now. For examples of the comments pages being used in assessment lists, see here for an example. Carcharoth (talk) 00:47, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

NOINDEX of all non-content namespaces

Internal search is now at a point where it is viable for finding templates, past material, and pretty much anything needed within Wikipedia for editor use. This was a major "blocker" for past discussions of NOINDEXING major namespaces. With the new search working well, I think it's time we closed down indexing on all except content and other pages we positively want to be publicized on search engines. Proposal and rationale follows.

All pages that are not content and that are not "pages which benefit the project if listed on a search engine", should be set to NOINDEX. Specifically:
  1. All namespaces except mainspace, help, portal (and possibly file and category subject to discussion) -- NOINDEX (technically: robots.txt $wgNamespaceRobotPolicies).
  2. Exception: Official policies and guidelines and well-recognized stable information pages about wikimedia/wikipedia in project space -- usually INDEX-ed.
    (Most pages related to internal operations, communal matters, most essays, etc, should remain NOINDEX-ed.)
  3. Any other exceptions: case-by-case based on public benefit to being searchable.
There is considerable content we want the public to find and see. That is the end product of the project.
The rest - including popular project pages such as AFD, and all "talk" namespaces, dispute resolution pages, user pages, etc, are not of great benefit to the project if indexed on search engines. Many of them also raise considerable concerns about privacy and ease of finding harmful stuff (user disputes/allegations) on Google, far more than they help the project. We don't need those publicized. They are internal (editorial use) pages.
Last, at a technical level and in response to a question asked below, Brion (WMF sysadmin) states that NOFOLLOW of internal links to such pages would not be an issue nor would adding them improve server load ("provide approximately zero savings... little or no benefit to it"), since unspidered pages aren't fetched in the first place by the robot.

When I pushed for NOINDEX in 2007 [23], the big problem was that there was no other effective search. For example, an administrator who wanted to look up some past issue on ANI archives, or a template, could not, other than with Google (ANI search wasn't maintained). So Google was needed, and NOINDEX was a stop-gap to allow problem pages (ie reputation damaging SSP/ANI/RFAR pages) to be prevented from spidering.

The current search now seems "strong enough" (announcement). It accepts a wide range of complex syntax (equivalent I think to Google), and any user seeking material from non-content pages can find it as easily with internal search as with Google. Indeed I'm finding it is sometimes easier, since it highlights sections and section links where Google only recognizes pages, and whole pages aren't omitted due to NOINDEX issues of one section.

I propose that it's finally time to close the gap. Instead of NOINDEXing individual pages mostly ad-hoc, I can't see any strong current continuing rationale for any "internal" page to be spidered at all, and I can see problems reduced by killing it. Use internal search to find such material, and kill off spidering of anything that's not really of genuine public note as our "output/product".

FT2 (Talk | email) 03:18, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Support the basic concept. There are details to be worked out regarding precisely which "internal" pages might be opted back in, but those are details. Newyorkbrad (talk) 03:22, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
I agree that the internal search engine is now sufficiently capable to allow useful searches in talk pages, etc. That leaves little reason to leave the non-content pages open for outside search engines. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 03:34, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
Obviously a good idea, as I've said for some time now this should be done. Internal details can be worked out at the fringe situations later, but the core of this is very sound. MBisanz talk 03:41, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
Yes, very much yes. All Wikipedia:, Wikipedia talk, Talk:, Portal talk:, User: and User talk:, excluding the stable policy pages you mention, should be NOINDEXed. Daniel (talk) 04:49, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
Agreed. This has been in the back of my mind for a while, and I think now we've got a robust enough system to handle it. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 09:19, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
NOINDEX'ing almost all of the project namespace (Wikipedia:) seems like a pretty bad idea. NOINDEX'ing talk pages is probably fine. Definitely should keep File: and Category: pages indexed. --MZMcBride (talk) 09:35, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
If something in project space has wider value, then for sure, consensus and INDEX it. But most of project space is internal-facing for the editorial community. Only a small proportion of project space pages genuinely have wider value than just internal use. Deletion debates, process pages, adminsitrator and dispute resolution, noticeboards, noticeboard archives, random community pages... most of these are internal. A large number of them are precisely the kind of pages with content we don't need to spider, and frequently (BLP, user reputation), that we don't want to spider. FT2 (Talk | email) 12:14, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
Oppose. There are frequent slowdowns on Wikipedia and the Commons. I oftentimes do site searches using my Google toolbar while I wait for Wikipedia servers to load a page. I do complicated searches using Google site searches, subdomain searches, etc., etc.. Including talk pages, and any namespace I choose. Google search is much more sophisticated, and much faster, than the internal search here. I could go on for hours explaining all the Google things I do that can't be done as well, or as simply, by the internal search. I have my Google options set to open search result pages in new tabs. I use "inurl:" and "site:" searches via Google. There are many variations of those that I can use to search any namespace or subdomain. People are used to Google. There is no essential reason to limit Google. --Timeshifter (talk) 09:55, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
Most of this was accurate but with the updated search is not.
  • Most browsers have a combination to open searches in a new window (hold down shift or ctrl-shift as you click). You don't need Google for that and if that's the main issue then someone can easily make a preference option for it (trivial). ([24]).
  • Ditto "inurl:" (the search has "intitle:")
  • Ditto "site:" (usually irrelevant; if you are searching for non-content you won't be looking for it anywhere except on-site anyway).
As it stands internal search is currently more sophisticated, not less, than Google - it includes fuzzy and wildcard searches which Google doesn't, search on pages with a given prefix, search in given namespaces or highlight section titles, etc. FT2 (Talk | email) 11:11, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
Google is still faster. Google does not have nearly as many slowdowns as Wikipedia.
Right now I have to open the separate search page for internal searches, because I don't like the sidebar search found on Wikipedia pages. The Google toolbar in my browser allows me to do sophisticated site searches, talk namespace searches, and other namespace searches, instantly without having to open a separate search page first.
I don't want to use key combinations to open internal searches in new tabs.
"inurl:" does not do the same thing as "intitle:"
Google has many advanced options. See
The bottom line is we have been adding search options, not removing them. We have added search engines via the dropdown menu at Special:Search.
We have little to hide. Talk pages are very important to Wikipedia editing. If certain pages are so embarrassing or problematic, then remove the libelous or slanderous parts. Put NOINDEX tags on specific pages, but not talk pages as a whole. Or namespaces as a whole. --Timeshifter (talk) 13:44, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
So what should we be doing with Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Betacommand, Wikipedia:Conflict of interest/Noticeboard/Archive 27, and Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons/Noticeboard/Archive49, all which are loaded with problematic material on editors or subjects? Blank them all?
Also, I clean out the Image talk space. In a give day I can find a dozen libelous edits left undeleted for hours at a time. I was cleaning out the Image space this week and found someone's address and phone number, left there for nearly a year. Why must that be googledexed? MBisanz talk 14:00, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Support customizable noindex but this is too broad but 1) user- and user-talk pages should have indexability controlled by the user with a matching name, and 2) discussion pages should be indexable by Google as they are reasonable targets for search by people unfamiliar with Wikipedia. If you are going to start off with anything, 1) enable it in the software, so other projects can do it if they want, and 2) add a user page User:you/robots.txt that would allow user-control over the related user:you/ and user talk:you/ namespace. Of course, only the most recent edit by user:you would be used, for security purposes. For privacy, default to disallow for all newly created user:* pages. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 14:45, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
    This is already done, sorta. All user talk pages are noindexed and all user pages are indexed. By adding {{NOINDEX}} or {{INDEX}} I can override the default setting. So we could NOINDEX all user/user talk pages by default in MediaWiki:Robots.txt and the individual user would add {{INDEX}} to override the default and have google index the page. MBisanz talk 14:52, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
I can see why a user might want their user space (or part of it) on Google. WP:NOT#MYSPACE -- if it has benefit for the project then thats different. Only a very few user pages do, enough to make a blanket NOINDEX of userspace reasonable. The rest do not need indexing and the project will probably benefit from not indexing them. Likewise "discussion about users and editorial matters" is not our public output; a person who wants to look up discussion on X is best advised to read the talk pages or use the internal search for it. The benefit doesn't match the harm at this point given that we now have effective tools. We might want to make the search option more prominent (separately discussed), and make sure more users are aware it can be used for the purpose, but that's user communication. Blast it in the banner for a month "External search is being removed for communal discussion pages and most other non-content pages. Please use internal search for this purpose from now on", and put it in new user welcome messages. FT2 (Talk | email) 15:35, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Broadly support in principle but only if the category and image namespaces are excluded. There is a clear benefit in allowing people off wikipedia to do searches such as this one and find our category as the top result. I also agree that our policies and guidelines should be excluded. Davewild (talk) 15:55, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
I had wondered if there was a template distinguishing content categories from non-content categories so that Category:1967 elections would list but more internal-facing categories wouldn't. Or a way to make media indexing dependent upon use in mainspace or portal. Some thoughts. Those two spaces need to be "subject to discussion", and if necessary other spaces can be addressed with those two left till a later time. FT2 (Talk | email) 16:43, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

(2ec) I support the proposal. I support indexing File: pages; they are content pages one may want to search. I don't know about Category: pages, though. On one hand, Davewild's sample search above shows the benefit of indexing, but I do worry about banned users and sockpuppeteers who have used their real names have their status here as their first search engine result, and it isn't necessary to index maintenance categories or user categories. So, would the default be INDEX and NOINDEX those, or would the default be NOINDEX and INDEX article categories? WODUP 16:46, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

About a month ago I manually NOINDEXed all the sockpuppet related categories, so that could be left out of this schema for the time being as the truly dangerous categories are already hidden. MBisanz talk 16:49, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Most of the problem categories are already NOINDEX-ed manually, and categories and media spaces (given NOINDEX of user-related and maintenance categories) are not the most major problems from this perspective; as you say a lot of them are useful to be able to search. We can NOINDEX further internal-facing categories as needed, but initially I'd say we have a good enough interim solution for those two spaces, and if there's a genuine problem the community could always review in future, another time. Would that solve it for the while? FT2 (Talk | email) 16:55, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
I didn't know that sockpuppet categories were NOINDEXed, very cool. I just added {{NOINDEX}} to Category:Banned Wikipedia users, so that's okay now, too. I agree that there's no urgency in ensuring project categories are not indexed, but it couldn't hurt to add {{NOINDEX}} to {{Wikipedia category}} to keep a lot of the sausage-making out of search results. :) WODUP 05:02, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

Support per FT2 and MBisanz, also propose combining this with another important change: henceforth all new accounts start with a Sandbox sub-page already set up for them.--Goodmorningworld (talk) 00:19, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

  • Oppose blanket noindexing. Conditional oppose unless it will be possible for an ordinary user to override with {{INDEX}}, subject of course to BLP. I had someone find User:NE2/valuations/Illinois Central Railroad and email me to thank me for transcribing it. I offered to transcribe any more he wanted, and did so. Aside from the benefit to researchers, this benefited Wikipedia in that the page now has more of the transcription (and can be found using "what links here"). If this were to be noindexed, I might move it off-site to preserve the benefit to researchers, which would eliminate the benefit to Wikipedia. --NE2 01:50, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
Disagree. However useful, the point is that this is an unchecked page in user-space. It's not subject to communal review, nor to any encyclopedic standards; it is "one users writing". It may well be accurate in your case (I'm sure it is) but we have zero quality control or peer review of such pages, and I would not like to vouch that userspace pages as a norm meet any standard of quality that Wikipedia material for public reference should reach.
If this is encyclopedic, can you move it to mainspace? And if it is valid but "non notable" or deemed by consensus as "too specialized for Wikipedia/unsuitable for mainspace" (eg better placed on a railroad fan wiki) then even if valid and useful to some, is it appropriate to say "we wouldn't host this in mainspace but spidering it as "Wikipedia content" from userspace is okay"? I think that however valid, material that doesn't make it as bona fide mainspace, or portal, or other recognized content, shouldn't be spidered as if it's "Wikipedia content". This is a users' private userspace page (and could say anything), not project "output". FT2 (Talk | email) 02:05, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
It's a transcription of a (public domain) . Sure, I could take it to Wikisource, but there are two issues: it's a very incomplete transcription, and you'd lose the "what links here" capability. --NE2 02:25, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
Holding aside FT2's comments, for every one good page like that, there are dozens if not hundreds of pages documenting "X is a banned user". I had a user contact me once since they had used their employer's name to sockpuppet and now the "bakery X is banned from Wikipedia" was google-juiced higher than the company's own website. For that one in a hundred diamonds in the rough like your page, you can just drop {{INDEX}} on it and override the system. On the other hand, tracking down literally tens of thousands of worthless userpages to add {{NOINDEX}} was be incredibly difficult if not impossible. MBisanz talk 02:17, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
I thought the proposal was that {{INDEX}} wouldn't work. --NE2 02:25, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
I would be wary of allowing INDEX on user namespaces. Theres almost nothing to spider there that is checked by other editors, as encyclopedic produce of the community is checked. Userspace pages are almost 100% unchecked. If it's genuinely encyclopedic and useful, I'd expect it to be in mainspace, or maybe moved to project space and discussed there as being an exceptionally worthwhile page to spider. But in general, not convinced that we want "unchecked userspace" spiderable as "Wikipedia project output" by any random user who wants "their page on google". I'd seriously consider treating these as "internal facing pages only". The downside of opt-out is probably greater than the upside, and our main output is encyclopedic and communally reviewed content, not user writings. FT2 (Talk | email) 02:29, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
I've given such an example. I could move it to a subpage of WikiProject Trains, but that would only work until someone decides there's nothing worth indexing in Wikipedia space either. --NE2 02:35, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
You're missing the point, which is - how do I, a random member of the public, know that this user page is worth anything? It's not checked by users in the community like most content, it's basically "whatever you put in it", and if you are sincere and well intentioned, what happens to User:Joe Schmo, who puts up a user sub-page on homeopathy claiming it's accurate and naming Joe himself (under his real name) as an expert, and it isn't, and it's spidered in the name of the project. Or whatever. The point is, our sole quality control is communal eyeballs. Your page, however informative, would be like Joe's other page on "My home street" - a personal page, and for all that it's useful to some, it either is content and in mainspace, or really, we shouldn't be representing user pages as Wikipedia project product/output. We really shouldn't. We have spidered it to date, but I think all those pages really should be internal facing only. A lot of stuff is interesting, but it's just not gained agreement that it meets Wikipedia's content criteria (eg WP:NOT). This may well be the same. FT2 (Talk | email) 03:33, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
You're missing the point. These are transcriptions of reliable sources. You can read someone else's description and partial transcriptions (for predecessors of one company) at [25]. --NE2 03:42, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
No, I'm afraid you misconstrued FT2's point. He's not saying anything about your case in particular; rather, that there will be users who put "articles" in their userspace with biased material, knowing that the average Google searcher won't know the difference between it and an actual article page. This has already been a problem, IME. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 01:53, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
Then we take care of them as they turn up, just like we do with questionable text in articles. --NE2 02:39, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
FT2: How does a random member of the public know that anything on Wikipedia is reliable? They don't. Never have. We've got explicit content disclaimers telling people this. If someone is willing to trust the content of any random webpage as reliable, then the problem is that person has poor judgment, not Wikipedia. • Further, user pages are subject to standards. WP:NOT#MYSPACE, as you point out. User pages which violate Wikipedia policies are edited/blanked/deleted. Occasionally, we even make wide-sweeping policy changes due to userspace concerns. • Yes, things are sometimes missed, but things are often missed in the mainspace articles, too. This is a popular public wiki that encourages editing -- we will never get away from vandalism unless we radically change the nature of the project. —DragonHawk (talk|hist) 02:16, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
We have policies, norms and such related to mainspace and content. They may not be perfect but they function surprisingly well, and will improve. We have no such control over non-content and by its nature we never will. Disclaimers are great if one is a lawyer, for legal liability. John Doe who googles something on Wikipedia and ends up reading a users userspace essay won't know the difference and won't see them. Only userspace pages that are blatantly a problem and noticed as such, get "removed". Most realistically are unchecked, even if they are a problem. We won't fully get away from vandalism as you say, but there are huge sections of the wiki that aren't patrolled, aren't VERIFIED or exclude OR or are required to keep NPOV, don't need to use RS, or are just the internal pages we use to produce our content. It's those that it is proposed not to spider any longer. The fact that content sections will never be quite perfect, is not really a good argument to spider non-content. FT2 (Talk | email) 13:29, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
There are definitely userpages that need indexing, for example userpages from WMF officials since they provide specific contact information, and to a lesser extent OTRS volunteers and other similar positions. I also don't see strong reasons not to allow users in good-standing to index their pages. The INDEX magic word is searchable so this can be controlled. Cenarium (Talk) 02:34, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
  • I absolutely support this idea. If there are some specific exceptions, we can discuss those later but for now, anything that is not content, should not be indexed. This change is way overdue. ++Lar: t/c 03:44, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Support for all reasons above; the search dilemma is somewhat of an issue, though I have not come across many occasions where the wiki-search tool is down. Ultimately I feel the benefits outweigh the problems. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 04:52, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Support for all the reasons noted. In particular, Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, and that is what we want facing out to the world, not our chatter on various pages. Certain key pages should remain indexed if they serve an encyclopedic purpose (e.g., core policies, introduction to use, etc.), but a random google search should not be pulling up the majority of non-content pages of this site. It takes away from our primary purpose. Risker (talk) 06:15, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose for all the reasons I've opposed before. This is swatting flies with a shotgun. If pages are causing a problem individually (or categorically) they can be noindexed, but most non-content pages are harmless, and having external search engine is very useful to editors (both because people understand external search engines better and they continue to be more accurate for many kinds of searching in my experience). Also, I continue to believe that the understanding of Wikipedia benefits from keeping our backrooms open and easy to find. Hiding everything under the proverbial rug, without discrimination for whether content is problematic or not, is antithetical to our image as a free and open encyclopedia. In my opinion, we should want people to see our discussions and understand the nature of our enterprise, and that is a lot less likely to happen under this proposal. Dragons flight (talk) 09:12, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
This isn't swatting flies. The motive here is not "fix a few pages". It is to ensure the material we present to the public is the material that (as content/"output" of the project) is our intended product for the public. Everything else is internal, and all other pages at rock bottom, are almost a means to an end (ie the community that produces the encyclopedia). So in fact, "harmless" is not the issue; the point is these pages 1/ aren't content, 2/ aren't usually reviewed or subject to policies like content would be, and 3/ they are being spidered as if reviewed content. We needed Google in the past, but I'm fairly convinced we do not need it internally any more. Taking your two other concerns, people will learn the internal search quickly and it's surely "good enough" for the job (I'm more familiar with Google too but internal search is simple enough for advanced use), and we are not "hiding", the material is all public -- it's just not being pushed unchecked under the project's name into the wider "netosphere". FT2 (Talk | email) 16:56, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Support Content pages are for general public consumption, and the back side of the project is for the internal users. Since we have a working backside search, I support this. Only Articles, File space, Template space FOR Content--not templates for other purposes, and Category space should be indexed; basically what appears in our articles. Wikipedia space, User space, MediaWiki space, and any talk pages should be NOINDEX. rootology (C)(T) 16:18, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose it is to late for this to be effective at concealing whatever it is everyone seems to want concealed, Wikipedia is already mirrored on dozens of external websites. Icewedge (talk) 04:44, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
This isn't about undoing anything past. It's about not spidering such pages for future. Whatever's in the past is in the past. Whatever exists will continue to be searchable internally for communal use. It's about recognition that our internal-facing communal pages can be closed down from spidering for future. FT2 (Talk | email) 13:31, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose No evidence of demonstrable harm. There are some hints of harm and suggestions of potential harm, but nothing concrete that would justify removing a large portion of the site from google. I have no problem NOINDEXING certain classes of project pages deemed sensitive through templates (which is hardly ad-hoc) and the user talk namespace (which is already, I believe), but I have not heard a compelling explaination for why policy pages, template space, template talk, project talk, etc. should be hidden from search engines. Protonk (talk) 05:01, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
    • As for the public/private face, that's not a compelling argument either. Our policy and discussion pages ARE part of our public face, for good or for ill. It is how we grope toward decisions and presumably gives an transparent view to the world of our workings. Presumably this is on purpose--the existence of Wikipedia represents the advocacy of distributed, transparent governance of complex organizations. That claim is tied to public presentation. Protonk (talk) 05:05, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Support, subject that content categories are indexed. Image description pages for content images are also a good idea, but less critical. If the category namespace isn't indexed by default, then we need users to patrol the category namespace and put the {{INDEX}} on all relevant category pages. Templates shouldn't be indexed - the pages which transclude them may be as appropriate. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 07:57, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Too broad. I would continue to include Wikipedia namespace at the very least. Stifle (talk) 09:36, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Why not, as long as all policies/guidelines are indexed. File: is a content namespace for me, though. To be honest I would be more in favor of leaving the Category: namespace indexed by default, and NOINDEX them on a case by case basis. Let's not throw the baby with the bathwater... -- lucasbfr ho ho ho 10:47, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Defer until our internal search works properly, otherwise we have no hope of ever finding archived meta-debate. Guy (Help!) 11:06, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
    Er, have you actually tried the advanced search recently? It's better than Google now. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Happy-melon (talkcontribs) 11:55, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
More specifically, see the proposal. The reason this can now be done is there was a significant upgrade to internal search of exactly this kind in November. Before then it wasn't up to the job, compared to Google, but now it is. FT2 (Talk | email) 13:31, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Support, but we should leave Category: and File: indexable. We can clean the crap out of Category: manually, and reindex the gems from Wikipedia: equally easily, but most of this should not be shouted from the battlements to the entire world. Happymelon 11:55, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Support Stuff like ANI, RFA, essays and arbcom need not appear in google searches.--Patton123 12:34, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
    • Note that ANI, RFA, and ArbCom are already not indexed. Essays are still indexed, but I don't see why that's a problem (they say very clearly that they're not anything official). —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 01:02, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Support Long overdue, non content (with expections) should not be indexed. I have seen many complaints via OTRS regarding what appears on google from talk pages. NonvocalScream (talk) 12:48, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Too late for this, will be more of a net negative than positive - I find searching Wikipedia incredibly tedious without external aid. neuro(talk) 13:09, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
This isn't about undoing anything past. It's about not spidering such pages for future. Whatever's in the past is in the past. The internal search is a fair bit better than Google for finding non-content material in Wikipedia these days. FT2 (Talk | email) 13:31, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
I realise it isn't about undoing anything, that's why I oppose it. neuro(talk) 16:10, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Support. It's about time. Spellcast (talk) 13:44, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Support as the general rule, we can work out occasional exceptions. There is no question that the on-site serch function is still inferior to Google for the advanced user. However, I think our policies should deal responsibly with some of the unintended consequences of Wikipedia's favored position in Google results. Removing our non-content pages from the Google spotlight is a reasonable sacrifice, especially with the recent improvements in our own search function and pages like Special:PrefixIndex. Xymmax So let it be written So let it be done 13:50, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose: I think the move to NOINDEX non-article material is generally a mistake, and would not care to expand it. Anyone care to argue that the Google search for "Zachary Jaydon" was actually improved by no-indexing Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Zachary Jaydon (3rd nomination) while leaving the fraudulent article at many of the Wikipedia mirrors intact? I'd much rather reopen all of Wikipedia to Google.—Kww(talk) 15:57, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - I disagree with the main tenet of the proposal that these are not "pages which benefit the project if listed on a search engine". Wikipedia is not a sterile project; the process of writing it is all in the open. We shouldn't try to hide it, to sweep it under the rug, and it looks bad to others if we do. It is the most amazing aspect of Wikipedia, and it does benefit us for people to see it. I'm all in favor of a wide, expansive, easily accessed web, and as such, I don't think noindex should be used except where really necessary. Certainly not for entire large namespaces. --Cyde Weys 16:14, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Support I can see the point of this: the potential benefit from allowing people to view user pages and discussions is very small, but there are potential problems. Categories should definitely be indexed as content pages (any problematic categories such as banned users can be excluded). Hut 8.5 22:11, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Far too broad an umbrella. I'd support significant portions of entire namespaces be NOINDEXed (such as the user/talk pages of socks, etc), but entire namespaces? No. EVula // talk // // 22:17, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Support There's no need for templates, most wikipedia: pages, user pages, or any talk pages to be indexed. §hep¡Talk to me! 00:29, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Strongest possible oppose.
  1. This stuff is already published. It is on a public website. Indeed, one of the most popular websites in the world. If someone posts private information here, they're seriously confused. (If it's a third-party complaint, delete or oversight, that's why those capabilities exist.)
  2. We can and do exercise editorial control over things like user pages, personal opinions, and such. Personal attacks or uncivil behavior are against the rules. Extreme cases result in policy modifications (like the Wikipedia:Userbox migration) or deletion/blanking.
  3. All content posted here is required to be Free Content, and may be redistributed as such. Trying to block indexing goes against the very principle of Free Content.
  4. Related to the previous: Wikipedia is heavily mirrored. (This is by design and intent.) Trying to block search engine indexing will not stop anything from being disclosed.
  5. It is very useful to be able to Google for stuff within the meta-pages. I do it all the time to find a references I need, or just to learn more about the project.
    Example: I just now did to find the userbox migration page!
  6. Related to the previous: It helps newcomers to be able to learn about Wikipedia, too.
  7. Related to the previous: Even the bad stuff benefits from being indexed. Vandals, socks, etc., have been discovered by use of search engines.
  8. Google often does a better job than the built-in search functions. I suppose we could try to improve those, but Google benefits by analyzing external links to Wikipedia, and we can't do that.
  9. Wikipedia has never claimed to be perfect or "finished". Our disagreements, our mistakes, our history, our progress, all should be public, too.
  10. Related to the previous: This attracts involvement. Some people want to improve things. It benefits the project.
  11. Wikipedia is supposed to be public and open to everyone. This isolationist, closed-door mentality is completely against everything the site was created for. "Anyone can edit" also means anyone can discuss, learn, participate, disagree, etc. It follows that "anyone can index", too.
In summary, it won't help (see #4) and it will hurt. —DragonHawk (talk|hist) 02:04, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
Most of these just don't seem strong reasons when looked at. For example, 1/ this isn't about past spidering, mirroring, or "hiding" anything, but about the future, so whatever has been spidered in the past is secondary; things change. 2/ We have policies on user and talk pages, but anyone can see (and several have attested above) that this doesn't mean they are of sufficient quality. Talk pages that can make a person look bad, will be spidered regardless of whether that was an internal discussion of the community only; user space pages will be spidered as "Wikipedia output" whether they are high, low, or unchecked quality -- and most are unchecked. 3/ Internal search is now as capable as external search. use it. It can also be equally used to find vandals and socks as any external search can. The main reason is this. We are now no longer a minor and quirky "hobbyist" website; since 2001 we have become the worlds largest reference website. Quality is now incredibly more important than it would have been in the earliest years, and the question of what is being spidered as "Wikipedia content" is very important to the aims of the project. Many things have been tightened up, and non-encyclopedia page spidering should be too.
We cannot quality-control userspace or talk space, and discussions, while instructive to a tiny minority of non-editors, are not our encyclopedic product. They are the social internal communal workspace. They are not something that greatly benefit the community to spider. We are better to not have to spider them. When someone googles some topic they should find relevant Wikipedia articles on it, not some random users personal, unchecked, unreviewed, userspace essay. The aim of the project is a community to write an encyclopedia, and it is the encyclopedia that we wish to highlight externally; the other pages only exist as part of the social structure of Wikipedia editors, as they interact to produce it. FT2 (Talk | email) 22:21, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
Google doesn't just exist to index pages that are vetted and reliable. It's supposed to index all pages. Its users expect and desire this. They want to find anything on the Web that's related to their query. Of course, Google will try to return only the most useful pages, but that's its business, and it's good at it. We don't need to declare that huge swathes of our site are inherently so useless to all Google searches that it's not in the interest of the searchers to allow any of it to ever be returned for any search. I don't see any justification for this on the basis of utility to searchers.

As far as how Wikipedia wants to present itself, trying to hide things is not to the point. If people are going to be confused by userspace essays, they'll be confused regardless of how they end up there, and getting moderately fewer people there in the first place is an ineffective defense. Instead, we should make it clearer in the interface (say with anon-only per-namespace notices) that content outside the content namespaces has not been reviewed and does not necessarily represent the Wikipedia community's beliefs. This will avert problems from direct links and other means as well. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 01:02, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

That's Google's goal as a search engine. But Wikipedia is not a subsidiary of Google, so we might have different goals. Some of ours might be contradictory to Googles, such as having high quality output only, and not representing internal pages, userspace drafts, etc, as project output. Most people who use Wikipedia do not edit. I think it's something like 95 or 99% of Wikipedia access is usage, not editing, and that proportion of users are looking for the pages we write as encyclopedic content. Pages that criticize real people, editor discussions, dispute resolution, criticism user talk posts, random junk essays... that's not what we're aiming to produce; we aren't "a project to write 200 GB of user interaction and random essays"... this is all a byproduct of our means of content editorship - a community to write an encyclopedia. the encyclopedia is our output, and as a top 5 or top 10 site, we need to ensure it is the high quality encyclopedic content that's spidered. FT2 (Talk | email) 04:35, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia certainly does not have the same goals as Google, but as far as utility to our users goes, we are not in as good a position as Google to determine what pages are most useful as search results for any particular search. If Google deems a particular page relevant to a particular search, we should not override that judgment without a clear reason (e.g., prohibiting duplicate, repetitive, or confusing pages like edit pages or Special:Random). As such, the argument that "users are looking for the pages we write as encyclopedic content" is not (IMO) a valid reason to prohibit non-encyclopedic pages for all searches. If users are looking for encyclopedic content, Google will likely serve them encyclopedic content: that's their job and they do it well. We should not interfere on the grounds of utility to searchers, as you seem to have suggested as one reason for this measure (please correct me if I'm wrong).

As far as the non-encyclopedic pages being a byproduct: sure they are, but that doesn't mean they're useless. As long as their availability doesn't detract from the usefulness of the important stuff, why should we deindex them? There will always be some people who prefer to use Google for whatever reason. Google is often more readily available: in Firefox it's the default search engine, and typing random non-URL stuff in the address bar will Google it. Googling "Wikipedia beans" returns WP:BEANS (an essay, which it's been suggested should not be indexed) as the second result and may be more convenient than searching Wikipedia directly. The cost for implementing this measure is definitely nonzero, so it needs to have clear and concrete justification. What are the concrete benefits? And what other methods might be taken to gain those benefits? —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 17:54, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

FT2: Well, perhaps my reasons don't seem strong to you. I, obviously, feel otherwise.  :) In response to your points: 1/ Everything I wrote should apply going forward; I wasn't focused on past edits. 2/ If there are serious problems on user pages, {{sofixit}} applies. If problems are going uncorrected, we should address that; we shouldn't try and cover it up with NOINDEX. • I disagree that quality is now more important than it once was. Quality has always been important to me, and I would hope others as well. I think Wikipedia's popularity reflects its quality, not vice versa. If our quality is diminished, our popularity will adjust accordingly. This is a self-correcting feedback loop. • We can and do quality-control meta pages, as I've pointed out. WP:CIVIL, WP:NPA, WP:NOT and others address this. Please stop asserting that we don't QC meta pages without some kind of counter-argument. • I think my point #4, "It won't help", deserves a response. If I thought NOINDEXing would actually achieve something, I'd at least grant you that. But as I see it, this has no possibility of helping. "No benefit" vs "Some cost" seems an easy decision.
I think the fundamental disagreement I have is with the idea that openness of meta pages is not of benefit to the community or non-contributing readers. (This discussion is in terms of on NOINDEX, but that's what your argument appears to be built on.) For the same reasons that I favor transparency in business and government, I think we should promote transparency in Wikipedia. Openness is a core principle of Wikipedia. Again, from "anyone can edit", it follows that anyone must also be able to learn, study, discuss, disagree, and so on. We should not try to hide our failures, our warts, our history. We should make it as public as possible, proclaiming loudly: "Look close at what we do! Decide for yourself what we're worth. We disagree, but we're open about it. We've grown and evolved over time, and that's still happening. We're trying hard, but we're not perfect. The wiki process works, and you can help!" I see NOINDEXing meta pages as contrary to this. —DragonHawk (talk|hist) 22:26, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
The issue is not "a few pages which have appropriate regulation but it's not used" (the typical "sofixit" issue). The problem is that by its very design and usage, user space is a problem to spider. By way of example, any user can use that space for drafting almost any writing they like if it might seem vaguely relevant to the project, or is claimed to be a draft of work; they can make almost any claim in their userspace (provided it's not massively self promoting on their userpage), write any essay, and unless it breaches some fairly tight limits, we allow it, and allow it to be kept. If the user puts that they (under their real name) are considered an expert in something, it'll usually be found fairly quickly in the article. It won't be cared about if it's within their userspace "working page" or "essay on X topic", however long that's spidered.
User pages, talk pages, discussion pages; anyone who wants to analyze Wikipedia can readily do so via internal search. We aren't taking that away. We're saying our project aim is to create an encyclopedia and that encyclopedic content will be what's fed to third party search engines. If you want to join us, look under the hood, see how we work, learn about our discussions, use internal search - it's just as good, and doesn't push user information into employer's search results, or confuse people looking for information on a topic, who won't distinguish user from mainspace and just see the "Wikipedia" name in the results. FT2 (Talk | email) 12:16, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose We should not have to keep editig discussions secret. We need to attract editors. We do not need to have discussions in private. If what is said on talk pages is considered by some to harm Wikipedia then that is a fallacy, strength is through openess and freedom. Jezhotwells (talk) 02:40, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Support, at least for userspace. My userpage is unnecessarily listed first on Google (see here), even above the article, and I don't like it. This, that and the other [talk] 06:24, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
    • You can add {{NOINDEX}} to delist your own userpage. Every user can already make this choice on an individual basis. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 00:39, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The suggested scope is too wide. Portal space is content material and Wikipedia space also include the help and reference desks which should obviously be indexed so that non-Wikipedians can find the answers to their questions back when using Google. I might be willing to support a more limited proposal if someone shares the advantages. Right now, I'm only seeing a lot of work with no return. - Mgm|(talk) 16:27, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
Your concern is already taken care of in the proposal. Portal space would be spidered (obvious). Well known project space pages related to Wikipedia/Wikimedia (including help pages, reference desk etc) would be spidered too; I don't think anyone will dispute that those are "product/output" too. Does that help? FT2 (Talk | email) 22:24, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose. The only time we should be noindexing pages is if they invade user privacy, give unwanted publicity to trolls and vandals, or cause some similarly clear problem. People who search for a term that coincides with the name of an essay or other non-official, unchecked document hosted by Wikipedia should see the page in their search results if their search engine of choice deems it appropriate. The search engines can decide whether the page is relevant, not us. If there are concerns that these pages paint a misleading picture of Wikipedia, say that they might be misconstrued as official, we should talk about making clearer that they're unofficial, such as by modifying the logo or adding a special notice for anons. Trying to hide them is unnecessary, possibly harmful, and certainly contrary to Wikipedia's goal of transparency in its operations. The Web is what it is because content is interlinked, and especially due to the linking efforts of search engines, and trying to hide away large portions of one of the biggest websites there is and force people to use a site-specific search engine is a clear step backwards. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 00:39, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
  • *(kinda) Oppose I don't miss the ability to Google search non-main space pages at all. But what worries me is this: From the SEO point of view, is the turning-off such a good idea? I mean, does letting Google index less of stuff in Wikipedia makes the site appear (to Google) less interconnected thus less popular? Unless the answer is confirmed to be negative, we shouldn't act so hastily. (Part of what I'm doing in my user page (i.e., linking lots of pages) is related to my efforts for SEO, though I don't know it has any effects.) Surely everyone here wants Wikipedia to rank higher in Google search results, right? -- Taku (talk) 00:47, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

NOINDEX - Arbitrary break

  • Oppose per Cyde and Simetrical and Dragonsflight, among others. I also fear that this approach will breed complacency about unacceptable material being placed in these NOINDEXED namespaces. The existing NOINDEXing, despite the improvement of the internal search, has made it harder for me to find things I am searching for. Carcharoth (talk) 03:51, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Strong support - the mainspace is somewhat well monitored. Other spaces are almost completely unmonitored and libel there is a huge concern when we allow search engines to index them. --B (talk) 04:22, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose. It's contrary to the spirit of the web to undermine searchability. Who knows why users might want to find something? Let them and the search engines decide what to view and index. Second, if we have inappropriate content, it should be blanked. NoIndex is completely unreliable. There are many sites that copy our content. They don't honor NoIndex. If we block search enginges from large swaths of our pages, they will find the same content on unofficial mirror sites. Last and most important of all, by knocking so many pages out of the link graph, we risk damaging our top rankings for many of our content pages. Let me repeat. This proposal risks undermining the core reason for Wikipedia's success. I am a professional SEO (for disclosure). Jehochman Talk 04:24, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Bowing to expertize (I know nothing of SEO), but I do not believe that eliminating user discussions will impact on the credibility, rating, usage or the like of content pages. (If Google is ranking a content page by how many times it's referred to on our own user talk pages, then that would be a fairly poor metric.) Personally I would rather we were rated for our content. I don't believe our rating would be hard hit by removing editor discussions from spidering, and if there is a slight hit, what of it - the quality of output is what counts, not some metric on a "Google hits index". For several years Wikipedia was not a "top X" hit on such topics; if our quality is good then we will be a "top X hit" for some subject, based on that content, not on user page dialogs and notices. I'm not too concerned if we are the top hit, second hit, or tenth hit on Astrophysics (we're actually #1). I do care deeply at this stage in Wikipedia, if "John Doe is an edit warrior" is the first hit for John Doe's next employer, or User/John Doe/Homeopathy solves all problems is a top hit for homeopathy (due to the Wikipedia name) and it's representing unchecked userspace and project space material as our project's product/output. That I care about deeply. Data miners will need a far stronger case than "on principle we want to be able to see all data" - our project is to write an encyclopedia, not to provide random social dialog data. If user discussion matters that much, use internal search or download the data dumps. We don't need to promote it to the world; only our content. FT2 (Talk | email) 04:53, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
If there is objectionable content (John Doe is an edit warrior) then it must be removed. NOINDEX will not hide content. It will simply divert traffic to other places. Google ranks web pages by analyzing the link graph. (Pages are pages, even talk and projectspace pages.) This is what made Google special, and now all the other search engines have copied them, to a degree. NOINDEX punches out nodes in the link graph. The links are still there, but you have told the search engine not to index some of the pages. What this does to the rankings is hard to predict without doing a really big calculation. If Wikipedia were my client, I would tell them not to take this risk.
John Doe should Google his own name before applying for a job and see what comes up. In this age, people need to do reputation management. If there is a bad page in Wikipedia, he should know, and fix it. Otherwise, how do you know that the employer won't find the page anyhow (or a mirror of the page)? The employer could go to Wikipedia and use our miraculous new search function. Sooner or later somebody will offer employers a tool that lets them search all top X social media websites to gather a dossier on any prospective employee. The proper defense is to remove bad content.
If our new search feature is great, that is wonderful, but I still prefer to use Google. They do a better job, and I am a fussy consumer of search services. Next, will we optimize Wikipedia for Internet Explorer and tell everybody that's the tool of choice? Jehochman Talk 05:18, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't agree that bad content is fixed by individuals searching and fixing the source. Not in practice, for several obvious reasons including: 1/ the content may be internal but not under their ability to get adequately modified; 2/ Most individuals will not know, or do, so a blanket "well it's up to them" is an irresponsible reply; 3/ A large part of the problem content is about topics not people and is spidered in our name without any form of communal quality check.
Wikipedia is not a "client" of an SEO, and search ratings are not our goal. Making non-content searchable is not our goal. Helping data miners is not our goal. Providing free knowledge is. The knowledge we provide is our encyclopedic output. Insofar as we have any other pages, they exist solely to help us (as a community) be better producers of encyclopedic content, not because they are the aim of the project. If a user needs to find a discussion on those pages, internal search now does the job well. That internal search works on all browsers, all systems, and finds material very adequately and with a precision Google cannot (sections rather than just pages). "If people want to find internal facing content, use our internal search", is quite reasonable. Your example of internet explorer just isn't applicable. FT2 (Talk | email) 00:48, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose Since the search engine of Wikipedia itself is worse in many regards than Google. There is also much of important information about Wikipedia or article content on sites in other namespaces which will not be found anymore. It is also good rather than bad that my own Wikipedia user site shows up when searching for my name. Many more reasons see above by other editors. --Novil Ariandis (talk) 15:13, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
As said before, the internal search was radically overhauled and a much more sophisticated search was introduced, allowing the features Google has, and many it does not, and highly suited to Wikipedia. That is why this proposal is now due. Because this issue is no longer a concern. As for the last point, Wikipedia is not here to promote its editors. That Wikipedia's page on you is a high hit for your name is a net negative for the project, whatever you might like about it as an individual. It encourages use of the Wikipedia ranking for self-promotion, encouraging users to use it for that purpose, encourages SEO gaming in non-content namespaces which are not patrolled, allows a completely unremarkable person to get a "high Google rating" and does so at the cost of lending the project's name to your self-written, unchecked content which may be truthful or not but is presented under Wikipedia's collective name. A benefit? To you personally maybe; not in any way to the project. FT2 (Talk | email) 00:54, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose, this is a public project. We should not hide anything that does not need to be hidden. Also, we shouldn't generate any false sense of privacy or security in non-article space. Kusma (talk) 20:44, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Support -- actually, the strongest possible support. Our purpose is to produce an encyclopedia for public use. The encyclopedia is the product, and needs to be searchable by whatever public systems people may care to use. There is a considerable amount of mechanics involved in doing this. The people concerned with the mechanics are anyone who chooses to work on Wikipedia -- we're an open project. People working on Wikipedia work by necessity in the Wikipedia editing environment, and the material they need should be searchable from there. The net result of having non-article space searchable in Google is to give undue prominence to our own internal disputes. Certainly they're public, and it will remain true that anyone who cares to come to WP will find them. DGG (talk) 03:24, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose The entire site is the product. Unlike laws and sausages, our whole process of creation should be visible and searchable, open to all. I see no compelling argument, beyond a desire to prettify the public image, to arbitrarily close off huge portions of the site. And close them off only to the web crawlers that respect the tags, no less i.e. only deny the good search engines. I haven't seen an example of where harm could be prevented by this proposal, which harm couldn't already be prevented by other means. Franamax (talk) 12:45, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Carcharoth has covered my view. I am especially concerned about, pardon me, the possibility of crap creep - not deleting utter crap and myspaciness simply because it is NoIndexed. Full disclosure: I also use Google search to locate ancient discussions and arcane essays on subpages. KillerChihuahua?!? 13:06, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
We need to spider it as a motivation to remove it? Clean it up regardless. (Also, try the internal search. In most cases, it seems better able than Google to do that task, following the new search system release. Certainly it seems to handle the same complex queries - and others Google can't.) FT2 (Talk | email) 14:04, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Support The article space is the public face of Wikipedia. With the improved internal search, there is no reason for the user pages and talk pages, Wikipedia talk pages and perhaps selected Wikipedia namespace pages to be indexed by external search engines. olderwiser 14:56, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose, will not prevent embarassing details from getting out, and will massively inconvenience people. Google and other search engines rarely return Talk and AfD pages (in my experience), so the public face of the encyclopedia is well protected by the sheer mass of Mainspace returns. (talk) 03:28, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Support. The non-article spaces are not fact checked even in theory. Anyone can write any nonsense they want on their user page, and it's usually the first hit on Google if it has the right title. A recent proposal has been made to move articles without references to user space; this will make no difference if the user space is just as visible as the article space. Xasodfuih (talk) 16:23, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose. Let Google do what it was designed for. –xeno (talk) 20:18, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Simetrical, Cyde, et. al. I think we already go too far in noindex-ing things. The vast majority of the things this will cover, including things it intentionally tries to cover, are mostly innocuous. Mr.Z-man 22:05, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
  • oppose Noindexing specific pages such as ANI is reasonable and we do that now. I'm not convinced that the internal search is nearly as good as google's. In particular, the internal search is not as fast and is sometimes simply not functioning. There's no compelling reason that the vast majority of pages in non-mainspace should be not indexed. This interferes with transparency of the project especially for new users or people who are not that familiar with Wikipedia. Many people specifically trying to search our non-mainspace content are going to be people with minimal background and no idea that we have our own search function. We can continue to noindex individual pages or groups of pages as events warrant. The status quo is fine. JoshuaZ (talk) 01:33, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose After reading all this long discussion, I am still unpersuaded. Ruslik (talk) 16:29, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose we need maximum transparency. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 21:12, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Strongest possible oppose.
  1. This is a tool for the Ministry of Truth. Though no cabals exist now, one may exist in the future, that chooses to make a future Essjay an unperson. Shutting out robots would help such a breakdown of the wiki way.
  2. During the IWF Virgin Killer incident, a UK Google user would have been misled into believing that Wikipedia had no public discussion about the album cover, and may not have found Wikipedia's own search engine. Readers should be able to use the search engine of their choice, to search the public discussions of the encyclopedia community, as well as the encyclopedia itself.
--Hroðulf (or Hrothulf) (Talk) 17:30, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

This village pump is a bit obscure in my mind (especially in comparison to the proposals or technical village pumps). Perhaps leaving a note at WP:AN or Template:CENT or cross-linking with the other village pumps might be best to raise awareness? --MZMcBride (talk) 09:41, 29 December 2008 (UTC)


I note that this proposal was put forward by an arbitrator, immediately supported by another arb. Was this discussed out of public view? Jehochman Talk 04:36, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

No, and you ask every time on all kinds of discussions, "how did X find Y thread". No, Newyorkbrad and I didn't discuss it at all. FT2 (Talk | email) 04:40, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
I will continue to ask each and every time, just to be sure, even when I fully trust the editors involved. With only 16 arbs among 5000 active users, it merits asking when two show up in rapid succession. Jehochman Talk 04:59, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
The number of active policy editors is much, much smaller. With 16 arbs and maybe 200 policy editors, it's not surprising when two of them show up in short order. --Carnildo (talk) 06:10, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
With that title, it's no longer a simple neutral inquiry, but suggests considerable bad faith. FT2 (Talk | email) 01:04, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Order Order! I call for temperance from the miffed arbitrator! Let us not throw accusations. Gavin (talk) 01:07, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
ArbCom is a cabal. What's your point, FT2? If this proposal could pass on the merits, you would not have to respond to each and every oppose. Wikipedia's job is to spread free knowledge. Google is the main source of traffic to our site. If you undermine that flow of traffic, it puts the entire project at risk of losing readership and reducing the inflow of new editors. This is not something to play around with unless serious consideration has been given. Wikipedia's page views are worth order of magnitude USD 1 Billion per year. (We don't monetize them, but that's the value we deliver.) I know of no other organization that would put such value at risk with so little analysis. You admit knowing nothing about SEO, yet you breathtakingly presume to lecture us on how you think Google works.
How about a rigorous analysis? Can you point out specific situations where problems have actually occurred, then we can look for the least obtrusive way to solve the problems. Why NOINDEX huge swaths of pages when targeted NOINDEXing might resolve concerns with much less inconvenience and risk? Jehochman Talk 03:22, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
At minimum, should this proposal pass, all links from article pages that go to NOINDEX spaces (Talk, projectspace, etc.) should be NOFOLLOWed (as are external links). I really wish there was an attempt to achieve consensus by addressing concerns rather than an attempt to bowl people over by dismissing their objections. Jehochman Talk 03:52, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
This is consensus-seeking at work. A person who opposes a proposal is not an "opponent" as an editor. They are a user with a view. We discuss to see what genuine issues may exist, for example if their concerns about internal search are based in fact or misunderstanding, to take an example. Other users may not have considered what is kept in non-content spaces too. I'm fairly sure this would have significant benefits; I'm glad to hear concerns and see if there are any that are novel or insurmountable. A person proposing something should care enough to respond to good-faith concerns when needed.
We spider huge swathes of unchecked content as "Wikipedia". I've given examples above, and users on OTRS are familiar with such issues. Even if we didn't hear of problems we would still seek ways to improve the quality of what we allow to be externally treated as "Wikipedia content". The time's come to distinguish our content/output/product (being a "project to write an encyclopedia"), from the many pages which exist in order to support the community producing that encyclopedia (themselves for the most part, unchecked, and not our encyclopedic content). I have no interest in arguments based on SEO ranking, or hypothetical money value. We're here to produce an encyclopedia and help free knowledge to spread.
Although it may seem heresy to an SEO professional, rankings and dollar brand values are not our aim here -- encyclopedic content and its quality and depth is. De-spidering internal discussions and userspace pages will not change our article and media content nor (to any significant degree) the external sites linking to them. The world can rate that as it chooses. If we do our job right, they will be well used. FT2 (Talk | email) 05:33, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
If our goal is to help free knowledge spread, it is critical that people can find the free knowledge, otherwise it won't spread. We also need to recruit volunteers, or there will be nobody to generate the free knowledge. Consider that this is not an afterthought, but rather essential to the mission. Please don't hose the searchability of the site because you have hypothetical privacy concerns. I am depressed that you did not respond to either of the two points made in my last post. 1/ Can you provide examples of actual harm that could have been avoided by this proposals. I want something concrete, not hypothetical. 2/ If any pages are NOINDEXed, it is a good idea to NOFOLLOW the links pointing at those pages. Think of it as a courtesy not to ask search engine spiders to attempt to index millions of pages that contain a NOINDEX command. That's a waste of their bandwidth, and unnecessary load on our servers. Jehochman Talk 15:05, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

It seems to me your the one refusing to try an seek consensus, by making silly accusations without any shred of evidence and then getting all defensive when people point out how silly those accusations are. If you really want people to address your objections, why don't you raise valid ones rather then bringing up irrelevant crap? Nil Einne (talk) 12:59, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Indexing all pages aids transparency and helps reduce cabalism. More pageviews is good, not bad. We want to keep the curtains open so people can see how we make articles. Jehochman Talk 04:01, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

It also spiders a large number of unchecked non-content pages across the net, under Wikipedia's name, which for reasons I and several others have given, is no longer necessary to spider. Now that internal search is of sufficient capability to perform a similar caliber of search to Google, there is no longer a need to have internal-facing unchecked userspace pages, unchecked user writings and notes that have zero quality control, editors' dialog, and editorial disputes, spidered under the Wikipedia name equal to our encyclopedic content. Transparency implies that non-content should be easy to search and find. It remains so via internal search which is the appropriate way to find internal-facing material. Spidering to the outside world should promote our encyclopedic output and content. The idea that spidering non-content to the world at large will somehow reduce "cabalism" internally, or that editors commonly use google as a tool to detect "cabalism", or that if they did, they would detect "cabalism" any less using internal search (which is currently better than Google for locating material in discussion and userspace pages), is ludicrous.
It may be that an unspoken result is that the SEO world would have a means of exploiting Wikipedia removed from their use. Yes, that would be a side effect. Links in a number of namespaces would no longer help a person or group trying to promote themselves, as Wikipedia would be spidering its encyclopedia content only, which is closer monitored by the community and held to a far higher standard than user and talk spaces. A reduction in use of Wikipedia for external self-promotion is also a good thing. The SEO world's piggybacking of non-content pages, like "dollar value", is not a consideration for Wikipedia as an encyclopedia though, even if it may be for professional SEO's. FT2 (Talk | email) 10:50, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
As has been pointed out many times, noindexing will not hide anything due to the existence of mirrors. If there is suspect content here let's fix the problem rather than rigging up an ineffective and uncomfortable Band Aid. You've heard of RC Patrol, yes? Edits are checked in all namespaces. The assertion that some pages are not QC'ed is just plain wrong. You've heard of WP:COIN. The patrollers there do a good job of stopping self promotion. We have several bots that do a surprisingly good job of spotting self-promotional accounts. You're proposing real work and real inconvenience to solve a hypothetical problem, and we aren't sure about the benefits. A cost benefit analysis might show this exercise to be counterproductive. Jehochman Talk 15:34, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
In fact changing robot settings is very easy work. And the detection of slippery text in non-content namespaces is not comprehensive or foolproof (and many SEO and laypeople specialize in finding ways to do so despite our precautions); nor is it desirable to do it manually when there is real benefit to the project or its readers in making it a default setting and being done with the issue, if there is no page in that given namespace that should be spidered, or spidered without consensus.
You asked about dollar value. Here's the other dollar value question. How much is it worth to exploiters of online search engines for Wikipedia to remain indexed in the namespaces it doesn't need to? Because SEO ability to exploit Wikipedia carries no weight in this discussion. Nor does use of Google to detect "cabalism". Nor does advertizing revenue. Nor even is pure ranking an absolute end and goal. If we do our job on encyclopedic content, then we will be very highly linked, and very highly ranked, on our encyclopedic content. The world can rate that as it chooses. The other non-content pages that are public and searchable internally, we don't need linking from Google except for some very clear exceptions (major policies and guidelines, established pages about wikipedia/wikimedia by consensus, etc). FT2 (Talk | email) 16:28, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
I think it cuts both ways. By noindexing a lot of stuff, we may create an opportunity for exploitation that does not exist today. The more pages we noindex, the more incentive there is for somebody to set up a mirror to monetize traffic from that "non-content" content. I'd rather have the traffic coming to Wikipedia than to Joe's Wikipedia Mirror and Adsense Emporium. Jehochman Talk 16:42, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
I rewrote the above comment because FT2 removed part of his comment above. Check edit history if you care to see what was going on in both comments. Jehochman Talk 17:34, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Noting that your colleagues in your profession may have a vested interest in this, is hardly "hurled" or "insults". I have made no statement of, or about, you. So the question stands. Factually it's precise and accurate. Exploiting Wikipedia to get Google rankings for clients, is a well known topic in SEO hints and tips, and SEO articles on how to exploit Wikipedia (abusively at times) to get high rankings for clients have come up more than once on the WikiEN-l and other mailing lists. This is the field you work in. Of course its a legitimate point to ask about. Your fellows in the SEO field engage in this conduct. It is a way they make their income. But you'll notice I had already removed that portion immediately on reviewing my post, anyhow, in case it might be taken wrongly. FT2 (Talk | email) 16:49, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Your comment was aggravating considering that I've spent my own time and money to travel to SEO conferences and warn SEOs not to engage in shady practices with Wikipedia. Anyhow, I refactored my comment immediately after you refactored yours. Since I spend a lot of time talking to these SEO folks and know what they are actually doing (where you seem to just be making assumptions) it might be useful for you to ask me about it. In my experience at WP:COIN, most of the trouble is caused by amateurs and wannabe SEOs, not professionals. Once in a while a professional firm screws up. Most of the folks at WP:COIN and WP:WPSPAM will let me know when one of my fellows gets caught, I let them know, and they stop. We typically handle these matters in a low key way because it is not Wikipedia's purpose to embarrass anybody. Jehochman Talk 16:56, 5 January 2009 (UTC)


I now understand FT2 wants to use the robots.txt file, not the NOFOLLOW meta tag method of robot exclusion. To give this proposal a proper hearing, could the proposed code please be posted so we can actually see what is going to be excluded? I think that will help people decide. I am willing to reconsider my opinion after inspecting the code. Jehochman Talk 04:01, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

The question at this point is, in principle do we kill off spidering of these non-content pages? Searching can now be done via internal search to a high standard for anyone who wishes to search non-content and userspace pages (the current internal search understands complex searches, title searches and so on, as well as wildcards, "similar spelled words", "sections" and "namespaces" in discussions).
How that is done technically would then be a matter for technical users to consider. I understand they can make it happen. The issue at this point is to check the wish of the community regarding the principle of it.
At some point a formal discussion of the technical means would be needed too, but most of us are not skilled in that area and would have little or nothing to add concerning the technical code used in implementation. FT2 (Talk | email) 11:06, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. Our responsibility is to decide what we want to do. The technical side is best left up to those who we pay to do it and those volunteers who want to be involved with that side. We shouldn't limit or confuse the discussion by getting too sidetracked into the technical side unless there is substanial disagreement about whether what we are proposing is possible Nil Einne (talk) 13:15, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Note that as I understand it, this proposal isn't set in stone. One of the whole ideas of this discussion is to decide whether we want to noindex some pages and if we do, what pages. In other words, if you don't agree with some of the proposed pages, you are free to mention them and why and we can considered whether we agree with your concerns Nil Einne (talk) 13:18, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Basically, yes. I'd say that there is unlikely to be a good reason for userspace pages to be spidered. If it's a page which is that valuable to the project or that widely respected, then there'll almost always be a home in mainspace or projectspace. By contrast, projectspace does contain well recognized, stable, pages about wikipedia/wikimedia, as well as policies and guidelines. So for project space the norm would be "INDEX all policies and guidelines and (based on discussion) other well known reference pages; other project space pages NOINDEXed unless consensus agrees to index them". Does that help? FT2 (Talk | email) 14:13, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Note that using robots.txt rather than __NOINDEX__ or $wgNamespaceRobotPolicies will prevent __INDEX__ from working to allow indexing of any exceptions to the rule. Anomie 14:40, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Right now the proposal is a mystery. If you put forward code or specs I will probably feel more comfortable knowing specifically what's included and what isn't. Our policies should be indexed. They are freely licensed. Part of the value we provide the world is that our policies, guidelines and processes may be copied and used by other sites. Categories and portals are also content. They must be spidered. Userspace is very Myspacey; I'd agree not to index that. Projectspace should generally be indexed. We already NOINDEX RFCU pages via the header template, and I'd agree to NOINDEX other pages that are heavily used to comment on users, such as ANI, WQA, COIN, RFA, Editor Review, ACE, and RFC/U. Let's make a list and decide what should and should not be indexed. Jehochman Talk 15:07, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Quick summary:
  • Policies, guidelines, processes, well known stable wikipedia/wikimedia related information and other pages - INDEXed (per proposal).
  • Portals are content - INDEX.
  • Files - INDEX? (I'm not as familiar with whats in this space so possibly may be case by case in some parts?)
  • Categories - these are fairly easy to manage and will need a degree of individual handling. if they relate to content then INDEX; if community related (users, issues, communal page categorizations etc) - mostly NOINDEX. "handle case by case".
  • Userspace - NOINDEX.
  • Other projectspace - default NOINDEX (contains many arbitrary unchecked user writings and pages) but INDEX any projectspace page where consensus agrees.
Any use? FT2 (Talk | email) 17:48, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Of course, but I'd rather see specs. We are not going to give anybody a blank check to decide which particular pages are covered. Your list includes a lot of judgment calls. It is not possible to override a default Robots.txt directive of Deny with a meta FOLLOW, so your plan for projectspace won't work at all unless you want to have lots of people trying to edit a really large and unweildy Robots.txt file for each page they want to have indexed. When you devise a scheme, it is necessary to have technical folks in on the discussion or else you risk specifying something that doesn't work. See my comments in the next section on what I think is workable. Jehochman Talk 06:16, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Note that using $wgNamespaceRobotPolicies to set a default "NOINDEX" for particular namespaces does not suffer from the non-overridability problem. Anomie 15:13, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
What code does that insert? Does it add a meta robots tag with a noindex attribute value to each page? In any case, I am opposed to default noindexing of projectspace. Noindexing is the exception, not the rule. I think there is a consensus here that we can noindex pages when there is a good reason, but we should not damage the usability of the site by noindexing large swaths of pages. Several of us have asked, yet nobody has yet provided a concrete example of the harm that this proposal seeks to avoid. I think it would be best to just close this thread "no consensus". This looks like a solution in search of a problem. Jehochman Talk 15:29, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
This is what I said above. If we decided (for example) "We want mainspace INDEXED; userspace NOINDEX and not overridable; talk spaces NOINDEX and not overridable; categories INDEXED by default but overridable; files INDEXED by default but overridable; project space NOINDEX by default and overridable..." then that's the kind of statement that editorial discussion should conclude. WMF's sysadmins and any users of a technical interest can then decide how to make it happen (with your input if this is of concern). FT2 (Talk | email) 16:07, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Okay, this is progress. I agree with your specs, except that project space and talk spaces should be INDEX by default and overrideable. I think there is more stuff in project space we should keep than remove, so INDEX by default makes less work. Additionally, it places the burden on the NOINDEX side, meaning that if you want to NOINDEX part of projectspace, you need to state a reason. Could we attempt to implement that as a compromise, and see how well that addresses concerns? Maybe we should create a new subsection and spell out a proposal in detail. Jehochman Talk 16:14, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Are people missing the point?

It seems to me our primary concern here, as with all aspects of wikipedia, should be our visitors/readers not our editors. This means IMHO it's irrelevant whether this is going to make life more difficult for editors. In other words, I don't think complaints like 'this is going to make life more difficult for me' or 'I prefer Google' are relevant unless we can establish that these same issues will apply to our readers. It seems to me a lot of the discussion is getting sidetracked since it's failing to address this fundamental issue of whether the proposal will be a net benefit or disadvantage to readers, which requires us to considered whether they are likely to want to externally search the proposed noindexed pages and whether internal searching will be sufficiently accessible for those that do want search these pages, and whether us not indexing those pages will give better results for our readers. As well as issues like whether us notindexing will encourage complacency, and whether they will help reduce the BLP problem, and whether they will reduce spammers etc. (I.E. if this has a substanial negative effect on our editors or our content then obviously that needs to be considered since our readers are nowhere without editors/content but single editors having problems, not so much) Nil Einne (talk) 13:15, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Hmmmm. For myself, the above is a far more moving argument than anything I've seen so far. "What will most benefit the reader?" If meta pages make it harder for a reader to find the article they want, then that's a real issue. Meta pages might be "polluting" the search engines. However, it's hard to say if that is happening or not. I can Google terms like verifiability, neutrality, original research, and the meta pages match first. But that could just as well be because Wikipedia's own project pages are being seen as a useful and valuable resource to the world at large. We're here to create an encyclopedia, but maybe readers get more out of Wikipedia than that. We shouldn't be the ones to tell readers what is valuable and what isn't. Hmmmmm. Tough call. In theory, an analysis of referer logs and clicktrails could be made to try and determine whether people are actually searching for the meta pages or not, but I'm not sure the resources (server hardware, programmer/developer) exist, and there would be privacy concerns, I'm sure. —DragonHawk (talk|hist) 21:09, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Google is very good at showing readers the search results they want. Unless there is a compelling reason, we should let Google do their job. I've asked, but nobody has yet pointed out a specific problem. Show me a user who is harmed, or a Google search result that is polluted. Otherwise, let's not create busywork or needless bureacracy.
I could agree with excluding robots from userpages on the basis that Wikipedia is not a hosting provider. Picking through all the project pages to decide what to index and what not to seems like a big investment of time for an uncertain return (maybe even a net loss).
We already selectively NOINDEX a small number of project pages when we think privacy concerns prevail. Perhaps we could just continue doing that. Recently there was a discussion about WP:RFCU and we added {{NOINDEX}} to the report header template to exclude all RFCU cases. Except for Userspace, I think the appropriate course of action is to indentify classes of pages for noindexing and to propose it on the relevant talk page. This should be done sparingly, only when there is a clear privacy rationale. Jehochman Talk 02:57, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Revised proposal

Starting point at Wikipedia:Search engine indexing, please add. Once those crafting the list agree, we can put it to the community for approval. Jehochman Talk 16:19, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Clarification of conflict of interest guidelines

I'm trying to get the conflict of interest guidelines rewritten to be clearer in terms of what is allowable from people with conflicts of interest. At the moment they seem to allow most edits, but there are also several parts saying COI editing is strongly discouraged. It is not clear whether COI editing is generally unacceptable or only when it results in bad edits. I have written a proposed revision of the guidelines, but because of my own conflict of interest I really don't want to make any kind of change without consensus. I put a notice on the main village pump page a few days ago and so far there is a lot of agreement that change needs to be made, but no one willing to take charge of it. Please put forward your thoughts at User talk:Helenalex/coirewrite or on the conflict of interest guidelines talkpage. --Helenalex (talk) 05:28, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

New Wikipedia Policy Proposal: "Be Constructive, Not Destructive!"

Hello folks, I know I am a relatively new username but as a user i am quite old through various ip's. I tell you in good faith that i believe i have a grasp of goodwill and professionalism on wikipedia.

What i propose is a so-called, "honorary" "Sixth Pillar of Wikipedia".

Please bear with me, i plan to support my case.

Now, it has often come to my attention (and sometimes personally affected me) that certain users that consider themselves knowledgeable in wikipedia protocol happen to see themselves in a certain authoritorian light. This is a completely natural human state. And, after all, since we know that even people of power may be led astray, that is why the laws of the land apply not only to all of us ordinary folk, but also on the law-enforcers themselves, for we are all shone upon by the light of the same sun and moon.

What I propose is for wikipedia's own self-check-and-balancing mechanism to be ameliorated with a minor addition that i believe will have positive equilibrating qualities.

I believe it is easiest to begin with an example. Often have i noticed on my travels through WP's articles and, more importantly, discussion pages, that certain users - perhaps such ones that have recently been made a junior administrator - to happen to stumble upon a fact in an article they they happen to personally not know...and such a fact i have found that they will often unflinchingly DELETE, citing something like "undid revision by user-so-and-so: unsourced info" in the history page log notes.

Now. I have noticed that whenever that happens, there tends to be a several-day-long edit war or passionate discussion on the talk pages that takes place, which almost invariably ends in the original info being reinstated with a source or some sort of footnote/explanation/justification added. Which has invariably made me think - what was the point of the argument in the first place?!

Could not the overzealous editor simply have added a "citation needed" or "this article needs a cleanup" tag and, if they felt it really urgent (which is rarely the case) to have contacted some of the regular contributors of the article in question to nudge them on to doing so?

Personally, i will rarely argue with someone on an article, due to the fact that i know that of the thousands of contributors to the project and all the time in the world that Wikipedia has ahead of it (let us hope!), i know that the truth will eventually prevail.

However, some facts tend to be pretty obscure, and are hard to find the source info for, and if they are randomly deleted, who really knows when a new user will join the project and re-contribute them along with the necessary source info?

Hence why i have been for some time considering the creation of a "Be Constructive, Not Destructive" policy to have on wikipedia, which could be placed as a main subsection of Wikipedia's Fifth Pillar: Be Bold. This is because, as per my point above, i have found human instincts and human pride to be much more powerful, despite the anonimity of a computer screen and online username, than common sense, and many users who believe themselves to be upright pillars of the wikipedia community to simply take the be bold maxim all too literally and to all too lighthandedly undo others' hard work by unscrupulously deleting what is often hard-found and thoroughly researched information, which simply the contributor has either lost, forgotten to add or simply lacks the hard bibliographical evidence to hand to properly reference.

Thus i think a collaboration of more experienced Wikipedians such as yourselves who make a point of contributing to Village Pump and truly do mean to help out less experienced wikipedians should create a page titled WP:CND ("¡Construye - No Destruye!" - sounds better in spanish!), in which the principles for CONSTRUCTIVE editing are outlined, helping people to yes, be bold, but at the same time not delete work which may not be being monitored by someone who can save it and therefore lead to it being lost forever.

To conclude my point from four paragraphs ago - i rarely argue with people on Wikipedia, but when i do it is ONLY EVER due to the fact that i have noticed them flagrantly getting rid of info that could be properly referenced and become even more useful through just a little effort on their part - after all, how much effort is required to simply add a "citation needed" tag?!

And the main reasoning i always try to present - and that i think should be central to my proposed WP:CND page - is the literal definition of the word "encyclopedia": "all-round knowledge" - ie. better to have the info under discussion for deletion stay in an article [obviously, unless it is clearly wrong - i am not proposing that we have wrong info on Wikipedia] and simply mention that it is a "fringe belief", or an "alternate interpretation", etc, along with a "citation needed" tag and an urgent discussion on the talk page, which would then prompt people to source the info and improve the article. see? better leave the info and discuss it, leading to improvement, than to delete it, possibly (and often) erroneously and erase any future possibility of the issue ever being raised again, thus losing the info forever.

Now, i wrote the above text several months ago after my last argument over such flagrant deletion but decided not to post it as i, as every human being, preferred to kid myself into believing the problem will not affect me personally again (I erroneously believed myself too zenned-up on the Wikipedia:Don't-give-a-fuckism philosophy!) - . But, alas, it has, and berhaps all the better for it, for two reasons - a) i believe my proposal will indeed help many inexperienced users have a quotable comeback to overzealous "experienced user" deleters, who are well-read and can quote you WP policies till kingdom come and whom less experienced users have no hope of arguing against, even when they are clearly in the right (have you read some of the classic edit wars - you can often see who is clearly in the right, but loses due to lack of WP experience... now i know life is unfair, but if we don't try to turn that around, what are we?! merely the members of the animal kingdom that philosophers have been trying to convince us to ascend from for millenia), and b) actually provides a good concrete example that i can use to hopefully convince you.

Yesterday i completely by chance stumbled across a certain currency article, to which i had several months ago added the nicknames for the currency in question. I noticed that two weeks ago these had been deleted, the deleter citing "unsourced". now, that got me rattled. a) because clearly no-one had thought of adding the nickname before or had noticed its deletion, and so no-one is defending this info's existence; b) the currency is due to join the euro within a year or two, after which the nickname may well become obscolete and no new source material will be available to reference it with; c) importantly, by its very nature a currency nickname is colloquial, so would be hard to find any references from non-blog/non-chatroom sources, and even then real sticklers for the rules would say that the meaning conveyed is ambiguous; no "respectable" sources are to be easily found using the terms; and d) even more importantly - why the double standards - why did the deleting user not require such sourced references for the fact that GBP is called "quid" or that USD is called "bucks"? yes, we all speak english and "know" that to be the case, but a required source is a required source... whether for a well-known topic or for a little-known one. I give another example - in the London article, nearly every sentence is sourced; in the article for the smaller town of Watford, there is not a single source in three of the first four paragraphs. Now, by the practice of some contributors, nearly the entire Watford article would have to be deleted. And how would that help? a) it would not, b) it would lead to an edit war, c) it would stop the people in that edit war from happily and calmly contributing to the rest of wikipedia. and what would be the result? nothing constructive, initially, and a little while and a lot of anger later - a better sourced Watford article - which chould be achieved without all the worry anyway!

In the particular case of the currency i talked to the administrator in question and we sorted the matter out...which just highlights my original point - namely, what was the point of the whole delete-argue-discuss-sort out palaver in the first place?! could not the first two steps (delete-argue) have been skipped altogether and simply the "discuss-sort out" ones have been implemented? because, again, if i had not stumbled upon it, the discuss-sort out might never, ever have taken place... and how is that constructive?!

now, i hope if the contributor in question reads this - and i actually hope he does, i'll probably prompt him to this page once we have ourselves a little discussion going - he does take it as a piece of constructive criticism and does not take offece. and considers this next point - which i am sure does not apply to him/her but, having scrawled through the contributions pages of many a user, can safely say applies to quite a few of our co-contributors... so, here goes:

Are not the implications of an overzealous user's deleting actions much more worrying - how many other pages can such a user traul through, deleting info simply because he/she does not personally know it? How many pages can a single user effectively destroy by systematically erasing the same piece of info from a bunch of pages simply because it does not meet their personal criteria? (in the concrete currency case above, not a single user, and there are ample numismatics users watching the currency pages, has thought to take this action before, or even question the info presented in the article cannot be so wrong, therefore, that some sort of simple tag would not sffice...)

Now, the user in question boasts on his userpage that he has been a wikipedian for 19 months and has made over 5,000 edits. many others boast much longer times and many more edits. such are users who believe that the Power of the Edit is within them. (please to not take haste to hold these comments against me in and of themselves, and only because i am a "new user", but within the context of my argument, and consider some if not many of the arguments you yourselves have had in the past...and do not be aftaid to admit in your heart of hearts if you have not personally sometimes been the unnecessarily-strict administrator... for of the thousands of contributions many people boast of - are not some of these simply unwarranted deletions that big-up their notoriety as a knowledgeable bureaucrat and strict administrator? many have we met with such pretensions...)

i refused to enter an edit war with the user over the currency issue until the matter got discussed, and i awaited his reply for almost a day (not much, i know, but many people don't even wait several minutes, and i am true when i say i would have waited longer) because i stick by my own rules, and a major part of my here proposition to become official WP policy is for Constructive Discussion to precede any major deletions (for, while the amount deleted may be small, such as in this case, the implications can be big - such as the fact that it may be a unique packet of information that is not to be found elsewhere in a particular article or on wikipedia in general).

More importantly, however, what does such a small deletion tell us about such a user's overall mentality when it comes to editing and CONTRIBUTING to wikipedia? note the word - "contribute": it means "to add". how can deleting therefore be a contribution, let alone a constructive one? it can only be a contribution if it is removing info which is known 100% to be wrong.

A major related type of argument i have come across and even participated in is when people take out info from an article simply because it does not belong in the subsection it appears in. And i and others have tried to reason - why not simply add another chapter/section and put the info there, or simply leave it where it is and add a footnote, or put the whole info itself in a footnote, rather than completely removing it from the article?how hard would it be for that info, or for the currency nickname, to have been tagged with "citation needed"? [Although i still technically disagree due to the double standards issue, which will need to be sorted out.]

Please remember - we are all wikipedians who love this project and are working CONSTRUCTIVELY towards one common goal. Let us try and improve it by adding my proposal as an official policy (obviously, with modifications and additions - i eagerly await all proposals and the ensuing discussion), and this honorary "Sixth Pillar", while i do not truly expect it to become a pillar [BCND 1], it is probably just as important as the rest, as it relates to the preservation of the totality of the work that is Wikipedia. it is planned as a type of self-preservation mechanism - and, as self-preservation is a quality extant in arguably all sentient lifeforms, and if we philosophically consider "knowledge" to be, if not sentient, at least sapient (a self-referential definition if ever i saw one!), then my WP:CND proposal would be a major part of the central nervous system of this very project.

I would like to thank you all for your patience, and eagerly await your thoughts. BigSteve (talk) 15:22, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

  1. ^ (tho why not - as even the great King Jeffe Joffer was himself humbly informed - "it is tradition that even tradition itself has to alter"...i paraphrase)

BCND Discussion

Steps to get a new policy in place:
  • Step 1: Write it up as a user essay, User:BigSteve/Be Constructive, Not Destructive! and invite changes and discussion on its talk page. Tag it as an essay.
  • Step 2: Advertise it on the pump asking for opinions, let people know you are proposing it as a policy.
  • Step 3: Based on feedback, either leave it as a user essay, move it into Wikipedia: space as Wikipedia:Be Constructive, Not Destructive!, tag it as a proposed guideline and move it into Wikipedia space, or tag it as a proposed policy and move it into Wikipedia space.
  • Step 4: Add finishing touches like shortcuts.
davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 17:00, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

I agree with davidwr: Write an essay first.
I do recognise some of your feeling though, but can also understand where the deletion actions come from.
Several thoughts: Many of the "unconstructive" or "overzealous" edits are acting upon suspected vandalism. The trusthworthiness of the project as a whole would suffer from incorrect information, so it is better to be incomplete than incorrect. How would your essay deal with this serious problem?
Another issue: deletion cannot be constructive. I disagree. Articles should present the most relevant information, not all; as that would render completely unreadable articles. Adding information to an already lengthy article is often less constructive compared to deleting issues that receive undue attention. How would your idea cope with that? Arnoutf (talk) 17:09, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

I think the main issue with it is: ITS A GIANT WALL OF TEXT! If you want it to be taken seriously and not just look like a rant, it needs a little more structure than the occasional line break. Otherwise, most people (like myself, are just going to look at it, think "tl;dr" and move on. After skimming it, I would also suggest separating the anecdotes and personal opinions from the actual proposal. Mr.Z-man 17:27, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Hi guys, thanks for the prompt replies!
that's exactly what i am talking about - good constructive criticism on your part: i'm actually quite relieved, as i thought my admittedly long opinion would effect some negative responses. I am very pleased that it hasn't, and will take all that is said on board and write the essay you all suggest.
i will also address ALL of the points you make, and please keep any new ideas coming, will address them all. it will take some time, but i am as passionate as yourselves on the project so will persevere. Thanks for the well-laid-out advice, davidwr; thanks for the pointed questions, Arnoutf; and Mr.Z-man, you are right, i will shorten & better-organize my official version. I shall also look closely at the links Uncle G has provided for similarities and contrasts - and at first glance they all look very useful, i will try to merge them all into one well-reasoned policy.
hope to collaborate constructively on this, and generally in future with you folks, and thanks again for the positive response. finally - keep any opinions coming, i will use any feedback. ta! BigSteve (talk) 16:44, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

A criterion for speedy deletion for nn literary works

Every now and then I run into articles about literary works that clearly and unquestionably are not notable enough to be included in Wikipedia, a recent example would be A mermaid story, and the related afd. However, to my knowledge there is no csd for literary works, altough at times I've seen such an article deleted under A7. I propose a new criterion be added for literary works. — Twinzor Say hi! 16:31, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

Firstly I object to this being made into a format for a vote straight off the bat without a discussion (Wikipedia:Polling is not a substitute for discussion). This has been discussed on Wikipedia talk:Criteria for speedy deletion many times and there are several reasons why it has not been accepted. Firstly it does not happen often enough for it to be worth making a speedy criteria - speedy is there to reduce the load on other deletion processes and literary works do not come up often enough for this to be worthwhile - the above example would seem to be an uncontroversial candidate for proposed deletion. Secondly the areas that are included in A7 are areas where it is quite easy to tell what an assertion of importance is. With a literary work it is much harder to tell this. A book that got a few good reviews could meet the notability criteria without the author necessarily meriting an article and being able to determine whether such coverage is available is not something that the speedy deletion process is designed for. Davewild (talk) 16:49, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
I understand your opposition for making this a poll, I did not mean to imply by creating the sections that discussion was not necessary. To some extent your arguments could also be said for the relatively new A9. It's true that nn music appears a lot more often than written works, but I feel overall the existence of a csd for literary would benefit the project. I agree defining the importance of a book can be difficult, but I don't think this is a problem exclusive for literary, as certainly it can be difficult for music as well, and even with blps at times, and of course in less than obvious cases articles should not be speedyed, but then again there are these cases where there is absolutely no claim to notability, which clearly will be deleted, and to be able to speedy these articles would reduce the amount of work needed for this. These articles might not appear as often in literature than with some other subjects, but since they still do appear I think being able to speedy them would be a net benefit. — Twinzor Say hi! 17:14, 30 December 2008 (UTC)



  • Yes, you can, but you'd have to make it like A7, where it requires only a assertion of why it may be notable. ViperSnake151 14:10, 11 January 2009 (UTC)


  • Oppose per Davewild above. Johnbod (talk) 16:56, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose until need demonstrated the reason we have A7 and A9 is that they are abused for novelty purposes. If this is happening with literary works on a large enough scale to be a problem, then create a specific proposal that addresses that problem and just that problem. For example, if there are dozens or hundreds of SNOWed or uncontested-PROD literary AFDs and PRODs every month, look to see what they have in common that other articles that are kept do not have, and make a proposal based on that. Right now, I'm just not seeing a big enough problem to warrant a new speedy criteria. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 17:03, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose until we have evidence that a large number of articles would be covered by this criterion, A7 is there to take the load off other deletion processes. Hut 8.5 17:26, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose In my experience patrolling PROD, many inexperienced editor write articles on their favorite books, without giving any indication that they're notable, even though in many cases they are very highly notable, even having won major prizes and been themselves the subject of major critical work--this is especially true for children's books where just such notable books are likely to be their favorites. We are so lacking in basic pages about the really notable authors in this and many other fields, that the absence of a WP page on the author is not diagnostic of non-notability. The situation is different in popular music--the coverage of notable bands is very extensive, and the chance of our missing a really important one at least for most geographic areas is very low. The only way of catching what are the actually notable books is visibility to the community, so people who recognize the possibility of notability can at least search and see. DGG (talk) 16:47, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose per DGG. The notability of books is complicated enough to warrant indepth discussion by the community. - Mgm|(talk) 13:46, 8 January 2009 (UTC)


  • Neutral—three things:
    1. Voting is evil
    2. This might not be best covered by CSD
    3. Please make proposed new CSD criteria more generic, because we've already had A9 tacked on for albums, and a whole slew of little reasons could crowd CSD. {{Nihiltres|talk|log}} 21:46, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

Good articles

I vaguely remember that some time ago, there was a failed attempt to put little markers at the tops of all articles, similar to the little star at the top of featured articles, so that someone could see what rating the article had, simply by looking at the top right corner. What I can't remember, however, is good articles: do we place little markers for good articles? Not a person who works with article ratings much and who knows little about good articles, I thought we did, but I checked a few GA-class architecture articles and was surprised to see that they didn't have any. Nyttend (talk) 03:07, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

This was discussed back in May - Wikipedia talk:Good articles/Archive 11#Good article signs (closed) - where there was no consensus for adding them. Davewild (talk) 08:22, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
See WP:PEREN#Indicate Good Articles to readers, where it notes that since GAN isn't a community process, relying on a single reviewer, it would be inappropriate to put a marker in articlespace that implies it's a community judgment. However, note that there's a trend at GAN towards multiple reviewers. There's a large backlog at GAN, so it's still up in the air how much actual looking-over-each-others'-shoulders is going to be possible. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 18:11, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
Go to Preferences > Gadgets > User interface gadgets > Display an assessment of an article's quality as part of the page header for each article. (documentation) & check the box there + save Preferences. Then you will see in the article title how it is rated plus whether it is a good article or not. —Mattisse (Talk) 04:45, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
  • I'm using this feature and I find it very helpful. - Mgm|(talk) 13:48, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

Conflicts in WP policy

Apparently, Wikipedia is not censored, but WP:Introduction says "No profanity, libel, or personal attacks will be tolerated." Although we don't censor Wikipedia, the sandbox header clearly states "Please do not place copyrighted, offensive, or libelous content in the sandbox(es)." At Wikipedia, we don't believe in censorship, but we won't hesitate to delete article based on a guideline known as WP:N, which basically notes what WE consider notable. Wikipedia apparently does not permit censorship, but we do have WP:NOT. Censorship is not our style, except for when it comes to usernames. I agree that we can't have a free-for-all, and I like the idea of not censoring, but the conflicting policies as defined are probably confusing the newbies, and we get all kinds of vandalism, test edits, sockpuppets, and disgruntled users when newbies get confused. We can't have our cake and eat it too. Shouldn't we do something to clear up the confusion and fix the conflicting policies? PCHS-NJROTC (Messages) 15:33, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

I doubt that much vandalism occurs because of a good faith belief that "Wikipedia is not censored." More often than not, the "confusing" statement of principle is that "anyone can edit." Simply having standards of any kind will "confuse" people who think that they can post nonsense, original research, advertisements, etc. Anyway, I don't think you've stated a "conflict" except in very superficial terms. I don't think censorship of article content has any relevance to the requirement that users refrain from incivility or other disruptive conduct. There's also a difference between not removing article content because someone might it objectionable or immoral, and keeping Wikipedia centered on its function of being an encyclopedia rather than an all-purpose data dump, blog, etc. No censorship does not mean no editing. No censorship means we have articles on sexual positions, porn stars, heretics, atrocities, scandals, and other things people may find blasphemous or obscene. Postdlf (talk) 16:02, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
You miss the point of WP:NOTCENSORED: it's that Wikipedia refuses to delete, refactor or modify information because someone else tells us to. If we, as a community, decide that material is inappropriate, then we take the necessary action to resolve that, but with the necessary exceptions of WP:OFFICE and things derived straight from the laws of Florida (like WP:BLP) the only way to get us to do something is to work within the system to get policy changed in the right direction. It's essentially enshrined academic freedom; with a few caveats, we are independent of the people and topics we are writing about, they have no input into how we write about them. Except, of course, that they are just as welcome as anyone else to come inside and work with us to promote an even more professional view. But we don't take editorial input from external sources. So there is no conflict, all the other policies talk about internal editorial oversight, while NOTCENSORED proscribes external oversight. Happymelon 18:46, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
In other words, we'll no more put a picture of a penis in apple than we would put a picture of a rubber band. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 20:08, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
I am disappointed when experienced editors refer to WP:NOTCENSORED by shortcut and then fail to place the bald statement "Wikipedia is not censored!" in context. First and foremost, the rule applies to Wikipedia content (check out the section of WP:NOT it's in). We have no problem publishing content which some people may find offensive (disgusting, blasphemous, shocking, etc.) where it forms a legitimate part of a legitimate article. (As Melodia says above, we'll happily print a picture of a penis in our article about the penis, but we'll remove the same picture from an article about the apple. We'd also remove a picture of an apple, should one be added to our article about the penis.)
On the other hand, we can and we will show the door to editors who make unpleasant nuisances of themselves, because editors who do that are interfering with our primary aim: the creation of a free encyclopedia. Overuse of profanity, libel, or personal attacks makes this an unpleasant place for other editors to work; that sort of conduct has no place here.
To the point at hand, I see no reason to change WP:NOTCENSORED. Individuals who cite NOTCENSORED in an effort to excuse their conduct are almost invariably obnoxious ruleslawyers who lack the maturity to be a part of this project; they are attempting (and failing) to find a loophole to shield behaviour which they know perfectly well is inappropriate. They are not innocent victims of a misleading policy; they are just playing games. We don't need to play loophole whack-a-mole on our policy pages when we can just use common sense. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 21:21, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
Or, to put it simply, WP:NOTCENSORED means that penis has a picture of a penis. It doesn't mean I can call you a dick. --Carnildo (talk) 21:53, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
Wow, I can't believe how many people associated this proposal with blatant vandalism despite the fact I'm proposing none of the such. I'm not saying that we should allow people to just randomly put stuff like "Obama is a nigger" and "McCain is white trash" in articles; I'm expressing that I think the sandbox rules seem a little to strict, I think thatWikipedia:Introduction contradicts this by saying no profanity will be tolerated (because there are places where it is appropriate), I think that we get a little carried away on AfD and CSD with the WP:N, WP:SCHOOL, and WP:BIO citations. I oppose the idea of free-for-all, but I think we DO censor articles a little bit much by getting too carried away with deletion. By the way, WP:NOTCENSORED doesn't just say that there are articles which some may consider "sexually offensive," it says that there are articles that some may consider offensive. PCHS-NJROTC (Messages) 22:07, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
We don't deleted articles because of censorship. We delete articles because they're non-notable bullshit or because they're copyvios, which is not "suppression of speech or deletion communicative material which may be considered objectionable, harmful or sensitive" Nil Einne (talk) 12:54, 4 January 2009 (UTC)