Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 60

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Copyright FAQ[edit]

Related to an earlier proposal here to change Wikipedia:Copyright, I am now proposing a revision of a section of the copyright FAQ. (Everything branches out. :)) The more recent proposal is at Wikipedia talk:FAQ/Copyright#Proposed alteration. The sort of ongoing conversation about WP:C is at Wikipedia talk:Copyrights#Derivative works. The primary purpose of the proposal is to clarify what it means "to read an encyclopedia article or other work, reformulate the concepts in your own words, and submit it to Wikipedia", since I have seen quite a few articles cross WP:C where contributors seemed to think a handy thesaurus is all it takes. I'd be grateful for feedback there on both the idea and the language, since neither of those talk pages is heavily monitored. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 18:55, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

RfC for WP:BOOSTER[edit]

There is a request for comment about whether or not WP:BOOSTER documents a standard consensus and good practice that all editors and school/college/university articles should follow as an official policy or guideline. Madcoverboy (talk) 18:59, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

RFC for linking of units in articles[edit]

I have started an RFC for a centralized discussion of the issue of linking units in articles. I arbitrarily chose the talk page of WP:MOSNUM, but I am also leaving notices on as many relevent talk pages as possible to attract centralized attention to this. See Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)#Centralized discussion for linking of units of measurement. Please carry on all further discussion at that location. Thanks. 21:22, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

removing religious affiliation[edit]

I understand religious affiliation has been removed from bios' on Canadian Prime Ministers. This may be a policy of wikipedia or just an anomoly. In any event removing information that is true should be never be a policy of wikipedia. Religion forms a persons philosophy of life as much as any other set of beliefs. They may not live the life their beliefs say they should which is even more of a reason for religious info to be available. What is the justification for removing this information? Wikipedia loses credibility if this type of action can be taken. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:46, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

This probably relates to this article I'm guessing - Religious affiliation wiped out by Canadian Wikipedia enthusiasts. Davewild (talk) 21:54, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
I love how that characterizes it as "Deleting public information" as if it were some kind of cover-up. They disagreed with the decision as to whether that information was important, but I really only care about religion in cases where the person's religion is important enough to justify actual coverage in the article (i.e. Sunni or Shia in Iraq), not just some trivia in the infobox. SDY (talk) 23:13, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
Actually, removing information which is true but harmful if it's drummed up as a big deal is something I would do in heartbeat unless the encyclopedic value outweighed the harm to the individual. "The Prime Minister is a Satanist" or "... was convicted of check fraud" with plenty of sources to back it up stays, "Joe still-living Actor from the 1950s and 1960s" who barely makes the cut of notability and where the report was in a few major papers when it became public but then got forgotten, and the person's career continued, that I would probably delete as un-encyclopedic and the fact that it's a BLP would clinch the deal. The best place to debate the encyclopedic nature of true information is at the article talk pages themselves, not here. As for the actual religions of Canadian politicians, if the politician has made it an issue in his campaign, or has been public about going to religious services, that sounds encyclopedic. If he's been private about it, then it's as encyclopedic as the books on his private bookshelf, which, by the way, may influence his thinking more than what he hears in the pulpit. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 23:28, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
Well, considering the work and interest put into Religious affiliations of United States Presidents, this is a trend that ought to stay on the other side of the border. Mangoe (talk) 00:46, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
Should we also mention how many cats the PMs own? Or how often they have sex (if we know). Or what they did on the 21st January 2003 at 2:03:30 pm? Nil Einne (talk) 13:30, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

You might be interest in participating in an RFC about the same question concerning Adolf Hitler (no kidding). Turns out that he was formally a member of the Catholic Church all his life, but apparently several editors can't accept that. Please go to: Talk:Adolf Hitler#Hitler, nominally Catholic?. Zara1709 (talk) 11:16, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

WP:Review Board[edit]

Consensus having been reached on the core of the WP:Review Board (with the scope limited to auditing CU and OS use only), discussion should proceed to making this policy once the last details have been hammered out:

  • Method of selecting candidates for the board;
  • Exact name; and
  • Procedural details.

Wide community participation is encouraged on the talk page. — Coren (talk) 03:08, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Intimidation by spam fighters[edit]

Is there some kind of policy about oversight of spam fighters by someone other than other spam fighters? I wouldn't bother to bring this here except that I see this kind of problem being laid on many editors besides me.

I would like some second opinions from others concerning this:

I feel like I am being intimidated by some forum-shopping spam fighters into agreeing with them and a supporting admin. Another admin agreed with me.

It does not seem to be enough for these spam-fighters that I had said I was not wedded to adding a particular worthy external link.

I feel that they are out of control. So I promised never ever to add this particular worthy external link just so I don't feel pressured by the admin who wrote this: [1]

It is a mischaracterization of what I have been writing there, just like the frequent mischaracterization by the other spam-fighters there.

I have seen groups of many of these spam-fighters humiliate numerous other editors. That is why I am bringing it up here. They are out of control. I have been saying this a long time. See my user page for some past essays by me about this from long ago.

Also, look at the talk pages of some of these spam fighters, and follow some of the discussions back to who they are replying to. Note the frequent frustration of many editors dealing with these spam fighters.

Every now and then I bring this up, but it seems few people pay attention. Spam fighting is looked at as necessary dirty work, and they get a pass on many of the rules such as WP:BITE, and common courtesy.

So I try to avoid spam fighters, as many people do, but one particular spam fighter dragged me into a noticeboard with a lame accusation of edit warring.

This type of stuff causes many people to leave Wikipedia, and stop giving money or praise to it.

I see this kind of group-think intimidation sometimes on forums outside Wikipedia, but one would hope Wikipedia would try to do better. --Timeshifter (talk) 05:48, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Coming at this from the hopefully reasonably neutral perspective of someone previously unfamiliar with the discussion, I have perused the talk history and my general impression is that neither "side" is solely to blame for the apparent escalation. As someone who frequently goes to bat for the too casually deleted efforts of other contributors—and whose efforts in this respect have more than once caused me to become the unexpected focus of the odium directed at those contributors, as it were by proxy—I feel a strong sympathy to Timeshifter's plight, whether perceived or real. At the same time I can sympathize with the original judgment of Ronz that the disputed link was inappropriate, although their way of justifying that opinion was perhaps rather less than diplomatic. More than anything else, frustration makes assuming good faith an almost superhuman effort, especially when being in a minority makes it all too easy to feel hounded and beset by a cabal of evil conspirators. This makes it all the more important that those who happen to be in the majority allow for the natural frustration of those in the minority and make a conscious effort not to appear smug and arrogant. The latter is all too often forgotten, and it seems to me that this may be the issue Timeshifter is trying to raise in a general sense—which is really the only sense in which this issue deserves our attention. Raking over past disagreements for the sake of those disagreements is really just a way of playing the blame game and more importantly, does not contribute to improving the quality of Wikipedia at all, neither as an encyclopedic resource nor as a social environment. From my perspective, then, what's needed at this point is for Ronz to admit to perhaps having been a tad heavy-handed, and for Timeshifter to admit their frustration may have led them to assume bad faith on Ronz's part. If they read this, Timeshifter may be thinking I'm leaning to Ronz's side, and Ronz may be feeling I'm leaning to Timeshifter's side, and in a sense that is the whole problem. As my grandfather used to say, if you apologize and they tell you it's not needed, well, it did no harm. If you think you don't need to apologize, you almost certainly do. Oh, and that goes for both of you :) Nude Amazon (talk) 08:03, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't know what I am apologizing for, but I apologize. I am just glad someone else bothered to investigate this and comment. Thank you. You wrote: "...more than once caused me to become the unexpected focus of the odium directed at those contributors, as it were by proxy—I feel a strong sympathy to Timeshifter's plight, whether perceived or real."
It is real. This probably happens thousands of times a week as newbies add external links or reference links, and then find out that their efforts are slammed for violating WP:COI. The thoughtful newbies read WP:COI and stop adding the links directly. They learn to suggest COI links via the talk page.
This is the real problem: Other users without COI problems then get slammed by proxy for adding or referencing the same link, or links from the same website. This probably happens hundreds of times a week. There are hundreds of spam fighters. They have several tools to note when a particular link or website is being added. I have noted that once they have zeroed in on a particular link or website, they sometimes hound everybody who adds the link or website for awhile. Even those who don't have WP:COI problems with the link or website.
Some spam fighters are polite, reasonable, and not in any way smug, arrogant, or condescending. But many spam fighters (as a group) are spreading ill will and bad feeling to hundreds of good editors a week who are not violating WP:COI, and they get away with it. I don't see how this helps the project. I guess I am supposed to assume good faith even with editors I have had bad past experiences with. I guess that is what I am supposed to apologize for. I apologize. But WP:AGF says that once we have enough reasons to not assume good faith with a particular editor, then we don't have to. We are not a cult who believe blindly in the essential holiness of all. We do not impose thought control. We impose the Wikipedia guidelines.
Editors who impose their will without backing up their actions with any Wikipedia guidelines need to apologize to the hundreds of good editors a week they intimidate without justification. It is not about Ronz in my opinion. I am referring to a certain percentage of spam fighters. I did not say anything insulting to anybody as far as I know. Nor did I personally attack any one as far as I know. All I did was disagree and say I would come back later. I argued the Wikipedia guidelines. Usually this works. Most of these type of spam fighters aren't really interested in the Wikipedia article in question itself, and they ignore my addition of the link after they calm down and come to their senses, and reread the Wikipedia guidelines.
I suggested long ago that a better solution to the spam problem is to not allow unregistered or new users (first 3 months) to add any external links. Then the spam fighters would be joined by millions of other registered users in blocking ALL external links added by newbies. There would be no bias involved this way. I am not a newbie. I have over 16,000 edits. It is not about me though. I have already eaten humble pie and acquiesced to the unjustified threat and intimidation. I have said I will never add the link. --Timeshifter (talk) 12:16, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
I have noted that once they have zeroed in on a particular link or website, they sometimes hound everybody who adds the link or website for awhile --- this is because quite often a person will sockpuppet. I don't even go out checking for stuff, mainly staying with what's on my watchlist and what I come across through reading, but even I've seen it a lot. Person adds a website that fits the topic but not the guidelines for EL, across many similar articles. Person sees this and removes the all, for legit reasons, and then someone else (be they the same or not) comes back with a red user name and starts adding again. From my purely unscientific personal observation, it happens a lot. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 12:25, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes, this is true. It is also true that in the follow-up sweeps by spam fighters, they pull in a lot of honest editors who aren't sockpuppets. And so honest editors adding good links (both reference and external links) all of a sudden have some new editor(s) who have never edited the Wikipedia article before come in and start deleting both reference links and external links and calling or implying that almost everybody who returns the links are "spammers". The lack of good faith is on the part of the spam fighters. Being thusly insulted and humiliated of course discourages many honest editors from editing Wikipedia ever again, or for a period of time. No one seems to care. Just because one person adds a link in a spammy way does not make that link spam in all cases. Overenthusiasm by one editor or spammer should not carry over and permanently "contaminate" an otherwise good link or website. This is not a legitimate reason to remove a link added by an honest editor. --Timeshifter (talk) 13:16, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

(unindent) I have very little interest in getting embroiled in a debate about particulars, since as I pointed out, I consider only the general issue raised to be of interest. However, as one of the parties involved chose to respond on my user talk page instead of here, I thought I might quote them here:

"From my perspective, then, what's needed at this point is for Ronz to admit to perhaps having been a tad heavy-handed" I hope you're referring to the warnings on his web page. In hindsight, I should have started the edit-warring report immediately when he attacked me in response to the npa-2 template I left on his talk page. What would you have liked to have happened? --Ronz (talk) 16:36, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Although I think this merits little more than a [sic], I find it somewhat depressing that Ronz apparently did not read, or chose to ignore, or lamentably failed to understand the very next sentence following the one they chose to quote. Nude Amazon (talk) 17:16, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

'Attack' or 'Battle'?[edit]

I noticed a few years back on the Deir Yassin Massacre article, some editors were strongly trying to change the title to "Battle of Deir Yassin." Words affect perception significantly, depending on whether 'attack' or 'battle' is used for example. One argument is it's a 'battle' if 'two sides are fighting'. So, if one party attacks and the second defends themselves, is the 'attack' then a 'battle' (or 'conflict')? How to deal with this issue? Cheers RomaC (talk) 04:30, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

It should be whatever the most (in number and/or quality) reliable sources call it. Mr.Z-man 04:54, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Thanks Mr.Z-man. RomaC (talk) 08:29, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Calendar Era[edit]

In the spirit of Wikipedian egalitaranism of all knowledge, it seems that calendar eras should be denoted with CE and BCE rather than with BC and AD. The WP article "Year" even notes that those are the more neutral designations. CE and BCE do not specify religious belief, yet still maintain the currently accepted calendar eras. BC and AD are Christian specific and should be used, at most, in articles dealing with Christianity.--MysteryJG (talk) 16:49, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

I would agree. I personally always use them. Unfortunately, BC and AD do have a weight of traditional use behind them. However, while supporting many traditions myself, I feel it's time for this move to be made. (I would object to using any other religiously named system just as strongly.) There would probably be some trouble from fundamentalists and others, but we get that in various forms already on various subjects. It can be coped with. Peridon (talk) 16:59, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm SURE I've seen this brought up before. I can't imagine it hasn't, at least. I for one lean toward BC/AD because of familiarity to the normal WP reader, but perhaps looking at what other encyclopedias and general academic stuff these days do may not be a bad idea. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 18:13, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
In the spirit of WP:NPOV and WP:UNDUE, we should use whatever most English-speakers use. Today, that is AD/BC, tomorrow it may be CE/BCE. In certain articles there may be exceptions but those are exceptions.
As a social statistician, I'm not sure how one can determine the use rate of BC/AD versus BCE/CE. Most writings with the terms will have a particular historical or religious perspective - but this does not tell us what most readers would use. Additionally, there is a difference between what a reader would use by default and what they are capable of understanding.-- (talk) 21:49, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Yup this has come up before, see wp:ERA. Rather than standardise on whatever most English speakers use I think its more like American English v English "It is inappropriate for a Wikipedia editor to change from one style to another unless there is a substantive reason; the Manual of Style favors neither system over the other." ϢereSpielChequers 22:00, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Straw poll on 'trial' implementation of FlaggedRevisions[edit]

The discussion on the implementation of a 'trial' configuration of FlaggedRevisions on has now reached the 'straw poll' stage. All editors are invited to read the proposal and discussion and to participate in the straw poll. Happymelon 17:52, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Eustacius de Yerburgh[edit]

Can I get more input on this? According to User:Uncle G, I am not allowed to nominate an article for deletion unless I've gone to a major library and looked for print sources. Is this a reasonable expectation? Little Red Riding Hoodtalk 20:16, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

You know, I think I'd have been non specific about the editor you may or may not be misquoting and the article and deletion request.
That having been said, I think one must do one;s best with the facilities available. If you have access to a library I think it reasonable to make a check. If you are an armchair editor I think your duty ends at the reach of your internet connection. To me this means that one may comment on a deletion discussion and may nominate an article for deletion, even if one's rationale is based upon limited resources.
Wikipedia is a big enough community to recover from mistakes with ease and without accusation and counter accusation. Deleting an article is a reversible act, deletion discussions may be reviewed, mistakes may be reverted.
I'd suggest that you stand back from this, depersonalise it as a matter of importance, and look at a general answer. Your underlying point is interesting, let's keep it to the underlying point, though, not any personalities. Fiddle Faddle (talk) 20:26, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
But this is an important point. Is it reasonable to expect off-line research before an AfD can be made? Am I no longer allowed to nominate "Joe Smith is the greatest cricket player in the history of the game" for deletion, unless I go to a major library, which I don't have within a reasonable distance, and look for him in dusty books of cricket history? Little Red Riding Hoodtalk 20:29, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
This is a toughie. I would say that if your nomination is based on the existing article assuming everything in the article is true then yes, go ahead and nominate. If it's based on challenging the truth of what's there, then you should probably start something on the article talk page asking if anyone can help. Also talk to the original author or the editor who added the material you are challenging. They may be willing to email you scans of books. You are also always free to WP:PROD, assuming it's never been PRODded before. In some countries, libraries can get books they don't have through inter-library loan. Some libraries and newspapers are even willing to look stuff up for you if you ask nicely. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 21:12, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
since the article was em.. deleted, I'm guessing that it's a good nom. As for tracking to the library - let's get serious, when wikipedia starts paying travel expenses or a salary, we can expect that level of research as a matter of course, otherwise forget it. --Cameron Scott (talk) 21:15, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
SOMEONE at AFD did their homework. Actually, SEVERAL someones did. It turns out that the sources were either unreliable or reliably reproduced material that had been faked decades or centuries earlier. It would've been much better if this discussion had happened on the article talk page BEFORE AFD rather than during. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 21:20, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Why would that've been better? Algebraist 21:25, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Looking at "Is it reasonable to expect off-line research before an AfD can be made? Am I no longer allowed to nominate "Joe Smith is the greatest cricket player in the history of the game" for deletion," I go back to saying "if you have easy access to offline research, then it is sensible to do it. It is then important to put any discovered references into the article. Equally those supporting the article may be relied upon (or should be) to supply those resources if an article is nominated for deletion with the nomibator doing no research at all.
Do I really need to answer the other example? The title says it all, surely?
Wikipedia is a combative place, like it or not. Strong opinions forcefully held often collide here. As a generalism, such an event usually produces a better overall result for Wikipedia. None of us, even the "most reasonable" is even close to perfect, despite many of us saying loudly that we are!
I think it comes down to nominating articles for deletion using good faith, and accepting that one may be wrong in a nomination, and, when wrong, in withdrawing magnanimously. From my own perspective, as long as it is not a whim, nominate what you like, but do not expect always to be praised for it, nor your nominations to be upheld all the time. Fiddle Faddle (talk) 21:52, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

No one said you absolutely must do offline research in order to nominate an article for deletion. Uncle G is a famous deletion discussion participant, and has been for years, and he knows his shit. The reason offline research was key to this particular discussion is because the subject matter is less likely to have extensive online coverage. Searching for references requires a bit of a judgment call - if the subject of the article has been dead for half a thousand years (assuming he existed at all), it wouldn't be at all surprising for him to be both notable and not have much in the way of references available online. Avruch T 22:24, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

  • It depends upon the topic. For topics which pre-date the internet, such as this, there may be much good material offline and if you have no familiarity with it then it is presumptuous to attempt to delete the matter. The bottom line here is whether your action helps build the encyclopedia or not. In this case, I think it hurt it by deleting a reference to a person who, whether he really existed or not, seems to have had some notability over the centuries. Should we delete King Arthur too because no-one is now quite sure whether he really existed? Colonel Warden (talk) 15:19, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
But you can't put that at his feet, once it's nom'd, it's a community matter, it's the community action that deleted the article not the original nominator. --Cameron Scott (talk) 15:34, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
But the problem is he didn't have any notability. Very few sources mention him and only in passing. King Arthur on the other hand has very many sources. It is presumptiuos of editors to create articles without any reliable sources (be they print or online doesn't matter) then tell other editors to go out and find sources they were too lazy to find them when they created the bloody thing. Bottom line being, if you create an article, you are responsible for making sure it is notable and the information correct. It's not the responsibility of other editors to try and find sources to verify details/stuff you created/added without references, they are free to nominate them for deletion (or if simply unreferenced shit in an existing article) delete them outright if they find them dubious enough. Of course other editors can and do often look for sources, but there's a big difference between editors doing it, and making it their responsbility before they clean up crap some idiot created. Ultimately the person at fault if an article on a unreferenced notable subject is nominated for deletion (or actually deleted) is not the person who nominated it but the idiot or idiots who thought it a good idea to write such a shitty article in the first place Nil Einne (talk) 12:41, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Avruch hit the nail on the head. While it's not the debate participant's job to look for sources, it is their job to make well informed decisions. Claiming something is unverifiable without checking likely sources is a bad idea. It assumes sources don't exist when you haven't checked if it is actually the case. - Mgm|(talk) 13:58, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

RFC at WP:NOR-notice[edit]

A concern was raised that the clause, "a primary source may be used only to make descriptive claims, the accuracy of which is verifiable by any reasonable, educated person without specialist knowledge" conflicts with WP:NPOV by placing a higher duty of care with primary sourced claims than secondary or tertiary sourced claims. An RFC has been initiated to stimulate wider input on the issue. Professor marginalia (talk) 05:49, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Adding 2 policy pages to WP:Update[edit]

I'm open to adding policy pages to WP:Update. Personally, I try to focus on the pages that directly concern what goes into articles, but I'd be happy if anyone else wants to chart changes to any category of policies every month. I considered adding WP:Deletion policy and WP:Copyrights, but the stuff relevant to article content on those pages seems to be covered already by two of the content policies, WP:NOT and WP:Non-free content criteria. The next logical place to expand, it seems to me, is to keep track of the policy on how to discuss and change policy, namely WP:Policies and guidelines and WP:Consensus. I'd rather not add WP:Dispute resolution or the "crime and punishment" policies, in the spirit of WP:BEANS. I don't want to act unilaterally on this; can I get some suggestions? - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 15:08, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Should I take the WP:SILENCE to mean that tracking policy changes is boring, or that I was so brilliant I got it right on the first try? - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 18:55, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Restarting Wikipedia:Arbitration policy proposed updating[edit]

Hi, Wikipedia:Arbitration policy proposed updating was a drafting process for making much needed changes to the Wikipedia:Arbitration policy following last year's Wikipedia:Requests_for_comment/Arbitration_Committee and discussion on if we should vote to ratify some changes during the last elections. Unfortunately, it stalled some time during October when input and support for the process from the sitting Arbitration Committee seemed to cease. It is again unfortunate that the current Arbitration Committee are unable to provide any timeline or agenda for investigating enacting the changes requested from the community.

With that in mind, I'm restarting Wikipedia:Arbitration policy proposed updating, with a view to having a ratification vote on a new policy some time in Q3 2009. Generally, I think this will be an evolutionary process from the draft we have, with only minor changes now required to put forward a document that can be ratified as the new arbitration policy. --Barberio (talk) 22:10, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Suicide methods[edit]

Does Wikipedia have any policy regarding the detailed description of suicide methods? For instance, is there any policy preventing elaborate description of how to perform the method documented in the article Charcoal-burning suicide? I ask out of simple curiosity. (talk) 01:48, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Read all of What Wikipedia is not, in particular, Wikipedia is not censored and Wikipedia is not a manual, guidebook, or textbook. If you add such material, someone will revert it claiming "Wikipedia is not a manual." Someone else may put it back claiming "Wikipedia is not censored." There might be some drama until consensus develops among the articles' editors. Personally, I think that in most cases this would be un-encyclopedic and I would probably remove it. Once. If it was restored I would discuss it before removing it again. I hope this helps. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 05:38, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Wikibooks would be the best place to find/write a book about suicide methods. EVula // talk // // 19:14, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia:If you could re-write the rules[edit]

I am looking for input for the page Wikipedia:If you could re-write the rules. I want a variety of opinions! —harej // be happy 05:17, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Interwiki links[edit]

I was shocked when I came across Talk:2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict#Arabic interwiki + Talk:2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict/Archive 5#Link to the Arabic Wikipedia and where there were suggestions to remove an interlanguage wiki link because some contributors regard it as 'too POV'. I've been looking for any policy on interwiki links and couldn't find any. It's my understanding, current policy is we don't evaluate the content of another language article beyond determing it's about the same thing (which in this case it clearly is, POV or not). It seems to me this is a good thing, it would be disastarous for us to start to evaluate other language wikipedia articles to decide if they meet our standards. (I'm sure this problem is not unique to the Arabic wikipedia, I shudder to think what e.g. the Russian and Serbian encylopaedias are like with some articles.) Any prolems other wikipedias have need to be dealt with by the foundation or by contributors to said wikipedias, not by us arbitarily imposing crackdowns on articles on other wikipedias we don't like. Do we need to excplicitly spell this out or is leaving it as one of the many areas of unspoken policy enough? Nil Einne (talk) 11:12, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

I would have no problem with a policy that we don't evaluate or remove the links in the list of foreign-language wikipedias at the end of an article, except for technical reasons (broken links, etc) and WP:Office actions (which are likely to be quite rare, but if Mike Godwin raises defamation concerns, we should listen). - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 14:06, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Let's explore this a bit. We have a policy about categorizing articles in inappropriate categories, as a subtle way of introducing POV. I'm fairly sure we would not agree to categorize Apollo 11 in Category:Hoaxes. What if the Ido Wikipedia had an article called Moon Landing Hoax, and someone linked Apollo 11 to it? Would that be acceptable? as far as I can tell, both introduce the same POV. NoCal100 (talk) 18:07, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
...with the difference that less than 0.01% of the English Wikipedia readers would be able to read the foreign-language Wikipedia, making it unlikely that that information would cause a change of consensus on the English Wikipedia. Also with the difference that less than 0.01% of our readers would be in a position to comment intelligently on the sources, language and wikiculture of the foreign-language wikipedia. Your concern is valid, but I can't see how we would "draw the line" when, in general, the people who will be making the decision can't read the language. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 18:41, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't know where this statistic comes from , but in any case, you are making an argument based on practicality, not principle. Let's agree on the principle first, then see if there are practical means of enforcing it. NoCal100 (talk) 19:01, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
NPOV isn't a standard of the English Wikipedia, its a Foundation core philosophy. If an interwiki link is found to lead to an article that violates Foundation policy, we can and should remove the link. Avruch T 19:25, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
I can support this if you can pass this simple test, Avruch. I'm sure you'd agree that it would be unfair (and even a violation of the spirit of NPOV) to apply one standard to, say, Arabic, and another to, say, Swahili, so either we pursue this policy for all widely-spoken foreign language wikis or none of them. You want foreign language material to comply with NPOV, but that's a matter of whether they are accurately representing and weighing the sources available in their language or not. Tell me how to tell to go about accurately assessing and weighing Swahili sources, and I'll consider this proposal. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 19:42, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
We will do this in exactly the way we assess and evaluate foreign language sources being used as references for articles, per Wikipedia policy. We will ask Swahili speaking editors to assess the linked article, determine if it is NPOV, and if not, delink it. As a simple exercise for you, tell me how you would deal with my linking of Dog to es:Gato NoCal100 (talk) 20:09, 4 January 2009 (UTC)\
No, NPOV is not "are they accurately representing and weighing sources available in their language." There is no "their language" limitation to NPOV. The Arabic Wikipedia is an encyclopedia for people who read Arabic, not an encyclopedia of facts as written in Arabic. Sources for ar.wp can be in English just as sources for en.wp can be in Arabic. So yes - if an interwiki-linked article is found to violate NPOV, its reasonable to remove the link. If a project is unable to police its content to comply with core policies of the Foundation, it risks being closed altogether. Removing an interwikilink is not an aggressive step. Avruch T 20:38, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
I find it bizzare that anyone would say we shouldn't link to an interwiki article about a topic, if that's the page on the topic, no matter what the state of the other article is. Yes of course the other one may (and in most cases vs. the English one probably will) be worse, but just but it's really not our job to judge the standards on the other WP. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 20:26, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
The page in question here is clearly about the same events, so some of the comparisons being made are a little exaggerated. Speaking more generally, I note one or two people saying (as they did on the relevant talk page) that if a page is "found to be POV" it should not be linked. But hang on, even if we accept that as a premise (and I'm not sure I do as it happens) - who's going to make that judgement? At what point in a page's development is the judgement to be made? How POV does it have to be before the sanction kicks in? Can it redeem itself as editors work on it and "improve" it? Who will judge when it has then become "good enough" to warrant a link after all to the august and perfect English WP? There are plenty of pages here where one group of editors think the page is biased, another group thinks it's fine and yet another thinks it's biased in the other direction. You rarely get agreement on these things, inevitably.
I would also dispute the suggestion that language is irrelevant to NPOV, especially when we take on board wider WP policies and principles such as WP:NC. Of course certain events are called different things in different countries and language areas, and both page titles and phrasing within articles in different language WPs will and should reflect that. For example the article on the Vietnam War in the Vietnamese wiki is not going to have the exact same title, translated. Here one of the main complaints seemed to be that the title of the Arabic article referred to the events as a "massacre". Well there are plenty of articles here titled "XXX massacre" which people here are broadly quite happy with; or sometimes not happy with - but either way it's not a banned word, and in any event someone has claimed that there was debate about the title on the Arabic WP, and that it has now been changed (as happens with 100s of articles here every day). As I suggested above, it's simply impractical and overly demanding to insist that a snapshot of a page must meet a specified set of demands, in the eyes of one or two editors, before we do a pretty simple and standard thing and have an interwiki link. There has to be a fundamental and serious, objective problem, judged against a pretty high bar, before we cut that off. --Nickhh (talk) 23:24, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
It is going to be handled the same way as any other article content is: Through the judgment of editors, and consensus. Editors can make the judgment if the "other" article is POV, just like they make the judgment if a certain passage in the English wiki article is POV. Those same editors can later decide that the "other" article has been improved so that it is no longer POV, and link to it, and delink it again if it again becomes POV - this is no different from a dispute over the appropriateness of categories, or external links or anything else. NoCal100 (talk) 23:39, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Well yes, but we're not talking about amending or even deleting the odd sentence or passage within an article, or slapping a tag on an article or whatever (ie normal day-to-day content editing, which is hopefully done with some measure of consensus), we're talking about the wholesale striking out of the equivalent article in another language WP from the record here. That's pretty unprecedented as far as I'm aware. As for standard WP:ELs, there's nothing of course as I understand it to stop them being POV as such, they just have to be non-spammy links, sourced to a reputable publisher or website rather than a random blog or fringe site (eg they can include film reviews, op-eds etc) - that's usually pretty easy to agree on between rational editors. I find this proposal especially disconcerting because it has arisen from a page about an ongoing conflict situation, and the proposal in this case seems to be very one-sided, in effect with editors who one could fairly describe as being "pro-Israel" singling out the Arabic WP link and demanding that it be removed, while keeping all the others. Once we start down this road, and if that kind of action were to get more formal general policy approval, we're just opening ourselves up to all sorts of trouble. And anyway do we really want to add interwikis as another area for people to fight over for each and every article here? --Nickhh (talk) 10:38, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
we're talking about removing a link that is no different from an external link, let's not get overly hysterical about this. It's is a POV judgment call, the kind made every day with no problem. NoCal100 (talk) 15:04, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Actually there is a big difference between an interwiki link and a standard WP:EL, as I have pointed out and as others have suggested below, due to the fact that the simple presumption is in favour of inclusion of all interwiki links, and also due to the format of the link, the nature of the source (ie it's another language WP rather than an "external" source as such) etc. The only point of principle where there isn't much difference at the moment is that there are clear and simple criteria for inclusion in each case. As for the "judgement call", you seem to be confusing "I think it's biased" with "it is biased" or at least with "we have agreement here among editors that it is biased". In this specific case there was real dispute about whether the article in question really was that POV or not, as there is all the time here about English WP content. Let's just stay the way we are, rather than as I say adding more areas to disagree or edit war over - and do we really want to get to the point where people are saying "if you're taking out the Arabic WP, I'm taking out the Hebrew WP"? Having said that I don't see a clamour for a policy that demands "POV" compliance (however that's going to be assessed in each case), so I guess this debate is pretty much redundant anyway. --Nickhh (talk) 09:43, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
This should probably be addressed at Meta. Little Red Riding Hoodtalk 22:46, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Why? The links are here. Avruch T 02:14, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

This came up recently on Joe the Plumber where the en.wikiquote entry was disputed. Cenarium (Talk) 03:14, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

I'd say Wikiquote links are generally a different thing than regular interwiki links. Links to non-Wikipedia sister projects like Wikiquote or Wikisource should generally be evaluated like other external links (i.e. according to WP:EL quality criteria); in particular, there should never be a presumption that linking to them should be mandatory or near-mandatory simply because they exist. With foreign-language Wikipedia links, the default assumption should of course be that we do use them; problems in a target article must reach a very significant level of seriousness to justify omitting a link; but I can say that I have seen cases where I've thought it justifiable. One case that comes to mind was the infamous "ru-sib" wiki (with a long edit war between human editors and interwiki bots on a couple of pages here. Another case where I've myself removed a link was to the Macedonian wikipedia, when their coverage of Macedonian linguistic history had been taken over briefly by nationalist fringe pseudo-scholarship.
By the way, if editors agree to remove a link, they need to be told how they can do so: in order to prevent the bots from mechanically adding it back in, you need to comment out the link, not just erase it (<!-- -->). I fought long and hard to have the interwiki bots respect that convention. Fut.Perf. 18:54, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

(outdent) I would be opposed to removing interwiki links to articles that are otherwise apporpriate to link (i.e. they are on the same topic), even if the interwiki articles are POV. I think we should leave the links, but let editors of those other language wikis work on improving NPOV. Rather than delinking here, if you notice POV problems on another wp's article, tag it (or better yet, improve it if you can). Aleta Sing 18:38, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

That's unfortunately not always possible. A foreign wikipedia may be so firmly in the grip of a particular national POV that all attempts of improving it may be doomed. Note that most wikipedias are much less international than the English one, and therefore much more prone to being monopolised by the national POV of their dominant language groups. Also, in many cases you as an en-wiki editor may well be capable of spotting the problems in another language, but being able to correct them is quite a different sort of task. Fut.Perf. 18:57, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
I understand it's a different matter to be able to read and identify a problem than to have the skills to fix it. That's why I said "if you can". :) I take your point though about a particular national point of view. I still do not think we should refuse to have a particular interwikilink even if the article has major POV problems. I don't particularly like the idea (not that anyone has raised it) of using disclaimers about the interwikilinks (particularly not singling any out). Aleta Sing 20:34, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
I strongly believe the interwiki should be left in place even if we are absolutely certain that the content of the linked-to article is inappropriate. For example, suppose a reader who is bilingual in English and Arabic wishes to read the Arabic Wikipedia's coverage of the ongoing conflict. They should be able to find it from an interwiki link on the English article, as with any other article. What they do with the information they obtain on Arabic Wikipedia is not for us to decide. If anything, allowing more readers to see that article increases the likelihood that a conscientious observer will call foul on any shenanigans. Crystal whacker (talk) 22:36, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Covering facilities not within the confines of the article[edit]

Several editors have decided that, since the city articles they are working on have no airports and are sometimes lacking other facilities like certain key turnpikes, sports arenas, etc. that it is mandatory to mention them in all articles of the city (and suburbs?) near which they are located. Sometimes this makes sense like an airport right near the city that is named after the city. At other times, no sense, as an airport hours away. There are no criteria for the entries, not even common sense and the editors refuse to document that people from their area use the facility at all.

Their contributions appear to me to be off WP:TOPIC since there are perfectly good metropolitan articles covering the subject quite adequately. All a city needs to do is to say that it is part of the metro and link to that article.

It also appears to me that the material is c-of-c boosterism: "My city is as good as your city!" And a bit WP:TRAVEL as well.

They have stopped trying to respond to my arguments and are now saying they "outvote" me and therefore no longer have to answer to Wikipolicy type arguments. I would appreciate help at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Cities#Airports...and_other_resources. Thanks. Student7 (talk) 21:57, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

RfC on voting as a component of consensus[edit]

There is an ongoing Request for Comment at WT:Requested moves#Moving or renaming articles based on poll results. The aim of the RfC is to determine whether and to what extent a majority of editors can be seen to represent a consensus, in the context of page/article moves. Note that this is a policy and not a content issue/dispute. All considered opinions on the nature of consensus are welcome.--Aervanath lives in the Orphanage 03:32, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines[edit]

Should Wikipedia be working towards meeting the W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines? Please join discussion at Wikipedia talk:Accessibility#WCAG 2.0. Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 08:19, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

external link[edit]

If a site meets the requirements of WP:ELNO (that is, if it should NOT be linked to under this policy), can a consensus of editors decided to link to it anyway? The editors plan to say that the information on the site is faulty. Thanks. (talk) 12:06, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

If there's a good reason why including the link will benefit the encyclopædia, then include it. You should probably leave a note on the talk page explaining exactly what this good reason is. Algebraist 15:53, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Forums as sources[edit]

Resolved: ukexpat (talk) 02:55, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

The article for the Pandora needs more citations, but much of the information pertaining to the device is posted by the head of the development team on the GP32X forums, under the names CraigIX (Craig Rothwell), MWeston (Michael Weston), and EvilDragon (Michael Mrozek).

Would citing a web forum be acceptable under these circumstances? If not, would stating on the official Openpandora website that they post information on the forum under those usernames make posts from those usernames a reliable source?
atomicthumbs‽ (talk) 17:41, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

If you are strongly assured that those are the people who say that they are, then they can be used for sources. See Self-published sources for more advice. --MASEM 17:47, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
Thank you! atomicthumbs‽ (talk) 19:45, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Colour coding[edit]

The manual of style gives guidance on Color coding, specifically that it shouldn't be done. I just rewrote the AutoRun article, originally using <pre> to show off code samples. It was then edited by another user to change the "pre"s to "source lang=". This changes black and white to various (garish) colours. I'm not going to start an edit war so is there a policy on code samples like this? Should colour coding be avoided in these cases? If so, why do have the ability to do "source lang=" sections.

I'll also add that the source tag does not produce a rendering that displays correctly in IE6 and other browsers. The dotted line ringfence breaks up and looks silly. I've used a transparent table to ringfence the source section which avoids the display issues. Thanks. Carveone (talk) 19:37, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Nothing wrong with using color to make stuff easier to read / understand for those who can see it. We just have to make sure the article still works without the color. For example if you are explaining the syntax of a programming language and just write "function names are colored blue, varable names are red and built in functions are green in the example" you rely on color alone to provide important information wich is bad. Having the color there for the benefit of those who can see it is not bad in and off itself. You just have to make sure things are explained in a way that doesn't rely on seeing the color to make sense. --Sherool (talk) 00:45, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
Thank you. Conveying information by colour alone. That explanation makes sense. I guess people who have colour issues can set their preferences accordingly, either in Wiki or on their browser... Carveone (talk) 18:07, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

Illicit use of a work product[edit]

In 1991 I gave the June29 dictionary organization free use of a list of English and Pidgin as spoken in Port Moresby. Since it was completed and sent to Jun29 after we returned to the States--my wife is a lawyer--it is copywrited. The only thing we asked is that our names always be an appendage to our intellectual work. It appears that our work was copied word for word in Wikipedia and some appendages of Wikipedia. I will not asked for the list be removed from Wikipedia if the heading of the list always contain the words, "Pidgin/English Dictionary as spoken in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. List compiled by Terry D. Barhorst and Sylvia O'Dell-Barhorst."

I hope I have to go no further than this e-mail. Terry D. Barhorst Sr. —Preceding unsigned comment added by TerryTok (talkcontribs) 03:40, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

Would you please let us know exactly which pages use this work? We cannot remove the content without knowing where to look, and searches on certain words of pidgin from the linked list do not return any results, at least on the English Wikipedia. {{Nihiltres|talk|log}} 15:55, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
It may be that one of the mirrors has picked up a wikt userpage wikt:User:Wytukaze/phrasaltokpisin. It's also possible to find equivalent sources that are under CC-SA-NC-BY, such as [2]. Published sources include Toward a John W. M. Verhaar, Reference Grammar of Tok Pisin: An Experiment in Corpus Linguistics. University of Hawaii Press, 1995. ISBN 0824816722
Indeed. If you think that your copyrighted material is used without permission, please point it out to us, or feel free to remove it yourself. I would, however, suggest laying off the implied legal threats. We don't take kindly to them. Resolute 21:02, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
I've emailed the user to find out exactly where the list is on Wikipedia. Mangojuicetalk 21:05, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
Based on the email response, I think the user was referring to Tok Pisin, which contains an abbreviated glossary clearly not copied word-for-word from the source indicated. I've emailed back to ascertain whether any other places are of concern. Mangojuicetalk 06:41, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

Spoiler question[edit]

Resolved: ukexpat (talk) 19:24, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

I am editing a Wiki. I am new to this but I'm on a start-page Wiki. I am going to do what was suggested on the page by the Wikipedia experts and discuss the film more. So obviously what I'm going to discuss has spoilers in it, how do I alert this to the readers? I obviously wouldn't say "SPOILER ALERT", but I've never really seen this being done here. Please help, thanks! —Preceding unsigned comment added by ProtectMeAura (talkcontribs) 11:33, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia:No disclaimers in articles - The readers are supposed to be aware themselves that the "plot summary" may contain spoilers. Its upto them if they want to read the article or not. --Unpopular Opinion (talk) 12:24, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

Thanks —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:01, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Page movement[edit]

This page is an attempt to formalize stroke get down in writing some of our existing custom and etiquette regarding pages moves, particularly regarding WP:RM and its process. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 13:03, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

It may be better to edit WP:MOVE rather than create another page about moves. – ukexpat (talk) 14:28, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
That's just a redirect to a help page. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 17:17, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, I wasn't clear. I meant edit the help page or rather suggest edits to the meta help page at meta:Help:Moving a page. I don't see any benefit to creating a second page about moves. – ukexpat (talk) 19:27, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
I think you're misunderstanding here. The existence of a few help pages has no impact on whether or not page move regulations should be covered in policy pages, in WP space. If and when this goes through, WP:MOVE should probably be redirected though. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 19:32, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
I am a big believer in keeping things simple. If there is already a help page that explains the whys and wherefores of page moves, why create another page that deals, almost, with the same subject matter? – ukexpat (talk) 20:27, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

Final comments on Wikipedia:Notability (fiction)[edit]

The current proposal for a notability guideline for fiction is nearing completion, and we'd like to get a final round of comments on it to make sure it fully reflects community consensus inasmuch as it exists on this issue. Any comments you can provide at Wikipedia talk:Notability (fiction) are much appreciated. Thanks. Phil Sandifer (talk) 15:24, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

Proposal: CheckUser and Oversight appointments[edit]

Your opinion is sought on a proposal from ArbCom for handling future CheckUser and Oversight appointments. The proposal in full is here and all comments are welcomed. Carcharoth (talk) 00:27, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

Another meta-policy discussion[edit]

A discussion is underway at WT:Policies and guidelines about the principles governing changes to policy and the "disputing" of existing policy. Please contribute.--Kotniski (talk) 08:19, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

Request additional views re WP:MOSCAPS[edit]

I'm requesting additional input in an ongoing discussion at WP:MOSCAPS regarding the treatment of personal names with mixed capitalization, centering mostly on whether to move the article Danah Boyd. The latest suggestion to move Danah Boyd stems from what appeared to be a "stable" version of the MOSCAPS policy, but since that move proposal, the MOSCAPS policy itself has been changed and debated. Some new voices would be helpful. Thanks. --ZimZalaBim talk 19:19, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

A !constitution?[edit]

Proposal (well, just a vague idea) to develop WP:Policy into a more robust constitution-type document, to make clear to everyone (newbies especially) the way things are done as regards the making and application of rules, but hopefully with the process of drawing up the document spawning proposals for improvements. Please comment there.--Kotniski (talk) 09:08, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

Account unification[edit]

Hello everybody.. I would like to ask a question about my account unification. I want my account (:bs:User:Kal-El) to be unified, but there already exists User:Kal-El on it and en wiki (as far as I know). I made my first edit on my home wiki (bs wiki) on May 16, 2005, while he (:it:User:Kal-El) made his first edit on June 11 2005 on his home wiki (it), so I am about one month in front. I would like to know do I have any adventage of getting my username on every wiki? If not, what should I do? I contacted him earlyer, but he said that he has no intention of making his account unified.. --BiH (talk) 11:56, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

I would wait for him to respond; he hasn't edited since the 4th, so it's not like he's ignoring you. EVula // talk // // 03:45, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
Can we find any solution here? I want to have a unified account.. --BiH (talk) 21:14, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Trivia, cultural references, and popular culture[edit]

Over time there has been a great deal of discussion about trivia and how it affects the encyclopedia. Since the creation of Category:Articles with trivia sections and Template:Trivia (roughly 2 and a half years), the rate of new articles tagged with the template has slowed significantly, perhaps even by half, and newly tagged trivia sections are generally much smaller. Now that the wiki is becoming more mature, it feels like standards are bridging the gap between the inclusionist and deletionist divide. It also comes at this time that I think the usefulness of trivia sections is coming to a close, and discussion be made about the the encyclopedic relevance of some kinds of facts.

The general consensus that's floated around at Wikipedia:Trivia sections is that, if all other content rules are followed, lists of random information are accepted for the short term and used for later article development. So when trivia sections get discovered and tagged, their future is to have facts integrated into the rest of the article, or get deleted. And the existence of the section depends on the merit of the facts in the section.

Template:Trivia seems to be used to tag articles with a variety of lists. Most of the time it is used for sections titled Trivia, Facts, Notes and such, which are collections or facts not connected in any way. However, sometimes editors use it to tag sections that they think have a list of low importance facts (stats list, award nominations, long lists of Cultural References, ect), and other editors tag In popular culture sections with the trivia template. The difficulty with these sections has to do with both the kind of fact or trivia bullet, and it's importance to the article. More to the point, it's importance to an encyclopedic treatment of the subject.

There are two remaining issues here that I think need to be resolved. First, what is the threshold that makes one of these orphaned facts worth including? Does the length of an article make facts more likely to be included? In that newly discovered trivia section, what are some good things to remember when keeping and removing content, especially when trivia sections are usually unsourced?

The second related issue comes in with Cultural References and In popular Culture sections. Cultural References sections are usually found in articles like tv shows, books, movies and such when the article subject makes reference to another subject. In popular Culture sections are usually found in the same kinds of articles (plus places, people, ect), and they are lists of when another subject makes reference to the article subject. In both of these cases, the importance of the given fact comes into play, since there needs to be some measurement of when the reference to something really has encyclopedic value.

Certainly there are some subjects that are so culturally significant that and In Popular Culture sections is appropriate. But still, when it comes to improving one of these sections, the issue of when a fact is worth including is still in question. --NickPenguin(contribs) 04:44, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

Is there a question or action item here? Two things come to mind. First, things that are pop culture phenomena often have valid pop culture sections. For example, an article about a Leonard Cohen song, a famous actress, a joke, etc. Second, how about modifying the trivia section by including a parameter. You could have {{trivia|p}} for pop culture sections, {{trivia|l}} for lists, and so on.Wikidemon (talk) 11:44, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
The issues I'm seeing are closely related, but it seems like they are all given a negative view because they all fall under the broad umbrella of trivia. But some content found in trivia sections (or sections tagged trivia) is really worthwhile content. So what I am trying to ask is really a couple of questions: How we can tell when an IPC type reference is notable enough to keep in an article? How can we tell if a cultural references section in a family guy or futurama article is encyclopedic content? How can we tell if individual trivia facts are notable? I think if we cleared that up, performing maintenance on CAT:Articles with trivia sections would be much more actionable. --NickPenguin(contribs) 16:10, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

See User:Uncle G/Cargo cult encyclopaedia article writing. Uncle G (talk) 18:53, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

I disagree that there's some broad consensus around the claim that trivia lists are supposed to be temporary. What has happened is that certain very persistent editors have succeeded in making it appear that this is a consensus. Trivia lists are fine. Tempshill (talk) 21:49, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Tempshill. I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with trivia as long as it doesn't get out of hand. The issue, however, is notability which, as opposed to the rest of the article, is harder to assert. I lament the fact that trivia has been so maligned and I personally like seeing random factoids about certain articles but in order for the article not to be too messy perhaps we can allow talk pages to contain some trivia if it is not welcome in the article itself. Valley2city 20:52, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Civility guidelines not civil[edit]

I've noticed that a lot of the articles on civility rely upon disturbing images to make their point.

  1. There was an image I removed of an atomic explosion from Wikipedia:Do not disrupt Wikipedia to illustrate a point;
  2. Wikipedia:No angry mastodons‎ uses a lot of images of mastodons and cavemen;
  3. Wikipedia:Please do not bite the newcomers uses a depiction of Kaiser Wilhem II "taking a bite" out of the world or Wikipedia.

Do you think this is really conducive toward creating civility on Wikipedia? SharkD (talk) 02:30, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

I think the authors were attempting to use humor to emphasize things. I also think you're taking it a wee bit too seriously. They're not quite bad enough to worry over. Kylu (talk) 03:30, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
The reason the images are there is to demonstrate what the antithesis of civility is, in illustrated form, and how it applies to Wikipedia. In this instance, it includes angry mastodons fighting cavemen, atomic explosions, and Kaiser Wilhelm II taking a bite out of the world and/or Wikipedia. Why were these images chosen? My guess is because they're all images of things that have, in the past, been pretty much been agreed upon by everyone in The Real World(tm) that they're things that have proven to be some of the greatest tests to establishing and/or maintaining civilization: World War I, barbarism, and nuclear winter can pretty much be universally agreed to be either at the time of occurrence or in present day, problematic for maintaining civilization.
In the scope of Wikipedia, it's difficult to demonstrate in graphic form "incivility" as is encountered here. An image of even the most incivil discourse on Wikipedia would be both boring to the target audience and likely garner unwanted attention to anyone involved in the discourse. Thus, we're limited to more graphic images from history to get the point across that namecalling and douchebaggery, which, while not as real-world destructive as a nuclear blast, remain nonetheless counterproductive to establishing and maintaining civilization in the World of Wikipedia(tm). The policies/guidelines/essays posit that some of the "destroyers of worlds" in the World of Wikipedia are fighting, namecalling, and general douchebaggery. As a result, they're likened to war, barbarism, nuclear blasts and their other real-world destructive counterparts; for, their perceived damage is felt to be similar in destructive ability on Wikipedia.
In my opinion, we should have an image of censorship on there, too, but society hasn't advanced that far, and judging by the look of things, it probably won't for the foreseeable future.
--slakrtalk / 03:51, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
My point is that the images make implicit suggestions that persons somehow meet certain stereotypes for engaging in certain behavior. The articles then go on to insult said persons. This, to me, seems inflammatory. Just looking at Propaganda I see several examples that could apply:
  • Ad hominem - the images are used instead of rational arguments to influence readers ("Demonizing the enemy" kind of fits here too);
  • Black-and-White fallacy - persons are absolutely bad for performing certain acts, and absolutely good for not doing so (no gray area);
  • Beautiful people - the images depict people as being ugly for not behaving properly;
There was also an image in one of the articles of a dark-complexioned, hook-nosed person that I can't seem to find anymore. SharkD (talk) 06:48, 12 January 2009 (UTC) of mastodons are "disturbing images"? Wha? EVula // talk // // 21:27, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Fortunately I see someone has come along and reverted the pictures back in. Lighten up. Tempshill (talk) 21:41, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Noticeboard[edit]

Please note that the Arbitration Committee have announced that they have established a new central noticeboard, which will serve as a forum for arbitration-related announcements, notices, and other discussion. Please see Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Noticeboard for more details.

For the Arbitration Committee, Ryan PostlethwaiteSee the mess I've created or let's have banter 12:26, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

New Notability Noticeboard[edit]

In an attempt to centralize notability discussion among other things, I've been bold (After a brief discussion) and create a notability noticeboard. This noticeboard is for editors to discuss whether specific sources impart notability on a given subject. Editors are encouraged to use it and give feedback where they feel necessary.--Crossmr (talk) 09:13, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

How is this different from Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard? AnyPerson (talk) 23:23, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
It is different because they answer two different questions. Reliable sources discusses whether the sources are reliable, without questioning whether the subject is notable or not. This new noticeboard would discuss whether the subject itself is notable based on the sources available, so while it may question the reliability of sources in arguing for or against notability of a subject, its primary concern is with the merit of the claims of notability, not whether a specific source for a subject is reliable. I think this is a good idea, and better than bringing a page to AFD to try to determine notability; better to have an informal discussion here which may nip unnecessary AFD nominations in the bud. Theseeker4 (talk) 20:48, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

New Noticeboard Creation Noticeboard[edit]

In an attempt to centralize noticeboard creation...whatever, --NE2 10:28, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

Sup dawg, we heard you like noticeboards, so we put a noticeboard in the noticeboard, so you can bitch while you bitch. BJTalk 10:40, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

Clovis High School (Clovis, California)[edit]

I seem to have gotten into an edit war at Clovis High School (Clovis, California). Another user insists on inserting non-notable people who don't have articles and don't really pass WP:BIO into the article as lists of notables, and keeps removing my {{unsourced}} tag for those who do have articles. There's no proof that the notables went to the school, and repeatedly re-adding non-notables seems to be a sneaky way to get around WP:BIO. Why not create an article on Bands who play music and list every band that doesn't meet WP:MUSIC? AnyPerson (talk) 23:10, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

A better place to raise this might be WP:BLPN. You would think there would be a notability noticeboard, but I suppose notability issues are usually dealt with as deletion debates. --Helenalex (talk) 03:07, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Oh, hey, two posts up I see someone has just created one... --Helenalex (talk) 03:09, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Proposal to remove WP:PSTS from WP:NOR[edit]

There have been some very lengthy, extended arguments by several users asserting that WP:PSTS should not be part of a core content policy, The basic assertion of these users, if I understand their thrust correctly, is that source typing should at most be a guideline that would interact with WP:WEIGHT, WP:NOTABILITY, WP:NOR, WP:V#Reliable_sources, and WP:RS.
..... I've set up a little "straw poll" at Wikipedia_talk:No_original_research#Proposed_removal_of_WP:PSTS_from_WP:NOR to try to preliminarily get either some kind of affirmation of consensus for WP:PSTS as part of WP:NOR, or alternately to get some preliminary sense of how widespread the current opposition might be to keeping WP:PSTS as policy. Please weigh in if this is an area of interest to you, because some of us have spent a great deal of time defending PSTS from various, often vociferous, complaints. In other words, it's very high maintenance, and if it's ultimately fated to fail as part of WP:NOR, it would be good to get some sense of what the community thinks about it so it can begin to be dealt with accordingly. If not, it would be good to know that too. Thanks. ... Kenosis (talk) 20:07, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

A view from the other side. PSTS is complicated, a wiki-lawyer's delight, and looks like the basic idea may have logical flaws. The same purposes (WP:V and WP:NOR) can be achieved rather simply be replacing it with "editors' interpretations of sources are not allowed". That works equally well in forbidding editors' interpretations of Hamlet, editors' interpretations of authority A's comments on Hamlet, editors' interpretations of authority B's comments on authority A's comments on Hamlet, etc, etc., etc. --Philcha (talk) 20:24, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
SAometimes I do not know what "wiki-lawyering" means. If it means asking people to think carefully about how they edit, using our policies as tools, it is a good thing. If it means fetishizing arguments over improvements, well, that is always going to happen in this environment. As long as there are policies, no matter how they are worded, some people will use them in silly ways in arguments. Changing wording won't change that ... people are blaming policies as a way of avoiding having to deal with one another. Let's focus on that. Slrubenstein | Talk 21:31, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree that "shit happens". But "less shit happens" would be an improvement :-) Philcha (talk) 12:25, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Dispute at WP:MOSICON[edit]

My edit too MOSICON [3] here has been disputed . Can you have a look and indicate if you agree with it Gnevin (talk) 14:08, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

This is the wrong venue to be requesting reviews of your edits. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 15:32, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
Well there is no Village pump (guideline) so this is the closest thing too request outside opinions of a guidelineGnevin (talk) 15:45, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
Looking at the bottom of the article's talk page, it appears the problem is a lot bigger than one edit, and your link goes to a certain version of the page, not a diff, so I can't see what the particular change is anyway. If there is a bigger issue about the article as a whole, and you can't resolve it on the article's talk page, you may have to consider asking for mediation, rather than forum shopping. --A Knight Who Says Ni (talk) 17:08, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
Just above the revision text, you have "(diff) ← Previous revision | Current revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)" where you can click the diffs. As I see this, Gnevin has a reasonably valid point, but should ideally have made that point on the talk page before editing the guideline itself. As the change is now under discussion on the talk page, there hasn't been much harm done. As for using VP for drawing attention to an ongoing discussion and requesting broader input, I fail to see what's wrong with that. Of course, there's also WP:RFC, but that feels like the next step. -- Jao (talk) 17:51, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
This isn't forum shopping and I asked in a very NPOV way . Please don't start throwing out crap like that when all I am looking for is a third opinion from a area of wiki I thought had an interest in guidelines and policy —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gnevin (talkcontribs) 19:43, 17 January 2009

Archive anyone?[edit]

Time to knock off 200 kilobytes or so. I'm afraid of screwing it up :( hydnjo talk 04:11, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

A bot should do it in three hours or so. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 04:20, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

Link description[edit]

My question is: is there a Wikipedia policy requiring that the description or commentary for a link in an article to an external site be "non-controversial and verifiable"? If this is true, would you be kind enough to point me to the policy so I can read it myself? Thank you. (talk) 12:16, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

I don't know if there's a specific policy, but it's common sense that you shouldn't misrepresent your source (for example, I have seen people get criticized for adding refs with external links formatted like [ Article about bla bla bla] rather than [ ARTICLE TITLE]).
Besides, the description for the link is text that shows up in an article, and all text showing up in an article is subject to the policies WP:NPOV (ie, must be "non-controversial") and WP:V (must be "verifiable")...ergo, the description itself also must be non-controversial and verifiable. Politizer talk/contribs 23:37, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
Many thanks for your reply. I'm afraid I was not very clear. This is not for a source and not in the article itself, but in the external links section beneath the article. (talk) 08:28, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Laws are like sausages[edit]

Hello, I compiled a lot of data about the page Wikipedia:Television episodes which may have repercussions beyond that page, particularly about how we determine consensus as a community. I would welcome other editors opinion and critical judgment. Found here: Wikipedia_talk:Television_episodes#Laws_are_like_sausages Ikip (talk) 13:37, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Erm...where? Casliber (talk · contribs) 13:41, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
I think he is referring to the collapsed tables at Wikipedia_talk:Television_episodes#Laws_are_like_sausages, but I could be wrong. MBisanz talk 13:43, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
I am a little concerned that much of this speaks to laws and bureaucracy, which we specifically aren't. Things happen in the past, but because consensus can change, the only thing that determines how "valid" any policy or guideline is is what the attitudes towards it are now. Trying to discredit a guideline because it wasn't "properly" promoted to one (granted that there is no proper way to make a guideline a guideline beyond validating consensus for it) is a rather time-wasting chore; there may be interest to historical research of WP, and there's history for purposes of behavioral issues, but what happens more than a year ago in the changes to policy and guideline pages no longer matters. Don't like that a guideline is a guideline? Seek consensus to change it. --MASEM 14:02, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
As one of the editors who originally supported this proposal, your comments are not surprising. You are encouraging other editors to dismiss the dubious way that this article become a guideline and how it remained a guideline, because you support this guideline.
The ratio of those who opposed making this a guideline was two to one.
Editors, like yourself today, continued to remove dispute, merge, and other tags on this page over the period of a year.
There are some clear violation of the Arbitration of a year ago also. Your opinion is clear. I am excited to hear from other editors opinions, who were never involved with this page. Ikip (talk) 14:27, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
There is no "clean consensus" being shown to demote the guideline (I believe, concurrent/shortly following the ArbCom episodes & characters 2 case, there was a lot of discussion, but ultimate left it to continue support for the episodes guideline as is). If you feel that the consensus regarding guideline today is for its demotion, feel free to open a discussion on its talk page to demonstrate that. That's how one goes about challenging guidelines and policies, not by showing the historical fallacies of how a guideline got to where it was, but instead showing that today there is no support for how the guideline is read. --MASEM 14:49, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, its better you don't know...

Laws are best fried with onions and peppers, and served with beer? Jehochman Talk 14:53, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

LOL. Have you ever read how a hot dog is made, yuck...
Again, I think Masem's views are pretty clear, as are mine. I am excited to hear outside editor opinions about Wikipedia:Television episodes. Ikip (talk) 16:02, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
lol, Jehochman, now you've made me laugh and made me hungry all at once. KillerChihuahua?!? 23:01, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia Naming Conventions and other specific conventions[edit]

Wikipedia Naming Conventions became a policy around mid-2008 but other specific naming conventions which derive from it are still guidelines. Is it logical? -- FayssalF - Wiki me up® 14:01, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Don't see why not. They don't exactly "derive" from it, but supplement it with more detail, so there's no reason to expect their content to have the same status in terms of policyhood/guidelineship. (I've yet to be persuaded that the P/G distinction has much meaning anyway.)--Kotniski (talk) 14:11, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
I suspect the P/G distinction is more valuable in the behavioral field, where someone violating a policy like WP:NLT is sanctioned far harsher than someone violating a guideline like Wikipedia:Etiquette. At the content level, I suspect it is somewhat less important as it is easier to apply anything to a piece of content (that cannot respond) than to a person (who can respond). MBisanz talk 14:21, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Notability (books)[edit]

There is a discussion about adding additional criteria relating to sale figures at Wikipedia talk:Notability (books)#Sales figures are not listed as a case for notability. Any third party input is welcomed. --Farix (Talk) 17:47, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Should files be eligible for proposed deletion?[edit]

See the discussion at WT:FFD#Should files be eligible for PROD. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 20:13, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

airline -vs- air taxi and notability in Alaska[edit]

This is my second try at getting a good dialogue going on this issue as there have been several contentious AfDs on this subject, and some users seem to be trying to institute an inclusion guideline that, at this time, does not exist. discussion is here and any and all remarks are welcome and appreciated. Beeblebrox (talk) 21:42, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Arbitration enforcement RfC[edit]

The Arbitration Committee has opened a Request for Comment regarding arbitration enforcement, including a review of general and discretionary sanctions. All editors are encouraged to comment and contribute. The Committee will close the RfC one month from its opening. After the closing, the Committee intends to formalize reform proposals within one month.

For the Committee,
Vassyana (talk) 23:56, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Protected Articles[edit]

Is it just me, or does it seem like almost every article on a celebrity is protected from editing except by established users? Also, this extends to pretty much anything that generates a lot of views, such as big issues, etc. I understand it to an extent, but at the same time, I think it is pretty excessive. Protecting articles like George W. Bush and Barack Obama are no-brainers, but when almost every celebrity--even ones who haven't made headlines in a while--are protected from editing, it's too much. I know that sometimes all one needs to do is create an account to edit the article, but that is never worth it if the person just wants to correct grammar or punctuation.

Also, certain articles can only be edited by "established users." I was under the impression that protecting articles was a last resort, or at least temporary means of curbing vandalism to articles of high profile people, but when Kanye West's article has been protected since December of 2007 (along with various other articles), the protection seems permanent. I think article protection is used far too liberally, and I was wondering if I am alone on this, or if others share my sentiments. Wikipediarules2221 21:32, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

Go to Wikipedia:Requests for page protection and request unprotection for any article that's been protected for a while. In practice, trial of unprotection for articles which might be heavily vandalized is healthy—whether it'll ultimately change things is questionable. You might be interested in flagged protection, by the way… {{Nihiltres|talk|log}} 22:10, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

All Schools Should Not Be Notable[edit]

Just because there was a failure to reach consensus on a hard and fast policy of notability for schools, that doesn't mean that every school then becomes notable. Others are using the lack of a consensus to build a framework for every single school on earth to eventually have a wikipedia entry which then would become extremely hard to delete without adminstrative fiat. The lack of a specific policy has then created an opportunity for a whole class of articles for which wikipedia is not purposed (a Directory) and will be difficult to extricate. There needs to be a way to cull articles about schools which have no notability other than the fact they exist. Drvoke (talk) 23:24, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree Gnevin (talk) 23:35, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
The current procedure to delete non-notable schools is by redirection to a school system/school district article, proposed deletion, or articles for deletion. The lack of consensus is around whether to include schools in WP:A7 - speedy deletion for articles about "an organization (... except schools) ... that does not indicate why its subject is important or significant" [emphasis added]. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 00:08, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
It just dawned on me, you may be referring to Wikipedia:Notability (schools) which failed to reach consensus. I was referring to perennial discussions on Wikipedia talk:Articles for Deletion about whether schools should be included in A7. Sorry about the confusion. As it says on the top of the failed proposal, Wikipedia:Notability is the governing guideline for notability of schools. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 00:12, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
there are two ways of forming policy. One is by formal statements, the other is practical consensus. as for notability, essentially no article on a secondary school has been deleted for lack of notability in the past 8 or 10 months. Most articles on primary schools get merged to the town or school district or diocese or whatever applies. AfDs have to come to some conclusion, at least by default. formal policy takes in practice a supermajority and a minority can hold up change forever. There are therefore many conventions with the force of policy that are not on policy pages. The point about speedy is different: the requirement for speedy is no claim to notability, and since all secondary school articles are defended in good faith by established eds, they can't be a speedy. As an elementary school can be merged, neither is it a speedy. One can not bypass controversy by trying to do controversial deletions via speedy. Someone challenges the school exclusion on speedy every 2 months, and it never gets anywhere. If you want to waste time at Afd, try fighting them there. (Myself, I am not sure I like the rule myself, but other people convinced me it's better to put in the 10% of non-notable schools than fight each of them at AfD.) DGG (talk) 03:49, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
There are a few cases when a school article can be speedied and will probably not survive review: blatant and obvious hoaxes/school does not exist, or a misspelling or incomplete article that can't be verified, like "Washington High School is a school in New York. It band is the coolest." Less-than-high private schools that are not affiliated with a larger entity, particularly trade schools, private preschools, and private elementary schools that are not notable will likely die at AFD. Notable ones that establish notabiliity in the article will survive. By the way, with few exceptions, police policy and guidelines evolve from practice, not the other way around. The exceptions usually have to do with legal matters or computer/technical limitations. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 05:42, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Astute observation, since I failed to include any links back to the policies I was referring to.. But yes, it is Wikipedia:Notability (schools) that got me thinking on this. Not to mention a strange AfD discussion I was involved in regarding a List of Schools. The replies here have been very helpful in guiding how I'll approach edits and AfDs on this subject in the future. Thanks. —Drvoke (talk) 21:46, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
Why would anyone want to delete a school? Aren't there other things to do, ehh.... write articles, perhaps? NVO (talk) 21:45, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
Because they are
  • Vandalism magnets.
  • Difficult to verify.
  • Few to no reliable sources for any interesting information.
  • Prone to vanity additions.
Contrary to some opinions, the removal of unreliable information from an encyclopedia is an important task. I don't like to see blanket exemptions issued to any items, because it makes it difficult to remove unverifiable information.—Kww(talk) 22:23, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
Apart from RS, all other risks are quite common and they don't justify preventive deletion (a front page FA attracts more vandalism than all schools in Hackensack, New Jersey: yet noone demands deletion of FAs). NVO (talk) 22:34, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
A 'vandalism magnet' or 'prone to vanity additions' should NEVER be a reason to delete an article, or do anything except apply a level of protection if necessary. On the flipside, NOTHING should ever be inherently notable. Each individual article should be notable on its own grounds, and schools shouldn't be any different. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 23:12, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
I didn't mean to come across as endorsing preventative deletion, but those reasons make me extremely inclined to nominate unsourced articles for deletion, and very uninclined to leave them laying around as stubs. At least with the tens of thousands of little stubs about yak-herding villages, other yak-herders aren't inclined to vandalize their opponents, nor are there little competitions about who is the best yak-herder in the village. That isn't true with school articles.—Kww(talk) 17:05, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
Why would anyone want to delete a company? Or a person? Or a video game character? Saying people should write articles instead of deleting articles about schools isn't even an argument. Just replace "school" in that sentence with any noun and it applies to anything. Mr.Z-man 23:22, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

Another issue to consider, especially with small private schools is that they don't always have websites that they can maintain. An article in Wikipedia may be one of the only "reliable" source of information about the school. Who is the principal? How many students does it have? What is its history? Does it have leanings of some kind? A person researching about schools may not want to ask these questions directly to the school. Also, how do you define a school as being notable? It seems very arbitrary. I vote for allowing schools to have a Wikipedia article. It is a benefit to the end user. Maybe just include a note at the top saying when the last time the data was verified and how it was verified. Zzmonty (talk) 23:02, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

However, Wikipedia is not a personal website or advertising space. Schools, just like every other article, should follow the notability guidelines. Are there articles about how great it is, or how its principal leads the nation in whatever? Do their sports teams excel at something and can we verify it? If you can show the general public that a school should keep its page, then it should stay. If it is going to be a stub with little information, then it needs to be looked at a little closer. Livewireo (talk) 19:21, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

All schools in Lake Wobegon should be notable. All the students there are above average. David in DC (talk) 03:53, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

Policy re: deleting content[edit]

Hi, I'm wondering if there's a policy relevant to an edit war that it going on. A majority of editors, but not all involved, agree that content should be removed, but can't provide a reason other than they don't think it adds to the article. This seems extremely subjective, and I was wondering if there is a relevant policy. If necessary, see discussion. --Elplatt (talk) 13:56, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

Not sure of a specific one, but there are several that would qualify: WP:CONSENSUS, WP:3RR (if there is edit warring). WP:BLP is the big one though. An unsourced list of alcoholics has to go, period. That appears to be Doc's argument, and unless the list is/was sourced, or can be sourced, it simply should not be reinserted. Resolute 15:50, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
The list was definitely sourced, and in complete compliance with WP:BLP. WP:CON says that consensus should be grounded on policy, so what do you do when editors, including admins, claim that policy is irrelevant? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Elplatt (talkcontribs) 21:56, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
You are misreading what WP:CON says. Policies are a reflection of consensus, they do not define what generates a "valid" consensus. And, of course, WP:CON is itself policy. What is occurring in that article is normal editing. A change was made (removing the list), was challenged (it should stay), and several editors have determined that the list does not add to the article. There is nothing untoward about the discussion, and you are simply on the wrong side of the debate. It happens to all of us. Resolute 03:23, 23 January 2009 (UTC)


Hey all, I have a question - do we think twinkle can be used to revert other editors as long as an edit summary is used (It was originally used for reverting vandals but now can take edit summaries). I haven't seen this clarified elsewhere, but as it has edit summaries now, let's figure it out. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Casliber (talkcontribs) 05:27, 19 January 2009 (UTC)


  1. Yes, as long as there is an edit summary, who cares? There's no point in requiring you to waste time manually reverting - as long as you use edit summaries, using twinkle, undo, or anything else is acceptable. --B (talk) 05:37, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
  2. Agree: It's not the mechanism that's important, it's the edit summary.
    Apis (talk) 05:42, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
  3. Yes. I have no idea who started the urban myth that use of Twinkle is an accusation towards another editor, as long as you clearly state your reasoning in the edit summary. Even if the edit summary says "see talk" (and you actually discuss it there), that's fine. Twinkle makes life a lot easier in doing a lot of edits. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 06:09, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
    Perhaps that myth is the reason that there is a "rollback assume good faith" button, so one can make it absolutely clear that what he's rolling back is NOT vandalism. --Ron Ritzman (talk) 06:27, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
    I've never liked that button. The resulting edit summary has overtones of "I know you're not a vandal, but I'm slapping you across the face just the same". --Carnildo (talk) 07:08, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
    Why do you take a rollback as a slap in the face? Would you take an undo to one of your edits as a slap in the face? If not, what's the difference? Two extra clicks makes the same action less insulting? لennavecia 21:10, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
    As I said, it's not the act of reverting that's the problem, it's the edit summary that's the problem. --Carnildo (talk) 23:30, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
  4. As long as someone only uses the vandalism button for vandalism and provides an edit summary, I don't see a problem with using TW for non-vandalism operations. SchuminWeb (Talk) 06:33, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
  5. Pointless semantics. Reverting with Twinkle, using undo, and reverting manually all accomplish the same thing. What counts is your edit summary. — sephiroth bcr (converse) 08:06, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
  6. I do that all the time. It also has a revert (good faith) button which provides the edit summary ("Reverted good faith edits by...; an optional custom summary"). Besides, using the undo button and not providing a custom summary is inappropriate.–Capricorn42 (talk) 08:50, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
  7. "What counts is your edit summary" (sephiroth bcr, above) --Philcha (talk) 09:56, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
  8. These tools are all a bit technical for me, but using twinkle without an edit summary is no different from using undo, or manually finding an old version and using the edit tab to go back to that version. In all cases an edit summary is needed. . dave souza, talk 10:17, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
  9. I was under the impression that the "Roll back good-faith edits" button and the ability to tack on one's own edit summary was included in Twinkle for just this purpose. As long as Twinkle editors leave good edit summaries and don't use Twinkle for more efficient edit warring or other evilness, I'd say go for it. I think this apparent controversy results from the semantic confusion between Twinkle's rollback tools and Wikipedia's similarly-named, "orthodox" rollback. Because the latter offers only the most basic edit summaries, it is clearly only appropriate to use when one is facing an edit or series of edits whose reversion will clearly be uncontroversial and whose need for reversion will be prima facie obvious to others. Twinkle's rollback functions, on the other hand, allow the user to explain exactly what he or she is doing and why. That transparency, an essential element of collaborative editing, is what is missing in regular rollback, and is the major reason it has to be used so carefully in such limited conditions (where editors know what a rollback summary implies has taken place). Twinkle presents its operators the opportunity to be transparent in their edits, and as long as they maintain that transparency, they should be encouraged to use Twinkle wherever they believe it would be more efficient or otherwise useful than regular rollback or "undo." --Dynaflow babble 10:27, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
    The only qualm I would have here is does the "roll back good faith edits" button let you add an edit summary of your own? (I only use the "restore this version" button because I would accidentally click on rollback vandal since it was right next to the "edit" button when viewing a diff - those buttons were in the way.) With an established user, the important thing is to leave a descriptive edit summary explaining why you rolled it back, not just an understanding that the edit was made in good faith. --B (talk) 13:24, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
    The only button that doesn't let you customize your edit summary is "rollback (VANDAL)," which parallels the function of the regular rollback button the sysops and rollbackers have (the summaries, if static, are quite a bit more descriptive in TW than in normal rollback, however). "Rollback (AGF)" and Twinkle's plain "rollback" both allow you to leave custom edit summaries via dialog boxes that pop up as the reversion is going through. Here is what an AGF rollback with a descriptive edit summary looks like under laboratory conditions. Of course, the user has the choice to leave the dialog box blank when it pops up, making the edit summary about as descriptive as a normal rollback's would be, but that would be a rather obvious dick move if it happened in the course of using TW for normal editing, and we can depend on social pressures to keep that kind of laziness rare. If you see someone being lackadaisical, call him on it. --Dynaflow babble 16:53, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
  10. What matters is the edit summary. I do, however, take strong exception to the (unfortunately long-standing) 'good-faith rollback' button if it is used without edit summary. The message its use conveys is "Your edit is so obviously harmful that I can revert it without needing to explain any further, and everyone except you is smart enough to realize that I'm doing the encyclopedia a favor by undoing your edit. For what it's worth, I'm willing to believe you screwed up because you're dumb and not because you're a jerk." As Carnildo notes, a slap in the face. What's so hard about typing, 'Breaks reference formatting' or 'Accidentally overwrites article section' or 'Material not public domain'? The 'good faith' editor that you just smacked otherwise doesn't have an opportunity to learn from his mistakes. Frankly, when someone feels the need to make an explicit announcement that they're assuming good faith – instead of simply assuming the assumption is assumed – more oft than not they're doing something that is in very poor form, and for which they seek a pre-emptive defense for their boorishness. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 15:50, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
    1. Actually there is some more algorithmic differences, as for example, you can't rollback AFG two or more revisions in a row. AzaToth 19:32, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
  11. with edit summary, as described by others, above. KillerChihuahua?!? 17:11, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
  12. "What counts is your edit summary" VX!~~~ 20:02, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
  13. Per Sephiroth BCR. J.delanoygabsadds 20:04, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
  14. Support - The edit summary is what is important. neuro(talk) 20:18, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
  15. Support While it irritates the hell out of me when someone uses TW to revert single edits, the reason we don't like people to rollback good faith edits is because of the lack of an edit summary. The edit summary is the important thing. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 20:24, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
  16. Per many above, this is fine with a descriptive edit summary. With regard to TenOfAllTrades's point above, I think that having the option of a "good faith" revert message is better than not having that option, but yes, it still should have a descriptive edit summary added manually. Otherwise any automatic summary risks conveying "HAHA PWNED" as its central message. Note that we don't especially care about conveying this in the case of genuine vandalism. Gavia immer (talk) 20:30, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
  17. Normal discussion rules apply, of course. - Eldereft (cont.) 20:55, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
  18. Support - Edit summaries is what will let others know why you are reverting an edit, whether vandalism or not. SchfiftyThree (talk!) 20:57, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
  19. long as an edit summary is used... Common sense. -- FayssalF - Wiki me up® 21:04, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
  20. Support - The current sole oppose makes no sense. This seems to be clearly appropriate. Quicker way to achieve the same outcome. لennavecia 21:08, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
  21. Twinkle, as long as it's used correctly, provides an adequate edit summary that justifies the revert and clarifies the specifics, whether it is vandalism or otherwise. Valley2city 22:57, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
  22. Of course. WP:ROLLBACK should apply. If there is an edit summary, the choice of tool is irrelevant. Protonk (talk) 23:24, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
  23. Support TW is just a tool, and it makes non-vandal reverts easier, so why not. Mayalld (talk) 07:55, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
  24. Support. I certainly don't find twinkling my edits any ruder than manually reverting them - if there's an edit summary and a valid reason, I'm quite happy. ~ mazca t|c 10:07, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
  25. Support. Useful tool, saves time, and the wide variety of options makes notifications easier, not harder. ThuranX (talk) 17:47, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
  26. Support Using Twinkle with an edit summary is no different than using Undo with an edit summary. -Atmoz (talk) 18:25, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
  27. Support The tool used to revert doesn't matter as long as there is a decent edit summary. Twinkle can be configured so that it looks like a manual revert, rollback can use custom edit summaries, and other scripts can simulate manual reverts, so there is no real point in opposing anyway. Cenarium (Talk) 11:36, 23 January 2009 (UTC)


  1. Edit summary does not matter. Reverting vandalism/copyvio/spam is good, deleting legitimate edits is not, and there's no need to salt-and-pepper it with patronizing insults. NVO (talk) 17:00, 19 January 2009 (UTC)


I'm not quite sure why we just skipped straight to polling... What exactly is the purpose of this poll? Is there already a rule that prohibits this? I don't think there is currently any rule that defines acceptable reverting techniques, are we going to create one just for this? Mr.Z-man 22:23, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Elonka was chastising OrangeMarlin for using TW to revert edits[4]("You use Twinkle to engage in revert wars without participating in substantive discussion at the talkpage,[4][5][6][7] sometimes even using Twinkle to revert other good faith editors as though they were vandals"), and someone thought it might be a good idea to gauge consensus on the general practice of using Twinkle to revert edits. Needless to say, this has no bearing on whether the edits in question should or should not have been reverted, but merely on whether Elonka's targeting the use of Twinkle makes any sense. It doesn't. KillerChihuahua?!? 22:58, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
(ec) Good question - this warning given by Elonka to Orangemarlin cited the use of Twinkle as problematic in reverting other areas (she did cite other issues but this was one). I mused on it and asked at arbcom mailing list and the issue was unclear as editors had been using it once it was enabled with edit summaries. Thus I thought a clearcut ruling on etiquette would be prudent before it was raised again. Casliber (talk · contribs) 23:00, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
The problem wasn't just that Orangemarlin was using Twinkle, it was that he was using Twinkle to do rapid reverts of edits that he disagreed with, but he wasn't participating in talkpage discussions. There was also an issue at List of pseudosciences and pseudoscientific concepts, where Orangemarlin inserted himself into the middle of an edit war, reverted the article with Twinkle, and then immediately used Twinkle to request full protection of the article on his version. And again, without participating at the talkpage. Twinkle is a great tool for dealing with vandals, but when someone is using it to get the upperhand in a content war, by being able to revert (and request protection) faster than someone else can, that's starting to get disruptive. And when an editor's sole participation at an article is to revert other editors, without engaging in the consensus discussions at the article talkpage, that's disruptive as well. The tool itself (Twinkle) was not the problem -- it's how the tool was being used. --Elonka 23:23, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
Calm down, Elonka. this isn't about you; this isn't about OM. This is about Twinkle. You cited, or named, Twinkle as though it were a problem. The rest has no place here, just like this had no place in the ANI thread from which it was moved. KillerChihuahua?!? 00:03, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
None of this really answers my question. The outcome of the poll is quite obvious. My question is, what are we planning to do with the results? Keep a diff of this page to bring up when people complain about people using Twinkle to revert? Create a policy about revert edit summaries? Mr.Z-man 01:26, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
Both of those seem reasonable. I would point people upset about TW reverts in edit wars to WP:ROLLBACK which states that "It is possible to specify an edit summary when using rollback; however, this requires manual editing of the link's URL or use of additional software or scripts. When such tools are used, the issue of choice of reversion method is moot, and rollback may be used for any purpose, provided an explanatory edit summary is supplied."--TW isn't rollback, but the point applies. For people who want to wikilawyer over it or aren't convinced (in good faith) that the ROLLBACK explanation applies, we can point to this poll. Or (alternately), we can make a policy...I'd prefer not to, but I don't see a poll as being a bad thing. What substantive discussion were we going to have on this specific point, anyways? Protonk (talk) 05:39, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
Well, normally when we have a poll, we do something with the results; it generally ends up as a new policy or a change to a policy. Since there's no policy for this already and its awfully trivial for a policy, I'm just trying to figure out why we decided to vote on it. When we vote on some big important policy change, people complain that "voting is evil," but for this trivial little point, we skip straight to the poll without ever discussing why a poll is necessary in the first place. If I didn't start this section, what was going to happen? Nobody comments for a couple days and it gets archived and forgotten. Mr.Z-man 05:51, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
Honestly, both discussion and polling on this issue are useless. No position stating that reverting an edit under twinkle with an information edit summary could gain consensus--either through discussion and refinement or through a simple straw poll. If this poll helps quickly settle an argument on the subject, ok. It's relatively low impact for all considered, so the downside is fairly low. Protonk (talk) 06:52, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
It's an etiquette thing; I'd link to it from the twinkle article or talk page in case the question comes up again. think of it as a precedent/clarification. Casliber (talk · contribs) 07:30, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Lists of examples[edit]

I posted a question on and received the answer that there is no policy or guideline on the subject. I think there should be.

Proposed guideline: not to make section/subsections etc. with examples of... whatever the title of the article is. If any example is worth mentioning, that should be done inside the article itself. If appropriate one could make a separate article with a list of... whatever the title of the article is.

An appropriate template should be constructed to be put up in articles which violate this proposed guideline. Something like "Do not include lists of examples. The most worthy examples should be worked into the article. Consider making an article with a list." Debresser (talk) 14:07, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

I don't like lists in prose articles either; so I would support some guideline to limit this. One of the few things I like less then lists in articles is the addition of unnecessary templates for cleanup in mainspace. As lists do not violate the content validity of an article in my opinion tempating such a list is unnecessary and making the problem much worse instead of better.
So yes to some guideline on this topic but NO NO NO to yet another template pollutig mainspace. Actually I think it is time for a policy against overtemplating of mainspace. Arnoutf (talk) 18:16, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree with you on that point. Nevertheless, I think a template should be made and used for this. Cutting down on templates may be done in areas with several templates of more or less the same content. Debresser (talk) 18:52, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
Please note this. A number of relavant templates are here. Theseeker4 (talk) 19:20, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree with the guideline, mainly because of what Electoral fraud used to look like. Weak oppose to the template. --Helenalex (talk) 01:31, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
Thank you, Theseeker4. Template {{cleanup-laundry}} has almost the same content as I propose. I would just insert the word "examples" specifically. Debresser (talk) 13:49, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

Article has failed a GAR - can I remove GA rating in three Wikiproject headers on Talk page and how to do it?[edit]

After an individual Good Article reassessment, I have decided the Culture article should be delisted. Following the GAR instructions, I have removed the article from the Good Articles list, but now meet a problem.... Instructions say remove a GA template from the article Talk:Culture page. That template is not there. Instead there are various Wikiproject templates which rate the quality as GA and the importance of the article. What do I do next?? Can I entirely remove the three project templates, or should I change the parameter from GA in their templates?--AlotToLearn (talk) 00:22, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Don't remove the project templates. Change the class rating with an edit comment. Vegaswikian (talk) 06:29, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Persistent POLAND spamming[edit]

Is there a policy that says that on the front page there should be a mention of Poland every other day, either in DYK or OTD? Personally, I'm tired of coming across this endless stream of Polish nationalism and self-celebrating bullshit. Can we get a moratorium? CAN WE GET A GODDAMN BREAK?? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:47, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

No. --Carnildo (talk) 04:06, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Someone created a stub of an article with my name and no content[edit]


While correcting/updating links (inserted by others into Wikipedia) to my articles, I noticed my name was highlighted like a link. So clicked on that link, and saw what looks like an article with my name as the title, but no text. Other commenters explain below that these are called "redlinks" not "articles." It would be possible to create a bit of text that can be fully referenced to newspaper stories and published literature. I find it hard to believe that anyone thinks I am important enough to create a biography of me in their spare time; yet I guess it would be useful for some people to have a short bio, similar to what gets printed in a conference brochure.
Could someone please explain what is meant by creating a redlink of a biography with no content? I've seen a few guidance articles that seem to talk about whether one should prepare an autobiography; but I didn't see advice on what to do when your name is already posted in a redlink. Also: Is there an easy way (other than a binary search) to figure out who created the redlink? Since the redlink has no content, there does not appear to be history--though I concede I am a novice at Wikipedia.
Best regards
JimJimtitus (talk) 21:14, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Click the "history" link at the top of the page. ...however, if you are referring to the link that I presume you are, it is presently a redlink (see WP:REDLINK) and does not exist as an article at the present time. –xeno (talk) 21:19, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Responding to your updated question, some people create redlinks in the hopes that a more ambitious user will one day come along and turn it into an article. See WP:REDLINK for more on this. Regarding turning the redlink into an actual article, perhaps submit the reliable sources that establish notability to WP:AFC. –xeno (talk) 21:56, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
It's a bit tricky, because as you say, the redlink invited an article; yet writing about oneself is generally discouraged. I followed up by raising the issue on the article that seems to have created the redlink; and got a response that I should draft the bio and put it on the user/bio page, for them to comment and revise. Does that make sense? I interpret the wiki autobiography policy as implying that if several people reach consensus on the content, I should probably ask one of the others to actually upload it with an explanation in the talk page as to the drafting process? Does that sound about right? Best regards. Jimtitus (talk) 11:50, 14 January 2009 (UTC) (talk) 11:41, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
Writing about oneself is discouraged but not prohibited. If you meet the criteria at WP:BIO and write from a neutral point of view I'm sure you could provide the genesis of the article. –xeno (talk) 23:07, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
The best idea would probably be to post at the conflict of interest noticeboard saying who you are and why you might be worthy of an article (include links to online sources if possible), and ask them to judge whether you should go ahead. --Helenalex (talk) 23:13, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
Or articles for creation. –xeno (talk) 23:14, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

offtopic jiggerypokery[edit]

  • Totally off-topic side commentary: what happens when someone writes a book, or produces a movie, entitled "Redlink" ? We will no longer be able to use [[redlink]] for its very useful instructive purposes. –xeno (talk) 21:26, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
  • I just figured out what I'm going to call my eventual biography... though I'm still tempted to just call it Main Page. EVula // talk // // 21:31, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Sorry I've already claimed the copyright ;p –xeno (talk) 21:32, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
  • I'd be willing to release my claim to "Redlink" if you just go to Special:Userrights/Xenocidic and checkmark the "bureaucrat" field. ;p –xeno (talk) 21:58, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
It would be at Redlink (novel), etc. AnyPerson (talk) 23:04, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
though it doesn't really matter that would only be if there was another article or disambiguation something at "Redlink". We don't put "Speaker for the Dead" at "Speaker for the Dead (novel)" because there's nothing else to take up the non-disambiguated name. –xeno (talk) 23:07, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm thinking of calling mine User:Jimbo Wales. That isn't taken yet, right? Also, jiggerypokery?Valley2city 00:20, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
Jiggery-pokery means trickery or deception. Here it seems to have more of a "just buggering about" connotation. DuncanHill (talk) 00:53, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
oops, i always thought it just meant fooling about. –xeno (talk) 19:12, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

What is not a violation of WP:POINT?[edit]

Since Wikipedia talk:POINT doesn't get much activity, I thought I'd ask here. Observe what happened. For adding that, I was accused of violating that very guideline, which ironically illustrates the rationale for my addition. PSWG1920 (talk) 17:42, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

You should have said "for repeatedly adding that against majority consensus"; which gives due weight to the history of your shown revision. Like most WP:POINT issues this one had a history of disagreement and stubborness from several sides in the debate. Arnoutf (talk) 17:49, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
As for "repeatedly adding it", that was the first time I added it. I revised it a bit and tried to add that version later, but was once more reverted by the same editor. As far as "majority consensus", there is hardly any activity on that page. So I absolutely did not "repeatedly add it against majority consensus". PSWG1920 (talk) 17:56, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
According to WP:BRD, PSWG1920 was being disruptive. (I've also commented at WT:POINT.) SHEFFIELDSTEELTALK 22:03, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
A guidline gettin g not much activity means everyone agrees with it, yes? Don't make edits just to make a point is pretty much site wide consensus, and i've seen editors directed to it many times, and done it myself (in response to editors blanking a mainspace page with "Yobmod said this is uncited, so it should all be deleted" etc. No one thinks this helps the project, not even the ones that do such things.
Guidelines should not be dismissed for being uncontroversial!Yobmod (talk) 15:33, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
The template at the top of the guideline says "Any substantive edit to this page should reflect consensus. When in doubt, discuss first on the talk page." I think it's not unreasonable for someone to consider it "disruptive" if you add a whole new section to a guideline without prior discussion and consensus on the talk page. Whether it's a POINT violation may depend on your motivation for adding it. If you subsequently use the incident of your adding it as an illustrative example (as you've done here), it may be difficult for some people to AGF that your reason for adding it in that way (i.e. without prior consensus, as far as I know) wasn't in order to create such an illustrative example: which would be a POINT violation.
Different people have different ideas of what is "disruptive". I think people tend not to consider their own edits "disruptive", so they may be baffled when accused of POINT violations. Coppertwig (talk) 16:46, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Constant serious incivility - I am a third party[edit]

I recently ran across some edits by an editor who has apparently lost all patience with other users. I've never interacted with this editor myself - I am an "uninvolved third party". The actual content of his/her edits is fine, but almost always accompanied by very uncivil comments in edit history or Talk. Editor has been cautioned several times about this and responds with very uncivil remarks. Additionally, this editor's User page says explicitly (and un-civilly) that he/she flatly refuses to abide by WP:CIVIL.
Considering that, as I say, the actual quality of this user's edits is unproblematical, should Wikipedia begin the warning/block/ban process against this altogether recalcitrant user or just ignore the incivility? -- (talk) 04:14, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Look at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard. Then read that page to find out where to go from there. superlusertc 2009 January 20, 04:55 (UTC)
Did that already, didn't see anything that seemed an exact match to this situation (i.e., that I am an "uninvolved third party" in this.) Do you have a specific course of action in mind? Thanks. -- (talk) 11:33, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
I suggest reporting the user either to WP:Wikiquette alerts or to WP:RFC. I do not think the fact that you are not directly involved prohibits you from reporting the conduct to either forum. Should definately be dealt with sooner rather than later, before someone is driven away from the project or a major dispute results from their behavior. Theseeker4 (talk) 15:01, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
Thanks to all for comments/suggestions. -- (talk) 19:20, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
The fact that you're an uninvolved third party means you're in a better position to report the user than an involved party would be. I think we need more uninvolved third parties reporting users like this. See my opinion at User:Coppertwig#Civility. Unfortunately, when involved parties report someone for incivility, the credibility of their report tends to be questioned; reporting by uninvolved parties is much better. Coppertwig (talk) 16:38, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Flagged revisions announcement from Jimbo Wales[edit]

See [5]. DuncanHill (talk) 23:03, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

Good on Jimbo, and about bloody time too. SirFozzie (talk) 23:09, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
Seconded. – ukexpat (talk) 00:55, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
Look, I'm personally fine with a trial*, but a 60:40 ratio of support to opposition on a topic didn't indicate consensus last time I checked. Jimbo is, last time I checked, one (1) person. While he may be important and influential, his input does not override the community. {{Nihiltres|talk|log}} 03:05, 22 January 2009 (UTC) (*I like FlaggedRevs, but I strongly oppose the idea that only "sighted" revisions should be visible by default.)
Unfortunately, being the god-king and all, that sentence should be restructured as his input should not override the community, but he controls ArbCom, the WMF board and the world most of Wikipedia. He does what he wants, because at the end of the day, WMF owns the servers, not the community. Foxy Loxy Pounce! 08:42, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
Jimbo ain't the WMF. They're probably his lackeys most of the time, but they can in theory override him. --NE2 08:58, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
But who would they listen to? The man who co-founded their entire existence and who helped to mold the encyclopedia from the start, or 40% of the community he created, not even a majority? And I believe there is only one community elected board member. Foxy Loxy Pounce!
Maybe there isn't a clear answer, but can anyone try to give an idea of which implementation of Flagged Revisions we are apparently getting? In other words, which articles will be flagged, which versions are seen by visitors, who does flagging, etc.? Dragons flight (talk) 03:25, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't know. For a while Jimbo seemed to indicate he was supporting something like WP:Flagged Protection, but there was never a poll on that... Mr.Z-man 04:56, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
The just-completed poll was about turning on the software feature, not about actually using it. It was phrased in terms like "add these lines to some file in the implementation of the MediaWiki software", not in terms of which articles would use the feature or what the procedures would be. I personally think that WP:Flagged Protection would be a good candidate for a trial at actually using the feature, but that requires a new poll, because the old poll didn't authorise any use of the feature whatsoever. —AlanBarrett (talk) 08:25, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
The configuration proposed in the poll is different than that needed for Flagged protection. Mr.Z-man 17:45, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
The testing of Flagged protection is perfectly possible using the configuration voted in the poll. The only feature that can not be tested is the heightened level of FLP. However it is not very difficult to add this capability to WP:Flagged revisions/Trial—it is only necessary to change two numbers and add one new line of the code. Ruslik (talk) 20:37, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

I can only hope and pray that this feature does not do to Wikipedia what I fear that it will. While my precognition is not 100%, I only forsee this as driving away potentially good editors because the encyclopedia anyone can edit will become "The encyclopedia only people we approve of can edit". This turn of events greatly saddens me. It will be a shame if the encyclopedia's growth is stunted because, in the name of stopping someone from inserting an occasional swear word into an article as a joke, we drive away all future new editors... I hope and pray this does not do what I envision it doing... 03:43, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

Completely agreed. What also needs to be considered is the number of established editors who will be driven away by the sudden and controversial change; I've spoken to numerous admins who plan on resigning due to the implementation of flags. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 03:50, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
Hogwash. If they want to resign because of something that reduces the amount of Siegenthaler Incidents and number of stories like the ones CURRENTLY OUT about the vandalism to the Teddy Kennedy and Robert Byrd articles coming to the forefront due to their medical issues, they are too much in love with the "anyone can edit" part, and not the true purpose of Wikipedia, and that's being an encyclopedia. SirFozzie (talk) 04:08, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
No offense Julian since I don't doubt that people have told you that, but until I start seeing entries at m:SRP, I suspect the real message to be something like meatball:GoodBye, not so much User:NoSeptember/Leaving. MBisanz talk 04:16, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
There was a comment, which I have in no way verified, that Flagged Revisions drove off 20% of dewiki's editors. I don't know if that's true, but it certainly wouldn't surprise me to see some people leave for good, though I won't try to guess whether it will be a large group or a very small group. Dragons flight (talk) 04:26, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
We could run some edit velocity and registration rate statistics of rather easily. I'll ping BJweeks to the edit velocity numbers and try to get to the registration rate numbers myself. MBisanz talk 13:57, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
User:Hut 8.5/German editing stats. Hut 8.5 18:18, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
Resigning simply based on the implementation of FlaggedRevs, regardless of what the actual configuration is, is, frankly, stupid. There's at least one proposal - WP:FLP, that will significantly increase the openness of Wikipedia while likely not adding a significant amount to any backlogs. I don't like many of the proposed trials, but that doesn't mean I'm going to storm off in a huff if it gets implemented. Don't Feed the Divas. To anyone planning on storming off in a huff: Don't let the door hit you on the way out. Mr.Z-man 13:53, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
If the German experience is anything to go by, that's not an issue: the edit rate did not change when flagged revisions were enabled, and the registration rate went up slightly. --Carnildo (talk) 21:46, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

I understood it was only going to be applied to BLPs to start with. Seems a good way to try this out on a limited scale - none of us will really be able to say whether it's a good or bad thing until we've sucked it and seen how it works in practice.--Kotniski (talk) 09:17, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

Bot to automatically WebCite newly added URLs[edit]


This isn't technically a policy proposal, but it is pretty close to one and I wanted to insure that all interested parties were given a chance to voice their opinion, so I'm posting a notice here as well as under the proposals section. Feel free to delete this if it doesn't belong.

Linkrot is a major problem on all major websites, and Wikipedia is not exception. is a free service that archives web pages on demand. I am proposing a bot (coded by me) that will automatically submit URLs recently added to Wikipedia to WebCite and then supplement the Wikipedia link. For full disclosure, this idea is not original to me but rather has been suggested by others in the past and most recently by Peregrine Fisher but never actually acted upon.

For full details and discussion, please visit: Wikipedia:Bots/Requests_for_approval/WebCiteBOT

Thank you, ThaddeusB (talk) 04:16, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Just an idea, you might consider also asking the people who run the Webcite service whether it's OK with them. Coppertwig (talk) 16:09, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
Two more points:
  1. This could result in Wikipedia becoming far too dependent on a single, external website.
  2. There is no need to link to archives of perfectly valid current links (I've recently seen some examples of this, seems pointless to me). Using an archive should only be a last resort, when an alternative current link can't be found.
--NSH001 (talk) 18:50, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
I think the point is to archive the link ahead of time in anticipation of its future rotting; since when the link goes dead, it's too late at that point. –xeno (talk) 19:00, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
I think #1 is fine, since if we lose the service at some point in the future, we don't lose anything we don't already have currently. Ditto Xeno for #2. --Izno (talk) 19:06, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
That's OK, as long as it doesn't result in linking to an archive instead of a valid, current link (such as I've been seeing recently). There will still be the disadvantage that editors won't be bothered to find an updated link where a site merely reshuffles its URLs, or replaces its dead links with more appropriate ones. --NSH001 (talk) 19:44, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree the archive link should only act as a backup, I've noted the same at the BRFA. –xeno (talk) 19:53, 24 January 2009 (UTC)


Recently, I've been reverting the use of "class='navbox'" in the mainspace. Is that a good idea? A user really insists on using that on tables on the mainspace, and they're not even navboxes. –Howard the Duck 17:38, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Seem like fair reversions, class should be limited, but never ever be used beyond their relevant boundaries Arnoutf (talk) 18:31, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Pictures/illustrations in leading positions as thumbnails?[edit]

While all pictures and illustrations in articles seem to be kept at thumbnail size, it seems to this user that the leading, or head paragraph could and should be free to be larger than thumbnail. I see editors constantly reducing all pictures to thumbnail size wherever they find them. Is there a Wikipedia policy on this? JohnClarknew (talk) 22:13, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

MOS:IMAGES is what you are looking for. Resolute 22:35, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Non-European Nobility[edit]

There are many many stub biographies of current and past holders of noble titles, many of them being quite obscure. I guess there is already a policy that all noblemen are inherently notable, thus safe from deletion, no matter how minor. This has left wikipedia rather "noble heavy," with stubs on countless people nobody ever heard of, or cares about. I propose that we draw a line in the sand, to wit, that while historical noblemen of english or european peoples can remain notable, the nobility of non-european peoples be subject to standard "notablity" guidelines, e.g., they have had to have accomplished something notable themselves, rather than simply "deserving" an article simply because they were the 18th duke of some obscure region of Mongolia nobody ever heard of. Your thoughts please. Pepe Machao (talk) 02:21, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Sounds rather racist to me. Wait a minute, you are Jean Latoure or whatever he was called right? --Cameron Scott (talk) 02:24, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, that's really Eurocentric. If there are really that many obscure nobles on Wikipedia, I suggest a guideline on noble notability specifying minimum land area or rank or something, applicable to Europe as well as other places. Also, I'm pretty sure there are no regions of Mongolia no one has heard of. For starters, I think Mongolians would have heard of them. --Helenalex (talk) 03:03, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Not a good idea except on the Europhilia wiki. Tempshill (talk) 21:46, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
the practice is that all higher nobility are notable, not the class corresponding to the Polish Szlachta , or the English Baronetage. Traditional notability is noatbility also. this does extend to other areas than Europe, if we can determine the equivalents and find sources. DGG (talk) 03:52, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
If all that is verifiable is that so in so was the son of such and such and the father of some other holder of a minor title of nobility, and was not in the equivalent of the legislature, their article is likely to be deleted if it goes to AFD. Many countries have legions of minor nobles who got a title by giving money to someone in power, and which title was basically honorary, associated with no real privileges except perhaps how close to the head of the table they get to sit at banquets. Wikipedia is not a directory. Edison (talk) 04:18, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

Deletion wars: I propose a novel solution[edit]

Instead of just having Wikipedia:Articles for Deletion (AfD's) is having Wikipedia:Articles for Userfication (AfU's) also.

  1. If articles fail WP:Original Research, WP:Notability and/or WP:Verification, then the article is sent to Wikipedia:Articles for Userfication (AfU's). If the community decides that the article is not notable enough, it is moved to a userpage.
  1. Only if the article has WP:BLP, copyright issues, or any other legal issues which jeprodize the whole project, is the article put up for Wikipedia:Articles for Deletion (AfD's).

This is being discussed here: PLEASE COMMENT HERE: Wikipedia talk:Articles_for_deletion travb (talk) 11:42, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

  • Wikipedia is not a webhosting service for random stuff that someone finds interesting, but which few others find interesting or useful, and which is unverifiable and lacks reliable sources. There are lots of webhosting services where someone can publish his real or imagined genealogy, his collection of matchbooks, a list of the mailboxes in his town, a list of states he has visited, the numbers of trains or the names of birds he has seen, a list of his friends, their nicknames, jokes he has heard, funny things that happened at school, rules for games he and his friends made up, what movies and songs he likes, etc. There is no basis in policy for userfying such material and keeping it at someone's Wikipedia userpage. Facebook, and webpages provided by their internet provider are the proper venues for such material. Information about the individual's background, interests, or Wikipedia editing philosophy is welcome on his userpage, and a deleted autobiographical article about an individual who does not satisfy WP:BIO might well be the basis for a good userpage. Edison (talk) 04:28, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

OR aircraft crash images[edit]

Original research.

In various aircraft crash articles, editor Anynobody has created many illustrations of aircraft as he imagines they appeared soon before crashing. (His page on the Commons contains these images with links to their Wikipedia articles on en.)

I believe strongly these images are WP:OR and are not allowed for the illustration of Wikipedia articles. They are imaginings of an editor. Images like the illustration to the right are particularly offensive because so much is unprovable speculation. Were the aircraft in those exact positions? What about their exact attitudes? Were there birds in the sky? Was there a cloud right near the aircraft as depicted? What about the contrails? Similarly, File:Dc10erebus.png is a guess about how a volcano might have appeared to the snowblind pilots. Nobody knows if this is what the scene looked like, or will ever know. I appreciate that it has taken a lot of time and work, presumably, to create these illustrations, but they are clearly OR and need to be removed. Tempshill (talk) 21:38, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

If these are artists' impressions based on the accident reports, I see nothing wrong with it. --Carnildo (talk) 23:29, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
OR is given considerably more latitude for images than for text. If you're concerned that they may give the wrong impression, I think the best thing to do is add "artist's conception" or similar wording to the caption. This is common in magazines and other websites (e.g. [6][7][8]). Dcoetzee 23:34, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Tempshill - I'm following this discussion not only for the reason that I've defended the use of Anynobody's image at Talk:Air New Zealand Flight 901, but also because I've often wondered if some of my own graph and map creations might constitute OR. I agree with the two responses above and confirm the opinion I've expressed previously. I would ask - should [9] be considered OR and deleted simply because the creator is imagining that there are precisely that many fibrils or that the relative thickness of the capsid is exactly as he/she suggests, or even that the actual virus is coloured that specific shade of blue? I guess these are 'imaginings' but is that enough to classify the illustration as offensive or a policy violation? Can I ask you - in respect of [10] would that animation (shown on your own talk page) be acceptable in the relevant ballistics-related article and if not - what changes would make it acceptable under your interpretation of the OR policy? In the case of the Flight 901 article, would a more explicit caption ease your concerns or does your objection go solely to the image itself? In case my questions are seen as provocative, I would emphasise that I'm putting them 'in good faith' and that I'm simply trying to clarify, in my own mind, some aspects of the view you've put in your post above.GlenDillon 12:47, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
After reading the thread, I think I'm revising my opposition as long as we strictly adhere to saying in every caption that it's an artist's illustration. One reason I have disliked these renderings is the perception that 3D renderings are "simulations" of some sort that are based on actual data. Tempshill (talk) 05:00, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
I have to say the images add to the article and do not constitute original research. This is not a statistic without a source or synthesis of a group of sources which would constitute original research. As long as the images are noted as artistic representations and fit with the sourced data available, I don't see any problem with them at all. As Glen details above, what matter whether the cloud is accurate, or the contrail accurate, etc.? Theseeker4 (talk) 20:39, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
Even if these images are WP:OR (which I do not agree with, but I can see the argument), we should WP:IAR: these images greatly increase encyclopedic value, and clearly represent precisely the good things we can achieve around here. I commend Anynobody for his efforts and would hate to see him/her done them in vain. Unless evidence from reliable sources contradicts his depictions, we should include.--Cerejota (talk) 23:27, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't think there is anything wrong with attempting to recreate a scene by drawing it. Now if he tried to photoshop an actual picture and try to pass it off as a photograph taken from a helicopter is one thing, but this is not a photograph but a really good png. Perhaps, though, the image should indicate in either the caption or the description of the image that it is an artist's rendition, such as it does in Urban Aeronautics X-Hawk, Boeing X-37, Singapore Airlines Flight 006 and many others. Valley2city 03:05, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

New policy/guideline proposal[edit]

WP:NOMORE is aimed to suggest a way for reducing the instruction creep. (talk) 14:07, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree with "unless a guideline or a policy is really shown to be necessary by a community that is wider than community of that policy's or guideline's editors". --Philcha (talk) 14:28, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
How ironic a new rule stating that new rules should be avoided...... ;-) Arnoutf (talk) 14:30, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
Strongly disagree with this wording. "Two is not enough, make it a bit wider, say, three." Just how much "wider"? Just make it barely enough to pass above the identifiable number of regulars who edited the proposal. "Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three." ... NVO (talk) 21:43, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't really see why we need a policy for this. When a new policy or guideline is suggested, people will already talk about whether or not it's needed. People don't need a rule to tell them this; if a new guideline is unnecessary, it won't get support.
Like Arnoutf suggested...this anti-CREEP proposal is in itself CREEP. Politizer talk/contribs 23:33, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

There are currently 52 policies and there is not a single page with the list of ALL guidelines. There are 74 guidelines without Style (about 100) and Naming conventions (about 60). How many of those did receive a broad community input?

For example, why is WP:SCG needed when there is WP:CS. If you look at the discussion page history and archives, you will see that it really didn't receive a broad community input. I am sure this is also true for many other guidelines, and maybe even some policies. (talk) 00:24, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

The community need not interfere with guideline drafting if it is not adversely impacted by such or if the guidelines do not interfere with our goal of writing an encyclopedia. And when you point out WP:SCG and WP:CS, remember that WP:SCG elaborates on WP:CS and is therefore not a guideline unto itself, but rather a subset or elaboration of a more-encompassing one. —kurykh 00:32, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
So are you saying that WP:SCG can not interfere with our editing? Someone cannot revert our edits with explanation that it does not meet WP:SCG? (talk) —Preceding undated comment was added at 00:36, 19 January 2009 (UTC).
Read: "interfere with our goal of writing an encyclopedia." Not "interfere with what I think is best despite the opinions of others." —kurykh 00:38, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
Opinions of many many contributors of WP:CS, or opinions of few contributors of WP:SCG? (talk) 00:41, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
You're thinking too much in absolute terms. Must the entire community care about a proposed guideline for it to have legitimacy? If you have a proposed improvement to said guideline (or if you think it's a bad idea), go to the relevant talk page to discuss it. —kurykh 00:52, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
By the same token, I could make WP:NOMORE a guideline, and start pointing to it on talk pages to other users. I don't think that's a good thing. I think the other way around is a good way: first ask other users whether it is good, and whether you should start pointing to it as a guideline. But I guess you think that's somehow absolute thinking. (talk) 00:58, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
No, you're comparing apples and oranges. You are the only person granting legitimacy to your proposal, WP:SCG has more than one. Way more than one. Try looking at the history of the talk page rather than just the talk page itself, and also the WikiProjects that employ the guideline. And when I said "absolute terms," it wasn't "absolute thinking," whatever that nonsensical notion of yours is, but absolute numbers as defined by "many" and "few." —kurykh 01:03, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

"absolute terms/thinking" is translation error on my part (non native). Anyhow, "many" and "few" are relative, not absolute. When I said I, I meant I could find few people who like proposal, and by small consensus of few editors make it a guideline. I've seen guidelines made in such a way, without proposals being presented here for broader input. (talk) 01:10, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
This page is not a rules incubator; not everything policy- or guideline- related needs to come here first. Many of the guidelines that you seemed to criticize matter only to a subset of the community, and need no "broader input" than those it impacts. —kurykh 01:13, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
You can hardly know which 'many' guidelines i seem to criticize. I agree that they don't need broader input than those it impacts, but I think it impacts more than those whose input it receives. (talk) 01:18, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
Silence implies consent here (and everywhere, for the matter). In any case, if you're impacted by a guideline and you disagree with it, you would speak up sooner or later anyway. —kurykh 01:22, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
Then silence of all but few of you in this thread implies consent by the Wikipedia Village Pump community! :O) Great for WP:NOMORE :P (talk) 01:26, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
*sigh* You know what I mean. =) —kurykh 01:30, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
Our anonymous friend does have a point about the multiplicity of policies and guidelines. It would be nice to merge some of them so that people are more likely to find the relevant ones. Having said that, the chances of that actually happening are probably slim to none. --Helenalex (talk) 06:34, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
Well I wrote up /Wikipedia policies and guidelines in my userspace in November and also /Unique editors of policies and guidelines — which gives some idea of the community input they've received. I haven't figured out the unique editors to the talk pages, but I'm thinking about doing that. --Pixelface (talk) 08:35, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
Great work Pixelface! It would be nice to move that page to Wikipedia space and maintain all those statistics on regular basis. I will actually write a PHP script that does that, and will post a link here within a week. I'll combine talk page statistics too. (talk) 11:22, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
Well the source of /Unique editors of policies and guidelines is a tool written by Aka on the German Wikipedia (and each line has a link to verify the statistics). The tool is hosted on his own website I believe. It used to be linked to in the history tab of all pages, then I think Aka added banner ads because his site was getting hammered, and then people removed the site from the history tab because it had banner ads. I manually wrote up the page and I checked the tool manually; I didn't want to hammer his site myself. I don't know any PHP. The page is incomplete, but I was thinking of updating it every 3 months or so. It would be great if you could write a script and add in the talk page statistics, but I'm still worried about his site going down. I think it may be beneficial if the tool was moved over to the toolserver. Speaking of NOMORE, I've thought about a similar proposal that would require proposals to have a minimum level of net support before they can be tagged guideline or policy. --Pixelface (talk) 14:42, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Script is almost done. It will be run once a month, with 2 seconds delay between page requests. Number of total requests will be about 600 (all guidelines and policies times 2 for talk pages), and results will be saved in HTML file on my server. In other words, his site won't get hammered! (talk) 14:55, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
As WP is not a democracy, requiring a certain number of votes to tag a proposed guideline or policy as such would be counter to the process. On the other hand, requiring some RFCPolicy period (with wide announcement to any other appropriate places) to be used for the introduction of new guidelines/proposals should be a required step. --MASEM 15:01, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
WP:NOMORE == wide input == your proposal! :O) (talk) 15:10, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not a democracy because Wikipedia is not a government — but things are decided by vote all the time. For example, a steward made you an an admin based on a bureaucrat's reading of a certain number of votes (a percentage actually). And there was a discussion about whether Jimbo should select the Arbcom candidates based on percentage or net support. The top 7 candidates all got over 100 net support — all but 1 of the top 10 did too. --Pixelface (talk) 23:23, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

So AKA's site got hammered ?!? :( I will have to use the script some other day. (talk) 17:59, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Statistics report is complete. Feedbacks welcome! (talk) 01:47, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Wow. That looks awesome! To think...all the hours I spent making my list. I need to learn how to do that stuff. I'm really impressed. Thank you very much for doing that! It's just like my list, except that mine shows the top 20 editors (instead of top 10) and also lists some shortcuts. When I made it, I manually filled in the stats for every policy and about 1/5th of WP's guidelines. That was the best I could make the table look with my limited knowledge.
Would you like me to turn that HTML into wikicode? Do you want me to create a page in the WP namespace for it? If so, what title should the page be? I might just leave my list in my userspace.
I've noticed that Aka's tool doesn't go beyond "Conversion script" when it comes to the first edit. I think updating the table once a month is okay, but maybe we should ask Aka about it, since it is his bandwidth. Maybe he could be persuaded to copy his tool to the toolserver (although it looks like he mentioned that clear back in September 2007). If you want to run your script once a month that would be great. If not, I'll understand. Will that HTML file be overwritten every month, or could you create a new file each month?
There's also the issue with pages becoming/unbecoming policy or guideline. This watchlist I made shows the recent changes to every policy and guideline. I have other similar watchlist links on my userpage. --Pixelface (talk) 23:23, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

Hi, here are some answers. I'll try to generate wiki code from HTML.... New monthly reports will be saved in new HTML files. Some guidelines are missing in my report as they were not clasified in categories, and I assume some will always be missing. It is really hard to keep track of all of them. Cheers. (talk) 01:09, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
If you would turn the HTML into wikicode that would be great. And new HTML files each month would also be great. I don't want to burden you with anything though. If I notice any missing guidelines in the report I'll let you know. --Pixelface (talk) 19:47, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree there is a problem. I am going to use the example of Wikipedia:Television_episodes. In the request for comment, an almost 2 to 1 majority of editors were opposed to the guideline. (See Wikipedia_talk:Television_episodes#2). But it became a guideline because the editors supporting the guideline wrote much more than the majority. This guideline then continued to be guideline, despite attempts to demote and question the guideline. A small group of like minded editors refused to allow tags questioning the guideline ({{Disputedtag}}) on the page for over a year and a half, and continue to do so today Wikipedia_talk:Television_episodes#1.

Based on my findings, the solution to rule creep would be:

  1. Require a Request for Comment before any proposal becomes a guideline. It is rather troubling that many veteran editors repeatedly discourage Request for Comments.
  2. All proposed guidelines and proposals must be advertised in the main banner, called MediaWiki:Sitenotice. (This is the banner where wikipedia asks for donations ever year)
  3. Alternative to #2: "Editors who are proposing guidelines and policy must make a good faith effort to notify those editors which will be effected".
    For example, the proposed guideline WP:FICT will delete most television episodes. Editors who want to make WP:FICT a guideline, must post a message about the RfC on Category:Lists of comedy television series episodes and all similar pages. This may seem like a burdensome requirement, but the alternative is that hundreds of pages will be deleted without any notice given to those editors who created those pages. Wikipedia is a huge place, and many editors, especially new editors, don't care about policy, and so are not made aware of the policy until it is too late. These editors should have the opportunity to voice their concerns first. A guideline as far reaching as WP:FICT should not be decided by a handful of editors, but should be decided by the larger community as a whole.
  4. Change the voting guidelines so those who developed the guideline are not rewarded for simply out writing more than other editors. See Wikipedia_talk:Television_episodes#2 Change the voting guidelines so the voice of new editors can be heard as strongly as veteran editors with a interest in the proposed guideline.
  5. Create clear rules on tag removal (such as the tag {{Disputedtag}}) when an editor wants to question a policy or guideline. This will allow editors who have a problem with a guideline to be fairly heard and not suppressed by like minded editors who "protect" the page from change. This will stop the revert wars of tags and removal of the tags on false claims of "consensus", which have historically happened on pages such as [Wikipedia:Television_episodes]]. A good rule would be that tags disputing a rule should remain on a page for 5 days.

The bottom line is that veteran editors are the editors who created these guidelines and they will be loath to change them. The current ways that content rules are created and enforced rewards veteran "elite" editors. Ikip (talk) 10:10, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

Using a new voting system on all of wikipedia[edit]

It would improve the relevance of articles if each paragraph could be rated, once a paragraph had received enough votes ( more than 10% of all visitors in 7 days, over a period of however long it takes), then that paragraph is marked as robust and relevant. This means edits to this paragraph have to be approved or you have to type your name and email against any new edits.

It's often the case that edits contain irrelevant info or someones feels the need to raise an issue that doesn't really need raising. I just feel that a social tool, such as this would be really useful at keeping a communities eye on the content and keeping things in line.

Thanks for considering. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:24, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

Not gonna happen as it's anathema. We have enough issues with FlaggedRevisions; we do not need social-news-site baggage. -Jéské Couriano (v^_^v) 23:33, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Jéské Couriano, as this amounts to full protection of stable content, which is not one of the reasons for full protection. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 00:47, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
Oppose, No way Jose. Who is to say what is or is not irrelevant. Jezhotwells (talk) 02:01, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

<< well at the moment any individual can do this, where as with this new system a group of people who read and have interest in the article can do this.

Not all articles have an active group of editors interested in them. The problem is that soon, when a lot of paragraphs are marked as 'robust and relevant', it will be difficult for unregistered editors to edit articles without just adding new paragraphs or editing only the newer paragraphs, so we could end up with articles containing random facts spaced out into separate paragraphs because of the restrictions implemented. There's also the issue of how to implement this, since it basically involves semiprotection or protection of individual paragraphs, which is impossible with the current software, which can only handle protection for whole articles. Tra (Talk) 15:53, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
WP:Voting is evil Gnevin (talk) 17:32, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose Structure of each article changes over time. There is little sense in rating a section when tomorrow it will be split or merged. Article, not section, is the least measurable unit. Presence of past section rating will discourage legitimate split/merge edits. NVO (talk) 17:39, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose per NVO Fiddle Faddle (talk) 17:43, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose. If you are interested in a validated article structure, Citizendium may be of interest (I've never used it though). Tempshill (talk) 21:53, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Use talk page of article for making "to-do list" better.--Камень (talk) 18:10, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose. That seems like it would be messy. I agree with NVO that Article should be assessed, not paragraph. To that end there is a gadget in Special:Preferences that can color-code article titles based on their assessment. However, I think a paragraph by paragraph assessment would not be that constructive. Just use the talk page. Valley2city 20:48, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Wikipedia will always be changing, thats part of what makes it what it is. RP459 (talk) 17:17, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose such a one size fits all solution would no be viable on WP. Jezhotwells (talk) 18:03, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose Why not compromise here. Post all unchecked edits immediately, but place them in a different collor such as dark yellow or green to indicate the change has not been reviewed. When the reviewer approves the update the text is changed to the standard color. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Patruns (talkcontribs) 18:53, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

New Editor needs help avoiding edit war[edit]

As a new editor, I was recently told here at the Village Pump that, if I'm going to delete content, I have to discuss it on the discussion page of the relevant article first. So I did that. I consistently made entries on the discussion page of the Illegal immigration in the United States article as, over the span of several weeks, I checked the sources to make sure they were relevant and accurately represented. I worked with the community to fix the problems I found. Now a new editor has reverted all that work - his edit summary states, "rv to last npov version.". I reverted his revert, stating in my edit summary, "take it to the talk page-I've been very careful to discuss the reasons for all these edits with the community". He reverted my revert stating, "Discussion does mean consensus, and consensus cannot violate npov. Maybe you should talk it to talk and get some AGREEMENT first" - but, note, he hasn't posted anything in the talk page. So how do I avoid an edit war with someone who won't read or post to the talk page?- (talk) 03:52, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

I'm going to have to back up on this one. He or she has perhaps been a little over overzealous in their deletions but they were all discussed on the talk page. I suspect that this is part of a longer edit war between myself and User:Spotfixer. She has been monitoring my contributions and undoing most of them. She is now involved in this page. It is possible that what the edits that the anon and I made were out of policy but if you folks check the page history I'm pretty confident that everything we have done is legitimate. - Schrandit (talk) 04:06, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
Remember - have a good time, all of the time. (talk) 00:10, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Alternate proposal on flagged revisions[edit]

Here's what I'm thinking. Instead of a blanket policy like the one Jimbo suggested, where each new edit by a new or unnamed user would have to be approved before it could be a part of the official article, why not simply eliminate the anonymous user bit and make everyone sign...and explain...their work?

What I had in mind is this: whenever someone wants to use the "edit" feature, fields would appear on the screen asking for their name, and an explanation of why the edit is being made. These would be mandatory fields; leaving either one blank would cause an automatic rejection of the edit.

My feeling is that if you're editing something like Wikipedia, and you're doing it because your knowledge of the subject allows you to correct a factual error or some such, you shouldn't mind signing your real name to it or explaining why you feel it's necessary. The use of the real name (perhaps with accompanying valid e-mail address) would allow Wikipedia monitors to contact anyone who they feel is abusing the privilege and get after them...and the explanation of the edit allows the site's moderators to research and validate for accuracy. And it would also serve to weed out the vandals, by making it harder for them to hide or to hit and run as they tend to do.

I think this approach would accomplish what Jim wants to do, without having to bog down every new edit with a day or more delay...and without having to completely bog down the site's already-hard-working staff by having to make them review every new edit one at a time, in depth. Granted, having the explanation field would still require a little bit of review on someone's part, but I'm thinking that it wouldn't be as intense a review, because the explanation would sort of have to cover your source for knowing the edit is necessary...and that narrows down where the moderators would have to go to verify it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:29, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

One problem with this is that it would be difficult (on a large scale) to check if someone's real name really is their real name. On Citizendium, a wiki that asks for editors' real names, they manually check the names provided by asking you to provide evidence of your identity. There's also the issue that a lot of contributors may not want to disclose their real name online. This could put people off contributing to the encyclopaedia. Tra (Talk) 00:34, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
You're arguing against something that Jimbo never proposed. --Carnildo (talk) 01:03, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
There's a LOT of things wrong with this proposal, but even without the rest of them, here is the reason this wouldn't happen. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 01:24, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Please read Wikipedia:Perennial proposals#Prohibit anonymous users from editing and the failed proposal Wikipedia:Editors should be logged in users. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 01:33, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Autoconfirming and BLPs[edit]

The whole situation with flagged revisions seems to divide opinions on BLPs. So why don't we do away with the four-day rule for editing semi-protected accounts, and have an "opt-in" system.

In short, non-BLP articles would work as near as makes no difference the same as at present (simply say that accounts created after semi-protection cannot edit that semi-protected article). All BLPs would be flagged revisions for anons and "untested" users (feel free to suggest a more diplomatic term). Current adminstrators and rollbackers would automatically be flagged as able to edit, and have the ability to flag a user who is deemed to be trustworthy. Short term it could cause a headache, so there's a simple solution- don't introduce it immediately, have a period of time for good users to get themselves flagged. After the initial surge flagging wouldn't be a big job, as in 90% of cases rollbackers could clearly see that someone was making positive contributions, meaning a dedicated page for requesting the flag shouldn't be too time-intensive. This approach would mean that flagged revisions would be almost exclusively IP's (new editors worth their salt would presumably get the flag quite quickly). In turn, IP edits should appear on wikipedia faster, as the rollbackers aren't wasting their time with editors who will almost certainly not cause a problem. Non BLPs would still work in the same way they always have, and the BLP contributions will still get there, albeit a little later.

I recognise the fundamental concern in that paragraph... "almost certainly". My answer to this is simple. Wikipedia cannot "certainly" stop all vandalism and simultaneously be an up to date, credible encyclopaedia that anyone can edit. A good legal system will almost certainly stop me killing the first person I see on the street, while at the same time not overly restricting my civil liberties. BeL1EveR (talk) 00:59, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Repealing of CSD T1[edit]

I'm moving for the repealing of criterion for speedy deletion T1. I invite your opinions and discussion at Wikipedia_talk:Criteria_for_speedy_deletion#Removal_of_T1_redux. Dcoetzee 03:07, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Scrap non-admin closures for deletions[edit]

I propose we scrap non-admin closures for deletion debates. They are causing more problems then good. The non-admin closing the deletion isn't always following the guidelines for non-admin closures and it isn't always a clear cut case in which (s)he is dealing with. Also most of the time the non-admin doesn't declare that its a non-admin closure so the people participating in the debate think the debate was closed by an admin. As an alternative, we could !elect a group of people (similar to mediators) that close deletion debates. Thoughts? Pocopocopocopoco (talk) 02:49, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

I'm not certain we need to scrap it altogether, but some changes would help. Especially surrounding teaching people what WP:SNOW actually is intended to argue. Resolute 02:54, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
I have concerns with dubious NACs and what I consider to be careless AfD procedure. However, most NACs are fine, most questionable ones are overeager WP:SK or SNOW that are probably reflective of the eventual outcome, and the really questionable ones are reopened by admins. After filtering for the admins who typically do AfD closings, all the NACs I've seen recently are clearly labeled. The argument has been made that NAC helps with the backlog, but it may be unnecessary with the User:Mr.Z-man/closeAFD script in wide use. Flatscan (talk) 05:02, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
I find this useful, particularly in clear-cut cases. This includes clear SNOW/SPEEDY cases, such as procedural noms taken "with neutrality" that get double-digit "keep" in the first 24 hours and zero non-keeps. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 05:47, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
I think we should have far more process and bureaucracy. What we need is people licenced to close deletion discussions, with grades of licence authorised to close discussions with bronze for 1-19 !votes, Silver for 10-29, Gold 30 and above.  !elections should be by multiple transferrable !vote, held every February. Fiddle Faddle (talk) 08:20, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
I know you are being sarcastic, but the reality is at some point what you suggest may become useful. When done right and when they "fit well" with the organization they serve, process and bureaucracy are good things. Now, as to whether Wikipedia has the right amount and type of process and bureaucracy to meet its current needs is a discussion that's being constantly debated across many Wikipedia_talk: pages. Of course, its current needs today aren't the same as they were a year ago and they won't be the same a year from now. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 23:43, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes, but just try pointing out that some process could be eliminated or made less bureaucratic and you'll have a core of people who have grown to love that paricular process leaping to its defence (I was told that my idea for simplifying AfDs was "too revolutionary"). I think we have too much focus on process and not enough on general but pratically effective principles that could be applied everywhere. As a result there are a few very "well" developed processes which function quite well but cause unnecessary hassle for people and necessitate frequent unproductive discussion (like this one) about details of the process itself, while we have other important areas where there are not even clear principles, let alone process, for reaching solutions. (People might be interested in User:Kotniski/rulebook, which is a kind of proto-proposal for addressing these issues, and previous discussion at WT:Policies and guidelines.)

I myself am a non-admin and I have WP:NACd several AfD debates, I only SNOW when its 100% keep (with a good amount of solid votes) after one day or more and normal NAC when there is generally only one deletion argument and it is weak compared to the keep arguments (which should be ~85% or more of the total votes). WP:NAC doesn't mention mentioning that your a non-admin when closing, although the closing script I now use does automagically put in that it is a NAC. I don't believe that I have made any serious mistakes (if any) and have never been reverted by an admin. Why should the good little NAC boys and girls not be allowed to close AfD debates? It saves time for admins, and when done right has a net positive to the project. Why can't we just crack down on those who are being naughty, for example, by stripping them of their NAC powers? Foxy Loxy Pounce! 08:29, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

Your closing practices sound fine. Wikipedia:Deletion process#Non-administrators closing discussions, the guideline that WP:NAC supplements, does recommend that NACs be labeled. I considered copying the recommendation, but I didn't see a good place – the essay covers whether a NAC should be done, not how to do them. Flatscan (talk) 06:13, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
If we followed my human anti-bureaucratic approach to deletion debates (as set out during recent discussions at WT:AfD) then we wouldn't need "closures" at all, any more than we need formal closures for any other discussion where someone makes a suggestion that meets with general negativity. Just have the debates on the article talk page, if they reach consensus to delete then someone notifies an admin, if the result is a merge or redirect then that can be done by anyone (just as it could without a deletion proposal), if the result is keep or no consensus then discussion just fizzles out. (But though people always jump on proposals for advocating new bureaucracy, they seem by contrast to be very protective of the bureaucracy we already have, so it seems that proposals to limit that are equally doomed.) --Kotniski (talk) 09:12, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

Also most of the time the non-admin doesn't declare that its a non-admin closure Can you provide some evidence that this statement is true? Otherwise I feel I need to mark it with a {{cn}} tag. Ruslik (talk) 13:41, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

I strongly support non-admin closure for deletion, as I think it's an important way for non-admins to participate in the deletion process, and the essay sets important limitations. However, I think Wikipedia:Non-admin closure needs to be policy, so that users who don't follow it carefully can be held responsible. Let's educate users, not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Dcoetzee 20:57, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I see numerous admin closures which seem incorrect and the non-admin closures are usually better in that they conform to consensus. The non-admin closures are harmless in that the article remains and there is no obstacle to further work upon it. And the DRV process is there for those that wish to challenge the close immediately. Colonel Warden (talk) 13:14, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

user:Ruslik0 asked about examples where the non-admin doesn't mark the closure of the afd as a non-admin closure, here are some examples:

Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/André Dallaire
Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Comparison of United States presidential candidates, 2008
Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Graphical Identification and Authentication

There are probably a lot more. Another concern I have is that since the non-admin doesn't have the abilities to delete an article, they're closure is biased towards Keeping the article. Pocopocopocopoco (talk) 16:24, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

  • Oppose: I disagree there is a bias toward NAC keeping. Since non-admins can't delete an article, they should, and will, stay away from articles that clearly require deletion. That's not a bias, that's following guidelines. Unless you have some proof that NAC closes are biased. Further, NAC closes are a good low risk training ground for potential admins, and one might get a sense from the closing rationales how they might close with the admin buttons. And that is a good thing, because RfA is about trust to do the right thing. Also, an admin can reverse an obvious incorrect NAC close without going to DRV, I believe. Disclosure: I NAC closed one discussion that was clearly a keep, and I wasn't overturned or even questioned. — Becksguy (talk) 16:51, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

If non-admins can make closures to deletion debates, these closures should not be immune to Wikipedia:BOLD, revert, discuss cycle so any editor who feels that the closure was improper can revert the closure without having to sent it to WP:DRV. Pocopocopocopoco (talk) 03:11, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

  • Oppose It doesn't matter if the person closing is an admin or not. What matters is that the decision was the right one. If there are questions about the closure we have the DRV process. And if a particular person, admin or not, is continually making AfD errors, it would be brought to their attention at that point. SilkTork *YES! 17:33, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
  • I support leaving NAC reversals as-is. Allowing any admin to reverse provides expedited handling in clearly incorrect cases, but prevents edit-warring over closures. Flatscan (talk) 02:24, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose I closed many Xfd's before I became an admin, and none was ever brought to Deletion review. I didn't automagically acquire good judgment by becoming an admin, either; I'm the same guy with the same powers of judgment as I was before my Rfa. I didn't always label my closes as being by a non-admin, either, but why does that even matter? If the closer is wrong, then they're wrong, whether they're an admin or not. If the closure is clearly wrong, it can be overturned by any admin; if not, it can brought to Deletion review. Nothing is broken.--Aervanath (talk) 05:24, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose Admins don't have special rights, just special powers. If the AFD doesn't require admin action to act upon it, I see no reason why editors in good standing should not be allowed to close them themselves. 05:29, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Content and enforcement policy[edit]

Monthly updates of content and enforcement policy continue at WP:Update. I did the January updates a little early; if the advance notice is helpful, and if people use it to fix things that have "gone wrong" (and what that means is up to you guys), then I'll keep doing updates twice a month.

This is going to come as no shock at all, but most undiscussed edits to content and policy pages that significantly change the meaning are not good changes, because they reflect one person's view rather than the grudging compromises worked out by hundreds of people. This is true even when the edits are pretty intelligent and done in good faith; that's not enough to get it right, you also have to read the archives and invite discussion to have much of a chance of not stepping on someone's toes. I've decided there really isn't anything I can do about this; if I'm heavy-handed, then people won't trust me to do the updates. All I can do is sit back and see if problems get fixed; if things get worse rather than better over several months, then I'll come back to VPP, and we'll decide if there's consensus that things have gotten worse, and figure out what to do about that. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 13:14, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Reviving Wikipedia talk:Notability (fiction)[edit]

A new version of Wikipedia talk:Notability (fiction) has been proposed. Please comment on the talk page. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 00:34, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

why all the fuss[edit]

I dont see why there is all this fuss. Why not simply fork the data and leave wikipedia to stagnate and die under a mountain of extra work that will come about from closing the edits to the general populace. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:12, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Because with a 60:40 split, forking the content will fork the community, bringing inefficiency and chaos. Plus the WMF uses a huge cluster system to keep Wikipedia active with all the queries it receives, if we fork to one server, with the amount of traffic it would receive, it'd be dead in a day. Also, that is counting on the community forking with the content, which is unlikely. Foxy Loxy Pounce! 11:00, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
Because no-one wants to do that. If you think the world needs another Wikipedia fork, then by all means go ahead and make one. Algebraist 13:19, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Editing policy: Demote to a guideline[edit]

At the moment the Wikipedia:Editing policy seems to be a little overlooked and that it contains sections that give advice that is contrary to the advise in some of the three content policies (WP:NPOV,WP:NOR and WP:V)

So that there can be no confusion, between policies, I have proposed on the talk page of the "Editing policy" that it be demoted to a guideline, because AFAICT it does not cover any areas which are not already covered by other policies and guidelines so there is no need for it to remain a policy.

Even if the current problems are fixed, it will have to be kept up to date with the content policies, which means that if it remains a policy it will always be in danger of giving contrary advise to that of the main content policies. If it is a guideline then this is not such a problem because "Policies and guidelines express standards that have community consensus. Policies are considered a standard that all editors should follow, whereas guidelines are more advisory in nature." (WP:policies and guidelines)

So that all the conversation is centralised please make any comments on this suggestion at Wikipedia talk:Editing policy#Demote to a guideline --PBS (talk) 11:23, 28 January 2009 (UTC)


an active proposal that sais Wikipedia should be a mainstream encyclopedia. Comments? (talk) 13:47, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Greater consultation on any changes to Wikipedia Guidelines[edit]

In a recent dispute with another user, it was noticed that this user had changed some of Wikipedia's guidelines to support this user's argument. I believe that the guideline articles are different to an average article in Wikipedia. They are our rule book, perhaps even our constitution, and they have already been refined to a high standard. Like all constitutions, I think a more elaborate process is needed to change them. I am concerned that someone could slip in an innocent looking change with unforeseen repercussions without a serious review having taken place. Even if this change were reversed a few hours or days later, in the meantime someone else might have been forced to concede a change to an article which would not have been justifiable before guidelines had been amended. I therefore propose that any change should be justified in advance with several examples to illustrate the current problem and why the proposed change would solve it. Since the guidelines are important, I would also like to suggest that a longer period must elapse than for, say, a article for deletion. Please accept my apologies if this is a perennial suggestion. JMcC (talk) 12:11, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

I think that's already the understanding. I think policy and guideline pages already have a template at the top saying something like "Any substantive edit to this page should reflect consensus. When in doubt, discuss first on the talk page." People shouldn't change policies or guidelines in order to further their side in a dispute they're currently involved in. Coppertwig (talk) 16:31, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes, people shouldn't change the guidelines to help their case, but it happened. Consequently, I think a more formal process is needed, instead of a template. Does the template mean that if you are sufficiently arrogant to have no doubts, you should just go ahead and make the change? A process similar to AfD would create greater safeguards. JMcC (talk) 13:58, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Crowdsourcing Moderation: An Alternate Proposal to Flagged Revisions[edit]

Wiki's are community driven websites, and it is for this reason that I think moderation should be a task for the community. Wikipedia should develop functionality that is similar to the Flagged Revision, but improves upon some of its shortcomings.

I propose:

  1. Every edit goes into a queue for moderation where it will stay until it gets reviewed and committed/published.
  2. When a user makes a change to the article, a message appears on the top of the article telling other users to review the modification on the diff page.
  3. The diff page has a voting form on it allowing users to "approve" or "deny" modification which need to be reviewed. Since they are presented only two options, this simple review process will make it easy for users to participate, unlike the overly complicated categories of Flagged Revision (accuracy, depth, readability). After all, suggested modifications are either worthy of being accepted, or they are not.
  4. After a certain number of users approve the modification with their votes, it will be committed/published to the public article content. This democratic approach will help get a general consensus of users in a short amount of time, helping enforce all the standards of Wikipedia.
  5. If a certain number users deny the modification with their votes, it will be deleted from Wikipedia.

There should be three criteria in order for modification to be committed/published:

  1. Minimum number of votes needed to consider wiki modifications for approval?
    i.e. "4" users need to vote for the wiki modification to be considered for approval.
  2. What threshold of voters need to approve the wiki modification for it to be published?
    i.e. "70%" of voters need to approve wiki modification for it to be published
  3. What threshold of voters need to deny the wiki modification for it to be deleted? (Use "0" to never automatically delete nodes)
    i.e. "70%" of voters need to deny the wiki modification for it to be deleted from the database

Here is a break down of the system using the settings used in the examples above.

  • Good Quality Modification (i.e. Grammatical Enhancements): If 3 or more of the 4 required voters approve the modification, it gets committed/published.
  • Controversial Modification: If 2 of the 4 approve it, than at least 3 more users need to approve it before it gets published. For instance, if 5 out of 7 users approved, it would be published. The voting could continue further until the 70% approval is obtained. This also goes for deletion. If only 2 out of 7 approve the modification and the other 5 deny it, then it is deleted.
  • Poor Quality Modification (i.e. Vandalism): If only 1 of the 4 accept, the modification is deleted.

Since all users of Wikipedia are involved, there is no bottleneck of modification for "trusted" users to review and moderation becomes a task for all users, even anonymous ones. In addition, new contributions are instantly made visible to readers through the notification system while still leaving them obscure from the main content in order to deter vandalism. This system will encourage users to get involved by reviewing modifications, even if they don't currently feel comfortable contributing their own edits. Also, the review process will help all editors become familiar with Wikipedia's standards and will improve the quality of their own contributions.

Pbarnes (talk) 04:28, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

The problem with such a proposal is it isn't looking at quality of votes, but quantity. Grawp has hundreds of sockpuppets, how could this system stop him from replacing the content of pages with HAGGER?????? via sock or meatpuppets voting. Adding definate rules on ability to vote (like autoconfirmation) will not help, as that is not judging the quantity of contributions, as a user can have 4 edits, each of them turning a stub into FAC material and a Huggle user can have 100,000 meaningless antivandalism contributions or perhaps even just run a bot on their account that performs pointless edits. Also with this system, the queues will be huge, as having a big vote is going to slow things down to an unacceptable level. Even having crat discretion in choosing who can vote will not help that. Foxy Loxy Pounce! 05:46, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
What's ironic about your post is that Wikipedia is an encyclopedia that concerns itself with the "quantity" of authors and not the "quality" of authors, so your first sentence doesn't resonate well with the Wikipedia model. In addition, if someone is going to go to the trouble to set up multiple computers to vote for malicious modifications, than only draconian regulations is going to prevent them from accomplishing their goals. Wikipedia is all about letting everyone contribute, so implementing a system to force every entry to be screened "trusted" users seems counter intuitive. It also begs the question, who do you trust? What's to keeps the "Grawp" from becoming a trusted user and making the same malicious edits to further his/her agenda? Pbarnes (talk) 04:50, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia may want lots of authors (quantity), but they want quality edits from those editors. The rest of your statements seem to affirm my points, the real question to ask is why implement a system that can be easily gamed by those very users who the system is trying to block out? all it would add is a backlog. Foxy Loxy Pounce! 11:22, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes, it's the backlog that makes proposals like this unacceptable. Take this article for instance: Dane Rudhyar; it's something I did a bit of work on about three years ago and keep on my watchlist. Look at the recent revision history: [11]. See the amazing work that Keraunos has done this week improving and expanding it. Now, Keraunos did this work in 70 edits in the course of less than 3 days—a closer look shows that the work was done in 4 intense spurts, where one edit would follow the next by just a few minutes. This happens to be how many of our articles are improved every day. Do we really want a system that would oblige a highly productive editor like Keraunos to sit around and wait on every single damn edit to see whether it is "approved" or not, so as to determine how to properly proceed with subsequent edits? No way! Please remember one of our most fundamental principles:
"You can edit this page right now" is a core guiding check on everything that we do. We must respect this principle as sacred.
Often, when we discuss this principle, we focus on that "you". Let's not forget that "right now" is just as important to the work being done here.—DCGeist (talk) 13:54, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
The issue you bring up with Keraunos' work is easily solved by combining sequential edits made by the same person. And if democratic review is not fast enough for the "right now" philosophy of Wikipedia, this proposal could be combined with another (which I can't find at the moment). Instead of new edits being queued on the history page and hidden until reviewed by other users, they will be displayed in the article, but with color coding. If content is recommended for deletion, it will turn red; if someone wants to add content it is displayed green. The voting form could be displayed next to the edit button on each section and approval could be changed to only accept modifications within the section. Unfortunately, since edits are made public instantly, vandals have more incentive to beat the system and make their malicious edits, which is the primary problem we are addressing with these proposals. It is for this reason, I propose a buffer system for all editors, because anyone with the power, even "trusted" users could potentially make malicious edits to further their agenda. (talk) 18:38, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
This proposal is prohibitively complicated. Nobody would know how to use it except for trolls who know would know the loopholes by heart. rspεεr (talk) 05:37, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

JAXA photos[edit]

Ibuki (satellite), which recently launched, lacks a photo. JAXA, Japan's space exploration agency, holds the copyrights for numerous photos on their website. Their Terms of Use page (in English) makes it sound to me like they are giving permission for anyone to use the photos for educational purposes (see section 2(1)) under a license similar to CC-by-nc-nd, except that (a) it's educational, not noncommercial; (b) they reserve the right to change their Terms of Use at any time; and (c) there are a few miscellaneous odd prohibitions, like, the user isn't permitted to use the photos for "Acts which are conducted for the purpose of or in a manner offending public order and morals".

Long story short: I think there's a good argument for allowing JAXA images on Wikipedia and would like to know where to post about this, and if others agree, then adding a JAXA tag for photo uploads. Thanks - Tempshill (talk) 06:08, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

If they're restricting it to educational use only, that's been an unacceptable license term for years now, and the images will be subject to the non-free content rules. --Carnildo (talk) 06:30, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
Unfortunate. Thanks - Tempshill (talk) 19:49, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Verifiability taken too far?[edit]

Especially when discussing cultural references in popular media, I find lots of useful information is deleted by editors complaining of a lack of citations. This tends to end with the article consisting entirely of a re-iteration of the plot (e.g. various South Park episodes). Most of these are along the lines of "this scene is the same as that scene in a different work", or "this character also appears in that work". These can be verified by simply looking at the two works in question. In many cases it would be difficult to find an acceptable source that explicitly points this out. Should every example of this have an in-line citation for both works, left alone as obviously using the named primary sources, or deleted pending a secondary source? As a corollary, statements such as "in this episode this happens" shouldn't need in-line citations. Discuss. –OrangeDog (talkedits) 23:01, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Statements need to be verifiable but that doesn't mean sourced, as long as the source is obvious, like in the cases you mentioned. If this type of statement is deleted, a more rational explanation is that it's not important enough to justify inclusion (even in the context of the topic). For example, I've occasionally deleted a one-off or very subtle pop culture reference to an enduring topic since they don't really say anything about the topic. Other wikis can certainly cover this info though. Dcoetzee 23:14, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
"Statements need to be verifiable but that doesn't mean sourced, as long as the source is obvious, like in the cases you mentioned" Er, no. His case is that of original research and synthesis. Making connections which are probably there but haven't been mentioned anywhere for Wikipedia to comment on is the incorrect behavior and should not be endorsed.
That said, such connections are usually quite welcome on fan-created content, particularly wikis dedicated to the subject. --Izno (talk) 23:50, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
Admittedly, I was a bit too generous there. It is common to not cite sources that are obvious; for example, no plot summary cites the work that it's summarizing, because it's obvious. There is also limited synthesis permitted in cases where it's not "advancing a position." I would consider "this character also appears in work Y" to be a perfectly acceptable example of synthesis. Other examples might be more questionable. Dcoetzee 00:32, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
Izno, with all do respect to WP:NOR, there is also the spirit of WP:DUCK. If a given South Park episode is a blatant and obvious spoof of some other topic, especially a well-known topic, it's fair to say so without a reference, because if it's that blatant anyone who saw both the spoof and the original would draw the conclusion instantly. Similarly, Saturday Night Live has some obvious spoofs. You don't need a reference beyond the skit itself to say "in XYZ skit on date mm/dd/yyyy, actress ABC spoofed Hillary Clinton," it's obvious to anyone who saw the skit and who is remotely familiar with Hillary Clinton's mannerisms. Now, some spoofs are a bit less obvious than others. I think common sense should prevail here. If a reasonable person has seen the spoof and is familiar with the original and they don't get it, then it's not obvious and needs a verifiable citation. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 02:08, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
If it's that obvious, someone would have said so, no? :) Even the writers, creators, or the other staff themselves; I'm not particularly picky on who, only on that someone else said it before we did. Except straight plot, without connection i.e "Kenny died of poison this episode" and not "Kenny died of poison this episode, which is a spoof that <some person x> died of poison." From what I've seen, it's routine to leave the story un-cited, but when we start making connections we shouldn't... --Izno (talk) 03:13, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
Not always; sometimes the work isn't significant enough to have a reliable source explicating all of its content. While your example is clear speculation, to continue the example it wouldn't be OR to give a list of episodes in which Kenny dies of poison (although it would be a rather useless list). Dcoetzee 03:29, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
Here's a similar situation: In an article about the United States Dollar Bill, I can say it has a picture of former United States President George Washington on it without citing a reference. The bill says "Washington" on it and anyone who saw official portraits of President George Washington and the Dollar Bill would instantly draw the connection. The bill itself plus Washington's face serve as the reference. Yes, links to another source are available and they are helpful but they are not necessary in such obvious cases. If WP:NOR + WP:V prohibit this, WP:IAR allows it in cases where removing the material on the grounds that it is not explicitly sourced from an "outside" source hurts the encyclopedia. Of course, adding a source is preferred. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 03:32, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
As far as usefulness goes, if someone didn't know who George Washington was and wanted a greater understanding of the dollar bill, then including this link in the article would be very useful. This argument should extend to the majority of cultural references sections across tv/film/music articles. –OrangeDog (talkedits) 03:40, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

(outdent) In regards to trivia, cultural references and fan cruft-if something isn't notable and relevant enough to be mentioned by reliable sources that can be verified, is it really something worth being in an encyclopedia article? I mean if no one else in the world thought that such and such reference, parody or what not was important enough to write about in an independent reliable source, then why should Wikipedia be the first? That seems like cut & dry WP:OR. If a cultural reference is truly notable, someone else will be talking about it that we can attribute a verifiable reliable source to. AgneCheese/Wine 03:50, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

I assert yes; the standard for notability for including a fact in an article is considerably lower than that for articles themselves. There's no need to make a list of every reference an episode of a TV show makes (that's what other show-specific wikis are for) but I wouldn't want the kind of limited, useful synthesis that is permitted by policy curtailed. Dcoetzee 04:10, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
At the heart of our original research, citation, verifiability policies is the inherent expectation that the content of our article is going to be notable enough that there will be some outside verifiable source, apart from Wikipedia, that will be talking about the subject. If no one is talking about this "cultural reference" or "trivia" then there is not going to be a verifiable source and therefore it is not something that should be in an encyclopedia. Wikipedia should not be the first place to publish content and proclaim something "notable". It should have its notability and relevance already established outside of Wikipedia--THAT is why we ask for reliable, verifiable sources for our content. It is proof that the encyclopedic relevance of the topic exist beyond Wikipedia. AgneCheese/Wine 04:23, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
For items that are very new, the discussion may be happening in "unreliable" or even "unavailable" sources, like the water-cooler or fan-based mailing lists. I would contend that if someone wrote an article about tonight's South Park using material from the episode and nowhere else, and he did synthesis things like "this episode spoofed such and such" and the spoof was blatantly obvious, it would be more harmful to remove the material and re-add it after a day or two when reliable sources started talking about it than it would be to just leave it in and maybe slap a "citation needed" tag on it. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 04:50, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
I like trivia sections, but you're never going to get a policy or guideline to OK them. I think there was a big fight over this a year or two ago. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 18:53, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

(outdent) This shouldn't be an argument about trivia sections (I agree that they're a bad thing). This is about whether synthesis verifiable by anyone who has seen both sources, but non-obvious to someone unfamiliar with one of them, should be included, even if a reliable secondary source cannot be found. Assuming both sources are notable.–OrangeDog (talkedits) 19:40, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

I generally think synthesis is a bad idea; it is misused so often (for an essay-under-construction with some examples, see WP:ORIGINALSYN). If the connection is valid, someone will have made it; if no one has made it, it is either flawed or not notable enough to be included. Jayen466 19:47, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
The problem then is which ones to include. South Park episodes have 10-50 references to pop culture per episode. If editors had been able to keep commentary on such things streamlines, there wouldn't have been the big backlash. Unfortunately, if you add one, people will add the other 49. Exactly where obvious changes to OR is another problem. Because of these two problems, trivian pop culture references are frowned up. The Simpsons do a good job with references in their episode pages, but it can only be done well after the DVD commentaries come out. I think they're on season 10 or something now, which leaves the later ones out in the cold. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 19:49, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
I think it partly depends on what sort of article it is. If it is a computer game, and some fan writes "that level is a bit like level 3 in game X", I shan't lose any sleep. If it is a topic that has a body of scholarly literature devoted to it, then it's different. Jayen466 19:58, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
As for the Simpsons example, if the required secondary sources have not been published yet, then the basis for an encyclopedic article isn't there yet. WP shouldn't be ahead of the secondary literature. Having said that, I often enjoy reading OR – c'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas l'encyclopédie. Jayen466 20:07, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Online news subscriptions[edit]

Is it at all feasible for the Wikimedia Foundation to purchase online news subscriptions for the purpose of referencing? It would be nice to be able to use articles like this one for references. Grandmasterka 20:10, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Unfortunately anything that might cost money is a bit difficult, given that it's difficult enough keeping the servers online as it is. But do have a look at: Wikipedia:WikiProject Resource ExchangeBlue-Haired Lawyer 20:58, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
Also be aware that shared subscriptions are prohibitively expensive. For example, a medium size University will easily pay far over 1 Million Dollars / Euros for its selection of online scientific journals (contents of which is written free of fee by its own researchers....). As Wikipedia's budget is only a few million, such subscriptions are way beyond anything affordable. Arnoutf (talk) 21:15, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
Are there any tricks or alternatives? Some academic journals/databases don't even offer individual paid subscriptions, restricting themselves to institutional access. Annoying sometimes. is useful in the social sciences e.g., but it is also incomplete. Any hints (other than going to a library) gratefully accepted. Jayen466 05:33, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

Two Wikis: An Alternate Proposal to Flagged Revisions[edit]

I just posted a very similar comment to this on another site, so apologies if anyone has already seen it.

The Main Problem: Vandalism[edit]

Vandalism is a problem and no site is immune from it. Wikipedia has managed to form a good reputation for itself, in spite of these recurrent episodes.

The problem extends far beyond Wiki. Dedicated vandals and spreaders of misinformation can even infiltrate organisations as tightly controlled as mainstream news publications and government broadcasters.

Examining the Proposal for Flagged Revisions[edit]

Can a system of Flagged Revisions really deter the dedicated vandal? And could it create a new type of problem, in creating misplaced trust in content that is still prone to manipulation.

I believe a system of 'Flagged Revisions' could falsely validate content by improving user confidence in Wikipedia while failing to deter the devoted vandal.

A system of 'Flagged Revisions' could also shut out genuine contributions from knowledgeable users who spend less time on Wikipedia. This could mean content would be driven by Wikipedians who spend a lot of time on the project. Wikipedians who spend a lot of time on the project, while very experienced in using Wiki tools, perhaps spend less time gathering information or gleaning new article ideas outside Wikipedia. A system of 'Flagged Revisions' could exclude valuable material created by people with expertise in other areas.

Wikipedia entries have been created by many, many, unknown contributors and volunteers. 'Flagged Revisions' will be approved by one of these characters, or another, and will have, in my opinion, no more validity than an instant edit does now. It is hardly as if Wiki content is currently created by a small team of known editors who can be held to account. If Wiki does reduce content by limiting user activity and forming an editorial team, in order to monitor content and approvals, what is there to distinguish Wikipedia from any other encyclopaedia?

In Summary:

  • Can Flagged Revisions really deter persistent vandals and agents of provocation?
  • Should users be lulled into believing that content is more reliable just because it has been 'approved'. Or is it better that users retain healthy scepticism by being reminded with every instant edit, and every ensuing discussion, of content creation processes?
  • Will Flagged Revisions limit Wikipedia crowd sourcing, and deter valid knowledgeable contributors?
  • How trustworthy is the approvalist, and how can an approvee be held to account if placed in a more powerful position than other contributors?
  • Would Wikipedia become 'un-wiki', and loose its point of difference from a paper encyclopaedia?

The Solution: Two Wikis and a Print Edition[edit]

Perhaps, Wikipedia could choose proven well edited entries and make a special more encyclopaedic edition from those. Instead of flagging all new or anonymous user Wiki revisions, Wikipedia could encourage accuracy by rewarding quality entries with inclusion in a protected 'feature' encyclopedia. Wikipedia proper could be retained as it is, as a sort of catchment area for articles in development. Instead of clamping down on all content, dedicated users could choose from the overall pool and elevate well researched examples to a more 'protected' status (while retaining working copies of these that can still be commonly edited).

Perhaps these well researched and exquisitely written 'protected' entries could become a benchmark for all contributors to aspire to. These entries could even be published, in a print edition, generating revenue to hire the team of staff that would be required to edit an encyclopaedia to this calibre. The publication could have a special name, and be distinct from Wikipedia which would retain all of the vibrancy that it has today - with its vigorous community dedicated to unbiased truthful content, accessibility and freedom of content creation.

A print edition of well written and researched pieces could also serve to attract more knowledgeable contributors to Wikipedia, and raise Wikipedia's profile amoung non-Wikipedians.

Because most Wiki content is generated by volunteers, totally for free, a print edition should steer towards being accessible in cost and not-for-profit. Aside from covering the cost of production, I believe that a sizable percentage of any profit should go to a worthy and charitable cause. Perhaps profit could help supply laptops to underprivileged children, or fund independent journalistic projects, or offset carbon emissions.

Key Solution Points:

  • Two Wikis, an all encompassing Wiki and a 'protected' Wiki for high quality select items.
  • A secondary working copy, openly editable as entries are now, of each 'protected' item.
  • A print edition of selected, high quality, extraordinarily well researched and beautifully written entries.

Tim Foyle (talk) 10:23, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

I was going to suggest a very similar concept: articles that have been rated at a certain level on the quality scale would be protected from editing by new/anonymous users (changes by registered users could also be flagged for review, although that might be a problem if it led to a small number of editors 'owning' an article and preventing improvements by other editors).
Allowing anyone to freely contribute is a great way to get lots of information into wikipedia quickly but there is a point in an article's development where any future changes (even good faith ones) are as likely to be detrimental to the quality as they are to improve it.
Under this proposal, the quality of an article would need to be more prominently displayed at the top of the main article page.
Cosmo0 (talk) 11:53, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Wouldn't this be more efficiently done by applying Flagged Revisions to featured content? That is the first proposal at the discussion on how to use the software extension. I fear there are some misconceptions amongst many people about what FlaggedRevs is - it does not have to be used over every single article, and noone is sugggesting it. Have a look at the linked page to reassure yourself. Fritzpoll (talk) 11:57, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for linking the discussion. I have to say I agree entirely and admit I hadn't read the discussion over flagged revisions and I was coming at the problem more from the point of view of ensuring the overall quality of WP (which is what is being discussed in other forums) rather than the specifics of implementing that particular system. Flagged revisions for featured articles could (and probably should) be a significant part of the solution. But featured articles are in the minority and I still think there's an argument for having some protection for those articles that are not yet 'featured' but are rated, say, 'good' or above and for making the rating more obvious to the casual reader. Cosmo0 (talk) 13:10, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
The 'two wikis plus print edition solution' is similar to these suggestions, and some trial suggestions, but a little different. The idea is to retain a working copy of feature quality work, that can be openly edited by anyone, as well as a protected copy. The aim is to more or less capture quality work that can be published in an actual encyclopaedic book (annually if possible), and to perhaps make use of functions already available in Wikipedia. For example, as each page is edited a copy of each edit is retained in the page history, so the capacity to retain a working copy and a 'frozen snip in time' is already built into the page. The thing is, these page histories can become very very long and not every user wades through one to get to a better or unvandalised version. In the two wikis proposal a feature article could be recorded at a particularly successful phase of development, and presented in a more readable format than the history page shows, while new live content could still be submitted to a working copy. This could minimise the impact of vandalism by protecting quality content and improving Wikipedia's reputation and profile, as well as retaining all that attracts a new user. It would be a pity to have to flag all new contributions to any article, and this is why I advocate retaining an openly editable copy as well as a more protected one. It would also be interesting to see how the 'two wikis' might evolve over time. If content was used to create an annual print edition, each annual edition of featured work could be updated from live working pages. In an annual edition of featured work some favourite or greatly changed items could be retained and updated, while newly featured or unusual items could replace others.Tim Foyle (talk) 13:46, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't think this will work per Citizendium. I know this is a short response... --Izno (talk) 18:23, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
A different idea again. Citizendium limits the pool of contributors, even more than flagged revisions would. The second Wiki I am proposing, would be more like a collection of 'portraits'. Each portrait would preserve a moment in the life of a living featured page or article. Readers and contributors could submit recommendations for inclusion or review in the collection. Guidelines could specify these articles be accurate, well written and very well referenced. Popularly visited or particularly unusual pages from Wikipedia could be scanned to see if they match these criteria.Tim Foyle (talk) 05:30, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
Below in the section "Reviewed and To-the-minute editions", I have outlined the basic conflict between "to-the-minute" (latest) information and reviewed information. I have proposed that readers of WP be given the choice between these extremes via different "editions". Over time, for events that don't change rapidly and which are not controversial, this distinction would be erased, but articles which have not been reviewed or which pertain to very recent events (such as the alleged deaths of people) would automatically fall outside the "reviewed" or "settled" categories, and therefore would be flagged to the readers as not necessarily as reliable as others. See my detailed proposal below on this page. Modus Vivendi (talk) 21:15, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
I replied on your proposal.Tim Foyle (talk) 06:19, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
I did think two wikipedias would be excellent, but I thought they should be: 1. the current model anyone can edit and edits are published immediately, and 2. revisions approved articles. With only content which has passed some kind of review. (and give the user the option of which article to read, and a default choice for users who log in.) orathaic —Preceding undated comment was added at 23:25, 28 January 2009 (UTC).
As I have outlined in more detail in new remarks in my "Reviewed and To-the-minute Editions" section below, I do not so much propose completely separate editions as much as pages with different status, and policies from the reader of what they wish to see. For instance, if the latest version of a old, uncontroversial subject is in its reviewed state, then the reader simply sees a page with a review marker showing that. For a more dynamic, or controversial subject, then tags at the left would show what the reader is seeing, and also offer him/her the choice to switch to a different view. Modus Vivendi (talk) 06:04, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
I took a look and left a note on reference and source material, maybe these could be tagged in a more prominent way for changes or review as well?Tim Foyle (talk) 11:17, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

Reviewed and To-the-minute Editions[edit]

Concerning the reliability of Wikipedia, we should consider a concept similar to releasing software. In that realm, "release candidates" are cut, and revised within narrower constraints until there's a consensus that it's releasable. To this goal, Wiki could introduce the concept of "editions" being cut somewhat infrequently (monthly, quarterly, annually) and refined to remove inconsistencies, errors, but having greater editorial control (for instance, concurrence of others to make changes). The public would continue to have the present "cutting edge" edition available as always, but for the purposes of "peer-reviewed" reliability which some might require, the more closely edited "release candidates" should gain greater acceptance. This could solve not only the problems of knee-jerk updates about famous people, but also allow the Edition to be vetted for internal consistency (broken links detected, removed).

For practical viewing purposes, a person viewing an article might first see the latest (as now), but also links on the left pointing to the last several "reviewed" editions of the article. In particular, this would be a way to test-drive peer-review policies without removing the "edit at will" principle. In other words, (almost) anyone can edit at will, but these may not make it into a monthly/quarterly edition, both by the ordinary course of events (corrected) and by additional review.

An objection to this might be the scale of the endeavour: subjecting a monster like Wiki to a new edition very often could impossibly increase workload of contributors. To this end, it might be necessary to introduce the feature to particular "zones" (subject areas) such as "Mathematics", "US History", with the list extended to those subjects with a "sponsor" (someone "credible" with the bandwidth to devote to editorship).

I'm particularly mindful of the need to have a frozen/settled set of consistent pages to properly cover a scientific area, especially something like an area I know well like advanced mathematics in which we not only have to have accurate pages, but complete pages where all the cross-references work.

Modus Vivendi (talk) 05:06, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

You point out the great volume of work that an entire reviewed edition of all Wikipedia pages would create. What I suggested in a proposal for two Wikis and a print edition, and it might help minimise this problem, is to select articles that have already been reviewed and featured or that could be nominated for peer review. This would reduce reviewed edition content considerably. I like the idea of keeping the two editions linked within Wikipedia.
Tim Foyle (talk) 06:15, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
Let's put it this way. From the perspective of a particular page, it can have two statuses: reviewed, and current. Every page is "reviewed" in an ad hoc manner, and this is what makes Wikipedia work. However, we're envisaging a "reviewed" status which implies greater scrutiny and also stability. I think we can look forward to a time when the majority of uncontroversial subjects have stable and well-reviewed corpora of associated pages. It remains to describe the way to get there, the view to present to the uncritical public for currently large body of pages not in this category, and finally how to deal with pages which will always, by dint of controversy or the march of events, be unstable. When I speak of "editions" I speak of the status of having a review concluded on a certain date. The initiative would come from people in particular subject areas to elevate, for instance, the Nero Wolfe pages to being reviewed, internally consistent and not needing additional change to meet quality control standards. This would create a "fork", and new Nero Wolfe pages could be created at any time, but would not be added to the reviewed corpus. After some time had passed, contributors in that area would undertake absorbing/fixing changes since the last "code freeze". In other words, the work that is needed is the same work needed to apply quality control to any subject area, and the possibility of a "code freeze" and associated fork provides, in principle the capability to bring a set of related pages in line. Now having talked about this one subject area, consider the larger picture. The "Jan 2009" edition would consist of all reviewed subareas frozen on that date and subsequently reviewed. Each "reviewed" page would carry review details so that the reader could tell how recently the material was brought up to date/reviewed. In the case of highly controversial subjects, the impossibility of achieving consensus might devolve to the existence of separate corpora for those subject areas under different editorial control, with the bias/editorial lead clearly shown for such pages along with the alternatives.
Modus Vivendi (talk) 04:42, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I agree that controversial subjects should be treated in a different way. The way Wikipedia treats controversial material now seems to be reasonably effective. In spite of the troublesome nature of some pages, Wikipedia does alert the reader to bias - by encouraging the reader to be an active participant as well as with sign-posts. I would expect pages dealing with history to be more controversial than others. The other tricky area, might be reference and source material. I suspect these are checked less than the main bodies of text in Wikipedia. As a reader, I notice Wikipedian bots seem to pick up source and reference material where it is scarce, but could be missing the mark where referenced material is questionable in itself. I'm not fully fluent in all of Wikipedia's editing mechanisms, this is just an impression I have as a reader. I would expect source material on a peer reviewed page to be subject to more scrutiny, and hopefully more accurate or at least discussed where inconsistencies become evident.Tim Foyle (talk) 10:55, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

Afd closures - time for a change?[edit]

One of the things that I have noticed during my time on Wikipedia, is that AfDs should run for 5 days, and should be closed when they get to Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Old (as per the deletion policy) but AfDs rarely actually reach that page.

Some recent stats for you:

Now I don't know about you guys, but to me, this is indicative of a system that does not work correctly. The whole point of AfD is the discussion should run for 5 days, unless the article meets speedy deletion criteria, or the votes are snow votes. Now I highly doubt that all of the deletions in Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Log/2009 January 25 are clear cut (in fact it's a basic certainty), so why are they all being closed early? With this I believe we have two options,

  • either change the date in guidelines so that what the people closing these AfD's are doing is within policy,
  • or stop people from closing AfDs early unless it is a clear cut case, and undoubtedly meets WP:SK or WP:SNOW.

Opinions? Foxy Loxy Pounce! 10:21, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for bringing that here. This problem is also being discussed at AN and the current consensus is to stick to existing policy. Feel free to remind administrators that they do not have the right to unilaterally shorten debate times unless there are specific reasons such as speedy or snow closures which should be marked as such.--Tikiwont (talk) 10:57, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
For another view on AfDs, see my reseach: User:Ikip/AfD_on_average_day, although I am still compiling the information, it shows clearly the majority of articles put up for deletion are created by new editors, anyone is welcome to expand this research.
Also see my comments here: WT:Articles_for_deletion#How_to_create_real_change_at_Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion Most "elite" editors are going to be resitant to change. Editors who frequent Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard and Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion are elite editors (editors with 10,000 or more edits), so although there is consensus on those two pages against change, that does not mean that wikipedia as a whole would embrace such change. If you are willing to create a RfC in a week or so, keeping in mind my suggestions in my posting, I would support it. Ikip (talk) 16:04, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
Just to clarify, this thread isn't really about any previously proposed change to policy regarding AfD but about a change in practice of not respecting the times of debate. While adapting the times to reality (which would mean shorten) has been mentioned above, whether the prescribed time is 3, 5 or 7 days doesn't really change the problem: there should be and actually is agreement that closers should follow actual policy with repsect ti debate times until it is changed. That doesn't exclude any change to policy.--Tikiwont (talk) 16:24, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
Oh, thanks for the clarification, that makes it easier for this problem to be solved. thanks.Ikip (talk) 17:06, 30 January 2009 (UTC)


Say an IP registared to Ford Motor Company edits a page on one of there cars. Would that slightly be WP:Autobiography?HereFord 18:06, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

No, because cars aren't living. It would be a COI matter. -Jeremy (v^_^v Dittobori) 00:42, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

What's the deal with IPA?[edit]

I've noticed all the word pronunciations on Wikipedia use IPA exclusively.

I've also noticed that I've never once been able to figure out how a word was pronounced by looking up its entry on Wikipedia. Ever.

Is there a reason that the English Wikipedia ( does not provide traditional (pre-IPA dictionary movement) English dictionary style pronunciation guides in addition to IPA? I can see the usefulness of IPA for entries that have foreign pronunciations, but the simple fact is requiring people to learn an entirely new alphabet to figure out the pronunciation of the word doesn't seem that useful.

I'm not saying that IPA isn't useful. I'm saying that it would make sense to put a slightly more useful pronunciation guide along side the IPA one when appropriate. I'm basing this on the assumption that a very, very small fraction of people that visit Wikipedia actually know how to read IPA pronunciations. I may be wrong, in fact, I may be one of only a small handful of people that read this that don't know IPA -- and in that case, well, apologies for my ignorance.

This: /meɪnˈjɛərz/ really doesn't tell me much of anything, and I suspect it doesn't tell much of anything to more than a handful of other people.

What was the rationale behind only providing pronunciations with IPA?

I'm talking about the English version because I read English, but the same applies to any of the other languages as well.

-- (talk) 14:56, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

You're not ignorant. Out of deference to the style guideline, I include IPA pronunciations when I think a pronunciation is needed (see Primate), but because every dictionary that's popular in the U.S. uses a style that's generally called a "respelling", I always list the respelling before the IPA pronunciation. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 15:24, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
en.wikipedia is not a U.S. specific wiki, so judgements based on "its used in U.S. dictionaries" are false. Please do use IPA as an international standard, and avoid making U.S. based assumptions on readership. As a reminder, the number of native speakers of British English is in vast excess of American English. --Barberio (talk) 16:23, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
I agreed with you up to the last point. Take a look at English_(language)#Dialects_and_regional_varieties. Even if I am charitable and count all native speakers in Canada, Australia, and India in the "native speaker of British English" category, American English predominates by 215,000,00 to 95,000,000. British English is more widely taught as a second language than American English, however.—Kww(talk) 16:35, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, I meant to type, native and second language speakers, but my typing skipped ahead when I was deleting something else. --Barberio (talk) 16:50, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes, and it's a lot more lopsided than 215M to 95M. The idea that Canadian journalists and writers chiefly follow British English is a common misconception, but certainly understandable: you see similarities such as use of -our instead of -or and °C instead of °F, but Chicago and other American style guides have been more influential among professional Canadian writers than the various Fowlers or Harts or the Guardian for a century. Indian English is absolutely not British English, but there are a lot of people (including bureaucrats and arbcom members) who are Indian or living in India and can argue that better than I can. Another point I'm not qualified to argue, so let's ask some Brits, is that I've seen Germans not understanding Brits online many times because the Germans were taught British English in school, but the Brits were using Americanisms because elements of American style predominate online, and Wikipedia is front and center in the conflict of online vs. offline content. On the point that what dictionaries say is irrelevant to Wikipedia ... sigh. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 16:59, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree with the initial writer that the "required" use of IPA creates a lot of problems. Only a tiny minority of English speakers (i.e., our target reading audience) have any understanding of IPA. Many browsers in current use do not support the character set unless specially loaded, rendering it impossible to read the IPA pronunciation even if one understands the "alphabet". The theory that it will aid non-native speakers of English is again dependent on the likelihood of their knowing that format; I work with a large number of well-educated non-native English speakers and not one had ever seen it (aside from a speech pathologist, who uses it in her work). Given that there are often multiple pronunciations of the same word, dependent upon regional dialect, the "one size fits all" premise of including a single IPA pronunciation isn't necessarily all that useful. (Compare the pronunciation of the word "drawer" in Boston, London, Winnipeg, and Sydney. They're all different.) Summary: I don't know anyone that an IPA pronunciation has helped, but many people whom it's confused or frustrated. Idealism is lovely, but not necessarily reader-friendly. Risker (talk) 18:00, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Well, IPA's are a little more bitter than I care for---and definitely too hoppy.---Balloonman PoppaBalloonCSD Survey Results 18:23, 5 January 2009 (UTC) EDIT: I was a little disappointed that only one person picked up on what I said (on my talk page)... everybody else responded to this erroneous.---Balloonman PoppaBalloonCSD Survey Results 15:09, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

Have you considered that their might be people who understood your remark but didn't want to derail a serious discussion for the sake of a joke? Algebraist 15:16, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
But since the IPA is more consistent than any natural language it would be the easiest for a text-to-speech software to read from. It could automatically generate sound clips as a pronunciation guide, no microphone needed, (just like we use <math> tags to generate .png images of complex formulae rather than manually uploading something from a paint program). I'll need to annoy the devs again about this. — CharlotteWebb 18:25, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm the person that wrote the initial post in this section; I'm reading all the responses now. It's funny, because I was thinking precisely this same thing before I read your comment. IPA, while tough to read, has the benefit that it unambiguously represents the pronunciation of a word. I'll do some more research here, I'd love to be able to click on an IPA string and hear it's pronunciation, and a feature like that would certainly justify the use of IPA in the first place. -- (talk) 03:20, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
I think we should include IPA as an international scholarly standard, but I think it would be useful to readers also to include less technical pronunciation guides and to include regional variations where appropriate. Aleta Sing 18:27, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
A lot of the problem of regional variations can be dealt with by remembering that Wikipedia should not contain pronunciation guides for common English words (like Risker's 'drawer' example above). That's appropriate material for a dictionary, but this is an encyclopædia. Algebraist 18:32, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. Surprisingly enough (given that there's a lot of disagreement when the subject comes up in policy or guidelines discussions), people don't argue much about this on article talk pages, or do much reverting over the issue in articles. People tend to give pronunciations in the lead sentence if they think there's a good chance the word will be mispronounced. In other sentences, people don't usually give pronunciations; if anything, they're more likely to link to a Wiktionary page or another Wikipedia page that has a pronunciation. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 19:48, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Alternately, editors just leave out pronunciations of surnames, place names, etc., because they don't see added value in the mandated IPA pronunciations, which tend to clutter the first sentence of an article. Is there a way to track use of IPA pronunciations in articles? Risker (talk) 20:17, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
"what links here" from {{IPA}} and {{IPA-all}}. But they must be legion... [12][13]--dab (𒁳) 20:41, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

it would be an excellent addition to Wikipedia's toolkit to have a text-to-speech generator rendering IPA strings on demand. --dab (𒁳) 20:40, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

May I suggest using the DPA? (Yes I do have too much time on my hands). On a more serious note, a SAMPA rendering could be more easily read by a text-to-speech program, and shouldn't be too hard to convert. Dendodge TalkContribs 20:50, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a dictionary. Wiktionary is. And over there not only do we use multiple pronunciation guides, we even have sound files of native speakers in different dialects speaking the words. (And we welcome the efforts of anyone who wants to add more of the same to the articles that don't yet have it.) See d:mush#English and d:clique#English for two randomly-selected examples. You want to find out how to pronounce a word? Look in a dictionary, not an encylopaedia. Uncle G (talk) 05:25, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

  • Believe it or not, we also have sound file prononciations in Wikipedia (especially for things that don't warrant dictionary entries like Knut (polar bear) and X!NK (two I've done) and Motorhead, a band name, which has also sorts of funky diacratics if spelled properly.- Mgm|(talk) 14:03, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
  • I agree, with exceptions. Most people assume that the taxonomic order Primates is pronounced like "primates", but it's not, which is why I gave the pronunciation. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 19:32, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
  • I personally have to say that I find IPA very weird. It's not just all the non-ASCII characters, I think ( I never went too deep into linguistics so don't quote me on this ) that IPA may not distinguish between phonemes and allophones. A phoneme is a unique sound, in a perfect world it would be matched to a unique letter, and there's maybe 50-60 of them in all the world's languages. An allophone is a certain way of pronouncing a phoneme. A phoneme might have several allophones for different accents, but they're generally recognized as meaning the same "letter". I think IPA has some symbols that correspond to phonemes and some that correspond to specific allophones, but not all allophones. The most sensible phonetic spellings I've ever seen were in the datasheet of a 1980's-vintage speech synthesis chip. They had two-letter respellings for each phoneme ( EE, EH, and so on ), and the allophones were like "EE1, EE2, EE3", and so on. Squidfryerchef (talk) 23:53, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
    • Uncle G's comment (05:25, 6 January 2009) is on target, if only Wiktionary were comprehensive enough. A single IPA transcription does not handle dialect differences, for example "standard US" English pronunciation is more nasal than UK "standard English" pronunciation. Being a Brit, I was quite amused to see that the Spanish-to-English half of one dictionary gave US rather than UK phonetic representions of the English words. And of course there are strong regional dialects both sides of the Pond ("och no, it's jest the way Ah roll mah rrrrs"). Wikipedia could handle pronunciation correctly only by giving a footnote with the "most important" variants. I suggest it would be better to replace pronunciation guides with links to Wiktionary where possible, and for Wiktionary to include sound clips rather thna IPA where possible. --Philcha (talk) 14:38, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
      • Wiktionary is reasonably liberal in this regard. It includes both symbolic pronunciation guides and sound files. Uncle G (talk) 10:54, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
      • His comment does not appear to be on target as I cannot seem to find the "Ménière's Disease" entry in Wiktionary. Pronunciations for common words certainly do not belong in Wikipedia, I could not agree more. Pronunciation for a proper noun like this, however, certainly belongs in an encyclopedia entry on the topic (where pronunciation information is entirely relevant to the topic). "Ménière's", by the way, is what /meɪnˈjɛərz/ was referring to in the initial post. There is only one correct way to pronounce the French name "Ménière", regardless of local accents. That said, does contain an entry for this word, and provides a more readable, albeit ambiguous, pronunciation, as well as IPA and an audio sample. -- (talk) 03:32, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
        • Expecting an article on that would be just a perverse mis-use of a dictionary. Of course one won't find an encyclopaedia article title in a dictionary. In a dictionary, one looks up the individual words and idioms. You'll find that Wiktionary already has d:disease#English, which already contains one set of pronunciations. And it will take d:Ménière, if you want to do your lexicography in a dictionary where it belongs. (Your argument that the pronunciation, which is just the general French pronunciation of a surname and not something that is specific to the name of the disease, belongs in an article about a disease, is bogus.) Wiktionary takes proper nouns. Proper nouns are, after all, parts of speech too. It simply doesn't write encyclopaedia articles about the things, places, concepts, events, and people that such proper nouns denote. Instead, it has articles on the actual words themselves, which can include pronunciations just as for any other dictionary article — as well as etymologies, translations, inflections, usage notes, quotations, and all of the other things that dictionary articles contain. d:Ménière will go in d:Category:French proper nouns, alongside the likes of d:Jacques#French and d:Bretagne#French. Uncle G (talk) 10:54, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

I've always said the IPA pronunciation was completely hopeless to anyone who'd normally be reading Wikipedia. Those should go away, and either be replaced by what you'd see in a dictionary or a link to a site like Wiktionary that handles it more comprehensively. Adding information that's of use to no one and confuses most people is just bad policy. DreamGuy (talk) 15:03, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

I support the use of IPA. It is not "completely hopeless" to have a standard way of explaining how a word is pronounced across the project. We have enough issues with not having standard techniques across articles without trying to jettison IPA. doktorb wordsdeeds 11:02, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

Likewise. No pronunciation system is understod by everybody; the international standard (IPA), with links to a key that explains it, is the best we can do.--Kotniski (talk) 11:11, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

Statistically speaking, nobody understands IPA and nobody uses it. I agree with the original poster and I resent greatly that several persistent PhDs in linguistics have foisted this upon the community. Tempshill (talk) 21:52, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

That idea isn't workable. Lots of small cities are equidistant from a variety of different airports. And if we're doing airports we'd have to debate whether to include general-aviation airports, etc. It just doesn't make sense to put airports in suburbs' infoboxes. It's not like a regional mass-transit system where each suburb that wants bus service has to contribute to the transit authority. Suburban governments typically don't have a relationship with airports dozens of miles away. Squidfryerchef (talk) 23:59, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
(edited)Each seemingly random collection of IPA symbols tells the average reader absolutely nothing . "/meɪnˈjɛərz/ suggest "mein-jeers" to the average reader. At the Wikipedia:IPA page, clicking on the sound file for one of the symbols only takes me to a "Windows Media Setup" page where I am told the computer was unable to find the necessary files, so it is doubly frustrating. The next thing for most readers would be to hire someone for $50 per hour to assist in installing the necessary files so they can find out how the damn word is pronounced. Not very useful, all in all. Edison (talk) 03:35, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
Update: got the sound files playing. But listening to the sound of the symbols separately does not give much of an idea of how they would sound in connected speech. Would that some clever person would create a concatenator to retrieve the sound files and play them as a combined unit. Edison (talk) 04:12, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
"mein-jeers" is pretty close to how /meɪnˈjɛərz/ is pronounced, at least the way I pronounce "mein-jeers" is. –OrangeDog (talkedits) 22:50, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Reasonsing for mandatory IPA is flawed

I strongly agree that the primary pronounciation guide should not be IPA, but something intuitive that an average reader can understand and use. Mainstream media doesn't use IPA for exactly this reason. Consider a current article on the BBC website on "How to pronounce Davos" [14]This is simple to understand as it is intuitive. There is nothing intuitive about IPA and thus it doesn't serve the key purpose of enabling the average reader to understand how a word should be pronounced. Savlonn (talk) 01:26, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

The technical justifications for using IPA are flawed as they put this criterion above the core principle of having an encylopedia that is easy for people to use. Savlonn (talk) 01:26, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

The use of prescriptive notation at the cost of readability has been addressed eslewhere within Wikipedia, with overwhelming results favouring readability over the use of obscure standards. This should be the case with IPA as well.--Savlonn (talk) 01:26, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

This is ridiculous[edit]


The infobox is longer than the article and it makes whoever made the stub look like an absolute idiot. (talk) 23:11, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

That page doesn't have an infobox. And why are you posting this here anyway? Algebraist 23:13, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
He means the navbox at the bottom. And, it is huge! (Though it's collapsed by default in my browser.) SharkD (talk) 23:19, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
That's a temporary state of affairs. Cantons of the Manche department is still in the early days of translation. See fr:Braffais to get a better idea where it's headed.LeadSongDog (talk) 23:51, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
Wow. That's silly, when Category:Communes of Manche does the same thing. --NE2 01:15, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
No it doesn't - it's a category not a navbox. – ukexpat (talk) 01:21, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
And the linked article includes a category wrapped around a navbox. That is a terrible template, quite frankly. I am glad to know it is a "temporary state of affairs". Resolute 02:42, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
Just for clarity, my statement above was an interpretation of what I read, not my promise to personally remedy it. Now I'll go see what I can do.LeadSongDog (talk) 03:31, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
Eeew! It's way a bigger issue than I thought. Communes of the Manche department is a list-class article, listing all 602 communes, each of which seems to have an auto-generated stub, corresponding to a more comprehensive article on fr:. And that list is just for Manche, number 50 of 95 departments. If it's representative, we're looking at nearly 60,000 stubs, one for each commune in France. And similar patterns repeat across most of the EU. See Category:LAU 2 statistical regions of the European Union and browse down for samples. It looks as if User_talk:Detroiterbot#Detroiterbot explains some of what's going on.LeadSongDog (talk) 04:53, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
Massive navboxes have become endemic on almost any topic where there are a finite number of "peer" articles, I tried to argue against it for a while pointing out that this was what we had caregories and/or list articles for, but people don't seem to like the extra click required (conveniently fogetting that most of these are hidden by default and require an extra click to expand anyway). It's too widespread to go after individual uses though I think. Only way to get any change would be to establish a MOS or guideline depreciating the use of navboxes that have more than X (to be determined) links or some such. --Sherool (talk) 19:27, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Advice for wikipedia[edit]

I like the lack of commercial ads, but you should have an ad of the week at the home page where you have all of the other facts of the day. It would not get in the way of wiki-users and would be a solid source of income to keep wikipedia flourishing. And by keeping the ad out of the way of most users, the purity of wikipedia would still be preserved. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:27, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Policy on tallying votes[edit]

Isn't there a policy or guideline which looks down on tallying votes during a RfC? I swear I read it somewhere before. Ikip (talk) 18:42, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Well there is WP:NOTDEMOCRACY for and WP:VOTE for starters. --Sherool (talk) 19:08, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Smiley.svg Thank you Sherool, I appreciate your time. Ikip (talk) 20:33, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Later. I never found what I was looking for :( Neither page lists this information. Ikip (talk) 22:39, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Flagged Revisions, Yes, but ONLY for Vandalism Troublespots[edit]

Wikipedia is like a city with mostly good neighborhoods and a few bad ones. Certain topical categories (neighborhoods) attract vandals repeatedly, and, when vandalized, cause the most damage to site credibility and to the living people or organizations vandalized articles are about.

So: Rather than impose flagging globally, which creates increased workload for approvers (whoever they are), and a bottleneck that doesn't exist now, why not identify high-crime categories and make them, and ONLY them, flaggable? This would keep most of Wikipedia free of flagging delays.

How? Start with a META-REVIEW to inventory all of Wikipedia's high-vandalism areas, all the corners of the ontology where vandals tend to lurk. Senior editors can do this using their experience, help from the community and robot site crawlers. Once a vandalism prone category is identified, institute flagging on the entire category or on selected articles within it.

An example: Articles about politicians in-office might be a flaggable category. Wikipedia could cordone off the "political officeholder" branches in its ontology, or hand-select especially controversial / edited / discussed people within that branch. All revisions in those troublespots would be automatically flagged. Then the flagged revisions can crawled, sorted by topic onto an ontology sitemap. Editors and/or user-voters can review/rate those revisions for fairness and accuracy.

Who does the editing? Any registered true ID user can volunteer for access to review flagged revisions in categories they know about. To retain their status as trusted de-flaggers, these reviewers would have to review many articles, not just revise a few. Steady interaction with a broad diversity of articles is a pretty reliable indicator of impartiality. (Limited activity in only a few entries of one political party would not be.)

Think of this as a Tipping Point approach to a Wikipedia clean up, like the 42nd street clean up in New York City during the 90's, or crime rates going down after subway graffiti is eliminated. Clean up the right areas and everything improves.

I'm against a policy of demanding real identities from every visitor who wants to contribute. Why eliminate spontaneous, anonymous user-editing just to deter a few vandals? Anonymous sources are essential to societies. Deep Throat helped expose Watergate. Witness protection programs exist for a reason. We would never have seen the Abu Ghraib photo disc if the soldier who turned it in felt his identity would NOT be protected. Yes, masked anonymous bandits can do damage, but a targeted neighborhood clean-up solution, like this, would eliminate much of that without fundamentally changing Wikipedia's look, feel or function.

Wikipedia knowledge is made possible by a self-correcting social sieve that allows free errors and correction to be added in the majority of its entries by the majority of users. Just because a few users can't be trusted, doesn't mean most can't. Most can, in fact. And most neighborhoods are safe. Just find out where the bad apples lurk and put more cops on the street there.

Tim M., Woodstock, NY

Gosh. A suggestion from another Tim. I agree that some people are more likely to contribute if they feel protected by anonymity (although true anonymity is rare and more or less an illusion in many societies). But I am apprehensive about identifying and targeting only 'trouble spots'. This might create the impression that areas un-marked as trouble spots are more 'truthful'. Which is simply untrue. Many controversial areas are targeted by vandals, but many controversial contributions are also made in good faith. For example users might reference source material with varying witness statements, and each witness might believe each has witnessed the truth. Because of Wikipedia's accessibility, it does attract an enormous range of people and an enormous range of views. Limiting contributions, and ensuing editorial discussions, on controversial topics could also limit a reader's access to 'the whole story'. So:
  • Might this actually create 'crime spots', perhaps in unexpected areas, by creating areas that are more watched than others?
  • Might this fool readers into believing unflagged spots are more truthful, because vandals in those areas have not been caught?
  • On the other hand, might this give readers the impression that articles with 'flagged revision' are more trustworthy - even though those topics are prone to controversy and mixed truth regardless?
  • Might contributions be 'bottled-necked' on controversial topics, if they are all flagged, preventing valid material from being seen?
  • Controversial and troublesome topics can already be flagged as 'controversial' through existing Wikipedia processes. The banners are prominent and clear. Do those pages need further flagging?
  • Would this force vandals 'underground'?
  • How does this address vandalism in an unflagged area, or entirely fictional articles that are rarely picked up simply because they are rarely visited?
Tim Foyle (talk) 10:16, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

truth versus verifiability[edit]

WP:VER says "The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth—that is, whether readers are able to check that material added to Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source, not whether we think it is true."

Today an editor made a change to Lucena Position, saying that the old moves were wrong. I checked and that is the truth. However, the moves he replaced are verifiable - they are in the source, the book by de la Villa. So what do we do in a case like this? Truth or verifiability? Bubba73 (talk), 17:57, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

How do you know that it's the truth? In theory this should lead you to a different source which can be invoked instead. Mangoe (talk) 18:39, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
I am the one that originally added the material to the article. I got it from the source, which turned out to be incorrect. As the edit comment today says, what was given the last move is actually illegal, not a valid move. I don't have a second paper source for that position, but there are endgame tablebases for all positions with six or fewer pieces that give the best move by each side in each position. These tablebases give the "truth" about the positions with few pieces. The editor today called the fourth move "stupid", but actually it only delays winning - wasting two moves. The fourth move given by the editor is the optimal move according to the database. Bubba73 (talk), 19:24, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
If this chess position is notable, then by definition multiple sources should have written about it. If the currently-cited source contains an error, then why not find a source that's correct, and cite that instead? SHEFFIELDSTEELTALK 19:42, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
There are a very large number of chess positions. There are plenty of sources for the "Lucena Position", which is really a technique rather than a particular position. It works in all sufficiently similar positions. (Or you could say that any position of a large group of positions is a "Lucena position".) I wrote a good deal of the Lucena position article. About 1.5 to 2 years ago someone commented that the bridge can be formed on the fifth rank too. I have nearly all chess endgame books published in English (see chess endgame literature) and I searched for one covering the bridge on the fifth rank and this one was the only one I could find.
I'd like to add that if there were two more pieces on the board then the tablebases would not provide a definitive answer. But on the other hand, any decent chess player could have seen this error. I didn't see it because I was simply copying the moves from the source. So what are we to do when we know it is wrong, but it is verifyable? Bubba73 (talk), 20:35, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
Well, verifiable means it can be verified in a reliable source. That means reliable, not infallible. If there is clearly an error in the source and you're sure that no other source is available, then it seems to me that your options are to either remove the material entirely, or (if it is clear what the writer meant to say) make the correction, probably noting that you've done so in a footnote. A talk page discussion is probably the best way to determine which course is better. Presumably the editors at WP:CHESS can help you with that. SHEFFIELDSTEELTALK 20:42, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
Quotations include the exact words of the author, even where it contains spelling or grammar errors - these are usually indicated with "sic". An analogous principle applies here; quote the source, but note in a footnote or in brackets alongside it the likely real move. Alternatively, correct it in place and note what the source said in a footnote. Dcoetzee 20:49, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

Removing it is an easy option. Just because something has sources, doesn't mean that it is worth keeping---especially if you know its wrong. The issue arises if you think it is wrong and somebody else says, "No, it's right and should remain in the article." In that case, they will have the advantage of having the sources while you only have OR.---Balloonman PoppaBalloonCSD Survey Results 20:50, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

I think it should be kept, but I will add a footnote, as a couple of people suggested. Of course, this is a bigger issue than one article. Bubba73 (talk), 21:38, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
The Wikilawyer in me says "If an otherwise-reliable source says something that turns out to be false, then for the purposes of that statement, the source is not reliable." If a source is not reliable, verifiability doesn't matter. Even The Chicago Tribune can blow it occasionally. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 23:51, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
Reliable sources can be wrong for several reasons. That does not mean they are not reliable. They can be wrong because:
- An honest mistake, typo or similar
- The best available information at the time of publication (e.g. in 1400 flat earth ideas conformed to this, no longer)
- Empirical evidence that is due to statistical error. (in statistics we generally accept a 1 in 20 chance that data interpretation points to an effect while there is none, thus 1 in 20 papers may report an effect that is not really there.
In all cases the solution is simple if there are several sources take the consensus among (reliable and independent!!) sources as additional information to determine the relevant reference. If there is only one source, it should be taken on face value for the time being (which is very scientific, a hypothesis is true untill proven otherwise) Arnoutf (talk) 00:09, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
I think what I meant was that when a reputable, reliable source gets it wrong, the source should not be used as a reference to support the false claim. In other words, if RS x says y, but a not so reliable source says "not y," and you have good reason, perhaps personal knowledge*, that "not y" is true, it's okay to remove y. This is particularly true of current events, where the reliable sources may not have caught up with reality. *Note: Personal knowledge shouldn't be used to add material, only remove known false material. Anyone revering RS'd false material in favor of personal knowledge or a less-than-reliable source should leave a note on the article talk page saying why the material was removed. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 01:07, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree with davidwr and Balloonman: we can remove material from a page if there are good reasons to do so, especially if there is consensus among the editors of the page that the material is not of good quality. Sometimes another good option is prose attribution: instead of asserting Y, we can assert "source A says Y"; it's true that it says Y, even if Y is false. Sometimes completely removing it is better: if Y is false it's often not sufficiently notable or interesting to include. Coppertwig (talk) 16:17, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
If ten otherwise reliable sources say something that's false, and only one says the truth, it may be worth mentioning that in the article. -Freekee (talk) 22:39, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
But how can you know that the one source is telling the truth, and not the ten others? Arnoutf (talk) 22:41, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
Sometimes the evidence is strong. Research can turn something up. There are many cases of things that are believed, and after a long time, the real story turns up. And often, the revelation is important enough that it makes news on its own. Sometimes we must write about it by attributing the minority-opinion statement. Sometimes we can actually tell the story of the change of belief. -Freekee (talk) 22:59, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for your response, indeed for evidence - agree; re advancing insight, agree; another situation maybe if the 10 sources are actually copies of the same underlying source (e.g. the same press release). I was just raising the point to make sure we do not use subective criteria to select sources to our liking and disregard others, as that, of course, is not a good way forward introducing non-neutral point of view. Arnoutf (talk) 23:07, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
Good point. And explaining the differing sources can go a long way to avoiding the appearance of choosing a non-neutral POV. -Freekee (talk) 23:20, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
Sometimes a certain amount of subjective is jugdement is unavoidable. Deciding which sources are more reliable or authoritative than others is one of the necessary evils we have to live with. The New York Times is more reliable than the National Inquirer, and in the UK, the Times is more reliable than the Sun. And they are all less reliable than peer-reviewed academic articles. — Blue-Haired Lawyer 15:01, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Indeed. And note that especially newspapers/websites may have slightly different versions of the same news, while all reports are based on the same press release; so in cases where Sun, Times, NYTimes and National Inquirer all say the same; it may actually be based on the same single source (e.g. a press release). Arnoutf (talk) 15:22, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
I've run across two cases where I've had run-ins with the verifiability police. In the second case, there was an interview with the subject where the reporter stated that the subject had attended a school that was a hundred miles away from where she lived. It literally took going to an online copy of a school yearbook to suppress this. In practice, there seems to be an assumed guideline (if not policy) that material from a "verifiable" source has to be included until it is proven incorrect, and that the only allowable proof is a "better" source. Mangoe (talk) 13:12, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Re. Mangoe: Is there a verifiability police?

Having an otherwise reliable source that has made an error (or a strongly suspected error), is not a good reason to to copy that error into Wikipedia. However, if you can't achieve consensus (on the article talk page) to delete the incorrect school, then there is not much you can o except write a brief footnote for readers. --Hroðulf (or Hrothulf) (Talk) 16:14, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

How much is enough for a proposal to become a guideline[edit]

38 support - 27 oppose - 6 neutral. =71 total

27/ 71 = 0.38028169 % oppose 38/ 71 = 0.535211268% support

Is this enough to make it a guideline? Yes, I know there are other factors, including the comments of the editors, but as a general rule, based on past guideline rfc's is this enough? Ikip (talk) 15:57, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

I don't know past history but just looking at these numbers, think this is "make it an essay and encourage people to read it" territory for a new proposal, and depending on the arguments pro and con, possibly promotion territory for an existing essay. It's definitely in the not-crystal-clear territory and should not be judged merely by the numbers. If the objections and neutrals are due to things that can be changed, then perhaps a compromise can be reached. If they are due to fundamental objections, then I'd say keep it an essay or fail the proposal altogether. A guideline where over 1/3 of editors are fundamentally against it will be divisive. Depending on the content, even an essay with 1/3 of editors with fundamental issues with it could lead to disputes.
Another thing to consider: If the proposal has had significant changes, some of the issues raised in early discussions may have already been addressed.
Which proposal are you referring to?davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 17:07, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for your response. I thought it was up in the air. Ikip (talk) 18:08, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
In general (for consensus outside Wikipedia) 2/3 support (ie 67%) is considered the lower limit for minor consensus; with 75% or even higher (e.g. 85% or 90%) support as lower limit for major consensus. So I agree with Davidwr that there is too much opposition in this case to make this a consensus decision and as such should not be considered enough. Arnoutf (talk) 19:23, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
No doubt referring to WP:FICT, David. --Izno (talk) 23:03, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
If we are talking about that, the difficulty is that the agree and disagree votes are to various aspects and version of the proposal, and it is not eliminated that there might be a core than most people would agree. But this seems a nice illustration of the extreme difficulty in adopting new policy, eve when the old is widely considered unsatisfactory. Myself, I think that those kind of majorities are higher than needed, and 60% is OK for minor and 70% for major--almost no decision making process in the real world asks for higher than that. but it isn't a matter just of the count of votes, but how hard the opposing positions are. Myself, I dislike the proposal and think we could do much better--but at this point i think its enough of an improvement to be worth the doing, so in practice I support. the proof that its fair is that the opposition comes from both sides equally. DGG (talk) 09:11, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
That's exactly the problem here. Take something like flagged revisions - you can be for it, or you can be against it, and there's really only two sides to the issue. Even though we are !voting, a 60-70% number would probably be a good indicator. On the other hand, FICT specifically is a middle ground solution, and we are facing three possible stances: either one's OK with it, one thinks its too strict, or one thinks its too lenient. In this case, the votes are less important than making sure the comments provided are considered as part of determining if it has consensus. For example, there's a number of !votes that say "oppose because I don't agree with any notability guidelines". We are never going to be able to appease people like that with a sub-guideline of notability, or without significantly causing more on the other side to oppose it. It's a compromise position we've had to craft over 3-some months now, so it's not as simple as !vote counting. We are actively addressing such comments and attempting what wording changes might help. Thus, in this case, counting the !votes is less helpful and instead we'll likely turn to a neutral admin who can read through the RFC comments and determine if there's consensus to move forward from those. --MASEM 13:19, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

Naming conventions for organisms[edit]

The plant editors have been hounded for going on three months now by a pair of editors (who also disagree strongly with each other and include their battles on policy/guidelines talk pages, too) about their disagreement with the naming conventions for flora articles, namely, that plant editors have established naming guidelines that scientific names should be used. They have strongly convinced me that the conventions should be changed and scientific names should be required for all organisms. I have started a talk at Wikipedia naming conventions and invite other concerned editors to weigh in. --KP Botany (talk) 21:13, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

Yeah, because having a page called Canis lupus familiaris just makes SO much more sense than what it's called now. *rolls eyes* ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 21:57, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes, absolutely. Actually, even plants, which is a stickler for scientific names, uses the common name for the most common organisms. Oak is under oak, not Quercus. We don't consider that a big issue, but, again, it's used against plant editors in the naming policy in an attempt to create an unworkable policy. Why use a three letter word when one can use three names in Latin and make it sound so much more important and exotic? Come on over and fight for your right to woof! --KP Botany (talk) 23:45, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

Strange Host server proccess operate in SamSung NoteBook[edit]

I don't want describe long.

referce diary movie board in Korean

Good luck! —Preceding unsigned comment added by [[User:{{{1}}}|{{{1}}}]] ([[User talk:{{{1}}}|talk]] • [[Special:Contributions/{{{1}}}|contribs]])

I have no idea what this means, as my skill in reading Korean characters is not up to deciphering this cite. Arnoutf (talk) 21:48, 1 February 2009 (UTC)


Yes, civility is a policy, an official policy here, and it is supposed to be a widely accepted standard that should normally be followed by all editors. However, it is not.

No matter how much you are annoyed by someone, no matter how much someone bugs you, be civil. Because someone is in your eyes a jerk, that does not make it okay to bad mouth the person in talk pages, nor does it make it okay for you to engage in mean-spirited banter with others. Set a good example of behavior. Even when dealing with the worst of the worst, don't stoop to that level. Some threads out there mocking other people are really quite repulsive. Kingturtle (talk) 06:49, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

Unanswered questions on project talk pages[edit]

If there are unanswered questions on the project talk pages, is there any central place where this can be highlighted, so that volunteers can help answer them?

For instance, there are two questions on Wikipedia talk:Deletion policy. Jay (talk) 08:17, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

Very commons problem. It would be cool to have some solution. Maybe transclude them somewhere? - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 08:22, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

Should WP:Editing_policy be demoted from the policy status?[edit]

Discussion is here (talk) 12:02, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

Decentralizing the Arbitration Committee[edit]

For anyone interested, I have proposed we decentralize the Arbitration Committee. Tim Q. Wells (talk) 23:51, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

I Propose a Better System as a Compromise between flagging all new entries and having no system for verification[edit]

I see that people contributing are quite prolific writers but I will keep this short.

What is special about Wikipedia. People can see their contributions as soon as they have finished editing. So preferably new entries must be immediately displayed but with some kind of clear indication that they have not been fully approved. This could take the form of color-coding. With this system all new entries would appear red for example, distinguishing them from the standard text. Readers therefore know very clearly which parts of the article they can trust and which they should be a bit more cautious about.

Problem solved without any radical and constraining use of flagging. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Omarcoaa (talkcontribs) 20:21, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

Two suggestions from joeytwiddle: What about a little red message at the top saying "Recent changes to this article have not yet been verified as accurate. You may wish to view the _last_confirmed_version_." ? Visitors to the site could also thumbup or thumbdown changes, so that vandalism could be automatically removed after enough thumbdowns.

I heartily concur - no serious instances of vandalism remain uncontested within the first 24 hrs, or 48 : text that appears red for the first 48 hrs of its existence, and then replaces the intended previous sections automatically provided no complaints have been received... automatic, transparent, and largely foolproof? much better than all the beauraucratic mucking about suggested above, with no-one sure which edition they're stuck in. [Breaking news like sudden deaths should anyway be left to the news desks, but if they're not, at least being coded in red would make things clear!] —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:01, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

If this were to be implemented, I would suggest colour the text grey so it doesn't stand out so much, leaving the prominent black (reliable) text as what catches the readers eye--ClubOranjeTalk 09:41, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Yeah, Wikibooks has something like that. Maybe do it like this?

ViperSnake151 12:58, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Attack Pages, Libel, and Speedy Deletion Templates[edit]

When a page is posted on Wikipedia it is picked up by (eg) Google very fast indeed. in general that is a great thing. In the case of an Attack page it is not. With an attack page this spreads the libel far faster than one could possibly imagine.

Is it technically possible to remove search engine's ability to spider such pages, even in the often short time they stay online here?

My thinking is that the speedy deletion template might contain a trigger to mark the page as "not to be spidered" in some technical manner that is recognised by all major search engines. This means that individuals flagging such pages and admins deleting them require no special knowledge.

Of course this may be done already. But, if it is not, might we form a consensus over it and then ask a knowledgeable person to implement it if the consensus is favourable, please? Fiddle Faddle (talk) 13:54, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

This has already been done, anything with {{db-g10}} transcluded on it will not be indexed by search engines. Hut 8.5 16:11, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the info. Is there a way to make this obvious to those such as me? Fiddle Faddle (talk) 16:21, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
For clarity, does that mean that the previous version (with attack) prior to the addition of the templte will remain indexed by search engines, or is there a hidden courtesy blanking arranged that the spiders will pick up?LeadSongDog (talk) 17:28, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
A well-behaved search engine ought to notice that a page has become NOINDEX, and drop any previous versions of it, but this may not be especially prompt. Bovlb (talk) 20:39, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Does __NOINDEX__ work?--Ipatrol (talk) 04:01, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

{{db-g10}} includes that (via {{NOINDEX}}), as Hut 8.5 mentioned. Algebraist 13:56, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

A-Class assessments[edit]

There is a request for comment open regarding A-Class assessments and reviews. All input is welcome. -Drilnoth (talk) 22:05, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Policy on Article Tags[edit]

What is the policy on tagging articles with stub, orphan, wikify etc? Where is it articulated?

I ask since I'm aware that Wikipedia:WikiProject Orphanage appears intent on tagging very many orphan articles with {{orphan}}. I'm not at all keen on this, since I prefer to read my articles sans distracting tags. Neither do I think that such tags are a great way of solving a problem - not least since that project's policy seems to be that an article needs three incoming links before the tag is removed.

According to Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2009-01-31/Orphans there are just under 700,000 articles which would qualify for an Orphan tag. 45,000 are already tagged.

My main interest at the moment is in geotagging. Wikipedia:WikiProject Geographical coordinates got flack in no uncertain terms when it tried to place a tiny tiny "needs geotagging" link in the top right of an article, in the place where a geo-coordinate goes. So the question for me: how did we get to the point where one project can (my view) despoil article by the hundred thousand, and another project not? Where did we give license to the orphan project to do as they seem to be proposing? --Tagishsimon (talk) 04:05, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

As far as stubs, see Wikipedia:Stub. With the others I don't know. I'd assume that it's related to the fact that the Orphanage places tags similar to other cleanup messages — nobody else puts something where the coords would be, but we're accustomed to seeing this type of cleanup messages at the top. Nyttend (talk) 05:12, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Main thrust of the project (at least as indicated on the project page) seems to be de-orphaning (i.e. removing the orphan tags). This suggests that orphaned articles tend to be stubs. Also (and this is just a guess) perhaps the orphan articles are accessed less often than well connected articles, and therefore the orphan tags may be less likely to disturb. Don't know about the geographic tagging, but if it occurred on articles that were more developed or more frequently accessed it might occasion more comment. Zodon (talk) 06:31, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
I put higher importance on "reading sans tags" for some tags than others. We're muddying issues too much by the exuberant rubberstamp tagging. We are writing an encyclopedia first, germinating new editorship second. We do have (unfortunately) material in articles that isn't well substantiated, needs sources, and an article tag which alerts readers and editors both is justified. But orphaned articles? Come on--that's way low on most any priority list-absolute bottom on a reader's list, and somewhere close to it on an editor's list. Tag it on the talk page, let it pop on an editor "needs attention" watch list and give articles a minute's peace to say what it says without competing with the harping tags. Professor marginalia (talk) 06:48, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
What makes an {{orphan}} tag any uglier than any other tag? Also, I got involved with the project after seeing a tag on Mechanism (horology), so I believe that a case could be made to have the tags as useful tools to get more people to de-orphan articles. ErikTheBikeMan (talk) 01:02, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
I was going to respond to you by saying that the guideline WP:Build the web makes a positive endorsement for things to be internally linked, hence articles need to have internal links because it's a basic directive of the project and that's why {{wikify}} and {{orphan}} need to be prominent.
But I found that the guideline directing us to "Build the web" has been merged with a styling guideline. So you may be right: if "Build the web" isn't a basic directive, I'm not sure that {{wikify}} and {{orphan}} deserve such prominent mention as displaying a header notice in an article; maybe they ought to just add the article to a category. So I started a discussion Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style_(links)#Non-style_aspects_of_this_guideline to ask what's going on with that. --❨Ṩtruthious andersnatch❩ 06:27, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

Discussion on guidelines for "China" vs. "PRC" usage[edit]

Please join the new discussion about the possible establishment of Guidelines for "China" vs. "PRC" usage on the People's Republic of China article --Cybercobra (talk) 06:59, 4 February 2009 (UTC)


I'd like some help regarding Wikipedia's structure. I cannot locate the relevant person to deal with a problem I would like to raise. Who does one contact about the subjectivity of administrators? If administrators appear to have operated outwith their sphere of knowledge and therefore are making inappropriate editorial decisions which mean that information which has no factual basis is not presented as such and that factual information on the subject is being withheld from the public because it disagrees with the viewpoint of the administrators, is there anything that can be done about it? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:06, 30 January 2009 (UTC) (Moved from section above by Jeremy (v^_^v Dittobori))

Bring it up at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents. But be aware to provide evidence in the form of diffs or else your complaint may get ridiculed. Also, try to avoid making it an issue over content. -Jeremy (v^_^v Dittobori) 23:26, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for your reply. However, I'm still trying to find out who would be the relevant person to deal with. For example, in certain parts of Wikipedia, particularly those of minority cultures, the number of administrators is not large and any weakness in their capacities as administrator is difficult to challenge within their own domain. The problem with a board like the one you suggest in that kind of situation is that it depends on the complainant having i) the requisite information and experience to pursue his complaint (a newbie wouldn't necessary be able to acquire that quickly enough before encountering the problem) and ii) that the non-responsive person or persons with whom the complainant is having problems with would be the person(s) that the complainant is having to deal with in such a forum. In short, knowledge is power and the complainant would have a de facto weakened position. Is there not another means by which a genuine complaint can be fairly and evenly addressed within Wikipedia? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:52, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

The English Wikipedia policy on resolving disputes is at WP:DISPUTE. It's probably best to read it through and find the best approach for your case. — Twinzor Say hi! 02:45, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
You might try asking on the talk page for the relevant WikiProject. Most large countries have a WikiProject. For example, India's is Wikipedia:WikiProject India. You can go to Wikipedia talk:WikiProject India and ask if there are any administrators who are familiar with India-related topics who could help out with the article you are worried about. You can find a partial list of WikiProjects at Wikipedia:WikiProject. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 06:44, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Thank you for the above advice. However, I am still unable to identify the relevant person to deal with over the issue of the subjectivity of administrators. Most of the disputes referred to on the dispute page are over material content and not over the subjectivity of administrators. Not only do the suggestions above seem to disadvantage the newbie but administrators can make their impact felt over any number of pages. Potentially one could sort out an issue on one page while the administrator(s) concerned proceeded to create the next of the many issues on yet another page while still receiving no peer assessment as to their fitness as an administrator. Am I to take it that Wikipedia has no system for dealing with this problem of the subjectivity of administrators? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:50, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Well administrators are experience editors of good standing (otherwise they do not become administrator), so in general indeed the admin will be seen as the voice of authority in a conflict with a newbie, unless that newbie can provide strong evidence. There will always be some subjectivity involved. Admins that unfairly treat many editors can get demoted; but this is no likely to happen based on a conflict with a single anonymous newbie.
My advice to you would be: Learn to know the project, learn the rules of conduct, work hard to become a respected editor; and if you still collide with admins after that (which I somehow doubt) than you can try these kind of actions. Arnoutf (talk) 20:00, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
You will also note that wikipedia is a community driven project. As such there will not be any single person responsible for the subjectivity of administrators. Taemyr (talk) 21:04, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
it is easier to deal with issues in the concrete, and at a single place. as you've just been reminded, there are a number of places. Pick one, and be bold, and raise the question. If it is about a single administrator, though, the first step is usually to ask for a more detailed explanation--more of us than you might think are open to having our interpretation revised, and almost none of us think we are absolutely perfect. Give it a try as an inquiry first. DGG (talk) 08:52, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
What may not be clear if you haven't dug around quite a bit yet is that administrators aren't people who hold any sort of position of authority on Wikipedia. They're simply individuals whose accounts have a number of extra capabilities compared to non-administrator accounts. The reason they have these extra capabilities is that they engage in work on Wikipedia that requires those capabilities - work beyond the standard stuff of editing encyclopedia content.
But the only reason their accounts have these capabilities is to facilitate that work. An individual with an administrator account isn't an authority on Wikipedia and in fact most such individuals are not any sort of authority, no more than any given government employee is a civic authority. For example, there are probably many janitors who have keys to every room at the Department of Commerce headquarters in Washington, D. C., and that sort of person might know quite a bit about the Department of Commerce and its activities and its internal operations, but he or she would not in any way be an authority.
Wikipedia administrators are not supposed to use their account's special capabilities in the course of normal editorial work and certainly not over an editorial issue or editorial dispute that the administrator is involved in - only third-party, uninvolved administrators should be. So dealing with an administrator over an editorial issue should not be any different than dealing with a non-administrator editor and if it is different something is wrong.
If an administrator is introducing a bias or non-neutral point of view into an article or set of articles, with enough time and effort and through the community process here you will be vindicated and be able to restore or establish a fair and neutral tone to the articles you're concerned with. I would actually say that you'll be able to get alot further, much more quickly, than you'd be able to in something like a government or corporate bureaucracy. (But that's not saying much - in a difficult case or against a clever malicious administrator it's still something that might take weeks or months of careful, sustained effort, just probably not years as in real-world disputes.)
But some caveats are:
  • You have to work within the system and the existing principles of the community.
  • You really need to behave with the utmost integrity yourself to be able to convince others that you're in the right. (And make sure that you are in the right, of course - make sure that your own bias or viewpoint isn't clouding your judgment.)
  • You should not expect to get personal vindication from it - all you'll probably get is an improved encyclopedia article in the end with reduced subjectivity, and it will likely not worded the way you'd prefer nor written the way you want it overall. It's very unlikely that anyone will say, "You were right all along!" or recognize any personal expertise on your part - on Wikipedia your work will always have to prove itself.
Good luck. --❨Ṩtruthious andersnatch❩ 15:03, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

First of all, I'd like to thank everyone for their comments.

Struthious would use the word 'capability' rather than 'authority'. My understanding is that when the capability is given to administrators, authorisation or permission to use the capability is, de facto, granted at the same time. Administrators in turn authorise and grant capabilities. Adminstrators can limit an individual's freedom to edit, ie, both permission and capability are revoked at the same time.

Despite Struthious' assurances and comparisons, it would still seem to me that the newbie is disadvantaged by the processes mentioned above and the relevant administrator(s) allowed to continue their activity for a rather indefinite period, since the processes mentioned above seem focused on dealing with articles on an individual basis and seem to assume that all administrators who would take part would be unbiased in judgment.

Arnoutf remarks that, 'admins that unfairly treat many editors can get demoted'. I would be interested in knowing how that happens and how long it usually takes.

In the light of what I've managed to find out so far, the process for dealing with any administrator lacking would still seem a very arduous and time-consuming process. Not only that, but the information supplied so far would still not seem practical in relation to smaller Wikis, so I repeat: while this English language Wikipedia has quite a number of administrators, the administrators of another Wiki of smaller size may be dominated by a certain individual or individuals, perhaps all very biased to one another. In this latter case, who would the newbie have recourse to for assistance concerning the subjectivity or such administrators? It would seem silly to suggest that a newbie raises the question of proper judgment with any administrator(s) who have already ruled against him in some way. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:46, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Mythology & Religion[edit]

There are arguments raging across the Wikipedia religious articles about the use of the word 'mythology' in connection with (living) religions. These arguments are detracting from good editing and causing ill-feeling between editors. I believe that the only way to resolve these arguments is if a 'once-and-for-all' policy be adopted.

Some of you may have encountered me in this very argument with respect to Noah's Ark. I will state for the benfit of others that I firmly believe we are wrong to describe any part of any living religion as a 'myth'.

I appreciate that many editors argue in favour of using the word because this is the word that is used in 'mainstream' literature. However, this ignores several important points:

  • The use in 'mainstream' literature is not exclusive. There are many POVs regarding the status of religions with respect to myth(ology) and there are far too many instances on WP where only one of these POVs is allowed.
  • It has been argued that dictionary definitions explicitly state that 'myth' does not imply truth or falsehood. This may be true, but the common perception of the term is that of falsehood. One need only look up 'myth' in a thesaurus. The only antonyms to be found there are 'truth', 'true story' or some such and the synonyms all reflect the common meaning of a 'made up' story. If people commonly perceive the meaning to imply 'falsehood' then WP is remiss in using the word in this context.
  • An argument frequently raised by the 'pro' lobby is that WPs own guidelines on 'words to avoid' state that the 'common' meaning should be avoided. This argument is specious. The guidelines are for editors, not for the readers. The readers will take whatever meaning they believe to be correct. Further, I note that all of the guidelines relating to this have been written by people who are part of that 'pro' lobby.
  • It has been argued that a link to the 'myth' page will instruct a reader as to the correct definition. It is also been proposed that an 'infobox' containing the definition be included in the page. Surely, any word that has to be explained must be classified as jargon and is therefore discouraged by WP. Further, admitting that it needs to be explained is a clear admission that there is ambiguity about its use.
  • The word is, quite simply, offensive to millions of believers around the world. It has been said that we should not shy away from offending a minority - I heartily agree, but the numbers who believe in the Bible/Quran/Tanakh and many, many other documents they hold as sacred far outweighs the atheist minority who seem to be offended by the word's omission.
  • Finally, and perhaps most importantly, so long as we have an ambiguous word we are going to have heated debates about its use. This detracts from all of the noble intentions of Wikipedia. I, for one, would rather be arguing about the substance of an article than spending weeks discussing a single word in the opening paragraph. We really need a 'once-and-for-all' judgement on the use of this word and the only way to avoid further conflict is to judge that it is best kept away from 'living' religions.--FimusTauri (talk) 13:10, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
Thank you, FT, this very eloquently sums up the problem we have been having and I would like to be the first to say that I stand by everything you wrote. In fact I've made my own user box,
Regarding neutrality: This user feels it is offensively P.O.V. and biased to describe the beliefs of any living world religion as "myths".
to convey my feelings on my userpage, and you or anyone else who feels the same way is more than welcome to copy the code {{User:Til Eulenspiegel/User notamyth}} onto your userpage. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 13:30, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
I'm not a believer so the use of the word myth isn't offensive to me personally, but clearly if it is offensive to anyone it shouldn't be used in the encyclopedia. The English language is large enough to find and substitute another word.Rktect (talk) 13:51, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
Ummm, we don't choose to ignore a relevant point of view just because people with the opposing point of view dislike it. If you are suggesting just addressing the word "myth" and not the general viewpoint, then how would you propose dealing with the point of view that religious stories are well... mythical, without using the word? Dragons flight (talk) 17:56, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
You don't have to ignore a relevant point of view but you could use the word story, tale, or narrative instead of myth to avoid giving offense.
Aside from that not everything in the ANE is a myth. There are a lot of places where story or narritive would be more accurate than myth, with a lot of the "mythical" part caused by some 9th century BC translator with a POV glossing the text trying to make everything sound miraculous.
Take for example the 12th dynasty "Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor". Early 19th century translators described it as a myth or fairy tale about a magic snake. Later translators have pointed out that it describes the very real red sea trade with Punt that began in Egypts fourth dynasty, and the part that is translated as magic snake actually just describes a form of motion that "shivers" "snakes" and "shimmies" like a snake. In the story even the mountains are a snake.
"The shipwrecked sailor gets rescued by the king of Punt who seeks shelter from the storm on the island the sailor is wrecked on, running the bar into the harbor with bare poles (no sails up).
The king comes ashore still shivering from the storm and the close call. He talks with a booming voice you can hear from many cubits away, the translator decides this refers to the length of the snake. Eventually the king takes him home where the translator describes the daughters of the king as snakes. Again the actual intent is to describe their dance which is characterised by a motion similar to the wriggling of a snake. Its description as a fairy tale or myth makes it that much less likely to be taken seriously as the description of a voyage.
In addition to being offensive to some the word myth is weighted and inaccurate.Rktect (talk) 19:01, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

Please see this recent CFD regarding whether Category:Creation myths should be renamed; the responses have been overwhelmingly in favor of retaining the titling of "myth" because that is the term scholars use, and there is no objective basis for distinguishing between the stories of religions still practiced and those that are no longer observed. "Myth" is a scholarly descriptive term, not an evaluative term. Eliminating its usage has been a recurring suggestion for years and one that has always been decided in the negative. Re: the statement that, "clearly if it is offensive to anyone it shouldn't be used in the encyclopedia" (emphasis added), this is a completely unworkable standard and not one that is in any sense observed on Wikipedia. To do so would make all content endlessly subject to special interest demands and heckler's vetoes. Postdlf (talk) 19:10, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

Re: "there is no objective basis for distinguishing between the stories of religions still practiced and those that are no longer observed." Actually, "distinguishing between stories of religions still practiced and those that are no longer observed" is in itself a very objective basis. What do you mean? It is also the distinction that neutral encyclopedias have made for centuries when distinguishing "mythology" from "religion". The tendency to lump modern "religion" in as a subset of "mythology" is the hallmark of recent POV, and particularly marks this as a POV-biased project in its reputation. Note that traditional categorization schemes such as the Dewey Decimal system certainly do not make modern "religion" a subset of "mythology". Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 21:03, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
I would also point out that in some cases administrative decisions have gone in the opposite direction. It was decided that Yoruba mythology was an inappropriate title, on account of the fact that the Yoruba still practice their religion, and accordingly the article was moved to Yoruba religion for this reason. I support this decision, but I don't think we should be "playing favorites" with some religions and declaring which current belief systems are practicing "mythology", the very same word Thomas Paine, Voltaire and Karl Marx used polemically to attack the Christian Church. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 21:11, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
That's just the point, we do not play favorites between various religions whether observed or not. Whether a religion is still practiced or not has nothing to do intrinsically with that religion or its associated beliefs and traditions. A story about gods is still a story about gods regardless of whether anyone living believes those gods exist, and a story about gods is called a myth by scholars. Religion, as a term, is furthermore broader than mythology, as a religion includes practices, rituals, and institutions, in addition to myths. One doesn't "practice" mythology, though one may believe in it or engage in religious practices that take their meaning from it. From looking at Yoruba religion, the article includes descriptions of practices and so is not exclusively about mythology, so on that basis the rename makes sense. If it was purely because Yoruba still has living adherents, then it was not a good decision on that basis. Postdlf (talk) 21:24, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

I'm not sure what the exact purpose of this thread is. Is it a proposal to ban the use of the word myth from the encyclopedia with respect to 'living' religions? If so, then it doesn't seem like much more than a proposal to invent a new definition of the word myth, and then prescribe usage of it throughout the encyclopedia, in spite of what terminology reliable sources use. This is in direct conflict with WP:NPOV and likely WP:OR. Myth is clearly defined in an academic context, an extremely useful classification, and has near universal support in the relevant literature. I don't see why appeals to personal feelings on the matter or association fallacies (as in Til's example above) should influence policy ever, let alone in this case. Cheers, Ben (talk) 21:37, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

I think it should be obvious that for purposes of "significant points of view", it makes all the difference in the world whether a religion or belief is still practiced or not. That's one of our main functions, to distinguish between extinct and current beliefs and to be neutral between the current ones. But there is a considerable body of anti-religious bigots at wikipedia who militantly hold that no religion is entitled to be recognised as a "significant" point of view, and who seem to feel that that language reflecting it should be unnecessarily polemic. They shouldn;t be bringing their battle to extinguish beliefs here. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 21:46, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
As a descriptivist, I think it's worth our while to focus on how a word is commonly understood rather than how it ought to be understood, since Wikipedia is a mainstream encyclopedia. However, until mythologists decide to abandon the corrupted term, there is no reasonable substitute for it as a technical term. As a compromise, I suggest some type of qualifier, such as a "formal myth," "technical myth," "sacred myth," "mythological story," or "story with mythological elements"; regardless with a link to myth for the full details. Regardless, we should not try to spin this as a religion vs. atheism thing, when the people defending the use of the term only want it included for the sake of its technical accuracy. Dcoetzee 22:10, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
Hmmm, interesting solution... I particularly like "technical myth", that might just address everything, that is, by specifying in what way the word myth is used... Wonder what others think. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 22:14, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
It should be noted that the term is used widely in other, similar, projects, and so introducing new terms like "formal myth", "technical myth" etc. are only going to confuse people. Encyclopedia Britannica for instance, uses the term freely. One solution that was settled on over at the Noah's Ark page was to write ".. myths of Abrahamic religions". In this way, we make clear that we're talking about myths from a religious/sacred perspective. What do you think? Cheers, Ben (talk) 22:30, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
And yet most encyclopedias historically have only discussed extinct beliefs in their "mythology" articles, not living ones... It's not really a new distinction... Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 22:37, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
I'm sorry? There is no distinction at all. I've never seen a reliable source make the distinction. There used to be a school of thought that mythology was a polytheistic concept, but that was a long time ago. Very few people still make that distinction. If you can dig up old notable texts that do make the myth = dead religion distinction, then I guess that is something that can be discussed on the myth page though. Further to my above comment, what about creation myth, deluge myth and so on? I'm leaning pretty heavily to an oppose on prepending any new terms to the word myth. This sort of stuff should be left to the myth page. Ben (talk) 22:42, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
Can you possibly explain how and by whom it was "decided" that 'mythology' is no longer used strictly for polytheistic concepts? I've encountered lots of more recent sources that still say this, so I wouldn't agree that "Very few people still make this distinction". And just look up "mythology" in a few encyclopedias and note how many discuss any monotheistic beliefs in the article entry. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 22:57, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
Not on this page, no. You can bring it up on the myth / mythology pages though, and I will be happy to discuss it. Ben (talk) 23:11, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
I wouldn't go to those pages except to comment on the wording of those respective articles, per WP:TALKPAGE... But I think it's a very important question, so if you have an answer, you could use my user talkpage. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 23:25, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
Well I predicted that response well. Already there. Ben (talk) 23:28, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
My sense of myth is that its legendary, something widely heard of but dismissed by non believers as not proven. A myth doesn't necessarily have to refer to a religious belief, it could refer to the existence of the loch ness monster, bigfoot,the Yeti or an urban legend. In most cases when its used in reference to a religion living or dead its mainly intended to give offense by implying that believers in that religion are in the same category as believers in UFO's. Rktect (talk) 23:36, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

I am pleased to see that I have provoked a lively debate and that the debate has (so far at least) been civil. I notice that those in favour of the word still only have one argument: that this is the word used in 'scholarly' texts. None of these respondants have yet addressed the various counter-arguments I set out above. I should say that I do not think anyone disputes that the term has been used in scholarly works to describe some or all of the stories in various religions. However, perhaps my biggest concern is how far the use of the term is taken. I have few problems with describing the Creation story as 'myth'. As one moves forward in time in the Hebrew Bible the use of the word 'myth' becomes increasingly contentious. At what point do we stop using 'myth' and start using 'history'. A typical example can be found on the Christian mythology page, where the section on "Important examples" has a list that, in effect, includes every story in the Christian Bible. Can it be right that we call the story of Jesus a myth? Or the story of the Diaspora? I do not think there are any 'scholarly' sources that do so (excepting the works of some 'militant atheists')--FimusTauri (talk) 09:21, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

The real issue is which ideas are testable hypothesis and which do you have to take on faith. If its a belief, a legend, a story or a tradition those are all words you could use instead of myth and achieve better definition and more consensus. When it comes to stories about Jesus there are certainly a lot of them that have been excluded from some works and included in others. The words used to describe those which are excluded generally don't include myth.
In terms of the way the Greeks set up their categories of definition for the legends of creation and divine powers there were Chaos, Mythos, Eros, Holos, Logos, Chronos, and Cosmos; all very mathematical and imbued with natural philosophy as a process of asking and answering questions dialectically and all now lumped together as pagan gods. Rktect (talk) 10:19, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
Dragonflight's first response above was "Ummm, we don't choose to ignore a relevant point of view just because people with the opposing point of view dislike it." This is exactly right. There are two opposing points if view here, and both are relevant to a topic concerning what the church or other religious body teaches. So we shouldn't ignore either one, but per WP:NPOV, neither should we endorse either one of them. But all of the intolerance I have seen is directed against the point of view of religious readers. I am referring to attempts to marginalize, stigmatize, or declare as fringe, the spokesmen of the religious bodies who teach these things to appease the opposing pov of a militant "scholarly" minority. Even the actual scholars I have seen tend to be far more cautious in throwing the term "myth" at living religions. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 12:50, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Fimus, it looks to me like you're falling into a new trap. On top of your personal feelings being your motivation, it seems you're trying to argue along the lines of X is not described as a myth, therefore nothing should be. As Marcus Borg notes, David Strauss's claim that many of the gospel narratives are mythical in character, and that "myth" is not simply to be equated with "falsehood" — have become part of mainstream scholarship. I assure you that Strauss was no atheist, militant or otherwise. Neither is Borg, and mainstream scholarship is not some atheist conspiracy.

Fimus and Til, you may not like these facts, but Wikipedia is here to reflect the reliable sources on a topic, not to right what you feel are great wrongs, and so we present these mainstream views with due weight. This last point is important, since it seems you still haven't shaken your misunderstanding of NPOV, Til. If there are notable minority positions that hold a particular topic should not be classified as mythical, then that is to be presented in the relevant article. We do not, however, ignore or hide mainstream views in an attempt to give a minority viewpoint more weight than it is due. That is it. No banning of words, no new policies. Cheers, Ben (talk) 13:13, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Claiming "personal feelings" as a motivation is not only inaccurate, it is uncivil.
You have still failed to address the other points raised and are still making the singular argument that the word is used by 'mainstream' 'scholarly' opinion. That is only one POV. A truly neutral encyclopedia would give due weight to alternative opinions. It certainly would not give carte blanche to editors to describe every last story in the Bible as a myth.--FimusTauri (talk) 13:21, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
Incidentally, I used the term "miltant atheists" to describe the extremists who would have us all believe that nothing in the Bible is true. —Preceding unsigned comment added by FimusTauri (talkcontribs) 13:40, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
You want to me address your synonym/antonym research? You want me to address strawmen arguments like It certainly would not give 'carte blanche' to editors to describe every last story in the Bible as a myth, as if anyone made this statement? Fimus, I think I've been incredibly patient with this. I've invested I don't know how many hours researching this to provide you guys with solid, sourced, information. I've carefully tried to explain things in terms of Wikipedia policy. After all that, it seems the only thing that has changed is the venue. There is no support to remove or restrict the use of the word myth, so unless anyone new has any specific questions, would like sources, whatever, then I don't see the need to keep popping this page up on who knows how many peoples watchlists. Cheers, Ben (talk) 13:44, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
It certainly would not give 'carte blanche' to editors to describe every last story in the Bible as a myth might have been a strawman - but that is exactly what has happened on the page Christian mythology - look it up! --FimusTauri (talk) 13:54, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

But isn't wiki supposed to remain neutral? If we change policy because of a certain group we will be defering to that group. The only thing we should be concerned about is proper use of language. If it is the right word then I think we should use it. Plus if we cave to one group, we will be slaves to the public attitude. Skeletor 0 (talk) 17:39, 3 February 2009 (UTC) Also we call it "greek mythology" not greek religion. Why? Because no one is arguing the point. 17:43, 3 February 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Skeletor 0 (talkcontribs)

But we've already "caved to one group" - a small set of scholars who choose to characterize certain of the modern, living religions as teaching "mythology". When I took Comparative Religion at university, that's exactly what my professors told us NOT to do. (And one of the CompRel professors was Hindu) But the argument the "pro-mythology" editors keep using is "We can't have reducto ad populi" hmmmm... Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 17:47, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
Since "modern living religions" derive from "ancient pagan religions" its probably wrong to use the word myth in reference to the pagan natural philosophies also. In some ways its like saying you can't Call Sir Isaac Newton an alcemist because that diminishes his scientific contributions. The way I see it, he's the same guy regardless. Why not allow that there is no good reason to discriminate against or depreciate other peoples ideas and leave it at that.Rktect (talk) 17:59, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
It is becoming increasingly clear to me that some editors are either deliberately misrepresenting 'scholarly opinion' or they do not fully appreciate what that opinion is. By this I mean that we have a situation where there is a generally accepted and common use of the term 'myth' to describe some religious stories (whether right or wrong is not the point I am making here). For example, the term is almost universally used with reference to Creation, even among the religious scholars and the literalists (I am distinguishing the literalists from the inerrants). However, the 'pro-myth' lobby are taking this and extending it far beyond the true scholarly opinion. They are saying that because some stories are described as myth, we can call most (or even all) religious stories as myth. The evidence for this is clear: the Christian mythology article lists, under the heading "Important examples of Christian mythology" every story in the Old and New testament. The only parts of these works not listed are the letters and 'wisdom' texts. Yet, under this section there is not a single example of 'Christian mythology' that is not found in the canon. I keep mentioning this article because it is such a glaring example of how the 'pro' lobby has taken the use of myth with some stories and extended it to encompass the whole of a religious text. I notice that not one of that lobby has yet defended that article.--FimusTauri (talk) 10:42, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

They are saying that because some stories are described as myth, we can call most (or even all) religious stories as myth.

I don't think that its necessary to go overboard. If the story were told stripped of a few paragraphs of creation traditions it would come across as really not all that different from other accounts we accept as historical. Most of the story has geo-political historical, archaeological, and linguistic reinforcement and clearly isn't myth. Take out the claims of a divine causuality that have been edited in over time and the story gets back to its roots. The glosses that make sure the priests get their cut show the edits because of the textual artifacts of custom, tradition and prices that change overtime. All of that and a few misunderstandings of the story by commentors and translators who have rewritten parts of it aside, it could be considered as valid as an Encyclopedia.
Maybe the simplest way out of this for those who wish to discuss Bible stories is to include more of the context in which the story of the Penteteuch is set.
If we then add some analysis of how the story has evolved from a straightforward historical account to what is now viewed as myth, that might help. You don't need to have a POV as to its religious doctrines to appeciate its underlying composition
The story begins with a statement of what ancient wisdom literature considered common law precedent, ie; what people considered right and proper in every way including explanations of natural phenomena that seemed strange or supernatural. In that sense, at that stage of its composition c 1750 BC when the different accounts of sumerian and akkadian creation narratives were being resolved by scribes in Old Babylon, its not that different from the composition of the code of Hammurabi, its all about building consensus and sometimes more than one version is included so that the right explanation is in there one way or another.
If we can understand how it was edited to put forward a belief structure in which the concept of any inexplicable event or events is taken as requiring a supernatural explanation we could reduce the claims the story is myth. The problem really isn't the story itself but the priestly commetary or guidence on what to think when you read the story.
The Documentary hypothesis uses a lot of textual artifacts to show what happened when the story was next subjected to major edits c 970 BC, in the time of Solomon, and later after the destruction of the temple when the scribes were living in a different place within a different culture, speaking a different language.
Is there anyone here that isn't familiar with scholarly discussion of how the story has been edited and glossed over time? Am I wrong to assume that we are all familiar with who said what when?
The Genesis 14 period edits date stamp themselves, so do the edits from the time of Solomon and the edits from c 600 BC just as do the selection of the books to be included.
In our time there is certainly an abundence of published reliable sources with commentaries that make what may have seemed supernatural in the bronze age and the iron age a lot more natural.
Instead of fighting against inclusion or exclusion or butting heads over whether the story is a myth or not and having someone either offended by the suggestion their cherished belief is ridiculous or outraged by the censorship of dissenting explanations why not work toward consenses.
If we set some guidelines as to what to include or exclude from Bible stories in order to avoid taking a POV I think that would help. I'd propose that wherever a supernatural or explanation is desired to be included without being tagged as myth, NPOV require the inclusion of geo-political, historical, archaeological, and linguistic context. Rktect (talk) 11:48, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

That sounds like a good idea however, I think it will be a very very delicate process to create those guidelines. Instead of nutting heads over what is or is not a myth, we will be butting heads over what parts of a story take a point of view or not. Skeletor 0 (talk) 19:02, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

I have now raised this issue as a RfC - Proposed change to policy on ambiguous words in religious articles--FimusTauri (talk) 09:15, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

Legal and illegal threats[edit]

I've long been familiar with our no legal threats policy, but today I began to wonder: what about illegal threats? Earlier today, I ran across a murder threat made by an IP; I reported it to both the IP's owner (a school) and to local police, and the situation has been resolved. Still, I wonder — if making legal threats is grounds for blocking, what about making illegal threats? Should we give warnings, block immediately, not give any warning and just watch what the user is doing, something else? Although this specific situation is resolved, I'd appreciate advice anyway. Nyttend (talk) 05:04, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

Illegal threats? Legal threats mean threats on litigation or legal grounds. What exactly are "illegal threats"? :)
In all seriousness though, I think both types of threats should be treated the same way in regards to purely on-wiki procedure: indef accounts, block IPs for appropriate duration, etc. —kurykh 05:10, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Indeed no legal threats. There are some essays how to deal with this Wikipedia:Responding to threats of harm Wikipedia:Threats of violence It seems you have followed the advice by notifying police. Good luck with this Arnoutf (talk) 19:04, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
There is very little consensus around how threats of violence should be handled; the opposing viewpoints are essentially that we have a social responsibility to protect the threatened on one hand, and on the other hand this is also seen as an off-wiki matter, tracking down victims is difficult, law enforcement varies widely from place to place, and there is a belief that Wikipedia shouldn't assume liability. Dcoetzee 19:36, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
R,B,I with some exception to the "I" if it seems credible enough to report it. –xeno (talk) 19:39, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

Actually, there is strong consensus among experienced administrators - The Wikipedia:Responding to threats of harm (which is shortcutted with WP:SUICIDE and WP:VIOLENCE ) is the best practice which has actually been consistently used by experienced administrators and the Wikimedia Foundation when threats of violence or suicide are made on-wiki.

Attempts to make it a policy, or to make something else a policy, failed miserably due to wider community disagreement. However, we do not need community agreement with the Wikipedia:Responding to threats of harm essay to make it approved best practice. It is approved best practice, and is what people do. Please follow it, if you come across such threats. What Nyttend did was proper and correct under the circumstances. Georgewilliamherbert (talk) 22:31, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Template blatantly violates policy[edit]

It seems to me that Template:COI is a flagrant violation of "Comment on content, not on the contributor". Either the lead of WP:NPA should be changed significantly, or Template:COI should be deleted. Or perhaps both should be changed somewhat. Template_talk:COI#Does_this_template_violate_WP:NPA.3F PSWG1920 (talk) 18:21, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

But a COI can affect content so if an editor has a COI it is potentially a content issue, particularly as it relates to neutral POV. – ukexpat (talk) 18:32, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
That is an example of where "comment on content, not on the contributor" seems to fall short. It's a bit like saying "hate the sin, love the sinner". Sounds like a simple enough distinction, but in practice, not so much. PSWG1920 (talk) 19:25, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
"Comment on content, not on the contributor" should be understood in context of WP:No Personal Attacks. Please read about what a personal attack is. This phrase is only a reminder of one way to avoid making personal attacks. It doesn't sum up policy or guideline. Saying that someone has a conflict of interest is not a personal attack. Nor is saying someone is a jerk because he has a COI - that's a violation of WP:CIVIL. -Freekee (talk) 00:00, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
I diagree that a COI tag violates anything. If a person has a COI, then it should be pointed out. Just as we point out disruptive behavoir and the like. Now if the person is accused of COI and that is not the case, then that action violates policy. How do we tell this. Let the drama begin on the approriate board. --Tom 15:34, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps "Comment on content, not on the contributor" should be marginalized or qualified in WP:NPA. Currently it's portrayed as summing up the entire page, and is often used in warning messages. PSWG1920 (talk) 17:59, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

If COI of a web author could be positive tested, this could be a useful template, sort of Really Knowldedgeable Guy Was Here. Unfortunately, history tells us that sometimes the knowledgeable guys are not what they tell the world... which makes the whole point pointless. The template should be used, ideally, only for properly evidenced COI cases (arbcom case level, or at least an absolutely noncontroversial checkuser level). Remember, once it's in it stays there until deletion or a nearly complete rewrite. NVO (talk) 17:39, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

I've never really seen the point of {{COI}}. If the article is {{Nonnotable}}, {{POV}}, {{unbalanced}}, an {{Advert}}, needs {{cleanup}} or {{Unreferenced}}, or whatever, we have plenty of templates to say what the real problem is. But if it's a perfectly fine, NPOV article that just happens to have been written by someone with a potential conflict of interest, what is the point in marking it with a {{COI}} banner? Anomie 03:15, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

problem with map[edit]

File talk:BH municipality location Istocno Sarajevo .png (talk) 00:31, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

Noindex of brand-new pages[edit]

Would it be helpful or hurtful if brand-new pages and pages recently moved into article space, say, pages less than 6 hours old, were not indexed? I'm not sure how this could be done or even if it could be done, but supposing it could, is it a good idea or bad idea?

The goal is to deter search-engine vandalism. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 01:50, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

How about NOINDEX being set until the page is patrolled, and then it reamins for one hour in case it's CSDed?

That would work if the indexing was added to unpatrolled pages more than a day old, and if it was added to previously-patrolled user-space pages which were moved to mainspace for the first 24 hours in mainspace. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 17:36, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Doesn't it take a while for a page to be indexed anyway? The crawler has to get to it. –xeno (talk) 17:40, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
  • I've seen google get a page within 4-6 hours of creation. So it should be assumed that if a page is created, it is google-dexed. MBisanz talk 17:56, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
  • If we do decide to set new pages to NOINDEX until they've been patrolled (and perhaps also unsighted versions under some proposals), then for the benefit of crawlers, we need to ensure that there is an RSS feed that lists pages that become indexable. Otherwise, the crawler will find the page under new pages or recent changes, note that it is NOINDEX, and never revisit it. Bovlb (talk) 20:46, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

I know I've said this before but this is a good reason to enable FlaggedRevs. Then it would be as simple as have to NOOINDEX'ing all pages which have no flagged rev. Pages which do have some flagged revs would display the last flagged rev by default and to anonymous users including the GoogleBot. — CharlotteWebb 16:23, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

For the everyman[edit]

I have noticed this problem for some time now but I wished to have some form of solution before I brought it to the attention of the wiki communtiy at large. Unfortunatly, I have not found one thus I am openning the floor to suggestions by anyone. I have noticed the pages in the math and physics sections of wiki have become far too complex for the everyman to understand. I understand the desire to include the proper equations and theory behind the pricipals but most people do not come to wiki for equations like : They come for a basic overview understand or to find places where they can do more reaserch through our references. That is not to say that we shouldn't have the complexies of physics and math theories on the site. I just think that there should be a seperation or even a seperate page for it. Proposal: Each theory gets its own basic oerview page. From those pages there are links to more advanced pages that are for people with degrees in those areas. Skeletor 0 (talk) 17:26, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Hmmm... can you give an example of an article like this? In my experience articles that would feasibly be in a general encyclopedia like special relativity do have an overview before they proceed into more technical details.
But many of the math and physics topics that have articles here are things that would never appear in a general encyclopedia, they're things that would only appear in a specialized encyclopedia of math, science, or physics. (Which is still within the scope of Wikipedia, though; there's nothing that says Wikipedia is supposed to be only a general encyclopedia, or that it needs to be like a general encyclopedia more than a specialized encyclopedia at all, for that matter.) In those cases I don't think it's really appropriate to write the article so it could be understood by the layman; it's ideal if that's possible, of course, but educating the lay reader far enough to understand topics like semigroups or Lie superalgebra or what a phonon or what entanglement distillation is would be beyond the purview of an encyclopedia, I think. That sort of thing might be more appropriate for the Wikiversity.
That actually might be a good idea for the Wikiversity too... to have pages that are paired to scientific or technical topics that are designed to direct a lay reader through learning what they need to know to understand the topic. I'm imagining a link "Can't understand this? Click here." in the Wikipedia article... that could be pretty cool if it was done well, actually... you could use templates across multiple Wikiversity pages that would cover the basics in each field and subfield... hmm. I think I might go mention that to them.
It's sort of like, if you were looking at the entry for an episode of the American television show Lost, you wouldn't expect to see an explanation of the entire television show or the season that the episode is from. Or if you were looking at the entry for Andrei Gromyko, whose claim to notability is that he was the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union during the 1980's, you wouldn't expect to see anything but the briefest explanation of what that position entails or how it fit into the structure of Soviet government, nor a discussion of the politics or history of the Soviet Union in general. It's the same in the case of math and science except you'd probably expect to have to read a great many more articles before reaching an understanding of it just from an encyclopedia.
Anyways, I also don't agree that the people coming to these articles are likely to be the Everyman. I think it's much more likely to be a student or a scientist in a related field. --❨Ṩtruthious andersnatch❩ 18:16, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

You make a good point. I know many people who use wiki for getting a basic idea of a topic but I agree now that's probably not the general use for topics like quantum mechanics and entanglement. I actually went back to one of the pages I thought was too complex and realized that I skimmed through the layman explanation by accident. However, I still think my idea has merit but perhaps as you suggested, it would do better on Wikiversity. Anyway thank you for the response. I have had people who will shut me down before they really understand what I am saying so it is really refreshing to have someone take the time to read what I said before responding. Thank you Skeletor 0 (talk) 18:15, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

(response to original post) There are many technical topics that necessarily require a lot of background to describe, but we try to assume as little background as possible. Sometimes articles on basic topics come out as too technical, but this is an issue that is being actively worked on. If you come across any article like this, please use the {{technical}} cleanup tag to mark it. I think it would needlessly divide effort to write two separate articles on any topic; detailed information of little relevance to a general reader can be relegated to its own section(s). Dcoetzee 19:39, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
One approach has been to split topics into separate articles, one for introductory purposes and another for a more technically advanced presentation. Some examples of this approach can be seen at User talk:Kenosis/Research2. ... Kenosis (talk) 05:10, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
I welcome any article on a notable topic that people I trust tell me is really well-written, even if I can't follow the article. - Dan Dank55 (push to talk) 23:30, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

This is an interesting question, and I think it implicates the general question of "What is an encyclopedia for?" I actually disagree with the heading that an encyclopedia is "For the everyman." An encyclopedia is designed to be a quick reference guide, or compendium of learning on a topic. I don't think it's realistic to think of an encyclopedia as a substitute for receiving an education in a topic. Quite frankly, I don't think that anybody is going to be looking up a complex math equation on Wikipedia unless they already have some interest in advanced math. I don't see the point in dumbing things down for the general reader when it's highly unlikely that a general reader would ever consult a page like this in the first place.

I think that if you look at classic encyclopedias, such as our well-beloved 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, you would see that its content was often fairly technical, at least to the point where it required a person to be generally educated in a subject in order to understand what's going on. A couple examples: the 1911 article on Condensation of Gases, Geometrical Continuity, or Calculus of Differences.

The fact of the matter is that in any field of knowledge, as you move from a general overview towards the specifics, the content of the articles is going to be more and more difficult for non-specialists to ascertain. I don't find that problematic because, as I said, an encyclopedia is a reference guide of learning and a compendium of knowledge, not a substitution for an education.

Adam_sk (talk) 06:27, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Libel --> BLP[edit]

I'm going to suggest that Wikipedia:Libel has been slightly superseeded by BLP and should be redirected to that as a result. Has the benifit of reduceing the total number of policies.Geni 03:56, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

I don't always agree with Geni on BLP matters, but in line with the gradual trend of taking policy pages more seriously, I'm in favor of demoting any policy page that people don't read any more. Does anyone still read WP:Libel, or do you always turn to WP:BLP, WP:ATTACK or WP:Attack page instead? - Dan Dank55 (push to talk) 00:42, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
One could probably get away with redirecting attack page and libel to BLP, if one encouraged others to participate in such discussion; presumably here? --Izno (talk) 03:07, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
The scope of Wikipedia:Attack page ("primarily to disparage its subject") is not limited to people, living or dead. Of course the same thing could be said about most of the rules covered in BLP policy but good luck enforcing them in any other context. — CharlotteWebb 16:32, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
Hmm... noted. Couldn't one merge libel to attack page then, at least? --Izno (talk) 00:30, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

Is hiding script assisted edits against policy?[edit]

I've noticed a few people who have modified their twinkle or other script related tools so as that they will be counted as regular edits and not script edits. Is this against Wikipedia policy?Smallman12q (talk) 01:53, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

You mean deactivating the little edit summary advertisement, like "(HG)" for Huggle or "(TW)" for Twinkle? There's no rule against removing those. In fact most scripts have an explicit option to edit or remove that. Equazcion /C 02:00, 7 Feb 2009 (UTC)
That is all I wanted to know=P.Smallman12q (talk) 13:16, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Users doing such a thing should say they did it if they ever ask to become an administrator. Some people include the # of manual edits in their criteria, and an inflated number that is discovered during the RFA will need to be addressed. Getting out in front of it with something like "I changed Huggle so it wouldn't say Huggle, I'm guessing 60% of my edits are with Huggle" will help defuse anxiety. It's pretty obvious from contribution logs if someone is making rapid-fire edits. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 03:50, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
Frankly, I don't see why the decision of some RFA voters to use silly criteria necessitates the need for an editor to reveal that they have made such a trivial change. As you say, it is pretty obvious who is making rapid edits and who isn't. Let the voters do their own homework. Resolute 04:13, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
^Agree. Equazcion /C 04:28, 8 Feb 2009 (UTC)
I wish that were the case. I wish I had the time to look closely at all RFA candidates. People like shortcuts. If you are questioned and give a reasonable response, it shouldn't matter. At best, you would make it harder for someone to support you because they would have to devote more time to figuring out how many manual edits you made, and they might say "to heck with it" and just not participate in the RFA. Or, they might wait for someone else to report a number, a number that might underestimate the number of manual edits. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 04:53, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
I think of all the criteria to consider at an RfA, the number of manual vs. script-assisted edits should be the least of a voter's concerns. The advertisements that scripts add to edit summaries might be switched on by default, but they aren't required by any stretch. They're just an extra feature for the convenience of the user, in case he or she wants to take pride in their use of the script. I think it's a bit dramatic to stress the fear of "being questioned" and having to give a "reasonable response" if one has decided to switch them off, as if it could end up in scandal cause they "hid" this "crucial information" from the public. As Reso put nicely, if voters choose to make a big deal out of something so ridiculous, that's their problem. Equazcion /C 05:12, 8 Feb 2009 (UTC)
Truth be told, if a voter is weighing their support vs oppose on a candidate based on the tool used to make an edit rather than the quality of the edit, then I would question that individual's fitness to judge whether a candidate is fit for the mop. Such tools exist to aid our ability to maintain the encyclopedia, their use as a measure of an editor's ability is inconsequential. As always, editors should be viewed based on their judgment in contributing; everything else is static. Resolute 06:51, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

People are responsible for their edits regardless of if they use a script, so I don't think it matters. Chillum 05:42, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

change to Wikipedia:Copyright[edit]

see Wikipedia_talk:Copyrights#shorten_the_page.Geni 22:17, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

End the policy/guideline/essay distinction[edit]

The more I observe discussion about/based on policies, guidelines, essays and various other bits of documentation that serve a similar purpose, the more I get the feeling that trying to maintain a distinction between these various classes of page, without even any clear procedure for deciding which is which and why, is just a cause of endless trouble. We should simply have a set of pages - it could even be merged into the Help namespace - which give editors advice about how to behave in a manner that is approved by the community. Good advice should be included; bad advice should be excluded; simple as that. Disputes about what goes in should be resolved cleanly with an AfD-like process (less the bureaucracy). Proposal pages can appear in the WP space for a time, but if they don't get consensus they should be deleted or moved to user space (or marked as failed, but not allowed to live forever as essays). What do we think?--Kotniski (talk) 09:36, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Thing is that policies are things you have to do, i.e. you'll get blocked/banned if you don't. Guidelines are things that some group of people at some point (possibly back before anyone still active had even heard of Wikipedia) agreed you're supposed to do, but probably won't get blocked if you don't, at least not the first few times. And essays are just any old nonsense that someone wrote and stuck in the project space, and which every other contributor to the project might disagree with, though in practise, usually represent widely-held opinions that there is too much disagreement about to make a policy or guideline -- Gurch (talk) 13:26, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Ah, policies are things you have to do (or get blocked) — except when you don't. Guidelines are things that you really should do – except when you really don't – and you probably won't get blocked if you tread on them, unless you're generally being a dick about it at the same time.
A 'guideline' may also be any policy that was created in the last few years, after it became impossible to get consensus for any new policies. It's easier to accept a compromise 'guideline' label than to fight the stubborn and pigheaded wikilawyers. (Under that definition, a guideline is any sound policy that a few loud wingnuts will argue with when their conduct comes to AN/I.) For this reason, the clever policy wonk will now – wherever possible – attempt to introduce new policy by changing, amending, or expanding an existing policy rather than by starting from scratch.
Essays range from convenient shorthand for long-standing arguments, to explanatory notes on policy, to venting by vested contributors, to cruft that nobody got around to userfying. In value, they run the gamut from 'helpful exposition on an aspect of Wikipedia philosophy and process' to 'WP: shortcut that can be used in an argument in order to save the parties the trouble of thinking'. (Some essays probably fall into both categories simultaneously.) TenOfAllTrades(talk) 14:48, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes, the fact that we don't know ourselves what the significance of these distinctions is, and the multitude of possible descriptions within any one category (as Ten accurately illustrates), are just more reasons to abandon them.--Kotniski (talk) 15:03, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
if you think that the average policy dispute could be "resolved cleanly with an AfD-like process" then either you've seen too few policy debates or too few AfDs. The whole point of raising certain community norms to policy or guideline status is that it lifts them out of the total lottery which is your average one-off debate on WP. I'd certainly welcome a more proactive approach to promoting those parts of essayspace which are widely held as gospel and weeding out the rest, but what you're proposing is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 15:38, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
What baby? What you're suggesting about essays is exactly what I have in mind; but having done that, how do these "gospel" essays differ from guidelines, or indeed policies? Given that all rules have exceptions, there is only a continuum of absoluteness, and it's specific statements rather than whole pages that take their place on that continuum. (AfD-like was perhaps not exactly what I meant, but it would be something involving neutral adjudication like we get at AfD but rarely get for policy debates.)--Kotniski (talk) 16:33, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

I've been thinking about this for a little while, and here's what I would do. Policies should be limited in number, consisting of WP:3RR and its exemptions (i.e. WP:Vandalism, WP:BLP, WP:COPYVIO, etc.) That would be a far more operative definition of a policy - something which can be immediately enforced (by anyone) without the enforcer risking sanctions, provided what is being removed is a clear-cut violation of one of those policies. That would also likely mean that WP:IAR did not apply to policies, which it currently does.

All the other policies, including NPOV, V, and OR would be demoted to guidelines. What are currently the main content policies seem more like goals. Attempts to rigorously enforce them by summarily removing from an article all material which violates said policies will often be seen as disruptive. In practice, then, they are not policies. PSWG1920 (talk) 17:19, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

I've created a new policy template to mark policies which are 3RR exempt. PSWG1920 (talk) 00:21, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

One policy promotion track: User essay, essay, guideline, policy. User writes an essay. A couple of others say "that's cool" and he moves it to Wikipedia: space. He links to it in the "see also" line of a few guidelines. It starts getting cited in edit summaries. Someone decides to rewrite the text in the form of a guideline. After much use, someone proposes promoting it to a guideline, and everyone says "I thought it was a guideline already" in the discussion. After admins start blocking people for violating this guideline repeatedly, a few admins start treating it as policy. Someone objects at AN that they were blocked without warning for not following a guideline. After a discussion, the guideline gets promoted to policy. OK, things never really happen this way, but it's possible. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 18:37, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Don't forget {{Infopage}}s. That obscure little step between Essay and Guideline that things hide out in. MBisanz talk 18:46, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
For the moment I got scared, and thought there may be more of those than guidelines, but luckily, there are only few [15]. (talk) 19:45, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
There are about 700 essays in WP space [16] and 500+ in user space [17] (talk) 19:48, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

For the "why not?" side of the debate, m:Instruction creep would appear to be relevant here. --Kralizec! (talk) 21:14, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

I don't support this proposal; we've been evolving in the other direction for a while now. - Dan Dank55 (push to talk) 23:22, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Right, and look where it's getting us. Do you really think Wikipedia will function more effectively as a huge bureaucracy where people spend their time arguing about the rules and what they mean, instead of getting on with making a better encyclopedia?--Kotniski (talk) 09:34, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Hmmm... A Wikipedia with no rules. I can't really see that working out. I see it being sort of like communism -- on paper it sounds progressive and utopian, but it wouldn't be practical. Everyone would think they could do whatever they want. Then we'd have to add notes to those "information pages" to say something to the tune of "Well, they're not rules exactly, but in most cases it's a good idea to follow them, cause if you don't you could get blocked." Then they'd basically be rules that we wouldn't call rules, and the ones you couldn't get blocked for would need to be excluded -- similar to what we have now. Even if that didn't happen, many essays present opinions contradictory to guidelines and policies, so if you call them all the same thing, no one would know what they're actually supposed to do.Equazcion /C 00:43, 7 Feb 2009 (UTC)
Well precisely, we would eliminate those contradictory essays into user space. And I'm not advocating "no rules", just an end to false, misleading and pointless-controversy-generating distinctions between types of rules. (Very few of the rules are things you would get blocked for violating anyway.)--Kotniski (talk) 09:34, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
(Reply to original poster) The distinction is clearly discussed and defined at Wikipedia:Policy, and I find it quite useful. It's a good measuring stick for the amount of consensus behind the position. And I find it especially useful that a new user can literally go through all the policies and read them, because there aren't too many of them, and those are the most important things to know. Dcoetzee 08:57, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
I might be convinced if the distinction really were as you say it is, or even if it possibly could be as you say it is (it can't of course, because the amount of consensus is a function of statements, not of whole pages - and what you say is not what it says at WP:Policy anyway). But it's not; nor is your second statement accurate, because (a) by the time he'd read all the 40 or so policies he'll probably depart Wikipedia in a disillusioned haze; and (b) the policies aren't always the most important things to know (much of the most important stuff is in guidelines like the manual of style, or on help pages or even essays). --Kotniski (talk) 09:27, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
I don't think user would depart Wikipedia, but i think while he gets familiar with all 40 or so policies, a few will be changed, so he may get discouraged in keeping track of changes... (talk) 09:34, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

Maybe it would help to know where this is coming from. User:Kotniski is involved in a dispute over a guide that is being used as policy. The example that User:davidwr gives where users say "I thought it was a guideline already" is accurate in that it shows that much of it is based on perception and not the actual. The disputed guide WP:ICONDECORATION is being used as policy. Anyone can click on "What links here" and find many discussions where the guide is referred to as "policy," and the advocates for the guide don't bother to correct the misunderstanding. It suits the advocates for the guide just fine that it's seen as a badge of authority. It appears that Kotniski is looking for a distinction that is based on the actual distinctions and not the perceptions. I doubt there will ever be a concise distinction because perception makes a big difference when considering actual results.

But if I may offer another imperfect attempt at an actual distinction, much of it is based on the language used in the document. I'd say that an essay is an informative persuasion, a guide is suggestive advice, and a policy is authoritative commands. An example of the language in each:

  1. "Here's a problem because blah blah... Here's a good goal to strive for," Essay.
  2. "To solve this specific obvious problem, specifically avoid this and try doing that." Guide.
  3. "Specifically don't do this and just do that, because we say so. Trust us. It's better this way." Policy.

This is not to say that policy doesn't contain persuasion and suggestions. A policy will most likely contain commands that don't require persuasion. But a guide shouldn't contain commands, especially without persuasion of why one should adhere and consensus that the command should be there. If an editor gets blocked because they didn't understand why a policy is making a command, it's not as serious as if an editor got blocked for not adhering to a command without persuasion that any newbie editor may have put in a guide with little or no consensus. Oicumayberight (talk) 17:33, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

But most of these kind of pages contain a mix of the sorts of language you refer to, so the distinction is (to use one of your own favourite expressions) a false dichotomy (or rather trichotomy). (By the way, this proposal has nothing to with with the dispute I'm said to be "involved in" at WP:ICON - it was more provoked by the one at WP:Editing policy, although it's based on impressions that have been forming for some time.)--Kotniski (talk) 18:39, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
I was attempting to make a distinction between the actual an the perceived. A false dichotomy would be saying that there is no overlap between the way essay, guide and policy were used. I'm not saying that. I'm saying that the distinction is in the language, not in the way they are used. As we've seen a guide can be used as policy. But if what is being called a guide was really used as a guide, then it would guide and not police. Oicumayberight (talk) 21:18, 9 February 2009 (UTC)