Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 62

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Citation Policy

I feel like some wikipedians have forgotten the reason why citing articles is important. Citing proves that topics are notable and ensures that information on the article is not false or the result of original research. However, some articles cannot exactly be cited, or are deleted so quickly that the creator does not even get a chance to find a citation that is up to the rigid and bureaucratic standards of many wikipedians. My two examples of this- and I'm sure that there are many more- are two articles about games which were deleted. The first game, called simply "the game" (The Game (game)) is a mind game of sorts which has two basic rules: when you are not thinking about it you are winning, and as soon as you think about it you lose. Now just suppose that this game exists (which it clearly does, judging by the number of people who opted to create the article), but no one has bothered to make a scholarly article about it because it is simply a game... there's no way to cite it but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Another article, which I myself created (Knocking (card game)) was speedily deleted, without giving me or anyone else a chance to find citations. It is difficult to find citations for folklore-like things such as card-games, since these things are generally passed down by word of mouth and may go by many different names. It may even be possible that this game already has an article, but under a different name, in which case I could rest easy knowing that there is encyclopedic content on it. Neither (Knocking (card game)) nor (The Game (game)) were doing any harm whatsoever. Even if this is simply a case of mass hallucination and neither of these games exist, I feel that the general attitude towards or the rules on citation should change in some way so that the undoubtedly countless other similar articles can be created without creating a huge hassle. We must stop following the letter of the law rather than the spirit. Lord mortekai 15:12, 27 September 2007 (UTC)

As you said, "Citing proves that topics are notable and ensures that information on the article is not false or the result of original research." How can we know these games are notable or not original research, if there are no reliable sources whatsoever on them? For all we know, these games were simply made up one day by the authors of the articles. — Carl (CBM · talk) 15:18, 27 September 2007 (UTC)
Also, The game you call "knocking" might be Mao (game). Or it might not. — Carl (CBM · talk) 15:22, 27 September 2007 (UTC)
  • If a game is truly notable enough to be in an encyclopedia, there will be reliable source references to cite. Number of editors could easily be a bunch of people from the same dorm or high school, and does nothing to verify notability, or discount original research. When I create an article, I try to do it in my sandbox, or create a draft in my user space. I don't move it into main until reliable sources are cited, and if I cannot find such sources, I don't move the article to main. If I did, I would have no one else to blame but myself if it got speedy deleted. - Crockspot 16:12, 27 September 2007 (UTC)

Expansive question on Index-lists

Hi, I've got a complex issue, which I've drafted a summary of at Wikipedia:Lists/Index lists. I'm wondering what the best way to discuss it is. One admin suggested I use a collapsible-box to post it here; would that be acceptable/recommended, and which template should I use? (I've started/seen many silent RfCs, so I'm not enamored with that route.)

I'd also appreciate any feedback on how I could explain the issues more clearly, and your initial thoughts on the issue itself, before I put it to a wider audience. Much thanks. -- Quiddity (talk) 06:42, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

Plot summaries and spoilers decrease saleability

I have not had real access to a computer in some time so have not been contributing, but I have been reading on my phone, and I am being constantly sickened by the number of articles that deliberately reveal entire plots to readers. Final Fantasy X#Story, Fight Club#Plot summary, The Sixth Sense#Plot synopsis. Why is this allowed? If I allowed myself to read Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Trials and Tribulations#Story, I would have no desire to play the game (which I just bought), and this is a brand-new game. At the very least this content is unencyclopedic, unless specific plot details have a direct impact on real-world notability (at least enough to validate decreasing the product's market value). Remember, Wikipedia shows up near the top of most Google searches, and this sort of irresponsible editing can easily decrease the subject's saleability. Can we please put an end to it? ~ JohnnyMrNinja 07:57, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

Who cares about "saleability"? That's not Wikipedia's problem but that of corporations.
Anyhow, most films and artworks that have an article in Wikipedia must be somewhat old because otherwise they lack notability. In this sense, they are probably already "sold" by the time somebody writes an article on them.
Honestly, I don't think that an article makes up for watching a film or reading a novel, so hardly can affect the "saleability". They are different experiences. --Sugaar (talk) 09:27, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
Anyhow, most films and artworks that have an article in Wikipedia must be somewhat old because otherwise they lack notability - there are many articles about games that have not yet been released. 'notability' is absent from many WP articles. Dan Beale-Cocks 00:33, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
I love to browse WP after a good read or a movie with a strange ending! I spent a lot of time here after watching Zodiac (film). I think the problem is more of a current witch hunt of Spoiler Warnings, as I just learned reading on Deletionism [1] and related talk pages. —Preceding unsigned comment added by YegLi (talkcontribs) 22:50, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
The idea of Wikipedia is not in any way whatsoever to increase something's "saleability". If something got mainly poor reviews, we'd put that in too, and saleability be goddamned. Our job is to write encyclopedia articles, and those include a synopsis of the full plot. That's not to say plot summaries should be overlong, they should be a synopsis, not a blow-by-blow, and there are tons out there that could use a good trimming. But one cannot realistically write a decent article on anything from Romeo and Juliet to the latest video game without stating what the thing's about, and that includes "telling the ending". If you don't want to see the ending before you (read the book|watch the movie|play the game), don't read the article until after you've done so! Seraphimblade Talk to me 08:52, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
IANAL, but I believe that the issue is that effect on saleability is one of the measures used to assess whether an unlicensed use of copyright material is reasonable or not. It could be argued that the 1,200 word plot summary in the Fight Club article (plus another 1,800 words of character and plot details in the 'Characters', 'Motifs' and 'Subtexts' sections), for what is only a 200-page book to start with, go beyond legitimate analysis of the copyrighted work, and start to become a copyright violation. If reading the article conveys enough of the copyrighted work's content to make readers feel that they don't need to buy the actual work, that could be one indicator that the article has gone beyond legitimate comment and into copyright violation. TSP (talk) 14:14, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
That's an interesting point. A plot summary is the epitome of criticism and commentary. It's not clear to me when that crosses the line between copying (for which fair use applies) and merely describing (which is not copying so there's not even a question of copyright or fair use). In any event the factor relates to decreasing the market for the original work by replacing it, not decreasing sales by telling people the truth about something. For example, if I quote a section of a work to demonstrate that it's racist, or uninformed, or simply poor quality, that may well hurt sales. If I quote a politician's speech or an ad campaign to demonstrate that it's untrue, that may hurt the market purpose of making the speech. But those are all squarely within uses allowed by fair use, and if the doctrine of fair use did not apply they would be solidly protected as a matter of freedom of speech. We don't censor content here simply to avoid hurting sales. We censor use of non-free content out of a concern for copyrights. Wikidemo (talk) 22:27, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
To quote from WP:EPISODE "...the articles do not exist merely to retell the story (which is classed as a derivative work or a copyright violation) but to provide encyclopaedic information about the creation, production and reception of television programmes. Remember, the article should not attempt to be a replacement for watching the show itself, it should be about the show." There is some legal history that supports that plot summaries can be copyright violations. I can't find what the case was because some folks totally rewrote WP:EPISODE without bothering to keep that information, but i'm sure it's still somewhere in the (talk) archives. It is difficult to draw the line, but for a complicated story as Fight club is at some points, I do not consider its article to cross that line. However, as everyone knows i'm sure, there are/were plot summaries on television episodes that definetly failed at being more than a retelling of the story, and as such could be considered potential copyright violations. --TheDJ (talkcontribs) 23:51, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
To add to Seraphimblade's statement, I'd like to point out that although fancruft is an issue that needs to addressed with a number of plot summaries, the summaries themselves are specifically allowed by any number of guidelines (I count one, two, three, and an overarching fourth off the top of my head). Although there are discussions on how exactly these plots should be presented and whether twist endings should be given away (see Wikipedia talk:Spoiler for the most prominent example), our concern is only with copyright infringement, not ensuring that a product sells well. After all, you can buy guides for most games or novel adaptations for most movies immediately after they are released. You can read reviews, read blogs, talk to friends, and do any number of things that could potentially decrease your enjoyment of something, but that is ultimately your prerogative. Compiling verifiable information on notable topics is ours, and we do not practice self-censorship.
If you don't like it, then rather than making a blanket appeal asking us to cut it out I suggest that you work within the system to understand the current consensus on the matter. However, I can tell you right now that even the editors who believe readers should be warned about spoilers recognize the right of this content to exist, which means that changing consensus to the point where it is removed altogether would be a nigh-impossible feat. --jonny-mt(t)(c)Tell me what you think! 05:59, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

English Language

With regard to the language policy on the English Wikipedia, which one would that be then? Commonwealth English or American English? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 217.42.88.239 (talk) 12:03, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

Both. See Wikipedia:MOS#National varieties of English. --Carnildo (talk) 23:05, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

Is there a policy on obvious errors in quotations?

I have some experience with proofreading and copy editing, so I often find and fix typos or other minor errors in Wikipedia pages, simply to improve readability and accuracy.

Today I ran across an article which quotes an online source which itself contains an obvious typo: Palestinian_textbook_controversy which some way down quotes an article as saying "both ignore the other side's suffering and each counts only its only victims" (emphasis mine). Clearly that was supposed to be "own". But "only" is what the original source being quoted says (I checked the reference). Should I correct the typo or not?

As a possible compromise, some news media use square brackets for such repairs to the meaning of quotes, rendering "both ignore the other side's suffering and each counts only its [own] victims"

Assuming this sort of obvious change should be made, how far should it go? For example, I've heard that Neil Armstrong maintains he said or at least intended to say "That's one small step for a man", though the recording shows pretty certainly that he botched it and dropped the word "a". I imagine that without the permanent recording device, we would long ago have forgotten his error, since it was obviously a slip of the tongue. Should history record such errors with ruthless accuracy, or express what the speaker meant to say? (EDIT: FWIW, the Neil Armstrong article uses the square brackets).

I did look for some kind of policy statement on this, but I haven't found one so far. Although, I confess I'm not that familiar with Wikipedia yet, so I may not have looked in the right place. Digitante (talk) 04:22, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

History always records what was said over what was intended, as this can on occasion lead to unforeseen and unintended consequences. However analysis of the sources may suggest the error and the implications this would result in. I believe in this circumstance, the correct solution is to add "[sic]" after the apparent error, which highlights the odd use of a word, phrase or spelling. LinaMishima (talk) 04:29, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
To further clarify, [word] is used when a word is implied or when paraphrasing the original, whilst word [sic] is used for an apparent mis-use of a word, wrongful spelling, or other mistake, where 'sic' is those three letters, rather than a correction. LinaMishima (talk) 04:47, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Ich bin ein Berliner - Mistakes in quotations, whether intended or not, always stick, as history has dictated.--WaltCip (talk) 15:02, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
And in that case, it's true even when they're not mistakes... "sic" is short for Latin for "as in the original" and is the standard method for indicating that a quote is reported accurately when it has an error in the original. I'm surprised this isn't in WP:MOS, actually. SDY (talk) 21:27, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

Please help!

I am trying to add a colour to Wikipedia:WikiProject Music genres/Colours and somebody is vandalizing it! I reverted it several times, but some unlogged user(s) just want to make edit war, ignore discussion and give nonsence arguments fot their edits/vandalism. What can I do? Help please!--Lykantrop (Talk) 11:11, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

Ok first of all, there's a note there asking people to discuss and you didn't discuss first. WP:BOLD is fine for individual articles but what you're really proposing is a change to a broad number of templates, so it ought to be discussed first. Second, most of your edits were merely removing that note, which doesn't mean you have just changed the rules. Third, that whole project page is lame, and no one pays attention to it anyway. I looked through lots of musician related templates and they don't follow that proposed color scheme at all. In fact, there is a different color scheme that appears to be much more relevant: see Template:Infobox musical artist#Background. Mangojuicetalk 15:15, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

Semiprotection

Why isn't the Featured Article Semi-protected? I was curious as to the featured article yesterday, and when I got there, I actually saw vandalism outside of my RC patrolling from time to time. :-/ I reverted it, but it may be wise in the future to protect such an exposed page... ScaldingHotSoup (talk) 00:14, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Main Page featured article protection. Mr.Z-man 02:41, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Thanks, that explained a lot! :-) ScaldingHotSoup (talk) 03:45, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

revert of removal of discussion by User:Equazcion

Equazcion removed a large amount of discussion on "encyclopedic" and "consensus" begun by User:Larry E. Jordan, giving as the reason that the user was blocked. The user was blocked for an alleged offense that had nothing to do with this discussion, and, obviously, was not blocked when he posted. I have reverted this unwarranted deletion.--Abd (talk) 04:31, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

I agree that the thread in question is essentially a troll thread, but perhaps we could archive it instead, or tag it as closed? I certainly don't want to see it as a live discussion, but surely there are legit reasons for anyone who wants to see it? szyslak (t) 05:43, 23 March 2008 (UTC)
He did archive it. Watch out for meat or sock puppets who try and restore it. Regards Section31 --Fredrick day 13:04, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

hah - I forget to log out, oh well. --Fredrick day 13:06, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for forgetting. You do realize what you just did, don't you? I had some doubt. No longer. Bye-bye.--Abd (talk) 14:25, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

Movie screenshot policy

I am working on article about Yamato (film) and I think that it would look better if I took some screenshots of such as characters and such, is it allowed? Am I or am I not breaking laws if I post sceenshots of the movie here? Kuhlfürst (talk) 12:26, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

You can, it's one of those fair use grey areas and it is acceptable under certain conditions. There are four criteria to meet, listed here. Wikipedia:Fair_use#Acceptable_use is the relevant policy. See Apocalypse Now#Background and production for an example of what can be used. SDY (talk) 21:40, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
Oh, and randomly, this is the talk page about the village pump, not the village pump itself. In future, ask questions directly on the project page. SDY (talk) 22:01, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

Sourcing Adjudication Board

I wanted to bring to the community's attention the fact that as a part of a proposed decision (in voting stage) in a current ArbCom case Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Homeopathy/Proposed decision, ArbCom is considering the creation of a new structure called the "Sourcing Adjudication Board". The board will have broad authority in dealing with sourcing complaints on Wikipedia. Its mandate is described in the proposed decision as follows: "The Committee shall convene a Sourcing Adjudication Board, consisting of credentialed subject-matter experts insofar as is reasonable, which shall be tasked with examining complaints regarding the inappropriate use of sources on Wikipedia. The Board shall issue findings, directly to the Committee, regarding all questions of source usage, including, but not limited to, the following:

  1. Whether an editor has engaged in misrepresentation of sources or their content.
  2. Whether an editor has used unreliable or inappropriate sources.
  3. Whether an editor has otherwise substantially violated any portion of the sourcing policies and guidelines.

The Board's findings shall not be subject to appeal except to the Board itself. The precise manner in which the Board will be selected and conduct its operations will be determined, with appropriate community participation, no later than one month after the closure of this case." The current vote on this portion of the final decision is 6 for, 1 against and 1 abstention. Nsk92 (talk) 14:47, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

Interesting as this may be, I fear that you will not receive the community's attention here. This is the talk page for the Village Pump; you should be posting this at Wikipedia:Village pump (policy) instead. Regards, Waltham, The Duke of 17:21, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
Good point, thanks. I posted this info at the main Village Pump (policy) page. Nsk92 (talk) 17:48, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

Confusing overuse of non-English characters

The Meridian (Chinese medicine) article contains so many of them as to be very confusing and illegible. The lead is especially bad. This is the English language Wikipedia, so just how far are we going to veer away from that? It really needs a clean-up. Maybe a glossary table can be used and most of them being moved there, thus freeing the content from most of those symbols. -- Fyslee / talk 04:02, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

It looks like they could just be all removed because it doesn't appear anything would really be lost from it, but i would also inter-wiki link to all the corresponding language specific pages for it. Peachey88 (Talk Page | Contribs) 09:15, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
It's not the Chinese characters that are the problem - it's the excessive use of glosses in parentheses. Some of those should be relegated to footnotes, that would help legibility. Haukur (talk) 11:18, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
See MOS:ZH for policy. I wouldn't shed a tear if we lost every one of them outside the first line of the article. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 08:42, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
The subject comes up a lot; see for instance the Use English talk page. In order to get high-quality articles on topics related to China, we want as many people as possible who read both English and the relevant languages (such as Mandarin) to be finding the pages through a search. If there's a certain Chinese character on the page, even if the typical English user doesn't see it because they don't have the font loaded up, that will generate hits on search engines that attract the attention we want. As long as we have the search terms in place, there's strong support for limiting the non-Roman characters. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 16:27, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Offensive material/ gore

I know that WP is not censored, however WP:Profanity states that

Words and images that would be considered offensive, profane, or obscene by typical Wikipedia readers should be used if and only if their omission would cause the article to be less informative, relevant, or accurate, and no equally suitable alternatives are available. Including information about offensive material is part of Wikipedia's encyclopedic mission; being offensive is not.

I need a clarification on what constitutes offensive material. For example, are gore/graphic violence or similar things offensive? More specifically, is there a policy/guideline against putting pictures depicting graphic violence/ horrors/ shock images in pages about wars, terror attacks, disasters, genocides etc? More specifically is it ok to add images of dead/mutilated bodies of victims/soldiers?

The issue is relevant to Talk:2008_South_Ossetia_war#Gore, where I am arguing that images like this (careful: the image may be shocking) are not appropriate there. And if there is no need for such pictures is request to speedy delete them reasonable?

The image is not profane or obscene. It is a brutally real result of war. War kills soldiers. --Moni3 (talk) 00:48, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
Well, I know that it is no profane, the question is whether it is offensive.(Igny (talk) 00:57, 21 October 2008 (UTC))
Gracious, offensive is quite relative. There are images in penis, anal sex, clitoris, and other sexually related articles that realistically show what they're referencing. I'm not sure why an article about war should not show images of the results of war. The image, however, has no sourcing or copyright information. For that reason it will probably be nominated for speedy deletion.
(Last post was unsigned.) This is WT:VPP; you may have been looking for WP:VPP. Also, WP:Profanity is a style guideline; see the See also section on that page for the relevant content guideline and Wikipedia's legal disclaimer. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 12:59, 25 October 2008 (UTC)
Pictures of violence and gore are not subject to rules on profanity and generally not even offensiveness, but the question needs to be asked if the image is gratuitous. Is it there only to shock? Is it POV? Does it help understand the situation (without being POV), or is it only decoration? We have a lot of images in articles that are only marginally informative, but in this case, we need to be more selective, since such images are upsetting to a large group of people. -Freekee (talk) 16:26, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
Upsetting people, if it is relevant, is not necessarily a problem; neither is offensiveness. As long as it gives due attention to main issues and does not give trivialities undue (WP:UNDUE) attention. For example a debate has raged about including mugshots (police photos after arrest) of celebraties [2] where the undue attention to an unlucky episode in the life of the celebrity gained the consensus to be very careful about placing these (see e.g. File:Lindsaylohanmugshot.jpg). Similarly for wars an ugly scene maybe relevant or giving undue attention to an isolated incident. Arnoutf (talk) 16:42, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

generalisation spelling

I see generalization spelled "generalisation" on about 500 pages. Should these be fixed? Dayyanb (talk) 16:29, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

I believe that falls under WP:ENGVAR. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 18:05, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Not in general, no. -:) — Blue-Haired Lawyer 20:59, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
Being British, I always spell it "generalisation", so, yes, it falls under WP:ENGVAR--FimusTauri (talk) 12:46, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
I can't make a generalization about how I spell it :-D
Sometimes it's "s" and sometimes not. It always gives me slight pause. I tend to go "z" if I stop for a brief moment when spelling such a word. Some words are always "s". "Capitalization" is always "z".
That's just me, and British dictionaries usually give "-isation" and "-ization" as alternatives.
I think the "s" is seen in Britain as more aesthetically pleasing. I tend to think so, but then this latinate ending is a bit like flat-pack buildings you tend to see off of the M6, so I don't dwell too long :)
(trans: M6 is a "highway")
@ Dayyanb - no, they shouldn't.
- Ddawkins73 (talk) 15:04, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
For more information on -ise vs. -ize, see Oxford spelling and American and British English spelling differences#-ise, -ize. There can be no doubt that both are acceptable in Wikipedia, but articles should of course be consistent. —JAOTC 15:33, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

CU/OS election has started!

Your participation is needed! The historic first-ever CheckUser and OverSight election run by the Arbitration Committee has just started. It's taking place here. Editors are needed urgently to scrutinise the candidates so that those appointed are the best possible people for the job. Your participation here is important to make the election a success. Thanks in advance, --ROGER DAVIES talk 00:40, 6 February 2009 (UTC)


CU/OS Elections are ending tonight!

The historic first-ever checkuser and OverSight election run by the Arbitration Committee is due to close at 23:50 (UTC) today! If you wish to vote, you need to do so soon. Your participation here is important to make the election a success! Thanks in advance, --ROGER DAVIES talk 13:43, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

Question about WP:COI and WP:NOR

I'm just curious- say I was a really famous celebrity, but nobody knew my birth date for example. Could I put it in, or would it be deleted, because there is no proof that I am said celebrity? Would it violate WP:COI and WP:NOR to do that- or make any edits on my encyclopedia page? Wiki548 (talk) 23:47, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

  • Conflicts of interest are only a problem when they are abused. If I were a really famous celebrity, it would still be perfectly fine for me to revert vandalism on my entry—it would only be a problem if I started saying "Nihiltres is the best person ever" on the article. :) The "no original research" rule still applies, though, not because the identity of the celebrity is in question (they'd just have to go through OTRS) but because the date is not verifiable. If I were a really famous celebrity and I identified to OTRS, I could say something like "Nihiltres was born on April 1, 1969" even though that's not true, and no one would be able to tell the difference. Requiring a reliable source may be a pain, but it's a worthwhile step to encourage accuracy. {{Nihiltres|talk|log}} 01:24, 24 February 2009 (UTC)

Okay, I don't get that at all. Can you give me a yes or no answer to: If I had a biography page, but nobody but me knew something important to my biography, like my birthdate, could I put it in? I hope that made it easier to understand. Wiki548 (talk) 21:06, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

No. It would not be verifiable by reliable sources.OrangeDog (talkedits) 15:00, 28 February 2009 (UTC)
No. Often people lie about themselves, including simple things like their ages. We are an encyclopedia that requires good sourcing. "nobody but me knew something important" is where you're going wrong here. If you were the only one who knew it, that's because nobody else thinks it important. --Dragonfiend (talk) 17:33, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

DYK updating policy

Concerns about the updating policy and discussion about possible changes is happening here. Ottava Rima (talk) 05:13, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

Now located here. Ottava Rima (talk) 02:46, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Books

I have started a thread for administrative and policy concerns related to Wikipedia:Books, see Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard#Wikipedia:Books (to AN, because it also requires intervention of administrators). Cenarium (talk) 19:47, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

Attracting diverse opinions to WikiProjects, VfDs, and other discussions

I've noticed that certain projects seem to be run by a very small number of people with a single mindset, who refuse to even consider sensible changes to how they run it. Clearly, this process is harmful to Wikipedia. However, I don't really really know of an effective way to invite others into the discussion, so that there actually is a real discussion and effective debate instead of what amounts to two or three people saying "no, we're going to do it how we want". Any ideas?  –radiojon (talk) 20:19, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

Over Use of Semi-Protection

I have recently noticed that wikipedia has become plagued by semi protection. It seems like a rare occurance now to be on an article page and not see the silver lock. This is of concern and directly against the philosophy of wikipedia. It seems to me that people are getting the idea that once a page is vadalised once it should be semi protected. In my opinion this should not be the case. For example one page I have found semi protected is the "dog" page. I doubt that this page is heavily vandalised (thinking from a vandals pov, doesn't seem very fun), futhermore there is nothing I can see on the discussion page about its protection. I feel we need to start actively fighting semi protection. Any thoughts? --AresAndEnyo (talk) 15:03, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

I've been going through WP:INDEFSEMI and lowering indefinite page protections without compelling justification, but if there's any specific examples you'd like me to look at, drop by my talk page. I've unprotected Dog, let's see how it goes. –xeno (talk) 15:20, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
I have indefinitely semi'd several pages. I will be very irritated if any administrator unprotects any of them without attempting discussion first. We need much more semi-protection around here, not less. Sarcasticidealist (talk) 15:24, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
Semi-protection yes, but it is very rare that indef protection should ever be used in the article space. It should be a couple weeks at the most. Chillum 15:27, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
So this is no longer the encyclopedia anyone can edit? –xeno (talk) 15:44, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
I don't mean to be vicious at all but it seems to me that Sarcasticidealist opinions are exactly the opposite of the ideas wikipedia was created on. --AresAndEnyo (talk) 15:59, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
As far as I'm concerned, the ideas Wikipedia was founded on were to create a repository of free (as in air and as in beer) knowledge by way of a wiki model. Anything that interferes with that is a problem. Sarcasticidealist (talk) 16:19, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
What Wikipedia is actually is an encyclopedia created by everyone who has the whim to participate. This is what wikipedia has been about from the start. Someone searching through wikipedia as a user and finds a spelling mistake should be able to fix it without having to sign up for an account and waiting 4 days!! Your opinions are incorrect and you only want to push your elitism. I won't say your way is not better than the wikipedia way, but this is not your or any of our project's to mould. I think the only reason wikipedia has grown at all is the freedom to edit has allowed it to become dynamic and cutting edge. There are plenty of conservative encyclopedias out there with a dictionary definition of computers if people want. As for doing this only to "established" articles, it all becomes a matter of who draws the line.--AresAndEnyo (talk) 17:31, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
That line is drawn only where vandalism is common. There's not a single page on my watchlist that is protected, and I seldom make edits to pages that are protected. People finding spelling mistakes and not being able to fix them, is not going to turn users away and reduce the quality. People leaving the project because they're spending all of their time fixing vandalism rather than writing articles is going to reduce the quality. New users will seldom make productive changes to established pages (heck, I seldom make such changes). I don't see a problem with making WP "the encyclopedia that anyone can fill out a form and then edit."—Preceding unsigned comment added by Freekee (talkcontribs) 00:53, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
I've had several requests for semis declined because the level of vandalism wasn't enough or it had tapered off by the time the administrator looked at the request. I've also had some declined because the vandal(s) were blocked. More than once I've had to go back and say "the vandalism is back" and the article usually winds up with a few days' or a week's semi-protection. Indef. semi should only be used on persistent vandalism-magnets or magnets for sockpuppets of banned editors that have access to a wide variety of IP addresses. In practice, this usually winds up being high-traffic, controversial articles. The "bar" for BLP articles for semi should be somewhat lower than for other ariticles, but only if the vandalism is harmful to the subject of the article, not merely "Elrod was here"-type or page-blanking-type vandalism. For the latter the bar should be the same as for non-BLP articles. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 15:41, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

Hopefully flagged revisions will finally be used shortly so this won't even be an issue (and by that I mean putting it on pages that would be semi'd otherwise, not all across WP which would never happen). ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 15:53, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

I think we have to take a pragmatic approach. Yes, we're the encyclopedia anyone can edit, but that doesn't mean anyone can change any part of it immediately in any way they like. One an article reaches a particular level of maturity, we can reasonably ask whether the costs of losing or inconveniencing IP editors by making them go through {{editprotected}} would really exceed the costs of having to revert (or worse, failing to revert) regular IP vandalism/miguided attempts to improve. The vast majority of articles are doubtless not yet at that level (though I would still semi-protect BLPs as a matter of course), but many of the most read articles (so what seems like a majority) might well be. (Edit conflict: I don't really think flagged revisions are anything other than semi-protection - or some other level of protection - repackaged.)--Kotniski (talk) 16:02, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
Very well-said. Sarcasticidealist (talk) 16:19, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
I agree with you saying that flagged revisions are just another semi-protection, thus the reason why I oppose them as well. However, I have to disagree with you on your first point. I think most people will agree with me that being an encyclopedia anyone can edit does directly imply that anyone can change any part of it immediately in any way that they see fit, which then implies that anyone can turn it back. What you are talking about is restraining the average helpful (occasionaly misguided) wikipedia user from editing pages. This is the big change and one that conflicts with policy. Protection should be used to protect pages from vandalism (that is users that continously try to destroy the page for their own ammusement) not protecting wikipedia from people trying to make wikipedia a better information source (even if you disagree from them). If we allow this increase in protection to continue (it may sound a bit dramatic) I believe we will start a slippery slope towards higher and higher level of protection. To the point when being able to edit a page will be source a painful application process that we will discourage new writers. As it is my feeling that wikipedia is composed at the moment of many decorated users who will probably loose interest in a few months, you can see how we will start to have an encyclopedia less and less people edit. This will lead to it being less and less relevant and thus less and less popular. --AresAndEnyo (talk) 17:43, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
I can't see how going to an edit page an adding a template to suggest a change is easier for anyone than actually being able to edit the page directly, even if it requires a later person to approve it. But I guess that's a discussion for another page. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 18:14, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
Those are good points, but I've also known valuable editors leave or scale down their involvement in WP precisely because they see their good work being eroded over time with nothing to protect it. It wouldn't necessarily be a major offput to new editors to sometimes see a friendly message like This article has been found to be of sufficiently high standard as to be protected from direct editing; it can nonetheless undoubtedly still be improved, and you are warmly encouraged to suggest edits (or request unprotection if necessary) by leaving a note on its talk page. I think people who empathized with what the project fundamentally is (i.e. an encyclopedia, not an experiment in democracy/anarchy/...) would understand and accept.--Kotniski (talk) 18:13, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

I, as an administrator, will honour any request to unprotect an article with indefinite (or effectively indefinite) semi-protection where I agree that the article may have a reasonable chance at staying largely vandalism-free. I think that this is in line with both our protection policy and the foundation principle that anyone should be able to edit. I do think that we could have a better system for protecting articles, and I think that a good candidate would be flagged protection as it was originally proposed. Unfortunately, those wishing a more restrictive system of flagged revisions opposed that proposal under the idea that it would replace Flagged Revisions. As an example, Sarcasticidealist's oppose was this: "I could support this if it was intended to be in addition to the other implementation of flagged revisions. As I understand it, it's intended to supplant that, so I'm opposed." I have not since seen an active proposal for the "other implementation of flagged revisions", so I'm understandably annoyed that politics has prevented us from making a useful and otherwise uncontroversial change. {{Nihiltres|talk|log}} 16:09, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

The proposal came up in the context of Jimbo's statement that he was going to ask the developers to turn on flagged revisions for BLPs. Certainly, not all details of that were ironed out (and still aren't, which understandably annoys me). Now, putting flagged revisions on BLPs isn't mutually exclusive with activating a new form of protection, like flagged protection, which is why I said that I could have supported flagged protection if it was in addition to turning on flagged revisions for all BLPs. But the tone of discussion on flagged protection was very much "Yes, this way we won't have all the downsides of other implementations of flagged revisions", so I opposed. Sarcasticidealist (talk) 16:19, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes; last I heard Jimbo was attempting to formulate a proposal for FlaggedRevs which would be sufficiently effective and open to gain widespread community support. The difficulty of that task should not be understated. My point on the oppose is that the proposal shouldn't be opposed on the grounds of the opinions of others. Whereas the editors opposing widespread use of FlaggedRevs will oppose widespread use of FlaggedRevs regardless of whether flagged protection is implemented or not, opposing flagged protection on the basis of support for exclusive use of flagged protection seems counterproductive as anything but political jockeying. Is that a fair statement? {{Nihiltres|talk|log}} 08:15, 21 February 2009 (UTC)
I can't say I was fully satisfied with the initial version of flagged protection, but I agree opposing a moderate move because it is not strong enough when the stronger one clearly has no sufficient support is counterproductive and can only led to status quo. I have proposed a new version that I think addresses most concerns (creation of a reviewer group, autoconfirmed users are autoreviewed, but this can be disabled on a per-article basis). I have put together this and two other proposals at User:Cenarium/Proposal that I think would help the BLP and unfocused vandalism issues that cannot be handled by protection. Cenarium (talk) 16:45, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
The fewer pages that are protected the better. It would seem obvious that flagged revisions, which I vehemently oppose, would replace semi-protection, not be added to semi-protection. The cd versions of Wikipedia are in effect the flagged revision. When I started using Wikipedia, de rigueur was to look at the revision history and look for what seemed to be a stable edit and read that one. I never cared what the current version said, because I did not even look at it other than to see how it differed. The reason I strongly oppose flagged revisions is that "anyone can edit" and I really do not want to have to wait for someone to "approve" a good edit, no matter who makes it. Also you get into this ridiculous hierarchy of who approves the edits, who approves the people who approve the edits, who approves them, and so on ad finitum. I think the best approach is to watch changes, all of them, and flag them as good/bad/indifferent, and if they are bad, fix them quickly, and never get upset about having odd information in any article for a few seconds. The only time I would semi-protect an article would be if no one can keep up with the corrections. Apteva (talk) 16:51, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
Just to clarify, in case it's not already clear: flagged protection explicitly says that flagged revisions should only be used in a flagged-revisions-visible-by-default configuration on pages that would otherwise be semi-protected (or full-protected). In that case, it is an improvement for the principle of open editing you describe, in that pages which originally could only be edited by autoconfirmed users (or admins) would then be editable by all users with simply a system of checks for new users (or non-admin users) before the edits went "live". I "vehemently oppose" FlaggedRevs for a system that would effectively protect most articles, and yet it is my opinion that flagged protection is a good system. I might as well also point out that the "hierarchy" you describe is actually relatively simple: reviewers (who can approve edits) would (presumably) be flagged by administrators, who are flagged through a community process. Any hierarchy is relatively short, and the reviewer group would be only one extra rung on the ladder. Make sure you understand what you say you "vehemently oppose". :)
What you might be more interested in is the "patrolled revisions" proposal Cenarium makes on the same page, which proposes to use FlaggedRevs without any effect except marking revisions as acceptably clean, which would introduce a more tangible system for the procedure that you describe. I don't think this system is exclusive of the flagged protection system, since the flagged-revision-by-default option can be enabled on individual pages, and it would ultimately help reduce the number of pages which are semi-protected by making vandalism easier to manage. {{Nihiltres|talk|log}} 18:26, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
Both proposals Wikipedia:Flagged protection and Wikipedia:Flagged protection/Proposed state ", but not visible to readers by default until reviewed by a 'reviewer'"?, the latter proposal takes the attractive part out of the first one, by the fact that edits by autoconfirmed users have to wait for review as well before they go live, the problem in patrolled versions is the workload, the idear is not original, we can look at RU.wiki. Mion (talk) 19:08, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
In my proposal, autoconfirmed users are autoreviewed. So in the vast majority of cases, they'll be automatically reviewed (whenever the previous version already was, which should be the case almost always as it'll be used on a small number of articles, so backlogs won't develop). Note that a developer has opposed giving reviewer rights to any autoconfirmed user and it would go against the will of the foundation to make editing easier. In short, the initial proposal will never be implemented. The proposed modification, on the other hand, is a very slight change in the spirit. Cenarium (talk) 17:26, 28 February 2009 (UTC)
"A developer" [who?] ~user:orngjce223 how am I typing? 02:54, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
Aaron Schulz (the developer of FlaggedRevs). Cenarium (talk) 17:04, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

Why do we write paragraphs that are redundant of "main articles"

If you look at a Wikipedia page on any country you find sections such as Rwandan genocide under Rwanda that contain a couple paras on a subject and a link to an entire page on the same subject. Isn't this a poor policy to allow such redundancy? Wouldn't it make sense to have a Wikipedia-wide policy that the first para of the Rwandan genocide page simply display on the Rwanda page and then at the bottom of this first para you could follow a link to the Rwandan genocide page to read more ? That way you avoid the pervasive problem on Wikipedia that inconsistencies may arise between different pages on the same topic. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.230.176.150 (talk) 03:55, 25 February 2009 (UTC)

If we actually paid attention to WP:Lead on a consistent basis, lead sections would be decent synopses of articles, suitable for transclusion. But we don't and so they aren't. Pity.LeadSongDog (talk) 04:38, 25 February 2009 (UTC)
Not quite sure what you're getting at. The topics on the 'main' page are supposed to give a brief summery of the contents of the detailed page. See WP:SS. Not quite sure what WP:LEAD has to do with it... ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 04:48, 25 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes, the wording of the summary paragraph in the context of the more general article would normally have a different form (though possibly very similar substance) to the lead of the specific article. And avoiding "inconsistencies" is no benefit if it results in being consistently wrong.--Kotniski (talk) 09:15, 25 February 2009 (UTC)
Are you asking for a technical solution to this, such as automatic transclusion? If you're just talking about people actually following the guidelines at WP:SUMMARY then yes, I agree that they should, but there's not really much to be done about that except for to keep correcting articles. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 19:22, 25 February 2009 (UTC)
No, I'm saying that a technical solution is pointless unless and until the guidelines are followed. So long as lead fixation persists, that's not going to happen. Another option is to create explicit abstracts as sub-articles at [[Topic/Abstract]]. Those could then be transcluded wherever needed. Such abstracts would be similar to the lead text, without images, infoboxes, or citations.LeadSongDog (talk) 18:22, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
If you don't mind me saying, the orthographic is a simple, sensible and nice idea. It's aesthetically pleasing and factually accurate isn't it? Good one :)~ R.T.G 11:36, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

Propaganda Articles

Firstly: I think i put this in the right place.

For a few months ago, i edited the St. Gilgen International School article. It sounded like an advertisment for the school and i changed it to a normal, fair article. Once again, when i looked at it today, somebody had been in and covered up the parts that i had written that sounded bad, like that there was no gyms at the school. The style of writing made me think that someone from the school had gone in and edited it, so that students who read it got a good impression.

Also, thougher things, like information added in places were it shouldnt be. This was also there last time before i removed it. Im starting to think that people are using wikipedia to give people postive impressions. Another example is that of the Naples article. After reading the book Gommora, i looked at the wikipedia article. The only mention of crime in the city with the worlds highest murder rate was 5 short lines.

Mjosefsson (talk) 12:25, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

This is covered in WP:NPOV and WP:COI there is also a template you can use for the article {{Advert}}. Note however that the book Gommora is likely to have a non-neutral point of view (being very negative) itself and should not be taken as the only point of view. Arnoutf (talk) 12:51, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

Proposal for notability standard for gameshow contestants

I have made a proposal for a notability standard for gameshow contestants at Wikipedia_talk:Notability_(people)#Proposal:_WP:GAMESHOW. THF (talk) 19:04, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

heading levels

I and apparently several other users have been having disagreements with User:Rotational (see User talk:Rotational) over the appropriate level of headings used in articles. As can been seen from Rotational's talk page, this issue has been going on for a while. I got involved with article Barnard 68 (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views), where from my reading of WP:LAYOUT, this should use == xx == (level 2), while Rotational uses ==== xx ==== (level 4). This makes the articles in question (not just Barnard 68, also NGC 2818, among others) look different from other articles on Wikipedia. I would appreciate comments from the community on this issue. 76.66.193.90 (talk) 06:46, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

Yes, this has been going on for quite a long time. I still haven't ever received an explanation of why he prefers the articles that way except for personal aesthetic preference. The obvious solution to the problem is to have Rotational alter his user style sheet so that he will see level-4 headings when everyone else sees level-2. This has been suggested in the past and more recently, but the user persists and doesn't want to change his style sheets. I can't begin to guess why (other than because I suggested it). When this topic has come up before on AN/I (twice), many editors agreed that MOS:HEAD exists for a reason and Rotational should follow it. Some saw it as no big deal, but nothing had really been done about it. Perhaps a different, stronger voice than my own might be able to convince Rotational to make use of the user style sheet. --Rkitko (talk) 13:15, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
Well... looking at Barnard 68 history, I just issued a {{uw-3rr}} to Rotational since s/he's right now on the limit, with 3-reverts in a 24-hour period. 76.66.193.90 (talk) 13:37, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
He's been active in three edit wars at the moment: Barnard 68, Stephen Ponsonby Peacocke, and Martin Vahl (botanist), one of which I've been involved in. An RfC might be appropriate. --Rkitko (talk) 15:55, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
Rotational just deleted the {{uw-3rr}} warning message from his talk page. IIRC that's considered vandalism, is it not? 76.66.193.90 (talk) 12:12, 28 February 2009 (UTC)
No, it is not. Everyone is free to remove warnings from their talk page if they wish. Algebraist 12:14, 28 February 2009 (UTC)
user:Carnildo recently fully protected Barnard 68 because of edit warring. 76.66.193.90 (talk) 14:29, 28 February 2009 (UTC)
While Rotational hasn't explicitly broken the 3RR as far as I can see, the edit warring is problematic, so I've created a report at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Edit warring#Rotational reported by Rkitko (Result: ). Rkitko (talk) 14:47, 28 February 2009 (UTC)
Getting rid of level 3 and 2 may be over the top, however, yours truly is in the same boat with User:Rotational on omitting level 3 headings. They appear twice as black and bold as level 2, which is plain idiocy; as long as this nonsense persists, you will run into an occasional Rotational here and there. But, of course, banning users is far easier than changing font styles. NVO (talk) 17:39, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
Isn't there a manual of style discussion on this matter? If you disagree with the layout, then you should discuss it at MOS, not take it upon yourself to edit war to your preferred version. Who then was a gentleman? (talk) 22:22, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
I assume you're using the "Monobook" skin, since I don't see anything of the sort in Classic. If you disagree with how the level 3 headings look, the correct thing to do is get the appearance changed, not omit the headings entirely. I think Mediawiki talk:monobook.css is the page you're looking for. --Carnildo (talk) 09:41, 28 February 2009 (UTC)
One other thing I have noticed is that he has tagged several articles with {{inuse}} and the forgot about them when he was finished. I'm going though part of his edit history removing the tag and fixing the header levels. --Farix (Talk) 19:48, 28 February 2009 (UTC)
Went all the way back to February 16 before quitting. Anyone else want to take it from there? --Farix (Talk) 19:57, 28 February 2009 (UTC)
I wonder if a bot could be set up to automatically de {{inuse}} things after 24 hours to become {{underconstruction}} and then after a week remove that tag as well... 76.66.193.90 (talk) 05:17, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
JL-Bot was approved to do just that, and is currently very active. There might be others as well, that's just the first one that came to mind. §hepTalk 19:16, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
That bot appears to not de-inuse things if it's actively editted, regardless of the amount of time from initiation of the template... which seems to be not quite enough, since inuse "locks" the article down. Well, hopefully there's another bot that does remove the inuse regardless of whether it's being editted or not, after a day. 76.66.193.90 (talk) 07:07, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

Nudity in DYK image on Front page

Does the front page allow nudity? See Wikipedia_talk:Did_you_know#Nudity in DYK image for the current discussion.Smallman12q (talk) 19:15, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

I don't see why not, we don't do censorship. Arnoutf (talk) 19:58, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
'Principle of least surprise' applies. Nudity is acceptable – WP:NOTCENSORED and all that – when it is in the appropriate context. We're an encyclopedia, so I'd tend to apply the following tests:
  1. Is the nudity necessary to illustrate the subject? Is there an alternative illustration that has equal value but lacks nudity?
  2. Would the nudity be (editorially) appropriate in a similar print or online context — newsmagazine (Time) or newspaper (New York Times) cover, or front page of the CNN or BBC websites?
Note that some images which may be appropriate for specific Wikipedia articles may not be appropriate for the front page. A reader could reasonably expect to see explicit illustrations or images in our article on the penis or the list of sex positions. A reader would not reasonably expect to find explicit content on the cover, table of contents, or index of a paper reference work; I would tend to lump the main page into that same category.
Now, the specific case appears to be a line drawing of an archaelogical figure; as far as nudity goes I find it pretty tepid — but that's just my opinion. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 21:03, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
It is a hill side without cover, so nude indeed (but hardly shocking) ;-) And also the image can hardy be considered pornographic, if this is offensive, I think each and any DYK about a weapon system on the frontpage would cause a heart attack with a pacifist in comparison. Arnoutf (talk) 21:11, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
As I've argued before, the "prefer an illustration of equal value without nudity test" is frequently erroneous because it's a false dichotomy - often the most informative option is actually to include both images. We don't seem to have a problem including multiple images of other animals emphasizing different traits. Dcoetzee 23:34, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Article Collaboration and Improvement Drive

Wikipedia:Article Collaboration and Improvement Drive is back up and needs to get more active. Just a heads up. Secret account 15:02, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

Where and when to use NOINDEX to remove pages from search engines

Adding the template {{NOINDEX}} to a page adds noindex to the html, causing Google and other search engines to exclude the page from their indexes. Currently, it has no effect in mainspace (articles). It is usually added to administrator noticeboards, userpages of banned users, sensitive AfD discussions and other project pages to keep sensitive information out of Google. User:Cool Hand Luke has been adding the NOINDEX tag to subcategories of Category:Criminals, which are part of the encyclopedia content. We should have a policy or guideline on when and where is can or should be used.

I copied and merged the discussion from User talk:Cool Hand Luke and User talk:Apoc2400 here. Continue below.

I see you are adding the {{NOINDEX}} template to many mainspace categories. This seems like a bad idea. Finding categories like Israeli fraudsters by Google could certainly be useful to readers. --Apoc2400 (talk) 18:10, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

Due to the potential for these categories to cause harm to living people, I want them off of google.
Also, because they are categories, they are by definition not in the mainspace. If they were mainspace, the tags would have no effect. Cool Hand Luke 18:13, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
If it is a BLP violation, then the article or category should be deleted, or the the article removed from the category.
There is no technical separation between types of categories (yet), but I would say that categories (and templates) are either part of the encyclopedia or project/maintenance. This that are part of the encyclopedia should be treated similar to mainspace articles. --Apoc2400 (talk) 18:20, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
Categories cannot be watched or confirmed like articles. With an article, one can check the sources are remove BLP violations fairly straightforwardly. Categories do not lend themselves to this treatment. Because remote and unwatched articles can be slipped into a defamatory category, I believe that excluding these categories is the least we can do. Frankly, I think low-profile BLPs should be excluded from indexing themselves, but the software does not permit it.
I weight the potential for harming a living person versus the slight ease of users finding a category like "Latvian rapists." In my estimation, this balance leans strongly in favor of keeping them off of google. I NOINDEXed many of these categories back in September and October. I consider it nothing more than an oversight that I missed these. Cool Hand Luke 18:36, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
CHL's position on this seems quite reasonable to me. Newyorkbrad (talk) 18:41, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
Categories can not be watched for articles added to them, but it will show up for anyone watching the article. I do not really see how a category is worse than text in the article.
{{NOINDEX}} not working in articles is not a missing feature in the software, it is a limitaiton put there because it should not be used on content pages. You can of course disagree with that.
I disagree with your weighting of the problem. I think you over-estimate the risk or severence of articles wrongly added to these categories or underestimate the usefullness of searching.
For a free content project, all content should be freely accessible, with no restrictions of things like indexing. Project pages are an other thing. --Apoc2400 (talk) 18:54, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
Categories are not worse. As I said, I would NOINDEX low-profile BLPs, but I cannot at this time.
Preventing search engines from indexing pages does not undermine our free content in any meaningful way. The content is free as in liberty. It can be fully copied and forked as anyone desires. But, given this domain's high Google ranking, I think we should be cautious when widely disseminating things that might harm living people. Cool Hand Luke 19:07, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
You cannot, because it would go against consensus. The technical inability is only a sign of how NOINDEX is intended to be used. I would actually prefer to remove the technical restriction and instead have a policy on when it can be used. Articles considered for deletion as attack pages for example seems reasonable.
I still do not see what harm categories on Google is actually supposed to do. Always prioritising remotely possible harm to living people over everything else would lead to closing Wikipedia along with the rest of the Internet. --Apoc2400 (talk) 19:13, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
There is no such consensus against using NOINDEX in this way. Like I said, I NOINDEXed many more such categories 4-5 months ago. All of them are still unindexed.
This isn't a remotely foreseeable harm either. There are many examples of subtly defaming articles—poorly watched articles that have contained harmful statements for months. We can't easily certify that categories like these are free from harmful BLP violations, so I find a moral obligation to remove them from Google. Unless and until we do rigorous checking on BLP articles (say, with flagged revisions), possible attack categories like these should not be indexed. Cool Hand Luke 19:21, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
I'm not arguing for extreme measures either. I think these are often nuanced questions. It's just in this case, the ease of readers finding "Latvian rapists" in google versus the potential harm to a person falsely tagged as one is an easy contest. Cool Hand Luke 19:27, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
I believe the consensus is against NOINDEX on content pages, but is has not been discussed enough. Neither this nor this rather pro-NOINDEX proposals suggest using it on content pages. I will bring it up on the Village Pump.
We cannot certify that any pages are free from BLP violations. I don't think that in itself is a reason to stop search engine indexing. NOINDEXing the category has no effect on the BLP article itself anyway.
On a side one, I am surprised after the whole Flagged Revisions debate that nobody seems to bother working on the proposed trials. --Apoc2400 (talk) 19:39, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

My suggestion is that {{NOINDEX}} should be used when all the following applies:

  • It is a non-content project page, or and article that is under consideration for deletion
  • The page contains or is very likely to contain sensitive information that could cause harm is indexed by search engines
  • The usefulness of being able to find the page through external search engines does not outweigh the harm.

I found the following two (apparently failed) proposals for NOINDEX use: Wikipedia:Search engine indexing, Wikipedia:Village_pump_(policy)/Archive_59#NOINDEX_of_all_non-content_namespaces --Apoc2400 (talk) 20:05, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

See also - namespace discussions
Individual template discussions:
List assembled by User:MBisanz. Cool Hand Luke 20:18, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

The community needs to come to some consensus on this. There is a good proposal somewhere to NOINDEX some non-content spaces, but this is an important decision for all of us to make. We shouldn't be NOINDEXING article categories (I'm fine w/ noindexing "wikipedia", "maintenance" or "hidden" cats) piecemeal. Every google hit is a potential editor willing to help us out. If we come to a decision that protecting individuals demands we noindex some non-article content, good, but we should only do so after weighing the benefits against the cost. Protonk (talk) 20:34, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

  • Content categories should be google searchable because they are part of the encyclopedia. Flagged revs and abuse filter should be used to control problematic categories mentioned above. Non-content categories like Banned Users or User Affiliations should not be googled as they are not content as part of the 'pedia. MBisanz talk 02:22, 28 February 2009 (UTC)
    • I think the indefinitely blocked userpages are noindexed automatically. Some mediawiki fix. Protonk (talk) 20:19, 28 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Only bad discussions need NOINDEX, beside some exceptions made by Apoc2400, what happened to transparency ?, only NOINDEXING if approved by the WMF laywer. Mion (talk) 02:54, 28 February 2009 (UTC)
Why do you think we need to be transparent to Google? I'm a bit the other way myself, in that we should only show the best bits. There is still ample transparency in that a local search can find anything. Kevin (talk) 03:01, 28 February 2009 (UTC)
No our trust is build on the fact that all conversations are online, talkpage etc, by excluding parts of it, you create the ivory tower, NOINDEX is a no go. if you want to show the best bits, burn a CD with personal preferences, its not within the scope of this project Mion (talk)
Our trust with who? Kevin (talk) 05:15, 28 February 2009 (UTC)
Are you aware that user talk pages are already excluded from google, as are several of the noticeboard archives, banned user pages, and many others? These are clearly not part of our encyclopedia. If readers want to take a tour of the sausage factory, they can use our internal search feature. Cool Hand Luke 19:55, 28 February 2009 (UTC)
I don't think you'll find a fight from reasonable editors in saying that user related pages (the User:/User talk: namespace, SPI, CSN, etc.) don't need to be indexed. But most other stuff is just as much our products as the encyclopedia are. We are engaged in two major experiments here, the production of an online encyclopedia without paid editors and the management of an online community without hierarchy. Both are novel and interesting. We shouldn't be so quick to presume that anything not mainspace is necessarily political. Protonk (talk) 23:50, 28 February 2009 (UTC)
No, that's absurd. We have taboos against editing other people's comments, so at the very least it's obvious that BLP talk pages shouldn't be indexed. Once again, if folks want to take a factory tour, they can use the box at left, but we should not widely publicize information that we don't even maintain or watch (such as talk archives). Cool Hand Luke 21:12, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Agreed a consensus it needed. We need to distinguish between "internal" searches (executed by editors from within the wikipedia space) and external searches via www.google.com etc. IMO material in user sandboxes should be hidden from external searches because of the risk it may contain inaccurate BLP material that is not supervised by the usual WP processes. In particular, {{NOINDEX}} should be added by default whenever a disputed article is "user-fied" so that it can be improved. If a side-effect is that all pages in User: space are hidden from external searches, I don't see a great problem with that, though internal search features might need to be improved a bit. - Pointillist (talk) 07:19, 28 February 2009 (UTC)
    • Internal search was greatly improved in November for this very purpose. I agree with you. Cool Hand Luke 19:56, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

I should note here that I have NOINDEXed BLP talk pages here, after a brief discussion. There is often much discussion there that should not be indexed. See Talk:Rick Warren for a glaring example. Kevin (talk) 05:10, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

I would agree that only article space and File (formerly image) space and the part of WP space giving ing our policy should be indexed by Google. Categories should not--people come here for specific topics, and the indexing of the content of mainspace will find them. We remain public--anyone who wants to search anything not actually deleted can do so internally, and it works very well. I admit I have not been noindexing pages I userify, but I simply did not think of this, and I will do so in the future. DGG (talk) 17:00, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

Tagging an article?

There's an RFC here regarding whether we will allow a discernible image in the abortion article of what will be aborted in a typical induced abortion. The RFC is closely divided, with many people citing Wikipedia’s policy against censorship. If the image is ultimately not included, will we need consensus to insert a tag (e.g. NPOV Dispute tag), so that readers will at least be on their guard about conformity with Wikipedia policies, such as the policy against censorship? It seems like there would be the same close division regarding insertion of the tag as there is regarding the underlying issue.

This kind of situation must occur a lot, where there's some kind of dispute, and there's the same division about tagging the article as there was about the underlying dispute. What's the policy? Is the degree of consensus that's required to tag an article lower than the degree of consensus needed to edit the article?Ferrylodge (talk) 20:37, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Vandalism-only account

The page Wikipedia talk:Vandalism-only account needs attention. -- IRP 23:11, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

Meh. It's not yet April 1st, and yet several experienced editors apparently have nothing better to do than to propose a definition as a policy, and then try to make it so because no one has noticed the proposal. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 00:16, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

Template:Unreferenced

A while ago I noticed that the above extremely high-use template, which invokes language from Wikipedia:Verifiability#Burden of evidence (WP:BURDEN), reverses the policy by placing the burden on the person who challenges the material to show it is unverifiable before removal (rather than unverified). Prior versions of this template simply referred to unsourced material, which to my mind is equivalent in usage to unverified, and is the current language used in the related template, {{Refimprove}}. I first suggested simply changing unverifiable to unverified. One user strenuously objected, and another does not like the use of either unverified or unverifiable. The same user suggested we incorporate the suggestion of using inline citations for sourcing into the template, which I think is a good idea. You can read all the gruesome details at the template's talk page. The long and short of it is, my suggested change after much discussion is from the current:

to:

I am here for two reasons. This is a policy-related template, and there should be more than three people involved when changes are to be made to a template transcluded in 127,664 articles.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 02:24, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

WP:V does not require material to be sourced, only to be verifiable in theory. Only quotes and things that are challenged or likely to be challenged "need" to be sourced. Uncontroversial facts that clearly could be verified in reliable sources do not need to be explicitly sourced. — Carl (CBM · talk) 02:28, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
I agree. But this template is invoking the standard of challenge and removal set forth in WP:BURDEN. That standard is as to unsourced material, not unsourceable material.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 02:37, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
The last sentence could simply be removed, then. — Carl (CBM · talk) 02:39, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
(EC) Then remove the last sentence. Policy elsewhere dictates what can & cannot be removed; it does not need to be echoed in the template. --Tagishsimon (talk)
I do think we should have WP:BURDEN in the template. Despite linking, many users never visit the policy pages, so it's a good idea to get the policies into the templates which appear in the articles where you can. Nevertheless, we discussed getting rid of the last sentence entirely and I suggested that if we were going to remove any reference to WP:BURDEN, then we replace the last sentence with "Verifiability of information is one of Wikipedia's core content policies."--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 02:46, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

About the status of Build the Web

(Separating this out from the discussion about guidelines which is really what I wanted to raise - see below.) (Just some background for those fortunate enough not to have become involved: there were formerly three guidelines: Manual of Style (linking), Only make links that are relevant to the context, and Build the web. The first two were quite extensive, BTW quite brief; the latter two were perceived as "cancelling each other out" as to the issues of overlinking/underlinking. To avoid this misleading division of information, the three pages were merged with uanimous agreement in early January to form one comprehensive guideline on the subject, recently renamed WP:Linking. The former pages were redirected to the new one; but recently (as an overspill from the date linking war at ArbCom) a few people tried to reinstate the old wording of BTW as a separate guideline. Majority opinion was that it should be reinstated but marked as historical or an essay; however some still refused to accept that and the page was protected following edit warring as to its status. It happened to be protected in a state where it was marked as a disputed guideline. The text is essentially the same as it was before. WP:Linking incorporates the substance of BTW as well as other aspects of internal and external linking - naturally it is also the subject of a certain amount of date-linking-related edit warring, but has been fairly stable since the merge.)--Kotniski (talk) 11:06, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

The "unanimity" and "majority" that Kotniski claims here are highly disputed, and I would suggest that people read WT:Build the web and WT:Linking rather than taking this "summary" at face value. — Hex (❝?!❞) 12:43, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
Who is disputing this? They are objectively true, aren't they? Anyway, that's not really the issue for here.--Kotniski (talk) 13:00, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
At least one uninvolved administrator has told you that you have no consensus for this. Another administrator has suggested you drop it. You KNOW all this because you've had it pointed out to you repeatedly. And yet here you are, fanning the flames. You're FORUM SHOPPING, again! —Locke Coletc 13:25, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
You are talking about a different issue. To make things clear, I'll separate the two - this discussion need not continue here.--Kotniski (talk) 13:37, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

Guideline templates

Clearly we, the normal belligerents (see previous thread), are not going to agree on this among ourselves, so can we have some neutral opinion on this please - should WP:Build the web be selected to appear on Template:Wikipedia policies and guidelines and Template:Guideline list? (I say not: it is a poor-quality stub guideline that was recently merged, but was edit-warred back into existence as a disputed guideline; it doesn't help readers to direct them there. It would be more useful to include WP:Linking, the merge target, which deals with the same subject much more comprehensively.)--Kotniski (talk) 10:10, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

(oppose) Including WP:BTW could appear as biased if included in a guideline list without a similar guideline about what not to link. WP:Linking details cases and principles concerned with both when to link and when not to link, as well as reasons for both. There are even section headings with these names. Why is anything additional needed? WP:Linking should be included instead of its corollary guidelines. OrangeDog (talkedits) 10:49, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
Oppose, OrangeDog says it perfectly. Tony (talk) 14:36, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
  • That raises the possibility of restoring the other side of the discussion ( WP:CONTEXT) and linking to both.
  • In the meanwhile, WP:LINKING is a style guideline. The only other style guideline to have its own listing is WP:MOS itself; the others are included by reference. I could go either way on this: either take out the {{style-guideline}} from Linking, or remove Linking from this template. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:59, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
I hope it will not be marked as a style guideline for long; last time I looked LC was edit warring to keep it so marked on some grounds that remained incomprehensible to me. I've now tried again - hopefully it will stick this time.--Kotniski (talk) 08:24, 7 March 2009 (UTC)

De-Adminship Process

There is a big discussion over at WT:RFA, and then the creation of this "rfa" and the "rfa" has turned into some suggesting the de-sysoping of the nominator and how he's violating WP:POINT and all that. Now I personally agree with the de-sysoping of certain admins (i.e. ex-foundation member), but agree with the fact that RFA is for gaining adminship not losing it. So how about creating something like Wikipedia:Requests for administrator reconfirmation?--Giants27 T/C 19:57, 7 March 2009 (UTC)

No thanks. I don't think RfA would translate nicely to deadmining. You can take any admin to arbcom if you think they are acting unworthy of their bit. I don't think we should vote on if someone loses their bit, but should instead apply evidence to policies. Though I do think it is wonderful that you are proposing this idea instead of just going and doing it. Chillum 21:01, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
Though I will say that when an admin decides to voluntarily go through reconfirmation that an area outside of WP:RfA would be more appropriate. Chillum 21:02, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Good idea. ArbCom is inadequate at removing problematic administrators. It's up to the community to remove admins, since they elected them. Majorly talk 21:07, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
By all means should the Arbitration Committee be more prepared to desysop people. I would vigourously support such a plan. I don't see "requests for desysopping" (which is actually what the proposal amounts to) as being likely to have good consequences (i.e. removing people who should be removed without being a means of harassment for perfectly good admins), which is why it has been a regularly rejected idea for the four-and-a-half years that I have been a member of the project. [[Sam Korn]] (smoddy) 21:13, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
Some context regarding the communities reactions to varies changes in how we de-admin people: User:Chillum/Admin reform history. It lacks the 5 or 6 most recent proposals, though the result was similar. Chillum 21:18, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Recall right now is voluntary. RfC already allow for the community to express a lack of trust for admin. Recall would have to be made unvoluntary for anything else to happen. Ottava Rima (talk) 21:34, 7 March 2009 (UTC)

New level of geographical notability?

I decided to use the "random article" link, and not only were four out of the five articles I went to geographical in origin, all but one were stubs. One was one line pretty much indicating that the place exists. It leads me to believe that we have far too many geographical location stubs for which there is no easily accessible encyclopedic information. I think there is an important distinction between jumbles of information and a useful article. For geography, we clearly have more of the former than the latter. As an example, I got 6630 Google hits for Tafire. Number four was an EBay listing for stamps, and five was "free internet dating." Other than that, it's all just maps.

So, I think we need to reconsider what makes a place notable, because I am sure this is by no means the only example of this situation on WP. We need to consider what is encyclopedic vs. what merely is. MSJapan (talk) 00:57, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

Reconsideration has been grinding on for a long time. I'm not sure where they've got to. See, for instance, recent Village Pump (policy) discussion, and Wikipedia talk:Notability (Geographic locations). --Tagishsimon (talk) 01:20, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

Where did the idea of inherent notability of populated places come from? I see many people simply stating this as fact on AfDs but I also see a number of people who disagree with this concept. I can't find any discussion that led to consensus. There is an essay with only one contributor and no discussion, a proposal that never reached consensus (including a majority against here).OrangeDog (talkedits) 14:52, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

  • It came from many AFD discussions over many years. It's not quite true. See User:Uncle G/On notability#Notability is not a blanket. What it is is a proxy, for the real argument that such places, by their very natures, will be covered in depth in multiple independent published works by identifiable people with good reputations for fact checking and accuracy: censuses, geological and meteorological studies, history books, political and social studies, newspaper articles, and so forth.

    As for the fact that we have lots of very short stubs, part of the problem is that, ironically, we tend to reject proposals from people who want to add substantial stubs en masse. The end result is that, as you have seen, we get a lesser amount of handwritten, shorter, and often poorly written, stubs instead. It's worthwhile to remember that Rambot cited sources.

    However, the fact that a geographical place currently is a very short stub does not necessarily mean that it has no potential to be otherwise. The only thing that the state of the article says anything about is Wikipedia editors, not the subjects. North Asia was a two-sentence stub for almost five years before it was expanded. And that's a major region of the planet.

    MSJapan, you're forgetting the Wikipedia maxim that we're here to "make the Internet not suck". Part of the thinking underlying that maxim is that it currently does. Towns in non-Anglophone African countries aren't exactly well-documented on the World Wide Web. Google Web is not the sole way to find sources. Our remit to make the World Wide Web "not suck" lies in the creation of an encyclopaedia article that provides the information that isn't on the World Wide Web. Feel free to take ISBN 9782865379033, or chapter 3 of ISBN 9780889369191, in hand and expand Tafire with some more facts. (And if you cannot, because they are not English-language sources or for whatever other reason, reflect upon what I wrote earlier about the lack of expansion saying things about the editors of English Wikipedia, not about the subjects themselves.) Uncle G (talk) 19:09, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

I agree they will be by their nature covered by censuses, geological and meteorological studies, clearly establishing their existence. However, it does not follow that they will necessarily be covered by history books, political and social studies, newspaper articles, and so forth, which would establish notability. Without the existence of these sources then the article can never be more than a directory entry.OrangeDog (talkedits) 00:48, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
The question is, what is notability? As we normally interpret the concept, it means enough people have made enough (reliable) observations about this topic for us to make an article that is balanced and goes into more depth than a simple definition of its subject. Essentially, we defer the judgement to other people; if other people have decided a topic is worth researching and publishing (via a formal publishing process with a reputation for accuracy, as required by WP:V), then we take that as evidence that it is suitable for us to include it. In this case, enough separate people have decided that geographical locations are worth researching and publishing information about that we can assume "notability" (which means something different here to the natural English meaning of the word) is met for all but the most obscure.
Another question to ask is, "is this article about a kind of thing I'd expect to find in an encyclopedia?". Encyclopediae clearly do contain articles about places, and tend to include an ever-expanding number of such articles as the size of the encyclopedia increases, so because wikipedia is not paper this suggests that there is no reason an extremely large encyclopedia (which is what wikipedia is) shouldn't cover some quite small and obscure places.
So the question becomes, why not cover these places? JulesH (talk) 15:53, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
I look at the reason a little differently, but compatibly with what Jules and UncleG said above. For smaller places, there would be great difficulty in deciding with available resources whether or not each individual place is notable,and almost all of them actually would be if investigated completely enough. Therefore it is convenient to consider them all notable. Perhaps 20% might not be--but having these in wp is more than balanced by not having several hundred additional afd discussions a day, especially considered that the error rate in such afds is likely to be considerably higher than 20%. In the case of many other topics, we do not do this, because most of the resulting articles below the level of notability would be necessarily promotional. But that's not the case here, where the basic facts can be described. All encyclopedias traditionally include an atlas ad a gazeteer, and this is part of the intended content. DGG (talk) 16:13, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
Short stubs can be useful, if sources are cited and the location of the place is clear enough, and a place that is officially recognised (e.g. if it appears both in censuses and on maps) is likely to have enough coverage for more than a stub. Geographical articles are less likely to have problems than articles about companies and living people. Also the results from Special:Random could be a coincidence, only two of the ten articles it took me to[3] were geographical. —Snigbrook 17:42, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
Again, I agree entirely with JulesH's definition of notability, but question why notability can be assumed for all places when only some have been researched and published in reliable sources. As for why not to include places that do not meet this definition, WP:DIRECTORY springs immediately to mind.
I'm sure no-one would dispute that lots of separate people have decided that numbers are worth researching and publishing via a WP:V-compatible formal process. It is also easily verifiable that 524288 is a number. However, there is no article for that number because there are no sources that can provide any information on this number other than it's names, location with respect to other numbers, etc. It is however notable in a narrow field, sufficient to feature in other articles (Pythagorean comma, Enharmonic scale), but not to have its own article.
It seems this would be a more sensible way to judge articles on places, and more in line with current Wikipedia practices.
And yes, encyclopaediae contain an increasing number of notable places as they expand.
For the stub issue, it's not a question of the current content of an article, but of whether the subject of the article merits the article's existence at all. I also draw attention to the following from WP:N: However, articles should not be written based on speculation that the topic may receive additional coverage in the future.
Finally, 2 out of 10 Random articles is a rather significant proportion. This would imply over 270,000 similar articles on English Wikipedia. Adding the previous 4/5 gives 6 in 15, making 40% of the 2.77 million articles like this.
OrangeDog (talkedits) 19:32, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
Nobody's speculating that these will be covered in the future. The speculation is that someone will get around to assembling the already-extant coverage into a future Wikipedia article, and this speculation is not only allowed but encouraged. In the exceedingly rare case that a location hasn't seen any coverage, it can always be upmerged to a larger geographical subdivision. - A Man In Bl♟ck (conspire - past ops) 23:18, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
I would like to see some evidence that it is legitimate to assume, without any evidence, that this coverage exists for every settlement in the world. To give a relatively simple task (one in England), find something about Singleborough that justifies the existence of the article, rather than just a mention at Great Horwood. OrangeDog (talkedits) 23:47, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
I can't prove that every single settlement is notable. I can, however, point out that the vast majority are, and that the ones that aren't can easily be merged. I wouldn't object even to aggressive merging of minor hamlets and such. - A Man In Bl♟ck (conspire - past ops) 06:48, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
I believe strongly in the inherent notability of towns, because to me notability is not just about being the subject of reliable sources; it's about having a substantial influence on the world and having that influence be long-lasting. A website can evaporate overnight, a TV episode or performer plays only a small part in the lives of the people who watch it. A town is by definition a place where many people spend large portions of their lives, and consequently has enormous complexity and interest whether or not anyone has documented it yet. I'm also concerned that the surveys here are (much) too small to provide any kind of accurate estimate about how many geographic stubs are extant. Dcoetzee 23:32, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
While this may be true for towns, it does not follow for every settlement, thus highlighting a potential need for new levels of notability. Also, while it would be lovely if Wikipedia contained the truth, I'm afraid the best that can be done is the verifiable truth. (I was not seriously suggesting we do a survey of stubs, just pointing out the statistics to Snigbrook). OrangeDog (talkedits) 23:47, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
"Well, I think it's important" is a really crappy argument for notability. - A Man In Bl♟ck (conspire - past ops) 06:48, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm not arguing for notability. I'm arguing for inclusion; I think most geographic locations should be included whether or not they're notable. Dcoetzee 20:15, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

Even if we accept the argument that all human settlements are inherently notable (something I very much disagree with) that does not mean it must have an article right now!!!!!! If all you can find out about a place is that it exists and where it is then perhaps it's not all that notable after all, any more than knowing my name and address makes me notable. It also means that you can't write an article on it. The best you can do is fashion an empty placeholder where a genuine article will presumably be written later on. Sham articles like this actually harm Wikipedia because they make it harder to maintain, dilute its quality and information, and make the random article feature a farce that damages Wikipedia's credibility. The moral of the story: don't write an article until you can write an article. Reyk YO! 05:54, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

This last argument is true for any article of any kind, not just geographic ones. By all means, people should write better articles. Pfly (talk) 09:02, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

I have started work on townships in North Dakota, the majority of which are stubs simply because I do not have the time to create a fully fleshed out article on day one, so I create a reasonable stub with the intent of expanding the article as time permits. I have several independent sources, for example, of townships in Adams County, North Dakota and Barnes County, North Dakota, including detailed histories and information about their significance to the county, state, including famous people born/lived there. Real life has stalled my efforts, and I'm limited to how long my state library will let me check out the books. Books, and not the Internet, are going to be the key sources for a lot of these articles. Even townships or places have 1, 2, or no residents today often had hundreds if now thousands of residents at the turn of the 20th Century. They were notable at one time, and since notablilty is not fleeting (once notable, always notable), they should be included in WP. See an article I created on Petrel, North Dakota for what I view as a good start to such as article.DCmacnut<> 16:59, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

Checkpoint

OK, I think we're pretty much agreed on the following? OrangeDog (talkedits) 10:03, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

  1. (assumption) There is a negative correlation between the size of a population centre and the number of centres of that size (i.e. there are far more extant hamlets than villages and villages than towns). Phrases like "vast majority", employed without stating the scale, should be avoided . At the smallest scale there are over 6.7 billion population centres.
  2. Wikipedia is (and should be) neither a directory of places nor of business/schools/&c. within a place.
  3. Places should not have their own article if their existence cannot be verified.
  4. Above a certain size, all population centres meet WP:N and should have their own article.
  5. Existence of stubs articles about notable subjects is not a problem, rather it is usually beneficial.

Conjecture: Places below the aforementioned size may not be notable enough to merit their own article, but should probably be mentioned somewhere. A guideline is required to help distinguish between creating an article, or just a mention in the parent parish/town/ward or equivalent article.

Further: Could this guideline be modelled on WP:ORG or WP:NUMBER? Should redirects be created to every one of these inclusions? Should current places that would fail this guideline be merged into the parent article (by definition there would be near-no content to merge). Could bot assistance be employed in some way?

Obviously I agree with the conjecture and think the limit should be somewhere near the 1000 people level. However, this this is only based on experience of English hamlets and villages. I support the redirect/merge approach rather than omission/deletion both on principle and pragmatic reasons. A draft guideline is forming in my head with a similar form to Notability of specific numbers, but ideas from elsewhere are probably applicable. OrangeDog (talkedits) 10:19, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
The essential point of dispute here is where to draw the line for size. An unincorporated region with a population of 3 may indeed be not notable enough for its own article; but what about a town of 100? Or a town of 50? 20? This is one simple criterion I would use: a place that has its own local government should always be included. Beyond that, I'm uncertain. Dcoetzee 20:13, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
Current population is a poor standard for notability, as there are many places with few or no people that are historical notable. Some examples: Love Canal, Celilo Village, Oregon, White Bluffs, Washington, and Port Douglas, British Columbia. Pfly (talk) 09:50, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
See User:OrangeDog/Notability (populated_places) for my sketch of a guideline. I wasn't suggesting that population size be used as a criteria for dismissal, but for inclusion. Local government seems like a good size discriminator, but would need a robust definition. OrangeDog (talkedits) 11:56, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
'Local Government' seems like a good discriminator at first, but different cultures organize their governments differently. Does a local priest qualify as government? What if they have shamans instead, would that count? I also agree that many locations that don't have a lot of people are notable because of their contribution to history. But those are notable already by their inclusion in secondary sources! What's wrong with the basic definition of 'notable' as it stands in WP:N policy? Populated or not, a location should have significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject. How does a single line of 'Nowhere, OK, population 50, GPS coordinates X, Y' in a census count as significant coverage? Crickel (talk) 17:39, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Dating policy. BC-AD or BCE-CE

Is there a policy over which dating system to use in articles. Some use the "old" BC-AD system, while others prefer the more accurate BCE-CE. I believe there should be consistency in this. -- ALGRIF talk 14:21, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

There is no Eng Wikipedia-wide policy -- see WP:ERA, except that articles should be internally consistent and use one or the other, not a mixture of formats. – ukexpat (talk) 14:38, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
Actually, there is a policy. Don't go around switching dates from one format to the other (people have done it both ways; the other position is that AD/BC is traditional and therefore correct). Either type of self-righteous Date Warrior can be banned, as here, and a good thing too; this is one of those matters, like the difference between color and colour on which consistency is foolish (as Emerson said). Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:16, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
That example was not a good choice: this is not a mere spelling difference. AD in particular has an unmistakable theological context that can considered insulting by non-Christians, though people from a Christian background usually do not have the actual meaning of the term in mind. A Jewish book written by Jews on a Jewish subject will normally avoid it. In the particular sensitive subject of early Christianity where the BC/BCE vs. AD/CE distinction must be frequently made, most academic work now uses the BCE/CE terminology. In this use particularly I consider it a signal of awareness of cultural sensitivity, and to some extent I do also in dealing with any Jewish subject. Orthodox Jews will generally avoid AD in all contexts, but most do not regard it as insensitive if others use it in secular or Christian contexts. None the less, I do not change the form in established articles, and agree completely with PMAnderson that doing so will quite properly be considered disruptive. DGG (talk) 16:51, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
color and colour reflect a spelling difference between two similar cultures. AD and CE reflect a difference between Christian-centric and non-Christian-centric, and between inaccuracy (Jesus was born 4 years Before Christ?!) and accuracy. AD is offensive and objectionable to many, while the spelling of color is not. Kingturtle (talk) 17:02, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
I'd like to point out (to render this tangent groundless) that BCE/CE system pre-dates BC/AD and was devised by a monk to remove the association that the then-current system had with a persecutor of Christians. OrangeDog (talkedits) 19:47, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
That is false. The monk you speak of invented the AD system, which came to be sometimes referred to as CE much, much later. Algebraist 19:53, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
If you have sources to verify this then please edit Common era, for it either verifies what I said, or is worded confusingly. OrangeDog (talkedits) 20:16, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
The article's fine. It says that the common era numbering system was introduced by Dionysius Exiguus, who called it Anni Domini Nostri Jesu Christi. It then spends several paragraphs discussing the separate history of the term 'common era'. Algebraist 20:23, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

There are many arguments in favor of both systems and how one or the other may be offensive; but both are used by reputable neutral sources, and both are used by people who do not intend any connotation of religious or atheistic fervor - it's simply what they're accustomed to seeing. To most of our readers, this is simply a non-issue. Dcoetzee 20:09, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

Exactly, just follow WP:ERA. OrangeDog (talkedits) 20:16, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
WP:ERA is fine, another example of the Wikipedia Manual of Style providing good guidance. Compare this with the sorry situation on the German Wikipedia, where two RfCs have failed to budge the community consensus that all death dates in biographies must use the character (John Doe, † January 1, 1984, instead of John Doe, died January 1, 1984). Yes, all biographies, regardless of subject's religion :-( --Goodmorningworld (talk) 16:49, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Is edit-warring the way we establish consensus?

Moved here from the Administrator's noticeboard by Skomorokh 21:38, 1 March 2009 (UTC) No seriously, is it? If there's disagreement as to where consensus lies, then just let everyone use up their 3 reverts a day and see where it stops? Or if it doesn't stop, let an admin protect a random version, thus statistically giving preference to the most numerous and ardent edit-warriors? I only ask because no admin ever seems willing (except at AfD and the like) to determine or ask for evidence about what the consensus is; only to stick their protection oar in at random and tell people to keep talking. If this is how it's meant to be (WP:Build the web is the page on my mind, though it's hardly an exceptional case) then we should at least document it factually in our policy. Because at the moment the page on WP:Edit warring is quite negative towards the practice, while in fact we seem to reward it. And WP:Consensus seems to imply that it's the consensus reached in considered discussions that counts, whereas in fact (if some choose to ignore it or pig-headedly dispute it) that just seems to be irrelevant. --Kotniski (talk) 17:30, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

What admin action is needed here? //roux   17:42, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
Answering of the question.--Kotniski (talk) 18:00, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
(ec) No, it [edit-warring] isn't. Edit-warring is obviously discouraged: editors who engage in such lose reputation, might be blocked, and the page will get protected randomly anyway. What might not be up to snuff is the resolution of the underlying dispute, which is always the main problem—we need to address the illness (the dispute) rather than the symptoms (the edit war). This is what we want to do, and it's something that I'm sure is probably implied somewhere in some vague guideline or policy. I've historically avoided disputes: I naturally find them unpleasant. This may be a failing on my part: we need to work hard to resolve disputes quickly and fairly. I'm slowly starting to try a little dispute resolution: I have some ideas about how to resolve disputes that I may eventually write up into a proposal once I understand the underlying concepts well enough. {{Nihiltres|talk|log}} 18:34, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
I read some subtext in the OPs question. Obviously, there is a specific article and/or user that you have in mind here; this sort of pointed loaded question sort of begs us to ask "OK, who is doing this". It doesn't just come out of the blue. The OP should recognize that there are half a dozen or so legitimate forums to use to establish consensus, they are itemized here. Please give us a specific incident to act upon, throwing around loaded questions like this is rarely helpful; you knew what the answer was going to be before you asked it. Please report a specific incident here or at WP:AN3. --Jayron32.talk.contribs 19:07, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
It doesn't seem like he has a specific incident in mind. All he's saying is that the current way of doing things does seem to reward edit-warring despite the lip-service paid to discouraging it. He supports his theory with a literary device known as a hypothetical, something which we should all have been introduced to in high school English class if not before. Why is "how he said it" more important than "what he said"? Badger Drink (talk) 19:58, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
Because we have a proper forum for general policy discussion: WP:VPP. Feel free to have chats about hypothetical situations related to policy interpretation and application there. (Of course, the folks at the Pump don't usually want to play games either — we don't usually rewrite or reinterpret policies on Wikipedia unless someone can point to some concrete examples.)
All that said, Kotniski does explicitly mention WP:Build the web as the page that's 'on [his] mind', so presumably he's seeking some sort of action there. Still, he'd be much more likely to receive assistance with a specific description of the problems there, and how he'd like to see them resolved (with reference, where appropriate, to existing policy and guidelines). Coming here with an 'admins aren't doing their job right!' whinge and a passing reference to a page where he hints that there's some kind of problem isn't likely to get useful results. As Kotniski himself might wonder — is that the sort of approach we should reward? TenOfAllTrades(talk) 20:48, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
And I'm going to hazard a guess that this and this is/are the specific incident(s). (My experience here has been that "hypotheticals" rarely are). Do we really need a third discussion going on this?--Fabrictramp | talk to me 21:05, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, it's a bit late to answer this now, but I wasn't seeking action on BTW, as I had already reported that at AN/I. I was genuinely seeking to find out what admins believe we should do in such situations, and what they are prepared to do. At VP we can speculate about what in theory admins would do, but at AN they can actually tell us; that's why I asked there.--Kotniski (talk) 12:26, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

I've moved this discussion to the Village Pump (policy) board, as there is nothing here requiring administrator intervention, nor do administrators have any special insight into or power to determine what the correct interpretation of policy is. Skomorokh 21:38, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

In general I see some of the problem. In an edit war if two editors gang up on another; they can easily get the lone editor to violate 3RR and get this editor blocked, then claiming a new consensus while the other editor is blocked. I have seen editors trying this tactic; although to their credit, most admins don't fall for this scheme. Arnoutf (talk) 22:00, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
allow me to interject my own special brand of cynicism. Face-grin.svg while I think that most articles on wikipedia do quite well in terms of graceful discussion, when it comes to articles where there is any kind of invested ideology - no. edit wars rule there, and the victors are the people who are sneakiest about edit warring. generally speaking, what will happen is that one (or sometimes all) side(s) start(s) creating a general ruckus on the article (massive reverts by different editors, vitriolic edit summaries and talk page comments, the sudden appearance of editors who've never edited the article before), and then will try to call in an admin at the height of it all, on the well-founded assumption that the admin will feel the need to act quickly, and thus will act without due consideration. This gets the page locked down into a favorable form, maybe gets an opponent blocked, keeps it locked (because admins won't get involved in wheel-wars). and if you need evidence that this is true, notice that the moment the page gets locked the ruckus disappears (not dies down, mind you - it goes poof). no one bothers to say anything on the talk page at all at that point because they know they don't have to. there's no element of meaningful discussion on those pages; it's all just noise intended to clog the system.
this is a weakness in the wikipedia structure, if you ask me. the 'independent admin' thing breeds a kind of 'old west' mentality. usually it works well: the Marshal (admin) rides into town (an article) and settles whatever disputes are there with good ol' white hat efficiency. but cagey black hats can pretty much bushwhack anyone they want with impunity if they throw enough dust in the air. that won't fool a careful, experienced admin, of course, but there's a whole lot of admins out there.
yes, there are ways to fix the system; no, they are not going to happen. but awareness of the problem is something, anyway. --Ludwigs2 22:34, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
IMO the answer to Kotniski's question (and perhaps this is what Ludwigs was saying) is "yes it happens, sometimes, although it is in most cases the least preferred option."
Part of what you're observing is that, although WP:CONSENSUS is one of the major rules, no one has any special authority to determine or articulate consensus. Including admins as Skomorokh points out, who at most ought to enforce consensus in the (fairly rare) situation where the consensus is genuinely evident. So the only really successful outcome of consensus being manifested in a talk page is that someone WP:BOLD-ly takes an action that enacts or enacts an approximation of the consensus and that action doesn't get challenged or reverted. For the most part it's not that an admin or anyone else comes in, reads up on the consensus, and makes everyone follow that gestalt opinion.
I really think that the way it works is the best way it could work. It means that articles on divisive or controversial topics must always be read with a critical eye - but really that's true for material on that sort of topic from any source, you should never just accept what one source says about something controversial (or what one source says on any topic IMO.) But the trade off is, I think we end up with much better articles on the less controversial topics than might ever be achieved otherwise. --❨Ṩtruthious andersnatch❩ 02:20, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
How do you reach that conclusion? The answer to my original question seems to be yes, consensus does mean nothing if there are people around who are not willing to accept it. How does our tolerating (or not) of this situation have any effect on the quality of articles on the less controversial topics? And why do you conclude that this is the best way it could work? We see at AfD a situation where consensus is made the deciding factor - why could this not be extended to other situations if we so decided? --Kotniski (talk) 06:56, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
If there are significant numbers of people not willing to accept it, it isn't consensus, even in our modified sense of WP:CONSENSUS. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 01:16, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
Where "not willing to accept it" means are prepared to edit war against it? Because if it meant "disagree strongly with it" then hardly any of our policies have consensus. And if it does mean "are prepared to edit war" then you confirm my thesis - disagreement manifested in edit warring is given a higher status than disagreement manifested in words, so we do reward edit warring.--Kotniski (talk) 09:11, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure about that; Kotniski's willingness to edit-war hasn't gotten him higher status. It depends on whom you interact with; Kotniski and his allies routinely ignore and deride disagreement in words, but countering their editwarring at least gets their attention. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:24, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
What brought on that personal attack? I can't answer it since I don't know what it refers to (or who my "allies" are - depends on the issue, sometimes they include you), but as a general rule, people who accuse others of edit warring are normally equally guilty themselves (what does "countering their edit warring" mean other than edit warring as well?) --Kotniski (talk) 15:35, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
AfD is unfortunately not actually a consensus-driven process. Although we love to claim "AfD is not a vote", in practice, the outcome of an AfD is usually decided by a supermajority. Supermajority and consensus are not one and the same, but considering the outcome of an AfD is generally either "keep" or "delete", there's not much of a way to forge actual consensus, so everything devolves into votes-cum-rationales (which are still votes).--Father Goose (talk) 02:34, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
Yes, AfD has its problems as well. But keep and delete are not the only outcomes (merge is often most appropriate), and "consensus" doesn't necessarily mean a compromise or unanimous position anyway - it should mean a process where the strength of the arguments is allowed to prevail. I'm not claiming I have a ready solution to any of these problems, but we can certainly do better than we do.--Kotniski (talk) 09:11, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
Yes, we can. If we restrain our guideline pages to what almost everybody can tolerate, we will still have copious guidelines, which won't need to be "enforced", because most people agree with them, and will say so when asked. AfD is similarly limited; if an AfD decision is intolerable to a large number of dissentients, they go to DRV. Kotniski wants to legislate, and then ignore the minority; that's the way of democratic government, and works there - but {{WP:NOT|Wikipedia is not]] a government. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:05, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
I don't think I want to legislate, and since I'm usually in the minority on most things, I certainly wouldn't want to ignore those;) But WP isn't about rights of minorities or majorities or anyone - it's about producing a good encyclopedia; and guidelines are to help people to do that, not necessarily to reflect all existing shades of opinion on a matter. --Kotniski (talk) 15:22, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
Shorter Kotniski: Me and my friend know the better way to help editors; therefore we can ignore all the editors who disagree. Best of luck, Snowball! Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:36, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm just going to ignore these, I don't know what it's about (unless you're continuing your patently untrue claim that Tony and I were in a 2-person minority, or a minority at all, on the BTW thing).--Kotniski (talk) 15:46, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
It doesn't matter whether they are a majority or a minority, as long as they aren't (almost) everybody. They still aren't consensus, and shouldn't claim to be. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:56, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

What the past few months have taught me is that there are editors who are like Hamas or Hezbollah. No matter how badly your side got trounced, no matter how lopsided the margin of your defeat, always – always – claim victory, or at least do not admit defeat. Then go to Khartoum for the victory parade. As the height of chutzpah, appeal to the Security Council: this will cause your opponents much hardship and who knows, you might get lucky. P.S. WP:EDITWAR is probably the most broken policy on WP, for a good analysis see User:Piotrus/Morsels_of_wikiwisdom#Why_edit_warriors_can_win.--Goodmorningworld (talk) 14:34, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

What happened here is that

  • a couple of editors decided to be bold, on some semi-abandoned talk page, about merging in a different guideline.
  • They were reverted
  • A Wikipedia_talk:MOSLINK#Resurrect this guideline? discussion ensued, which showed that there was considerable, although not majority, sentiment for the merged guideline being restored, which it was.

So far so good. But what is happening now is that a few editors are citing their side of the merge discussion as consensus; they could be working towards consensus by making different proposals, or they could be persuading opponents individually. But they are not; they are forum-shopping by coming here. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:27, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

What are you talking about? This is about the principle, not any specific incident, and anyway you totally misrepresent the facts of that incident. --Kotniski (talk) 16:40, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
As for the principle, consensus does not exist in the presence of serious disagreement. Editwarring is a symptom of disagreement, always likely to break out when the existence of disagreement is denied.
I agree with Kotniski that somebody is engaging in misrepresentation; third parties can tell which by consulting the pages linked, and Kotniski's repeated reversions on WP:BTW. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:50, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
Were you not just requested to provide diffs here?LeadSongDog (talk) 16:58, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
Well, your "decided to be bold" is the most ridiculous bit; but let's not discuss that incident here. Of course editwarring is a symptom of disagreement, but disagreement is supposedly resolved through consensus. That doesn't require unanimity (obviously), and there will always be issues that engnder strong disagreement. So if two parties dispute whether there is consensus to do this or that, or (in the absence of consensus) what to do in the interim, how is that dispute resolved? By yet another discussion to reach consensus? That would spiral on for ever. So - in the rare extreme cases where no-one backs down - it needs to be resolved. Either by someone adjudicating, or by fighting it out. At the moment the approved procedure seems to be "fight it out", so that should be documented in our policy.--Kotniski (talk) 17:03, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
Nothing wrong with being bold, as long as you discuss the issue when somebody disagrees. In the absence of consensus, leave things as they were, mark the dispute if necessary, and make a new proposal. That's commonplace, and not "fight it out". Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:15, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
Clearly I don't have to make a new proposal every time someone disagrees with the existing consensus. I'm not talking about "bold" situations; it's situations where the matter was discussed and people are ignoring or disputing the consensus. The problem boils down to the fact that we have no way of deciding for sure (in the absence of unanimous agreement or an impartial adjudicator) the answer to two questions in any situation: (1) has consensus been established and for what? (2) what position should be taken if no consensus has been established? Of course in the vast majority of cases people are sensible about these things, but when people on both sides are each convinced they're being sensible and the others aren't... well, we know what happens. --Kotniski (talk) 09:02, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
No, you don't have to make a new proposal. You can always settle for silence (or explaining the disagreement) which are the preferred options when there is no consensus. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:05, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
Maybe in some cases, but not all. In many cases it's better just to choose one of two options and stick with it, rather than allowing many disputes about the same thing to break out on separate pages.--Kotniski (talk) 15:22, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
That may be true for governments, although it was a head of government who said "Don't just do something, Foster, stand there!" It isn't true for us, least of all in Wikipedia space. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:36, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
I was talking about WP space. What's preferable - one central discussion about whether to use AD or CE, resulting in clear guidance even if a significant minority strongly disagree with it, or lots of separate but essentially identical bitter discussions on many different pages?--Kotniski (talk) 15:46, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
If there were no agreement about what to do about AD or CE, silence would be better than either single or multiple discussions. But of course there is such agreement: use both, and don't Date War. It really doesn't matter whether that is said once or more than once (as it now always will be: at least MOS and the Jguk Arbitration). Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:53, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
Oh, there is disagreement, there are significant numbers of people who believe that one or other system is quite immoral. But we can point them to our guidelines and they (hopefully) respect them - if they refuse to, we might need to enforce them. --Kotniski (talk) 15:58, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
When WP:ERA was a separate page, it mentioned both of them, and let them cancel each other out; it still should. But they were never significant in numbers, as the wide and almost immediate acceptance of the Jguk decision showed (there's always some fanatical newbie on any such question, but he will quickly be convinced, leave, or be banned as disruptive). Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:12, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

(undent) I think the point of all of this discussion (and many others that I've seen) is that consensus works just fine so long as all the editors on the article are interested in being cooperative. The instant you get one editor who decides that it's his/her purpose in life (eh, for practical purposes 'his' will do) to make some damned point, consensus simply can't work any more. no matter how hard you try to achieve consensus on a page like that, you won't do it. in the case of a single editor who's sufficiently troll-like, administrative action may solve the problem (not by achieving consensus, but by disposing of the viewpoint along with the troublemaker); on pages where a number of editors occupy both sides, even that won't work (because any administrative action against one editor will be seen as unjust, and will only serve to fuel the efforts of his compadres).

now really, in more normal contexts there are built-in mechanisms for controlling this problem. in social situations, the face-to-face nature of things keeps people from completely entrenching themselves in their opinions (people are generally too cautious and respectful to look their friends and neighbors in the eye and call them 'scum-sucking POV-pushers'; and when they lose their temper and do it anyway the entire group will intercede, physically if necessary, to restore civility). In political situations, participants are self-conscious of being in public; political actors need to maintain their reputation as someone who is (insert your favorite ideal here), and won't engage in behavior that makes people think otherwise. wikipedia, though, has institutionalized the worst aspects of social interaction: actual interactions are among small groups of 2 to 10 people (that's about as many as you're likely to see consistently editing on a page) which increases the likelihood of personal issues and decreases the social pressures against acting out; all participants have anonymity, which (again) decreases the social pressures against acting out; all conversations are ostensibly private (to the extent that no one knows what's happening unless they look, and few people will look at any given page at any given moment), but open to intense surveillance (since all conversations are saved and available to everyone) -this is essentially the design that modern prisons are built on; authority is decentralized and individualized (with the natural ramifications that it is abrupt and punitive in the short term, and being painfully slow at redressing any problems it causes). in short, it's a system that gives maximum benefits to people who are aggressive, uncompromising, and opinionated, but gives little to no support to people who are reasonable, thoughtful, and cooperative.

that's nobody's fault, really: WP was designed with with more normal contexts in mind, and no one considered that the restraining factors of normal communication contexts wouldn't apply here. but still...

I'm really tempted to try making some constructive point at this moment, but, you know, I just don't feel like it. maybe later. --Ludwigs2 03:36, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

Much of Ludwigs' analysis is correct; however, what's missing is, indeed, the "constructive point." In normal operation, the distributed decision-making, self-selected, works most of the time. However, when a dedicated POV-pusher appears, on side, or a "virtual cabal" of editors sits on an article, excluding a POV, it can break down. To return to the original question, limitations on edit warring cause a defacto majority vote effect. I define edit warring as insistence upon particular content (or removal of content) through repetitive edits, and I include in this the situation where the edits may be new editors, i.e., 1RR. 1RR edit warring can be legitimate, but it should always reflect rough consensus, at a minimum, and, more to the extended point here, it should be accompanied by sincere and patient efforts to find complete consensus. Complete consensus is frequently more accessible than some suspect, most "POV-pushers," if they are civil and have any understanding of Wikipedia at all, will concede points when they know those points can't gain consensus. In return, they will often be satisfied with something that may not be ideal to other editors, but which is within guidelines and policy and which, again, if editors on the other side are also sincere, etc., will satisfy them. In the long run, editors who won't accept reasonable compromises end up being banned.
When edit warring appears with an article, dispute resolution guidelines suggest involving a neutral editor. There are editors who are skilled at dispute resolution, at facilitating consensus among parties who might initially be, virtually, at each other's throats. Some administrators, having tools to block, may use them, which isn't terribly effective at finding consensus, and which can create more disruption. On the other hand, short blocks can get the attention of an editor who doesn't respond to warnings and advice. A clue as to whether or not a block was effective is the result: did edit warring stop and constructive efforts begin? was it replaced with other disruption, such as vandalism or socking? In my view, blocks should always be accompanied by sincere efforts to assist the editor in what is legitimate about what the editor wants to do, to bring the editor into a cooperative, community effort. And that may also requires addressing the other side, the editors who didn't violate 3RR, maybe because there were two of them!
However, Wikipedia process can be excruciatingly inefficient. That will be addressed, long-term, by better structure; the classic solution would be top-down hierarchy, but I think we could build a bottom-up hierarchy, the kind that would be generated spontaneously with a tool like WP:PRX. The time is not ripe to describe this in more detail here, but one comment: PRX was not about proxy voting. It was about creating a documentable hierarchy, a communications network that could efficiently compensate for participation bias, and bring necessary attention to any problem, without bringing excessive attention, i.e., wasting the time and creating distraction for many editors and encouraging snap judgments and ignorant comments. If interested, ask me for more on my Talk or email me. --Abd (talk) 15:25, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

At this point I'd like to summarize the issue:

When there's clear consensus for something, it's generally adopted, and most dissenters have the sense to not edit war over it, since they'll get blocked, or banned if they persist.

Things are trickier when the community is pretty closely split on an issue. Pmanderson's mention of the BC/BCE feud highlights what the outcome of these situations usually is: in the absence of a true consensus, we state in our guidance that there is no consensus over the issue, and merely insist that each side stop warring over it. We mandate a split: some of you will do it this way, some of you will do it that way, and if you take it upon yourself to force everything to be one way or the other, you will be banned.

If you're a partisan in the dispute, that's an intolerable outcome. But if you're a person for whom the issue isn't The Most Important Thing Possible, the only thing that's important is that the disruption associated with the dispute is ended.

Now, will the feud over delinking end this way? I don't know; there seems to be a consensus for at least some forms of delinking, but for certain other actions, I see too many objections being raised. When you see something like that, you know consensus has not been achieved. The current arbcom case regarding the issue might produce a truce, and might not. If the war rages on, though, it'll end up before arbcom again.

So, long story short: sometimes consensus cannot be achieved, but one way or another, warring will be brought to a halt.--Father Goose (talk) 22:28, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

Proposal

ok, I'm going to toss out something constructive this time. I suspect it will be considered a radical suggestion, but whatever... it's designed to be a long-term solution to this problem, rather than a patch, and with that in mind maybe something radical is called for. I'll describe it first, then give a short rationale.

the suggestion: institutionalize article ownership.

it would work like this:

  • have a consensus process for establishing 1-3 editors as 'article owners'. in the simplest case, someone can just request it and get the status officially after a few days; if there's a contest then it can be handled by RfC
  • have a consensus process for changing 'article owners'. something that allows an editor to suggest that he might do a better job with the article
  • have a 'no confidence' process for removing article owners peremptorily (this can be a consensus vote by interested editors who think the page is falling apart, or of course an administrative decision)

Article owners would have the following rights, restrictions, and responsibilities

  • it would be their job to make sure the article is neutral, properly sourced, accurate, and otherwise consistent with policy. this means:
    • they would have final (authoritative) say on all edits. no more endless talk page bickering.
    • they would receive special attention from admins with regards to enforcing their decisions on the article and talk page
    • they would get an extra grace on 3rr rules for that article
    • they'd get their wikipedia name on the talk page as owner (or as historical owner if they move on to other pages)
  • They have the following restrictions
    • They cannot be owner on more than one or two articles at a time
    • they cannot act as admins (if they have that status) on pages where they have ownership.
  • if they fail to live up to their responsibilities (meaning they lost a 'no confidence' vote by other editors, or a decision from on high determined that the article was failing wikipedia policy standards), they suffer the following penalties
    • possible ban of reasonable length from owning other articles (or being removed from other articles they currently own) depending on context.
    • topic-ban of reasonable length from editing that article and related articles
    • possible loss of other status they have on wikipedia (such as adminship) because of loss of trust.

the idea here is that a particular editor could see a problematic article, take ownership, fix the page, and then when the page is stable give up ownership and move on to another page. in this process s/he would need to reach for some kind of consensus (or risk being voted out, topic-banned, and forever after having his/her wikipedia reputation tarnished), but the authoritative tools necessary to make sure the consensus sticks would be available. I mean, basically this is what happens on articles anyway - there's always 1 or 2 or 3 editors doing most of the work, with a few kibitzers helping out; this suggestion just admits that and formalizes it so that it privileges editors who are knowledgeable about the topic and want to improve the article. It would cut down tremendously on the urge to engage in pointless, heated debates (there's no value, since the article owner can just ignore them); it would prevent articles from getting trashed as editors squabble over issues (since the owner can just quash article revisions until something's been worked out on the talk page), and it would tie the owner's sense of pride and his public image to the quality of the article as a whole (as opposed to the current situation, where these are only tied to presenting one's own views). better system all around. --Ludwigs2 19:10, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

  • Worth discussing. It is indeed a radical change of policy, in the direction of Citizendium.
  • One problem is illustrated by the page that actually set off this post: WP:BTW is a guideline; do we want owners for guidelines? If so, they will tend, even more than now to become one editor's opinion, while still claiming to be <ominous drumroll> Wikipedia policy.
  • In article space, I guarantee that a large proportion of the volunteers to own pages will be POV-pushers. They don't think they deserve the penalties, or are willing to risk them, because they're Defending the Truth. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:51, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
with respect to your first question (ownership of policy and guideline pages) I'd say sure! with, of course, commensurately greater risks. I'm sure there are plenty of people who would love to get at and edit core policy with impunity, but I'm not sure how many of them would do it when a vote of 'no confidence' could (for instance) get all their work on the policy reverted and earn them a permanent ban from Wikipedia. You couldn't possibly use ownership of a guideline or policy to make radical changes - if other editors didn't boot you before the electronic ink dried, the foundation would see to it. the only thing you could do as the owner of a policy or guideline would be cleanup, clarification, and small changes that have almost no opposition. plus, this would obviate a tremendous number of silly debates on policy talk pages. there's no longer any reason to discuss whether this change or that change represents 'consensus'; there is one person whose responsibility is to decide whether an edit has consensus, and if s/he makes a bad choice s/he's a historical disgrace. the only people who'd want that kind of risk are people who are really interested in making policy better and people who are really interested in making names for themselves on wikipedia. those kinds of people are not likely to push povs. just to give an example, I myself would be really hesitant to take on ownership of a policy page, and if I did take ownership of one I'd treat the darned think like it was a baby. I get enough people gunning for me, don't need any more. Face-smile.svg
with respect to your other point (POV-pushers owning pages) - true. but again, lets say (for an example) that some highly opinionated fringe advocate takes ownership of an article. well, if that editor tries to push a pov, how long do you think it will take the good people at the fringe noticeboard to start a 'no confidence' vote? likewise, if an anti-fringe editor takes charge of the article afterward and tries to turn it into a debunk-fest, how long before people from the other side start a no confidence vote of their own? this may happen several times on contentious articles, with the net result that (a) we'll eventually get an editor in charge who can survive a no confidence vote from either side (by keeping in line with policy and balancing opinions to get something like consensus) and (b) the worst pov-pushers have already tried ownership, failed, and been temporarily topic-banned, which makes it much easier for the remaining reasonable editors to discuss things.
harsh? maybe. but would it be effective? it's designed to neutralize or penalize aggressive, solipsistic behavior, and reward people who act with consensus and the community in mind. of course, this all makes wikipedia much more overtly political, but then (pardon my saying so) wikipedia as it stands has a bad case of political denial. overt politics is much easier to cope with than the kind of back-door wikipolitics that infests the system now. --Ludwigs2 22:10, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

This idea is so unrealistic I don't even know where to begin critiquing it. But let me draw a diagram:

  1. Institutionalize article ownership
  2.  ????
  3. Perfection!

An abject fantasy, as well as a total abandonment of the exact process that has made Wikipedia the world's best encyclopedia. It's a total non-starter.--Father Goose (talk) 21:31, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

Is this a joke? No real benefit, while at the same time undermining everything WP is about... Win-win!! ~ JohnnyMrNinja 21:50, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
Article ownership would indeed eliminate edit war. At the cost of Neutral point of view; which in my opinion is much more important. no, No, NO, NO!!!!!! (to put it mildly) Arnoutf (talk) 21:58, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

Wouldn't we just edit war over who the article owners were? Postdlf (talk) 22:00, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

now, see, this is the response I was expecting. thanks. Face-smile.svg it's just a suggestion, guys, and not one I ever expect to be implemented. but please do try to find more effective critiques than mere sarcasm. --Ludwigs2 22:14, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
Ok the sarcasm may have been unfair as your proposal was an honest try to sort this out. The core of my objection remains. Eliminating edit war in favour of article ownership will introduce non-neutral point of view (imagine in extremis the Taliban article being "owned" by Taliban warriors. Or less unlikely the USA artice being owned by 3 US citizens, all democrats. That will seriously impede neutral point of view; in my opinion the cure is worse than the disease here. Arnoutf (talk) 22:27, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
as I said, I didn't expect this idea to be adopted, but the reason for that expectation (or lack thereof?) is not that the idea is wrong, but that it's novel to most wikipedians. of course, it's not really novel; basically what I'm suggesting is an adaptation of parliamentary representation to a task other than governance. what we have on wikipedia currently (if I were to give it a name) is something like nihilistic democracy (that's a step short of anarchy: it guarantees many freedoms 'to' do things, but it doesn't do a very good job at guaranteeing our freedoms 'from' various kinds of ills), and like most forms of semi-anarchy it works well where people are already predisposed to get along, but not so well where they are not. what I've aimed for here is a way to work the ultimate goal of wikipedia - to make a credible encyclopedia - back into the politics that already runs most pages, so that it supplants other goals. I mean, let's be frank: as it stands, wikipedia already has page ownership, almost as a rule. sometimes it's implicit and innocuous (i.e., somebody works on a page, nobody much notices and no one complains, and so the page is defacto owned); sometimes it's more explicit (e.g. two or three editors battle out on a page to achieve what each one thinks is a neutral article and come to a compromise, and then resent any new party that tries to upset the balance). editors are always going to be thinking that they own articles that they've put a lot of effort into, even when they know they don't really own it. by making that defacto ownership explicit, and making continued ownership (and other prideful things) dependent on the production of a good article, we get all that energy that would normally be directed into squabbling over trivialities redirected into producing an article that excels. if you add extra rewards (kudos for page owners whose articles get Featured Article status, and stuff like that) you could radically improve the quality of the encyclopedia overnight.
this works by acknowledging the weaknesses of the participants in the system, and then adapting the system so that those weaknesses pull to the system's advantage. democratic systems have been doing it since they were invented. I mean seriously; if Taliban warriors invade the Taliban article, they have a choice - push their POV and fairly quickly get booted from the article (it's not like it's an actual place they where they can dig in, you know), OR if they want to keep control of the article, they produce something that other people can accept and agree to. it might have a slight slant (what article doesn't?), but they can't have a real bias or they'll lose control. in short (1) they have a desire to make a certain point (2) they can't make that point at all unless they do it in a way that others approve of, so (3) they start listening, compromising, keeping within the bounds of policy, and in other ways acting like good wikipedians, just so they can keep making their point. which seems like a fine result, no? --Ludwigs2 23:31, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

(in reply to Kotniski up above)I think that the existing situation is best because when it succeeds it depends on the majority of editors being fair-minded and honest in the majority of situations, which I think is the status quo and is likely to remain the status quo.

As far as I can see, any other solution would involve giving a small number of editors (say, the admins) some sort of special authority. Then the efficacy of the system would depend on that small group of editors always being pure of heart, which I do not think would be a state of affairs that would occur very frequently if at all. I've already come across several really bad admins in my time here and I would only expect that number to increase if being an admin conferred any actual authority. And the larger the number of bad admins, the more the system would in general break down - lots of basic processes would stop working.

Hence I think that while imperfect this system is better than anything other than a benevolent dictatorship. I don't think that a benevolent dictatorship is possible for anything but the most fleeting period of time and I think that people simply wouldn't be willing to donate their time and effort to any form of a dictatorship. People believe in Wikipedia and donate their time to it because it's a functioning egalitarian system. --❨Ṩtruthious andersnatch❩ 22:51, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

This is a slippery slope any which way one sees it, and I'm surprised that editors would even consider it at all. Ownership of articles (in any degree) would create far more problems than it would purportedly solve. Instruction creep in the general direction of "I own this information and no one else should be able to change it without my consent" is, to put it mildly, utterly against the stated goal of building a collaborative body of knowledge. There are enough problems with users being fearful of admin involvement in content disputes, and here we want to create a new class of administrator dedicated solely to control of content? Bad idea. §FreeRangeFrog 16:39, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

well, that's a strawman argument, and not at all what I suggested. again, please criticize the proposal for what it actually is, rather than a hyperbolic vision of what it might be. and please take this more as a philosophical discussion than an actual proposal, because you and I both know this will not actually enter into policy (at least, not without a tremendous amount of debate).
that being said, I understand your point. there is a particular idealized version of how Wikipedia works (one which involves editors getting together collaboratively to create a body of knowledge which is fair, comprehensive, accurate, and neutral precisely because it encompasses a broad and extensive set of viewpoints - anyone can edit, so any perspective that's held by a significant number of anyone's will be represented. that is a beautiful ideal, which has been advocated by democratic theorists and spiritual communitarians since (at least) the dawn of Greek civilization. you'll notice, however, that in the real world this kind of egalitarian 'multocracy' has never existed, except for a few short term implementations in small (i.e. < two or three thousand people) agricultural communities, and Aristotle believed they were the worst form of government imaginable. in the real world, democracy is always representative democracy (where a small group of people, each with their own local interests, represents the larger community), and good representative democracies bind the interests of the representatives to the interests of the community, so that their own egos serve the greater good. you'll also notice that the strength of commercial encyclopedias is that they hire individuals who stake their livelihood and professional reputation on being fair, comprehensive, accurate, and neutral. the main failing of the wikipedia ideal is that it ignores the fact that there are a significant number of people in the world who operate on a less-than-idealistic framework; they won't respond to the ideal, won't work within its bounds, and can't be convinced to work towards a better encyclopedia unless there's something in it for them. sad, but true. so, either we cling to the ideal, and find ourselves constantly battling against ideologues, pov-pushers, hard-core vandals and the like, or we try to develop something practical which harnesses those self-interested efforts to the benefit of the encyclopedia. --Ludwigs2 21:22, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
  • We aren't citizendium or knol. We should strive to not be like either. they both, frankly, suck as references. Open editing and lack of ownership are what allows us to be a better resource (among other things). Protonk (talk) 00:50, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
Edit warring certainly 'seems' to be the rule of the land. When I started editing my first article 4 days ago I was quite frankly surprised at how blatant it 'appeared'. After my initial edits I have been able to spend about 2 hours on further research and editing and more than 24 on WP:ORN,WP:NPOVN,[[WP:RSN] and other boards querying my ability to enhance said article with direct quotes from RS that maintained contextual integrity. It seems that people choose to ignore the very first guideline of WP:CON namely: Editors use the consensus process to reach agreement regarding how best to implement Wikipedia's policies and guidelines in any given situation. In my case I was facing multiple editors who reverted my additions with zero arguments and continually tried to evade discussion with an ever increasing torrent of WP:TAGS, all without any hint at how or why they felt they applied to what I did. This was incredibly frustrating, I continually told them that I was a new user and asked for help and guidance. Then, when I read thru the tag soup and applied the contents of the guidelines, policies and Rafrs I was repeatedly accused of sockpuppetry, For Unlawful WP Knowledge. I seriously doubt there are very many newcomers who would stand for it, I think the costs of this entrenched mentality is tremendous. I am sure more intelligent people than myself would have walked away shaking their heads. I happen to have a history with irc and psychological artifacts of online environments. So I took it all in stride and trusted that eventually wikipolicy would get everyone back to the table. My case could be an outlier since it deals with a controversial article, yet (I feel) the information I tried to add was not *in* controversy and I hoped that meant something. In the end I think that there is a certain tendency to ignore that the actual policy and guideline statements that lie behind words like WP:consensus , WP:NPOV and WP:disruptive are not directly inferable from definitions they might be used to from everyday English. There is perhaps also a more worrying tendency to 'pick and choose' rather than being intellectually honest (or aware, like I could be guilty of). Anyway, I am happy to see that there is a discussion about this on here. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Unomi (talkcontribs) 05:09, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
  • While I see some merit in the idea (less people tend to agree quicker), I still have to oppose the proposal. It would lead to Wikipedia devolving into politics further than it already does. People would stuff article owner votes, war over the article owner and article development would grind to a halt if the particular people associated with it were not around. Also, a lot of obscure articles wouldn't even lead to a discussion. It's simply too much effort for something that is unlikely to work. If the opposition against flagged revisions that there are too few editors to handle the incoming material has any smidge of truth to it, then it will also apply to this set up in the sense that there simply aren't enough editors to handle all articles in this fashion.- Mgm|(talk) 13:12, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

Edufire

Just a warning to everyone to look out for inappropriate external links to Edufire cropping up in random articles. They're paying people $0.51 on Amazon Mechanical Turk to insert links to their website in various wikipedia articles. I think they have a misunderstanding of how Wikipedia works. The article on their website had an orphan tag, and I think they misinterpreted it. I linked the article in a few relevant places, and also got rid of one inappropriate external link to their website, and the article is no longer orphaned, so hopefully they'll be happy that the clean-up tag is gone and stop paying people to post external links where they don't belong. In the meantime however, I'm sure there will be a few well-meaning turkers spamming external links in various related articles. ~ ONUnicorn(Talk|Contribs)problem solving 03:51, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

PS: For the record, here's what they say on the mTurk assignment page:

  1. - Visit http://www.e d u f i r e.com and spend at least one minutes familiarizing yourself with the site, clicking on links, etc. Make sure you have a good understanding of what the site is all about.
  2. - Think of a Wikipedia entry that should be linking to this page. It's very important to think of a relevant Wikipedia page (e.g., something related to learning a specific subject, education, etc.). Links that are irrelevant will be removed quickly by the Wikipedia community and serve no benefit to us or Wikipedia.
  3. - Post the link to Wikipedia using the proper procedures (please familiarize yourself with them here if you are not familiar: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:About#Contributing_to_Wikipedia). In the box below, enter the URL to the page on Wikipedia that you posted your link to so we can verify that it's a relevant page to eduFire. (Note: We understand that some of these links may be removed by the Wikipedia community. You will still receive credit for the HIT as long as you made an honest attempt to post the link on a relevant page. We'll be able to verify this in the change log.)
Again, it's very important to note that we are not trying to spam Wikipedia but rather interested in pages on Wikipedia where a link to edufire.com or one of its pages would benefit people. Relevant links only please.

I'm concerned about WP:COI. The user who created the article is new and these are basically his only contribs. Equazcion /C 03:56, 5 Mar 2009 (UTC)

Well, yes, but the article on Edufire appears to be fairly well written and neutral, and it cites sources that have no tie to the website itself, so I see no reason to delete it as such. It's not blatant advertising. (Thanks to whomever fixed the blockquote.)~ ONUnicorn(Talk|Contribs)problem solving 04:04, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
I already reverted a few recent spammy additions to articles ([4], [5], [6]) and I I've also added it to the local spam blacklist. Mr.Z-man 04:09, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
No, I think they know exactly how Wikipedia works, which is why they're doing this. §FreeRangeFrog 16:42, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
WP:GAME? Or less malevolent? --Izno (talk) 17:33, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
More like WP:SPAM. §FreeRangeFrog 17:36, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I'd have spam-blacklisted it if I'd seen this earlier. Stifle (talk) 09:51, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Signature

Hi, I know that my signature isn't supposed to use templates, but is it ok to use the {{plainlink}} template in it? this basically takes the place of <span class="plainlinks"></span>. -Zeus- u|cmsg 18:04, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

No. Just put the span code in your signature explicitly. Algebraist 18:07, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
OK, how about the magicword {{fullurl}}? -Zeus-u|cmsg 19:16, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
Do you really think someone is going to need to talk to you so urgently, that they can't follow a link to your talk page and then click new section? (P.S. you're over the 255 limit) –xeno (talk) 20:28, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
Have a look at Wikipedia_talk:Signatures#Signature substitution.Smallman12q (talk) 00:25, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

It's fine to use a template in your sig as long as you SUBST it. The point of disallowing templates in sigs is that the repeated transclusions are a burden on the servers. Substing means the template code is only called once at posting time. I do this with my sig, as many people do. Just be sure the end product that ends up on the page doesn't violate the character limit (255). Equazcion /C 00:29, 6 Mar 2009 (UTC)

I use a subst template to synchronize my sig between accounts. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 06:28, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

File name extensions

Is there a guidline regarding the notability/requirements for file name extensions such as .cso, .dax, .txt, .iso? It is hard to apply the current WP:N. Smallman12q (talk) 20:46, 5 March 2009 (UTC) Anyone?Smallman12q (talk) 00:51, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

I don't think there is any. I can't see why WP:N should be so hard to apply. ALthough note that it's usually the file formats that we focus on, not the name extensions. Taemyr (talk) 01:13, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Well I meant file formats. Its hard to find reliable sources mentioning a file format...even if it is used by a popular software. Should file formats be inherently notable.Smallman12q (talk) 00:46, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
No! A sensible way to go about it would be to have separate articles for formats that are used by multiple programs (.txt, .iso, .doc, .png). Others should just re-direct to the program that uses them or the general class of format (.pef). For the examples given, .cso and .dax could redirect to an article on compressed ISO formats, or be merged into the ISO Image article. In other words, follow what WP:N says. OrangeDog (talkedits) 01:15, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
Well...okay. I thought a provision or clause regarding file formats should be added, but as there seems to be no support for that, I'll just follow WP:N.Smallman12q (talk) 20:38, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

Rethinking AfD practice of Merge defaulting to Keep

Currently, when an admin closes an AfD where the consensus was Merge, the closing is called a Keep. This has obvious practical reasoning behind it, but I think it might be time to reconsider. The consensus to Merge means that the topic is in fact not notable enough to merit its own article -- and yet we say it should be kept. This seems contradictory. Articles lacking notability are in fact supposed to be deleted, whether or not their content merits mention elsewhere.

AfD is currently useless for the type of notability issue where even though the topic may merit mention in another article, the topic isn't notable on its own.

Merge closings are often accompanied by a rider that says the merits of the merge should be discussed on the article's talk page. I say that's silly. Whether a merge should occur is an issue of notability, which is why editors seek the arbitration of AfD in the first place. When Merge is the closing consensus, that should be enforced, rather than merely saying "Well now that it's settled I'll let you go argue about it some more". A Merge consensus at AfD already shows that the topic isn't notable, so there shouldn't be any further discussion required.

Merge is an issue of notability, and notability is an issue for AfD, so the way I see it, AfD closings need to carry the possibility of a Merge decision. Along with officially adding an actual Merge possibility to AfD closings, I propose that one of the following be used to enforce those decisions:

  1. A Merge closing should result in the understanding that the merge must actually be carried out within a set amount of time (say a week or two), and after that time the article will be deleted or redirected, with a template notice to that effect on the article's talk page.
  2. A Merge closing results in the closing admin immediately replacing the page with a redirect to the article with which it's to be merged. At the same time, the admin also moves the replaced article content to someone's userspace (perhaps his own), or to a subpage of the target article, and posts a link to it. This has the benefit of immediately enforcing the Merge while also making it easy for everyone to perform it with no time limit.
  3. A Merge closing results in the closing admin immediately editing the page and adding a redirect to the article with which it's to be merged. There is no need to move the old content anywhere because it remains in the history of the article and can be accessed by any party interested in doing the merge. (added by) --PBS (talk) 09:59, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
  4. Current practice, implemented by User:Mr.Z-man/closeAFD: The closing admin places {{afd-mergeto}} and {{afd-mergefrom}} tags on the appropriate pages. Editors implement the merge by copying/integrating the content and redirecting as ordinary editing actions. AnomieBOT cleans up leftover {{afd-mergefrom}} tags. —added by Flatscan (talk) 04:08, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

A number of recent events have led me to this. I feel that allowing Merge to be a valid conclusion at AfD would avert a lot of unnecessary argument. Please post your thoughts. Equazcion /C 20:31, 6 Mar 2009 (UTC)

I've tried to suggest that AFDeletion should really be AFDiscussion, since it's well acknowledged that "merge" and "redirect" are completely valid output options from the discussion, but there's a strong resistance to introduce these to the process. Yet a good number of times when merge discussions are limited to the pages of interest, you find a strong resistance to such; a fair merge discussion at AFD is a much better venue for such. --MASEM (t) 20:40, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
Merges should be performed by persons who have at least some familiarity or interest in the topic. Expecting AfD closers to execute merges is a recipe for very badly done merges. olderwiser 20:53, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm not suggesting the closing admin actually perform the content merge -- only enforce it. Equazcion /C 20:56, 6 Mar 2009 (UTC)
Or instead of usefying it with a redirect (your second option), a subpage of the target page could be made, along with ample talk page notification. So if John Smittth was decided to be merged to Hip hop, hip hop, anonymous, a Hip hop, hip hop, anonymous/To be merged page could be created with the content from John Smittth. Just another idea. Mahalo. --Ali'i 20:54, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
I've amended the second option to include that. Equazcion /C 21:01, 6 Mar 2009 (UTC)
Articles do not carry subpages. And copying the material there would still leave it in the articlespace anyway. A better option would be to merge to a subpage of the talk page. - Mgm|(talk) 12:58, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
Either way. Point being to close it as a merge and actually do something to help it along. --Ali'i 13:12, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

comments (AfD debate)

  • Oppose AFD does what it says on the tin - just settles matters of deletion. We have WP:MERGE for mergers. Colonel Warden (talk) 23:41, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose, on the whole If the merger "must" be carried out, the only person willing to do it, in many cases, will be the creator, who is likely to just dump almost all the article into the one it is merged to, which will often unbalance the merge target. As it is, merges can still be carried out afterwards for "Keeps", and the content made available by an admin for those who want to save something from a "Delete" (which fortunately most creators of poor articles don't know). Johnbod (talk) 01:02, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
    • Option 2 in my proposal would not actually force the merging of content in a way that would make for hasty content dumps. Besides which, the prospect that no one is willing to carry out a merge shouldn't have anything to do with whether a non-notable article is permitted to exist. Equazcion /C 01:09, 7 Mar 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose The primary question that should be answered at AFD is "should or should not an administrator push a delete button". That's why it's called "articles for deletion". An article should not be sent there unless the nominator wants that button to be pushed. "Merge" and "redirect" are valid closes but IMHO are secondary alternatives to "keep" or "delete". If one's primary goal is to merge then the proper venue for that discussion is the article's talk page or WP:PM. As far as Merge closes with a note to discuss it on the talk page, I can't recall seeing one right off hand. I sometimes use the comment "The discussion wrt merging can continue on the article's talk page" for a Keep close but I only close like that if there are solid good faith "keep" !votes as well as "merge" !votes. --Ron Ritzman (talk) 02:09, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
  • The main question at AfD is, "should WP have an independent article on the topic at hand"? Closing admins need to be careful when judging the discussion to decide if the consensus is for keep or merge, and should close the discussion appropriately. However, there is no need to rush to compelte the merge. Just close the AfD completely, and eventually someone will get around to implementing the merge if that is the outcome. — Carl (CBM · talk) 02:11, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
    • Yes that is the main question. A merge consensus means WP shouldn't have an independent article though. If merge defaults to keep, then how is that carrying out the prupose of AfD? Equazcion /C 02:16, 7 Mar 2009 (UTC)
      • I was saying that closing admins should not default to keep, they should read the consensus more carefully. — Carl (CBM · talk) 02:33, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose - It's called "Articles for deletion". If the result is anything other than deletion, it should default to keep. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 02:13, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
    • I love answers like this. Yes, that is how it works currently, but I just posted a few paragraphs on why it might be a good idea to make a change. Do you have an actual argument against my reasoning? Equazcion /C 02:18, 7 Mar 2009 (UTC)
      • Yep, I do. :) Under its current title, AfD is to determine whether or not an article needs to be deleted; anything else is irrelevant to the discussion. If/when it's renamed, I'll reconsider my opinion. Cheers, –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 04:01, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
        • So the name, that's your argument. Okee dokee. Well then, I'd be fine with a name change as well if need be, to reflect AfD's slightly altered purpose should this proposal go through. Equazcion /C 04:03, 7 Mar 2009 (UTC)
          • I've nothing against the proposal. I just think this falls into the category of trying to fix something that ain't broken. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 04:10, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
  • A decision of merge is not there should never be a separate article on a subject -- only that an article as currently constituted would be better presented as a topic within the context of another article. olderwiser 03:42, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Support - Merge, redirect, and anything else that gets consensus has always been a valid outcome, this seems like it would be more in line with the reasoning behind merges. Mr.Z-man 03:56, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose - AfD is for deletion, any other result is irrelevant to the closing sysop and to the process. Its purpose is simply to decide whether the article should be kept or not. People can then argue about merging or redirecting in a more appropriate venue without the axe hanging over everyone's neck. A merge or redirect consensus is by definition a keep in the context of an AfD. I do agree that the process is broken, but I think you're trying to make AfD work in a way it wasn't designed to. The issue here is that while delete is perfectly enforceable (click a button and poof), merge is not. I feel this is a bit like trying to fix a busted engine block with duct tape - it's never going to work correctly, because it cannot be enforced. §FreeRangeFrog 04:34, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
    • I'm not sure why it matters that AfD wasn't designed to work this way. Besides which I don't even think that's true. Other consequences besides keep and delete have been acceptable in the past. This "default" thing seems rather recent to me. As for it not being able to work to enforce merges, I just don't see why not. I've proposed two workable (IMO) solutions for it. Equazcion /C 04:38, 7 Mar 2009 (UTC)
    • Your solution places the onus on the closing sysop, which is the part I disagree with. §FreeRangeFrog 04:56, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
      • Yes, as far as enforcing the merge, that is the admin's job. I don't see what the problem is with that. I don't expect him to actually perform the content merge. Equazcion /C 05:02, 7 Mar 2009 (UTC)
        • No, it is not. The job of enforcement of things that require no more than the tools that everyone possesses is everyone's job. There's the well-known human tendency towards laziness, but implementing such actions is not Somebody Else's Problem. Editing is not a burden for everyone else to impose on a small group of administrators. Uncle G (talk) 14:28, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I support detailed closing rationales and distinguishing between keep and merge if a consensus exists. If a merge discussion happens to take place at AfD, I see no functional difference that would invalidate it. There is a previous WT:AFD discussion covering mergers and the validity of merge outcomes. However, the proposed modification may not be necessary: the tags {{afd-mergeto}} and {{afd-mergefrom}} already exist and are in use, with roughly 100 pages tagged as merged. Flatscan (talk) 04:43, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
    • It appears that the placement of these tags is incorporated into the AfD closing script(s). I have asked a closer to confirm. Flatscan (talk) 04:06, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Support all too often consensus exists on an AFD page yet it is not acted upon. It shouldn't be a technicality that Merge is defaulted to keep and then further discussion must take place. What usually happnes is a sequel to the AFD at the discussion page and nothing really gets sorted out. I'd like to point out that we have WP:RFD redirects for discussion as opposed to deletion. I'd say I prefer option one as a time limit would cause more users to work on the merger --DFS454 (talk) 09:34, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
    • It's not the job of volunteer administrators to be edit-on-demand services. If someone has a problem with a consensus for performing an ordinary editorial action, which xe xyrself has the tool for enacting, not being implemented, then xe has no leg to stand on if xe doesn't put xyr edits where xyr mouth is. This is a volunteer project, and one of the fundamental parts of its "anyone can edit" ethos is that the task of editing is distributed across a large number of people, rather than imposed as a burden on a small group. {{sofixit}} applies to unfinished mergers that someone wants finished, and has always applied. Uncle G (talk) 14:28, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Comment I have added an option (3.) as it is easier to do and it preserves the history of the article (which might be needed for copyright reasons). However there are times when one needs a merge and delete. Sometimes the content of the article is a POV fork, and the title is POV or OR. For example after the author of an article called Congo Free State Genocide merged the content into Congo Free State (adding in the very large negative side of the state (about 10 million killed)), I deleted the article CFSG as the name was OR ("no reputable historian of the Congo has made charges of genocide". Adam Hochschild.[7]).
  • Support The "result" of a discussion should reflect the actual outcome of the discussion. I see no problem with renaming it AfDiscussion, much like WP:CfD. OrangeDog (talkedits) 12:23, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Support, if there is a consensus for merging an article then editors should not be forced to gather a new consensus, at a less-visible location. Stifle (talk) 09:50, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
    • If there is a consensus to perform an ordinary editorial action, there is no need to burden a third party with the task of implementing the consensus of editors who all possess the requisite tool for performing that action themselves. AFD discussion closers aren't edit-on-demand services. The on-demand service that they perform is hitting, or not hitting, the delete button — the tool that the other editors don't have. Uncle G (talk) 14:28, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose Such mandates as merge/redirect are generally unenforceable. What will you do if the article is not merged? or the merge is substandard by quality? Let us not mix deletion with anything also. Ruslik (talk) 12:11, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Support AfD should and effectively does allow more than simply delete or keep. When the result is to merge, then the content should be merged. When the closing admin is willing to do the merge him or herself them option 2. Otherwise option 3. Seems perfectly practicable to me. — Blue-Haired Lawyer 13:12, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose strongly. A "delete" outcome requires admin intervention but everything else is an editorial decision. It's not reasonable to make admins responsible for enforcing outcomes other than delete.—S Marshall Talk/Cont 14:53, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Comment I've seen AfDs in which the Keep and Merge votes/arguments taken together were a clear consensus to keep the content, as opposed to Delete votes, even if it's unclear whether that content should be in a separate article or merged. In other words, to me, Merge is a subcategory under Keep. And in a way, so is Redirect, since article history is not normally lost. — Becksguy (talk) 17:26, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Support #3 - the discussed page should definitely not be deleted, as it prevents users from copying text from it to the target article per the attribution clause. The admin should not choose some user to do the merge, and moving it into some user's namespace is effectively putting that user in charge of the merge. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 07:07, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose per S Marshall. I've no objection to starting a notice board about merging/redirecting. But Merge/redirect outcomes at AfD should be treated just as any other editorial decision. Hobit (talk) 12:55, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Although I agree with the sentiment, and understand why this was proposed, I'm going to oppose. There is a distinction between a delete-with-posthumous-redirect and a merge. The only change which is required is to better educate admins as to when the former is more appropriate than the latter - namely, in cases where the non-notable article contains no material which is of encyclopedic value to its merge target. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 13:14, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Comment – I see two ways of going with this (provided we do not wish to keep things as is). They are the following:
    • Changing to "Articles for discussion" as already done with WP:CFD for instance.
    • Rewording the deletion policy, the AFD guideline, and adding onto the AFD procedure to ensure that nearly all the articles sent to AFD are there because all efforts for cleanup, merging, redirection, etc., either have been tried or do not apply, depending on the article.
  • Perhaps DEL and AFD need to be reworded to stronger language like it is in WP:ARBCOM. For example, taken from WP:RFAR with slight wording: it is expected that other avenues of will have been exhausted before an article is nominated for deletion—Arbitration is the last resort for problematic articles, rather than the first.

    The AFD process could also be changed into some sort of checklist-style list of requisites, having the nom justify that all other steps have either been tried and failed or does not apply (using common sense of course; a good amount of the time there is no logical place to merge or redirect articles). This could be done in a couple of ways. First, it could be built into the existing AFD template, requiring users to justify why said alternatives were or were not used. A second way would be to, instead of users nominating straight to AFD, there would be some sort of "pre-AFD" where consensus determines that all alternatives have been tried and is cleared to be a candidate for AFD.

    The biggest problem with my second proposal (I hope I explained it correctly) is that it would likely bring in more bureaucratic creep, but it may be necessary if you desire fewer and more clear-cut AFDs than what we normally have. MuZemike 23:13, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

  • Support I wholeheatedly agree with the sentiment, and I'm a little perplexed that most of the reasons given for opposing are on procedural grounds. Mostly that the only two outcomes should be keep or delete. But there are three common outcomes: keep, delete and keep and merge. I think the question is why there can't be a merge and delete? Instead of deleting the article outright, the admin could change it to a redirect, allowing the text to be available for merging. What's the alternative? Under the current system, merge=keep, whether they get merged or not. I don't see why that's not sillier than the proposal. The only other proposal that makes sense is to not count "merge" votes. Or if you really want to play the system, copy the text to the other article, then vote delete as a content fork. -Freekee (talk) 01:23, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
    • When one article is merged into another, its history has to be kept, see WP:MAD. It's also the "technical" reason that "Merge" closes are the same as "Keep" closes. --Ron Ritzman (talk) 04:33, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
  • The "default" is not a default. It's implicit in the very nature of merger. And it has been that way all along, at the very least since I wrote the very first version of the Wikipedia:Guide to deletion. AFD is for deletion. Merger discussions have no reason to be held to a rapid 5-day timetable, and imposing such a timetable upon them would be to pressurize editors for no good reason.

    AFD is already one of the most heavily trafficked parts of the project, and for more than half a decade now our every effort, from adding speedy deletion (in the first place!) to creating the Proposed Deletion mechanism, has been aimed at keeping that traffic down, not raising it. Increased volume results in less participation, and less participation risks, and results in, bad decisions. (AFD relies upon the Swiss Cheese model in order to come to the correct result.) And the same is true for merger discussions. Holding merger discussions to an arbitrary 5-day timetable, instead of the current timetable which is entirely flexible on a discussion-by-discussion basis, reduces participation, and incurs exactly the same risks.

    The correct way to address this closure issue is to encourage individual editor responsibility. After all, that is a fundamental part of our ethos, too. Every editor opining an action, that can be carried out with the ordinary editing tools that even editors without accounts have, is responsible for following through on their opinion. If an editor opines merge, but doesn't put xyr edits where xyr mouth is when a consensus agrees with that opinion, then xyr opinion is clearly not all that firm and xe has no-one to blame but xyrself for a lack of action.

    This is not Somebody Else's Problem. {{sofixit}} applies to completing and to enacting mergers as much as it does to any other ordinary editorial actions with ordinary editing tools. Uncle G (talk) 14:28, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

  • Oppose. If the result is "merge" that means the decision is that the content is worth keeping in some form, just somewhere else. Therefore, we can assume it meets basic verifiability requirements, and is not really doing any harm as it stands. Merging it will make the overall coverage much tidier, but deleting it removes the information; a far more drastic measure. There is no need to put up artificial deadlines to perform the merger on a volunteer project. Sjakkalle (Check!) 16:07, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose for the eloquent and well-thought out reasons by Uncle G. olderwiser 11:36, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Support The way I'm reading this, is that the person proposing this wants mergers enforced rather than idly sitting as if they were kept in the AFD. That is a good thing and as long as such enforcement doesn't lead to outright deletion or repeated AfD nominations, I support the idea. (I also believe that WP:PM should be used more often especially when a subject is not independently notable for an article, but could warrant coverage in another manner). - Mgm|(talk) 13:04, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

difference between "reinserting it despite multiple warnings" (WP:VAN second paragraph) and edit-warring

  • Hello to all. I have a general question stemming, of course, from a specific example (please see Oral rehydration therapy and related talk page). I am unclear regarding the difference between vandalism that is defined by the second paragraph of the WP:VAN policy and edit-warring. The section of interest within the second paragraph states: adding a controversial personal opinion to an article once is not vandalism; reinserting it despite multiple warnings is. This also seems to fit within the general definition of edit-warring, and on the policy page for edit-warring, (section 2, third paragraph), it clearly states that edit-warring is not vandalism. How does one make this distinction in general? I would also welcome any comments or thoughts surrounding the specific example I gave (on its respective talk page, of course). Thanks! Chaldor (talk) 10:46, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
I feel I can respond best by phrasing my response based solely on what is in your post (without referring to the policy pages or your cited example). "Reinserting it despite multiple warnings" to me indicates that the user in question has been warned on his or her own talk page, probably (though not necessarily) by an admin or an uninvolved third party, not to readd the content without supporting citations and/or talk page consensus. Dansiman (talk|Contribs) 16:01, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
In my opinion, the difference is the motivation behind it, as good faith edits are never vandalism. Generally edit wars are between multiple good faith contributors fighting for what they perceive to be the best version of the article, whereas a vandal is repeatedly adding controversial material in a bad faith attempt to make the article worse or just to cause a ruckus for their own amusement. From the first paragraph, one can conclude that someone edit warring is only a vandal if they are making "a deliberate attempt to compromise the integrity of Wikipedia." Due to the fact that we must assume good faith, edit warriors who are not adding obvious vandalism (so and so are gay/a Nazi/pedophile/etc.) should generally be given the benefit of the doubt and be warned and blocked for three revert rule violations rather than vandalism.--Dycedarg ж 00:03, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
What I gather from these two replies is that the reinserting it despite multiple warnings policy is more like a corner case than anything else. The feeling I get is that one is to always assume the change is in good faith unless it is obvious reinsertion of content by a known editor that has an established past history of inserting this content despite consensus and notices otherwise. Is this understanding correct? If so, then we might consider rewording this sentence a little (or perhaps looking for a better example) because, as it stands, I feel it is open to a more lenient interpretation than what I gather the consensus for the distinction between these two aspects is. Chaldor (talk) 04:45, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

So are redlinks still worthwhile?

This discussion here made me think about redlinks -- I've always read, and the relevent section has said that redlinks should be kept if there's a good chance an article could be made about the topic. But it seems that the past year or so this has pretty much been ignored all around. I read one opinion that said that initially they were good because of the lack of topics, but now there's so few topics that are missing at the higher level it's not nessesary. What do people think? ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 11:34, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

  • I think if people are wishing to remove red-links from an article, either by changing them to plain text or erasing all mention of the potential topic (deleting entire lines from a list, for example), they should at least have to reasonably establish a lack of sources to create a separate article and a lack of a suitable page to redirect to, but even then they will be wrong in many cases. — CharlotteWebb 12:31, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I confess to have occasionally removed redlinks because the topics they linked to, while notable, were unlikely to be created anytime soon. It just seemed a bit silly having a whole list of redlinks which by definition don't go anywhere. Readers who are unfamiliar with Wikipedia's redlinks convention are just led down a blind alley to articles they can't create (as it's highly probable that they're anons). — Blue-Haired Lawyer 14:00, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
    • This could be a self-perpetuating problem. Users are even less likely to create an article without being reminded that it is missing. — CharlotteWebb 14:22, 8 March 2009 (UTC)


  • Signpost/2008-08-11/Growth study summarizes a study that uses red links as a measure of growth. Once there are no more any red links, growth would stop.
    Possibly the increase in the number of orphaned articles (Signpost/2009-01-31/Orphans) is due to people removing red links.
    Probably we might want to revise a few recommendations that contradict the red-links guideline. For people with aesthetic concerns, we could find a way to display them differently to them. -- User:Docu
  • Indeed it would be trivial to add a javascript gadget to make red links appear as plain text, something like:

bc = document.getElementById("bodyContent"); bc.innerHTML = bc.innerHTML.replace(/<a [^>]*class="new"[^>]*>([^>]*)<\/a>/gi, "$1");

CharlotteWebb 14:58, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
  • There already is an option in user preferences to hide red links. My concerns are not just aesthetic and isn't a personal preference. What is the point of showing redlinks to users who can't create pages?
(Adjustment of previous proposal.) Users who are able to create pages would still see redlinks by default. Redlinks would be less likely to be removed if editors knew most readers didn't see them.
If redlinks weren't visible the potential problem of orphans suggested above would be less of a problem, since previosuly invisible links would pop into existence when the article is created, as opposed to being removed by editors before hand. — Blue-Haired Lawyer 15:21, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Anybody can (log in and) create an article, no? - User:Docu
  • I'm inclined not to agree that this would make red links "less likely to be removed". The first thing that comes to my mind is one of the most commonly cited reasons for removing date linking/auto-formatting, to wit: "most readers don't see it". — CharlotteWebb 15:39, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Well, the point about that is that they see the (over)linking, but don't see the autoformatting that was supposed to justify it. I don't think there would be a parallel argument in the case of hidden redlinks.--Kotniski (talk) 15:56, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
I meant that I noticed a pointed sentiment against disparity between what registered users see and what anons ("most readers") see. — CharlotteWebb 15:15, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
The reason for removing date links is that they did not represent useful semantic links, but were just used for formatting. There should never be any reason to remove redlinks that are to relevant and potentially notable subjects. Doing so creates greater orphan problems and hides demand for new articles. Aesthetic reasons are irrelevant, as all users can change their css to whatever they like. The default could be set to hide redlinks for the benefit of those poor, confused, non-contributing anons (sarcastically patronising). OrangeDog (talkedits) 15:59, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Given that anons aren't allowed to create new articles, hiding them by default probably wouldn't impair the creation of new articles. On the other hand, I created this account a few years ago in order to create an article that was a red link. So, nevermind.--Father Goose (talk) 05:35, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
Redlinks do two things. One, they show a potential editor that there's a topic that needs an article, and two, they provide instant linkage to many articles when the article is finally created. Someone complained that there are redlinks for articles that shouldn't exist. These should be deleted, and I don't imagine this is such a serious problem that it should be enforced with a technical solution. Docu, you are wrong when you say that "Once there are no more any red links, growth would stop." You're seeing a cause and effect where it doesn't exist in the Growth Study. That study simply uses redlinks as a measure of growth. Now does anybody have a good reason for disallowing redlinks? -Freekee (talk) 16:04, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
the only redlinks which need to be removed are those used for spam, for topics which are very unlikely to warrant an article, or where articles have been repeatedly removed. This does occur--it's a favorite trick of spammers--and sometimes they even use red markup to imitate them. But these are best approached case-by-case. DGG (talk) 01:29, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

Yes. --NE2 02:29, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

I love redlinks - still loads of unwritten articles. Casliber (talk · contribs) 02:46, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
I see lots of redlinks to academics being quoted etc, which I am likely to remove if it relates to a recent article etc. When people start a new article they should search on the name - I add an " a" to avoid going to the new article - to see what references are already on WP. Many other redlinks are just redirects that need doing. Johnbod (talk) 06:05, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
Well yes, creation of duplicate articles should be avoided whenever possible. I think I understand the case you describe, where some red links point to John Public (biologist) and others point to John F. Public or John Public (marine biologist) or John Public (dolphin expert) but all of them clearly refer to the same person. If you see cases like this you might try to create at least a brief stub so you'll have something to which these titles and other likely variations can redirect. P.S. you might experiment with the difference between "Search" and "Go". — CharlotteWebb 15:15, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
I like redlinks also, I think they should stay visible for those that choose not to override it themselves. I think Father Goose exemplifies the value of keeping redlinks visible, also, leaving the actual links intact means that we aren't reduced to redoing linking that was already there when the article is eventually created. I don't see a huge problem with anon users being met with an enticing suggestion to sign up and be BOLD if they happen to click on a red link. Chances are that people who click on links are interested in what *should* be at the other end of it, if a few take the time to do a little research outside of wikipedia and post their findings back to where they thought they would find the information in the first place, so much the better. I think the removal of redlinks should be discouraged as per CharlotteWebb. I am also opposed to the idea that wikipedia is 'nearing completion' and even that there are articles we can a priori judge should not exist. Unomi (talk) 08:09, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
If it is purely a cosmetic issue, if people don't like the red due to religious undertones, marital infidelity, and/or red-green color blindness, we could always pick a different color by redefining class="new" in the CSS. This wouldn't bother me as long as it was easily distinguishable from other types of links, and from plain text. My only concern is that such a change would cause confusion when experienced users continue to use the same deeply ingrained metonym of "red link" long after the color has changed (I mean even the software uses this term, see &redlink=1 in the url).
But if it's anything other than that, such as a conscious effort to discourage new articles, we have a more serious problem. — CharlotteWebb 15:15, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
  • The whole idea anons cannot create articles is wrong. Even if they choose not to log in, they can submit articles through WP:AFC. Removing redlinks purely for aesthetic reasons is bad too since that is in the eye of the beholder. Redlinks are supposed to encourage article creation and make sure that upon creation, the editor doesn't have to go around and create a whole list of links. Aesthetics can be handled through other means (like css) without compromising the good things redlinks bring. (if only the same was done for date formatting within articles.) - Mgm|(talk) 12:53, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

Question which concerns WP:OR, WP:FU , WP:C and other policy

Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Sweden#File:Coat_of_Arms_of_Sweden.svg_and_other_coats_of_arm_in_breach_of_guidelines , opinion needed here. Should we invent a coat of arms when fair use excists? Gnevin (talk) 23:49, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

Nobody is inventing a coat of arms. The question is the use of a different interpretation of the blazon in order to stay with free alternatives. Taemyr (talk) 00:06, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
If the article discusses the coat of arms, then any representation of the blazon is acceptable (the free-er the better). However, if it is about a specific version of a CoA, e.g. in the context of a corporate logo, then the actual logo should be used. OrangeDog (talkedits) 00:29, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

Questions re citations

  1. Is there such a thing as a fact being so obvious that a request for citation can be ignored? I am thinking of the concept of judicial notice. The court will take notice of all sorts of facts such as 3+2=5, or when something falls it travels in a downword direction, or a US Navy chart of sunrise/sunset is reasonably accurate.
  2. What do I do when a request for citation is ambiguous? Example: "Most people believe that there is no such thing as ghosts, although some people think they do exist." {{fact}} I can think of at least 4 facts that the request for citation may be referring to.
  3. When a request for a cite has been around for a year or so and nobody ever gave a citation or deleted any facts, can it be removed on the grounds that it is stale? Phil_burnstein (talk) 11:19, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
WP:V gives the policy. Attribution to persons and any statements that are likely to be challenged require a citation. That 3+2=5 is unlikely to be challenges so requires no cite. The example given would be better tagged as "Most people{{who}} believe that there is no such thing as ghosts, although some people{{who}} think they do exist." What is required is a required source that verifies this entire statement (which is a statement of what people think, not of the actual existence of ghosts). As for old tags, I would think it's better to leave them in, in order to warn readers and other editors that the statement has not been verified (and encourage them to find a source). OrangeDog (talkedits) 11:50, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
Essentially, a "citation needed" tag is just another edit to the article; and the same rules apply - if you think it's wrong or unnecessary, by all means remove it. If it's contentious, discuss the removal with the other user(s). ~ mazca t|c 11:55, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
A {fact} tag – like any other 'maintenance'-type tag – shouldn't be removed until the problem it highlights is resolved. In practice, that means either a reference is supplied, the fact in question is deemed sufficiently obvious that a reference would be overkill (2 + 3 = 5, per your example), the dubious material has been removed, or the placement of the tag is in error.
That last case can come up in a few ways. Someone may have edited the text in such a way as to obviate the need for the tag. The person who placed the tag may have inadvertently put it in the wrong place during a long editing binge. It may be unclear which fact is in question. If you see a floating fact tag that couldn't reasonably apply to anything around it, then feel free to delete it. If the tag should be moved or made more specific (using the {who} tag, for instance) then do that. If the tag is a recent addition and you can identify the editor who placed it, you can always ask them on their talk page what they intended to flag. If you need help from subject matter experts, leave a note on the talk page, file a Request for Comment, or make a specific request for information over at the Reference Desk. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 23:36, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I generally consider it poor form to remove dubious material entirely unless it's particularly harmful or blatantly untrue. It's better to move dubious claims to the talk page. Away from prying eyes, but still available for editors to investigate. - Mgm|(talk) 12:44, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

Repeatedly placing external links to blog/website

User Jaynee7283 has repeatedly added an external link to a blog/website about the town of Fort Mill, South Carolina. The link is to http://scoopmill.com. It was added to Fort Mill's article where I'm not sure if it's an appropriate link in the first place (spam?). But the same link is was also added to three other local towns, but these towns were not Fort Mill which is the subject of that website, so I removed all of those links assuming good faith.

Now links to this same website is showing up once again on various articles and I'm removing them again, this time not assuming good faith anymore. The difference here is that they are now being added by an anonymous IP. [8]

To me it's obvious that this link should be removed for articles of neighboring towns, but I'd like some community feedback on two particular questions. 1) Is this link is okay or spam advertising on the Fort Mill, South Carolina article. I'd also like feedback on one of the new links just placed today on the York County, South Carolina article, because Fort Mill is in York County. [9]

Thanks --Fife Club (talk) 21:59, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

External links to this blog should be removed on sight on any article per WP:EL. --Tagishsimon (talk) 22:32, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
If you cannot assume good faith, then file a report at MediaWiki talk:Spam-blacklist#Proposed additions. Alternatively, you can warn the spammer. -- Blanchardb -MeMyEarsMyMouth- timed 22:35, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
I did warn the original registered user. I assume the IP is the same person based on their editing pattern but I didn't bother warning because I've never seen it help in the case of anonymous IPs.
Thanks for your help y'all.
Hi there! I'm Jaynee7283 and I'm the editor of ScoopMill. I wanted to write and apologize if it seems as though I was spamming Wikipedia - that was not my intent. ScoopMill is a community website about Fort Mill, Tega Cay and Indian Land - three closely connected towns in SC (if you'll see my "About Our Area" page you'll see I list all three towns). Those were the ONLY pages on which I put my link - I honestly do not recall placing the link on any other pages and apologize that someone else did. As I said in a followup email to Fife last night, my website is an informational website that provides residents and newcomers with information about the towns - including lists of government agencies, churches, restaurants, doctors, local events, and civic organizations. It also has a blog which encourages locals to talk back about local news/events. In that regard, I felt it was a beneficial link to have on the FM, TC and IL pages since those searching for info on Wikipedia would likely be well-served by the information provided on ScoopMill. I am very sorry for any links appearing on any pages other than the FM, TC and IL pages. I still feel that the website has good cause to be linked on the town pages toward which ScoopMill is geared. Thanks for your consideration. Jaynee7283 (talk) 14:09, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

Is a terse invocation of WP:TAGS an indicator of Good Faith discussion?

I am being met with a barrage of WP:TAGS that seem to border on WP:PS. Every time I try to address one, it becomes another, when I try get outside opinion regarding the applicability of WP:RS, WP:NPOV, WP:OR I am accused of forum shopping. When I explain that I feel that they are in the wrong and try to explain why while soliciting their thoughts I am accused of WP:SOAP, WP:FORUM and WP:DE. I am trying to assume good faith but I am halfway to WP:NOCLUE. Please note that this is a general, necessarily POV assessment of what I feel transpired. We can go rummaging through the dirty laundry later.

I am asking for
1. An opinion on whether the tactics outlined above are valid and endorsed means of 'engagement' as per wikipedia policy.
2. Guidance in terms of what options are open to me to resolve this so we can return to improving the article.

Unomi (talk) 10:37, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

You haven't actually provided a link to the dispute in question. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 10:45, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
Here is the latest of terse responses. Slightly less terse but not quite the kind of response I was hoping for.
As for the rest of the debate..
I was hoping to avoid that at this point, the artifacts of the dispute are spread over a wide swath of user:talk, article:talk and noticeboards. Its hard to get a chronological picture of the events from it, I also did not want to bog readers down at this point with having to wade thru diffs and reading through my necessarily detailed explanations that had to take place at each instance where I had to explain I was dealing with direct quotes taken from section summaries of a WP:RS used as a secondary source. The article topic is also controversial and I have found that many editors prefer to keep silent on these matters even though my manner of including information is (probably) not controversial. If you happen to have some time on your hands: [This] NPOVN post is a summary of my understanding of where things stand regarding the contested information I wish to include, it leads to most of the exchanges, apart perhaps from this, these and this. I do not mean to ask here about anything else apart from the 2 questions I mentioned initially, although I would naturally welcome and appreciate comments and guidance generally, preferably on the boards on which they apply like WP:NPOVN and WP:OR or my user talk page. Thank you Unomi (talk) 11:38, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
There's nothing wrong with citing or referring to policy in discussions. Controversial and long-running issues like this can easily denigrate to editors simply throwing tags at each other. Normally in these kind of cases I'd advise going for a request for comments, but in your case I'd also recommend looking at Wikipedia's policy on multiple accounts. — Blue-Haired Lawyer 13:32, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
I agree that citing or referring policy is not wrong, further I venture it is the right thing to do. The problem is that they do not try to explain how they feel that I am in violation, or more appropriately, how my edits are in violation of policy. I have asked them on numerous occasions to tell me *how* it violates policy. If they do not do that then I cannot know how to rectify it. Discussion should constructive and based around how to improve material or be able to argue for why it must be dismissed. At least that is my understanding, am I wrong?
As an example note orangemarlins reply to this. An attempt at explaining my position reduced to WP:NOTAFORUM and the response to the content of my argument is a curt WP:WEIGHT. Is that really fair? So now I have to read thru WP:WEIGHT to guess what it could have been that orangemarlin meant? I have repeatedly stated that I do not read minds, is that controversial? So I must try to deduce what orangemarlin meant? This becomes untenable as I am not able to judge orangemarlins ability to correctly parse and apply WP:WEIGHT, certainly orangemarlin showed either WP:NOCLUE (I have repeatedly been stonewalled when WP:AGF) or WP:OR when trying to dismiss GAO87 as per WP:MEDRS and WP:RS. But lets have a look at WP:WEIGHT: It deals with both 'mainstream' articles and 'minority views', it notes that fair account of RS material must be given and that the mainstream view should be represented NPOV, that articles on minority view feature descriptions of the minority view (often at length), that mainstream should be represented to counter minority views and that: Other minority views may require much more extensive description of the majority view in order not to mislead the reader. No where does it say that minority views should be pared down.

Neutrality requires that the article should fairly represent all significant viewpoints that have been published by a reliable source, and should do so in proportion to the prominence of each.

So is this what orangemarlin meant? if so how? did OM mean that the quote did not represent a significant viewpoint? that GAO87 is not reliable? or that the viewpoint is overrepresented? I could go on for every line but I am sure you can agree that it would be pointless, especially in light of the fact that OM could just have used 2 minutes to point to which line(s) they thought applied here, quite frankly the supposition that OM is final arbiter or infallible is patently false. Again, I ask you to answer the 2 questions I initially posed here. But just for clarification: The material I seek to add does not reflect the 'minority view' according to GAO87 it reflects the position of the 1975 FDA taskforce as well as the most recent polling of researchers working with aspartame, it tries to document just how the controversy came to be in the first place, and reflects correctly and with a NPOV that GAO87 acknowledges that there was a 'controversy'.
Blue-haired Lawyer, can you clarify what you are referring to re multiple accounts? Unomi (talk) 17:22, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

Proper way to copy or cite discussion on talk pages?

[I originally posted this at Wikipedia:Help desk, but I was referred here]

I found a discussion at Talk:Pharmacology that suggests that the topic (withdrawing from medications) be discussed at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Pharmacology/Style guide, but it doesn't appear to have been discussed there (I recently became a member of the Pharmacology wikiproject). Is it considered better form for me to copy the whole discussion to the Wikiproject style guide talk page, or to simply make a comment on the style guide talk page referencing the discussion at Talk:Pharmacology? Thanks. Shanata (talk) 11:13, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

You can use a "diff" url
[http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Talk:Pharmacology&diff=187763788&oldid=186051705 like this]like this
Or you can use a section link like this:
[[Talk:Pharmacology#Withdrawing from the medication|like this]]like this
Best not to copy it as that could create two parallel and redundant discussions. If you do copy it, you might consider removing the original discussion and replacing it with a link to the new place where it is being discussed. — CharlotteWebb 14:37, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

"Introduction to XXXX" articles

There is currently an apparent contradiction between WP:MTAA and WP:CFORK. The former guideline explicitly allows such articles, while the latter was interpreted to forbid them by at least one user, which reverted my attempt to bring CFORK in sync with MTAA. Please join the discussion at: Wikipedia_talk:Content_forking#.22Introduction_to_XXXX.22_articles. Xasodfuih (talk) 16:49, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

Erg... might be handier to respond here to the specific issue raised than getting into more involved discussion at the given talk page link.
Given the guideline on making technical articles accessible has a paragraph on introductory articles which specifically addresses potential for content forking, I can't see that there's any conflict. — Blue-Haired Lawyer 11:41, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

"Please expand this article with text translated from the corresponding article in the Xish Wikipedia"

After a huge batch of articles on Swedish politicians were created the other day, I looked at Category:Articles needing translation from Swedish Wikipedia and some of the other categories in this category "tree". And honestly, I don't see the usefulness of most of these pages that contain little more than a translation request. I think the English Wikipedia would be better off with these pages deleted. They pose as articles when linked (as they are blue) but they contain nothing to build on. The same user who started the Swedish politician articles is now mass-producing equally pointless one-liners on Lithuanian painters. He has also made a List of Lithuanian painters ― which in itself is fine ― except that there is no way to tell from that list whether the article looks like Vytautas Kazimieras Jonynas, a substantial 6,536 byte article, or like Vilmantas Marcinkevičius, where the entire article text is "Vilmantas Marcinkevičius (born 1969) is a Lithuanian painter." I am guessing that, in a short while, every name here will be blue, despite the fact that there really won't be any articles on the majority of these people. (This user is, by the way, not the only one creating these articles, just the most prolific one.)

Even whatever little content these pages have may be wrong, as with Swedish politicians Ola Alterå or Gunnel Jonäng, which don't even get the sex of the subjects right. And the Swedish articles they link to and request translations from are often very short, completely unreferenced and may get things seriously wrong in their turn. (the Gunnel Jonäng article in Swedish claims that she was a member from 1969 until 1988 of the Second Chamber of the Riksdag – which was abolished through a parliamentary reform in 1971!).

What is wrong with waiting for people who are willing to spend the time researching and writing on these topics using good sources (not some other Wikipedia)? People who, at the very least, know the relevant language?

In another case, Nils Lorens Sjöberg, the Swedish article from which the reader is urged to translate is based on a biography in a book published in 1906. If that really is the best available source ― I doubt it, but finding better sources may take some effort, like (gasp!) visiting a good library ― the request should at least be to translate from the original source, not via the intermediary of the Swedish Wikipedia article, which may have gotten various things wrong.

Even in those cases where the foreign Wikipedia articles are good and worth translating, I think it would be better if people could just wait for someone who makes a real effort to actually write an article, rather than trying to capture whatever little glory and pleasure there may be in "starting" one while leaving all the work to others.

So where is this going to lead? A situation where the English Wikipedia has "articles" on every conceivable topic in the world, but most of them are a single line long and get half of the few facts in that line wrong because they are written by people who have no idea what they are doing? is this good? --Hegvald (talk) 18:21, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

I couldn't agree more! Niccolò Machiavelli "needs" expansion from both the Italian and Portuguese WPs (ok, Blofeld has just removed the Portuguese one, but there will be other cases), which do have longer articles, but mostly using sources in their own languages. So it has two huge template banners taking up half the first article screen. At the very least these bloated banners should be drasticxally reduced in size, and moved to the talk page. Any one who actually speaks these languages is pretty sure to know that local articles, like SP-103 and dozens of other Brazilian highways, are likely to be much fuller in the local language. Johnbod (talk) 18:33, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure the size of the banners is not the issue the OP is commenting on... so don't make it one. --Izno (talk) 18:58, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
It is an issue - if these were inconspicuous things on talk pages it would not matter so much, but important articles like Machiavelli should not be disfigured in this way. If I want to introduce it as an issue, I will, thank you very much. Johnbod (talk) 19:33, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
You are welcome to introduce it as an issue, but it is both tangential and offtopic to the OP. You are more than free to start a new section about the size of tags, in which case the topic would be ontopic and not tangential. I.e., comment on the issue which the OP distinctly brought up: that of (requested) translations which are super-stubs, which by his opinion shouldn't exist until someone can do a proper job of creating a proper stub (more than 1 line). --Izno (talk) 20:51, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
Actually Izbo that is part of the idea of the tags. They are not attractive I agree. Wanting to remove the ugly tag, the editor may consider expanding it a bit before removing it as he will have a desire to get rid of it. Dr. Blofeld White cat 21:10, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps links to articles with such templates should be a color other than red or blue (purple?) to indicate the article isn't really there? —EncMstr (talk) 18:59, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
This is already possible. Go into preferences -> misc and set your Threshold for stub link formatting. This makes it so links to all stubs show in a different color. My threshold is 2000 bytes, and it works pretty well. Calliopejen1 (talk) 20:42, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

Once again I CAN'T BELIEVE how shallow minded you guys are here. Vilmantas Marcinkevičius as you mentioned above was expanded in two minutes flat. I admit it is aonly best to apply tags where there is a lot of content on the other wikipedia, I perahps shouldn't have started those Brazilian roads yet but certianly there is a massive amount of material to translate and these articles should be started. Dr. Blofeld White cat 19:34, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

But do the tiny minority of en:WP editors who can read Portuguese really need telling by a template A) that it needs expanding, and B) that the Portuguese WP has more content? Johnbod (talk) 19:38, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

The idea is that eventually every articles on a Lithuanian painter is expande dlike Vytautas Kazimieras Jonynas etc. Actually you;d be surprised how many speak various languages on here, there are hundreds of Portuguese speakers on here. America, Brazil was expanded from a stub from Portuguese using this silly template that you think of it. Already many articles have been translated by people visiting them and the result, a wikipedia with fuller coverage. Dr. Blofeld White cat 19:41, 11 March 2009 (UTC).

A tiny selection rticles I've created or translated to date from my worthless tags by translation:

Tunis, Tenerife, Chinandega, La Guerra Gaucha, La Palma, Chalatenango, University of El Salvador Apastepeque, Altamirano, Chiapas, Culture of El Salvador, Andrés de Santa María, 1811 Independence Movement, Santiago José Celis and David Joaquín Guzmán, Martín Cárdenas (botanist), Battle of Acajutla, Diego de Holgiun‎, Coffee production in Ecuador‎ , Caracas Aerial Tramway‎, Tioda, Iglesia de la Matriz ‎ , Juvencio Valle,Buenaventura Abarzuza Ferrer, Fernando Abril Martorell, Alberto Aguilera, Manuel Aguirre de Tejada, Elías Ahúja y Andría, Santiago Alba Bonifaz, Víctor Alba, José Luis Albareda y Sezde, Juan Manuel Albendea Pabón, Cristina Alberdi, Vicente Albero, José María Albiñana, Gil Álvarez de Albornoz, Felipe Alcaraz, Alberto Alcocer y Ribacoba, Jesús Alique, Luis Almarcha Hernández, Gabriel Alomar, Alonso III Fonseca, Juan Alvarado y del Saz, Pedro Álvarez de Toledo y Colonna, Diego de Alvear y Ponce de León, Isaac Felipe Azofeifa,Andrés Amado Reygondaud, Pascual Amat, Iñaki Anasagasti, Francisco Aparicio y Ruiz, Pere Ardiaca, Luis Armiñán Pérez, Jordi Arquer, Juvencio Valle, Supreme Court of Justice of Costa Rica, Fuerzas Populares de Liberación Farabundo Martí, Rafael Menjívar Larín, Giovanni Buscaglione, Hernán Ergueta, Jesús Elías, Oruro Symphony Orchestra, Rionegro, Antioquia, Catedral de San Nicolás el Magno, Cristóbal Rojas, Xalapa, Sport in Tenerife etc.

No reason why we shouldn't make the first step towards dramatically improving our coverage on here when the information exists on other wikipedias. I agree in some cases the tags may not be so appropriate but it is still a step in right direction. Dr. Blofeld White cat 19:44, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

  • - and without the template you would never have known? As Hegwald says, there are hundreds of thousands of articles that need expansion, but do the tags really aid this. Any English-speaking editor can easily expand Machiavelli from a plethora of on-line English sources, which will give a better end result than an article using unseen foreign references most can never access. Would you object to them being on the talk page? Johnbod (talk) 19:53, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

The proof that adding such tags works see here

Adding it in talk pages would not work. Editors visiting an article with a lack of content visit an aritcle see it is pretty poor and move on. On the otherhand they visit a short articles and may speak the language, remember the huge traffic wikipedia gets and they ar einstantly brught to the attention that the article can instantly be translated form information that already exists in the link and they think, oh I can add a little no problem. A number of our articles have already been expanded in this way. We now have 5 full articles on Croatian architects now thanks to me initial creation by a native Croatian wikipedia. Give time this will be a major benefit to the content of english wikipedia, undoubtedly. If the majority of our users want wikipedia to grow and to read better articles we will make it happen in collaboration. Look how far we've come to date. Given that the articles I start are ALWAYS on notable encyclopedic topics there should be no problem in towards working towards building them. Dr. Blofeld White cat 19:57, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

Dr Blofeld, I would be grateful if you did not break up my long comment above with your replies. If I reply below your replies, it will eventually be impossible to tell what was written when and by whom. If you could instead quote the relevant parts of my comment and reply somewhere further down in the discussion, it will be easier for me to add my counter-replies below your comments. --Hegvald (talk) 20:24, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
File:Visuotine lietuviu enciklopedija.General Lithuanian Encyclopedia.Open.jpg
Nobody wants to see use move towards intergrating information from sources like Universal Lithuanian Encyclopedia ?

I am passionate about this project, I would like to see articles on topics in such encyclopedias as on the right, and I know the creator of wikipedia also thinks so. Each of the articles atrted early have resourceful articles in this book. I'm doing the best I can to try to do the best I can in the long term to build content on here. Creating the actual article however shoddy is still a move towards achieving our goals on here. Of course i want full super articles like everybody, just let things evolve. There should be enough people who use this site and want to improve it to make things happen like this.

What I do is compared categories in ENglish with other wikipedias and root out the missing articles. Why shouldn't I feel free to work towards for instance expanding our coverage of Category:Castles in Estonia using this. There are a good 60 articles on them we are missing out on, Why shouldn't we give them a chance of being put into English (perhaps for the first time). Dr. Blofeld White cat 20:34, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

I think that commenters here are not making the necessary distinctions between different applications of these tags. Adding one to Machiavelli, I agree, is pretty silly, but it is perfectly reasonable to add them to stubs about Lithuanian painters. If the topic is extremely obscure and barely anyone looks for it, this should not be a reason to fret that it's making Wikipedia somehow look bad. Having stubs does not somehow detract from the rest of our better articles. I doubt there are many English-language sources about Ona Danutė Buivydaitė (only 75 ghits anyways), who nonetheless has an entry in the only existing Lithuanian encyclopeida. It is much easier to translate these articles than to attempt to research them from scratch. How many editors outside Lithuania have access to this encyclopedia? Probably not many. For non-Lithuanian speakers, this article nonetheless links to a machine translation that can be helpful in understanding the subject of the article: [10] gives me a decent idea of what this guy does. And for newbies and IPs who speak another language, translating is an easy way to contribute without dealing with bitey users and learning lots of policies. These tags have encouraged translations from IPs and redlinks like this, this, and this. A talk page template would not do this. Talk page templates also tend to get stale, because they are never removed from articles that no longer need translation. When I cleaned out old translation requests, probably a majority of "requests" had already been dealt with, but the tag remained. This makes it harder for editors to look for translations that actually need doing. (And in any event, this template can be moved to talk pages if you want to - it automatically changes its style to match other talk page templates.) It is hard to reduce the size of the template, because it is necessary to retain the GFDL warning. Otherwise no one would appropriately credit sources. Calliopejen1 (talk) 20:36, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

Yes I tagged Machiavelli not really thinking when I was going through Portuguese featured articles most of which we could benefit from. The translation is particular good when articles are referenced on other wikipedias of which we are missing thousands from especially German and Dutch wiki. Such articles are only "extremely obscure" because of the pre-conceived bias that exists towards such places. Why would an artist who has works in the national museum be "extremely obscure"? Would an article on an American artist who has works in a museum in Philadelphia for instance by considered "extrmeely obscure"? If you see the world from a differen viewpoint and nationality you would think very diffently in regarding it as an obscure topic. Wikipedia is very much a process of globalisation and the spreading of knowledge, I think it does provide us with an opportunity to open up these "obscure" topics and make them knwoledge to anybody in the English world. Obviously the reality is that the articles will not get as much traffic as American pop stars for instance but it is still part of the development process on here. They are tradiationally encyclopedic articles, just covering them in more detail by intergrating national encyclopedias. Dr. Blofeld White cat 20:40, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

Yes, an article on an American artist who has works in a museum in Philadelphia for instance would (perhaps) be considered "extremely obscure"? We have hundreds of crap stubs on English and American artists which at the current rate of improvement will stay that way for many years, and many missing articles. There is no point on uglifying what we have with "expand" templates - people can see what they are like, they can see from the iw panel what other articles there are, and if they want to do anything out it they can. I have seen some of the half-translated Lithuanian articles, & if that is the end result of these tags (obviously in fact done by someone starting from the Lithuanian end not the English one) I would say its not worth it. Johnbod (talk) 23:13, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

This is nothing but the old immediatism versus eventualism debate rehashed. We accept stubs, and "X is a Lithuanian painter" is a valid stub. Arguments about how much red links versus blue links stimulate the creation of articles longer than these stubs is pure speculation. Dcoetzee 21:06, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

""X is a Lithuanian painter" is a valid stub."? No, this is a candidate for A7 deletion. Being a painter is not an assertion of importance. As I said elsewhere, creating unsourced stubs is settign a bad example for all other editors, since we urge people to create sourced articles. CReating unsourced BLPs based on unsourced Wikipedia articles in other langauges is soemthing which should be discouraged, since we are importing the good things from elsewhere together with the rubbish from elsewhere (hoaxes, vanity and spam articles, spelling errors in names, ...). I am all for creating articles based on existing articles in other languages, if the content is checked and the article here has at least one source. The method used by Blofeld is all about quantity and ignores all quality standards, and should be discouraged. A bot doing this would never be approved, so why do we accept it from an editor? Fram (talk) 08:26, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

If it directly links to information that can immediately be added to expand it further as these all do it makes them even more acceptable I think. Basically it is a big drive to get content onto here which are considered traditionally encyclopedic, but for sure I need help in building them up! Dr. Blofeld White cat 21:13, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

As usual, putting in my oar...
To me, these templates serve a useful purpose not only in identifying content which can be happily expanded from Wikipedia, but in going a step further than the translation request system we've had in place for so long. I tried the old system once before - as I recall it took something like a year and change before the article I requested was translated from German. That would be fine if there weren't that much valid content which could be transferred. Trouble is, there's a lot of it. I remember once wandering into the French Wikipedia and trying to compile a list of articles which merited translation; I got through about two pages' worth before I threw up my hands in despair. If Wikipedia is to be a true repository of all the world's information, then these articles must be identified and translated somehow.
These templates are great because, as others have noted, they're in-your-face. With a little link on a translation project subpage, it's easy for interested parties to overlook things. With these templates, it becomes much harder. And translation is a great way to get people involved in generating content. And the more we get people involved in generating content, the better off the project will be. Is it perfect? No. But then, what system is? And this one goes farther towards achieving our goal than any other method I can think of.
I used to be anti-stub creation myself, honestly; I felt that if I was going to create something, it was going to need to be substantial to be worthwhile. What I've found, though, is that as often as not, people are discouraged when they don't see anything about a subject on Wikipedia. Having something, however small, often serves as an encouragement for expansion. Which is the most important thing, in the end, to me.
That's my two cents' worth, anyhow. --User:AlbertHerring Io son l'orecchio e tu la bocca: parla! 21:23, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

Would anybody object if I started this missing town etc? Dr. Blofeld White cat 21:38, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

Yes, I would object if you created anymore unchecked or badly checked semi-automated translations. Yesterday, you created Kęstutis Balčikonis, an article on a Lithuanian painter from 1949, based on the Lithuanian Wikipedia, but with a reference added to the Universal Lithuanian Encyclopedia. However, this article can hardly be based on that Encyclopedia, since the info is wrong. The Kęstutis Balčikonis you are interwikilinking to, and for whom you copied the birthdate from the Lith Wikipedia, is not the Kęstutis Balčikonis who is a painter. The 1949 Kęstutis Balčikonis is a politician, which you have now nicely mixed up with the 1952 painter of the same name, an article which does have a ref from the ULE.
We don't need thousands of stubs on Wikipedia where we have no clue if they are reliable or not (and it is clear from this example that they are not always very reliable), and adding a source to an incorrect article does not help.Fram (talk) 08:38, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

A small error. Bet that took you a while to find. Why do people GO OUT OF THEIR WAY to be critical here. It seriously pisses me off. Dr. Blofeld White cat 09:02, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Hegvald's counter-reply

Dr Blofeld, despite my plea above that you move your replies interrupting the flow of my original comment, you never did. I am therefore doing so now, putting the part of my comment to which you appear to be replying in quotes above along with your replies. You are virtually drowning any other voices in your comments which you insert everywhere without any indentation. It makes it difficult both to follow the debate and to reply.

[Quoting Hegvald's original post:] "After a huge batch of articles on Swedish politicians were created the other day, I looked at Category:Articles needing translation from Swedish Wikipedia and some of the other categories in this category "tree". And honestly, I don't see the usefulness of most of these pages that contain little more than a translation request. I think the English Wikipedia would be better off with these pages deleted. They pose as articles when linked (as they are blue) but they contain nothing to build on. The same user who started the Swedish politician articles is now mass-producing equally pointless one-liners on Lithuanian painters. He has also made a List of Lithuanian painters ― which in itself is fine ― except that there is no way to tell from that list whether the article looks like Vytautas Kazimieras Jonynas, a substantial 6,536 byte article, or like Vilmantas Marcinkevičius, where the entire article text is "Vilmantas Marcinkevičius (born 1969) is a Lithuanian painter." I am guessing that, in a short while, every name here will be blue, despite the fact that there really won't be any articles on the majority of these people. (This user is, by the way, not the only one creating these articles, just the most prolific one.) [--Hegvald (talk) 18:21, 11 March 2009 (UTC)]
[Blofeld's reply:] WRONG These articles will be translated given time and wikipedia will be way better off for it. My usless one liner Vilmantas Marcinkevičius already within minutes shows its worth. You're not thinking of our long term project goals on wikipedia. Virtually all of the articles on painters are taken from the national encyclopedia Universal Lithuanian Encyclopedia. Every single one of them can be expanded in minutes. This is EXACTLY the sort of content Jimbo Wales mentioned that we should be getting onto wikipedia, just like the Polish encyclopedia. If you can't see what the long term aim of creating these stubs is then I'm very sorry for you and your outlook on wikipedia. Dr. Blofeld White cat 19:49, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
Neither I, nor anyone else in this discussion has questioned the worthiness of the topics or their expandability. You are attacking a strawman argument of your own invention, and expanding those specific articles I linked to above may make my comment seem less obvious, but there are still dozens of one-line articles on Swedish politicians and maybe a hundred or more (I stopped counting at 70) recently started articles which all just say that "X was a Lithuanian painter" which you have not expanded. I am questioning the usefulness of starting articles with little content and specifically requesting translation from the foreign wikipedias without any assessment of the quality of those articles. See further comments below. --Hegvald (talk) 09:07, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
[Quoting Hegvald's original post:] "In another case, Nils Lorens Sjöberg, the Swedish article from which the reader is urged to translate is based on a biography in a book published in 1906. If that really is the best available source ― I doubt it, but finding better sources may take some effort, like (gasp!) visiting a good library ― the request should at least be to translate from the original source, not via the intermediary of the Swedish Wikipedia article, which may have gotten various things wrong." [--Hegvald (talk) 18:21, 11 March 2009 (UTC)]
[Blofeld's reply:] Hegvald it is exactly people like yourself who are in a better position to comment on the Swedish articles. If you come along and think Nils Lorens Sjöberg is pretty bad I can do better than that then the user visits a library and adds content and so on and the article improves by people have a knowledge of it other than myself. I'm sorry if I am not always familiar with some of the unisex type names from other countries. I am merely providing a platform to build content on. You have highlighted the negative aspects of this articles, have you considered that the articles is actually notable and that actually it could be written into a full articles using other sources? Anyway the article is about a politician of the 1700s. Why would a 1906 book about it not be advisable??? Thouands aof our current articles in english are base don the 1911 encyclopedia. If it is about a subject hundreds of years ago there shouldn't be an updating problem. Dr. Blofeld White cat 20:11, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
To reply specifically on this issue, I am sure that there is someone out there with an interest in minor Swedish poets of the late 18th century, someone who already knows which the best secondary sources are and can make a good article on Sjöberg. For me it is just a little bit off the beaten track.
But whoever it may be, a Swedish speaker interested in expanding this specific article will find the Swedish source from 1906 and make up their own my mind on whether it's worth using or not. --Hegvald (talk) 09:07, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Now for my more general reply: You are trying to make this into an issue of fighting against systemic bias, with you as the good guy trying to expand the anglocentric English Wikipedia, and me and others as the people who defend the status quo. As I said above, this is a strawman argument. This is not what this is about. I can probably say that every article I have written so far, and every article I am working on off-line, is in some way a counterweight to the current systemic bias, even those on anglophone topics. (The systemic bias in the English wikipedia is not only anglocentric and US-centric, but youth-centric, pop culture-centric and recent-centric -- not sure if there are proper terms for these things).

What I question is this method for countering systemic bias. I don't disagree that every topic in the Universal Lithuanian Encyclopedia should have an article here eventually. I do disagree with your approach of starting an article on every topic, even when you don't know the language or properly understand the historical or cultural context. I am just assuming that you understand even less Lithuanian than Swedish, correct me if I'm wrong. And, obviously, I have nothing against the many substantial translations that you make from Romance languages with which you are apparently familiar.

Further, I disagree with these banners requesting translations of foreign-Wikipedia articles en masse, with no consideration of the quality of the original. Many of these articles are not worth translating, not because the inherent worth of the subject but because the articles are bad. Badly written and unreferenced articles on the Swedish Wikipedia need to be rewritten from scratch there. Here, I think they should either be written from scratch from good (mostly Swedish) sources or translated whenever the Swedish article is clearly worth translating.

This translation umbrella project would be far better off working with native speakers (or other people who know the languages and cultures involved) to identify the articles in various other wikipedias that are actually good and worth translating, and try to channel efforts towards those specific articles. That includes the equivalents of featured articles and some others. In many other cases, translations are only going to propagate basic errors or waste people's time. (It's one thing if people want to waste their own time translating crappy articles, but the English Wikipedia should not use its collective voice to urge them to do so.)

Finally, I disagree with mass-producing articles that will eventually leave no red links in some areas, even if the articles produced are unsatisfactory. Personally I think red links in otherwise decent articles are enticing. I think such links are likely to eventually get someone interested in the topic to start a new, good article. When I wrote Kahn Lectures, I intentionally left Charles Rufus Morey as a red link, despite the fact that I could easily have written a two-line (or even slightly longer) article on the topic (there are pretty good sources on Morey on the web). I am hoping some art historian or art history buff who is familiar with Morey and his work will be attracted by the opportunity and write a better article on him from the start than I would have been interested in doing. Personally I am collecting material for an expansion of Johnny Roosval and for other articles on Swedish art historians, as I know few English-speakers (and pretty few Swedish-speaking wikipedists, for that matter) are going to be able to make competent contributions in that field.

Your approach, as I see it, leads to people not being enticed to write something substantial on a topic in which they are personally interested, but to be provoked to correct something on a topic with which they are only vaguely familiar ― but know more about than the original author, perhaps ― because the entry looks so bad that it just can't stand. I don't think it puts people in the right frame of mind to treat article expansion or improvement as emergency damage control. --Hegvald (talk) 09:07, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Sorry I disagree completely with the notion that a red link encourages people to write a good article etc etc. Exactly as Jen said above you are painting every single articles on another wikipedia in the same light. It is extremely narrow-minded of you to suggest that articles on other wikipedias are ALL badly written when there is actually a mass of excellent content that exists. People in other languages can produce satisfaxctory content as much as anybody on english wikipedia, the difference is often the standard for what is an FA i slower, not because the writers can't produce well referenced or good content. There are thousands of articles on German wikipedia alone that put many of our articles on here to shame, even on core topics in which ours should be WAY better given the greater number who use it. I'll agree that many of the Swedish politicians on swedish wiki are not of a satisfactory level as many other articles are on other wikis, perhaps it would be best to avoid transwikying stubs or articles which are potentially inaccurate etc until they can be written properly. I'm certian though you are no aware of the thousands of excellent articles there are on other wikis. Sure a lot of them are badly written and not suitable for transwikying. WHat you are misunderstanding is that creating the articles or initial brief translation is intended as a start, reliable strong sources and writing is intended to come later by anybody interested and understands the topic better than I do. Given the massive reach of wikipedia and the considerable success I've had to date with people who know about the subjects expanding the poor stubs I have created I don't see why it is a bad thing. If somebody knowledge came across one of the swedish politician articles and though mm the articles is really BAD on swedish wiki too, why it is out of the question that they write the article itself and then remove the tag. The tags are only intended as a link to what already exists on the topic and provide suggestions. If you think I don't want the final result to be several hundred well written and well referenced articles then you are sorely mistaken. The articles actually have to be created initially to work towards achieving our project goal as Albert said above. You cannot ignore 90% of the notable politicians in Sweden, the huge indifference in coverage is not a good thing either and we must work towards providing a fuller coverage whether the articles begin as sub stubs or more editors care about American pop culture or not. Its just your cynical attitude and shallow mindedness towards EVERY article on other wikipedias and indeed disrespect for what I am capable of that I find concerning.
What I find quite amazing is that you've also created poor quality stubs like Södra Råda Old Church yourself, when the Swedish equivalent is actually a lot better than it. You also could learn some lessons in how to reference articles and not list a bunch of scruffy url links in which you cannot decipher what is sourced to what. I bet there are thousands of articles in Swedish alone which are far better than the english equivalent. This is exactly what I'm talking about. These articles "should" be put into english, no doubts. I have therefore created a stub at Architecture in Stockholm in which in due course am convinced that it will translated and develop into a good article. Perhaps I should have waited until the whole article has been written before I started it? And its not even the better articles than can be traswikikied. Tynningö would obviously benefit from translation from Swedish wikipedia as would thousands of other articles and finding some online citations to support it. Dr. Blofeld White cat 09:51, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
OK, first of all, I'll admit that Södra Råda Old Church is not good, but it was my first article and I have been meaning to expand it for quite some time. A significant part of the reason I gave up on it originally was the lack of available freely-licensed images that appeared unsurmountable at the time - the church was famous for its paintings but burnt down through arson a few years ago. The Swedish article has been improved since I originally wrote the one here, and images have been uploaded to Commons by a Swedish user only in recent months. (Get back to it on the 31st of March, and I promise that it will look far better, perhaps on the way to become a featured article.)
(Addendum: if anyone is curious, I put my old unfinished draft for the Södra Råda Old Church article here: User:Hegvald/SROC.) --Hegvald (talk) 10:40, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
Second, you continue to construct strawman aruments to a degree where I have to question whether a debate is meaningful. I wrote above:
This translation umbrella project would be far better off working with native speakers (or other people who know the languages and cultures involved) to identify the articles in various other wikipedias that are actually good and worth translating, and try to channel efforts towards those specific articles. That includes the equivalents of featured articles and some others. In many other cases, translations are only going to propagate basic errors or waste people's time. (It's one thing if people want to waste their own time translating crappy articles, but the English Wikipedia should not use its collective voice to urge them to do so.)
Now, could you please tell me where I expressed the opinion that "all" the content on other wikipedias is bad or where I deny that "[p]eople in other languages can produce satisfaxctory content as much as anybody on english wikipedia". If I thought so, I would hardly suggest that the translation project make an effort to identify the articles worth translating, would I? Many articles on any Wikipedia, including this one, are bad. And the average quality on the German Wikipedia is higher partly because they have higher quality requirements. I don't think they would accept many of your one-line entries. But I will leave to someone who knows more about the German Wikipedia to comment on that.
The point is to be discerning and not indiscriminately suggest translations from articles which are bad, and the fact is that the articles which you have produced have both contained very basic factual errors and suggested translations from Swedish articles which are unreferenced and contain perhaps more subtle errors. (Any Swedish-speaker will recognize the sex of someone called Ola or Gunnel. That the two-chamber parliament was replaced in 1971 is a basic fact of history but may still not be obvious to everyone who wants to exercise their translation skills.) --Hegvald (talk) 10:18, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
Sorry but your argument about initial errors or mistakes is not a strong one. The articles are on notable subjects and should be started preferably without any mistakes but any obvious mistakes will be corrected given time. User:Tomas e has expanded a few of the Swedish politicians already and he is a native speaker. Similarly other Swedish wikipedians on here will be able to spot mistakes and correct them within an instant of visiting the article. This is a wiki, articles can change dramatically within seconds of anybody knoweldgeable about the subject to expand it. Minor errors on sub stubs are not sufficient grounds not to start the article articles on a notable subject. Carlos Solórzano was a crappy stub I started yesterday. Within minutes it was expanded just now using reliable sources. Editors on here are intelligent enough to know whether the article on the other wikipedia is good enough or not and to select sources. Dr. Blofeld White cat 12:21, 12 March 2009 (UTC)


This all makes for interesting reading! Adding my 2 cents: I'd recommend you do create a stub for Charles Rufus Morey. Lots of people seem unwilling or unaware of how to start an article, and are happy to edit away if the article exists in the first place. I found this out when I first started editing WP and there were plenty of holes in the filmography of Ingmar Bergman, for example (and a Swedish example too, which seems apt!) I think the expanision banner is way too large, but that's for another discussion at another time. The Lithuain painters maybe stubby now, but that's exactly how the article for the humble atom began. Lugnuts (talk) 11:06, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
Part of the reason Lugs is that editors will WANT to remove the tag from the article, so may want to quickly expand the article to get rid of it. Dr. Blofeld White cat 12:23, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
There is a signed biography at the Princeton University website here, an inventory of his papers here, and an entry in the on-line Dictionary of Art Historians, with many additional references to obituaries and other sources. There is also a short entry in the Grove Art Online for those who have access to it. Now, let's hope someone will write something beyond "Charles Rufus Morey (1877-1955) was an American art historian". ;-) --Hegvald (talk) 11:22, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Re the assertion that only the best foreign-language articles should be tagged, to channel our work there: Have you ever tried translating a foreign-language FA? It is a LOT of work. Most people will not have the time or inclination to translate such an article. But a casual user might have the ability to translate a short, several-paragraph article. I think we will see more benefits from tagging such articles than from taggging FAs. Calliopejen1 (talk) 12:11, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Quoth Lugnuts:

Lots of people seem unwilling or unaware of how to start an article

Quoth Hegvald:

Personally I think red links in otherwise decent articles are enticing.

See, here's the nub of the issue. I'm not sure I agree with you, Hegvald; honestly, I think for a lot of newbies red links are a little frightening. Having a stub, however small, gives them something to sink their teeth into; once they've done a few of those, perhaps they'll move on to looking at red links and working on them. But seeing that massive amount of blank space, and plunging in with no idea of how to begin (the way most people do, after all) is a daunting task to many new editors.
I think Lugnuts has hit the crux of the matter on the head; it's not so much that people are unaware of how to start an article as they are unwilling. Tons of questions come to mind - will the subject be encyclopedic? Is this worth doing? Where are the best sources to use? How do I learn syntax? Why am I even bothering? At least having a small stub to work off of is helpful, and I think eases people into the project quite nicely. --User:AlbertHerring Io son l'orecchio e tu la bocca: parla! 13:36, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
Also, as we have seen (see my diffs posted above) there are some IPs who do translation. Registering may be a barrier that keeps people from contributing. This way were can allow IPs to do translation. If English is not your first language, you might not be likely to create an account on en.wiki, but many ESL contributors could do perfectly serviceable translations. For instance, I help out occasionally on fr.wiki but I don't have an account there. If I were stopped from creating an article and asked to register, I'd probably think Why bother and move on. Calliopejen1 (talk) 14:44, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Funnily enough Hegwald was happy to carry on complaining here and saying how Charles Rufus Morey was a missing article but I notice he didn't even bother to make a start on it. While he bitches about stubs on here, I'm actually making links happen by creating Charles Rufus Morey and writing the articles and expanding other sub stubs I created like Carlos Solórzano. He could be translating the Architecture in Stockholm articles instead of complaining. I'm not the sort of guy who likes to sit back and dwell on things, I'm the sort of guy who wants to see results, if you want to see results you have to get off your arse and start working towards a goal. My goal eventually is to see a number of good articles on here in English that are on other wikipedias, but believe what you like. In order to make this happen I need contributors to help me. Dr. Blofeld White cat 13:45, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

I just translated Virgilio Rodríguez Macal which is an unreferenced articles on Spanish wikipedia. I still think we are much better off for having it than not, just need to find solid sources on it. Dr. Blofeld White cat 14:31, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

I think you are missing my point completely. I did not "complain" about Morey not having an article. Had I found the situation intolerable, I could have started the article myself. On the contrary, I pointed out how this red link could be what may lure a new user to start contributing. And once I had mentioned it above, I sort-of expected you to start the article... ;-) Well done!
OK, maybe you and Albert and Lugnuts are right and new users are hesitant to start new articles. I don't quite understand that; it seems people are coming here and starting new articles all the time. But maybe it's true. I still think you should slow down a bit and focus more on the articles you can expand yourself.
I agree that Architecture in Stockholm is one of the articles worth translating, but I am not going to do it, not in the immediate future anyway. I can, however, tell you that I am going to post substantial articles in the English Wikipedia on quite a few of the topics linked from sv:Arkitektur i Stockholm and presumably from the English article whenever it gets finished. If nobody else has translated Architecture in Stockholm in a few weeks, I will take another look. --Hegvald (talk) 14:46, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

I will try to add at least something to the new stubs I create in future, rather than ... is a .. painter. End of. As I said I was focusing more on the task of blue linking the red links rather than concentrating on the individual articles. IN the case of Swedish politicians particularly living I will see if I can include a link to a page on the government site or source in which anybody visiting it can use material on swedish wiki or seek out better sources. Anyway I've expanded around 15 of the stubs I created today, just wish I hadad the time to write everyone up to a decent standard. If I can create a stub with a sentence or two saying what they did etc this would be a better start but I need to still operate relatively quickly as there is so much to transwiki, so little time. Dr. Blofeld White cat 17:46, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Cooperate, not conflict

There are quite a few editors and 'bots who massively do things that annoy me; in fact, not only annoy but create a hindrance to my work (in my opinion). Some time ago I used to complain. Now I became wiser. In a nutshell: if an editor is in good standing, i.e., not an obvious vandal or hoaxer (or novice who misunderstands something), he has rights to do what he thinks is good for wikipedia. There are life long conflicts of polarized views in wikipedia: inclusionists vs deletionists, perfectionists vs quickwriters, etc., where both sides are both right and wrong. Well, this black-wtite struggle is as old as the civilization.

A proper solution is not to seek how to bar a good man from doing what he is doing, but to find a reasonable trade-off for mutual benefit. In this particular case, I would suggest the editor to create only referenced stubs. Or, if the original foreing wikipedia has no references, then to make some google check to make sure that the subject may be (not "is") notable & add a tag {{not verified}}. I agree that the tags which larger than stubs are ugly, but in opinions of some people (at least me), stubs in obscure areas are just as important as FAs (or even more: after all, people can read about George Bush elsewhere). - 7-bubёn >t 16:51, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

So, how does one decide whether to label a person?

Hello. I wasn't sure where to put this. I'd almost wondered if it belonged on the BLP noticeboard, but this is more of a question, rather than a dispute.
I was looking at the Lindsay Lohan article, and there's a (very quick) discussion on the talk page about whether or not the LBGT americans category should be in her article (currently, it's there).
I'd started talking about it on the talk page, but already wasn't certain either way. After reading more pages here, I'm even more confused, so I thought this'd be the best place for opinions about how categories should be applied.
There are arguments for and against including the tag.

  • Just about everyone (at least everyone with a weakness for reading celebrity drivel) knows that she's had a girlfriend for quite some time now.
  • According to the article, when asked if she was bisexual, she said, "Maybe. Yeah."
  • However, self-identity seems to play at least some role in several articles (the discussion linked above explains this a bit better), and she immediately followed that comment with, "I don't want to classify myself."
  • Any statement where she implies that she's bisexual, but includes the word "maybe" doesn't really sound very... decisive?
  • The Wikipedia:Categorization page explicitly states that, "Categories are for defining characteristics..." and she's (as mentioned) explicitly stated that she doesn't wish to classify herself. So... if she explicitly doesn't classify as LBGT, it's hard to argue that that element is a "defining characteristic" of her, isn't it?

Anyways, as the article's semi-protected, I have no ability to change it either way(even if I was sure of the answer). I was just interested in a broader source of opinions on when these sorts of categories should be applied. 209.90.135.202 (talk) 03:24, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

If the membership in the category isn't clear it shouldn't really be applied, but that doesn't mean you can't discuss her sexuality in the article. A similar issue arises with people of ambiguous nationality. Dcoetzee 04:05, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
I don't people label people things which they don't describe themselves as and the whole things again raises questions over why we have a category called Category:LGBT people from the United States. I reasonably sure we don't have one on Category:Straight people from the United States! — Blue-Haired Lawyer 11:58, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
Neither do we have a category called "White People in the United States." Can you see why? - Cyborg Ninja 20:42, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

Proposal for introduction of NC licensed photos on Wikipedia

Several editors have proposed reopening the discussion of Wikipedia policy on use of non-commercial licensed images (for example, images licensed CC-NC). The following discussion is being transferred from Wikipedia talk:Featured picture candidates/Archive_20#Non commercial image license. The discussion there began with photographers who would prefer to license their contributions to WP as non-commercial , but expanded to the use of existing archival and (for example) Flickr NC-licensed images. This discussion attracted interest from such WP notables as Jimbo Wales and Erik Möller. Opinions discussed range from allowing all NC content, to allowing some NC content as a limited replacement for fair use, to continuing the existing ban on all NC content.

Impetus

Having recently invested quite a lot in photographic gear, I am reluctant to give away my images for free. I have no problem with wikipedia or any other non-commercial organization using them, however I would not like commercial institutions to benefit at my expense. I therefore suggest wikipedia adopt a non commercial license such as CC-NC . This will not violate wikis principles of free knowledge and will convince photographers to release higher resolution pictures as well. It might also convince professional photographers to release their work knowing that their work will not be used for commercial means and that they will still be able to make a living.

I don't know if this issue has been discussed before and I know village pump would probably be the place but I wanted some feedback from the photographers before taking it there. --Muhammad(talk) 05:16, 5 March 2009 (UTC)


Practical Considerations

Potential to tap into new useful content

It has been suggested (Fir0002, Diliff and others) that semi-professional grade photographers are put off by the potential of their works being exploited commercially. These photographers my contribute their images to Wikipedia if it had an option of NC licensing.

  • I think that providing photographers with this kind of basic protection and choice in how their images get used will strongly benefit the project (and by the project I mean a free online encyclopedia) with semi-pro grade photography. --Fir0002 01:40, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
  • As Fir0002 said, allowing NC (with an allowance for Wikipedia's commercial use in financial emergencies) licenses would encourage better photography, and would not compromise the encylopaedia in any way, as long as distribution was limited to Wikipedia. Diliff | (Talk) (Contribs) 10:50, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

It was further suggested (Pete Tillman, Muhammad Mahdi Karim) that there already exists large amounts of untapped NC content on flickr and other sources.

  • There are a number of historic archives that license their photographs for free noncommercial reuse under the CC-NC licenses -- a good example is the large LA Times photo archive at UCLA. And many photographers at Flickr license their photos as CC-NC. We're missing out on a lot of good, free content by not allowing CC-NC licensed material at Wikipedia. So I'm very pleased to hear the Foundation is open to changing this policy. Cheers, Pete Tillman (talk) 20:51, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I have seen some great macro images at Flickr which we could have uploaded to wikipedia if only we had a NC license. --Muhammad(talk) 20:25, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Integration of NC images with GFDL text in articles

It has been suggested (Dragons Flight, Fletcher and others) that NC images would conflict with the GFDL text and make it impossible for them to coexist in an article.

  • You can only create that combined work if the licenses and associated rights on all the pieces allow you to do so. The FSF position, and I would argue the natural reading of the license, is that creating that new article version is only allowed if all the pre-existing pieces are licensed under the GFDL. Dragons flight (talk) 00:25, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
In response it was suggested (Fir0002) that the fact Wikipedia articles already contain a variety of individual licenses (from PD to FU) there shouldn't be any issues with incorporating NC
  • If a GFDL article can host a Fair Use image then a GFDL article can host NC images. If a GFDL article can host CC-by-SA content (which is not GFDL) then it can host NC images. If a GFDL article can host PD content (again not GFDL) then it can host NC images. Wikipedia already incorporates many different copyrights into it's articles - one more is not going to make a whole lot of difference. --Fir0002 06:06, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

Note: an email has been sent to User:MGodwin to get a professional opinion

Ideological Considerations

Wikipedia should be free as in free content

It has been argued (Fletcher, Kaldari, Eloquence) that Wikipedia is rooted in the free content movement and therefore should be treated as a repository of free content which anyone can use for any purpose (including profit)

  • Wikipedia is free as in speech, not (just) free as in beer -- free in the sense advocated by Stallman et al, where downstream users may use the content for any purpose. Fletcher (talk) 15:15, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Wikipedia is and always has been a free culture project. Its goal is education, yes, but it is also the creation of free content. Content that anyone can use for anything.Calliopejen1 (talk) 23:35, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Wikipedia has been a free culture project since it's inception.... "Free license" doesn't mean free as in "no cost", it means free as in "free speech". Kaldari (talk) 15:26, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia's priorities - encyclopedia or free content

Largely in response to the above argument, it was contended (Fir0002, Diliff and others) that Wikipedia is primarily a free (as in no cost) encyclopedia and providing high quality encyclopaedic content should be its priority.

  • It seems like WMF is willing to sacrifice the original primary goal of Wikipedia (which is to create the best and most complete free encyclopaedia to the best of my knowledge) in order to stick to the (IMO misguided) ideology of free content for all, regardless of purpose or intent. Diliff | (Talk) (Contribs) 10:50, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
  • if Getty or Reuters suddenly approached WMF and said to Wikipedia that we want to donate all of our images under an NC license to support the creation of a free encyclopedia, wouldn't you want the WMF to accept that offer? Again ultimately I think that question hinges on what Wikipedia's priorities are - being an encyclopedia or being a free content resource. That's no longer making Wikipedia the best it could possibly be in terms of making the best freely (no cost) accessible encyclopedia; that's making Wikipedia as good as it can be subject to a certain ideology. --Fir0002 12:53, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
  • We are interested in freedom, but we still make compromises in the interest of encyclopedic breadth. Dragons flight (talk) 17:50, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Companies exploiting free content

Several photographers (Fir0002, Diliff, Muhammad and others) have pointed out they contribute because they believe in free knowledge but the idea of commercial companies exploiting their goodwill is distasteful

  • I contribute because I believe I'm working towards the "sum of human knowledge" goal. Images are crucial to this goal. I'm sorry but the idea that we're pouring our work into a free content resource for others to exploit IMO makes the internet not suck. Knowledge is cool, exploitation is sucky.--Fir0002 07:17, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
  • It is an issue of 'cosmic fairness' or 'karma' or however you want to describe it: Companies that exist to make a profit should not do so off the back of donations. Diliff | (Talk) (Contribs) 13:15, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
  • All pictures I take, I upload to wikipedia if they have EV and I go out of my way to do this, not to make money bur for the provision of free knowledge.--Muhammad(talk) 20:25, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Prior discussions and present Wikipedia policy for NC-licensed content

Wikipedia's current policy on material licensed for non-commercial reuse is at Wikipedia:Non-free content. NC-licensed material is presently defined as "non-free".


  • Two things. First, although there is still some debate about it in some quarters, in general CC NC licensing is not thought to prevent hosting on a site with advertising. So it would be possible for Wikipedia to both have NC licensed images and to have advertising. I oppose both, by the way. :-) Second, the best way to understand my position on this is to read Erik Moeller's essay.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 20:45, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
  • ...Many months ago I approached the Foundation about allowing NC images in place of fair use images for subjects where no truly free image exists. That is to say that NC might be allowed, but only when there was no more free alternative was available to show the same subject. Personally, I consider NC to be much clearer for reusers than fair use, since in both cases a commercial reuser may need to remove images, but NC provides a bright line while fair use is fuzzy and ought to be looked at on a case by case basis. The Foundation was open to the idea of using limited NC images at the time, provided that the community backed it. Though there would still be a tension between the desire to encourage people to create truly free content and the desire to have any photo at all of a difficult to obtain subject. Dragons flight (talk) 20:31, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
  • It's been Wikimedia's long-standing position that allowing commercial re-use contributes to its educational mission (the negative impact of stupid commercial uses is outweighed by the positive impact of educational, commercial uses), and that position is unlikely to change. That said, I do believe we need a license that clearly has a "strong copyleft" effect on photographs and similar media, so that when they are used e.g. in newspaper articles, the surrounding articles would need to be copylefted, too. That is consistent with our licensing policy, but neither the GFDL nor CC-BY-SA have really developed clear and unambiguous language to this effect. Creative Commons is open to modifying CC-BY-SA to clarify that copyleft applies on images used in the context of other works (as opposed to only applying to modifications to the image itself). While not helping you with all use cases you're concerned about (it would still allow commercial use in ads, provided the ads are freely licensed), it should certainly limit use in ways which are consistent with our values. This is something we can continue to work on together. Beyond that, I'd encourage the people concerned about commercial use to think about Wikipedia not as their primary publishing platform, but as a way to highlight and promote some of their work, while generating revenue elsewhere.--Eloquence* 01:56, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
[Quote FYI from User:Eloquence: "My name is Erik Möller. I'm a former member of the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation, and the Foundation's current Deputy Director"]

Kaldari (talk) 16:15, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

...I forgot to include Jimbo's original explanation of the issue from 2005 in my links above. You may want to read that as well for some of the reasoning behind prohibiting NC on Wikipedia. Kaldari (talk) 17:54, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Original thread of this discussion

Please note that the entire thread of the original discussion at WP:FPC is substantial, nuanced and well worth reading -- but it's a bit intimidating to come to cold! Hence this introduction and summary.

New Discussion

Please add new discussion/comments on the proposed introduction of NC content on Wikipedia below

The goal here is to make the best free encyclopaedia possible. Policies should be chosen to reflect that, not philosophical viewpoints. A NC licence option would encourage artists to release their work, allow the use of many existing NC works, and potentially open other image archives for use in articles. In many cases it may also be possible to replace fair use works with higher quality NC licensed ones. Noodle snacks (talk) 09:55, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Here are my quick thoughts on the issue: This is a good idea as it will help Wikipedia in becoming a high quality encyclopedia and become more free (yes I know NC != free, but it is more free than fair use). However, we are also about free content so we should at least have some restrictions:

  • Editors should not be allowed to upload self-made NC only content.
  • NC media should add significantly to articles.
  • Unused NC media should be deleted.
  • There must be no free equivalent. (However, I'd like to see NC images replace fair use ones as it's easier on reusers)
  • No NC media on Commons.
  • NC media are not eligible for featured picture status.

... but at the same time, we can relax on needing rationales and low resolution. MER-C 12:55, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

It only makes it easier for non-commercial reusers. For commercial reusers, it may make it harder, as they'd have to determine whether the use meets fair use for them. Currently our restrictive NFC policy pretty much ensures that if someone is reusing our content in a country with a fair use or similar law, that any fair use images we have would meet the law. Mr.Z-man 17:13, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Sigh. I have invested a considerable amount of money in my gear. I am uploading the maximum feasible resolution versions of my work, as opposed to the proponents of the NC license which upload only downsampled trial-versions. I have done so to support the free content cause of Wikimedia. So I feel I have the moral right to this rant! And I would frankly feel betrayed if a gang of people hijacked this community and turned it into something countering this cause. The exploitation argument alludes to primal instincts (de:Futterneid). The making content available argument is moot. If the content is so important for the illustration of articles then en already has fair use. It does not take bad faith assumptions to see what this really is about, the proponents spelled it out themselves numerous times: making profit from their pictures. Not that profit-making is bad per se. It actually is not, although Diliff want us to believe that it is in the case of the bad companies! But the free content cause is more important. If you do not agree with that then you are in the wrong place. Flickr welcomes your contributions. --Dschwen 14:44, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

  • Agreed. All this talk about how "philosophical viewpoints" are not important is rubbish. Wikipedia would not exist without those philosophical viewpoints. I have also invested considerable money in photographic equipment, and not for the purpose of making money, but for the purpose of sharing with the rest of the world (not just Wikipedia). This is why 100% of my photographic contributions are donated to the public domain. People who are worried about the "commecial value" of their photographs should post them to Flickr or sell them. Wikipedia is doing just fine without NC content. Kaldari (talk) 15:34, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
    • But guys what's going to change if Wikipedia were to introduce NC? You'll continue uploading under GFDL at full res and that's great. But there'll also be a whole lot more new NC content uploaded. I don't see the issue - unless it's a case of "look how much I've sacrificed, why aren't you sacrificing the same?" In which case I'd suggest you are contributing for the wrong reasons. If you want to be so altruistic then fine. If I want to retain some of my image rights then why not? As long as it's building a better encyclopedia I can't see the problem. Expunging valuable contributions to Flickr is not helpful --Fir0002 07:39, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
      • If you want to retain and exercise your proprietorial rights, then a project whose aim is to provide content over which such proprietorial rights are not exercised by its creators is not for you, because your aims differ from its. This is a project to build a free-content encyclopaedia, as an alternative to proprietary content encyclopaedias. It is not a project to build a proprietary content encyclopaedia. Other people are doing that. Our goal is not their goal. Uncle G (talk) 21:24, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
    • If Wikipedia had to be finished on a certain date in the near future, and non-commercial images were the only way to create a complete encyclopedia, then maybe we would be open to them. But for now, there just seems little reason to start including them. Is there a non-commercial image that is mandatory for an article that can not be taken again in a similar fashion by someone who is willing to license it freely? We've got all the time in the world. Mahalo. --Ali'i 17:50, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
      • Images of events in the past for example. But we've got this covered with fair use already. Uh, and having all time in the world means we can wait for copyrights to expire as well. --Dschwen 18:15, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
        • Given that major organizations like the LA Times and Al Jazeera have adopted CC-NC, I'd rather use their content under CC-NC (at full resolution and without the ambiguity and hassle of per-page rationales) than use fair use for such things. As I suggested at the prior thread, I'd like to see the limited adoption of CC-NC as an option to replace fair use. Dragons flight (talk) 18:22, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
          • I admit I don't know all that much about the licences or an anything, but just to echo above, it seems to be that "more free" is better -- that is to say, since we DO allow non-free stuff, why can't we also allow the median solution? Or to put it a different way, if there's only a choice between something non-free and something non-commercial, how could anything think the former is better? ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 19:13, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
            • You are making a false distinction. "Non-free" is, simply put, a limitation of the users's freedoms to copy, use, modify, create derived works from, and so forth. Preventing the user from using a work in certain contexts, that the author has chosen to be "unacceptable" for whatever reason, is exactly that sort of limitation of freedom. It's that simple. Read this and this.

              What we set out to do, in these Foundation projects, is to provide an alternative to proprietary content, be that proprietary encylopaedias, proprietary dictionaries, proprietary textbooks, proprietary newspapers, or other things. Saying "I, the author, do not allow you to use my content in contexts X, Y, and Z." is exercising exactly the sort of proprietary control that we aimed, and still aim, to be the free alternative to.

              So the answer is that we don't actually want any of it, because it isn't what we are aiming to achieve. Non-free content is only allowed under limited, and exceptional, circumstances. It is not the norm, nor is it our aim for it to be the norm. Uncle G (talk) 21:24, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

  • I don't think that uploading the highest possible resolution vs uploading downsampled automatically gives you the moral high ground. This isn't a holier than thou issue. We all have a fondness for Wikipedia and want it to be a success. It is just that some of us differ about how to judge this success and the policies that should be applied to make it a success. And I think you are clearly assuming bad faith by continuing to assert that the primary motivation is for us to personally profit from a NC license. I have stated (as have Muhammed and Fir) numerous times that this is simply not the case. Can I ask you, Dschwen, why you think it is such a great idea that companies unrelated to Wikipedia/Wikimedia be able to use free content specifically to make a profit for themselves? I've always just had this idea that you should profit from producing something, whether it be physical, intellectual, etc, not just from taking something for free. Diliff | (Talk) (Contribs) 17:48, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
    • It's very strange that you claim that xe is assuming bad faith about your profit motivitation when only two sentences later you state it outright. You wish to exercise proprietorial rights over your content, in particular a copyright, in order to deny everyone else apart from you the ability to profit from your creation. Whilst that is one of the underlying motivations for the existence of copyright in the first place, it is the antithesis of what we have set out to do here. Providing content that is not encumbered by such restrictions put in place by its proprietors, preventing free use for any purpose, is our aim, one that is essentially beyond debate and one that is explicitly part of the Wikimedia Foundation's mission. This is a project created by and involving people who share that aim. People who do not share that aim can set up their own projects to write proprietary encyclopaedias and so forth. This is where we draw the line in what we are setting out to do. Uncle G (talk) 21:24, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
      • Quite so. "Copyleft" deliberately uses copyright law to work against copyright. From a certain point of view, CC-BY-SA is more "free" than CC-BY or even the public domain, because it is viral and creates more free content. This, Diliff, is the motivation for allowing companies no restrictions on how they use material -- their reuse must also be under the same copyleft licence, and more copyleft content is created, which we can then use ourselves. [[Sam Korn]] (smoddy) 23:27, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
        • You are under a delusion if you think that companies are licensing derivatives under the same free license. You don't have to go far to see how people are using wiki images, eg Brittanica which basically relicenses under NC. The idea that commercial companies will relicense under a GFDL only exists in an idealogical fairy land! --Fir0002 10:36, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
          • One suspects there may be ways more friendly than "under a delusion" and "ideological fairy land" in which you could have phrased this comment... Of course there will be uses of free images or text that do not result in more free images or text. Perhaps that will even be the majority of cases. But the viral nature of the licences most certainly does create more free content, and that is most definitely a good thing. [[Sam Korn]] (smoddy) 22:12, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
          • The Alps picture in Britannica is still GFDL licensed, afaict? <scratches head> --Kim Bruning (talk) 11:00, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
            • I noticed the same thing. I'm not an expert on the GFDL, but I see attribution and a link to the license, which looks like compliance. Britannica's terms of use also state, "Britannica claims no compilation copyright in images or materials that are subject to the GNU Free Documentation License or similar licenses." While it's certainly possible or likely there are infringing uses to be found, Fir0002's own example disproves his argument that companies will not comply with the license. Fletcher (talk) 21:53, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
              • The argument for licenses like GFDL and CC-BY-SA was that it would create new derivative content under the same license. Ie it would make Brittanica license the entire article under the GFDL/CC-BY-SA. As it is no new free content was created by the so-called viral nature of those two licenses --Fir0002 01:00, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
                • Can you actually cite that argument? I see what Sam claimed above, but you may be interpreting him too literally in that he means companies must release _your_ image and any derivatives thereof under copyleft, not release their whole product associated with your image under copyleft, although Sam can correct me if I'm wrong. I would assume Britannica does not think its article is a derivative of your image, which is supported by the interpretation here. However it does seem that Britannica is not providing an adequate image page documenting file history or linking to your user account. Fletcher (talk) 03:56, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
      • Your logic is flawed. Just because I state my belief that I don't think companies should be profiting from of Wiki's images, it doesn't mean that my motivation is for me to profit from it. Why don't you actually read and understand what I've said, instead of twisting it to make me look like I'm still hiding my true intentions? Just today in fact, I received an email from a Korean businessman who contacted me to confirm whether he could sell my photos as posters to his clients(he gives the example of 5 metres by 2 metres). This is clearly not what most of us envisioned when we uploaded our images to Wikipedia, but as long as he puts a little attribution to me and a link to the CC-BY-SA license, he is free to do this by virtue of the licensing we have, and I just think it is morally wrong. Rather than do what someone in his position used to have to do in days gone by (purchase the photo or take the photo himself), now he can just take the work we've created and profit from it. Just to clarify, I have no problem with people using my photos for educational purposes because I think information should be free, but I don't like the idea of someone else profiting from the work that people have done. Please do not confuse this with me wishing to profit from Wikipedia, because that is not it. I only think that if a photo can make you money, you shouldn't be able to take it from the author for free. You should give him a fair price for the work. That is my primary argument, and it applies to anyone, not just myself. It is an ideological standpoint about the ethics of the work we donate to Wikipedia, not a selfish personal one. Diliff | (Talk) (Contribs) 18:43, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I agree with Fir and Dliff. Its good that you guys upload max resolutions but not all share your views and it would be to the benefit of wikipedia if we could get more images from other sources. --Muhammad(talk) 19:35, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Since Wikipedia is GFDL constrained, it cannot limit reuse to non-commercial use only. Commercial sites, as well as books, magazines, and even users' manuals, republish Wikipedia content. Who then was a gentleman? (talk) 19:54, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
    • Then what of already non-free content? They have to decide their own rules on those. If something is released as NC, can't it still potentially fall under normal (non-WP) fair use laws? ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 20:57, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
      • Potentially yes, but if we did not limit NC content in the way we do fair use, many of the NC images probably would not qualify for fair use. Fletcher (talk) 22:15, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Several editors have mentioned fair use as an alternative to WP accepting NC-licensed comment. I have some experience in trying to do that; here's a pretty typical example. Endless aggravation and frustration for the unwary FU image contributor. Here's the photo in question: [11]. Ask yourself whether the Tom Hayden article is better without it, and whether, as the admin ruled, "Text is sufficient to convey that [Tom Hayden] married Jane Fonda and they had a child." By this standard, for the Trinity nuclear test, text would be sufficient to convey that the USA first tested a nuclear weapon on July 16, 1945 -- if the US happened to be a country that copyrighted official photographs [added after Carnildo's comment]. Pete Tillman (talk) 04:37, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
You're comparing apples and zebras there. The images in Trinity nuclear test are free content, so we can use as many of them as we want, up to the limits of good taste. The picture of Hayden, Fonda, and child is not free content, so in the interests of making a free-content encyclopedia, we need to concern ourselves with such things as "is there an alternative to using this image?". --Carnildo (talk) 05:53, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
Oops, sorry, forgot the "what-if?" -- Pete Tillman (talk) 13:49, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
If the USG did copyright official photographs then indeed we would have to apply the fair use criteria to the Trinity tests -- and no doubt the images would pass, as there is a good rationale for using them. Thus I think your comparison is a bit exaggerated, because the first detonation of a nuclear bomb is a very significant event, whereas people get married and have children all the time; showing a picture of Hayden and Fonda together is not really needed. I personally think your image should be allowed, however, but a strict reading of the rules might cause someone to have a different idea. But the Trinity tests without a picture would be severely lacking. Fletcher (talk) 22:15, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
I think we'd reduce the number of images to three: one shot of the "gadget", one of the initial explosion, and one of the mushroom cloud. The rest of the US government images (especially the "important people standing around" ones) could either be dispensed with or replaced with free images. --Carnildo (talk) 03:56, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
  • It's true that avoiding NC images limits what images are available to some extent. The important thing is that Wikipedia is not just an attempt to create a high-quality encyclopedia, or even a high-quality free encyclopedia; it's an attempt to create an information source from which many novel applications can be derived. It's raw material. One look at Wikipedia:Wikipedia_in_academic_studies shows the myriad novel uses to which our data has been applied, often in unexpected ways. Some of these novel transformations will originate in companies who will want to be compensated for those efforts, and I think the potential to engage in such a practice would only enrich society at large. Dcoetzee 13:02, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
  • By giving in, we weaken our mission: we're a free (as in speech) encyclopedia. It's not Encylopedia OR Free, it's Encyclopedia AND Free. Do the logic: if we let dilute our content, we lose the Free part of our mission. The world really could use a free encyclopedia. No one else is making such a large free encyclopedia (at least so successfully).
Why should we abandon our mission now, while we have been more or less successful since March 2000? It would be like switching from building a car to building a boat halfway through. It's silly!
Other people can make non-free encyclopedias. We're making the free one. Because that's what we do.
And yes I understand that this means that we can't do certain things. And yes, it's too bad. But there's no point making yet another non-free encyclopedia. Those already exist.
But hey, look at the upside. By allowing commercial entities to help out, it actually becomes possible to enlist aid from some of the worlds largest and most wealthy organizations, in both money and manpower. There's something to be said for that! :-)
--Kim Bruning (talk) 13:38, 14 March 2009 (UTC) And yes I'm aware that the fair use situation weakens my position (thats part of why I'm opposed to fair use too).
I think that there are really two arguments here: the rights of the photographers and the use of untapped archival and Flickr images. As for the photographers (I'm not one), I understand that you put a lot of effort in to your work, but many people who contribute to text do so altruistically, too, and have their content usurped elsewhere. They don't even get attribution (it's a collaborative effort, and no one but editors look at page history); photographers do if they license under CC-BY. (Caveat: Writers don't need to buy and learn to use expensive equipment, other than a computer with an internet connection, or travel to remote parts of the world, or wait until an animal is posed just right, etc.) As for archival and Flickr images, I think everyone agrees that NC is preferable to fair use (although some oppose both). Such, it should be possible to upload NC images as fair use, with all associated restrictions, and replace "real" fair use images. The murky water is, how many of these restrictions can we lift? Can we tolerate higher resolutions, or lower standards for inclusion? We could create a new bureaucracy of templates for NC images, like FU but less stringent, or use the existing FU system (much simpler) without benefiting from lightened restrictions. But first, we need to decide the ideology of being "the free encyclopedia" or "the encyclopedia that is mostly free". I think that a more impartial discussion will follow if we focus on archival images instead of the heated issue of photographic contributions by editors. Above all, I suggest that we reach a conclusion that is simple and clear.--HereToHelp (talk to me) 14:32, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
I disagree that either NC licences or fair use are better than the other -- they are both antithetical to freedom. [[Sam Korn]] (smoddy) 22:12, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
If you're only going to think in absolute terms, then CC-BY-SA is antithetical to freedom too. It puts an unnecessary restriction on freedom to re-use: attribution. The fact is, we live in the real world with shades of grey, not a world of black and white absolutes. Diliff | (Talk) (Contribs) 22:40, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
Requiring attribution is not a restriction on freedom. Freedom in this sense means (a) freedom to use in any fashion, (b) freedom to modify in any fashion, and (c) freedom to distribute in any fashion. Non-commercial requirements and fair use criteria obviously create restrictions on these; requiring attribution does not. [[Sam Korn]] (smoddy) 22:48, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
Requiring attribution IS a restriction on freedom. If you want to use the image without the attribution, you cannot. Therefore it restricts you from using it in any fashion. As does Sharealike. They are restrictions, even if you claim them to be necessary and minor ones. Diliff | (Talk) (Contribs) 12:08, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
You are mistaking "public domain" for being the "most free" licence. You totally misunderstand what "free" means in this context; you also misunderstand "restriction". [[Sam Korn]] (smoddy) 22:07, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
*sigh* If you say so. I didn't even mention public domain. Why did you bring that into the discussion? And as for this gross misunderstanding, perhaps you'd like to elaborate on exactly what you think I understood the definitions to be, and what the correct definition for this context is? Without it, you're just making a claim that I cannot even comprehend, let alone counter, due to lack of specificity. Diliff | (Talk) (Contribs) 22:53, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
You did mention public domain, albeit not by that name. You are talking about a licence that has no requirements whatsoever, which is equivalent to "public domain". It does not make something less free to put modest attribution requirements on it. The reuser can still modify, use and distribute freely. An attribution requirement does not limit the re-use in any way; hence it is not a restriction. That's what "free" means, not "you can pretend this is your original creation". [[Sam Korn]] (smoddy) 09:10, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
Oh, I see what you're getting at now, but that still wasn't what quite I meant. I was comparing the 'freedom' of CC-BY-SA to a theoretical CC-SA license, which would still require re-use under the same license. I know CC does not offer it, but I see that as being more free. The fact that you need to attribute is still something that I see as limiting in terms of re-use, because not everyone finds it appropriate to attribute. I suppose you'll think that I'm still using an overly liberal interpretation of 'free' though, as the restriction of attribution is more of a practical one than a philosophical one, but I think my interpretation is still valid in the real world. :-) Diliff | (Talk) (Contribs) 09:42, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

(outdent)Even [freedomdefined.org seems to think that attribution is acceptable, as they license under it. My other broad point was that NC certainly isn't worse than FU, therefore, we should be able to treat them as such. But whether both, or niether, should be allowed will never be settled firmly. Fair use images already make parts of Wikipedia unfree; but NC images with relaxed restrictions would become much more prevalent.--HereToHelp (talk to me) 02:53, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

That's because the freedomdefined.org live in the real world with shades of greys and not absolutes, as I said. It clearly is a restriction to the textbook definition of freedom, but one that they choose to tolerate. Just because they tolerate that restriction and not another, it doesn't mean that we can't compromise on a definition of freedom that works best for Wikipedia. I mean, no country has absolute textbook-definition democracy either, but that doesn't mean they're all considered undemocratic, and I don't see why we cannot strive for a free encyclopaedia while putting certain useful restrictions in place either. I just think we need to look at this issue in terms of how we can practically improve the quality of content on Wikipedia, instead of look at it in black and white ideological terms, but clearly ideology rules here. :-) Diliff | (Talk) (Contribs) 08:51, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
Ideology my foot! You do realize there's some really daunting practical problems with non-free content? (This is discussed on the internet every day, so I shan't bore you here)
Well, hmph, ok, I'll grant that there is an ideological component: Our ideology is to provide the means to sidestep those problems. We do so by providing part of the solution: we're offering an encyclopedia that sidesteps those practical problems. Other people might create computer programs or pictures, or whatever, but we're doing the encyclopedia.
In this way, we're doing our small part in creating a better, more practical world ;-)
But if we create an encyclopedia, but then -oops- forget to do the sidestepping, we're just back at square one, and we'll have just wasted everybodies time.
--Kim Bruning (talk) 10:59, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
But I've had a really good think about it, and I cannot for the life of me think of any really good reasons why our content needs to be commercial. For the record, I have said that an alternative to the NC license is a commercial license where commercial use is restricted to Wikipedia (as a means for it to recoup costs associated with providing the encyclopaedia, if absolutely necessary) only. An encylclopaedia's purpose is to educate, not to provide the ability to profit from its content. So unfortunately, you might bore me, but I feel that you providing reasons for why NC licensing has practical problems for Wikipedia in the real world is quite necessary for the discussion.
I'll wait for your response, but my impression is that any negatives would be outweighed by the increase in content quality if professional sources were able to upload their images without fear of loss of income. Diliff | (Talk) (Contribs) 11:27, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. ~ ωαdεstεr16♣TC♣ 17:21, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
(e/c)It doesn't need to be commercial, it doesn't need to be free at all. I'm sure someone could make a license that only allows it to be freely used and modified on Wikimedia sites but otherwise fully copyright protected. We've simply chosen to make it free. We want to not only compile the knowledge, but allow and encourage it to be spread by anyone in any way. Restricting this ability to only non-profit and education organizations greatly reduces our ability to do this. Its not just about people making loads of money off the content. Imagine someone running a small ad-supported website, and they want to use some Wikipedia content for a few pages. If there's NC content, then we're basically telling them that they can't do that unless they want to forgo any possible profit. They aren't raking in big bucks off the ads, they may not even be fully covering their hosting costs. In any case, why does it matter if people can profit off Wikipedia content? That's the point of it being free; people are allowed to do whatever they want with it. If they want to include it in something that makes a profit for them, they're free to do that as long as they respect the license terms, which includes giving attribution to the authors. We make a product that we give away for free, why does it matter if other people use it to make money? We could be profiting off it, we just choose not to, why force that restriction onto everyone else? Mr.Z-man 17:25, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
As I said, I believe it does matter if we give content away for free and it is used to make a profit. I think a large proportion of the contributors to Wikipedia, other than the die-hard free content supporters that make up the upper echelon of the Wiki bureaucracy, would seriously reconsider doing so if they found that their donations were being used to make a profit for others. Most people see Wikipedia as a non-profit encyclopaedia for educational use, not a 'product' to be sold. Yes, under the current licensing arrangement, Wikipedia could make money from its content, but there would be a massive uproar about it because that is not what Wikipedia exists for. I really find it strange how difficult it is for you guys (free content supporters) to see why we (those who don't see the encyclopaedia benefiting from the lack of a NC license) have a problem with commercial utilization of the content. It disrespects the intentions of the contributors who have donated their work primarily because of its potential to educate, and it inhibits many talented photographers from contributing who would otherwise benefit the goals of the encyclopaedia. All for the sake of retaining the right to make a buck off other people's hard work? Diliff | (Talk) (Contribs) 18:09, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
One can't make a profit and educate at the same time? Mr.Z-man 19:21, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Compromising on freedom to allow non-commercial content would be unnecessarily detrimental to the project. Many Wikimedia wikis don't even permit fair use content and get on exceptionally well. Stifle (talk) 16:41, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
  • OMG that took too long to read for very little gained. NC content is usually of a lower quality than free or commercial, because they are holding on to the higher-resolution for themselves. Regardless, not allowing NC forces those who want the recognition of having their content posted on Wikipedia to release it under a truly free license. If NC were allowed then everyone would post NC. We are not a webhost to attract potential buyers. ▫ JohnnyMrNinja 17:46, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
  • We are caught up in a predicament and I see only two possible solutions. To make a proper decision, we need to understand what we are facing. Jimbo nobly said, "Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That’s what we’re doing." The important question then is, is wikipedia there to provide businesses the opportunities to profit or to provide free access to knowledge? As wikipedia currently stands with the licensing, it loses quite a lot of valuable and highly encyclopedic images as has been discussed above. Having a NC license will not violate Jimbo's plan of providing access to free knowledge. Now we can either continue with our stubborn stance refusing to acknowledge the possibilities of a NC license or we can adopt the license and continue the goal of wikipedia, to provide free access to the sum of all human knowledge. A NC does not in any way limit free access of knowledge. FWIW, many have said that profit is not a bad word and that businesses should be allowed to make profit at others expense. Mhh... profit does seem quite bad when the photographers want to benefit for their hard work, eh? --Muhammad(talk) 19:01, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
    • NC does not in fact permit full free access. Even Lawrence Lessig admits that.
    • Open content is free as in speech, not as in beer. The ability to make a profit while producing open content allows people to work on it professionally.
    • That and I don't think that NC does for photographers what they think it does. NC is mostly intended as a kind of "training wheels" for people who don't quite understand the open economy yet.
    • Photographers would be better off contracting with sponsors or companies and placing a copyright disclaimer (www.gnu.org has details) or CC-BY requirement in their contracts. I understand that photography works somewhat different from programming, but I don't think it is *so* different that the methods of deriving a profit from content creation would suddenly be all topsy turvy. As to how to market such a disclaimer or license... that's an interesting question. :-)
    • Don't try to make people pay for things that already exist. They won't. You already have an NC image on wikipedia? Then there's no real interest in paying you more money for the same work (and let's not get into whether it would be morally justified to do so). The trick is to get people to pay for things that don't exist (yet).
    • That way, in the long run, wikipedia will actually get many more pictures than it would in the short term with just NC, AND the photos will be much higher quality, because one can afford to take the time AND some of our photographers could afford to do the work all day AND that means they'd get better at it faster SO that leads to even more photos of even higher quality. This is called a virtuous cycle.
    • My credentials? I'm a freelance open source programmer. I'm turning a profit using BY and SA style licenses only (In fact mostly MIT license so far this year;-) ). NC would never work, because most of my customers are companies. --Kim Bruning (talk) 16:43, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
      • Just to be sure: what I'm being paid to do is write new code or create new content. I don't make a profit on that which already exists (after all, the customer can often get that for free already), I make a profit on that which doesn't exist yet ;-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 16:46, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose Let me just add my two cents again, though I see that some of my comments have been summarized above. Not thinking of ways to deploy Wikipedia in beneficial, profitable ways shows a lack of imagination on the part of the proposers. Two main points: 1) To name one example that is currently happening, look to PediaPress and the book feature. Thinking about this business shows some of the economics of free content. First, PediaPress can't charge a ton of money for its products. Right now it's probably charging a little more than the marginal cost of printing + the marginal cost of Wikipedia (0). Eventually, other PediaPresses will enter the market and compete, driving the price essentially down to the marginal cost. PediaPress certainly gets to make a profit while others catch up, but in this sense it is being rewarded for bringing a new way of using Wikipedia to the market. And to the extent that its pricing is at marginal cost later, it's not really profiting from using Wikipedia - it's just earning back whatever return is customary on custom printing. In essence, since businesses' pricing is bounded by Wikipedia's freeness, no one is taking advantage of Wikipedia. It just makes new methods of distribution and creative reuses available essentially for the marginal cost of these things. When the people who proposed this say they don't object to reusers charging a nominal price for distribution of Wikipedia, it seems strange that they don't realize this is all reusers can charge. Check out prices for Linux lately? 2) Free content is beneficial for businesses in the same way that it is beneficial for students and non-profits. The marginal cost of photos is zero. Businesses having to pay for photos is an inefficient deadweight loss. Consumers will have to pay more for things incorporating nonfree photos, even though they can be copied for a price of $0. To the extent that the free content movement is about eliminating the deadweight social cost of IP (which in my mind it is), these arguments are equally strong for business applications. Misc/conclusion The point is, commercial is freer because it allows new uses and will virally increase the scope of the commons. The instant we start allowing non-commercial content with lesser restrictions than other non-free content, Wikipedia's leverage at getting commercial licenses decreases. This proposal is fundamentally at odds with the bedrock foundations of Wikipedia. Calliopejen1 (talk) 21:31, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
    • So basically you think that the issue of freedom is more important than the actual quality of content on Wikipedia? Which one creates a better encyclopaedia? Diliff | (Talk) (Contribs) 22:53, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
      • Well, we'd certainly have a great encyclopedia if we accepted loads of by-permission content. Clearly you're drawing the line somewhere too of valuing freedom over quality. The point is, Wikipedia is a free encyclopedia. Free culture is the foundation of this entire project. There are plenty of non-free encyclopedias, and this project is something completely different. Wikipedia is not on a deadline, and is in a unique position of being able to leverage its popularity to demand truly free licenses of authors and organizations. (Who would contribute free media if they knew they could saddle it with restrictions and it still would get into our articles?) Wikipedia's role is the creation of free knowledge. Accepting non-free knowledge undermines that mission. Calliopejen1 (talk) 00:15, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
@Diliff: Perhaps you are right that NC may be beneficial for wikipedia in the short term. Similarly, subprime mortgages were beneficial to Bear Stearns in the short term too.
On the longer term, I think NC will become a toxic asset. ;-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 17:22, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
Oppose. It seems that this attempt to partly abandon one of Wikipedia's fundamental goals eight years after its inception has already failed, as it should. But I want to add one argument which I haven't seen mentioned while skimming the previous discussion:
CC-NC licenses create significant legal uncertainties. They may prevent uses which would be allowed under a naive understanding of "noncommercial". Determining the exact meaning of "noncommercial" as used in the CC licenses is a very hairy issue, a problem which Creative Commons itself implicitly acknowledged last fall by launching a research study on this question. Regards, HaeB (talk) 22:55, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

Premature Close - NC is not compatible

I hate to bring this to a premature close but Mike Godwin (General Counsel for Wikimedia) has told me (via email) that he is 100% certain that Wikipedia cannot legally host NC content because it is incompatible with GFDL (this is notwithstanding the use of FUC). It's seems paradoxical, doesn't it, that I would be the one to deal the death blow to a proposal I would like to succeed :) --Fir0002 01:00, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

Could you ask him for permission to post his email here (and, probably, other appropriate places)? And yes, this is discouraging. --Pete Tillman (talk) 17:02, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
I have permission to provide some extracts (see below) --Fir0002 07:00, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
I am, yes, 100 percent certain that Wikipedia can't host NC content (it's inconsistent with our other free licenses). I am 100 percent certain that Wikipedia can host fair-use content (it's consistent with the copyright law of the jurisdiction we're in).
The main thing to remember is that NC (a type of license) is not coterminous with Fair Use (a copyright doctrine that operates independently from licensing -- indeed, it's a category of unlicensed use). (Mike Godwin)
That makes perfect sense if the proposal is to host NC content on the basis that it has a free-NC license. (Was that it? sorry to jump into the middle — I'm afraid the previous discussion is TLDR.)
But I'd like a clarification — surely this doesn't mean that content with a free-NC license is not eligible to be used as fair use, same as any unlicensed content, just ignoring the license? It would be very strange if a copyright holder could prevent WP from using content on a fair-use basis, simply by licensing it under cc-by-nc. --Trovatore (talk) 08:23, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, as Fir0002 says, it doesn't really explain why we use fair-use images but not NC images. Sounds like, while Mike is probably right that we can't use NC licensed content as NC content, we should still be able to use it as fair use (with the usual restrictions like limited resolution and only where a free image cannot be found to replace it)... Diliff | (Talk) (Contribs) 08:53, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
Fair use at WP has gotten so restrictive, and so contentious, that it's really not worth trying unless you feel really strongly about a particular image -- and even then, you may lose. See [12], the Tom Hayden example I discussed upthread. And this is WMF policy, as Erik Moller made clear over at our original discussion of this. WMF wants very few fair-use images.
That said, I've had a number of NC-licensed archival photos accepted as fair use --in fact, someone made up a (supplemental) Non-free with NC license template, so this is probably fairly common. In my experience, the NC-fair use images that have stuck have been on pretty obscure topics. I've just about stopped posting NC-fair use images, though, as the challenges that result are just too unnerving and time-wasting. --Pete Tillman (talk) 19:02, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

It seems clear that he's only stating that a NC license cannot itself provide a basis for use of any material on Wikipedia. The fact that someone, somewhere, released material under a NC license is irrelevant to whether it could nevertheless be used according to our policies for nonfree materials (which legally rest upon, but are in practice more restrictive than, the fair use doctrine). Just treat materials only released under NC licenses as nonfree, as if they were not released under any license. Postdlf (talk) 19:13, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

Pointer to discussion on status of WP:FICT

I have opened an rfc on whether to tag WP:FICT as historical or rejected, or possibly restore a version from the page's history. See Wikipedia talk:Notability (fiction)#Tag for this page. Thanks, Hiding T 11:40, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Zero tolerance to BLP vandalism

I'm not sure if this is a policy already, but it really ought to be. Most of the time, a series of warnings (up to four generally) are given to editor who vandalise Wikipedia. This is normally done as a way to "AGF" that these vandals are merely testing the wiki, and we give them plenty of chance to stop. However, if an IP or account vandalises a BLP in any way, they should be blocked on sight. I personally think the warning system is a waste of time, but realise it's quite entrenched and would be difficult to remove. However, I do believe it would be a Very Good Idea to introduce zero tolerance to BLP vandals and block them on sight - no need to give such people chance after chance is there? Majorly talk 23:48, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

I like the idea, since I first proposed it 10 months ago when it was soundly rejected at Wikipedia_talk:Biographies_of_living_persons/Archive_19#BLP.2Fblocking_change. Maybe the environment is better now for such sensibility. MBisanz talk 23:50, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
Better idea, just semiprotect the article in question. I'll be happy to. Casliber (talk · contribs) 23:58, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
Semi protect as well, but not instead. Majorly talk 00:00, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
Semiprot doesn't address the 10-edits-and-vandalise issue. I wholeheartedly support this proposal. (Jesus, Majorly, I'm agreeing with you again. I might have to start liking you or something.) //roux   00:01, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
Well then you just block the offending editor, or give one v. serious warning (and no risk of collateral). Casliber (talk · contribs) 00:14, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
I think this is a good idea. A lot of admins already do this (and we're lucky to already have a few that take BLPs seriously). - Rjd0060 (talk) 00:01, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
Which idea? Casliber (talk · contribs) 00:14, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
Blocking users who vandalize BLPs (not the semi-protecting). - Rjd0060 (talk) 01:16, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
The blocking proposal is a good idea; I've been doing something like this for attack-ish vandalism directed toward a living person. Blocking and semi-protecting though when there's only 1 vandalism edit from 1 user seems excessive. Mr.Z-man 00:26, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
I like this idea: I'm often quicker to block BLP vandals anyway. Acalamari 02:13, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
Zero-tolerance for anything is a bad idea -- you invariably wind up with situations where you want to avoid punishing someone, but can't. --Carnildo (talk) 05:55, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

Would support for obvious "attack like" vandalism. Would not support for "blanking the page" (unless the content is replaced with an attack) or "unexplained removal of content". There's always an outside possibility that these may be the subject of the BLP. If there's a remote possibility that an edit was done in good faith but with poor judgment then standard leveled warnings should be used first. --Ron Ritzman (talk) 02:33, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

  • It's not actually that rare. The last case that I personally came across, where editors were almost to the point of blocking a BLP complainaint with a legitimate complaint for vandalism, rather than listening to the complaint, was the case of Sanaz Shirazi, a mere fortnight ago. Uncle G (talk) 12:37, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

Having this as a blanket policy is not a good idea, there is a clear difference between adding 'sjngkrngkerngk' to a BLP or adding '.... is a paedophile' to a BLP. For the second a straight block would almost always be appropriate but while the first is vandalism as the Wikipedia:Vandalism#Types of vandalism policy says, it can be just a test edit "can I really edit this page" where a warning/greeting is the appropriate action. There are several types of vandalism on Wikipedia:Vandalism#Types of vandalism where a straight block is not the best approach regardless of whether the page is a BLP or not. It should be the type of vandalism that guides the response, not just the page that the vandalism is made on. Adding 'asngakjenk' or removing an AFD tag from a page should get a warning regardless of whether the page is a BLP or not, while adding '.... is a paedophile' to a BLP or to President of the United States or United States presidential election, 2008 for example should be treated seriously regardless of wheter that page is a BLP or not. Davewild (talk) 11:31, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

Davewild makes an excellent point, and it's one that I echo. It's also one that was made in the previous discussion, which the proposers here don't appear to have appreciated. We, as administrators, are not robots. We aren't supposed to blindly and unthinkingly follow simplistic step-by-step procedures. We aren't supposed to have a simpleminded "Vandalize once, get first warning. Vandalize again, get second warning. Vandlize thrice, …" approach, or indeed a simplistic "Vandalize a BLP, get blocked without warning." approach. We are supposed to think about what we are doing. We were entrusted with the extra tools in the first place because the community saw that we thought about our use of our tools. There's a whole world of difference between a test edit and a deliberate falsehood, and our response to each should be appropriate. There's also a whole world of difference between a removal of falsehoods, even be it an inept one that technically violates our strictures against edit warring, and a removal of valid information. If we think in terms of simplistic and blanket procedures, then we hand the malicious the ability to game us and we prevent the benificent (but inexperienced) from helping us (and from gaining experience). As the maxim goes, our policies, guidelines, and procedures are not a suicide pact. And we already do hand out blocks at short notice, for the protection of the project, against people whose deliberate aim is unequivocally to hoax and to libel. We already have a low tolerance for these. But thinking about the possible intent of the edits, and gauging our tolerance accordingly, is something that we are supposed to do. It's a requirement that the BLP policy imposes upon us, in fact. See Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons#Dealing with edits by the subject of the article, for starters. Uncle G (talk) 12:37, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

I'm pretty certain what's being discussed here is BLP-specific vandalism; "X is gay and screws babies" kinda thing. 'BOOBS LOL' vandalism can be dealt with the normal way, because it doesn't have anything to do with WP:BLP. //roux   16:09, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

Note Aren't 4im warnings generally used for BLP violations? Cheers. Imperat§ r(Talk) 15:55, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

Sorry, but why would we warn someone who edited a page to say "X is a prostitute and shot x person"? Majorly talk 20:05, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

I agree with the essential idea: when people are obviously not acting in good faith they shouldn't be accorded an assumption of such. While on the one hand we should assume good faith (AGF) as long as it's possible (so being softer on test edits is probably a good idea), we need, as Davewild pointed out, a human response that can make the judgement that someone is trying to use Wikipedia as a platform to make an attack on someone rather than just adding "I LOVE PIE" to a random page. I support this proposal as long as people will apply some sense to it and ignore rules where beneficial. I do not support a semi-protection component, however: it won't help at all unless the blocked user uses sockpuppets or meatpuppets, in which case the existing protection policy justifies protecting the page. There are also other proposals or tools that I endorse for protecting BLPs which might help, especially in conjunction with rules like this. {{Nihiltres|talk|log}} 20:51, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

  • Not a good idea. Or rather, to be fair, it is a good idea expressed in poor policy. We should have no tolerance for vandalism of BLPs. But this is different from "zero tolerance" of IP editors and registered editors who vandalize BLPs. "Zero tolerance" is a punishment and deterrence concept. Blocks (especially vandalism blocks) aren't really meant to deter. I don't think that we decide to block or set block lengths on the premise that prospective vandals will observe IP talk pages, note that we don't give warnings before blocking, and decide not to vandalize. I don't think that rejecting this should be construed as rejecting the ability of any admin to block an account where it is apparent nothing good will come from it in the next few hours. I don't normally move through the 5-part warning scheme when dealing with vandals. In the case where the edits are obviously malicious I usually just give a 4im and block or just block. I do the same thing for BLP vandalism. To me that is different than "zero tolerance". Maybe I'm splitting hairs. Protonk (talk) 00:39, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
Zero is never enough tolerance. We need to have at least very little tolerance. Chillum 00:40, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
You're right. However, blocking on sight is not "zero tolerance". They can still appeal. They can still make their case. And the block will likely expire. Zero tolerance would be to throw away the key. --Golbez (talk) 18:39, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

There a couple resons to give vandals a few chances other than a desire for leniency. Many stop vandalizing after having been warned, so there is no need to block. Aside from creating extra work for admins, unnecessary blocks cause collateral damage in some cases. On the other hand, I rather frequently see vandalism that slips by the RC patrollers, often when there are several vandalistic edits in a row (sometimes with intervening good edits). Wkdewey (talk) 16:34, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

Single warning for defamatory vandalism

An alternative to the block-on-sight proposal, it could be made standard procedure that editors who insert defamatory vandalism about living people are given a single warning before blocking. This is already technically supported ({{Uw-biog4im}}) and not contradicted by policy. In effect, it would involve encouraging vandal-watchers to skip warning levels 1-3 for defamatory BLP edits, make defamatory vandalism after a single warning actionable at WP:AIV, and altering the interfaces of Twinkle, Huggle and any other relevant tool to reflect this. Skomorokh 22:30, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Wikipedia:Untagged images

Heads up - Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Wikipedia:Untagged images. ▫ JohnnyMrNinja 02:47, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

RfC at WP:SPOILER

A RfC has been request to determine whether the Spoiler guideline (WP:SPOILER) should be changed to exclude plot details that some consider to be spoilers from the lead section of an article. --Farix (Talk) 14:05, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

U.S. vs UK

Hey, I was curious, how come some article titles with US have dots, whereas UK does not. here are two examples. I could not find an existing policy about it.

Hell's Kitchen (U.S.) Hell's Kitchen (UK) The Office (U.S. TV series) The Office (UK TV series)

-Zeus-u|c 19:29, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia:MOS#Acronyms and abbreviations, this might have something to do with it. chandler · 20:02, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

RfC @ Notability (web)

Requesting comment on a policy decision with Notabiliy (web). --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 03:03, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Flagged protection and patrolled revisions

It is proposed to run a trial of Flagged Revisions at Wikipedia:Flagged protection and patrolled revisions. The proposal is divided in two parts:

  • Flagged protection: an article can be 'protected' by an administrator so that the version viewed by readers by default is the latest flagged version. This is a modified version of the original flagged protection proposal.
  • Patrolled revisions: a 'passive' flag used to monitor articles, especially blps, for vandalism, blp violations, pov pushing, etc, that can be used for all articles, but has no effect on the version viewed by readers.

The proposals are independent but supplement each other. They involve the creation of a 'reviewer' usergroup. This implementation can support secondary trials. The main trial should run for two months, then a community discussion should decide the future of the implementation.

This proposal is largely dedicated to improve our monitoring of BLPs (part 2) and enforce the BLP policy on specific articles (part 1). The proposal is moderate, to achieve consensus for implementation, but doesn't preclude nor entails future changes on the scope of active flagging. Cenarium (talk) 23:31, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

A poll has started at Wikipedia talk:Flagged protection and patrolled revisions/Poll. Cenarium (talk) 18:31, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

Does this statement allow verbatim usage in Wikipedia?

The statement is at http://jwa.org/copyright.html If I were sure it allowed us to use it I could paste it here! Fiddle Faddle (talk) 17:54, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

Doesn't look like it. That's says copyright all over (fair use, permission, etc.). §hepTalk 18:10, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

A new kind of admin

I have been patrolling through the RfA's as of late, and have noticed that some of the oppose or neutral "votes" have been for very trivial matters. The level of standard for becoming an admin seems to have risen to (sometimes) unrealistic levels. I would propose that anyone wanting to become an admin could have two options:

  1. The traditional RfA route of telling everyone how calm and knowledgeable one is and smiling whilst everyone throws rocks at you, or;
  2. Become an "Assistant" Admin of sorts. Get two current administrators to "sponsor" you. You receive the administrator tools and go on an admin probationary period and start doing adminy things. You are observed for 3 months (or 2 or 4 or 6 or whatever). Then, after the probationary period and if your two sponsor admins concur, you go to the community for approval to become a "bonafide" administrator. If, after the probationary period, the sponsors feel you need more time, they can extend it or return your account to original.

This way we can get more admin actions out there to unclog the backlog of AfDs, New Page speedies, AIV, etc., etc. without having to go through madening bureacracy of an RfA. At the same time, the sponsors (and the community) can monitor what kind of "full" admin you would be.--It's me...Sallicio! 18:09, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

Do you think those "trivial matters" will go away simply because a few admins said the candidate is good? --Kbdank71 18:19, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

It won't eliminate them, of course; but it will give the applicant more of a chance to make the RfA successful (and the learning period allowed the project to gain the benefit of another editor cleaning up). It just seems a more efficient method than the one we currently have! Cheers!--It's me...Sallicio! 18:27, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

In what sense will these probationary admins not be full admins? Will they have restricted technical powers or restricted rights to use their technical abilities? Will they be easier for the community to desysop than full admins? Algebraist 18:31, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

They could have full administrative privileges except that it wouldn't take an act of congress to desysop them. It's sort of like a probationary police officer. They have full police authority but can be fired at anytime for any reason. It would be a precarious time for the candidtate. My main point is that they could "prove" (if you will) their technical and social ability prior to being given cart blanche authority which is not easily rescinded.--It's me...Sallicio! 18:35, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

I think we just need to make it easier to de-sysop. I think admins should have to get recommissioned every couple of years. I know several people that aren't admins that should be, and several people that are admins that shouldn't be. But getting demoted is seen as the worst possible thing around here which is silly. ▫ JohnnyMrNinja 18:47, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

I think that's a good idea, too. WP:AOR is rarely enforced (I personally know of no incidents). ArbCom is a rare event for desysoping admins (I've seen it done once). But we also need more editors with tools to cut down on the backlog of trash disposal. I've seen speedy delete nominees sit there for days before an admin was able to come through and properly dispose of the "well-known" band consisting of n/n Jr. High School students; or the guy that loves his brand-new girlfriend or hates his English teacher.--It's me...Sallicio! 18:56, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

What would be the procedure for desysopping? --Tango (talk) 19:01, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

I'm not sure on that. It could either be by consensus of the sponsoring admins, or perhaps a subsection in the Assistant Admin's talk page whereby any editor could comment on the Assistant's behavior (good or bad) and "x" amount of negative feedback might constitute extended probation and perhaps "y" amount of negative feedback might constitute desysoping. With that, the only ones that could desysop the Assistant would be the sponsoring admins or a bureaucrat (this would help keep an inexperienced editor from adding nonsensical complaints to the tally because he is upset that the assistant reverted his "Coke-is-better-than-Pepsi" additions to the Coca-Cola article. I hope that made sense.. Cheers!--It's me...Sallicio! 19:18, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

That seems to place a lot of trust with the sponsoring admins. If (as seems likely) these admins are good friends of the probationer, and are unwilling to desysop them for any but the most extreme violation, then we end up with a new class of admins who are just as difficult to remove as admins are at present, but are much easier to create. Algebraist 19:22, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

I thought of that, too. Then we could make it 2 admins and a 'Crat to allow the Assistant Admin. Or three admins and a 'Crat. No system will be flawless, but I think that we should apply WP:AGF with our current admins' judgment and that of the nominee.--It's me...Sallicio! 19:28, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

This sounds like more work than its worth. So we have a bunch of experienced admins spending several months babysitting a new admin, who's going to be scared shitless at the prospect of immediate desysopping for a mistake (the odds of ever passing RFA after that happens drop precipitously) that he won't even consider doing anything remotely controversial. Mr.Z-man 22:40, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

The sponsoring admins don't have to babysit, per se. They just need to be there if the prospect has questions or needs help. It's no different than WP:AAU. And the criteria doesn't have to be exactly as I put it. I just think that there could be a better and/or more efficient way to get more admins and help the project at the same time. I think that we all could collaborate for an alternate system instead of poo-pooing the idea at face value. N'est-ce pas?--It's me...Sallicio! 23:59, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

Admin standards have always been high. Check out the RfAs from 2007, they also oppose for minor things. Chillum 00:04, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
Admin standards have not always been high. Check out some RFAs from 2002 for a change. --Carnildo (talk) 04:11, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
I think if an admin needs 3 months of supervised training to do a decent job, they probably shouldn't be an admin. I mean, this isn't rocket science. Mr.Z-man 01:19, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

S/he doesn't necessarily need 3 months of supervised training; it's just a way for us to get more qualified editors out there cleaning up the mess. Please try and look at the spirit of what I'm trying to portray, not just the letter.--It's me...Sallicio! 03:52, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

  • I don't really like the "assistant" idea, but I would support reconfirmation for admins after 3 years. Many become inactive by then, so the workload need not be that heavy, and it might provoke some older inactive ones to do more. For the first year, admins of 4+ years standing should be renominated on their anniversary, along with the 3 yr-olds - there won't be huge numbers of active ones. Rather more flexibility should be given to the bureaucrats to allow for a few cases where admins have made themselves unpopular by valid actions in controversial areas. Johnbod (talk) 17:34, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I disagree specifically with the part of the proposal about the sponsors being able to extend the time, as it would be essentially equivalent to allowing admins to make their friends admins indefinitely, except possibly for something like a standard 3 months plus an optional extension of an additional 1 month, for example; there should be a definite limit. Otherwise I'm neutral about the proposal. I tend to agree with Mr. Z-man's "scared shitless" comment, with the additional rock-and-a-hard-place aspect that one would also be afraid of being criticized for doing too few admin actions during the probationary period.
    I have an idea! If we want to increase the number of admins, we can develop a standard few words and link to place at the top of every RfA, along the lines of "here are the reasons we need more admins, therefore think twice before opposing someone for minor issues or one or two mistakes". The link could go to up-to-date information about current admin backlogs, as well as that Wikipedian staple, further discussion. Coppertwig (talk) 23:22, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
The part about extension would definitely have term limits. The way the idea ran was just off-the-cuff. I think that we could tailor the assistant admin thing to something that would suit everyone, mostly everyone, more than 50 percent of the community. "Assistant Admin" or no, something should give. The system seems a bit out of pace with the size and scope of the project. If nothing else, there should be some kind of re-qualification process. But I think that term-limit RfA's might clog up the initial RfA backlog.--It's me...Sallicio! 02:42, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
Wouldn't reconfirmations of current admins kind of be the opposite of this proposal? If we do that, we'd likely end up with fewer admins rather than more, and worse, we'd be losing from the more experienced admins. Mr.Z-man 18:28, 19 March 2009 (UTC)
On the other hand this might provide the admins enforcing the current almost impossible to pass rite of initiation ritual a reality check as they may have to reapply for admin...... ;-) Arnoutf (talk) 18:43, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

We could limit the admin renom to a confirmation once every two years with the consensus of five editors, five peers (other admins), and two crats. But then, who's going to keep track of what the admins' promotional dates are? I guess there could be a bot that could do that. But I still think the assistant thing could be worked out.--It's me...Sallicio! 01:40, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

Fair use images

I'm tired of people removing fair use images, saying that someday a free image could be obtained or that the image has been removed from the article. The reason it's "fair use" is because Wikimedia doesn't have a free picture. If a free one could be obtained, that is not the point. A free one has not been obtained. Also, removing the image from the article is not a fair reason to delete it, since those who removed it from the article are the same as those who consider "could be obtained" to be a reason for calling it not fair use. Again, "could be obtained" is not the same as "obtained." True or not, I see no reason to care whether or not it "could be obtained" when in fact it has not been obtained. --Chuck (talk) 23:10, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

In short, the frustration caused by not having an image is a good motivator for people to go look for images. Also, if a non-free image is in an article, a user who has a free image will not think to upload it, because they will not know it is needed. Calliopejen1 (talk) 00:04, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
The problem is that the 'could' at times gets a bit ridiculous. Not an image, but a while back someone said that a PD piece of music wasn't allowed to have a non-free 30 second sample, because someone 'could' go hire a string quartet to record it. No matter the cost and energy needed to actually do such an endeavor. And such things bring on a slippery slope. If you say a string quartet is possible (since it's a common ensemble), what about a bigger, less common one? Would even a full orchestra? So while I agree with the motivational issue (that if it's there, people won't know to look for it), I think a bit of common sense needs to be applied. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 00:22, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
You don't neccessarily need a string quartet -- a good MIDI synthesizer could also do the job. --Carnildo (talk) 04:12, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
It's about what can be legally defended. "Fair use" isn't a law, it's a defense. Technically, all of fair use is blatant copyright violation. We stay within the constraints of precedent. WP probably won't get sued because it is not commercial, but a commercial re-user could, and all of our content needs to be re-usable. ▫ JohnnyMrNinja 05:48, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
It's not a /violation/ if it's legal, and if it's illegal it's not allowed on WP. The whole point of fair use law is that it IS allowed to be used in certain ways. A 30 second sample of a piece of music is perfectly legal in a demonstrative/educational setting such as Wikipedia. It's only that WP itself has more harsh rules than is legally allowed, which is why there's such a problem. As for using MIDI, well, that's not a particularly good solution, but it's true that it'd be allowed without question under WP's rules. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 11:21, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
Actually, the fact that a free image could be obtained is exactly the point. Wikipedia is intended to be the free encyclopedia, and thus attempts to limit the amount of non-free media it uses. This is why Wikipedia's policies are much stricter than that of U.S. fair use law. Wikipedia will survive without a photo obtainable people/objects until such time as a photo is obtained. Resolute 17:52, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

The English language Wikipedia is actually fairly (heh) lax in this matter. Other languages don't allow fair use at all. Who then was a gentleman? (talk) 18:18, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

I started a thread about this a while ago. The jist of the response I got is that files that are extremely costly to replace - like pictures of things that cannot be accessed or located, or things that would require millions of dollars to reproduce - are more likely to be permitted, per common sense. Just argue on a case by case basis. Dcoetzee 02:17, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

Actually Wikipedia's policy is intended to do more than protect merely Wikipedia or its contributors from legal action; the policy is also intended to build up a body of work that is as free as reasonably possible from licensing restrictions. There is a specific consensus in the case of living persons that we should not use "fair use" photos of them (not an iron clad rule as I understand it, but a strong guideline), because it's possible to track the person down and take a photo. As far as I'm aware, that is the only area where fair use images are specifically strongly discouraged. In other areas, it's more of a judgment call as to how possible it is to come up with a free replacement image.

Hope this helps… -Pete (talk) 19:24, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

Oh, one other thing -- we had a good, related conversation in the comment thread of this blog post I did recently. Might be worth a gander -- and feel free to comment there too, I think people are still watching. -Pete (talk) 20:05, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

More eyes please on BLP policy regarding the use of childrens' names

A straw poll/discussion is in process to see if there is community consensus regarding the use of childrens' names at the BLP notice board. More input to gauge consensus is appreciated. -- Banjeboi 07:19, 17 March 2009 (UTC)


Wrapping text around an image

I've noticed on a lot of pages there are instances where text is oddly wrapped around images. Look at police for an example. Going down, you'll notice that section headings can often end up in the center of the page due to how the images are placed. This is more likely to happen if there are a lot of images and/or little text. What exactly is the policy for image placement? - Cyborg Ninja 20:38, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

I am not sure of an actual policy. I usually just use common sense and try to argue that too much images is not good. In extreme cases {{-}} can help as it creates white space and only starts a new section after the last picture in the one before. Be very careful using it only as a last option, as this creating a rather badly layout in itself. Arnoutf (talk) 21:49, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
{{Clear}} does something similar. --Apoc2400 (talk) 22:44, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
Template:FixBunching can also help, for cases where the little "edit" links are getting separated from their section headings in the page layout. Coppertwig (talk) 23:07, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

I think I'm in over my head

I was watching the recent changes page and reverting some obivious (to me) vandalism. I noticed one particular user (I have since posted a level one warning on their page) hitting the Camille Paglia page and I was trying to revert the very minor vandalism there. I may be in violation or 3RR....totally by accident. I have stopped editing there just in case and would like someone to let me know if I am in violation of policy. Since I'm new at this the editing will take me a while. I don't mind putting the time in, just saying...it's involved. thanks. Tiderolls 20:54, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

Per Wikipedia:Three-revert rule, there are exceptions to the rule, one of which is "Reverting obvious vandalism". Which is what you were doing - I've checked your edits. Do please continue to do the same, so long as the vandalism, as in this case, is obvious. --Tagishsimon (talk) 20:59, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
Indeed, no reason for worrying about 3RR in such cases of obvious vandalism. Rather the opposite: Good work, well done, continue reverting these very obvious types of vandalism. Arnoutf (talk) 21:33, 18 March 2009 (UTC)