Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 65

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Need someone versed in trademark and probably copyright law to give an answer.

This has been an ongoing debate about whether it violates any copyright law to crop an image with the explicit intent to remove a logo from it for the purposes of WP:NPOV in the Video Games Wikiproject at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Video games/Article guidelines#COPYVIO implications and Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Video games#Which box art to use as well as invisual game talk pages too numerous to mention.Jinnai 19:35, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
The best place for this is WP:MCQ. – ukexpat (talk) 19:45, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
As far as I know there is no copyright issue here, as long as the cropped image continues to satisfy our non-free content criteria. Removing watermarks from free images is commonplace on Commons. Dcoetzee 20:07, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

Guidelines for inappropriate info boxes

There are no guidelines for deleting information and navigation boxes where they might be inappropriate.

This issue came up for me for the one at the bottom of Guinness World Records where the info box does not as one might expect provide navigation links to similar references books but the diverse products owned by the Jim Pattison Group. It does not seem encyclopedic appropriate information since the ownership of such groups is temporary - Jim Pattison Group bought the Guinness world records brand in early 2008, before then had been owned by several different companies. I have put a discussion on the talk page.

But what is appropriate and not here? Looking around there are a number of so and so company group info boxes that group articles by who owns what products-- it strikes me as backdoor company promotion by their PR agents but I cannot find any particularly relevant guidance over this issue.--LittleHow (talk) 17:19, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

I don't see why that navbox is inappropriate - Guinness World Records is owned by the Jim Pattison Group. See other corporate/product articles such as DuPont which has the {{DuPont}} navbox as do articles about its products and directors etc. There are many other examples. – ukexpat (talk) 20:14, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia is an encyclopedia not a promotional website for companies. Encyclopedia content is stable--what appears on an article should be always reasonably expected to have some kind of future link to that article. This is not the case with this info box. While it is now a fact about Guinness World Records that it is owned by the Jim Pattison Group and this will always be part of its article even after that ownership changes (as much as its former owners, Guinness Brewery, Diageo ), this is not the case, to give some example, with Pattison Outdoor Advertising, The Overwaitea Food Group or CKWV. Can anyone provide a good reason why such transitory links should exist anywhere on this article when they are none to the articles with a permanent association such that deal with reference books of similar nature?
DuPont is not a good counter-example. Where DuPont has an info box on a product article for example Kevlar it is more than owner but also key in the history of developing this product; the products moreover in the info box are similar in all being chemicals. There is no reason to assume the contents of this info box will be transitory. Further, another info box exists upon fibers. This is not the case with Jim Pattison Group where the article links can reasonably be expected to be transitory, and there is no additional info boxes.
Wikipedia needs a policy on this to guide deletion-- at present I cannot see one.--LittleHow (talk) 03:59, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
Infoboxes that carry POV content (like the several paranormal creature/cryptid/etc. being placed on folkloric creatures) or that add no particularly useful information (the Jim Pattisan Group one for the example above) should be removed just on standard rules of notability/NOV etc. The Jim Pattisan Group can make a fine category, but as an infobox it's not helpful. DreamGuy (talk) 13:38, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
The navigational template is for navigation, one of the main advantages of using it is that it appears on every page it contains so you can go through the articles without having go back and forth via a list or category page. I don't see how this is a NPOV issue:Guinness World Records is owned by the Jim Pattison Group is the only thing that the presence of the template suggests - this is already mentioned (or should be) in every single article involved. It seems reasonable that someone using the encyclopaedia to research the Jim Pattison Group would want to look at the articles included in the template, I don't see why we should take away a potentially useful navigational device on the basis that a company might somehow be benefiting from it. As I said the article on the Jim Pattison Group will mention all its properties and all the articles on its properties will mention that they are owned by the Jim Pattinson group, what advantage is it to the company to have it repeated in the navbox? The only conceivable advantage I could see would that it allows people to more easily research the topic area - this is something we want to encourage not deter. You may well have been looking for other similar reference books, another user might have been looking for other companies owned by group. Further, we do not know when or if the group will offload its properties and such speculation should be irrelevant to how we write an up to date, verifiable encyclopaedia. Disney could well sell ESPN, any company could fall off the FTSE100 but we maintain the templates Template:Disney and Template:FTSE 100 Index constituents because they remain useful navigational aids whether or not their contents might change in the future. In cases where inclusion in a topic area might be some what dynamic a template is easier to maintain than a category as everything is located in one place. How can something be helpful as a category and not as a navigational template when they both serve essentially the same purpose? Guest9999 (talk) 13:15, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
There needs to be contributions from other wikipedians: is content stability an issue for article and its information boxes? Should an article be neutral in regard to commercial promotion? What are the guidelines?
  • Broadly any information I suggest added to an encyclopedia article can be expected potentially to be always part of that article. Present associations may shift to historical ones and so in a different form be retained. The Guinness World Records was owned by Diageo then Gullane Entertainment then HiT Entertainment then Apax Partners and now Jim Pattison Group. But we would not expect a continued association with the Guinness World Records article of the companies that were also owned by Diageo and so on. They are associations that exist via the incidental fact they are owned by same company that also happened at one time to own the Guinness World Records. Why should present companies be different? Useful of such information is argued by Guest9999 but there are may types of useful information that might be added to an article but which wikipedia bars. For example, how to do things, a repository of links, images, or media files. "Merely being true or useful does not automatically make something suitable for inclusion in an encyclopedia."
  • "It seems reasonable that someone using the encyclopaedia to research the Jim Pattison Group would want to look at the articles included in the template". No--one would reasonably expect them to look at the Jim Pattison Group article.
  • The Jim Pattison Group information box is not even correct. Guinness World Records is owned by Ripley Entertainment that is then owned by the Jim Pattison Group. This is not evident in the information box--so it is not even providing useful information for the reader of the article. An information box for Ripley Entertainment might be useful since this would put together companies that are in some respects similar. But Jim Pattison Group info box only links the holdings of a big conglomerate. Is that what wikipedia is about?
  • Another issue is proportionateness. The contents of articles can be of commercial benefit so likely to be added (by PR etc) which risks that they will predominate over noncommercal ones (for which there is no such commercial motivation to add).
  • Guest9999 mentions the Template:Disney --this broadly brings together companies that have the Disney brand. There are exceptions such as ESPN but here the Disney template on the article sits besides five others. It is therefore is not disproportionate. The Jim Pattison Group is the sole one on the Guinness World Records article. No info box exists for similar reference products --information which I suspect most would consider of far greater relevance. Even its categories are disproportionate: only one of its ten categories concerns a reference category and that is to the category of "Guinness World Records (book)"!--LittleHow (talk) 17:20, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
In response:
  • There are many types of information that Wikipedia bars, the use of navigational devices is not one of them. The actual information - that GWR is owned by the Jim Pattison Group - is included in the article and nobody is arguing it shouldn't be. How is the inclusion of the information any less "advertising" than the inclusion of the navbox? Being useful might not be a good reason to include certain types off information but in my opinion being useful is the aim of any navigational device.
  • No one is preventing anyone from creating and adding a different navigational template to the the article and there is no rule limiting how many should be present. I don't see why the fact that no one has got around to creating one you would find preferable is a reason to remove a potentially useful one which is on the page.
  • Why do you think no one would be interested in the Jim Pattison group? People were interested enough to write the article about it, create categories etc, there have been many news reports about it and it owns several well known properties including Ripleys and GWR.
  • I do not imagine that User:RingtailedFox (over 11,000 edits) who created the template or User:Azumanga1 (over 57,000 edits) who added it to the article are agents of the Jim Pattison group, whether PR, marketing or other.
  • I do think Wikipedia is about big conglomerates, it's also about small cottage industries and innumerable other things. In general I think it's about providing people with information in the form of a high quality, free content encyclopaedia. Making a moral judgement that associating something with the conglomerate that owns it is bad would seem to be a bigger violation of NPOV than anything you are suggesting is currently occurring.
  • The Guinness World Record website states that "Guinness World Records is part of the Jim Pattison Group".
  • To me the bottom line is that someone who navigated to the article using the template - which seems perfectly possible, the Jim Pattison group article gets viewed almost 2000 time each month - would probably then be hindered by not finding the same template on the target page should they wish to move on.
  • I can understand the worry of giving undue weight to a commercial entity within an article but people researching companies are likely to want to find out about their various properties. Furthermore the current association - even if it is temporary - is still an important one and should be represented in the article. Guest9999 (talk) 21:45, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
First thanks for weeding out the Jim Pattison Group template from 10 to 5 levels, and (excluding TV/radio stations) from 23 to 7 entities. The comments here are general about wikipedia policy and only for illustration mention this article.
  • Articles contain only nontransitive (direct) links but Info boxes can also contain transitive (indirect) ones. Thus while articles only link A and C because they have a direct relationship; info boxes can link A and C because A links to B and B links to C. The Guinness Book of Records links to Jim Pattison Group and through this to Pattison Outdoor Advertising. The policy question is whether such indirect transitive links should be allowed excessively. Some might be reasonably tolerated if this allows a useful grouping of direct nontransitive ones. The old Jim Pattison Group template was predominately indirect transitive ones. This was compounded by the fact this was the only info box on the Guinness Book of Records page. Other articles containing other company templates such as Disney (and their transitive links) usually are balanced by other templates full of direct links. This disproportionateness is why I first raised the question.
  • Commercial interests might not be present on the Guinness Book of Records but there should be a general policy towards their possible existence on articles since it is impossible to rule them out. One idea is a higher NPOV standard for commercially linked articles on the assumption that since companies are motivated to edit, they should be motivated if they do to reduce any apparent NPOV (of whatever origin).
  • It may be just a chance development of the article but the Guinness Book of Records article is poorly linked with other articles concerned with superlatives (cf the Jim Pattison Group). If a reader was interested in Guinness Book of Records in terms of superlatives and wanted to find other superlative related articles, the article offers no help. There is a Template:Records template but it is not included on the page. None of its categories or links except World record alert readers that WP contains many superlative related articles including lists.--LittleHow (talk) 07:09, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
  • I'm sorry if I derailed the discussion by concentrating on the particular example. I think we generally agree, no one wants to see commercial interests influencing the content and tone of the encyclopaedia. Having a neutral point of view is not only one of Wikipedia's most important content policies it also one of the five pillars and a founding principle. My worry is that in a rush to expunge anything that could be seen as serving some commercial agenda we end up removing content and tools that make the encyclopaedia better for those using it. In striving not to be "pro" anything we must also make sure we do not end up purposefully excluding certain content or contexts, ignoring them and their importance would be just as much a violation of WP:NPOV as promoting them. I have added the Records Template to the Guinness World Records article (the template's a bit of a mess, I'm going to try and improve it), hopefully that alleviates some of your concern in this instance. Again I am sorry I have driven what is an important discussion of on somewhat of a specific tangent. Regards, Guest9999 (talk) 19:09, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

A concern about WP:VERIFY

I'm concerned about an aspect of WP:VERIFY that could have what I believe are absurd consequences. Consider the following hypothetical:

Editor A adds text to an article, which reads: "All dogs are mammals. All poodles are dogs. All poodles are mammals." Editor B does not dispute sentences 1 or 2, but challenges 3 and adds "citation needed" to it. Editor A objects, noting that 3 follows logically from 1 and 2. Editor B disagrees, saying the deduction is not obvious to him and cites WP:VERIFY to justify the tag. Eventually, perhaps, Editor B could even use WP:DELETE to justify blanking the text.

I realize there are dispute resolution remedies for this situation, but I'm concerned about the policy. It states flatly: "The burden of evidence lies with the editor who adds or restores material. All quotations and any material challenged or likely to be challenged must be attributed to a reliable, published source..." It seems to me this is too broad and simplistic. As written, someone can demand a fact tag for any statement, and the mere fact that the statement was challenged satisfies the policy's criterion. The burden is then on the original author to find a reliable source. In the hypothetical I've described, I believe that burden is unfair: Editor B should, instead, be obliged to show that the logic is invalid.

Is there another policy that moderates WP:VERIFY in a way that suits this situation? What policy-related advice would you give Editor A? Therealdp (talk) 12:55, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

There's always WP:IAR. People who try to quote policy to justify absurd positions don't usually get very far (though unfortunately they might if the absurdity isn't quite as obvious as in your hypothetical case - which is why some of would like to see policy written clearly and accurately, rather than to deliberately or incidentally mislead people...)--Kotniski (talk) 13:00, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
I believe some common sense needs to be applied in such cases. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 14:11, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

Yes, in actual practice it's unlikely a case would be as straightforward as my example. It might be possible to "boil it down" to an abstracted, more obvious version (like mine), but Editor B would likely claim the two cases aren't equivalent and could throw a WP:VERIFY flag against the boiling process! A problem I see with both of these suggestions is that those policies are very broad and can be used to justify nearly any deviation. Seems to me WP:VERIFY is implicitly a more "fundamental" policy in Wikipedia, so it would win out. Furthermore, WP:COMMON is subjective -- Editors A and B would probably deadlock over whether it applies.Therealdp (talk) 15:03, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

Technically we shouldn't be using logic like that in articles. While in this case its an obvious statement of fact and would be fine, in more complex cases it would be considered an improper synthesis. Mr.Z-man 15:53, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
While that's what guidelines may say, is a cases are transitive relations and these situations should be considered trivial to prove (even if without a secondary source explicitly noting that poodles are mammals). —Ost (talk) 16:31, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

Lots of people only think their conclusions follow from indisputable logic. We need to have reliable sources for anything that comes under dispute like that. If it is as undeniably obvious and logical as claimed, then there should be no problems finding a reliable source demonstrating that. If no such source exists, it'd be odd to suggest that something so clear could somehow not have been missed everything -- either it's not notable or it's not uncontroversial. DreamGuy (talk) 16:00, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

Disagree. We[1] really[2] don't need a situation[3] where every[4] last[5] word[6] needs a citation. Wikipedia:When to cite had some sensible guidance written by the FA director a while ago - it struggled to get consensus as a policy I seem to remember. --Joopercoopers (talk) 16:08, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
DreamGuy claims "if it is as undeniably obvious and logical as claimed, then there should be no problems finding a reliable source demonstrating that." In the case of absurdly obvious conclusions, this is not so. If it is too obvious, no publication will waste ink stating it. The most you could hope for is that a reliable publication will mention it in passing, but not as the main topic of a sentence. Also, such obvious conclusions are apt to be about commonplace topics. When a search is performed, too many results will come back, and it would be very burdensome to examine the multitude of possible sources to find one that states the obvious conclusion. --Jc3s5h (talk) 16:35, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
Quite the contrary, if it's at all obvious and logical the sources will end up saying so without even thinking about it. It's not that they'll "waste ink" stating it, someone will end up stating it just as a matter of course. If you claim otherwise, please provide examples instead of merely asserting it to be true. DreamGuy (talk) 00:12, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

I was unaware of WP:SYNTHESIS -- thanks for educating me. I have some heartburn with it, but it addresses the issue I raised directly and is stated clearly. Although When to cite provides sensible guidance for dealing with simple claims, I believe WP:SYNTHESIS is the more relevant policy for the case I described.Therealdp (talk) 16:32, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

WP:V is not the same as WP:CITE. If an editor were silly enough to question a statement such as "all poodles are mammals", using WP:V would not serve as a useful crutch in his case. Rather, they would only draw attention to themselves (very likely the point), and should they choose to repeatedly re-insert a fact or citation needed tag (likely against consensus), they'd probably end up blocked for disruption. In short, Wikipedia's guidelines do not allow for someone to play stupid and hide behind the "letter of the law", because we recognize that such a strategy is extremely stupid. Resolute 03:39, 24 June 2009 (UTC)


This is a pointer to a discussion about the meaning and application of a section in WP:POLICY. - Dank (push to talk) 15:40, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

Should Wikipedia list every settlement as if it were a travel guide?

Policy would suggest that Wikipedia is not a travel guide, but there is some debate as to whether settlements are entitled to their own standalone article, even if there isn't veriable evidence that they are notable, or sometimes that there is any coverage of them at all. There is a debate along these lines at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Theba, Arizona.

Is now the time to recognise that Wikipedia should have its own geographic Wiki along the lines of Wikitravel, in the same way that Wikispecies has to resolve the conflict between policy and practice?

Or should be uphold WP:NOTTRAVEL and dismiss the arguement that all lcoations are entitled to a standalone article by default? --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 16:42, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

WP:NOTTRAVEL is not about not having articles on places, but rather what the articles should contain (i.e. not telephone numbers etc.). For the most part, I think, is the important part. The problem separating places from Wikipedia, in my opinion, is it is what you'd expect to find in an encyclopedia. I don't think WP:NOTTRAVEL contradicts the idea of 'inherent notablility for places' as it were. - Jarry1250 (t, c) 16:52, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
No, it should list them as if it were a gazetteer. --NE2 16:55, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
Should Wikipedia have articles on celebrities as if it was People magazine? The title of this discussion seems unfairly loaded. Huwmanbeing  00:14, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

Many people are under the assumption that there is consensus that any place listed in a geographic database is inherently notable and merits a stand-alone article. As far as I know, there is no formal guideline regarding that and previous attempts at trying to formally codify it have all failed. The only reason some of the place articles survive AFD is because it only takes one person to create and a consensus to delete. The fact that many survive AFD does not indicate there is a consensus to have individual articles about each and every named locality. The vast majority of these are better presented in gazetteer form as a suitably grouped table rather than as individual articles. --Polaron | Talk 17:37, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

The above referenced AfD should provide ample evidence of my position on the matter; a place, just because it exists, should not automatically be entitled to a standalone article. Polaron is right in my opinion in his statement that a large majority of these "locations" would be a better fit for an appearance in a list-type article rather than by themselves. Many of these places will never exist beyond a sub-stub, and much of the sourced information they contain are rather contrived efforts at satisfying WP:V. Take the listed example : the best we could come up with is that it exists, there is a mine nearby, and once upon a time there was a train stop there. This clearly would fail our general notability guidelines but these types of articles manage to survive because of a nebulous "precedent" that they are notable in and of themselves. I personally do not find this a satisfactory solution, and would love to see some kind of formal solution take its place. Shereth 17:53, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Agree with the above: every settlement should be listed in WP as to allow them to be valid search terms with geodata in a table, but only should have an article when there's more than "this place exists" information is available. --MASEM (t) 18:02, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

What you are proposing is an exemption from verifiability for human settlements, since verifiable evidence would no longer be required to demonstrate that a such topics meet the inclusion criteria for a standalone article. No other subject matter has been granted such an exemption. In any case, you can't write an article about a topic if there is no coverage available, so what would be the point? You are basically saying that human settlements should automatically get their own articles using the argument WP:IKNOWIT, which is not censensus. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 22:16, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Gavin, the question you are using in the heading is loaded and misleading. Everyone knows that policy is that Wikipedia is not a travel guide, and that articles recommending and evaluating hotels, restaurants, and giving advice on how to "get in" and how to "stay safe" are inappropriate for Wikipedia. So please don't insinuate that. The fact that virtually all all AFDs on verifiable settlements wind up being overwhelmingly kept has nothing to do with the community being ignorant of policy or wanting to turn Wikipedia into Wikitravel. It has to do with that people think that real and verifiable settlements belong in an encyclopedia, most likely because human and political geography is a staple of any traditional encyclopedia. This has been discussed several times over, so please stop beating the dead horse. Sjakkalle (Check!) 08:13, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

The previous two attempts to sort this out are here. OrangeDog (talkedits) 08:45, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
See WP:OUTCOMES#Places. Who then was a gentleman? (talk) 20:09, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

NE2's response was short but IMHO it is right on point.--Cube lurker (talk) 20:14, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

The real question is why don't we have a separate Wikigazetteer project? It could focus the geographers and cartographers from all the projects so the tools interoperate smoothly.LeadSongDog come howl 20:38, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

I don't see anything wrong with having a page on a verifiable location. I often look up a location by checking out the WP page on it. Sure, a small place like Mahomet, Illinois may not be as notable as Chicago, Illinois, but what if I *wanted* to know about the place/location? What is then wrong with listing the place's location, and other bits and pieces of info about the place? This is not the same as vanity biographies ... --Ragib (talk) 20:45, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Because Wikipedia is not a directory of random stuff. If there is no evidence that a topic is notable, it is just random. Why stop at human settlements? If you believe settlements on a map are notable, surely then every street on a map is notable? Everyhouse in the street etc, etc. What is the boundry if there is no evidence to demarkate it? --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 19:51, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
It may not be a directory or travel guide, but Wikipedia is (among other things) a gazetteer. Anomie 20:58, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
Err - no it's not. From the page you linked to, "Wikipedia is an encyclopedia incorporating elements of ...gazetteers". It is not a gazetteer as such. FlagSteward (talk) 12:56, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
The question here is why not have the "less notable" places be grouped together appropriately into a table, for example "List of unincorporated communities in X". People can still find the information they need while being much neater in terms of presentation. If there is no hope of getting a fleshed out article, why have a stand-alone article? What's wrong with a merged article? --Polaron | Talk 22:18, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
Since one editor asked the question regarding that if we accept every single settlement as notable, where does the cutoff happen, does that open the way for "every street, every house"; I am asking: where does this new proposal end? Just with unincorporated settlements? What about incorporated villages and cities? In some places a township is just a survey township with no legality, in others it is not more than a voting district in a county, in others it is a civil township (or town) with full legal incorporated rights. Does EVERY city get to be be notable by virtue of being a city? If so how is that any different than giving an exemption to every SETTLEMENT other than the cutoff has been shifted. What about census designated places in the US and their equivalents in other nations? A CDP of poor hillbillies in Alabama gets an article but an affluent hamlet that is not a CDP and is 10X larger on Long Island doesnt get an article because it isnt "notable"? Does this notablity requirement then extend to counties in the US, if a county is not notable can it get AfD? I bet I can find PLENTY of counties across the US that arent notable and have stub articles such as Camas County, Idaho, can I AfD that article now? What about even higher to sub-national entities, can I AfD Nebraska or Saskatchewan for not being notable? (no offense Sask.) For the English version of Wikipedia the subjective judging of notability of a settlement becomes even harder when considering settlements outside the English-speaking world (or even IN the English-speaking world but outside the "big" countries of the UK, Canada, US, and Australia, no offence other countries). What about whole nations, no offence to Palau or Nauru but what are they notable for?Camelbinky (talk) 22:44, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
One of the beauties of Wiki is its universality, which allows places to be included if someone is prepared to add some basic info (even a stub tag for a country, maybe). I would also include localities within a larger entity. CDPs I have a problem with since they often involve duplication & the info could be included elsewhere, advantageously (but I won't argue about it). Streets can be significant localities (eg, Oxford St, Champs Elysee, Broadway, etc), but otherwise I think they need significance. Folks at 137 (talk) 23:18, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
An argument that has been raised in the past is that any settlement - in particular towns - will have had independent coverage. Yes that paper trail might elude us computer nerds and bypass Google totally, but it is presumed to exist when there is a name next to a dot on a map and a listing in a national statistical work giving population and other vital statistics. Agathoclea (talk) 23:28, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
It's a stupid argument -- it's easy to prove that software exists when you can go and download it, but not all software is notable. Why is the fact that 20 people decided to call themselves a special place any more notable either when there's nothing different about it than the 30 person town twenty miles away? ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 00:21, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
software != town - and the paper trail for the town twenty miles away is different - the point is the paper trail does exist which can't be said about the software. Agathoclea (talk) 06:33, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
The problem is that the paper trail may not provide evidence of notability. Like the humans that live in towns, its easy to find tertiary sources like telephone directories, census surveys and travel guides, but that is not evidence of notability. Even where a town is the subject of extensive coverage, an article might be little more than a content fork from more notable events (such as being the location a schools shooting or place of birth of a famous actor), such that the coverage does not address the topic directly or in detail. Settlements are definetly subject to Wikipedia's policies and guidelines, just like computer software, otherwise they would be exempted from any quality standards. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 10:25, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
There are usually enough non-internet coverage focusing on those type places. IE I can hardly find any RS online for the town I live in - the library got a whole shelf full. That is the presumption on places in general. Agathoclea (talk) 11:40, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

I'm working a village in Illinois up to FA status. It does not have significant media coverage, is not a capital (or even a city, for that matter), and is only truly notable for its school which most out-of-staters have not heard of. Does this mean that this article, which is currently an FAC, should be removed, its name filed away into a gazetteer, or deleted entirely? Do we want to backtrack? Other cities like Chetwynd are already FA. Should the Chetwynd article be removed, its name filed away into a long list? Sure, I don't have any WP:'s to back me up, but it just seems a little counterproductive to me. --Starstriker7(Talk) 01:22, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

Noone is saying that such places can't be notable, just that they aren't automatically notable just because they exist. There's a big difference there. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 03:26, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia should list every settlement as if it were a encyclopedia. Basic information about towns (small or otherwise) are easy enough to reference and give a reader a starting point. RxS (talk) 01:00, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

The issue here is if all settlements should have their own articles. Your use of 'list' is apt since many such settlements are only notable enough for inclusion in a list or table here. --mav (talk) 01:06, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
I used the word list because that was the term used in the section heading. The first sentence in this section mentions "standalone article" which in most cases is easily justified and referenced. No need to collapse them into a list, that'll just inhibit expansion. RxS (talk) 01:28, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
We have lists of places, probably one for each US State, and most countries, and links (redlinks and bluelinks) for people to create articles for those places. If someone has come to conclusion that no article could ever be written about certain places, it is incumbent upon them to remove those invitations to created the never acceptable. Of course, one of the main contributions of newbies is a (usually unsourced) article about their little town or village wherever that may be (many lately in India and Malaysia from my short page patrolling) - so the same someone should be prepared to WP:BITE them by deleting their articles on their home towns because it doesn't fit in with that someone's conception of what WP should be. WP is great in that it can include many things that would be included only in specialist encyclopedias because we're not paper, don't lose this unique feature in a rush to make a notability guideline into holy writ. Consensus (per WP:CONSENSUS) is not determined by who shows up here or at XFD, it is the combined wisdom of the community over numerous precedents. And our precedents are pretty clear that inhabited places (and other geographic features, like mountains, hot springs, waterfalls, rivers, lakes, reservoirs, airports, high schools, train stations, etc.) are notable per se. I find it odd that a high school or airport may be notable, but the place in which it is located may not be. Ironic. Carlossuarez46 (talk) 01:31, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
Well, since my post was pretty much ignored I again pose this question to those who want to who want to make settlements have to live up to notability requirements- Where do you put the line? Just unincorporated settlements or do incorporated villages fall too? What makes an incorporated place notable? Being incorporated? If that is all then any company in the world is incorporated and therefore now I can make an article for every tiny little company that is incorporated under the laws of its country. For those that think that incorporated doesnt mean the same I suggest they do some reading on the history of what "incorporated" means related to municipalities, it the same exact thing as incorporated as related to a company at least before the Supreme Court got involved later on.Camelbinky (talk) 02:53, 21 June 2009 (UTC)
Just my 2p as someone who's done a lot of work on Italian places and a lesser amount on Scotland and France (this discussion is in desperate need of globalisation) : "Settlement" is too vague a term, it's far better to work on administrative divisions as that way you have a hope of achieving some kind of systematic coverage. Often they have the same name as a settlement, but they work better from an encyclopaedic point of view as any lesser settlements within a municipality have an unambiguous home within the article.
I suspect that the "right" administrative level may vary between countries but in Europe it seems to correspond to large villages or small towns, around 3000 people or so. For instance, all bureaucracy in Italy and France revolves around the comune/commune respectively, which are typically around this size although they vary from 2.8m people in Rome to 38 people in Italy, and 0 people in the "villages that died for France" in WWI. And that level just seems to "work" for encyclopaedia purposes, although there are cases where a smaller hamlet may be particularly well-know to anglophones. But to give you some idea there are articles on all of the 8,101 Italian comunes, but there's only 2-300 articles on smaller divisions (frazioni, roughly equivalent to wards or small parishes) within them - typically they are hamlets that have international fame as ski resorts or on wine labels. In other cases information about the frazioni is allowed to accumulate within the comune article - if it gets excessive, it can be broken out but I'd suggest that it would if anything represent a dilution of effort and hence harmful to Wikipedia to have an automatic presumption that frazioni deserved their own article. Sure many frazioni may appear in official stats on population or whatever, but I'd suggest that those references are equivalent to the local paper reviewing a pizza restaurant - they are passing mentions that aren't enough to qualify as proof of notability.
The way I see it is that Wikipedia should aim for complete coverage of the Earth's surface at different scales. For instance, any point on Earth should be covered by one of the 203 (or whatever it is) country articles. It will also probably be covered by a "region" article such as Aquitaine or Bavaria, and likely by a province/state/département article such as Dordogne or Swabia. In somewhere like Europe, it will also be covered down through district and municipality levels. You can imagine Italy as a jigsaw puzzle of 8,101 pieces with an article attached - and any point in Italy will be on one of those 8,101 pieces. That makes sense as a level at which notability is automatic.
But I don't like automatically assuming that every "settlement" is notable. For instance someone's pored over a map of the Scottish Highlands and added articles for just about every cluster of buildings with a name. I know some of them that are no longer even inhabited, they were either cleared in the Clearances, or are now just holiday cottages. I don't think it's particularly helpful to have articles on such places - our readers would be better served by a better article at parish level. And that's important - what works best for our readers? For me, that's somewhere around the municipality/commune level, at least for most places in Europe. JMO. FlagSteward (talk) 12:56, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
My problem, again, is the view that many still have- a municipality is inherently notable and a settlement isnt. HOW?! Every school and every church seems to be notable, but the community it is in isnt? Yes, I agree that in the case of those settlements that are unpopulated AND not notable probably need to go. I am saying if you can find sources and stuff to actually write about a place-name then it doesnt matter if it is "notable" which is a subjective idea anyways, what is notable to me in my region may not seem notable on a global scale to someone living 1,000 or 10,000 miles away. Not every place could even get an article written about it, those that cant get anything more than the coords and one sentence yes need to be AfD and those that are supportive of every settlement being notable need to let those articles die so that other articles can survive that should be our compromise. I dont see why the way things have been is being challenged. The community has already spoken on this issue many many many times through the AfD of settlement articles that continue to fail because the wikipedia community has said through consensus that all settlement articles are notable. To go to this smaller more elitist forum is gaming the system to get the result you want (elitist because the average user, newbie, and IP does not know of or check regularly these forums and sticks to editing). If those insisting on this ridiculous stand continue then it must be applied across the board, no longer can every incorporated place, even a city, have an article unless it is proven it is NOTABLE for something other than being incorporated, no more articles about high schools that arent notable, no more NRHP articles for no other reason than it being on the NRHP list and is an old building with no notable historical significance, no more non-notable rivers or streams or geological features even whole mountain ranges unless they are notable for something, no longer can ANYTHING OF ANY TOPIC have an article just because it exists unless it is NOTABLE for something other than what kind of thing it is. Those pushing for this "settlements arent notable" crap need to understand how ridiculous and asinine this push of theirs is. If you think what I am proposing about the schools, municipalities, mountains, and rivers is stupid and ridiculous than you must be agreeing that your own proposal about settlements is too, because it is the same proposal being applied FAIRLY across Wikipedia. I'm not being sarcastic, those pushing this proposal are seriously being ridiculous to sit there and seriously propose that articles about settlements with 10,000 people need to be notable before they get an article, and to say "well, 10,000 people, sure that's notable" you are again putting an arbitrary line down. No more arbitrary lines at population or municipal status, either all are inherently notable or all have to abide by the same notability requirements.Camelbinky (talk) 13:49, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

Rethinking stand-alone article requirements

The above comments, the issue with fiction, and the current bilateral relationship cases all seem to point to possible way to resolve a lot of issues w.r.t to notability and standalone articles.

Would it be worthwhile to say that what most editors are looking for in the criteria for a stand-alone article is the potential to be able to describe the article's topic in a manner that

  • Does not require deep knowledge of the parent area - though may rely on explanations of related terms via wikilinks
  • Establishes the context of the topic for the general reader before descending into details that would be of more interest to readers familiar with the topic
  • Provides appropriate sourcing to avoid OR and POV issues and to support the above - that is, for the general reader to seek out if they wish to learn more

In other words, if we were to define this mystical "encycolopedic" article quality along the liens of the above, then we'd have a bit more to work with to resolve some of these issues. For example, notability and its subguidelines would be one or other possible qualifications for when something should get a standalone articles, as the presence of secondary sources will meet the last two points above. In the parent discussion, talk of putting lists of settlements with minimal sourcing would help to meet making the list more accessible to the general reader (as a gazetteer) though itself may not be notable.

(I'm simply tossing this out as a suggestion, I have no idea how well it will take). --MASEM (t) 21:18, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

Your proposal includes inclusion critieria based on "appropriate sourcing", yet excludes the basic prerequisite of WP:V that if no reliable, third-party sources can be found for an article topic, Wikipedia should not have an article on it. Without this requirement, stubs on settlements are just random stuff, with no encyclopedic content. As one editor wrote in the AfD named above, "Without such sources, article writing becomes either an exercise in synthesis, or you end up with a collection of somewhat related facts with no context or interpretation to hold them together." It seems to me that reliable, third-party sources are needed not just for content, but also as a check on self-promotion, as has been the trend for schools for quite some time. With these sources, stubs on settlements just become a battle to "get on the map" for every town with an ice-cream stand or grocery store looking for business. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 09:56, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

Agree with the growing consensus above that named settlements should not automatically be considered notable enough for separate articles and aggregated list/tables are a better location for many less notable places. A related discussion is at WT:CITIES#Systematic inclusion of GNIS unincorporated communities. --mav (talk) 00:49, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

Named settlements are inherently notable as demonstrated by the fact that there has been no consensus to delete them. When there is no consensus to delete things, the default is keep. This has been shown time and again. Not only with Theba, Arizona, but numerous other precedents. I agree that WP:V is required, but once an inhabited has been verified - not a hoax - then it merits inclusion. WP:NOT#PAPER. Usually, without much effort and using on-line sources, one can come up with multiple sources for most places within a relative short time (during the period of an AFD debate, e.g.) What causes disruption is the nomination of geographic articles by editors failing WP:BEFORE. It is this disruption that causes drama and the willy-nilly default to what passes as WP:GNG that applies to the minorly notable people would sweep its inclusion for all geographic articles. Carlossuarez46 (talk) 01:22, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

No consensus to delete is not the same as a consensus to keep. The primary reason these articles are kept at AFD is because of the way article creation and deletion work on Wikipedia. What do you think would happen if a consensus was required to create an article? Because settlement notability is not formalized in any policy or guideline, there will continue to be AFDs on minor places. You should propose a subject-specific guideline that basically says "every named settlement found in a geographic database is notable and merits a stand-alone article" and see if it truly has consensus as you say it does. --Polaron | Talk 01:31, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
Geographic notability criteria have been proposed but nothing ever gelled. I participated for a while until it basically became more of a bureaucracy than a group of people trying to improve the Wikipedia. There are inclusionists and deletionists and some vary by subject. I even recall the debacle on schools notability, which failed to attain consensus but good luck getting a secondary school deleted even if we cannot get consensus that they're inherently notable either. I would be willing to go back to what was working at that group and try again with others, and perhaps we can get consensus around some items (we were close on roads, as I recall), and perhaps leave others as weaselly worded as WP:GNG: "may be notable", etc. Carlossuarez46 (talk) 01:49, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
OTHERSTUFFEXISTS is not a valid argument when no clear policy or guideline backs that up. We are trying to formulate such a guideline. --mav (talk) 01:52, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
Straw man. Can you address my point without citing WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS, which is an essay not holy writ. It is fully entitled Wikipedia:Arguments to avoid in deletion discussions, and it is specifically addressing that context, not policy making context, unless you also don't think our policies should not be WP:USEFUL either? Carlossuarez46 (talk) 01:58, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
You mentioned that some similar articles survived AFD and that fact demonstrates inherent notability. Perhaps for those particular examples. Perhaps the lack of a policy or guideline in this area lead to deadlocks. It might be due to the mix of people commenting or the type of people that frequent AFD. But it is a stretch to use examples that survived AFD as proof that the whole class of articles on settlements are inherently notable. Other criteria, such as the existence of significant coverage in multiple reliable and independent sources (the criteria for articles in general), is needed. Why should settlements be an exception to our normal criteria for having separate articles? Calling that out is not a straw man. --mav (talk) 02:48, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
I don't think you have to point to AFD's to see that towns/villages are considered notable (all though you certainly could). Most policy is descriptive anyway, notability for small towns/villages etc has been pretty firmly established over the years. I think you'll need significantly more (and widely broadcast) discussion before that would change. I think it's a uphill battle...not sure it's a good idea myself. RxS (talk) 03:52, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

← It seems to me that GNIS already exists. It does not need to be duplicated. I mean articles could be created by a script using data at sites such as GNIS or the census. Is that what we want now. I'm an inclusionist but articles need to be of interest. Some of the early articles that were based on census data where good if increasing article count was the objective. Such articles are dry. I have noted several instances where GNIS classifies a location as a populated place when in fact the population is zero. (forgot to sign, sorry) --droll [chat] 14:50, 20 June 2009 (UTC)

Masem: I would subscribe to your opening statement of what should, minimally, be considered encyclopedic, but these are, really, signs of basic editing skills, that cannot be expressed in strict legalese delete/keep guideline. Perhaps they belong to Start/B-class grading scheme, but not inclusion/deletion. The gray area between DB:NOCONTEXT and passing FAR is too wide to be described in a formal way. Our understanding of what a "nice article" is should not influence inclusion/deletion policies - no article deserves deletion simply because the lead is written in substandard prose, and no proposed deletion should be judged to keep simply because its lead looks nice. After all, prose can change rapidly while the subject (usually) stays the same. NVO (talk) 04:54, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

Like the The Emperor's New Clothes, I don't think there exist a single rational arguement that settlements are inherently notable that is not based on subjective judgement. It seems to me that they are like any other topic in terms of notability, in that, where there is a total absence of any coverage at all, there is no verfiable evidence that a settlement is notable, nor is there any rationale for creating a stub about a location whose existence cannot be verfied properly.
It seems to me a grave mistake to assume that settlements are exempt from WP:N, simply because they have been known to change in various ways, merge, demerge or just disappear over time, and what is needed is relaiable secondary sources to establish the facts on the ground. Tertiary sources such as maps cannot provide this information on their own. My view is deletion in certain circumstances makes sense, and where for instance an article is a content fork, there are no grounds for keeping an article whose coverage is featured extensively in another article about a nearby or related settlement. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 08:42, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
It appears that part of the problem is that when articles like these appear on AfD, the only options offered are "Keep" or "Delete" & we have to pick between the lesser of two evils. The other problem is that with many communities, unless one is prepared to do some pretty labor-intensive research in specialized libraries, there will never be sufficient information to push the article beyond stub class. (An example of this would be Bentu Liben -- & I've done my best to expand on what's there.) Maybe the solution would be to merge the material into a related article, say the next administrative level up. That way when more material is found -- be it 6 months or 6 years later -- the settlement article then can be split off & cultivated as a separate article. (This may be close to what Masem had in mind.) -- llywrch (talk) 22:46, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

Mandatory / Automatic NOINDEX of user space pages

Discussion moved to Wikipedia:Requests_for_comment/User_page_indexing.

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

A discussion has come up which should have wider attention. google indexes user pages, I think that it would be appropriate to ensure that user pages are not indexed by google. What say ye? Unomi (talk) 06:04, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

That was an interesting read. I support the change if it were to be made. It makes advertising your own thoughts (almost as a blog) a lot easier when we have our user pages indexed; plus, in terms of SEO ranking, any blog that gets a link from here will jump up on the PR scale. blurredpeace 06:12, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
Since external links have rel=nofollow set, there will be little to no SEO benefit. See meta:nofollow. Anomie 11:31, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
See previous discussion at Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 59#NOINDEX of all non-content namespaces. Anomie 11:31, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
Except that SEO isn't the end all be all, you can make a page that has a top spot on google in your userspace and then include external links to your blog or whatnot. Will that improve the PR of your blog? No. Will it generate clickthru's? Probably. In any case it gives high visibility to content that per our guidelines should only be material related to 'unfinished' articles. Unomi (talk) 19:27, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
Exactly. Who needs a user blog when you can create a blog in your wikipedia user space and have it automatically get high ranking? Just title your user pages with search terms that you know are popular. --stmrlbs|talk 20:25, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

Userspace pages should not be indexed by search engines, nor downloaded by mirrors. It is public content, but it is in a meaningful sense internal to Wikipedia. Now that WP search is good enough, there's no reason for these pages to be any more public than necessary. Disembrangler (talk) 11:59, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

How do you intend to keep them out of the mirrors? Algebraist 12:07, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
That could be done by making it much easier to mirror Wikipedia without them than with them. I don't know what infrastructure Wikipedia offers for mirrors, but for example we could offer two packages: 1) Everything you will ever need in your mirror. 2) All the stuff you are not going to need. Same interface, but available from different URLs or different servers. If you want a complete mirror, you need to get them both and combine them yourself. Hans Adler 12:29, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
I'm not quite sure how it works with the mirrors, but I rather assumed that it would be possible (and probably easy) to get mirrors not to take userspace pages; I didn't think mirrors scraped every page individually, I thought there was a downloadable package somewhere. Is that not the case? Disembrangler (talk) 19:39, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
It's easiest for mirrors to take only articles; see Wikipedia:Database download. Graham87 03:54, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

Per Anomie's explanation, I'll switch to oppose. Their doesn't seem to be significant reasoning behind the change; the same principle can be applied to everything in the Wikipedia name space, but that has helped me to find a large number of essays (when Wikipedia's internal search was insufficient). To sum up my thoughts, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. blurredpeace 12:48, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

But it is broke. User pages and user sub pages shouldn't be indexed by Google. - ALLSTRecho wuz here 17:25, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
Except that you can search internal documents just fine without google. Unomi (talk) 19:27, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose any further noindexing - let Google do what it is there for. –xenotalk 19:32, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
    • Why do we care what Google is there for? The issue is what Wikipedia user pages are for. Disembrangler (talk) 19:37, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
      • And? –xenotalk 19:41, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
        • And there is otherstuff. I can see no scenario which forces us to resort to google to search our userpages? Internal wikipedia search should do just fine in the (I assume) very rare cases that one would even want to do that. To address your point on your terms though, Google is there for providing information which is relevant to the search terms. As user space should be dedicated to works in progress I think we should be able to assume that current, consensus generated(don't laugh) articles are superior candidates compared to userspace content. Unomi (talk) 20:24, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
          • I still prefer Google to our internal search. I cringe at every new noindexing venture. –xenotalk 20:28, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

As I've said at similar previous proposals, I believe openness generally benefits us and fits in with the "free encyclopedia" ethos. For that reason, I prefer that our "internal" content remain publicly accessible, searchable, etc., except where there is a strong case for actual harm. The presence of some spammy pages in userspace does not rise to the level of significant harm in my opinion. Dragons flight (talk) 20:24, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

"openness generally benefits us" - yes, in general. But how does Google-indexing of userpages benefit us (if we grant that WP search is sufficient)? Disembrangler (talk) 20:28, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
how does it harm us? (and no, I don't grant that). –xenotalk 20:31, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
Openness is not just for our benefit, it is also for the benefit of readers, who are more likely to use Google than they are Wikipedia search. (Like Xeno, I don't concede that WP search is the equal of Google either.) Dragons flight (talk) 20:34, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Comment, I believe that user spaces should not be indexed, but I have different thoughts on the other 'non-content' spaces. I sometimes use Google to find Wikipedia name space articles, and I'd rather keep that in the search engine (as it is sometimes beneficial, and truly doesn't fall under 'non-content'). It's just content for editors. blurredpeace 21:57, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
Right, that is my view as well thus far, I don't see any particular problem with google indexing wikipedia rules, policies, MoS etc. This is strictly about User:Pages from my perspective. Unomi (talk) 23:03, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
I don't think we should make major changes to the wiki just because a few people are linking their blogs. MFD is there for problematic userpages. If it can't be deleted there, why should we disallow people searching for it via Google? –xenotalk 04:04, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
Oppose SUPPORT!!: I do not think there is any reason for google to index User pages. With Google indexing user pages, even with NOFOLLOW for external links, there is no need to link to a user blog when you can create a blog with automatic high ranking in google by riding on the back of Wikipedia's rank in google. This invites WP:Soap. To say that it is easier for an editor to use google to find what they need as a reason to google User pages is ignoring the purpose of Wikipedia. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, and people googling for a term should find the Main article on that subject.. not a User blog containing that phrase in their title. I think googling other areas of Wikipedia (depending on context) is fine, but I see nothing that indexing User space on google adds to Wikipedia's representation in Google.--stmrlbs|talk 20:25, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
Where are these users running blogs in their userspace? Why can't we just get rid of them via WP:MfD? Algebraist 20:29, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
who wants to have to police this? Having the default as noindex would eliminate any abuse of this type. Even if the default was NOINDEX for user pages, with the ability of the user to specify INDEX for his own user space, the use of the INDEX template could be checked more easily. There is no benefit to Wikipedia to index the User pages. It is Wikipedia's site. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a user blog website. --stmrlbs|talk 07:03, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
Stmrlbs, I believe you meant to type "Support". –xenotalk 20:31, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
where? --stmrlbs|talk 07:03, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
I believe the point is that this proposal is pro-noindexing, hence you are supporting it, no? - Jarry1250 [ humourousdiscuss ] 13:03, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
OMG! Thanks for pointing that out. I've changed it. I'm afraid I am still a Wikipedia neophyte sometimes. --stmrlbs|talk 17:20, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

I think this is one of these things which has enormous policy inertia. Imagine if the original situation were noindexing (say, software default was noindexing, and had to be explicitly turned on for each namespace), and now the community was discussing whether to index userpages. Can't see that happening, and apparently we can't get agreement to go the other way either. Disembrangler (talk) 20:48, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

the change itself would take 5 minutes. It is just a one line change of the robots.txt file. To turn it on or off for each namespace (main, talk, wikipedia, etc.) is also very easy). The ease of implementing indexing changes should not be a factor. What should be considered is how the indexing affects Wikipedia as a whole. --stmrlbs|talk 07:03, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
I know. Policy inertia refers to the difficulty of making a decision, not implementing it. Disembrangler (talk) 07:40, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
I see. Frankly, when I first noticed this, I figured it was perhaps an oversight. I couldn't fathom a reason why the user pages would be indexed in the first place. But, in reading other responses, I see that the wikipedia search was not good at the time, and therefore google filled in that void. So, I'm glad I asked. But, wikipedia search has greatly improved, and the google search is no longer needed to find data in the user pages. But, in spite of the fact that I haven't been editing here as long as most people, I have already seen the inertia you are talking about. --stmrlbs|talk 17:27, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

Comment: A related discussion is occuring at Wikipedia talk:Search engine indexing#Strongly support noindexing of "user" and "user talk". Since that's a dedicated page (and Village pump discussions frequently get lost in the shuffle), this discussion should probably be merged there. Rossami (talk) 12:58, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

I also put an RFC here: WP:Soap and googling User pages. How do you merge all this into the Search engine indexing discussion? I already moved the RFC once from my talk page to WP:Soap Talk page.  ?? --stmrlbs|talk 17:31, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

I don't see value in merging these off to some obscure and fairly lightly trafficed failed proposal page. –xenotalk 17:33, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Strongly support - as long as people are allowed to keep spam, NPOV violations, biased essays, etc., in their userpages and subpages, they can and do gain important mindspace in Google and elsewhere. NOINDEX is long overdue in this matter. --Orange Mike | Talk 14:12, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Strongly support per Orange Mike. MfD is currently way, way, way too lenient on userspace to allow it to be indexed. If we are going to let it be indexed then MfD must really start to crack down on what is allowed. Gigs (talk) 02:42, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Strongly support as per Orange Mike and Gigs. I've seen userspace 'articles' (and there really is no other word for them, few readers would realise they weren't real articles) in the top 3 in a Google search. There's a relevant discussion on the use of user space here [1]. Dougweller (talk) 11:07, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

Support per Orange Mike... the way things are now there is no way that user pages should be indexed... (talk) 17:10, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

  • Why are people voting here when Template:Cent is sending people to WP:NOT? I'll remind that this has been rejected before and it seems highly inappropriate for people to just keep re-proposing it until they get the result they want. –xenotalk 17:31, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
    • Agreed. If this is a serious proposal, start a new page and have a proper discussion. The current mish-mash is meaningless. --MZMcBride (talk) 17:49, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
      • No doubt. This is being discussed in 3 or more locations, with some users voting in all places. End them all and make a coherent proposal, advertise it widely. –xenotalk 17:57, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose - I would be willing to tolerate a certain amount of nonsense in user space. We already apply all our policy rules to user space. We are saying that users don't own those pages, they are only there for the benefit of the encyclopedia. Having them be Googlable makes them easier to supervise. When I do a Google search on a term that I know about and see things in user space, that tells me that there is an issue to resolve, and I can take action on that if necessary. I'd be receptive to some kind of 'accelerated MfD' (e.g. a bot following some rules) if anyone could make a consolidated showing of inappropriate use of user space. EdJohnston (talk) 17:50, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

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

Discussion moved to Wikipedia:Requests_for_comment/User_page_indexing.

During an emergency situation, should Wikipedia post information for families affected?

During recent emergencies i.e. Hurricane Katrina and the recent DC train accident, there's been a question over for a short period of time afterward to give information to the public on relevant wiki pages. This was created for the DC train accident:

ATTENTION: Residents of areas affected by the Washington Metro subway crash are advised to seek advice and information from local authorities through television and radio. DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier has asked people who are trying to locate family members not to show up at the scene. Instead, call: XXX-XXX-XXXX.

Usually there is a big kerfuffle over whether this is appropriate. I think it is and would be extremely useful.--The lorax (talk) 17:25, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

An alternative would be a public information campaign encouraging users to sign up for automatic emergency alerts to be sent to their computers, depending on what is available in particular areas. --Jc3s5h (talk) 18:03, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
... handled by someone else, because we are not an emergency alert system. --Golbez (talk) 18:04, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
I say no. We are not designed for this kind of thing; that's what news networks and newspapers and local websites are for. Also, it's just begging for a vandal to come along and change the phone number. --Golbez (talk) 18:04, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification Golbez, I certainly intended to promote alert systems provided by governments or other reliable sources, not Wikimedia. --Jc3s5h (talk) 18:14, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
I would think this would be more useful at Wikinews. Who then was a gentleman? (talk) 18:19, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

I think in such situations adding a notice of this kind may occasionally be the right thing to do. It's not what you would expect to see in an encyclopedia. But neither is a banner telling you that there are not enough reliable sources for an article and asking you to contribute them. Adding such a notice is formally against policy, but it's not a big deal. I think it can be absolutely OK if there is a temporary consensus to keep such a notice, and it would often be wrong to insist too strongly that it must be removed. It's like shooting down a passenger plane that is controlled by terrorists. In many jurisdictions it's illegal. And yet there is no need to create a law allowing it, and in fact it would be a mistake because such a law could be abused in surprising ways. It's the kind of thing where most people simply agree that it's fine to bend the rules. Hans Adler 19:10, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

I personally see nothing wrong with it but I doubt people who have a loved one in a disaster are even on Wikipedia in the first place. They are most likely glued to the news on TV, at a news web site such as CNN of FOX or not even around a TV or computer but are instead at a hospital or coordinated area for family members. - ALLSTRecho wuz here 19:51, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

These kinds of things are not really what Wikipedia - or any encyclopedia - is for. I know that NOTNEWS is not entirely applicable here but it is the same sort of concept. It is not really our place to do it, and heaven forbid some sneaky vandals swap the phone number around and cause us some kind of grief. Shereth 20:15, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

This idea was promoted before after some hurricane strikes or something more than a year ago, and considered not appropriate. WP is the last place you should be going for information on current events. If there is an article that is affected by such events, there is a current event template to indicate things are changings, but otherwise such temporary messages are not part of WP's purpose, despite the possible benefit. (It becomes a slippery slope that less critical current events start meriting such tags - eventually we're have a warning that J-Lo's been seen in public again on her WP page and to visit a given tabloid page to followup, if this type of information is not carefully restricted) --MASEM (t) 20:27, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps a parameter could be added on to the current events tag to display a sort of warning like this. I think NOTNEWS would apply to the content of the article, but not necessarily to discussion of the article or templates on the article. But then again we are an encyclopedia, not an advocacy organization, so I could see why people wouldn't want to give this sort of information out. Perhaps a link to a (protected) page for people affected by the article from the template would be of help? Or possibly a message on the article's talk page instead of the article itself. ThemFromSpace 20:33, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

This is a violation of WP:NDA. ViperSnake151  Talk  23:09, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

No, we should not post such notices. We briefly allowed notices like this after one of the hurricanes in the US (not Katrina but one shortly after - my apologies but I don't remember exactly which). What we found were that our attempts to help were quickly hijacked by scammers and other con artists looking to steer victims to their faudulent sites. In time-sensitive situations like this, we have very few resources to find and then verify that the putative links or resources are valid. Yes, the scams were eventually discovered and taken down but it took time and we'll never know how many people fell for them until we did. In every case, the victim would have been better going directly to a controlled, authoritative website or information source.
This is one of the rare cases where our openness works against us. Rossami (talk) 12:47, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

Um, the notice still exists; it is {{current tropical cyclone}}, and it just got toned down. (And yes, it has gone through several rounds of TFDs already...) Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 03:39, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a news source. If anything, stick {{wikinewshas}} (or something similar) in the appropriate place to point people to the wiki that actually is a news source. Anomie 14:29, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

Overuse of the word 'controversy' in articles, and in sections of articles

'Controversy' seems to be an overused term in articles, for things which are not really that controversial. Does anyone see what I'm saying? It's like almost every second big biographical article has a 'controversy' section in it, usually just based on a few small media reports. Can we stop doing this?--Wutwatwot (talk) 22:30, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

Can you give an example? Unomi (talk) 23:37, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
I have seen controversy repeatedly used as "said something someone disagreed with" in several politically charged articles on my watchlist. A common form is politician X proposes legislation/government action/change to cafeteria menu and political pundit Y, with well known political differences to X, generates a "controversy" when he makes a predictable statement of opposition to the proposal. The problem in these cases is the controversy, if it even exists, does not reside with X or Y but with the proposal. This of course does not prevent insertion of the "controversy" into the biographies of individuals who are merely part of the normal political discourse. --Allen3 talk 23:58, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

Remove the word if there is no actual "controversy" documented. To be a "controversy," there must have been some contentious and prolonged public discussion on some point or issue. It's not enough to document that an incident happened that some might think worthy of criticism, like they made rude comments in public or got in trouble with the law or something. That doesn't establish a "controversy," even though that's often how where the word is used in WP articles. Being subject to, or worthy of criticism, is not the same as being controversial. It's really one of the worst and most overused weasel words on WP, at least as applied to biographies, because it's a implicitly pejorative word that typically has no substance behind it. Postdlf (talk) 00:07, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

In actual usage, "controversial" often seems to mean "unpopular". Logically, it takes 2 for a controversy, so both views are controversial, but this isn't usually said. Peter jackson (talk) 09:38, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

Hear, hear. It's wiki-slang that crept into article content. Hopefully, notability per WP:N hasn't yet. I'm afraid the only solution is bold but correct and properly sourced changes to each individual article. Christian Bale cussed his camera man, it's a small fact, not controversy. Meanwhile, huge subjects of ongoing worldwide debate (Arab–Israeli conflict) exist without invoking the fancy word. NVO (talk) 08:58, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

I found myself using the word "notable" in article content recently, and I did think to myself, "Do I really mean notable, or am I projecting wiki-jargon?". I think it's definitely something to watch out for. Gigs (talk) 02:45, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

Can I use next album cover in wikipedia

Can I use next albumcover in Summer Serenades page, because the picture are watermarked. I haven't founded any other picture that I can use--Musamies (talk) 13:24, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

I wouldn't. It is going to bring up copyright issues and just plain looks bad.--RadioFan (talk) 20:49, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

Donation Buttons Upgrade

The Wikimedia Foundation has begun exploring ideas for enhancing the visibility of the donate button not only within the Wikimedia main skin but also on every page of every Wikimedia project. We hope that enhancement will enable us to better inform our public that we are dependent on their donations as we promote the free and open knowledge movement. For full description of project, please go here: m:Fundraising 2009/Donation buttons upgrade en Rand Montoya (talk) 22:10, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

RFC on italics in article titles (books, albums, scientific terms, etc.)

There's an RFC going on on whether or not article titles should be italicized. You can find it here. SharkD (talk) 20:40, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

Macedonia Request for Comment

The Centralized discussion page set up to decide on a comprehensive naming convention about Macedonia-related naming practices is now inviting comments on a number of competing proposals from the community. Please register your opinions on the RfC subpages 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

Fut.Perf. 08:48, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

opposite of BITE?

is there a guideline or essay that is essentially the opposite of WP:BITE? Something that editors, particularly new ones, can be pointed to to calm a discussion down and remind them that this is a collaborative encyclopedia and they need to be open to others editing their articles. Something that's a step down from WP:OWN?--RadioFan (talk) 11:32, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

Maybe WP:AGF or WP:CIV? As for essays, I'd say Wikipedia:Staying cool when the editing gets hot. Regards SoWhy 11:37, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
"they need to be open to others editing their articles" - but they're not "their" articles. They're just articles. Disembrangler (talk) 20:45, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
In this case of ownership issues, does the text at WP:OWN help? -- llywrch (talk) 23:15, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
Even established users get touchy about "outsiders" suddenly showing up at their articles and messing with things they dont know anything about, all in good faith, but still messing things up because they dont know the intricacies of what the article is about and the consensus' that have been made concerning what is appropriate for the article or not. When a newbie gets to the point of creating his/her first article and then other more established users start being critical of mistakes, in good faith attempting to help and teach the newbie, it can get frustrating for them, especially since established users can be condescending and not all that helpful when they demand changes without teaching how to do them or why they should be done. With that said, I must point out to disembrangler that this notion that some, like him/her, have that no one should use the term "their article" or "my article" is asinine. I have many articles that are "mine" in that I created the article, a verifiable fact, or that I am the main contributor of the vast majority of the information in the article, another verifiable fact. I do not ever claim that I own the article or that others may not contribute, in fact I often work on articles that I wish MORE would discover and help out on. Many in Wikipedia feel the same way about THEIR particular articles as well. If I refer to an article as MINE it is not to the exclusion of it being called "mine" in a sentence by someone else who thinks of it as theirs as much as I do. I have seen many users go around and make stupid comments for unneeded "fixes" or changes to articles that they dont know anything about the subject. Inenvitably when a main contributor balks at the change they are accused of "ownership". How about this for a solution?- be polite first of all when helping or recommending a change or pointing out a flaw, suggest solutions, offer to teach the steps on how to do the change since often something is done wrongly because the user doesnt know HOW to do it the correct way and simply telling them to change it to the correct way does no good except to frustrate them, point them to the specific wikipedia guideline/policy dealing with the point you are making and more importantly describe it in a common-sense down-to-earth manner perhaps using an analogy or a past example of this use in another article instead of just saying "do it per wp:xyz" no one wants rules quoted to them or having to read a rulebook to get the point you are making. We dont need the opposite of BITE to legitimize harrassing newbies or established users, which is what the opposite of BITE would end up being used for. Any user who felt that another user wasnt be helpful or constructive would instantly be accused of being uncooperative and of ownership of an article simply due to not wanting to make the suggested change.Camelbinky (talk) 00:49, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

Cite and special cite

Why does Wikipedia:Citing Wikipedia show Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia underlined for the MLA style but the syntax generated from Special:Cite shows it italicized? -- penubag  (talk) 11:45, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

Underlining was by long-standing tradition the way to instruct printers to use italics. I expect that has something to do with this, though in this computer age it seems rather irrelevant. Peter jackson (talk) 14:43, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
Should we fix it?-- penubag  (talk) 19:43, 28 June 2009 (UTC)
No. The MLA style manual itself uses underscores in its illustrative examples, and we should obviously be following that. Even though most people nowadays use word processors that can produce italic text, there are still typewriter users out there. Deor (talk) 01:19, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
But we should show users what is "correct" not something that is not. The users with typewriters can use their own decision whether or not to use underlines. It is really confusing for students that see conflicting results. -- penubag  (talk) 09:12, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
When we discuss citing articles according to certain style manuals, we should obviously follow the instructions given in those manuals. The MLA manual uses underscoring for titles, so that's what's "correct" in MLA style. If anything, it's the output of Special:Cite that ought to be changed; but note the sentence "Please remember to check your manual of style, standards guide or instructor's guidelines for the exact syntax to suit your needs" in the "Bibliographic details" section on all pages it generates. Deor (talk) 13:12, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

Why are Wikipedia's PD guidelines different from Commons', and should it be changed?

Works which are public domain in the US can be uploaded as free images to Wikipedia, but not to Wikimedia Commons (where the image needs to be PD in both the US and the image's country of origin if different). Why is there this discrepancy? Shouldn't the Wikimedia Foundation determine what is considered free/PD for all of their sites, rather than having such differences? Because of these policies, many images can be hosted as free images on Wikipedia but not on Wikimedia Commons. This is very confusing and I see no real reason for it.

Therefore, I propose that either A) Wikipedia change its copyright policies about this issue to be in line with Commons', or B) Commons change its copyright policies to match Wikipedia's. This latter would certainly be the easier of the two, but I would prefer the first one since Commons' policies respects the copyright of the image's original creator more than Wikipedia's current policies. Although legally the copyright in the country of origin might not matter, it seems unfair to the image creator for such a huge, free information resource to be distributing such images as "public domain" across the world. –Drilnoth (T • C • L) 17:55, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

Many WMF projects require freedom under local laws associated with the language's main audience. This aids in reuse within that target population and helps avoid problems where people living in that region might be at risk of violating their country's local laws. The rule at Commons (which needs to support many different projects) is a way of respecting that. I don't see that ever changing. I have no strong opinion on whether Wikipedia should adopt a similar rule. Dragons flight (talk) 18:14, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
Agreed that Commons' rule is accurate; that's why I'm mainly saying that Wikipedia's may want to be changed because right now it doesn't make any sense. –Drilnoth (T • C • L) 18:17, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
That's a sticky one. I see where you are coming from, but I also see a certain twisted logic in the current policies. Does this case actually come up very often? Maybe it's not really something to worry about. Is this primarily an issue with a certain country? Gigs (talk) 02:49, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
Oh, it comes up a lot. Many images can't be moved to Commons because of this, which just seems... well... wrong. Things shouldn't be accepted as free here but not at another site which uses the same definition of freedom. For one Big List of images which this applies to, see Category:Images in the public domain in the United States. That's right... almost 25,000. I know that changing policy would require a lot of retagging to fair use and deletion, but right now the policies just don't seem to make any sense, and it also feels (to me) like these images violate their creator's copyright since they are PD here but not in their country of origin, even if legally this is possible. –Drilnoth (T • C • L) 03:05, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
I disagree. (a) Why should other countries matter? (b) There are about 200 countries in the World. Is it both reasonable and practical for English Wikipedia to track the copyright status of images in all those countries? (c) How about "fair use"? Do you want to abolish it as well? Many countries do not have such a concept in their copyright laws. Ruslik_Zero 09:51, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
The English Wikipedia also allows fair use images; these can never be moved to Commons. For arguments' sake, consider a photo A taken by a known German photographer and published in 1918. Let's assume the photographer died in 1980. This photo went out of German copyright in 1928 according to an obsolete law. (Photos got publication + 10 years.) But it stayed copyrighted in Portugal, which is why when European copyright laws were harmonised, it suddenly was copyrighted again in Germany, until 2050! In the US it's in the public domain since it was published before 1923. Now suppose there is a photo B taken by an unknown German photographer in the same year, which shows the same motif in a way that is equivalent for all intents and purposes.
If A did not exist, we might be able to use B in the English Wikipedia under a fair use rationale. But since A does exist, there is a free alternative for every purpose other than discussing the photo B itself. The free alternative invalidates any fair use claim. No problem, since we can, in fact, use A instead of B. It's not clear how your proposal would effect this example, but both possibilities seem absurd:
  • We can use neither A nor B, leaving us with no adequate illustration.
  • We can use A, an image that is in the public domain in the US, under a fair use rationale that makes no sense in the most significant country where the image is still copyrighted.
Images in Wikipedia and Commons have completely different purposes. In Wikipedia the purpose is illustration of our articles. Commons is a repository of such images for various uses. Hans Adler 12:58, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
There are several reasons, the main ones being that 1) a large proportion of people with Internet connections can read English at a sufficiently functional level and may browse English Wikipedia from time to time, and 2) English Wikipedia is the biggest among all the Wikipedias, and thus a lot of content simply can only be found here. Wikipedia should be open to all (or as many as possible) people who speak English, not just those from countries whose native tongue happens to be English. SharkD (talk) 15:18, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
Suggest a random sampling or careful survey is undertaken of such categories of images (e.g. the 25,000-image category mentioned). One thing I would be interested in is how many would actually be deleted and how many would be eligible for fair-use due to not being replaceable, or being historic, and hence possibly eligible for non-free use (a different thing to fair-use). If only a small number would be deleted, then this is just paperwork, swapping a PD tag for a non-free use tag. My view is that it is better to keep these images separate from the non-free use images (which should be minimised). I also think many of the pictures in question (particularly the old black-and-white ones) are unlikely to ever be challenged, and many will fall into the public domain (relatively) soon anyway (unless copyright laws are changed again). I've often asked what efforts are being made, or will be made, to recover deleted images that are now (or will be at some future point) public domain-by-age. Not many people seem interested in that. The presumption is that the images will be uploaded again at that future point, but I'd like to be sure of that. Carcharoth (talk) 09:37, 28 June 2009 (UTC)
The rules aren't WP:BROKEn, so no need to try to fix them. The rights to use legally use images shouldn't be given up to standardize upon the most restrictive legal rights of all the countries we serve, but we equally can't force some small foreign language Wikipedia version to follow US rules. That's why we do things this way and I don't see any reason to change. DreamGuy (talk) 17:14, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

If we do change the rules the right way to do it IMO would be to make Commons more accepting of PD-US material rather than enwiki less accepting. We recently moved a bit in that direction by accepting PD-Art images over at Commons, regardless of local law. Haukur (talk) 17:35, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

Removing text from a policy page and then transcluding

Please see WT:BLP#Can we put back the material that was removed?. It would be nice to get some resolution with this. - Dank (push to talk) 18:30, 26 June 2009 (UTC) material now reinstated

It's getting harder to attract attention to potential problems on content, deletion and enforcement policy pages by making a post on WP:VPP, and some of the experienced editors aren't paying as much attention as they used to ... and some other editors who "lost" previous battles have noticed this, and are back at work. This is not necessarily a bad thing ... but just recently, it's started to look to me like more attention needs to be paid to the Updates than is being paid, people are missing some changes that used to be very hard-fought battles.
It's also getting harder for me to say anything on policy talk pages while maintaining the necessary distance and objectivity that WP:Update requires, so as of now, I'm not going to make reversions on the policy pages or add comments on these talk pages, I'll just keep recording the changes as accurately as I can. The one exception, which I mention at the link above, is that I'm not going to add pages to WP:Update that were added to one of the policy cats without any consensus. In this case, some of the material was moved away from WP:BLP to a new page, and the new page is transcluded back to BLP. This strategy was employed on several of the style guidelines pages for several months, and consensus was that it didn't work very well. Moving stuff to a different page means that people are even less likely to keep track of changes, especially since the text is no longer visible in the history of the main page. If someone doesn't restore the material by the end of the month, I'll just say in the Update that the material is now gone; there hasn't been any discussion that I've seen supporting the creation of the new subpage. material now reinstated - Dank (push to talk) 18:24, 27 June 2009 (UTC)
Can I just register my appreciation for the hard work that goes WP:UPDATE? I agree that WP:VPP has recently had a tendency to become a little bogged down in the trivial. There is so much policy to cover now; you might want to have a word with Drilnoth about publicising discussions in the Signpost if you thought that that might help. Vis-a-vis subpages, I can't remember seeing the previous uses in action, so I couldn't really comment.- Jarry1250 [ humourousdiscuss ] 19:19, 27 June 2009 (UTC)
The Signpost lists everything that shows up at WP:CENT, including the RFCs. I don't think we need an RFC on the subject of "Can one editor create a new policy page and move stuff from the current policy pages onto that page?" ... we just need someone to revert it, and I've already reverted it once. material now reinstated For the other issues, I'm not going to make the call which ones are important enough to merit an RFC. In a way, the lack of activity on policy pages is both a natural cycle and a tribute ... people think that policy pages are well-behaved enough that they don't need close watching, and that has been my assessment too, things have been much more stable and calm over the last year than previously; the pages have matured. But now people have figured out that they can just walk up to some of these pages and make their favorite changes, and the changes aren't likely to get reverted, so a bit more vigilance is needed. Btw ... thanks! - Dank (push to talk) 20:52, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

(Dank beat me here, with the strikes above.) As a matter of security, my common response to finding two sections that are/were identical is to put them in one basket, and watch that basket! But nobody else really seems to remember how to <onlyinclude> subpages, even though that's in the software.... Therefore, to avoid textual drift, put all our eggs in one basket, and watch that basket at WP:BLP#Categories! I'll see what I can do about the parallel language at WP:GRS#Sexuality, too.
--William Allen Simpson (talk) 00:32, 28 June 2009 (UTC)


I recently posted a message at the misc board (Wikipedia:Village pump (miscellaneous)#Wikipedia:WikiProject Citizendium Porting). It is about a Wikiproject dealing with importing content from Citizenium to WP. I'm not sure whether my post is at the right place, so I invite everybody who is interested to discuss the matter at the linked thread. Jakob.scholbach (talk) 20:02, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

Capitalisation of minor words in band names

I know there are clear guidelines about not capitalising the initial letters of conjunctions, prepositions and so on in album titles, but I can't find any similar guidelines covering band names. Most pages for bands (e.g. Noah and the Whale) seem to follow the same format, but is there an official policy somewhere that I just haven't been able to find? If not, should one be written? ~dom Kaos~ (talk) 22:18, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

Ideally, use what the band uses in their promotional material. On some small time bands, I have seen inconsistent caps. Try to figure out what is more "official". This is one case where self-published sources are fine, and even preferred, I'd say. Gigs (talk) 14:41, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
No, no, no. WP:MOSTM. We are supposed to look at the various ways the name is covered in mainstream media and then choose the format with the least degree of extraneous formatting. The use of fancy capitalization and symbols is a way to make the band's name call attention to itself, and using that in Wikipedia would give the band undue attention (a POV problem). Dragons flight (talk) 16:06, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
I thought we were talking about conjunctions and prepositions, not extraordinary formatting. WP:UCN says we should generally defer to the "most common" proper name. My advice was given in that light, and shouldn't be taken to mean that we should use LeEt SpeEAk just because a band does. I guess the question really is, "Should we treat band names more like proper names, or more like trademarks?" Gigs (talk) 19:31, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, I think I've inadvertently opened a can of worms! I was really only talking about bands with names along the lines of "X and the Y", rather than anything more complicated (or, depending upon one's view, pretentious). The question initially arose because I was editing pages relating to a relatively new band, Florence and the Machine: their printed artwork, official Youtube page and Myspace are currently a bit haphazard about the middle two words and the discussion came up on their talk page about which should be the main WP page and which should be redirects. I think the three of us agree on this, so I'm going to propose on the talk page that we should stay with "Florence and the Machine" as the main page.
Thank you for pointing me towards the MoS "trademarks" page - I hadn't thought of looking there. Regards to both of you ~dom Kaos~ (talk) 21:53, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

Recommendation of Subject Pages: Make Detailed Information Accessible through Structured Introduction of Basics

Summary: Create subject pages which present information in a structured way so people can access information in a logical manner. Currently people unfamiliar with a topic will digress endlessly in defining terms they don't understand from page to page.

(If you are a serious person please skip the irrelevant details of the following first paragraph. In fact, the last two paragraphs are self explanatory.)

Dear Wikipedia,

I very much like your website and am currently working at creating an inhale-able or edible form of your website so I can learn information faster. Although I have had no success yet and have all sorts of health problems due to trying to encode information into 2-butoxyethanol molecules, I have reached another conclusion. This conclusion is a result of a problem I have had with the conventional reading process as presented by the summary. Let me explain:

Since I am not very well educated, while reading articles I often do not know what the terms within the article I am reading mean. This causes me to digress endlessly. For example, I may be interested in learning about alkaloids (to encode wikipedia information with a lipid substance). To understand an alkaloid I need to know what a secondary metabolic path is. When I click on that page I end up clicking on metabolism. To understand metabolism I click on science, etc. By the time I understand anything at all I forget what I was trying to learn to begin with.

My suggestion is that Wikipedia would serve best as encyclopedia as a structured encyclopedia. This could be accomplished in many ways. One way would be to allow editors to create their own subject pages. This would include a Subject Title, an introduction into the subject, the fundamentals of the subject, and would list existing and relevant wikipedia pages in a chosen order. An expert on immunology could start a subject on this topic, give an introduction by explaining how cells fight off diseases in the body, suggest that there are differences between B and T cells and Macrophages and what the difference between viruses and bacteria is. By making these fundamental distinctions, creating a structure and context in which all the elements of disease and the immune system come into play in a meaningful way, and noting similarities and differences between how the body fights viruses and bacteria infections, the links to existing pages become much more accessible.

This differs from current policy by emphasis on how a page of information on a subject is structured, namely making sure information on a single page follows a logical order from fundamental or simple concepts to detailed concepts. Information becomes more complicated the more you learn. In this way attempting to learn details is precarious like an upside down pyramid where the very many details on the top are dependent on relatively few basic ideas which the reader cannot necessarily find but are highly important. If one wants to learn some of the many complicated details on the top, one needs to know the base ideas at the bottom. The relevant base ideas are not explicit nor implicit in any given paper on detail however. In providing context and structure for learning details, Wikipedia subject pages would be essential in and instrumental to realizing the goal of an encyclopedia: making knowledge accessible to everyone.—Preceding unsigned comment added by InterestingUtencilProposalManNumber9 (talkcontribs) 10:50, 29 June 2009

There is a project dedicated to just this. Further information can be found here. Take a look at Outline of immunology and see if it delivers what you are looking for. Phil Bridger (talk) 09:45, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

RFC:Role of Jimmy Wales in the English Wikipedia

An RFC has been launched by five co-proposers to determine community support for:

  • establishing ArbCom elections as a direct expression of the community's will rather than as merely "advisory" to Mr Wales as now;
  • establishing the elections as bringing the number of arbitrators to a total of 17 at the start of each year (no default size has previously been set), with a normal term of two years for new arbitrators;[A]
  • relying for appeals solely on ArbCom's well-established procedure for that purpose, which renders unnecessary Mr Wales's theoretical power to modify ArbCom's remedies and enforcement actions, and his role as court of appeal for ArbCom decisions.

All users are invited to inspect the proposal and to make their views known at the RFC. Tony (talk) 18:03, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia will nonetheless remain a private corporation under the direction of a Board elected pursuant to a publicly filed charter. It doesn't seem to me to be legally possible to upend that short of starting a competing wiki-modeled website. bd2412 T 05:55, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
The Wikimedia Foundation is such a private corporation. Wikipedia is a community run project hosted by the WMF. Sure, we can't legally force the WMF to allow us to change the system, but we don't need to. They won't object unless there are legal concerns. --Tango (talk) 06:19, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
To go further: the WMF actively avoids getting involved in the running of the wikipedia projects, under the legal theory that they are less liable for what we do if they serve only as a sort of hosting provider. — Carl (CBM · talk) 19:40, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

Don't know how to deal with bureaucracy

Correct me if I'm wrong, if something is subjective (not objective), then trying to make a guide or policy governing it is bureaucracy. I've been dealing with a guide that is designed to look like policy and couldn't be any more vague. The policy WP:BURO seems to prohibit this, but is not clear on how to deal with it. The few users who have agreed with me, seem to be outnumbered by the advocates who expanded the guide to the point of WP:CREEP. I've put out RFCs but they get closed too soon. The advocates for the guide are avoiding discussion by removing tags before the disputes are resolved and WP:POLLING as if they just want to run the clock out while they outnumber. It seems that it's mostly people who are admitting bias against the admitted perceived problem that are heavily involved in protecting the guide. It's hard to get a neutral yet critical examination of the guide. Which forum do I use to put this bureaucracy on trial by neutral users and administrators? Oicumayberight (talk) 20:31, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

Where can the particular situation you are referring to be found? It may help to know this.Camelbinky (talk) 21:32, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
I was avoiding mentioning the specific situation because I didn't want to be accused of forum shopping. But since you asked, the bureaucracy of the WP:MOSICON has been ongoing since it was expanded[2] to include all icons (like generic small images or clipart) last October August as noted in archive 5. Since then, several unresolved discussions have been archived. Oicumayberight (talk) 22:23, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

Deprodding as vandalism?

I just observed that {{prod}} includes the following statement about deprodding: "If this template is removed from the article and the removal was not vandalism, then do not replace it." Aside from the note on WP:CONTESTED that one may restore a PROD that's been replaced with a speedy tag, I've never before heard any way in which we could legitimately restore a prod tag. If you go down the AFD logs, you'll see plenty of discussions in which it is noted that the prod was removed without comment by some random person. Of course, removing a useful template is generally considered vandalism, so as this specifically isn't considered vandalism, what is? Nyttend (talk) 21:00, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

I suppose the intent behind the statement was to cover obvious vandalistic (is that even a real word?) edits, such as a random drive-by deprodding by an account that is engaged in other such vandalism. When an editor who is otherwise in good standing removes a prod template from an article - even one in which they seem otherwise disinterested - I can't see ever labeling it as vandalism. There may be some utility in requiring a rationale when removing a prod template and allowing it to be re-inserted when it is removed without explanation, but I do not think such a notion will gain much traction. It is probably safe to say that, except in the limited case of actions by an obvious vandal, this particular "option" won't be used. Shereth 21:04, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
The only case of 'prod vandalism' I can recall is where someone was simply removing all prods on all articles that he could. That was pretty blatant. -- Consumed Crustacean (talk) 21:07, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
If someone blanks the page (or the lead section, or just deletes the first few lines), or replaces it with "poop", or some stupidity like that, that would also be a deprodding due to vandalism. Anomie 21:24, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
As above, plus reverting edits that happen to include prod removal by banned or block-evading editors. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 00:21, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Notability and fiction

An essay has been drafted per the consensus at Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Notability and fiction. Hiding T 10:22, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

Removal of permission for OTRS activity on enwiki per ArbCom decision

Please see here. Cenarium (talk) 01:39, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

Reporting of celebrity death hoaxes

In light of the ridiculous number of death hoaxes we've dealt with in the past week, I've commenced a draft policy about the reporting of these hoaxes on a user page. Please feel free to review and make comment. User:Manning Bartlett/Wikipedia:Deathhoax policy draft. Manning (talk) 06:29, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

What death hoaxes?--WaltCip (talk) 14:13, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
This is unnecessary - there is no reason to treat a "celebrity death hoax" any different than a standard WP:HOAX. Shereth 14:31, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

Tito Jackson policy

I've never seen this template before.

Usually there's just a lock symbol. What's going on?Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 21:17, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

That's the default appearance of {{Pp-protected}} (on a semiprotected page). Often the parameter 'small=yes' is used, which suppresses everything but the lock symbol. Algebraist 21:31, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

Is 4,046.8564224 an acceptable number format?

Should the Manual of Style (dates and numbers) recognize 4,046.8564224 as an acceptable number format, and not accept 4046.8564224? Notice the former uses commas and gaps as digit separators in the same number, while the latter only uses gaps. The consensus formed will influence how number formatting templates will be coded. Please discuss at WT:MOSNUM#RfC: Acceptable number format?

Feh. Stifle (talk) 09:30, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

Naming alleged victims of child sexual abuse

I notice that Wikipedia names the alleged victim in both of Michael Jackson's child-molestation cases. Has there ever been a discussion as to whether this is appropriate? The First Amendment gives media the right to name alleged sexual-abuse victims, but it is the general policy of the American media not to name them unless they choose to go public with their names. The argument is that naming sexual-assault victims increases the likelihood that other victims will not come forward to report a crime, fearing their name will be splashed all over the papers. There is a good deal of debate in journalism circles about whether to publish the names of adults who accuse people of rape. But in this case, it's a double whammy -- we're not just talking about alleged sexual-assault victims but alleged child victims. We should really consider whether it's in the best interest of society to use their names just because we can. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 03:45, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

We aren't using the names just because we can, and in our decision to use them, we should think about whether it's in the best interest of the encyclopedia. In this case, with the information so widely available from reliable sources outside of this encyclopedia, not mentioning the detail in the article would be an obvious oversight on our part. Sancho 17:28, 28 June 2009 (UTC)
There's certainly an ethical issue here. Not only do we have to think about any other victims that may or may not exist, but we have to think the alleged perpetrators' family, and consider the question "If somebody is found innocent of a crime in court, do we have to talk about it very much?" --I dream of horses (talk) 19:24, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

Links to essays in policy pages

I think that links to someone's essays in a policy page inadmissible. A policy is a careful work of consensus of many editors. An essay is a personal opinion, not necessarily agreeable by many. If it contains useful parts, please move them into a policy or a guideline, or a FAQ, which are, unlike essays, under the heavy scrutiny of many. There are thousands of essays in wikipedia on each and every rule, and putting some of them into a policy is bad precedent. Inclusion someone's is violation of WP:NPOV and consensus-building. Novices may wrongly think that an essay is also part of policy. I know that in the past wikipedia was lax in its rules in many respects; inclusion of essays is one of the relicts wikipedia must get rid of. - Altenmann >t 17:21, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

  • I would agree that links to personal essays on policy pages should be avoided... especially the ones that are controversial. Any examples that aren't controversial and that a strong consensus of editors think deserve to be linked to on policy pages should go through the process of getting promoted to guidelines anyway. DreamGuy (talk) 17:52, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
  • That is not and never has been the standard. 'See also' links are deliberately held to a very low standard - anything useful to a potential reader is fair game to add as a link.
    Furthermore, you are drawing a false distinction between "policy/guideline" and "essay". Many of our best pages were written long before Wikipedia began bothering with such artificial distinctions. Even today, pages frequently drift from one category to another rather fluidly.
    That particular essay is a repost of a page that was create many years ago, "promoted" to Meta, merged, rewritten and referenced widely. It succinctly expresses a point of view more commonly referred to as eventualism. While there are often disagreements about how or to what degree to apply that principle, I have never heard anyone call it "controversial".
    Now, if you had argued that the link was unnecessary or inappropriate because of it's content, tone or quality, I would consider those arguments. But removing it merely because the page carries an arbitrary "essay" tag instead of something else is not a sufficient reason to remove the link. The decision to do so is completely out of keeping with our practice and precedent on dozens of other policy pages throughout the project. Rossami (talk) 18:11, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
    • "Deliberately a very low standard" is bad, bad idea for policy pages. written long before - my point exactly. "frequently drift" - exactly my suggestion: to formalize anything of value; don't make people confused. "our practice" - if you look back for 3-4 years, you'll be amazed how our practice changed towards better, clearer and stronger rules (despite their apparent proliferation in multitudes some grumble about). - Altenmann >t 18:17, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
    • "Nobody called controversial" - is is an essay, for God's sake. It is someone's opinion. Everybody is entitled to one. But personal opinions are not supposed to be promoted in such a central place as a wikipedia policy. - Altenmann >t 18:25, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
  • I respectfully disagree. Established essays in the see also section are totally okay as a source for further opinions on the matter. The only disclaimer required is the giant banner at the top that says "this is not policy." Dcoetzee 18:30, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
    • And why would someone's personal opinion count? If it says something improtant, suggest it for the policy, get a consensual approval, and improve the overall "legal body" of wikipedia. - Altenmann >t 00:20, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
  • I'm with Dcoetzee. Established essays are fine to link from policies. Part of the consensus determination of what goes on a policy page is which other pages to link. Some essays carry full weight, but are not reclassified as policies or guidelines for various reasons. There is still great virtue in discouraging a lawyerly notion that these categories mean so much. -GTBacchus(talk) 18:47, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
    • "Some essays carry full weight" -- this is major danger: only consensus-built policies must have full weight; personal opinions shouldn't. - Altenmann >t 00:20, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
Essays are built with consensus, --Kim Bruning (talk) 01:21, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
A very limited one. You don't see much talk & work in them, compared to policies. And the reason is simple: an essay is some "extra", non-critical, unbalanced musing to put forth a certain point of view. - Altenmann >t 04:07, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Linking essays in the see also section makes sense to me... as long as they aren't really super controversial or anything, they can often provide clarification which can help make policy clearer or can just voice opinions on the policy, so that users can look at it in a few different ways. Linking them within the policy text itself, rather than a see also section or navbox, seems like a Bad Idea though except for the few very well-established essays... WP:SNOW, WP:DENY, WP:BEANS, and WP:ATA spring to mind. They could possibly be linked in relevant locations with a "see also" dablink at the top of the section in policy that they're related to. –Drilnoth (T • C • L) 18:54, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
    • You didn't address my major point: why can't we move everything useful into FAQs and guidelines, which are written by consensus, rather than someone's personal opinion? - Altenmann >t 00:20, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
      • Because the vast majority of project-space (but, obviously, not user-space) essays are written by consensus over time as more users read them and add to them. FAQs are just a klunky for of handling it... FAQs are harder to read for one thing, IMO. Anyway, it really just boils down to personal opinion. My opinion is that essays should be kept as is and linked in see also sections when appropriate, yours is different... I think that its really just a preference based on personal tastes, and neither of us will convince the other that their view is better because neither view is better. They're just different. –Drilnoth (T • C • L) 01:06, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
  • I see no reason not to link relevant essays in the See Also section of a policy or guideline. Just because they may not have the full force of a guideline does not mean they are not useful to the reader, and that's all the See Also section is for. I don't think confusion on the part of a reader is going to be a problem, thanks to the big ESSAY disclaimer at the top of all essays. Powers T 20:04, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
    • You have no reason, but I have and explained them, and you didn't prove that I am wrong. - Altenmann >t 00:20, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
      • Simply asserting that does not make it true. How is anyone supposed to "prove" a matter of opinion? Powers T 00:37, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
  • If essays were never linked to policy or guidelines, then how are new users to learn the various interpretations of the policy or guideline? How are candidates for modifications, enhancements, or changes to be publicized? Links to well-written essays that represent a non-fringe view should be encouraged, not discouraged. Jclemens (talk) 22:12, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
    • In other words yoo are saying that wikipedia policies and guidelines suck... Why don't you then take a useful essay and turn it into a guideline? - Altenmann >t 00:20, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
Because there are too many people playing stupid wikipolitics and wiki-nomic to make that a viable plan. It is often much more useful to just put on an {{essay}} tag. People who understand how the system works can then at least find what the real consensus is on a topic *somewhere* --Kim Bruning (talk) 01:23, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
Well, I know this. But this is only natural. Different people have different inclinations: some like to write good articles; others like to rake huge wikicounts to brag about; still others like policywriting, yet others juust love to block a vandal or two... Amazingly such a mess of different opinions and attitudes creates something useful. But again, the whole civilization is one big inhomogeneous mess; still some claim there is progress happening...- Altenmann >t 04:07, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
Queen Victoria; famous for being Not Amused.
  • In case no one told you yet, the whole policy/guideline/essay system of tags is a massive kluge. Those "mere essays" , are not all merely personal opinion, but instead are consensus positions of sometimes considerable portions of the community; some of which hold the strength of policy, (did we mention kludge? yes we did!). Some essays eventually get a policy tag, some essays don't. I am Not Amused to see people trying to downgrade and marginalize pages that document ((significant) segments of the) actual grassroots community consensus. --Kim Bruning (talk) 00:18, 3 July 2009 (UTC) I'm not normally this angry... but sometimes strongly worded positions help :-)
    • Please avoid patronizing tone. (Did anyone write any essays on this subject yet?) Instead of being angry, please explain me why cannot consensus be placed into FAQ and gudeline, which is, again, unlike most essays, will be further scrutinized and improved? In this way the "a massive kluge" will be slowly dissolving. - Altenmann >t 00:24, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
Well, essays ARE further scrutinized and improved by multiple editors (example). FAQs are a fairly new phenomenon. Essays are Wikipedia namespace pages that have a template posted at the top. Guidelines are essays that happen to have a different template posted at the top. Policies are guidelines with yet another different template posted at the top.
--Kim Bruning (talk) 00:39, 3 July 2009 (UTC) Sorry about the tone of voice. I was trying for a Victoria effect. :-/
Yes, and user pages are the pages with the title started with "user:". Now you are trivializing, colleague. As to "silence and consensus" essay, you guys better work on wikipedia:Consensus page, which has been under explosive discussion/editing for a couple of the recent months. - Altenmann >t 00:45, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
Very good. You are beginning to understand. ;-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 00:58, 3 July 2009 (UTC) check the contributions log for both pages :-)

(out) I dont think an outright ban on essays in policy pages makes sense. Essays can provide important information on how policies / guidelines can be interpreted and applied and how one policy interacts with and informs another policy/guideline. If a new essay or one that clearly does not have a large community consensus is listed within a policy page in a way that suggests it has more community support than it does - it should be removed, or edited until it does reflect consensus- but I see nothing inherrently incompatible about links from See Also. They need to be judged independantly and in context. -- The Red Pen of Doom 01:52, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

"Essays can provide important information" - essays can provide an opinion for those who don't want to take part in writing a clean-cut policy: it takes big nerve to add a sentence into a policy page. In an essay one writes ad libitum without much opposition. IN essay is most often edited by people of the same inclination. It is inconceivable that, say, an "inclusionist" essay had much input from a "deletionist". Several years ago I tried to edit some essay to add some balance, but got quickly reverted with the tone "don't mess with my essay: it is my point of view; write your own essay if you want to say something". - Altenmann >t 04:15, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
"If a new essay or one that clearly does not have a large community consensus is listed within a policy page in a way that suggests it has more community support than it does - it should be removed, or edited until it does reflect consensus- " <- can and should be addressed individually without the need for overall ban. -- The Red Pen of Doom 09:09, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
If you are quoting, please five a link to thesource, if not, please explain the intention of highlighting of the phrase. - Altenmann >t 17:21, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
The point of highlighting it is that you appeared to completely ignore it in your response, acting as if any "essay" tagged page with no commuity support could be legitimately linked in a policy article unless we completely banned linking essays in policy pages, and that is simply not true. -- The Red Pen of Doom 17:34, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

Hmm... Opinions, parables and anecdotes should not be linked/piped directly from the body text of an endorsed policy or guideline, but I don't oppose to piling them in "see also" bin. If the reader has reached that part of policy, he/she must be qualified enough to recognize essays as such. Yes, "see also" has very low inclusion standard, so be it. (P.S. Altenmann: I suspect that you actually place the policies themselves on a level higher than they hold.) NVO (talk) 04:23, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

Maybe you are right in your suspicions. But again, my suggestion was about improving the policies by getting the best from the essays. If nobody else really cares, I rest my case. - Altenmann >t 17:21, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

Technical experiment

I started this talk after I deleted a link to Wikipedia:Don't demolish the house while it's still being built from Wikipedia:Deletion policy and was reverted.

Now, please tell me:

  1. what basic idea underlines underlies this (a very nice, I must say) essay
  2. Why it cannot be uttered somewnere in numerous (I counted over a dozen and stopped) policies and guidelines about deletion?

- Altenmann >t 00:39, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

You are asking in the wrong place. Your change has been reverted, so the change did not have consensus. To really find out why, you should ask on Wikipedia talk:Deletion policy, or contact the reverter on their own user talk page.

The idea behind the essay should be clearly worded in the essay. Please participate in the consensus process by updating the essay if it is not clear enough.

Finally, you should also be really careful about experimenting on actual policy pages!

--Kim Bruning (talk) 00:48, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

Hello Altemann. It seems your post is a form of devil's advocacy as you are asking why we shouldn't place this in many places when you are the one who reverted it. I like that attitude. We build all manner of pages in Wikipedia by the consensus editing model. Some essays have the weight of consensus and some do not. An essay like, for example, WP:BEANS has such weight behind it because of massive usage, edits to the page itself, and so on. By contrast, this essay has no consensus from any source I can see. It is simply one of the thousands of essays that are extant. It has been edited by a grand total of eighteen people, and it has been cited on-wiki about 2 times total (at least according to our crappy search engine) (WP:BEANS, by contrast, gets 236 hits. So you ask why it should no be placed, willy-nilly, in the "dozens" of policy pages it could be? Because, I can find 50 other essays related to deletion without any gravitas, barely used, edited or cited, and place those indiscriminately in a see also section. I do want to raise one more issue from your post.

If you take nothing else from reading the responses to your post, you should take that the word you meant to use is underlies, and in another commonly used (and commonly abused) form, it is underlying (not underlining). Once you read this post, I suspect you will never make this mistake again, and I will have struck once again to rid the world of a grammar abomination (one person at a time). Now, I will don my cape, and be off, free once again to search out with my wagging finger sense, some good person toiling away at their keyboard, little suspecting that I am lurking, ready to pounce on them should they write "supposably" or "irregardless" or "maybe" when it is an event that may be happening (note that I do have a kryptonite, and I probably shouldn't reveal it, but I have to go into hibernation for about one month to remove the taint whenever anyone says "it's all good" within earshot.-- (talk) 02:47, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

Spelling it correctly might help. --Izno (talk) 19:57, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

Global policy?

I'm now covering Category:Wikipedia conduct policies and Category:Wikipedia legal policies at WP:Update, which covers every subcat of CAT:POL except for one, Category:Wikipedia global policy. There are 52 pages in CAT:POL and 40 pages of global policy, almost all of them overlapping. Is there something that makes global policy pages special or ties them together? Could we do without the category? It would be nice to cover all the policy subcats at WP:LOP and WP:Update, but I'm just not seeing the point. - Dank (push to talk) 04:18, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

Censorship at David Rohde

So, apparently Wikipedia is not censored except when and how Jimbo says it's censored. Do I have that about right? Mark Shaw (talk) 17:18, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

Background reading: 17:19, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
Yup. See WP:IAR. --Tagishsimon (talk) 17:21, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
especially this part: "some people get histrionic about it, proclaiming the death of Wikipedia. But the idea of a pure openness ... is a naïve one."
Wikipedia is "censored" when Jimbo Wales thinks there are excellent reasons for it. Most people would agree that Jimbo is very sane, and most sane people would agree the reasons, in this case, were excellent. --dab (𒁳) 17:23, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
To expand a little bit: I don't have all that much of a problem with this, particularly in this particular case. But the policy itself should be rewritten to cover corner cases like this. Mark Shaw (talk) 17:27, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
Policy does not need to be rewritten to cover cases that come up once every other year or so. That's what WP:IAR is for. Mr.Z-man 17:35, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
Strictly speaking, we've moved beyond the days of granting unlimited power to Jimbo. In the absence of a resolution from the Board of Trustees, ArbCom, the Foundation, and the other Trustees could overrule him. In principle other Wikipedians could as well via the consensus mechanism (though in practice disputes with Jimbo tend to go to ArbCom). But to make a long story short, this isn't something that could have been kept quiet unless the other Wikipedians who were aware of it also agreed with doing so. Dragons flight (talk) 17:29, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
I don't think this kind of things should be decided by Jimbo alone, but as Dragons flight said, he wasn't the only one who agreed with keeping this quiet. It seems to me that the idea that we as a powerful medium of information should wield that power in a responsible fashion (I think that's one of the reasons behind WP:BLP) was applied here in a reasonable way, and that's a good policy, even if not written down anywhere. It is in my opinion not covered by WP:IAR, as the "censorship" here decreased the value of Wikipedia as an encyclopedia, for a purpose that many people found reasonable. Kusma (talk) 17:46, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
the arbcom overruling Jimbo? Oh dear, that would be rather like the Ship of Fools overruling Erasumus of Rotterdam. Way to go, democracy! --dab (𒁳) 08:56, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Curious, how far does our (apparent) obligation to prevent harm stretch? For example, would it apply to censoring images from an article on a projective psychological test because it could corrupt potential future tests the reader would take, tests that could detect and prevent suicide? –xenotalk 17:52, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
  • That line, based as it likely is on a blurry mix of consensus, argumentum ad Jimbonem, and common sense, is probably so fuzzy that defining it will prove impossible. However, my own take is that if such a line does exist, this case clearly falls on the "try to save a living breathing human being" side. Also, Jimbo seems to note in the Times article that if there had been truly reliable sources, his position might have become untenable. You don't have that problem at Rorschach test. --Floquenbeam (talk) 18:07, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

I doubt Wikipedia will do this for other victims of Kidnapping, and I am well aware we have not done so in the past. This was a pure cave to the disreputable behavior of the NYT - they were compromising their duty as a news agency (they would have reported any other run-of-the-mill kidnapping of an American Citizen, especially a civilian) That Jimbo further defames at least one reliable source (Pajhwok Afghan News) is just icing. Some of our articles are actually killing people, every day (Homeopathy, which is innefective for treating anything, but try to find that in our article) - yet Jimbo does nothing to fix that. No, we're complicit in the coverup, which I guess is fine, but we should at least admit we'll cover things up when important or powerful people ask us to. Hipocrite (talk) 18:17, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

Wow, I've never seen an article kill anyone before. I'm sure you have reliable sources for this? Or are you attempting to invent a moral panic not unlike how heavy metal music led otherwise perfect, A+ students who had nothing bad in their lives to commit suicide? Resolute 22:56, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
I'd like Jimbo, or one of the other insiders who collaborated to strike this information, to offer a serious explanation as to why Pajhwok and adnkronos shouldn't be regarded as WP:RS. Geo Swan (talk) 05:21, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

If you look at the Homeopathy article, it states clearly: "Claims of homeopathy's efficacy beyond the placebo effect are unsupported by the collective weight of scientific and clinical evidence." I would recommend that people who believe that holding back vital information about physical people publish names and addresses of their relatives, so they can be hunted down and killed by terrorists. Knowingly endangering someone's life is most likely a crime in most jurisdictions, for very good reasons. (talk) 22:20, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

Let me add to my prior post. Are you willing to die, right now, to fight what you consider censorship? If so, fine. But you have no issues with endangering innocent people's lives who cannot voluntarily take the decision themselves. Even if the article about homeopathy claimed that homeopathy could heal things, it would not directly threaten the life of someone. If you are stupid enough to bet your life on homeopathy, fine. But don't blame Wikipedia. You have a brain, the article gives you enough information to start thinking about it. But knowingly posting material that might endanger someone's life under the guise of "The truth" or "Everybody has a right to know" or "information must be free" disqualifies the author from membership in the human race. This is philosophy on such a basic level that I wonder why we even have to have this discussion. Grow up. (talk) 22:40, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

Telling people to 'grow up' is a sign that the person needs to grow up themselves...but anyway, it seems to me at a quick glace at all this that perhaps this was not really censorship and more so a WP:BLP issue -- truth doesn't matter so much as what reliable sources say, and if any RSes DID say, then it wouldn't have been an issue in the first place now would it have been? ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 00:10, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

IMHO any censorship that lasts more than a day or two should be done by a person or committee invested with that power, and that person or committee should be accountable, directly or indirectly, to the community. We already have WP:OFFICE with explicitly authority to take actions when legally necessary to protect the foundation, which is likely not the case here. I'm not sure if its explicit or implicit, but WP:ARBCOM is probably the closest thing we have to a committee that can impose special interpretations of WP:BLP binding on the whole community. Both of those groups are accountable to the community: Those with the power to make OFFICE actions are accountable to the trustees, who are in turn elected. ARBCOM members are de facto elected, providing accountability. In either case, this would've been much better if it had been "the WP Office" or "Arbcom" doing the censoring and not one man. Of course, once the need for censorship is over, all cards should be put on the table as soon as it is safe to do so. This will allow the community to discuss the action and either endorse it by consensus, repudiate it by consensus, or take no action either by consensus or due to lack of one. Individual trustees and arbcom members may be "held accountable," if that is the right word, should they stand for re-election. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 00:05, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

I'm not disagreeing with the censorship in this case, but only because it's of limited duration, and the negotiators are actively calling for this. In a timeless reference work, excluding information for the duration of a single diplomatic engagement is nothing. Jimbo should not and does not have the power to exclude this information on his own authority; but consensus is backing him up in this case, and I think ArbCom and/or the Board would support him as well if it came to that. We have long had cases where certain information is removed because it is not valuable enough to the reader to justify its risk to the subject - such as, say, the personal cellphone number of a celebrity. Dcoetzee 00:25, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

Okay, sice now blackout every kidnapping. I suggest to censore articles about drugs, that will probably save lives too. (talk) 00:24, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

I think a big issue here is the implication of favoritism. The NYT story gives the implication that Jimbo kept the information off of Wikipedia at the request of the NYT. There have been similar kidnappings in the past, and in all likelihood there will be in the future. What happens then? Will we self-censor then too, or is this a one-off special favor to the NYT? If it is a one-off, are we then saying that David Rohde's life is worth more than the future kidnapping victims? If it is not, what policy are we applying to effect the self-censorship? I don't think Ignore All Rules applies as-is, as that explicitly mentions that the ignoring of the rules is for the purpose of improving or maintaining Wikipedia, and there isn't yet a (written) consensus that self-censorship is "improving" Wikipedia. (It may improve how you view yourself as a moral and ethical being, but does it improve Wikipedia as an encyclopedia?) If there is a consensus that self-censorship is justified, what is the extent to which it *is* justified? Where do we draw the line? Which information do people have a right to know, and what information must we withhold "for their own good"? And who gets to judge this? Homeopathy was given above, but there are better examples: Locations of military bases, plans for atomic bombs, security procedures, etc. A government (US or non-US) may have information classified for "national security reasons" that leaks in such a fashion that Wikipedia is not legally prohibited from publishing it. In what situations, if any, do we have an ethical responsibility to self-censor to protect the welfare of the general public, or of some third party? Who gets to decide this: Jimbo? Wikimedia foundation staff? Arbcom? The non-legally binding determinations of the government? The New York Times? There are other situations where newspapers routinely omit details to protect people, like rape victims' names or the names of child offenders. Is Wikipedia ethically required to similarly self-censor in those cases? Given that the discussion so far has been lacking in reference to pre-existing policies, I take it we don't have any which explicitly cover this sort of situation. We should take the opportunity to create some, as this sort of situation will happen again, and random, ad hoc treatment will do nothing but engender bitterness, resentment and paranoia.
I'm also somewhat concerned by the tone in which Jimbo's actions are portrayed in the NYT article. “We were really helped .. that it hadn’t appeared in ... a reliable source. ... I would have had a really hard time with it if it had.” makes it sound like even if there was a reliable source, he would have performed the same actions anyway. (e.g. saying "would have had a hard time" as opposed to "we wouldn't have done it then".) "Knowing that his own actions on Wikipedia draw attention, Mr. Wales turned to an administrator," makes it sound like he did a deliberate end-run around policy. I can't tell if this is due to actual "damn the rules" thinking on Jimbo's part or poor phrasing/context on the part of the NYT article, but the issue is worth clarifying, at the very least to help quell conspiratorial rumors. -- (talk) 00:25, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

If it helps any, people might wish to read the article now that I've almost completely rewritten it from scratch - see David S. Rohde. -- ChrisO (talk) 01:04, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

Would it be that hard in the future to just lock these things and say WP:OFFICE? Because regardless of the intent (which was noble, obviously), we end up with the same "old boys club" and behind the scenes manipulation that has given us a black eye before. How many other admin actions have been taken on behalf of Mr. Wales? How can we ever know? I guess we are forced to trust Jimbo when he says that this sort of thing is exceedingly rare and only for "good" purposes...but that is fairly unappetizing. In the future, just sysop a foundation employee, protect the page, leave a remark that it was protected as an office action and be done with it. It's not like someone couldn't have looked in the logs of the page to discover what was being left out. Protonk (talk) 01:41, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

This is a mountain out of a molehill. Blind adherance to an ideal in the face of a unique case is just silly. This sort of thing does not mean that Jimbo is acting arbitrarily to censor Wikipedia; what we have here is a sui generis situation that requires a sui generis solution. Sometimes Jimbo will have to make decisions which are for the good of the 'pedia even if they go against the principles of the 'pedia. This is one of those rare cases. 01:59, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
I'm not asking for blind adherence to an ideal. What we have here is a textbook case of an OFFICE action where instead we (or more specifically, he) decided to send an email and make an end run around things. I don't think the result was bad. Unlike the dispute over wp censoring and protecting an article for a convicted british citizen because the scottish police made strange claims, the result was proper given the stakes. The times and jimbo had reason to believe that publicizing David's plight would bring him harm and they acted. Good. Jimbo chose to act in a pretty unnecessary and arbitrary manner. Bad. Again, the content being kept out is fine, the method to keep it out was not. In the future, these things should just be done through the office without any sleight of hand (obviously it doesn't need a flashing light saying it has been protected, a mention in the history is sufficient). Protonk (talk) 02:47, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
First, office actions would only draw attention thus the entire effort would be useless. Second, it shouldn't have been an office action because ... it wasn't an office action. I don't think that can be made much clearer. If the office needed to step in, surely they would have. Third, I wish people would stop complaining about Jimmy who really didn't do anything in this situation, contrary to the NYT article who made him out as a "leader" of sorts. I heavily reviewed a request that was received via our email ticket system and I acted on it in a way that I felt was appropriate. It is really quite simple. We (as in OTRS agents) respond to sensitive queries on a daily basis (though I'll admit none are quite like this one). So if you have any questions, feel free to ask me. All of the speculation here and elsewhere is becoming sadly comical. - Rjd0060 (talk) 13:27, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
What if Mr. Rohde had died? More than that, what if he had died and reliable sources had mentioned that more public awareness might have helped? Have you thought about how appropriate your admin action would have been? Maybe you should recognize that, when you decided to follow the suppression request, you took sides. You had no objective backing to your actions. Bias towards good intentions is still bias. --Dfonseca (talk) 20:46, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
What's so unique, or sui generis to use your term, about this example of an editor censoring information based on the perceived potential for the information's release to cause or enable harm? It seems to me that this sort of thing is one of the more common, if defining, questions that journalistic and encyclopedic sources have to tackle.

Personally speaking, while I don't disagree per se with the decision of Wikipedia's Benevolent dictatorship, both the manner in which it was reached and carried out leave a very bad taste in my mouth. A policy that approaches the issue rationally and defines guidelines and expectations consistent with Wikipedia's mission and ethical imperative is possible. The deletion of legitimately sourced annotations with false claims about their veracity is worthy of condemnation, not praise. (talk) 21:01, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

I'm displeased that there is still the official claim that "Wikipedia is not censored". It was obvious to me after the previous case of removing photos from the autofellatio article that a commitment to non-censorship was indeed lacking. This case merely reinforces that conclusion. I really think the claim should stop being made as it just creates confusion. For example, there was lots of brouhaha over images of Muhammad. Some were saying that the inclusion of the images would endanger people, as, indeed, people were being killed and injured because of reactions to other publications of such images. Many newspapers did indeed self-censor on this issue, accepting that reasoning. These calls for censorship were answered with "Wikipedia IS NOT CENSORED!" Now, the censorship of Wikipedia is justified with exactly what those calling for the censorship of the Muhammad images said: "Life itself was in danger!" How will such contradictions continue to be maintained? --Atethnekos (talk) 02:25, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

I'd rather not try to justify this case (not interested in a long, tiring debate), but your comparison is unfair. Any violence over the Muhammad article not being censored (none of which has happened) would be directed at the people publishing it; ie. Wikipedia and/or the Wikipedians pushing for it. Any violence over this information being published would be directed at someone else. Apples and oranges. -- Consumed Crustacean (talk) 02:34, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
If that were true, then why was "violence aimed at European embassies" as Tony Blair is said to claim in this article? Also in that article is says the "first deaths in the Muhammad cartoon protests" were people who "died in Mihtarlam, eastern Afghanistan, after police exchanged fire with mobs attacking a police station". Were those two people publishers of the cartoons? Was the police station which was attacked involved in the publication? This article] too raises interesting questions for your interpretation. For example, it claims all that a US military base was attacked as part of the reaction to the publications, even though the US had nothing to do with it. Why would the article make that claim when you claim that any such violence would be directed at the publishers? It seems to me either you are wrong or the articles are. --Atethnekos (talk) 02:54, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
Good point. There was violence targeted extremely roughly at just about everything with hardly any involvement in the publication. However, most of that was some sort of generalized outrage at nations permitting such free speech; I can't see Wikipedia's contribution adding anything to that at the time it was being discussed here. But like I said, you do have a point. I don't know. -- Consumed Crustacean (talk) 03:07, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
The arguments in support of this decision, citing such arguments as opponents are constructing mountains out of molehills and/or "grow up" are misrepresenting the point to be made in opposition to this editorial decision. The arguments against this decision are based on the philosophical ramifications of the issue at hand whie those supporting the endevour are arguing from an emotional frame work of the exact scenario. The reason the philosophical argument works is that it does not matter who or why this happened, only the bare information of man had notable incident is all that counts. Citing the exact details and then applying emotive reactions lead to logical fallacies. The reason this was a poor decision is because it sets an informational dangerous precedent in that while wikipedia has long had issues with deciding what is WP:NOTNEWS in regards to missing white girl syndrome and the news media we have a case of an inversion - a notable individual goes missing and a concentrated effort is done by the same media who fall over themselbves to report on "non-notable" abductees to hide it. The situation also illustrates an incredible deficit of wikipedia's design that may need investigation in the future - wikipedia's reliance on media and what happens if that same media decides to not report something that it knows to be notable. The previously argued in this thread points regarding the horrible double standard of reporting on every soldier or civilian abducted in the middle East and then immediately turtling when the abductee is a journalist who the news wishes to keep quiet is especially worrying. –– Lid(Talk) 03:27, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

We are moral beings with not just a capability, but a responsibility, to make judgments about what is best and to weigh various and sometimes competing principles and virtues. Non-censorship is a noble cause, so is life, and we value them both. It is not always clear when or how we can always apply these values to achieve the greater good. We just have to do our best. In this case, a decision was made to violate a principle, and it worked out well. Consider that good results were also achieved when Martin Luther King decided to violate the principle of obeying the law. Good results were achieved George Washington et al. violated their principle loyalty to their king. That doesn't mean everyone should discard loyalty or lawfulness, such behavior would lead to chaos and destruction. Knowing how to balance objectives to achieve greater good and serve God's purposes is a form of wisdom, and is not easily achieved. In this case, I think Mr. Wales and the editors who helped did right. Readin (talk) 03:43, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

If you imagine that kidnappers in Afghanistan are checking Wikipedia to determine how valuable their victims are, then the article should have been speedy deleted. The bad guys already knew he was kidnapped. Now everyone involved in the news blackout is patting themselves on the back for saving this guy's life, when the truth is that they didn't do squat for him. Kauffner (talk) 04:52, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
Well done to all involved. It's hard to see anything wrong with doing something like this which helps to protect peoples' lives, and I hope it sets a precedent. Nick-D (talk) 08:40, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps the criterion is whether there is danger to specific individuals, not just general categories of people. All sorts of things cause the latter. Eg news reports of events in the Middle East & terrorism cause violence against Jews & Muslims. Gandhi's preaching of non-violent resistance caused riots in India & he was imprisoned for sedition as a consequence. Jack Straw's criticism of veils caused violence against Muslims. &c. Does anyone suggest these things be banned?

On the other hand, there was an interesting case in America which went to the Supreme Court, I think. An anti-abortion group published on the internet a list of names & addresses of doctors involved in abortions. That was all. They didn't advocate violence. Nevertheless, the Court ruled that this was an exception to freedom of speech because of the obvious danger to specific individuals, at least one such doctor already having been assassinated. Peter jackson (talk) 09:28, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

  • I just read this story from a Melbourne Newspaper, the Herald Sun[3]

    The article was simply embargoed until Rohde was safe. It happens in journalism, marketing and PR all the time- why should Wikipedia (as a perfect example of Web2.0 and New Media) be any different? The New York Times simply asked Jim Wales to lock the article until such time as Rohde was safe.

    There have been several examples of stories being embargoed for reasons of safety. Prince Harry's tour of duty in Afghanistan one example. The British press agreed to the blackout and was successful until it was leaked by The Drudge Report, whereupon the prince was withdrawn from theatre for his safety and that of his fellow soldiers. [4]). Only in the last few days, Australian Deputy Prime Minister's visited troops in Iraq. Her intinerary was reported by The Age in contravention of press convention to not to do so. They recently published an apology and retraction when reports of Gillard's trip were made public before she arrived, [5])

    My general point is that journalists and newspapers have ethical practice on such matters. Journalists and communications professionals study these matters in ethics courses during their tertiary study. Its time for us as Wikipedia contributors to acknowledge that we are New Media journalists and that isn't just about being right or being right first. We make Wikipedia the influential source that it is, but we need to do so ethically and responsibly otherwise we're no better than the likes of Drudge or Perez Hilton.

    On a slightly different note, I think we also need to be careful about the assertion of free speech. I'd wager the legislation around free speech, privacy and defamation varies from country to country, and I'd suggest its up to each wikipedian to understand their own legal context.

    Paul Roberton

    Paul Roberton (talk) 10:46, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

    • We aren't journalists. We are encyclopaedists. Contrary to a few ill-informed reports, this is still the encyclopaedia, and the newspaper, where the actual citizen journalists hang out, is still over there. It's most definitely not time to acknowledge that we are journalists, "New Media" or otherwise. We are and always have been encyclopaedists, and remain so. So our standards, that we aim to adhere to, are good practices for encyclopaedists. Uncle G (talk) 19:00, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
      • By that argument we should follow the lead of most other encyclopedias and not discuss any events that aren't already years old. Dragons flight (talk) 19:12, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
        • No. By this argument we adhere to the good practices that we have as encyclopaedists, and don't pretend, or become misled by the statements of others who are ill-informed, that we are journalists. Uncle G (talk) 19:32, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
          • I'm ill-informed? Would you care to edit the previous post and add the words "In my opinion" to your last statement please? Feel free to express an opinion, but please don't express your opinion as fact.Paul. Paul Roberton (talk) 17:21, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
            • Actually, I was referring to the people who led you to believe that we were journalists, whoever they were. There are a few ill-informed commentators out there. However: This is an encyclopaedia. It is not a newspaper or a journal. We are, by definition, encyclopaedists. This is not a matter of opinion. Uncle G (talk) 23:46, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

Interpolation of the above remarks has confused the context of the following, which was a response to Paul's last remark. Peter jackson (talk) 09:56, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

(out of sequence in edit conflict; response to immediately preceding remarks, which the next posting isn't) Of course it varies. Some countries don't have free speech at all. Some countries have privacy laws, others don't. England (not sure about Scotland) has in theory a very strict libel law, where it's up to the publisher to provide justification rather than the plaintiff to prove the reverse, and belief in the truth of the statements is not a defence. In practice this is largely cancelled by the fact that you have to be pretty rich to sue for libel. The US Supreme Court has banned gagging orders except in blatant cases of national security, but they're common in Britain & elsewhere. &c &c

What I'm not clear about is how this affects Wikipedia. It's based in Florida but supplied to most of the world. Does it have to abide by everybody's laws? This may be particularly relevant to copyright, where the European Union has a longer period than (practically) everyone else, while the US often seems to have shorter ones. Peter jackson (talk) 11:04, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

The High Court of Australia ruled (7-0) in Gutnik v Dow Jones( Full text of judgment here) that a defamation could be tried in the country where the most damage was done to the reputation, rather than where the action took place so the location of the server really doesn't matter much. In other matters, there's very limited free speech in Australia. Its not legislated for, and limited only to political commentary, and very little in terms of protection from invasion of personal privacy ( Australian privacy laws extend only to the management of personal information).
That's horrific. Presumably it could be enforced against Dow because Dow wants to continue doing business in Australia. Would US authorities aid a plaintiff in collecting such a judgment? I certainly hope not, and as far as I know the Wikimedia foundation has no assets in Australia. --Trovatore (talk) 17:20, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
Back to the case at hand though. My personal belief is the principle of "Anyone can contribute" goes to community development and "not censored" relates to issues of offensive content and that Wales acted appropriately under what can only be described as force majeure.
Paul Roberton.
Paul Roberton (talk) 12:17, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
People are contributing their CC encyclopaedic work to a site ruled in an undemocratic fashion. All that BDFL, the accompanying vanity and censorship issues, is deeply incompatible with the principles of open publishing and fair resolution of NPOV issues. There is nothing charming or particularly positive about the fact that whoever founded the encyclopaedic project gets to make truth/censorship decisions ad nauseam. This has become apparent time and again as frustration with the admin/editorial resolution of conflicts around contentious issues has grown, where vested interest make best use of the internal political mechanisms of a semi-autocratic structure. I shall be looking forward to a truly democratic fork of this project. Pnd (talk) 10:59, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

Wow. This "I'll gladly sacrifice X strangers" attitude is depressing.HavocXphere (talk) 13:03, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

I am very frightened by this censorship. If something this (relatively) unimportant can be kept hidden for so long, we obviously cannot trust that it won't happen again. It may even be happening right now, and we wouldn't know about it. All it takes is that someone convince a single individual (Jimbo). Thus we cannot trust Wikipedia, or, by extension, Wikinews, to give us an impartial, uncensored world view. I call on everyone to abandon these projects in favor of something uncontrollable, perhaps distributed. (talk) 14:31, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

  • That's the problem of breaking a rule: the standard of information disappears with it. The idea that it was a sui generis situation does not stand: a rule is simply a rule, and anything that it says is forbidden is just forbidden. Or else : who will decide when we face a sui generis situation ? On what ground ? And with what sort of accountability ? And I'd like to have a proper official statement by Jimbo and the sysops that took part in this action: they have to justify to the community what they did. We shouldn't have to read the NYT to know about it. Gede (talk) 15:10, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
    • You already have a statement, by one of the only 2 administrators that exercised xyr administrator tools on the article, stating exactly what xe did it in response to. It was written above, about 2 hours before you wrote your comment. Uncle G (talk) 19:16, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

Human life is put at risk every day by reporting, is it not? Does Wikipedia have a policy of not reporting information that may put someone's life at risk? If so, who evaluates that risk? What standards do they apply, if any? Is there a process to appeal decisions or correct mistakes? Reporting on the acts of a dictatorial government, for example, could reasonably be argued to put the lives of the regime members at risk. Should we sanitize Wikipedia of all that information? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:11, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

  • This is nonsense. Wikipedia did the right thing. I can't believe people are actually complaining. (talk) 15:21, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
    • Now that you've stated your opinion, would you care to take a crack at answering any of the questions I asked? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:38, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
    • Relatively unimportant? This could well be a defining moment for Wikipedia, either way. Jim Wales was asked, on behalf of the community he created, to help in a serious matter.
    • Life is not lived in absolutes governed by WP:whatever. Don't dare sit in the comfort of your living rooms, dens and lounges tapping away on your notebooks and judge Wales, righteously bemoaning the death of Wikipedia's integrity because he chose to help (potentially) preserve life at the expense of wikipedia policy. What makes this moaning and gnashing of teeth even worse is that fact it's done with anonymity. If you feel so strongly about it, use your real names.
      • Life may not be governed by Wikipedia policy, but if Wikipedia isn't, then what does govern it? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 17:44, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  • My name is Paul Roberton and I'm perfectly happy with what Jim Wales did. I'd have done the same thing in his position. If you don't like what Wales did, or feel that you can no longer trust Wikipedia try Citizendium instead. There's the door. [6]
    Paul Roberton Paul Roberton (talk) 15:31, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
    • My name is irrelevant, and I'm not perfectly happy with what Jim Wales did. I don't know what I'd have done in his position, as I do not know the particular circumstances of his position, though a can of worms certainly seems to have been opened by Wikipedia's leadership violating it's own policies and standards. Thanks for showing me the door, but I believe I'll stick around and continue to ask the questions you'd evidently rather ignore. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 17:44, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
I'll apologise unconditionally and unreservedly for my terseness and lack of civility. Its been 12hours since I made that post and in the cold hard light of day, it was unnecessary. I'm extremely passionate about this topic and will continue to give Jim Wales and decision makers my full throated support.

Paul Roberton Paul Roberton (talk) 02:49, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

But were the references really all to unreliable sources?

Jimbo Wales has been quoted, in the MSM, as saying that the good faith wikipedia contributors who were not made privy to covert plan to IAR and suppress this material were not referencing WP:RS. WP:AGF -- perhaps Jimbo's involvement with the supression was early, and the references which easily passed WP:RS hadn't been supplied.

I went back, and checked, to see what sources they referenced. Some of the sources those good faith contributors cited weren't WP:RS, but at least three publications they cited were publications I have had no reservations citing before. In particular, the English language service of Al Jazeera is extremely reliable. I have probably referenced their articles well over one hundred times over the last four years, and I have never regretted it -- never come to think afterwards -- "that Al Jazeera article steered me wrong." Geo Swan (talk) 14:14, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

It's not whether it's right or wrong, it's how we play the game...

I think a large amount of hot air and ad hominems are being thrown about above regarding if the actions taken on the David Rohde article were "right" or "wrong". I think that's the wrong discussion to have. The actions have been taken, the event is over, and I don't think that anyone is arguing against including the kidnapping info in the David Rhode page from now on.

I think a better question is how this event has exposed potential weaknesses in the Wikipedia process. Contrary to assertions above, this is not a one-off, sui generis event. Over 200 foreigners have been kidnapped in Iraq since April 2004, with dozens more in Afganistan. And that doesn't include other kidnapping events around the world (like the Maersk Alabama). Or other cases where reasonable arguments can be made that information hiding might protect the well-being of some third party (e.g. where you normally have media blackouts: head of state travel schedules, rape victims' and child criminals' names, etc.). If we argue that information hiding was justified in the Rhode case, what is the policy about information hiding in other cases? How do we make that determination? Where's the line, or if there isn't a clear line, who's the line judge? Which cases get action, and to what extent does the action occur? "When inclusion of material on Wikipedia may pose a credible threat to human life, such material shall be removed from Wikipedia, until such time as there is no longer a threat. The Wikimedia Foundation staff, in consultation with its lawyers, will be the final arbiter of such cases." may be an acceptable policy, but Wikipedia should have a policy, and it should be at least nominally accepted by the Wikipedia community. Without a clear policy, we have the case we have now, where David Rohde is somehow special enough to warrant a blackout, but the other 300+ hostages somehow aren't. The arbitrariness and secrecy with which this action was taken does nothing but engender resentment and suspicion ("Jimmy Wales and some friends use their administrator powers to suppress information on Wikipedia, even though there isn't any clear policy to do so" - you can see how this sounds a lot like a cabal).

Make a clear policy for these general situations ("Party X will probably be harmed in way Y by inclusion of information on Wikipedia") and get a consensus for it from the general Wikipedia. -- (talk) 17:12, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

  • Can't we just treat this as a special situation? I can see a policy of "thou-shalt-not-harm" being generalized and thus abused to suppress truthful information - see the incidents underlying the Giovanni Di Stefano article, or even suicide methods. If such policy must be passed, it should be passed with extreme discretion, and made clear that very few incidents, if at all, justify removal of encyclopedic content.--WaltCip (talk) 18:14, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  • For what it is worth, I suggest the number of kidnapped individuals from Afghanistan is not dozens, but more like hundreds, because, as Lawrence Wilkerson has written, the Bush cabinet knew that a large number of the Guantanamo captives were innocent bystanders. I suggest the Guantanamo captives who were innocent bystanders were also kidnap victims, by any reasonable definition of kidnapping. Geo Swan (talk) 18:55, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Concur with the original poster that the arbitrary and secretive way in which this censorship was conducted reflects poorly on Wikipedia. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:14, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  • ("Jimmy Wales and some friends use their administrator powers to suppress information on Wikipedia, even though there isn't any clear policy to do so" - you can see how this sounds a lot like a cabal). — The problem is that it is quite clearly contradicted both by the administrator concerned, writing at the top of this very discussion, and the protection log of the article itself, which explicitly lists an OTRS ticket. So what it really sounds like is people reacting based not upon the actual facts at hand, but upon (by now) fifth- or sixth-hand descriptions of those facts. The shame of it is that whilst this is to be expected of people in a pub somewhere who are discussing events based upon vague memories of a NYT article recounted to them by a friend, we at Wikipedia should at least be capable of reading a protection log, and of reading OTRS. We should generally be displaying more Clue than to repeat statements like the above. We're Wikipedia editors. We should have Clue enough to read the MediaWiki logs and learn who the people who actually exercised the administrator tools were, and what prompted them to use those tools. Article protection logs are not, after all, secret. They aren't even particularly mysterious. Uncle G (talk) 19:45, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
    • I'm actually an exceptional protection log reader. Could you provide a justification, not to the OTRS ticket protection, but to the protection with the summary of "Excessive vandalism", and the one with the summary of "", and the one with the summary of "", and the one with the summary of ""? We'll ignore the fact that the OTRS ticket protection also states "unsourced/poorly sourced," which has been pretty well disproven at this point. Hipocrite (talk) 19:51, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
      • You're clearly not an exceptional protection log reader, or even a good one, given that here you are asking someone other than the person who actually performed the actions that you're asking about. A good log reader should, as I said, have enough Clue to correctly determine who the people who actually exercised the administrator tools were, and thus ask the right people. An exceptional protection log reader would have a particularly high level of MediaWiki log reading Clue — enough, I'm sure, to deduce when a protection expiry time is being changed, from the expiry time figures that are explicitly given in the log, even if the edit summary doesn't duplicate that information. Uncle G (talk) 05:01, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
    • Here is the log. I don't understand it. User:Uncle G, is it your intention to mock those of us who can't read that log and intuit the reason behind it? And doesn't reading OTRS tickets requires the reader be previously authorized? Is it your intention to suggest that those of us who aren't authorized to read this ticket are not entitled to an explanation of the reasoning behind the suppression? Geo Swan (talk) 21:54, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
      • My intention is to point out exactly what I actually wrote: that we should have Clue enough to read the MediaWiki logs and learn who the people who actually exercised the administrator tools were, and what prompted them to use those tools. There's been a shortage of Clue here, with most discussion based upon news reports and conjecture, and including vague and garbled ideas of what happened and who did what; when the actual specific and detailed facts are right before us in the logs. It took this being pointed by me for you, or indeed anyone other than one of the two administrators concerned, to even write the letters "OTRS" in this discussion at all. Uncle G (talk) 05:01, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

The Canadian diplomat Robert Fowler's kidnapping was reported both in WP and the NY Times, so it seems that some news trumps the risk to lives, and other lives trump journalism's duty to report the news. For us mere readers of WP and the NYT, reliability of both organizations as a reliable source of news is compromised. For the sake of credibility, the protected page banner should probably have another version that states a page is temporarily being protected at the request of an outside source. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:35, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

  • Wikipedia is an encyclopaedia. It has never aimed to be a news source. If you want the project that aims to be exactly that, you'll find it over there, where it has been for several years. Uncle G (talk) 05:01, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

I'd like to call for a formal explanation of the wikipedia's compliance with this blackout request

The account of Rohde's kidnapping has been cut and pasted into Kidnapping of David Rohde. That article doesn't really explain why the NYTimes wanted a blackout beyond quoting:

"From the early days of this ordeal, the prevailing view among David’s family, experts in kidnapping cases, officials of several government and others we consulted was that going public could increase the danger. We decided to respect that advice..."

I think the article on the kidnapping would really benefit from a better explanation of the reasoning behind the blackout than "experts told us so".

I think the NYTimes should have offered those wikipedia insiders a better explanation than that. And, now that the incident is over, the explanation that caused several key policies to be ignored should be fully and clearly laid out for the rest of the community. Geo Swan (talk) 18:55, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

  • Rjd0060 wrote above, about 5 hours before you wrote that, that if you want to know anything else, you should ask. So instead of "calling for an explanation" and making a grand palaver here, go to User talk:Rjd0060, and simply ask. Politely, of course. Uncle G (talk) 19:32, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
    • In my humble opinion, you are dead wrong. We should not have to ask in a situation like this. Both the admins and Jimmy Wales should have explained their actions on their own initiative! Their actions go against one of the cornerstones of Wikipedia, so an explanation seems reasonable, no? Mcools (talk) 20:13, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
      • I think I have explained myself quite well. Do you have a particular question? To be clear, if there's something you want to know, please ask, don't speculate.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 00:08, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
    • Probably not worth asking, but well worth reading me getting slammed by the WMF council, an ex-arb and a current-arb for daring to ask for information about the OTRS ticket. Hipocrite (talk) 20:53, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  • User:Rjd0060 may have written an invitation for those with questions to contact him. It is buried in the middle of a long discussion. It is not the first sentence of his comment. And he doesn't say: "I am one of those who took this responsibility." So, let me politely suggest you forgive me for over-looking it.
  • Having said that, I am with Mcools on this one. In such a high profile instance, where the decision of the administrator, or small group of administrators, has been discussed in the MSM, the explanation absolutely must go in a more public place than someone's talk page.
  • So, Rjd0060, how did you and whoever shared in this decision with you, decide on the credibility of the reasoning behind the NYTimes request?
  • I just checked the revision history of David S. Rodhe. One of Rjd0060's edit summaries directs readers to OTRS Ticket:2008111310026387. Now that Rodhe is safe is there any reason this ticket can't be published?
  • If one of the administrators at the NYTimes had approached me, in November, and said: "Geo, you are a prolific contributor to the wikipedia. One of our reporters in Afghanistan was taken hostage there. We are very concerned for him, and have asked other publications to join us in a covert blackout of of this news. Do you think the wikipedia could also be brought on board to observe this blackout?" I would have told them something like:

    "Sorry, other publications like yours all have a hierarchical authority pyramid, with a small group of senior decision makers, who can reach a decision, and impose it on all their subordinates. But the wikipedia depends on the efforts of a large number of volunteers. I don't believe the wikipedia has a small group of decision makers who have the authority to impose a secret publication ban on everyone else."

So, was I wrong? If I was wrong, am I also wrong to think open and transparent decision making requires a full and public disclosure of how this decision was made? Geo Swan (talk) 21:41, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
You would be right about that, but that would - in my opinion - not be the end of it. You might say then "It sounds like lives might be in danger, and this matter needs to be handled with great delicacy. I will honor the trust you have placed in me by asking, and I will not go public. It is possible that in some circumstances, if the sourcing is weak for example, or if you somehow manage to keep it out of the press generally, that it won't appear in Wikipedia. Jimmy Wales and the Foundation office may be able to lend some assistance. In other circumstances, the story is going to break all over, and there would be nothing we could do to help." This would be a very accurate and helpful answer for someone in this situation.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 00:15, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
Geo Swan, unfortunately, you would be wrong. For example, see WP:OFFICE. I will write something longer below. — Carl (CBM · talk) 19:16, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
  • According to Hipocrite's user page he got hold of a copy of the OTRS ticket, and subsequently retired from Wikipedia, stating "Get a copy of OTRS Ticket:2008111310026387 and you'll retire also." What happened here? Mcools (talk) 21:51, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

I have some questions, Jimbo

Do you have a particular question? To be clear, if there's something you want to know, please ask, don't speculate.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 00:08, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

I have some questions:

  • #1 Why did you use a meatpuppet to perform the action rather than WP:Office ?
  • #2 Would you please list any other articles that have received or are receiving this treatment?
  • #3 Would you handle this differently in the future and/or are you planning on taking any action to address user concerns?

The problem with this sort of suppression is that we have no idea what else is being swept under the rug. It would help me a lot if you could come clean about any other similar actions and plans for future actions. Otherwise, It is just me and my imagination, which is probably worse than the truth. (talk) 21:45, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

I second these questions and add another two:

  • #4 Is Wikipedia (i.e. you and the admins you control) willing to take similar actions even when it's not a journalist's life at stake whose editor is powerful enough to make a media blackout?
  • #5 What about other articles that may be considered "life-threatheing" in different ways... such as informations about drugs, and so on...? Are we using a double-standard?

I'll be happy to get an answer from you, Mr. Wales. Thank you. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:51, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

Mr. Wales' GoodReasonedCensorship(R) for WP:"LifeAtStake"(tm)

A little update on the matter (I'm still waiting for the answers, Mr. Wales...): so it turned out that there wasn't a LIFE at stake, it was a matter of MONEY. And that was known from the beginning, as the so-called NYT counterterrorism experts never believed that Rohde's life was at stake. That brings the whole censorship incident up to a very disgraceful and discreditable level... So sad... (Still waiting, Mr. Wales, still waiting...) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:34, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

Proposal: Wikipedia:News suppression

Regarding the recent discussion, I have made a draft proposal at Wikipedia:News suppression.

The purpose is to codify that Jimbo and other administrators did the right thing keeping the kidnapping of David Rohde out of his Wikipedia article. It also aims to define when something should be kept out of Wikipedia, even if it is covered in a few reliable sources. There can be no absolute rules for these situations, but some basic principles.

Some would say that we need no rule for this as we have IAR. However, Wikipedia:Ignore all rules is about ignoring rules when they prevent you from improving the encyclopedia. The reason to suppress the news of David Rohde's kidnapping is not mainly to improve Wikipedia, but to protect Rohde.

It is still a draft, comments are welcome. --Apoc2400 (talk) 17:40, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

How about a draft for more democracy & accountability, less BDFL, and less admins? Proper guidelines on freedom of expression on the platform would be great as well. in proper journalism, there is no such thing as "protecting lives", whatever the agenda may or may not be. It's about getting the truth out. Pnd (talk) 18:45, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

But Wikipedia is not a democracy, and there is no right to free speech here. We are not journalists creating a news source, this is an encyclopedia, a work of reference. FWIW, I think the the actions of Jimbo and the admins involved were entirely appropriate. – ukexpat (talk) 20:56, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
It may not be a democracy, but it's supposedly not censored either? There is certainly a journalistic element to the compilation of encyclopaedic information related to current events. In fact this issue is precisely related to the self-censorship of the journalistic community in the US. N.B: Linking to WP:NOTJOURNALISM will not make this go away. Creative commons content is in the public domain, and contributed by a very large number of users in good faith, and often without knowing that the current underlying administrative entity resembles a primeval tribe with a chieftain and a few goons. More democracy and accountability in the power structure (and by that I do not mean polls as in the article you cited) may prevent unilateral decision-making on censorship or the biased "NPOV" as is the case with many contentious issues. Pnd (talk) 09:23, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

Good lord, this has gotten out of hand

Look, I don't really care that an article was protected out of the good faith believe that it would stop harm from coming to a human being. I'm GLAD that Mr. Rohde was rescued and that nothing untoward came from this. I have NO PROBLEM with the foundation being approached by an organization in good faith making a similar request again. Just please, please, PLEASE don't do it in the same manner that has brought scrutiny and shame to the 'pedia before. We have enough conspiracies (and reasonable allegations) around a "cabal" of editors who communicate in secret, take orders from jimbo and don't acknowledge it. All we have to do in the future is just sysop a foundation employee, protect the article and leave a note in the history that it was protected for office reasons. This avoids the subterfuge (totally unnecessary, btw, though I understand why jimbo wouldn't want to protect it), avoids the implication of dealing under the table and offers a simple solution to any problem like this in the future. If we aren't willing at least to demand that from jimbo/wmf, then we have become pretty supine.

As for the rest of the complaints...don't bother. there is no right to free speech here (and there shouldn't be). This wasn't some act of rank censorship which needs to be railed about for weeks. We don't need yet another policy page on the subject (which everyone will ignore in the future). We just need a promise from Jimbo and the WMF that this encyclopedia will be treated like the multi-million dollar non-profit that it is, not some fiefdom. Please just give some thought to responding to situations like this in an expeditious but circumscribed fashion. Protonk (talk) 07:37, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

A lot of people bumping into trees here without seeing the forest. Those who want to do their business in secrecy will in fact be ruthlessly exposed by those who understand that free and open communication is the greater value. Even if this had been about one man's life (which it never was), secrecy and censorship would have been by far the greater harm. Shame on those who think of themselves as editors, if they actually desire to make secrets. It won't work. This is but part of the larger internet, where they now stand exposed and censured by all. (talk) 15:34, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

  • I don't really need a speech about freedom of communication or information on the internet. Protonk (talk) 18:14, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
I think some people DO need a lecture or speech about so-called "freedom" of communication or information on the internet. First off, there isnt such a thing. Even in the US freedom of speech refers to the right of the people to speak out without fear of censorship by the GOVERNMENT (and until shortly after the Civil War the First Amendment did not apply to state governments which DID routinely and legally circumscribe the rights of its people), the Constitution does NOT give people the right to speak without fear of censorship by other PEOPLE. This is a website run by the Foundation, not the federal government, and if it wants to censor information it has that right. Plus this is a multinational forum, and as Iran, the People's Republic of China, North Korea, and other non-"free" countries remind us every day censorship online is a fact of life. Go to the PRC and try looking up Tianenmen Square on English language Wikipedia.Camelbinky (talk) 22:06, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps it is not well known

Perhaps it is not well known that Wikipedia does, in exceptional circumstances, remove content from articles, or protect them so that content cannot be added. However, this has been a standard but rare practice for at least several years now. I view it as part of the underlying pragmatism of WP. Moreover, the well-documented WP:OFFICE procedure was invented for exactly this sort of purpose, and it is an unwritten but well-known fact that WP:OTRS is also used to quietly resolve issues where a drawn-out discussion onwiki is not desirable. I would guess that WP:OFFICE was not used in this instance because it would draw unwanted light to the page, but an OTRS ticket number was eventually placed in the protection log. This is, again, a reflection of the pragmatic approach to difficult situations that has traditionally been employed on WP. Those who favor rigid idealism in any area of WP are likely to find themselves disappointed. — Carl (CBM · talk) 19:30, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

I accept that the wikipedia should take exceptional steps in truly exceptional circumstance. But you seem to be asserting something about the David Rodhe blackout many other participants in this discussion have claimed -- that complying with the NYTimes request helped preserve Rodhe's life. I see no evidence of this. I don't see any place where the NYTimes has offered an explanation as to how the blackout would have helped preserve Rodhe's life, if it had been universally observed. And I don't see any explanation as to how the blackout helped preserve Rodhe's life given that the blackout was not universally observed.
When people have a friend, colleague, relative who has been kidnapped, they are going to be disraught, emotional. They may make deeply heartfelt requests for information to be suppressed. When a someone is in a desperate situation their loved ones will try any desperate measure.
  • Laetrile? Sure why not -- when conventional medical science has failed?
  • Gonna lose your house because you have missed too many mortgage payments? Why not blow all your remaining cash on lottery tickets?
  • Desperately worried that the USA will suffer another 9-11 scale attack? Why not start torturing all your captives, on the off-chance that if there a followup attack planned that torture will root out the info needed to counter it.
We have to evaluate whether the requests we receive are credible. Sometimes they are not. Ten months ago I got an apparently heartfelt, but nonsensical, criticism left on my talk page:
Geoswan is a contributor on Wikepedia whose main emphasis is to endanger members of the United States military and their families by plastering their names and images on the web when they work in highly volatile situations in the War on Terror.
I offered my response here. IMO requests to suppress information have to be subjected to a credibility test.
I would not have complied with the NYTimes blackout request because it was not a credible request, not as it stood. From the information made public, so far, the request seems like one based on a desperate emotional need to simply be doing something. Geo Swan (talk) 20:17, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
Actually, it seems more like a need to not do something. SharkD (talk) 01:41, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
Carl could you please expand on what you mean by: "...quietly resolve issues where a drawn-out discussion onwiki is not desirable."
Carl, I just checked WP:OFFICE -- I was not previously aware of it. The first paragraph says:

"These are removals of questionable or illegal Wikimedia content following complaints.

  • But the material removed here was not "illegal".
  • I don't think it is accurate to regard the NYTimes blackout request as a "complaint".
  • I am not comfortable describing the material removed as "questionable".
Cheers! Geo Swan (talk) 20:17, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
I was not offering any judgment on the case at hand, only pointing out that we do, in fact, have several systems set up to allow information to be quietly removed from articles. — Carl (CBM · talk) 20:44, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

"No Wikipedia rules were bent or broken in any way"

I don't really have a problem with the censorship, I guess. Sometimes freedom of speech can be taken too far, and in any case WP isn't really Public: it's Jimbo's site, and he can do what he likes. But his statement "No Wikipedia rules were bent or broken in any way" is patently false. At a minimum, the WP:Meat and WP:3RR rules were broken. Probably a few others were at least bent. Jimbo should take responsibility and tell the truth, which is that WP is his website and he can break the rules if he wants to, and in this case he felt more than justified in doing so. Webbbbbbber (talk) 20:16, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

Are other websites permitted to use our logo for any reason other than being informative, etc., as we use companies' logos? is currently displaying our logo in the top left corner of its front page. This website has been associating itself somewhat with Wikipedia: some of its members wrote an article about it that was taken to AFD, ending with no consensus, and now the article has been tagged as a copyvio of their website. In short — it seems to be violating the Wikimedia Foundation's trademarked Wikipedia logo. Please note that, while I voted to delete at AFD, I'm not trying to use this as an excuse for deletion (otherwise I, as an admin, would have already deleted it as a copyvio); I'm simply posting here because I don't know where else to report a WMF trademark violation. Nyttend (talk) 01:39, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

  • Email with the details and they will forward it on to the Foundation's legal people. --Tango (talk) 06:17, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
    • I thought everything on Wikipedia was supposed to be available for free distribution. Is the logo an exception? Peter jackson (talk) 09:52, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
      • Yes, see the warning template at the top of Commons:Category:Wikipedia logos. Nyttend (talk) 11:57, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
      • Some Wikipedia content is not free content. We aim, rightly, for that to be as little as possible. Because of a tension between the desire on the part of the Foundation to preserve the "branding" of WMF projects and the need to keep to what the law requires for ensuring trademark status, and the mission to provide free content, the logos for the various Foundation projects are in a particular limbo. For more information, see logo and the proposed logo and trademark policy and uses of logo derivatives guideline. Uncle G (talk) 14:08, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
        • The "puzzle globe" logo is definitely a registered trademark, there is nothing "in limbo" about that. To preserve their registered status they have to be enforced and action taken against infringement. And yes, IAAL! – ukexpat (talk) 01:30, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
          • The "fair-use" of logos very much depends on context. We legitimately have a Sony logo in our related article. If we were to put that logo on our Main Page we'd be in a world of legal pain very quickly.Manning (talk) 06:32, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
          • … but you aren't a lexicographer or a linguist. "limbo" has a perfectly ordinary meaning of an in-between state. And there is, as mentioned, a very particular in-between state in which these images exist. For starters, they are the only exceptions to the Commons prohibition of non-free content. Uncle G (talk) 13:53, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
            • Maybe I should have been more clear in my statement above: The legal status of the "puzzle globe" as a trademark is not in limbo, it is a registered trademark and for that status to be preserved infringement has to be speedily dealt with. Note that this is not the same as its copyright status. – ukexpat (talk) 14:10, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
              • Maybe you should re-read the discussion. It was nowhere said here by anyone that the trademark status was in limbo. Uncle G (talk) 15:16, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

User warning templates

I've been thinking about this quite a bit lately; the icons/images in user warning templates ({{uw-vandalism3}}, {{uw-3rr}}, etc) are highly unnecessary, and rather unprofessional. As such I propose they be removed. Not sure whether or not this has been discussed before, though. Thoughts? –Juliancolton | Talk 17:52, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

It does seem rather pointless having a pretty picture. Majorly talk 17:58, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
Providing a danger sign (red triangle) may attract more attention to the message. As these are intended to be last warnings such an additional emphasis seems relevant to me. Arnoutf (talk) 18:03, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
It breaks the text up more, so multiple warnings are more distinct. This, I feel, makes people more likely to read them. A block of text made of several warnings is less likely to be read properly by the user involved. That said, I also believe they're a bit garish and unprofessional. Really, I'm happy either way. Greg Tyler (tc) 18:14, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
I think that the people on the receiving end are more likely to be drawn to and therefore actually read the notice when it comes with an icon as opposed to mere text. I support keeping the icons something that will more likely have the effect that we are looking for when placing the warnings - if we dont want the warnings to be read, why bother with warnings at all?-- The Red Pen of Doom 18:31, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
Majorly puts it well, though—they're nothing more than "pretty pictures". I don't see how they make the vandal more likely to read and obey the warning. –Juliancolton | Talk 18:45, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
Who say's they're a malicious vandal? The addition of an image makes it easier to see multiple warnings (and what "level" they are - info/warning/final warning) both for the recipient and for others to see the user's history and what further action may be appropriate. OrangeDog (talk • edits) 20:35, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
Even if they're not a malicious vandal, it's quite disrespectful to stick a big in-your-face red stop sign at them. –Juliancolton | Talk 21:45, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
Yes, and doing so to drivers is the height of rudeness. The purpose of such a sign is to grab someone's attention and convey that they really need to stop, whatever their motives might be. OrangeDog (talk • edits) 22:20, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
Rude? Seriously? To get an L3 warning, we are dealing with an editor who has either made enough poor edits to already have multiple warning templates, or they posted something that is a particularly obvious violation of the rules (and, almost certainly, common sense). At the L3/L4 level of warnings, the point is not to direct the precious little snowflake in the right direction, but to warn a user of the consequences if they persist in their actions. If the images help get the point across, then they serve the intended function. Resolute 23:47, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
Why should we even concern ourselves with "respecting" vandals? Who then was a gentleman? (talk) 04:14, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
I don't believe they do anything to get the point across. The point isn't to say "You've been a bad boy, you get the level 3 stop sign now". It's just extremely unprofessional IMO. –Juliancolton | Talk 00:25, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
In my experience, most of the editors who are "playing around" stop at a L3 or L4 warning, and I would be willing to bet the image helps reinforce the severity of the message. The trolls wont care either way, so who gives a damn how professional we look to them? Resolute 02:59, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

←See Wikipedia:The_motivation_of_a_vandal (linked from WP:VAN) and WP:DFTT. Big flashy warning signs are exactly what vandals crave, they're insulting to good-faith editors, and all those IP talk pages with a long string of flashy warnings and no clear evidence (to the vandals) that anything was done make us look silly. I think we can find a way to label for easy reading and break up the text (objections raised above) with some kind of simple, color-coded icons that don't feed the vandals. - Dank (push to talk) 00:57, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

If the L3 warning icon is not helpful, or worse harmful, then replace it with an helpful icon. However, I believe it would be a mistake to not have any L3 warning icon. Simply having the warning text won't distinguish it from previous warnings; it will appear to be merely an addendum to the previous warning. SMP0328. (talk) 01:30, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
It's a good thing the images we use are not big and flashing, then. If lack of enforcement is the problem, perhaps that should be looked at instead. Anomie 13:25, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

A picture is worth a thousand words, and nothing says "you need to STOP right now" better than those pictures. Plus it helps to distinguish different warnings from one another, instead of leaving a wall of text after multiple warnings. Grandmasterka 04:31, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

Agreed. Makes it much easier to see how many times, and how severely, a user has been warned. --Cybercobra (talk) 06:30, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

Non alphabetical wikipedias, Japanese, Chinese etc..

I've noticed something a bit odd and was wondering if someone could help.

Chinese wikipedia is, which makes sense (Zhong), but the Japanese wikipedia is Shouldn't it be (talk) 16:39, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

Not according to ISO 639-1. -- JHunterJ (talk) 16:42, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
Cheers for clearing that up :) bloody ISOs.... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:29, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

New policy proposal - Rehabilitation of offenders

I have just proposed a new policy: Wikipedia:Rehabilitation of offenders. --Tango (talk) 01:20, 6 July 2009 (UTC)


I have placed a (long overdue) poll at Wikipedia:Civility/Poll on how the community stands on civility - mainly on how it is currently applied and enforced. Does teh community feel it is too strict, too lenient, or about right? And should we treat a user's own talk page any differently to elsewhere? Casliber (talk · contribs) 06:37, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

To date 93 editors have edited Wikipedia:Civility/Poll. We really need to see quite a few more to get a broader idea of consensus. Even if the subject doesn't interest you please drop in and let us know what you think. Let's really get a broad consensus this time. If you feel the wrong questions are being asked, then propose one yourself at the bottom. Casliber (talk · contribs) 09:44, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

Categories that are unsourced or irrelevant

Wikipedia:Templates for deletion/Log/2009 July 6

I've nominated them for deletion, as they present an attractive nuisance. Editors may think it's a good idea to leave an unsourced or irrelevant category on an article, simply because these templates exist. Something like {{fact}} for categories, except these present a large block of text.

In both cases, the category should be removed entirely – especially in the latter case. These have been used on biographical articles. In one case, the unsourced WP:GRS category has been left on the WP:BLP article for nearly two years! When I've removed the category, was reverted with the edit summary (revert: the fact that a maintenance item has been outstanding for a long time is not a reason to remove it.)

Please join the discussion.
--William Allen Simpson (talk) 12:29, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

New Essay

Hi. I've just posted Wikipedia:You don't have to win by arguing (WP:NOWIN), an essay on Wikipedia dispute resolution. Feedback and edits are, of course, quite welcome. -GTBacchus(talk) 18:46, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

Responded on Wikipedia talk:You don't have to win by arguing. —harej (talk) (cool!) 06:09, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Is this linspam and/or COI?

Someone has been at work posting links in footnotes, after adding a sentence copied and pasted from one specific website. Apparently it is a site that generates text stating whether the homes in a neighborhood are above or below the typical prices of the city. Its probably plagiarism to copy the text into articles like that, and to me it looks like the goal is to promote the web site. There articles seem chosen at random.

But the edits aren't exactly harmful, and if the information is verifiable it could have some value, so I wasn't sure if I should undo them.--Dbratland (talk) 01:15, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Notice: is a blog, not a reliable source is a blog. Generally speaking, it is not a reliable source. can only be used as a self-published source if the author is an established expert on the topic whose work in the relevent field has been published by a reliable third-party publication. Even then, caution should be exercised. For more information, please see the following discussions on the Reliable Sources Noticeboard:

The relevent policies and guidelines are:

A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 14:51, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

Let me just second this. I've been seeing an increase in links recently, and a lot of them are problematic, either because they're off-topic links to a pay-per-impression site, or because they misrepresent as reliable. In general, we should be avoiding them. Gavia immer (talk) 18:06, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

What is proposed we do with the 500+ articles that currently link there? Greg Tyler (tc) 18:21, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
The ones I checked at random all had multiple references, so just removing the Examiner link wouldn't make them completely unsourced, though it might require finding new sources. I'd personally prefer to see blacklisted the way Associated Content is - it's not quite as much of a problem, but similar. Gavia immer (talk) 00:19, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
It's actually even worse than that. Currently, we have 1,306 links[7] and that number is growing on a daily basis. We've been discussing what to do about the situation at the WP:RSN. Here's a direct link to the discussion thread. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 00:28, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
Yea, these need to be removed because these are not reliable sources Corpx (talk) 23:21, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

2RR for reverts with no discussion

(moved from VP (proposals))

I've seen it a couple of times now: Editor A and Editor B get into an edit war, Editor A keeps reverting but explaining their position on the talk page, Editor B does nothing but revert. If they both go over 3RR, they both get a 24 hour timeout. If Editor B plays his cards right, he can play chicken with Editor A, knowing Editor A has to stop first, and thus Editor B has no incentive to stop edit warring and discuss. While both editors need to stop, I'm not sure these two editors should be treated equally.

BTW, I am not, any any way, condoning edit warring. Indeed, I think being allowed to make 4 reverts in 24 hours in a content dispute is too lenient. But first things first.

I propose a modification:

  • 4 reverts in a 24 hour period, even while explaining yourself on the talk page, still gets a 24 block.
  • 3 reverts in a 24 hour period, with no explanation on the talk page (edit summaries don't count), is also a bright line rule that gets a 24 hour block.

The same BLP/vandalism/banned badguy/etc. exemptions would apply.

This is good not because this allows the person using the talk page to "win" the edit war, but because it more strongly encourages the other editor to use the talk page too, so their opponent doesn't automatically "win". Once some kind of discussion (beyond talking past each other in the edit summaries) is started, I think it's more likely to continue.

This would basically be harnessing people's selfish instincts for the greater good (kind of how it's in a politician's self interest to not stray too far from public opinion). And it's relatively simple, so it would cause a minimum of bureaucratic creep.

I haven't thought this completely through, to find any serious unforeseen implications yet, but I guess that's what all y'all are for. Any opinions? If this has been discussed before, I couldn't find it; let me know where, if I just didn't look hard enough. --Floquenbeam (talk) 21:03, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

While I think that this should really be at WT:3RR or WP:VPP, I generally think no to the idea; it's confusing, encourages gaming/POINTing/Wikilawyering/electric-fencing, and the 3RR is very entrenched in "culture" already. And works OK. ╟─TreasuryTagsundries─╢ 21:07, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
I misread the VP header, you're correct, VPP is better. So moved. I think it would, by definition, actually reduce gaming. I'll think about your other points, while waiting for more comments. --Floquenbeam (talk) 21:16, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
One scenario that sometimes occurs is an IP editor makes a change with no explaination, becase she doesn't know about talk pages or citing sources. After a few reverts, the IP editor gets an account and starts discussing the issue. It would be important to give the IP address credit for discussion that is attributed to the newly-created account (although it would be even better to show leniency toward someone who is showing signs of learning how the discussion process works). --Jc3s5h (talk) 21:27, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
Seems like unecessary instruction creep to me. If soemone is sufficiently well versed with the letter of the law to "play chicken" with the brightline, they'll get around this little hurdle with some trite "discussion" to the effect of "My version makes more sense". Little is accomplished by burdening the policy with additional facets. Shereth 21:33, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
The problem with this proposal is there are more ways to communicate than just an article talk page. What do we do when one party adequately explains their actions/position using edit summaries? How do we handle terse edit summaries such as "rv v" or the automated edit summaries generated by the undo and rollback features? What if the party using the talk page is making clearly inappropriate insertions (personal attacks, inserting random profanity, copyright violations, ...)?
The basic case of one party completely refusing to discuss a contested edit can generally be handled by Wikipedia:Disruptive editing and WP:POINT, so I do not see the need for a new policy. A more useful tool is the patience to properly execute the dispute resolution process (Yes, I know that this is easily said but hard to do). This allows the problem editor enough time to comply with Kosebamse's law and demonstrate where the real problem is located. --Allen3 talk 22:02, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

OK, thanks to all for the feedback. --Floquenbeam (talk) 16:18, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Proposal: RFA reform

I have created a proposal for reforming many aspects of RFA, including some new processes, in order to address what I have seen over the past year as the major ways in which the process is severely bent if not actually broken.

I have kept this in userspace for now as I feel it would only make sense to put it in projectspace if any parts are generally approved by the community and edited to reflect such possible approval. I would have no objection to the pages being moved out of my userspace if someone else thinks I am mistaken in that. I invite discussion from all sides. Crossposted at WP:VPP, WT:RFA, WP:AN. Please repost if I have missed anywhere. → ROUX  06:25, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

I can't fathom your talkpage form, so I'll reply here; I don't like the de-adminship process (it's too open to abuse – admins should develop their own recall criteria), and I don't like the required renewal (it's too laborious, and would clog up Wikipedia if thousands of admins all had to get reconfirmed at the same time). I do, however, like the notion of an admin having to go one month in (I'd say 12) without their tools. ╟─TreasuryTaghemicycle─╢ 06:39, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
I broke it up to match the sections on the page. I thought it made sense :( Have you a better way to organise it? In terms of reconfirmation, that wouldn't happen; extant admins wouldn't have to stand for reconfirmation (as it says here), on the general principle that when they signed up the process didn't exist. So at any one time we'd have an average of maybe 4-5 people standing for reconfirmation, starting next year. → ROUX  06:43, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
I've clarified that section per TreasuryTag's comment [8]. → ROUX  06:46, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Edit war over a single sentence, over at WP:STAND

To avert an edit war, I've posted the following explanation and proposal:

Wikipedia talk:Stand-alone lists#Outlines and indexes have been included since the beginning; and a proposal

Thank you.

The Transhumanist 21:31, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Governance review

A review of governance on the English Wikipedia has been started here. The input of everyone with any interest in the project is welcomed and encouraged. --Tango (talk) 21:58, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Using a trademark as a generic product name

Hi! What's the policy on using a trademark as a generic product name; e.g. silpat for "silicone baking mat"?

What is such use called, for future reference?

Thanks. Saintrain (talk) 19:19, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

Genericized trademark; escalator is the best example I see listed there. --NE2 19:25, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
Talk:List of generic and genericized trademarks has a few discussions on sourcing required for inclusion in that list. Flatscan (talk) 04:31, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
I'm surprised Velcro & Zipper aren't listed. Lego is on the way, poor buggers. ▫ JohnnyMrNinja 04:36, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
Many thanks, but is there no MoS weigh-in on such usage? (I'm shocked. Shocked!) Saintrain (talk) 06:09, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
Not that I know of. My opinion is that such uses should be avoided, except where the specificity is both correct and relevant. Regarding your example, I suggest moving Silpat to some variant of silicone/nonstick/reusable baking mat. Flatscan (talk) 03:56, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
I proposed the move at Talk:Silpat. I hope that it gets some input despite the lack of recent edits. Flatscan (talk) 04:49, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
In a way, the trademarks page in the MoS kinda deals with that, but in a way it doesn't deal with generalization, it does deal with using them as nouns, saying you can say "Cliff Bars" but not "Rolexes". The latter however, just sounds wonky anyway. ViperSnake151  Talk  17:12, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
I couldn't find a policy either. I think Silpat isn't inappropriate (ugh) but its entry in Kitchen gadget caught my eye. Thanks. Saintrain (talk) 21:09, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

When were IP editors restricted from contributing to RfA?

RfA policy is clear that IP editors cannot have any involvement at RfA. This has not always been the case. I'm having trouble searching the archives. So, uh, When were IP editors first prohibited from having any involvement at RfA? And Where was the discussion that established consensus for this change? Please note that I'm not particularly interested in changing the policy. Apart from maybe allowing IP editors to add a comment. (talk) 20:05, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

No idea when, but IP editors are explicitly allowed to comment in the discussion section of an RFA, they are merely disallowed from having a numbered vote. → ROUX  20:43, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
Roux is correct, IPs are not banned from participating in an RFA, just from adding numbered !votes. So you can just go ahead and comment, nobody is stopping you. Regards SoWhy 20:52, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
That's another, different, change. The page used to say "The absolute minimum requirement to be involved with adminship matters is to have a username in the system. " - and this used to include making any comments anywhere. Perhaps I'm confused about the times IPs were prevented from commenting in SUPPORT/OPPOSE sections, and the time when people started adding numbered votes (most people have stopped pretending that it's not a vote. Let's be honest, RfA is pretty straightforwardly voting.) Maye the wording got mashed during one of those transitions. (talk) 20:57, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
There is (of course) a way to be allowed to add such votes. Create an account & sign-in. GoodDay (talk) 18:15, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

Excessive quoting?

Can I get a third opinion on whether the use of quotes in [9] is good, or should be reworded in our own words? Thank you. --NE2 21:46, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

Looks just fine to me. It's only one sentence. There's guidelines on overquoting at Wikipedia:Quotations. Dcoetzee 00:09, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
It seems to me like a case where "a summary of a quote would be better", since there's nothing special about that particular wording. --NE2 09:24, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

CC Share Alike

Reading the summary of the CC-BY-SA page, I was confused (as I have been before) upon reading the Share Alike clause: "If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same, similar or a compatible license." How is this different from a non-commercial license? If I download fifty Wikipedia articles under GFDL and bundle them properly according to the license terms, I can sell the resulting book; but if I read this rightly, I can't sell the book if I download them and bundle them according to CC 3.0, since I have to distribute them under a free license. Nyttend (talk) 12:03, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

Free as in freedom, not free as in beer. --NE2 12:09, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
Funny, I was just reading those pages a day or two ago. While I understood the ideas of permitting redistribution, mixing, etc., I thought it meant that everything had to be similar, and since the images were posted online without requiring one to pay for access to them, I thought that I likewise was not allowed to charge for access to them in any way. In other words, people are allowed to make copies of the hypothetical books without charge (as long as they give proper credit, etc.), but they could be sold like any other book? Nyttend (talk) 13:28, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
Under CC-BY-SA, you can do anything you like as long as you credit the original authors and release your work under the same license. This includes altering and adapting the work in any way whatsoever and selling the result for whatever price you see fit. Of course, you can't stop the first person you sell it to from running up a bunch of copies and giving them away for free. Algebraist 14:34, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
Algebraist's hit the nail on the head there as to why (IMHO) the idea of release something you intended to provide for free under a licence allowing it to be sold for profit - which seems ludicrous in theory - in practice works out. One could either draw the analogy with patents (without which external investment in an idea is much harder to find), or look at the example of public domain books, where publishers work hard to add something new to every edition and authors get famous. - Jarry1250 [ humourousdiscuss ] 14:47, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
It's saying you're only allowed to distribute modified versions under the same license that the original work is under. The GFDL does the same thing. ViperSnake151  Talk  21:28, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

SmackBot is stalking me

Continued from [10]

I don't understand what it is I'm supposed to be doing.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 15:06, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

SmackBot dates any maintenance tags you add to an article. It's a bot, and one that makes hundreds of edits a day. It "stalks" all of us, performing essential maintenance tasks. Most people just let it date their tags. The other alternative is to date them yourself, but this is not really advisable as mistakes can creep in. - Jarry1250 [ humourousdiscuss ] 15:18, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
Okay, this is how I thought it was, which takes this back to the proposals page ...Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 15:35, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

blocking all anonymous proxies

This [11] is a Hebrew Wikipedia Policy. Is Blocking IP's that did nothing wrong a Policy in this wiki too? (talk) 12:22, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

Yes, Wikipedia:Block#Open_or_anonymous_proxies. Dragons flight (talk) 12:28, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

RfC on Wikipedia:Advisory Council on Project Development

The community's views are needed at Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Advisory Council on Project Development. Many thanks, SlimVirgin talk|contribs 17:23, 11 July 2009 (UTC)


WebCite, a popular on-demand web archiving service referenced by Wikipedia over 20,000 times, went down for a server upgrade on June 24th. WebCite is currently "on-line" but a few things were broken in the upgrade and it is currently not working properly - for example, returning error messages or blank pages for most previous archives. ThaddeusB has been in contact with Gunther Eysenbach throughout the process and would like to assure the community that efforts are underway to fix the broken links. In the mean time, please do not remove, or otherwise attempt to fix, "broken links" to See this discussion for more information. --Blargh29 (talk) 05:21, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for the update. –Juliancolton | Talk 05:24, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

Recreation of Gustaf Hammarsten

I don't have time to look for the appropriate page for this request. Can an administrator please recreate famous Swedish actor Gustaf Hammarsten (sv:Gustaf Hammarsten, de:Gustaf Hammarsten). If someone, ignorant of the Swedish entertainment sector, would like to nominate this article for deletion that can be done after the article has been recreated. Any inappropriate content can be deleted after that. Jacob Lundberg (talk) 23:02, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

It's not WP:SALTed, so you are free to recreate it. Cite some sources and write it well. Good luck! --Cybercobra (talk) 02:01, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
And if you wish to undelete the previous version, there's WP:Deletion review. --Cybercobra (talk) 02:02, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

It was wrongly deleted in the first place. I'm not starting a lengthy discussion just because an ignorant administrator made a mistake. Just undelete the previous version and we'll start from there. Jacob Lundberg (talk) 10:23, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

Loudly asserting a thing does not make it so. If you want to argue that an article was wrongly deleted, then deletion review is the place to make that argument. Algebraist 10:28, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

(Mis)use of Google hit counts

Recently, I've been noticing that some people are citing Google hit counts in an attempt to bolster their side of an argument (this likely isn't recent behavior at all, but my personal experience is all I can speak to). What really concerns me is when administrators base deletion, move, and other decisions on such a blatant misuse of statistics. I can deal with people positing Google hits as an argument within a debate, but when an administrator bases notability (or lack thereof) on Google hits I think the potential damage to Wikipedia is worth bringing the subject up for discussion.

Google hits aren't completely useless. As someone else eloquently stated recently, when I brought this concern up in the course of a discussion, "Google hit counts can be suggestive". This view is correct, in that Google hit counts can bolster other data. On their own though, their extremely misleading. Please, if you hold an administrative position, stop making decisions based on Google hit counts.
Ω (talk) 00:35, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Search engine test. Algebraist 00:49, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
ah... thank you!
Ω (talk) 01:01, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
I would like to point out that since Google's search process is a closely guarded secret and proprietary knowledge under copyright protection. I find it ridiculous that people use hits on Google as a litmus test when they dont know exactly HOW Google gets its results from what you plug in. Some things ARE known about Google, basically that the list of results are ordered based on popularity and not on relevancy (in contrast to what is known about's search process), and that not EVERY SINGLE WEBSITE is searched (which some people STILL believe that Google somehow searches the entire web for your one query), Google does not have databased every single website in existence, if Google hasnt got your website then you CANNOT show up in a Google search, no matter how relevant you are to the search that was queried. So admins, remember that next time you state- I couldnt find it on a Google search. That doesnt mean it doesnt exist or that it isnt notable.Camelbinky (talk) 01:31, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
If you've got something to say about the search engine test, say it on the talk page. Algebraist 01:34, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

What merchandise won't qualify as a "derivative work" for a photograph?

I'm trying to get The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest through FAC with at least one free image for later use on Today's Featured Article. I tried to use these:

But they've been flagged as derivative works. I noticed at toy that images of action figures and other toys have been released into the public domain unchallenged, but I don't own any Quest action figures. I do have a key chain and storybook, however, as well as comic books. Could I potentially take a picture of any of these items (I'd be willing to buy an action figure on Ebay to make a public domain image of it) and pass them off? ZeaLitY [ DREAM - REFLECT ] 19:58, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

No. And the toys are derivative works as well. You can't get a fair use image of copyrighted characters, it just doesn't work. DreamGuy (talk) 22:40, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
I'll use Plan B and ask one of the writers for a self-picture that he can release to the public domain, then. It's a shame that copyrighted images on the Main Page got WP:JIMBO'd a couple years ago. Prohibitive paranoia that punishes writers of articles on copyrighted subjects. ZeaLitY [ DREAM - REFLECT ] 07:28, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
Images of toys that have been flagged as PD are incorrectly tagged. I personally don't agree with it, but there is some logic to it. EVula // talk // // 23:14, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

Photographs of copyrighted images or objects are going to be at best derivatives, at worst just copies. But merely trademarked images are often confused for copyrighted ones. If you cropped File:Realadventuresofjonnyquesttitlecard.png to just the bottom three lines ("JONNY QUEST ---- THE REAL ADVENTURES"), you'd have a free image eligible for Template:PD-textlogo, and you could then use that on the main page. Postdlf (talk) 23:54, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

Proposed Policy

A new policy called Wikipedia:Involuntary Health Consequences is being proposed. Come and discuss it. Danglingdiagnosis (talk) 02:45, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

So... this is just the Rorschach Wars being fought in a new venue, yeah? That's called forum-shopping, or an attempt to make an end run around consensus. I suggest this listing be removed. → ROUX  03:24, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the education on wikiquette. I hadn't heard the term. I've come a long way in learning things at Wikipedia, so I appreciate all the help you can offer. Rather, I think I merely followed the instructions at WP:POLICY, which I think applies. Actually, you're mistaken. The discussions at Rorschach are not concluded, so this is not "forum shopping." I still have hope that discussions there can be fruitful, I've only been there for 28 days. But in reading the article about canvassing for the first time, I can see where my efforts might be called "campaigning." In my defense, I think the policy has room for all sides to explore common ground, (i.e. a compromise surrounding the term "involuntary") so I prefer to look at this as merely a new idea that has not yet been explored. You're free to come help us do so. Wouldn't it be nice if this could put an end to the problem that has plagued the English, French, Italian, Norwegian, and maybe other Wikipedias for over 3 years? Please come and help us. Or you can just sit back and cluck about how unfortunate it is that we're still talking about Rorschach after all these years. Danglingdiagnosis (talk) 05:24, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
Problem? The only problem I see is a set of very vocal editors having difficulty understanding that Wikipedia is not censored; we provide information without judgement, fear, or favour. → ROUX  05:27, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
You can dismiss 2 or 3 people, but not so many people working independently across many cultures. As for providing information without fear... Is that an official policy? Please cite your source. Perhaps a little judicious fear might be appropriate. Otherwise you have unrestricted, indiscriminate information. That can't be good. Danglingdiagnosis (talk) 20:49, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
Please provide evidence that this ... page ... has been reviewed by the Version 1.0 Editorial Team, as is claimed on the project page. Who then was a gentleman? (talk) 05:32, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
Oops. My mistake. Unintentional. Danglingdiagnosis (talk) 20:49, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

List of places in...

Has anyone ever brought up "List of places in..." articles in the context of WP:NOTDIR? It seems to me that this is exactly what that policy was designed for.


Etc. Figured I'd bring it up here to see if anyone knew of a previous debate, before putting it to AfD. Gigs (talk) 15:34, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

Generally speaking, these types of lists are permitted because they are not indiscriminate and not explicit violations of WP:NOT. More specifically, per WP:WIS, Wikipedia does incorporate elements of a gazetteer, which is precicely what these types of list are. Shereth 17:32, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

For historical context, here's a somewhat-outdated-though-still-relevant discussion. –Juliancolton | Talk 21:13, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

I believe there is a somewhat heated debate on a similar issue raging somewhere (I forget as I no longer care) on whether or not Wikipedia should continue to have those types of articles, one suggestion was to start a new Wikigazetteer or some name such as that, for those types of articles, just as Wikimedia and Wikinews were created to cover topics not appropriate for an encyclopedia.Camelbinky (talk) 21:59, 14 July 2009 (UTC)


I've seen a lot of places on other wikis where there's an article that has text and someone comes along and does a strikethrough like this over the text and instead of removing the old text, they just strike out the old text and put the new text in.

I'm curious what Wikipedia does when people do this kind of stuff? Are you ready for IPv6? (talk) 01:18, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

Revert it, revise it, or remove the text, depending on which is appropriate. Anomie 01:28, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
Strikethrough should only be used on talkpages, typically when one has changed their position or when showing a proposed change to the article. It should almost never appear in article text. --Cybercobra (talk) 01:44, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

Permissions on old images

Recently, User:Sfan00 IMG contacted me about an image I uploaded in 2003, which long predated the {{information}} template. Unsurprisingly, it did not provide exactly the information we now consider standard. The text of the description was entirely clear that the piece was a self-portrait (I use it on my User page), but did not explicitly name an author. He warned me that the image would be deleted if I did not clarify this.

I updated the page to current style, and even submitted a letter for OTRS at his request (seems odd: I've uploaded literally tens of thousands of images to Commons, and have never been asked for an OTRS when submitting my own work, but I did it). However, I have a concern: there must be many other images that were uploaded in that era by people who are no longer active on Wikipedia. (For that matter, some may no longer be alive.) I expressed that concern, and Sfan00 IMG replied "This is indeed a valid issue, I suggest you raise that one in an appropriate forum on the wiki, orphaned works aren't just a problem for Wikipedia." I think this is the appropriate forum. If not, could someone suggest what would be?

It seems to me that for anyone who uploaded their own work can be presumed to have seen the statement that to upload their work inherently releases it at least under GFDL. And it seems to me that for longstanding images that predate any standard policies on this, we should presume good faith on the part of the uploader. I notice that we got rid of template {{GFDL-presumed}}, but it seems to me that if we are going on a campaign like this we need to have something of the sort again: yes, we should try to get full clarifications from original uploaders when possible, but when not this should not be a reason to delete images. - Jmabel | Talk 17:39, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

People do not have to send permissions for self-made images to OTRS, that's just silly and wastes time all around. I've asked Sfan to stop telling people that. Mr.Z-man 17:44, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
I'd take anything User:Sfan00 IMG ever says with a grain of salt, given how many times he's abused and gutted the encyclopedia, and probably scared off good faith contributors. And no, this isn't meant to be a personal attack, just truth (just look at his talk page/archives). ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 18:15, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

Selective consideration, by means of a talk page, only ever gives a partial view, and the reason

why I'd recomended an OTRS to the artist in this thread, was that to me the works might have had commercial potential (shows how much of an art critic I am :P ) Sfan00 IMG (talk) 19:09, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

I certainly would not release the original artwork under GFDL, but I doubt that a thumbnail of my self-portrait has commercial value. - Jmabel | Talk 04:16, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
Sfan, that partial view is enough of a sample to show that you are being very sloppy when you tag images for deletion, with the effect of pissing lots of people off. Stop. rspεεr (talk) 08:32, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

I've had no prior interaction with him, and was taking the message at face value. Perhaps I was mistaken in doing that. Still, it seems to me that if he starts deletion processes on images uploaded many years ago, there will often be no one involved to defend the image. - Jmabel | Talk 18:18, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

Huge copy and paste split with little documentation

I'm wondering if any action needs to be taken on this.

I checked to see if my edit was accepted. It wasn't there, but because the article had been radically shortened through what may be the largest copy and paste move in Wikipedia's history.

The original article has a brief mention of what was done. The new article has nothing in its history about this except a giant increase in size, and the edit is even marked minor.

I went to the person's talk page and described where proper procedure (WP:SPLIT) can be found, mentioned that his/her actions suggested he/she knew Wikipedia very well and would have known this, and reasoned that there was talk page discussion. Actually, I checked and there was not. And there was no response to my message. On the person's talk page, it was just deleted.

The action was certainly needed, but for purposes of keeping the history intact it wasn't done right. Is there anything that should be done?Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 19:19, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

What if it has taken too long to get this answer and it won't let me revert?Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 21:34, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

I have to rejoin the real world now.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 21:47, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

You can make a comment as to what occurred on the talk page of the relevant article(s). Since you don't mention what article, really no one else can do this for you. - Jmabel | Talk 04:18, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
Attribution for the original page history can be linked using dummy edits and {{Copied}}. I was able to find the overall subject, but not the exact articles to fix. Flatscan (talk) 05:14, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
Wow, really? I didn't want to give out any information because I was hoping to fix it myself. It has been done.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 13:09, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
What would I say in the edit summary of this dummy edit?Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 13:12, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
There are examples at Help talk:Merging#Edit summaries, best practice. Keep in mind that this an optional step. Flatscan (talk) 03:39, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
I forgot to say I've done it. I guess if the template is there we're all right.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 18:54, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
To be extra sure, I put in dummy edits containing an oldid from each article, which is a modification of the examples I linked. Thanks for your interest. Flatscan (talk) 03:52, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

Free images on english wikipedia?

Why do we allow free images to be uploaded here? surely the m:mission is better served by placing these images on commons, and with them out of the way we can focus on managing the 100,000s of pieces of non-free material we allow on the free encylopedia? Fasach Nua (talk) 20:26, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

Exactly correct and the reason for Wikipedia:Moving images to the Commons. – ukexpat (talk) 20:35, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
Some images are free enough for the English Wikipedia (images must be public domain in the United States), but not free enough for Commons (images must be public domain in the United States and in the country of origin). This applies mainly to works published in the US prior to 1923 and to works published in the US between 1923 and 1963 where the copyright was not renewed: in both cases, the image is in the public domain in the US (copyright term was 28 years with a 28-year renewal), but may still be copyrighted in the country of origin (where the copyright term depends on the life of the author, typically life+50 or life+70). --Carnildo (talk) 22:08, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
Also keep in mind that local uploads are for more than just images; there are freely licensed sounds that don't need to be on Commons, such as spoken-word versions of our articles. EVula // talk // // 16:38, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

Lists of publications

Should biographies of academics contain lists of papers that that person has authored? An anon is claiming that we should include such a list in the David Legates article, claiming that the existence of one in the William Connolley article justifies its use in the Legates article. You'd be hard pressed to find even a handful of academics whose articles include such lists, and certainly not any of the high profile ones (In other words, this stuff seems to be article padding rather than useful content). I think this is a pretty clear-cut case of WP:NOT a directory. What does everyone think? Raul654 (talk) 05:59, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

Such lists would often be extremely long. Peter jackson (talk) 09:55, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
WP:LAY does say it's standard. I know I've seen examples, perhaps in the form "Selected works" just giving a few of the most significant papers. I think it makes sense. Ntsimp (talk) 13:02, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
Normally only significant publications are highlighted. A full list is usually available offsite, and can be linked to. (Even if it isn't, an exhaustive list is rarely appropriate.) Rd232 talk 15:15, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
Complete lists seem almost always to be leftovers from arguments about notability or attempts to puff the importance of the subject. (Like references to Amazon sales rankings, they can be a useful indicator for readers that the article is not quite what you expect from an encyclopedia.) A selection of the most important publications might be useful (not more than six, say). Another disadvantage of complete lists is that they often aren't in fact complete. N p holmes (talk) 16:30, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
That's true, actually. Leading scholars tend to write a very large number of papers, scattered over many different publications, some of them quite obscure. Compiling a bibliography is a scholarly enterprise in itself. Peter jackson (talk) 16:44, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

National Portrait Gallery

With regard to the legal threat from the National Portrait Gallery to Wikipedia over image copyright, it may be useful to see answers to two relevant Freedom of Information requests: [12] and [13]. Not sure where this discussion is currently taking place. Thanks, Andeggs (talk) 08:14, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

Mostly on Commons. Stifle (talk) 11:49, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

What don't I understand about WP:CRYSTAL

I'm completely baffled. I AfD'ed as WP:CRYSTAL an article about a possible, but really unlikely US manned moonshot in 2020 - Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Orion 17 - one of a couple of dozen highly speculative articles on various as-of-yet unfunded and uncommitted Orion missions ... and consensus so far is that it doesn't meet WP:CRYSTAL. Am I missing the boat here? Can someone provide some insight? Nfitz (talk) 03:40, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

CRYSTAL is a subtle beast, but the gist of it is that Wikipedia is not a place for speculating about future events for which we have virtually no verifiable information in reliable sources. Because NASA projects are planned way in advance in painstaking detail, even today significant official information is available about the mission, which makes it possible for it to have an article. Dcoetzee 03:48, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
And yet the article in question isn't referenced; nor can I find any references that actually discuss the mission; merely a planning document that is so out of date, it says that one of the current shuttles was retired a year ago, and merely notes Orion 17 as dot on a schedule, making it no more notable than the 13:43 departure for Birmingham New Street. Nfitz (talk) 12:06, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
Well, slightly more notable, as Orion 17 will (hypothetically) not run daily :-)
However I agree that a mission pencilled in for 10 years in the future and with no well-defined objective(s) is well into WP:CRYSTAL territory, and have proposed it be merged - and I'm generally an inclusionist. --Philcha (talk) 12:24, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
Slightly more notable; much less verifable. Nfitz (talk) 04:19, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

IMO, forget WP:CRYSTAL, the problem with that article is the lack of reliable sources, if we can't find one single NASA document mentioning "Orion 17" then it's a hoax. EconomistBR 16:23, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

Not a hoax. Just sloppy referencing. Orion 16 is just a little better, but List_of_Constellation_missions is more comprehensive. Here NASA has a budgetary comparison of schedules. On expansion, the graphic shows that the launches continue out to number 20, with Orion 17 shown for December 2020 as an "Aries I Lunar Sortie Cooperative Crew Flight". LeadSongDog come howl 17:25, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, I found a mention to Orion 17 on this document as well.
IMO most Orion articles however continue to suffer from lack of source citation and content. The project responsible for those articles should be contacted and informed about their lack of quality and detail.
As they are right now, all 20 Orion articles should all be merged.
EconomistBR 19:21, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
All of this may be contradicted by facts which you can find in this little article: U.S. National Debt. Just a thought. --Steve, Sm8900 (talk) 16:09, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
Even if a project like this is abandoned, the history of the attempt would be encyclopedic. - Jmabel | Talk 01:41, 17 July 2009 (UTC)


Didn't Wikipedia:AEE get shot down already? Yet here it is again. The edit history also doesn't bear with the idea that all of those people actually made the edits they are supposed to have made to the page. Isn't that a violation of Wikipedia licensing? Who then was a gentleman? (talk) 20:57, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

See also Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Self electing groups. Who then was a gentleman? (talk) 21:02, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

It has already been nominated for deletion: Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Wikipedia:AEE
As far as I can tell this Wikipedia:AEE plans to become so kind of labor union in order to challenge Administrators' authority and transfer some power from the Administrators to this new Wikipedia:AEE organization. EconomistBR 21:30, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
Or maybe simply utilize some power which Administrators may not specifically exercise? --Steve, Sm8900 (talk) 19:29, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
Such as? In any event, please don't discuss it here, discuss at Mfd where the deletion debate is going on... – ukexpat (talk) 19:37, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

3rd GMI Report

3rd Report of the Growth Monitoring Initiative

Number of articles about soccer players per nationality
Name England Scotland Brazil Italy Argentina France Germany Spain Netherlands Others TOTAL
July of 2008 6,695 2,253 2,413 1,379 1,337 1,572 1,155 1,087 933 11,558 30,382
July of 2009 9,435 2,928 2,854 1,578 1,663 1,986 2,233 1,356 1,144 17,007 42,184
  • GMI monitors the growth of soccer related biographies.
  • Wikipedia now has over 42,000 articles dedicated to soccer players.
  • 11,802 new articles in one year.
  • 38% growth in the number of articles in one year.

This report calls for the creation of tools that reduces the Editor Time required for the improvement and for the maintainance of those biographies.

  • (...)Most of them low-quality stubs.
  • GMI monitors only soccer, the problem is the same for all sports.
  • 32 new soccer player articles every single day.

This report favors the creation of a WikiSports in the same way of WikiQuotes.

This report is also being published at Wikipedia talk:Notability (people). EconomistBR 19:48, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

[14] Resolute 19:51, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
That's nice. Are you going to explain why this is a problem which requires action? Algebraist 20:07, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
WP:NOTPAPER is pretty much all that needs to be said. -Djsasso (talk) 13:01, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
It's important to remember, that WP itself is also growing quickly. In July 2008, Wikipedia had 2436830 articles. As of today it has 2942526 articles, indicating a growth of 505,696 or 20.7%. So, yes, it does appear that the number of soccer players is growing quite a bit more rapidly than the overall article count (nearly twice as fast), but as above this is hardly calamitous. I think WikiSports is a rather intriguing idea, and I'd tend to support it. Of course, the proper place to propose that is not here, but over on Meta at Proposals for new projects. Cool3 (talk) 16:22, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

Hmm... This is not unique to sports. Ping a random biography, or a random town or just press "random article" button - it's not better. Your proposal covers about 2% of the ocean... NVO (talk) 22:10, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

The concern I'd have with these articles is that we don't have any sources for the biographical information for most of these individuals, beyond the simple fact that their name exists on a roster. A typical standard for notability of a person is that they've been the subject of significant press coverage, and that's a good thing because it assures there will be enough material to right a biography. I don't see the point in having thousands of stub articles that simply say, "Joe Smith played for Smallville United from 1988-1989." Especially if there's no hope in ever finding more information on the person. It's a poor standard that casts such a wide net and brings in so many minnows.   Will Beback  talk  22:25, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
Answering Algebraist
There are three problem with those rarely edited stubs that are being mass produced under the WP:Athlete umbrella.
  • The Criterial Problem: Currently every single player of any sport in any country is "notable" even if nothing has been written about him. That's unreasonable, unfair to other fields of profession and as Djsasso said, Wikipedia WP:NOTPAPER.
  • The Present Problem: Those stubs reduce the overall reliability and quality of Wikipedia because we are allowed to have articles with no information on them: See here and here
  • The Future Problem: Each of those articles represents a cost in terms of hours to be devoted by us editors who will have to improve, update, maintain and watch each of them forever. Already we have many articles that are visited only by bots. EconomistBR 17:41, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
The "problems" you highlight are no real problems when looked at closer. The articles do have information, they just don't have much of it. And they do not cost hours of editors because noone is forced to work on those articles. Our editors are volunteers and if they want to work on those articles, that is what they should be allowed to do. So where is the problem? WP:PAPER that Djsasso mentioned says the opposite: Wiki is not paper, we have unlimited space, so we should not worry about having too many articles of any kind. Regards SoWhy 17:59, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
This subject really illustrates the main issue that I have with the notability guideline... Why do you care that there are 42,000 soccer player articles? Is that really a bad thing? This really confuses me... there are over 2 million articles in the English Wikipedia, and it's growing. Why is that a problem? I've seen (basically) this as an argument on a bunch of AfD discussions, and I can only imagine how many articles have been {{Prod}}ed using this rational. Why is it unreasonable that every single athlete in every single country is notable? (*throws hands up in exasperation*)
Ω (talk) 00:48, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
If they're notable, we should be able to create a WP:BLP compliant article on them. If, as some have said, they're just "a name on a roster," then we can't create a verifiable bio, and there should not be an article on them. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 14:33, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
"*The Criterial Problem: Currently every single player of any sport in any country is "notable" even if nothing has been written about him." - I do believe this statement calls for one response: [citation needed]. Resolute 23:10, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
The "additional criterion" WP:ATHLETE would disagree. It requires footballers to have participated at a fully professional level, which means at a level where every player in their league is paid for playing football as their full-time job. Many AfD arguments would indicate that criterion is viewed as unduly restrictive, e.g. [15], [16], [17], [18], but the results of those AfDs also make it clear that in no way is every single player of any sport in any country ... "notable". cheers, Struway2 (talk) 07:33, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Not quite sure I see the point here. Growth over 1-year was 38%. If you look at the Wikipedia growth rate the growth from January 2007 to January 2008 was also 38% ... and 74% the year before that. The only thing I see here, is that it seems to be biased to English footballers ... shouldn't there be a lot more for other countries? Nfitz (talk) 03:51, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Football has a notability criteria, see here. Not every football players is notable but unfortunatly the articles are a bit heavy on obscure English football players. EA210269 (talk) 04:07, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
We're "heavy" on English football players because, unsurprisingly, football is the most popular sport in the world and this is an Anglophone project. End of story. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 08:06, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

Found the WikiSports and don't remove any of these players from Wikipedia. Everyone's a winner, baby. --Dweller (talk) 05:56, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

I've lost count of how many times EconomistBR has now started threads here and on other pages about how many articles on footballers there are (it's always footballers, never any other sport), and what a terrible thing for WP it is. None of these discussions have ever gone anywhere, and it's really getting quite tedious now. It's getting increasingly hard to AGF and think anything other than that he/she has a vendetta against articles on footballers. Even if there are 42,000 such articles, that's only just over one percent of all the articles on WP, and given that football is by far the most popular spectator sport on the planet, I really can't see why it's such a big deal. -- ChrisTheDude (talk) 11:59, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
That's a mean and cheap attack on me.
You, ChrisTheDude as a member of the WikiProject Football are just trying to silence dissent, protect your selfish interests and discredit my study.
Also, I no longer advocate or favor mass deletions of articles as I used to, that means I've evolved and moved on.
Lastly, GMI or Growth Monitoring Initiative is a long term study designed to monitor the increase in the number of soccer player related articles and track the total number. This is the third time GMI has been published. This study is unparalleled on Wikipedia both for its duration and scope.
EconomistBR 15:46, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

There are real problems with WP:BLP that affect all articles, not just athletes, that ought to be addressed long before the "problems" EconomistBR has identified here. I also have a difficult time following WP:AGF with this user based on his past behavior (e.g., creating sub-stub articles simply to make a WP:POINT), but I agree that BLPs need to be referenced, and there are roughly 7,000 footballer articles that fail that requirement today. The WP:FOOTY project members are working to reduce that backlog and prevent the creation of new ones - and I think we've made great progress. If other sports-related projects make the same efforts, we will improve WP much more than by moving athlete articles to WikiSports. Jogurney (talk) 15:52, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

And by the way, I was able to flesh out the Will Robson Emilio Andrade article you found to be such a problem in about 10 minutes. It still needs work, but definitely, is not void of information. Jogurney (talk) 16:14, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

Economist, the issue your raise is based in your fundamental disagreement with the idea of WP:STUB. Stubs have long been accepted on WP, if you think that an article which informs the reader of who someone plays for, how many caps they have and how many goals they have scored as well as their DOB (and therefore age) and often more than this are not acceptable, then make a proposal to ban stubs. What you argue several times a year, again and again, focusses soley upon football bios for some reason and actually proposes no viable way to solve the potential BLP problem (which would actually be a far more worthy campaign). You also misrepresent the situation; many times, you've been told that in no way is "every single player of any sport in any country [...] "notable" even if nothing has been written about him" and to suggest so is either dishonest or demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding - take a look at the amount of bios that WP:FOOTY members argue to delete in AfDs every day, and how many non-members believe that WP:ATHLETE is actually too restrictive. – Toon 18:21, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

  • I wonder how many articles there are on rivers. I looked at Category:Rivers, found 29 sub categories, picked on Category:Rivers by country which has 170 sub categories, drilled down to Category:Rivers of New Zealand for no other reason than I live there and it has 1040 rivers. Extrapolating from the known fact that New Zealand is approximately in the middle size-wise for countries, and we have 1040 river articles, there must be quite a large number of total river articles. Of course, these would likely be well referenced full of content, so I looked up random article Boyle River as it happened to be the link under my mouse - total content = "The Boyle River is a river of New Zealand." ditto 7 of the next 10 I tried. How are these different? At least most footballers have some info in the infobox. - - Is it time to parallel your previously unparalleled Growth Monitoring Initiative? Possibly a bit late for rivers, as they have probably all been done already, and it is not like there are new rivers come into existence every week, but you could look at actors, albums and music artists, as they seem to be up there in the page creation stakes. It would be interesting to compare your findings. --ClubOranjeT 02:02, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
    Category:Rivers of New Zealand is not entirely a fair example, because there have been several hundred mini-stubs such as you describe added in the last week, which have flooded our new article patrolling system, and it will take a month or two for local editors to catch up and expand them into reasonable stubs.-gadfium 06:46, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
This was not a criticism of the river articles, merely a comparison. Despite your assertion that it is not entirely fair - what could compete with football? - it is a valid comparison. A user above made reference to the possibility of thousands of articles saying "Joe Smith played for Smallville United from 1988-1989.", yet this is no different than the rivers. It is just going to take "a month or two" to expand them. Reality is, not all the rivers are going to be significantly expanded in the short term, just as many football articles won't in the short term. However, sooner or later a user will come along who happens to be a big Port Vale fan and while away the millennia happily expanding all the Port Vale player articles... or the Smallville United articles, or the New Zealand international players articles... It is how the system works.--ClubOranjeT 11:39, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

Soccer statistics for individual clubs?

Speaking of likely-not-notable soccer articles, i believe most of Category:Football (soccer) clubs 2009-10 season (and similar others, e.g. 2008-09) is not-notable, and what might be notable simply belongs in the relevant domestic league season. What do y'all think about this? -- Jokes Free4Me (talk) 11:28, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

I am absolutely certain that one could provide multiple, non-trivial, reliable sources for any top level club team season, which would easily meet the requirements for notability. while there are none yet related to soccer, ther are at least eight such articles from North American sports teams that are currently good articles. Resolute 14:18, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
Of course individual seasons can be notable. If we are talking about top tier teams, I would say most are notable. Heck, sometimes individual games are notable. --ThaddeusB (talk) 15:39, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Those articles are in fact very well written, sourced and have quality information therefore IMO they must stay. But the Category you brought to our attention is just another example of how WikiSports could be useful and adaptable if it were seriously considered by Editors. EconomistBR 15:49, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

Well... Okay, top-tier teams maybe. But still, IMO, these are not articles. They are merely a collection of random statistic data about a particular incidental entity during an arbitrary time-frame. For instance, what's encyclopaedic about Crewe Alexandra F.C. season 2009–10? Or FC Oţelul Galaţi season 2001–02? More like fan-cruft, i'd say... -- Jokes Free4Me (talk) 18:07, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

I just realized i failed to explain my second point: even if some season, or as you say a particular match, would be the most memorable thing in the world, it would not really be worth an entire article. Except if it had about two dozen note-worthy "effects" (i'm thinking of "in popular culture" sections). It is only worth a section in an article about the club, or if it's a big club in "History of Big Time FC". And the match results would rather belong all-together in the league's season, not spread out across 16-20 pages... What else is there? Friendlies and transfers? Isn't this rather trivia-ish? -- Jokes Free4Me (talk) 18:25, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Define encyclopedic. We have many, many lists, which aren't articles, yet we still have featured list status. There's a lot of information in Crewe Alexandra F.C. season 2009–10 and ten references, and simply stating that it is not encyclopedic isn't a good argument. The time frame isn't arbitrary, it's the summary of one season of a seasonal competition - pretty well defined time frame. If you feel it could be better written (it could), you are welcome to go and help out - there are millions of pages here that could do with a lot of work, but that's not a reason to delete them, as long as they abide by WP:NPOV, WP:V etc. – Toon 18:29, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
Okay, so i am (more) inclined to accept these pages are fine. However, i still feel i need to point out that your arguments are not addressing the issue(s). First, "well-defined" does not have anything to do with wikt:arbitrary ("Not based on any objective distinction; almost made at random"). Second, i did not contest NPOV and/or V, i contested WP:N (aka, relevance). -- Jokes Free4Me (talk) 06:14, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
Hang on, I responded to the argument you made that merely asked "what's encyclopaedic about" the articles, and called them "fan-cruft", so please do not say that my arguments are "not addressing the issue(s)", when the points you made were so vague and non policy-based. If you demonstrate how something is unencyclopedic or non-notable rather using very unhelpful broad generalities, it would be easier for others to understand your point and your argument would have far more weight. To look at your claim that being in a "well defined time frame" has little to do with how "arbitrary" the time frame is strikes me as ridiculous; how can you claim the time frame to be "almost random"? It's a season, i.e. an entire championship, with a regular, recurring pair of transfer windows, an entire fixture set. It is set by the sport's governing body, covered by multiple reliable sources... how much less arbitrary can a time frame be? If it were arbitrary, it'd be from the middle of one season to some other undefined point... your interpretation of general English-language terms baffles me. – Toon 16:50, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
I think these articles are encyclopaedic, they draw together information from a variety of sources that often cannot be easily found elsewhere. Don't forget that thousands of people regularly attend professional football matches, even in the lower divisions. They tend to be linked with a large number of other articles as teams are promoted or relegated, players transfer, managers are fired, etc. And don't forget, "Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that." Bill Shankly. Jezhotwells (talk) 02:11, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
"often cannot be easily found elsewhere"? How about specialized sites, like soccerbase or Also, i think the idea of having a WikiSports dedicated to these statistics makes some sense, i just didn't expect to see articles for stuff that is frowned upon while in a small section of a large article (namely, trivia. You did not state how you view my assertion.) -- Jokes Free4Me (talk) 06:14, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
I actually said they draw together information from a variety of sources that often cannot be easily found elsewhere. To put all of the information in Bristol Rovers F.C. season 2006–07, (BTW, I am a City fan so not partisan about this!), would require accessing over 50 different sources, so an article of this type is very encyclopaedic and useful. Not all of the articles are at this standard yet, but many will become GAs. Jezhotwells (talk) 14:37, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
2008–09 Calgary Flames season is an article I've worked on extensively, and there are better examples than that as well. Resolute 15:28, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
Thanks Jokes Free4Me for considering it, IMO sportsfans will eventually come to support WikiSports since it will be built by and for sportfans. Right now suspicion and distrust abound so people refuse to talk about it. EconomistBR 16:10, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
I'm sure a WikiSports idea would be popular amongst some, but I seriously doubt that the WMF would find fracturing its flagship project to be useful. Because, really, why stop at sports? Why not WikiMovies? WikiHistory? WikiGeogrpahy? WikiArt? Resolute 16:40, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, you are right, I am afraid of that too. I am gonna let this go. The next GMI will be published only at WikiProject Football. EconomistBR 17:10, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
  • We have had this same debate with the same principles several times now. Nothing new is really added ever. We've established that EconomistBR doesn't think athletes are notable. That's fine, and it's his personal opinion. However, the attention of the world on sports dictates that they are. If he finds that objectionable on a personal level, that's his opinion. Such personal beliefs should not attempt to dictate Wikipedia policy. matt91486 (talk) 16:46, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

Policies on business marketing/promotion on Wikipedia

I work for the engineering firm AMEC. We have an entry that describes the company in general terms: Recently, I stumbled upon the entry for a rival firm, WorleyParsons: Their entry had a distinct feel of self-promotion, well beyond the provision of general information. Specifically, their entry listed several projects, the company's involvement, and other information typically found in promotional/marketing material. However, this material does not provide grounds for a speedy deletion or as an article for deletion, though the latter is less unambiguous.

I sent a note to someone involved in marketing for our company, but feel hesitant to change our entry. I feel the intent of wikipedia is to inform generally, rather than to promote one particular interest. If we start marketing ourselves more, then others will jump in. Wikipedia will lose it "encyclopaedic" purpose and simply become another vehicle for self-promotion.

What is an acceptable entry and what becomes unacceptable, insofar as business self-promotion is concerned? Captain Selenium (talk) 19:13, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

Generally, if it's written by your marketing department (or sounds like it could have been), it's not acceptable. Articles must be neutral, and verifiable via citations to reliable sources. → ROUX  19:35, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
You can remove any information by following these guidelines:
  1. - Category:Wikipedia content guidelines - see: Wikipedia:Wikipedia is an encyclopedia
  2. - Category:Wikipedia style guidelines - see: Wikipedia:Avoid peacock terms and Wikipedia:Avoid weasel words
EconomistBR 19:41, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
Except that given your obvious conflict of interest, you should refrain from doing so. Instead you should post on the talkpage of the article, disclose that you work for a competitor, and outline specific concerns with the article. Then let other, neutral editors deal with any removals. → ROUX  20:11, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
I am aware of the conflict of interest, that's why I told him to follow Wikipedia Guidelines and I assume good faith.
I still think he should edit and make any necessary changes despite the conflict of interest. He should also actively monitor his article and his competitors articles and feel free to remove any information not compliant with Wikipedia Guidelines. I say this under WP:AGF. EconomistBR 20:44, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
Please do not ever again imply that I am not assuming good faith. When one has a COI, one should avoid even the appearance of impropriety. → ROUX  20:57, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
The side-argument that ensued after my post is very pertinent and needs to be examined carefully. Wikipedia is a collective, collaborative endeavour, and the assumption of good faith is fair. Unfortunately, it is imprudent to make this assumption in the case of conflicting interests, as when business competitors make entries that might afford them a competitive advantage. For instance, I might strike out the entire WorleyParsons entry (, such that someone searching the term on Wikipedia (perhaps a prospective employee) would not find it. This would be done in bad faith, but I would be tempted to do this if it gave me a competitive advantage. Better still, I'd be tempted to redirect the entry to my company's entry, if I had a means to do so surreptitiously. Only transparency and checks-and-balances can prevent this abuse, but the assumption of good faith will not.Captain Selenium (talk) 15:40, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
I didn't imply you didn't assume good faith. You are reading too much into it. All I said was that I was assuming good faith to the extent of making the conflict of interest concerns mute and secondary.
It was based those grounds that I wrote that he should feel free to edit. I wasn't attacking you. EconomistBR 21:29, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
I appreciate the above comments. My dilemma is that there is nothing in the page that provides unambiguous grounds for deletion, which I otherwise would have done without hesitation. Nonetheless, much of the content could pass as "promotional or marketing material", while being neither advertisements masquerading as articles or spam (as discussed here). Being loath to seem arbitrary or engage in deletion wars, as well as minding the obvious conflict of interest, I would appreciate receiving guidelines that identify the distinction between informative and promotional material. Perhaps contrasting the two abovementioned pages would help.Captain Selenium (talk) 21:41, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

I found one peacock term: "Large" (sentence 1). I also found a weasel term near the end: "...regarded as two of the leading...". Those terms are unsourced and could be removed based on Wikipedia's Style Guidelines.

I also concluded that the article didn't violate Wikipedia's Content Guidelines for IMO the article is not written as an advertisement. The AMEC article is also ok.

Feel free to expand either of them for as long as Wikipedia's guidelines are observed and respected. EconomistBR 23:21, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

I'm surprised you missed didn't just remove that bain of many a promotional article: "leading". Also some other bits of puffery, duly removed. - Jarry1250 [ humourousdiscuss ] 10:44, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
"Bain"==>"bane", I presume? - Jmabel | Talk 01:42, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

Input needed at the RfC on Wikipedia:Advisory Council on Project Development

For anyone who hasn't yet commented, the community's views are still needed at Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Advisory Council on Project Development. Many thanks, SlimVirgin talk|contribs 02:49, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

Lists of people within articles

I am writing specifically with regard to lists of notable people from [insert location] that are part of a broader article. I feel strongly that someone's birth having occurred in a particular location (generally a city or regional hospital) is not only non-notable, but the birth location likely did not have as profound an influence on one's life as the municipalities in which one grew up / achieved notability / currently resides. This is not to say that this information doesn't belong in the article about the individual, but that it does not belong in an article about the municipality (or in some cases schools, as in so-and-so went to this high school). Certain individuals were born in one place, grew up in another, and went on to live in several other places only to be buried somewhere else. That's a lot of articles they could be included in. Such sections are generally more prevalent in less populous areas. For example, one doesn't see an article about Hollywood CA listing all the celebs that work/live there, nor is there such a section for notables born in New York City.

Wikipedia:Notability_(people)#Lists_of_people doesn't appear to provide guidelines as to what qualifies an individual to be notable in association with a particular location, only whether the individual is notable enough for general list inclusion. Someone who spent no more than 2-3 days as a baby in a delivery ward of a city's hospital is just as eligible for inclusion as someone who lived there all his/her life.

Additionally, lists of people seem to contribute very little to an article about a municipality, in that it doesn't describe the municipality (the article's topic). For example, to list Martin Luther King Jr as being born somewhere provides very little content and context, whereas writing a paragraph about how Martin Luther King Jr impacted a community that he was active in provides a lot more context not only about the individual, but also about the place.

In summary, I'm seeking a guideline/policy enhancement for lists of people that more stringently defines just who can be included in the context of a municipal article (or the like), and what qualifies them to be notable in association with said municipality.
--JBC3 (talk) 00:06, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

Example of the sort of thing? Stravinsky was successively a Russian, French & American citizen, lived for years in Switzerland, & asked to be buried in venice. Peter jackson (talk) 11:22, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

Five Six examples:

--JBC3 (talk) 08:02, 19 June 2009 (UTC)--JBC3 (talk) 08:59, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

While large cities must "tighten up" on standards, it seems silly to have restrictions for small(er) places. Nearly every document on Henry Leland, developer of the Cadillac and Lincoln, will mention that he was from tiny Barton, Vermont. His ancestors were likely from there or regionally for a long time. This was his culture. It was important.
And where did (for example) a writer draw his ideas? From his childhood? From his adult residence? How does one decide?
Having said that, how can New York City allow any less than (say) Lieutenant Generals, in its list of military officers? Way too high a standard for a smaller place.
The worst cases are bands and sports figures for which there seem to be no standard whatever. One editor may want to kick Dwight Eisenhower out of Abilene since he left there at 18. And leave 10 rock bands that nobody every heard of, and twenty sports figures! (No. I haven't checked, but let's just assume! If not Abilene, someplace else will do. It's real common). So a secondary problem is trying to evaluate weight of contribution. Student7 (talk) 20:53, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
By "tighten up on standards" I suppose you mean "enforce guidelines and policies"? Are you suggesting that it is "silly" to enforce guidelines and policies in all articles equally? --JBC3 (talk) 21:00, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
The original poster brought up an issue that I'd like to comment on: "to list Martin Luther King Jr as being born somewhere provides very little content and context, whereas writing a paragraph about how Martin Luther King Jr impacted a community that he was active in provides a lot more context not only about the individual, but also about the place." The reason why there is more emphasis on the first (where someone is born) than the second (her/his impact) is that the first is a falsifiable fact, whereas the second is a judgment which risks being deleted as original research. It's been like that since I started, & no one has made an effort to remedy this disproportionate emphasis on a systematic basis. (Probably because to do this requires a lot of research that does not lend itself to a programmatic approach.) -- llywrch (talk) 23:08, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
All the more reason to write policy or guidelines that removes these lists all together. Don't you agree? --JBC3 (talk) 15:04, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
I would agree with this wholeheartedly. I am sure there are some cases when it's important to state that such and such person is from such and such place in an article about that place, but most of the time all we see is mundane listcraft. I would suggest to approach this problem the same way we approach the "see also" section—mentions of people listed in the "notable residents/natives" section should be incorporated into the main article. When that is not possible/feasible, the person should not be mentioned at all. Thoughts?—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); 15:11, June 26, 2009 (UTC)
While I agree that that is a better approach than the one currently in place, I think ultimately we would still run into the same problem. Instead of listcraft, we could have an article with two or three lines about individuals who was merely born in Somewhere City placed in the history or culture section, even though the individual may never have lived there. Isn't it enough to mention in the individual's own article that he/she was born somewhere? I don't see how it's necessary at all in the article about the place. --JBC3 (talk) 15:20, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
That's not actually what I had in mind. If an individual was born in some Crummytown, USA but never lived there, removing the sentence which merely states the fact of birth should be easy. Facts that have no impact on the subject of the article should not be listed in those articles and can be removed on those grounds. Consider this (contrived but illustrative) example: if we know that Grand Poobaa of Government Bailouts Commission was born and lived in Sometown for a week, grew up in Someothertown, never set his foot in Sometown again all his life but actively lobbied for Someothertown's crabbing industry, then incorporating a mention in the article about Someothertown would be easy enough. His mention in the article about Sometown, on the other hand, would add no value to the article whatsoever, and can be removed (we can design the guideline amendment to explicitly spell that out).—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); 15:32, June 26, 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I agree with you. Perhaps it would be helpful to incorporate WP:Coatrack into existing policy? --JBC3 (talk) 21:15, 27 June 2009 (UTC)
I think Student7's point, above is a reasonable one. For many (most) smaller and even mid-sized communities, "who came from here" is a very important part of their local identity--for some, it may be the only thing other than their bare existence that's really "notable" (in the dictionary sense, and sometimes in the Wikipedia sense as well) about the town. Some may consider these lists trivial, but I don't. To take his example, not only is Barton, Vermont a notable part of Henry Leland's history, but Henry Leland is a notable part of Barton's. And as llywrch points out, this is verifiable, sourceable, black-and-white data, while evaluating whose upbringing was relevant and whose wasn't is often difficult. The case of the person born somewhere they didn't actually live is a special case, and I don't necessarily disagree with deleting these from the lists, but in general I find these lists valuable as an organizational tool for biographical information, and (at least if you're someone who likes local history) they're often interesting as well.--Arxiloxos (talk) 17:14, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
How do you feel about the lists in the six examples given above? Do you feel any of those are valuable? --JBC3 (talk) 19:36, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
I whole-heartedly agree with what I believe is the consensus that seems to be forming- that instead of lists a section (or subsection of the history section) be made for notable people and written in prose, and include only those in which the person and the community actually interacted in a meaningful and notable way. Correct me if I have taken a mistaken view on what most people seem to be agreeing on. I have actually been struggling for some time on incorporating a notable person prose section into New York's Capital District article. I was considering something along the lines of- "Many individuals of notability have lived or worked in the Capital District and their experiences here have shaped their careers. Some artists have used the region as inspiration or have drawn streetscapes and scenary, such as Grandma Moses and Norman Rockwell. Many authors from the region wrote about the communities they lived in such asTrevanian, William Kennedy, Herman Melville, and James Fenimore Cooper. Many sports figures have gotten their start in this region, such as Phil Jackson and Mike Tyson." This small snippet illustrating a very basic format of what I am thinking of doing could easily be incorporated into other sections instead of a separate "notable person" section. The info on famous artists could be incorporated into the culture section, notable sports people could be incorporated into the sports section, and so on but I was not sure if having them grouped together in a section would be preferred to having them scattered in different sections where they may be a distraction from the core of the particular section's content. I am a strong believer that people who are famous and have roots in a community must be mentioned, they are as important to an identity as the brick-and-mortar structures that they write or paint or grow up playing basketball in. So, I will end this on a question- should I have a separate prose section for notable people together or just include each notable person in the sections that cover what they notable for?Camelbinky (talk) 00:01, 28 June 2009 (UTC)
Agreed, I think that, in order to convey any type of meaning, information about notable individuals would have to be given in prose rather than as a list. Regardless of where in the article it is presented, I think the things to bear in mind are that the content should both enhance the understanding of the place, and do so without using the article as a coat rack. To answer your question, I think the information would probably be better presented in its own section, but if incorporating into other sections improves the article's flow I have no issue with that. If we were to change the policy/guidelines, should all such lists (or perhaps just a diff of them) be moved to the talk page with a notice about the change, or handled differently? --JBC3 (talk) 01:08, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

(outdent) How do you handle Gary, Indiana? It's all over the news as being the "hometown of Michael Jackson." It could be said that Jackson didn't have a profound impact on Gary, since during the bulk of his career, he did not live there. I also know of many communities in South Dakota highlight themselves as hometown of such and such U.S. Senator. Murdo, South Dakota has a sign outside of town stating it's home to Senator John Thune, even though Thune is primarily known for playing high school basketball there, went to college out of state, and currently resides in Sioux Falls. Lawrence Welk was from Strasburg, North Dakota and that community makes a pretty big deal out of his being born there. I don't think Welk and Strasburg interacted "in a meaningful and notable way." So, I think we need a more structured guideline. Warren Christopher was born in Scranton, North Dakota. Willy Mays grew up in Grand Forks and Fargo. All three are recipients of the North Dakota Roughrider Award. We cannot say that being born in a community is inherently non-notable anymore than we can say such a fact is inherently notable. We should give deference to the relevant state or city wikiproject to determine how they view the issue, and also take into consideration other factors, such as how the community itself treats the individual. For example, the existance of some formal recognition of the person by the community, such as the the Welk Homestead Historical Site in Strasburg.DCmacnut<> 02:53, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

I disagree about deferring to WikiProjects. They have not been effective thus far in regulating these lists, probably because there is insufficient content guidelines and policy to fall back on. I suppose I can agree that being born in a particular place shouldn't be an automatic disqualifier, but I still insist there is a need to provide clear and verifiable evidence that knowing about the individual enhances one's understanding of the place, and that without specific context describing how the place is/was impacted by the individual, one cannot sufficiently know anything about the individual, ergo cannot receive the benefit of the individual's inclusion in the article. --JBC3 (talk) 03:21, 28 June 2009 (UTC)
I agree with a bit of what Dcmacnut said and quite a bit of what JBC3 said, so maybe here is a synthesis that addresses the good of both. Simply being born in a place is not enough for an inclusion as many small towns, villages, etc rely on one regional hospital and the place of birth may not have any meaning. However, many cities, towns, etc for booster-tourism reasons use, for the lack of a better word, propaganda showing their even slim connections to famous people (George Washington Slept Here signs are the most common version of this). The larger a city is the less likely it is that this type of boosterism is either done or even needed to be done therefore is less likely to be an issue. For the cases of where a person was born or lived only a short while- if the city itself is not promoting the connection then its not an issue and does not merit an inclusion to the article. If the city, town, etc is promoting the connection with signs, mentioning it on the website, tourist info, historical sites, etc then it becomes notable regardless of any meaningful connection between the city and the person. So even though while the person lived there they may not have been impacted by the community adn the community did not get any benefit from having the person there, the city is today using the connection for its benefit and promoting the connection, making it in my eyes notable and verifiable and an after the fact connection between the two. To use examples from the region that JBC3 and I work on- Rachel Ray was born in Glens Falls, but to my best knowledge she was not influenced by the city nor does the city give any special recognition to her birth there nor does she, conclusion- do not include her in the city article, her start as a local celebrity on Channel 6 is played up in the media and in booster material for the region, therefore including her in an article on the Capital Region would be more meaningful as this is where she was discovered and started many of the material that she would later use on her national television shows and books. The other example is Pat Riley the NBA coach, he went to school in Schenectady, he was a star athlete in three sports in the city (was on the Sch. Little League team that won the world championship, was a football star, and was a star on the basketball team), even when he was a head coach in the NBA he would come back to Schenectady with his professional team and have practice in Schenectady on the off-season, he has returned for many rewards bestowed on him by the city and the school district, the high school named its gym after him (though it iss a different HS building than the one he played in), conclusion- big and continuing impact between the city and the individual, important for the article. Those are two examples from the extreme ends, somewhere in between we must arbitrarily draw the line and say- that kind of connection is not enough, while that connection is strong enough. I agree with JBC3 that in this case the individual wikiprojects are not the right place for that decision, a policy or guideline needs to be written deciding this issue. If different wikiprojects have different criteria then in individual articles arguments will start saying "well in wikiproject x this is allowed, we need to change to their criteria" for no other reason than that editor knows that criteria will allow him to do what he wants and his wikiproject doesnt. Chaos will ensue, cities will metaphorically burn, and the whole fabric of space-time will rupture and we'll all die! Maybe.Camelbinky (talk) 21:24, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
Thanks Camelbinky, I guess I can agree that if a municipality is promoting a connection to an individual in any citable way, then it is notable enough to include in an article regardless of any meaningful connection between the city and the person. Barring any new suggestions, concerns, roadblocks, or reconsiderations of previous concerns, I was hoping to draft the changes in the next day or two so we can work on wording itself. --JBC3 (talk) 01:17, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
I think that fits the point I was trying to make. If a connection between an individual and a town they were born in or resided can be established and cited through reliable sources, it should be included regardless of any subjective reasoning that the connection is "meaningful." Those sources should go beyond a simple list of statistics or a birth certificate. I think the person listed should be notable in their own right. Too often, I see people adding non-notable residents to articles. If the person is extremely notable, their place of birth/hometown will be widely reported (a la Michael Jackson) and likely would meet the reliable source standard for inclusion in the municipality article.DCmacnut<> 02:40, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

Draft #1

Above please find a first and very rough draft of the proposed guideline changes based on our discussion above. This would be inserted into WP:Notability (people) in place of the current Lists of people section. I have tried to look back and incorporate everyone's thoughts and concerns while accounting for existing policy. Please share your thoughts on this draft, and let me know if I missed something, where I was way off base, where I am right on, etc. --JBC3 (talk) 18:42, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

Thanks, but that's really not a constructive response. Either you believe there is no problem, or you believe there is a problem, have a different opinion about how to fix it, but don't want to contribute. Seeing as how you bothered to respond at all, I'm guessing you have some thoughts, so please share them. --JBC3 (talk) 03:49, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
  • It's not a constructive response, it's a defensive one. We already have too many rules, and we have a serious problem with TLDR: not enough people read them. And I think the people whose behaviour you're trying to control with this, won't read it, or will ignore it; so it only inconveniences the rest of us.—S Marshall Talk/Cont 07:29, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
  • I heartily endorse this initiative! This species of connective trivia is an embarrassment to Wikipedia. Suggestions for the draft:
  1. "limited to providing such context" lacks a clear antecedent. "limited to their role in the context of the article's subject" might be clearer.
  2. Rather than "a notable relationship to the subject," how about "a significant influence on the subject" instead? Two reasons: (a) It makes a cleaner break from the old mindset of drawing connections and puts the focus squarely on writing about the subject. (b) Reliable sources for a significant (in the context of the subject) influence should be adequate. Something significant to a big city would surely meet WP:N, but that may be setting the bar too high for smaller ones.
  3. Similarly, "substantive relationship an individual has to the subject" could be recast as "substantive influence of the person on the subject." I don't think "influence" is too strong, for it covers everything from transformative impact on a community's history to small-town-boy-makes-good boosterism, where the latter is verifiably substantive.
  4. On the other hand, I am a little uncomfortable using "Someplace City boasts or promotes itself" as the only example. Not that I think the bar should be raised, but a single example invites people to interpret it as typical rather than minimal. Just a thought.
I hope this proposal gains traction. Some links to other guidelines or policies might help give it legs, but I don't have specific suggestions at this time. ~ Ningauble (talk) 21:56, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
I oppose this proposal. To answer the question posed by JBC3, I think the six example articles are improved by the inclusion of the "notable residents" lists. This is information that some readers would find interesting, and those that don't can easily skip over the section. JamesMLane t c 08:37, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
  • I disagree with this proposal. For starters, notable alumni are in many cases a very important aspect of a school, indicating the place in history it has, the quality of its education, the type of public it gets (for e.g. schols with loads of royalty) and so on. I wrote Institut Saint-Luc: the list of comics artists that are alumni of this school is an illustration of the impact the comics division has had. I also explains this in the text, but the list is a good indication as well. What a discography or bibliography or filmography is for an artist, is the list of alumni for a school.
For villages, the link is less clear. But e.g. a city like Antwerp was for a while one of the major art centres of Europe, and this is reflected in List of people from Antwerp. The link between Antwerp and many of these people is not conicidental: when you live in a city or region where some form of art is prominent, there is a much bigger chance of you becoming such an artist as well. See also List of people from Nashville, Tennessee and the section on musicians and so on. Of course these list, and many others, could do with more context, more explanation: but to change this into prose without any list would not be feasible or helpful. Birtplace (and places where people spend a significant amount of time) ar considered notable, and the chance of having two otherwise unrelated people with the same birthplace is often noted by reliable sources. E.g. that Karl Malden and Michael Jackson both were from Gary, Indiana is noticed in many sources like the Times[19]. People visit the birthplace of famous persons, cities build their tourism around their famous inhabitants: this is a central aspect of towns and cities, no matter if they have any merit in what became of the inhabitant or not. It is an important aspect of the image of a city. Fram (talk) 09:00, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose per reasoning of fellow opposers. This smacks of WP:CREEP and the lists are often (though of course not always) interesting/useful. Unnecessary policymaking. --Cybercobra (talk) 09:06, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose per reasons mentioned by my fellow opposers. Wikipedia is extremely good at collecting and organizing facts; it is not good at engaging in open-ended analysis of issues like "degree of influence". I have found these sorts of lists, in particular, to be among the more useful (and interesting) types of factual collections that you can find on Wikipedia, and it would not improve the encyclopedia to start demolishing them.--Arxiloxos (talk) 18:36, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
  • I agree with the intent of this proposal. I've looked at the six examples, and I personally don't see how the lists contribute to the article itself. Firstly, they're lists, and would be better off, in my opinion, as prose. I'm not sure if any sources in the articles actually agrees with the lists, but I think any "Notable residents of..." sections should be plentiful of inline citations, which the lists I looked at didn't have a lot of. I very weakly agree with any tourist promotion of "So-and-so lived here!", when the community wasn't affected by the person living there. It is verifable evidence that the person did live there, after all. --I dream of horses (talk) 19:15, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Although I can see where it's coming from in some cases, I agree with other opposers. Also, I find alumni quite interesting (=> encyclopedic). - Jarry1250 [ humourousdiscuss ] 19:27, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
  • I'd like to take some time and address some misconceptions held by the "opposers". First- whether or not this proposal becomes a guideline or policy (or added to an existing one which seems likely) the fact of the matter is that by consensus- lists of trivia are already not acceptable notable people are trivia. Any argument stating "the lists are good" is already disregarding the standards for our articles that lists of "things" are not to be placed in an article, except for specific small exemptions. An argument based on a prose-written section of notable people is a good thing is understandable, and the difference between that and the proposed policy is that the above policy has stricter criteria for inclusion. Can we all agree that prose is the preferred way and not a list and that the differences between our viewpoints is the criteria of inclusion for a person in the article? If so then we have come a long way and can work on just that aspect instead of arguing over lists that are already discouraged. Another misconception- concept of creep. This is not creep as it is codification of existing consensus among the community of users who work on settlements (for the lack of a better word for cities, towns, etc). This issue has already been settled among those of us in the settlement article working community, there is no creep, there is no NEW rule to "learn" or read about. Newbies and those that violate it are already corrected and now there will be a place to direct them of the policy where they CAN read about it and become a better editor. We should never shy away from codifying an existing consensus because "people wont find it nor read it", they'll be directed to it soon enough and I have the good faith belief that people who edit Wikipedia do want to learn our standards and do want to read things. If they were ignorant and illiterate I dont think they would (or could) contribute in the first place. The statement that editors wouldnt read the policy implies they have an intentional want of ignorance, that they are illiterate, lazy, or anarchist. While I have dealt with quite a few contributors are intentionally ignorant I have yet to meet one that is illiterate, most are the opposite of lazy as contributing to Wikipedia takes some hard work, and well- anarchists, while I respect their goals (or lack of them as the case may be) they have no place in policy considerations. In conclusion I reject any arguments based on wp:creep or "lists are good" on face value of simply being not accurate representations of the facts or legitimate debating points. Please restate in a proper debating format any complaints based on facts. Oh, and this isnt a vote, while your opinions matter and are considered and respected, stating "oppose" as if this was a vote and can kill this proposal is ridiculous and means nothing and only lends to your side being ignored. Debate on the facts of the matter and on legitimate concerns regarding the policy, those that simply state "Oppose per blah blah blah" are bobbleheads and are not trying to get across legitimate concerns, change the proposal for the better, or learn something new that may change their minds. A debate is an open forum for those with open minds. Now please say something that makes me say "you have a point and I'll reconsider my position".Camelbinky (talk) 21:51, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
You start with a false premisse, making the rest of your post not really relevant. The alumni are not trivial, but an essential part of the history of the school. The list of alumni in BRIT School is not trivial, but noteworthy, indicating the impact the school has had: this is also noted in articles like [20] and [21]. So such lists do not violate any current policy or guideline, just like a list of schools in a city don't necessarily violate any guideline or policy. And no, I don't agree that prose is always better: we need prose to indicate what makes the list noteworthy, but when you have too many names, you can't include them all in the prose. Prose uses examples, lists can be exhaustive. Finally, if you would write shorter paragraphs (or posts), and would not call people names (like bobbleheads), and would address both sides in the same way ("I endorse" is not different from "Oppose"), you may get more attention. Fram (talk) 08:34, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
"The name Latham Circle has since been used in the name of many local business', including a shopping mall, soccer team, diner, and taxi service." I honestly believe that the fact that a diner and a taxi service have taken the nama of a road intersection is much, much more trivial that the fact that some schools have produced a significant number of notable people, as evidenced by a list of such people. That the trivial info in the intersection article is in prose form is not really any better than if it had been in a list. Wouldn't it be better if you first used your standards on your own edits, and only then started to lecture people? Fram (talk) 08:43, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  • I was just thinking about this "problem" in the context of alumni lists. Fram just brought up the example of BRIT School's alumni, and I think that provides a perfect example of some problems that we have with these alumni lists in general.

    Firstly, people regularly use these lists to add themselves, or some random alumnus—despite the longstanding consensus that some form of notability standard is needed. I think it's necessary to clarify this as a matter of policy, using something like the proposal above (or the old, unadopted Wikipedia:Notable alumni), in order to be able to succinctly and politely explain exactly why changes were reverted. Given that a lot of new or unregistered users make some of their first edits by adding themselves to the alumni list of their high school or university, it serves a practical purpose to be able to point to a policy that clearly outlines what is generally acceptable. (Right now, a new user would probably get lost somewhere between WP:N, WP:BIO and WP:L.) So I support the idea that we specify something here.

    Also, Fram makes a fair point that identifying prominent alumni can reflect upon the school. Given that possibility, I don't think it would necessarily be wise to ban alumni lists entirely. However, we should rely upon reliable sources to identify the causal link between alumnus and school. For example, the fact that several notable alumni graduated from a school should not allow us to make the implication that the school had anything to do with their notability (or vice versa)—that's original research unless verified by a source. (So, in Fram's example, to make a claim that the graduates as a group confer notability on the school, and therefore make the list useful, one would need to cite sources—like the ones he provided—to back up the individuals named, or the claim of notability in the text.

    In a more general sense, however, there's one big thing missing from almost all of these alumni lists: verification that the person listed was in fact an alumnus of that school. I strongly suggest that any policy of this nature ought to insist upon a citation of this fact, for every person so listed.

    So, moving beyond the topic of alumni, I think that lists of people in articles would generally benefit from strict notability and verifiability criteria. Otherwise, you might end up with lists like Creative Artists Agency#Notable people represented by CAA (as at this revision). Cite a source establishing membership in the group, and demonstrate notability in that context (either in the list, or on that person's Wikipedia page if one exists).

    Regarding instruction creep: we need some regulation—but how much is enough (vs. too much, too little)? This is the place to specify it, and as long as we create requirements that logically follow from the current principles, and provide a more efficient way to equitably resolve recurring issues, I don't think we should jump to the conclusion that this represents the path down the slippery slope. TheFeds 04:52, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

I would like to thank the Feds for his/her(?) post. That is the very model template of what a post in a village pump discussion should look like! Concise, clear, and gave points on how things can be better. Im not going to comment on Fram's ridiculous comments regarding what other articles I have written do/do not have. Regarding all this talk about school alumni- I dont give a crap, I dont like how this has focused so much on schools. That is not where this proposal started. I guess in the format it has ended up at it does mention lists in schools, but this started because in settlements/cities articles lists of famous people ARE considered to be trivia and ARE asked to be modified or taken down, and this proposal stemmed from a discussion on what would be the best thing for those articles, ie- to take them down, or to make the inclusion criteria stricter; there was a parallel discusion on prose vs. list, which Wikipedia standards have always preferred prose to list in every GA, FA, peer review I have ever seen. (Go ahead, name some more articles of mine that violate that. Dont care and irrelevant!) Lists of notable people (like JBC3 has said, and how thefeds just said) need to be RELEVANT and verifiable. First- show the person actually went there, second- SHOW THAT IT IS NOTABLE AND RELEVANT TO THE ARTICLE THAT THEY WENT THERE. Not everyone who is famous that attended a certain school should be included, because it isnt relevant that they went there. Jimmy Carter attended some classes at Union College in Schenectady, but his time there and in that city are not relevant to either his life nor to that of the college or the city, there was no impact on any of the three, but in a list many would want to mention him simply because he is a former president and therefore it adds a certain something-something to the school's article to have a former pres attend. This proposal attempts to stop such "notable people" from being included in an article when they have had no impact on the school/city/whathaveyou. A strict policy of "you need more than the fact they attended" is needed. This policy is not saying "no lists", it is simply saying "show that SOMEWHERE it is mentioned that these people have had an impact on the school/city or the school/city has had an impact on them". To simply list famous journalists who graduated from University of Missouri because MU claims to have a great journalism school and therefore any famous journalist alumni bolsters that image and therefore should be included is simply boosterism and OR; even if the college material states "our journalism school is top-notch and has included alumni such as x, y, and z" that is self-promoting with an obvious bias as it is coming from the school itself and would never pass being challenged at the Reliable Sources noticeboard. An outside source needs to state that "because x, y, and z went to the journalism school of MU they were able to become famous" or "x and z have both stated it was thanks to the excellent experience at MU that they are where they are today at FOX news channel 69" THEN it would be acceptable to put them in a notable alumni list. The opposers of this proposal seem to think "the list is important because it can show that alot of people of a certain profession went there". That is something that should be independently verified and put in the body of the article, not something that should be shown by a list of notable people, again that would be OR and simply boosterism. Boosterism seems to be the motivation behind alot of these lists. Blatant boosterism is what we are trying to eliminate and such boosterism is already prohibited by Wikipedia guidelines and policy, this proposal only clarifies that this IS indeed boosterism and therefore existing policy applies.Camelbinky (talk) 01:21, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
Again, personal attacks in a much too long paragraph post. One fatal error you start with, is "Wikipedia standards have always preferred prose to list in every GA, FA, peer review I have ever seen": what about featured lists? Anyway, you can see Wikipedia:Embedded lists: "sometimes the information in a list is better presented as prose paragraphs" Note: sometimes, not always. Fram (talk) 14:48, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
It is not a "personal attack" if I am attacking your ideas! Get it straight! Saying "you are an idiot" is a personal attack, which I have not said about you; whereas saying "your ideas and opinions are idiotic" are NOT a personal attack. Attacking your ideas is no different than your post attacking a traffic circle article I did and saying that that I am a hypocrite for not following what I am proposing. Nothing in your last post has ANYTHING to do with this proposal! This proposal is about making the standards of what is to be included in A LIST stricter and more inline with Wikipedia guidelines. You are bringing up strange tangents and are the one spending all your time attacking me. Try doing what the Feds did, and what I have done in my posts, and spend your time pointing out the good of YOUR position and the bad of the opposite. You havent done that. Answer this question- Why do you feel the proposed stricter criteria (as expanded upon by the Feds in his last post, as it clarified and articulated new better ideas) should not be codified into policy? And for the record, things like "its creep" have already been discredited by the Feds, JBC3, and myself, so please something legit. For the record- the Fed's post was as long as mine. I can have as long a post as I want and find no reason to separate into paragraphs. Those comments you made WERE PERSONAL ATTACKS. So practice what you preach. Perhaps if your posts were longer I'd understand your position as something other than "I like lists". This is the last time I am going to try and teach you how to debate and use proper debating etiquette and format. If you cant discuss in a debaters format in the Village Pump then I'm going to ignore you and anything you have to say. I thought at first that JBC3 did the right thing bringing this proposal here first to get the community's thoughts, but now I think he should have brought it straight to the talk page of the relevant policy where by now it probably would have been incorporated to the said policy.Camelbinky (talk) 00:41, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
Since I have not used anything remotely resembling "it's creep", it's a strawman to bring that up, and again needlessly makes your post longer and harder to read. And how is saying that your post is hard to read due to the combination of length and lack of structure a personal attack? There is no need to shout, by the way.
I notice that you have not actually replied to my last post, which states that contrary to what you claim, we have no policy or guideline indicating that lists should be replaced by prose. Like TheFeds noticed, I provided solid evidence that lists of alumni may be perfectly acceptable in some cases, so a policy stating that "*an article on a college should not include a list of notable alumni" is not acceptable and not realistic at all.
In a previous post, you state that "Jimmy Carter attended some classes at Union College in Schenectady, but his time there and in that city are not relevant to either his life nor to that of the college or the city, there was no impact on any of the three". However, his biography at the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum, which isn't very long, considers it clearly important enough to include it[22], making it verifiable and noted. It has been mentioned in many, many news articles, e.g. the fact that he and Chester Arthur both went there[23] or that he went back there during campaing[24]. And BusinessReview spends a whole article on alumni of Union College and other nearby colleges and universities, making the topic verifiable and notable.[25] (see e.g. the final two paragraphs).
You also claim that FA's and GA's don't have lists of notable residents. And the proposal states that "Generally, articles should neither contain nor stand alone as lists of people". But many FA's about towns have in the see also section a link to the list of people from that town, e.g. Lethbridge and List of people from Lethbridge, or Louisville, Kentucky and List of people from Louisville, Kentucky, or Tulsa, Oklahoma and List of people from Tulsa, Oklahoma. The same goes for FA's about educational institutions: Stuyvesant High School has a short list of the most notable alumni, and a link to the longer List of Stuyvesant High School people. Baltimore City College has a section on notable alumni with a link to List of Baltimore City College people.
So lists of people are commonly accepted, and have been the subject of attention in reliable sources. The proposal would remove the list of people from Haverhill, Massachusetts completely, despite the fact that the city thinks these people are an essential element of the town (itsidentity, marketing, ...), and this isremarked upon by the media[26]. Our own list of people from Lehigh Valley is even used as a source by the Baltimore Sun[27].
I do of course agree with TheFeds that every entry on such a list should be verifiable (and preferably independently sourced), and that people should not add themselves to these lists, but that is not directly related to this proposal. Fram (talk) 08:17, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose I believe that notable alumni in university and college artciles and notable fans in football articles are fine. Jezhotwells (talk) 08:30, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Reiterate opposition. My comment above in opposition focused on the value of lists of residents of a town or city. Because so much of the subsequent discussion has emphasized lists of alumni in school articles, I'll add here that I think those are also worth keeping. JamesMLane t c 08:44, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
I'll try to make this short, I DONT CARE ABOUT IF IT IS IN A LIST FORMAT OR NOT! THAT IS NOT WHAT THIS PROPOSAL IS ABOUT. Read carefully please- This proposal is about making the criteria for inclusion into a list of notable people stricter. For inclusion to a list about notable people there must be shown a substantial verifiable connection between the place and the person that is mentioned in a third-party publication, simply being from a place or going to a place is not enough whether verifiable or not (Washington Slept Here being a common example of not acceptable material). And while I'm at it CAPITAL LETTERS ARE NOT SHOUTING, please do not use unnecessary Myspace and IM-like terminology here at Wikipedia, I am too old to care about stupid things like that. This is written material, shouting implies I am speaking to you, you are reading not listening, capital letters do not strain eyes any more than lower case (in fact lower case letters are a, relatively speaking, recent invention and were not invented to "lower the strain" on eyes). You have not commented on anything to do with the proposal other than to comment that you like lists, I'm ignoring anything you have to say, you dont know how to debate or comment in a format that the Village Pump has traditionally been used for. As to the person who commented "lists of fans of football" in articles is ok, well, that would be non-notable anyways and I hope if those really exist they get deleted. And again- this isnt a vote, the Village Pump is a DISCUSSION FORUM, why is everyone voting and saying "i think lists are good", TRY TO MAKE THE PROPOSAL BETTER OR STATE WHAT IS WRONG WITH IT. Anything else is counterproductive and can and will be ignored. This isnt a vote on AfD.Camelbinky (talk) 22:40, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

Draft #2

Information.svg Some editors may mistakenly believe this to be a referendum on the drafts presented above and below. On the contrary, this is meant to be a forum by which a constructive discussion can take place by which a concensus can be reached on the wording of an already existing guideline. Rather than support or oppose, please comments on how to improve this draft, such as what to take out and what to put in. I have attempted to alter this draft based on comments made about the previous draft. Anything agreed to here will likely be used further in a RfC to obtain broad-based concensus. Please note that the last two paragraphs are already part of existing guidelines. --JBC3 (talk) 19:35, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

--JBC3 (talk) 19:35, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

I believe the current wording of WP:Notability (people)#Lists of People is sufficient, and preferable. Limiting these lists on the basis of notability is sensible. Determining "the influence the individual had on the subject" is an open-ended analytical task of a sort that Wikipedia is simply not good at, and should be avoided.--Arxiloxos (talk) 03:19, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
I also don't see the need to add anything to the current guideline. The only thing that I can see as a possible addition (though it states the obvious) is that, when challenged (or when potentially contentious), every entry has to be sourced in the list itself, not just in the article about the person (if he or she already has one). "an understanding of the subject that would not otherwise be possible without the individual's inclusion." is a way too strict expression: info is not only included if it is essential for the understanding of a subject, but also as additional information with a clear relation to the subject. As long as that clear relationship is there, there is no problem to include it (apart from length reasons, which is why we ofetn have separate lists instead of embedded ones). Fram (talk) 08:38, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Arxiloxos and Fram that we don't need a change here and that current guidelines are sufficient. As to Fram's point about a possible addition, that seems to be covered at Wikipedia:Lists#Listed items. Of course, some of that language could be transferred over to WP:Notability (people)#Lists of People to help editors. -- Noroton (talk) 17:55, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

Draft #3

Lists of people

Many articles contain (or stand alone as) lists of people. Inclusion in these lists should be determined by the notability criteria above. Furthermore, every entry in such a list requires a reliable source attesting to the fact that the named person is a member of the listed group.

For instance, articles about schools often include (or link to) a list of notable alumni, but such lists are not intended to contain every graduate of the school—only those with verifiable notability. Editors who would like to be identified as an alumnus/alumna should instead use the categories intended for this purpose, e.g. Category:Wikipedians by alma mater.

  • I've added another draft above that incorporates some simplifying copyedits to the existing text, and incorporates the consensus that we should have verifiability for people included in lists.

    I've pulled out the sentence "Because only notable people should be included in lists, the use of the words "famous," "notable", "noted," "prominent," and the like should be avoided in their descriptions, and should not be included in the title of the section or article." That seems to be geared toward stand-alone lists (whose titles are also page titles), and because there is value in using a title like "Notable alumni" to remind people that these aren't indiscriminate lists (subtly advising them not to add themselves and their friends, unless notable). TheFeds 18:32, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

I don't think the type of minor change represented in Draft#3 needs to be discussed here. I interpret this as taking a position against the proposal that simply coming from or going to a place is not enough.
I disagree because I think it is evident that cross-listing every single notable person at each of their places of residence or attendance would be indiscriminate. As WP:NOTDIRECTORY says, "there is nothing wrong with having lists if their entries are famous because they are associated with or significantly contribute to the list topic." As I see it, the problem is that Wikipedia:Notability (people)#Lists of people blurs or denies the distinction between notability as a guide for inclusion of an article on the subject and the entirely distinct question of relevance for inclusion in an article on another subject. If it is beyond the scope of WP:PEOPLE to provide guidance on where to draw the line, it should at least acknowledge the distinction. ~ Ningauble (talk) 21:07, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
  • I don't mean to oppose the idea that a higher standard than "attendance" or "membership" is useful. (Note that it says "Inclusion in these lists should be determined by the notability criteria above.") I just wanted to codify the extent of the changes that appear to have reached a broad consensus. There's probably still more discussion needed about the nature of the standards for inclusion.

    I'm going ahead and changing the guideline text as I proposed; if we generate consensus to add the items up for discussion in the earlier drafts, by all means edit them in as well. TheFeds 16:13, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

Election notice: please distribute widely

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As you may be aware, there is concern that the sitenotices regarding submission of candidacy for the Board of Trustees election were not seen anywhere but Meta after the 11th of this month. Because of the potentially massive consequence of this, and to encourage a full and active election, the election committee has determined that:

- Candidacies will be accepted through July 27th at 23:59 (UTC)

- The period for questioning candidates begins immediately. Candidates that are "late to the party" will, no doubt, be scrutinized by the community. The Committee hopes that the community will work to actively ensure that all candidates receive equivalent questioning.

- The dates of election will not change. The election will begin on 28 July and end on 10 August.

Please know that we recognize the radical nature of altering the schedule in the midst of the election and would not do it if we did not absolutely believe that there was a possibility that others may be interested and qualified and may not have known about the key dates.

For the committee, - Philippe 09:13, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

Looking at WP:ATHLETE

Please forgive me for soapboxing (or voicing a concern rather) this is I hope the right venue for it. I've been at WP for a year and a half and the one policy that has continually bothered me is why we give professional athletes a blanket exception to the general notability guideline and the requirement for non-trivial secondary coverage that biographies of living persons in every other profession are required to satisfy.

I'm not arguing against the inclusion of Olympic athletes or those who have made the world championships, my problem is specifically with situations such as when a player who is called up from the minor leagues or reserves after an injury, makes a single non-noteworthy appearance and then goes back into the reserves the following week. I question why the player in question should be presumed notable because of that single appearance even when there is no significant coverage. I feel this violates the core tenant taht Wikipedia is an encyclopedia that reports on notable subjects and is not a sports almanac. Why the same standard we apply in almost every other situation shouldn't be applied to athletes is what I don't understand. - 2 ... says you, says me 17:35, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

If anything our guidelines for athletes are more restricting than any other category. Athletes receive far more non-trivial coverage than virtually any other subject. As such, many athletes that would easily pass the GNG fail ATHLETE. The reverse situation where a professional meets ATHLETE but fails the GNG is quite rare. --ThaddeusB (talk) 18:54, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
Really the correct venue is Wikipedia talk:Notability (people) to see about getting a change to the guideline, but unfortunately it is not likely to happen. For what it is worth I sympathize with you; I do not believe any sub-guideline should relax the GNG, but should instead apply additional criteria by which to judge notability. In any event, I believe the "justification" for WP:ATHLETE is a presupposition that anyone meeting those criteria will more than likely have sources sufficient to meet the GNG if one looks hard enough. I personally disagree but the consensus to date dictates otherwise. Shereth 17:40, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
The reason why athletes are special and fall outside of the GNG abiding only to WP:ATHLETE is complex:
Those trivial mentions of athletes are understood to be "significant coverage", in which "sources address the subject directly in detail" so editors such as ThaddeusB argue that athletes do respect GNG after all.
Because of that understanding a huge number of athletes became GNG compliant therefore WP:ATHLETE arguably came to restrict rather than include.
The question then becomes: Why were those "trivial mentions" of athletes allowed to be understood as if they were "significant coverage"?
  1. Athletes are very popular so Editors like to write about them and people like to read them. So IMO there was lobbying.
  2. It's very hard to define "trivial mentions" or "significant coverage".
  3. Wikipedia is WP:NOTPAPER, as someone told me, so really there isn't any practical problem derived from the fact that those articles exist.
Don't waste your time fighting WP:ATHLETE, I used to fight it but I've given up. Given the huge implications and great support for it there is no chance of WP:ATHLETE being changed. You should instead advocate policies that increase the average quality of WP:ATHLETE protected articles. EconomistBR 01:58, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
I also have issues regarding the blanket exception to the notability guidelines that WP:ATHLETE gives, but I just don't think there's enough of a movement to change it yet. Perhaps a well-publicized RfC can be drawn up on the guidelines? ThemFromSpace 03:58, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

As someone who has created a couple of articles on athletes, I agree that the blanket coverage based on "professional" has issues. However, my view is more based on the arguments regarding what is professional, and how far down the list that notability should extend. There is vastly differing opinion regarding what is encyclopaedic, and what is 'fancruft' for want of a better word. I think from an encyclopaedic point of view, playing for ones country, say at the Olympics, has encyclopaedic value, but playing fourth level football anywhere is generally not so. This is where WP gets drawn more towards a 'sports almanac' and further away from 'encyclopaedia'. There are many arguments currently about League of Ireland players because the shady line (arguably) doesn't quite cover them, yet they are probably more notable playing in Ireland's top league than England 4th league players. Same argument applies probably to half the countries listed here.--ClubOranjeT 06:15, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

Adding up numbers?

If I got a number from adding up numbers from several different pages, how do I cite it? Here's why I'm asking:

I want to view articles on Manhattan neighborhoods, look at the definition of the boundaries of each neighborhood, and then use American FactFinder to find the population of each block within that definition, and add them up to find the population of the neighborhood. How do I cite the reference? Someone the Person (talk) 15:19, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

You can't. That's synthesis and original research. → ROUX  16:22, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
You could argue it's a routine calculation --Cybercobra (talk) 17:59, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
(edit conflict) If the boundaries of the neighborhoods (to the block level) are well-sourced to a reliable source and the block populations are well-sourced to a reliable source, the simple addition of the populations is not original synthesis or original research. It's just first-grade mathematics. See WP:NOTOR for more discussion. Anomie 18:18, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
the best way to present this might be as a table of all the data. Then everyone can check the original numbers--and also your addition.DGG (talk) 03:20, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
DGG's suggestion seems to be the only reasonable solution for areas without formally defined boundaries (i.e. most if not all of NYC neighborhoods: "It runs roughly from Canal Street south to Park Place (or Vesey Street)"). But going down to individual blocks creates unacceptably long data tables... Roux put it sharply but he seems to be right. NVO (talk) 20:53, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

(outdent) Take a look at how I did something similar to unincorporated towns of Saint Michael and Temvik, North Dakota. I didn't attribute the population to the towns, but rather described the census block ranges and their respective populations.DCmacnut<> 13:58, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

Requests for moratoriums on publishing details of the capture of David Rohde and Bowe Bergdahl...

I had questions about the wikipedia's compliance with a NYTimes request to honor a moratorium on publishing any details about the capture of NYTimes journalist David Rohde.

Yesterday the Taliban released a video of captured GI Bowe R. Bergdahl. Today the DoD released his identity. In the fourth reference I read while working on that article I saw that Bergdahl's father had requested a moratorium on publishing any details about his capture.

Because the moratorium request for Rohde's capture was discussed here I thought I would note that Bergdahl's family had also requested a moratorium.

Cheers! Geo Swan (talk) 17:49, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

Some questions about this idea: Why not repost this on the talk page for the article? (As of now, that talk page doesn't exist.) You could post a link there to some news account reporting on the father's request for a moratorium, and editors could consider the request. I don't know that a moratorium is very meaningful on a wiki, where the information we've already posted simply remains in the same spot. What would be the purpose of a moratorium on editing an already existing article? This isn't a rhetorical question: When news organizations present more stories, it keeps the matter in the public eye, but when Wikipedia articles are edited, that doesn't, by itself, provide more publicity. It's doubtful that an AfD would get the article deleted (would deletion be a good idea?). -- Noroton (talk) 18:18, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
CNN plastered Bergdahl's face all over the news. There is no way there's going to be a moratorium, let alone removal of legitimate content.--WaltCip (talk) 18:29, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

Capitalization in newspaper article titles

I copied and pasted the name of a newspaper article and later realized I forgot to capitalize the words properly. Someone actually reverted me![28] I can't find any policy on this.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 17:22, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

I'm confused. If they don't use capitals in their title, then we shouldn't say they do. Where's the question here? Greg Tyler (tc) 18:11, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
You're saying we should do what the newspaper does? I've always felt if the newspaper does it wrong we should do it right.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 18:15, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
If we were going to impose our house style, then that would mean not capitalizing every word in titles. What makes you think that's the "right" way of doing things? Algebraist 18:17, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

With the exception of obnoxious all-capital titles, we ought to preserve the title capitalization of any work we make reference to. It isn't useful to change them to fit style preferences, especially since title capitalization of news articles generally represents the news agency's own style guidelines. For titles rendered in all-caps, though, you can assume "standard" titlecasing is an acceptable variant. Gavia immer (talk) 18:20, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure it was the way I was taught, and it's the way I've always done it here. I suppose it would be easier if I was copying and pasting NOT to capitalize, but I'm certainly not going back and fixing what I already did. I can't believe it took me 5000 edits before I was told this, though I used to not follow my recent contributions so closely.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 18:28, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
It's not a policy issue, it's a guideline in the manual of style. See Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style_(capital_letters)#All caps for more.LeadSongDog come howl 20:06, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
Wait, there's a difference here. Titles written as all caps should be reduced to title case, because otherwise they look ugly (as said in the MoS link above). In any other situation, we should use the title the source gives - retaining their capitalisation. Greg Tyler (tc) 12:51, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
In general, I concur with Greg: keep the original capitalization, excepting titles using all caps. For an article title or something else prominent, this can be important. I'd find it pretty hard to keep motivated enough to argue over the capitalization in the title of some newspaper article being cited, though, either way. :) – Luna Santin (talk) 06:34, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
I guess when I learned all this, newspapers and magazines always did it the way Wikipedia movie, TV series, album or song articles do. I have run into a lot of all-captials titles on online databases.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 17:52, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

Just for everybody's information, in BibTeX, which is used by a large fraction of scientists for formatting their references (probably more than half of all mathematicians and physicists, for example), all unescaped initial capitals in titles but the first are automatically reduced to lower case. I always thought this was the English or at least American way of doing it, and in fact it's quite annoying for references in German because there are so many capital letters that need escaping. This is probably where a significant number of editors come from. Hans Adler 18:15, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

Measurements in firearm cartridge articles

It seems that the force of the bullet is primarily shown in foot-pounds in cartridges when the caliber is in inches with the measurement in Joules in parenthesis. Ex: .30-06 Springfield In cartridges whose name is in mm, joules is the primary measurement. Ex: 7.62x51mm NATO It seems awfully arbitrary to assign the unit of measurement based on the cartridge's name. Could it be changed so that joules is the primary measurement for all the cartridges, with foot-pounds in parenthesis? It would make it easier to compare them if you knew that all articles had the same format in the infobox. (talk) 17:45, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

You may wish to direct this issue to the Firearm talk page or the WikiProject Military history talk page, where it will get a more focused response. Askari Mark (Talk) 03:21, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
Thank you. I wasn't sure where the best place to post this was. (talk) 16:24, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
I think you'll have the best luck at WikiProject Firearms. — Satori Son 20:02, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

Image Enlarge Icon To Properly Present Enlarged Image

My greatest criticism of Wikipedia has always been the image enlargement policy whereby clicking the enlargement icon in the article takes the user to the image maintenance page where an enlarged image is found, but often with a checkerboard image background (indicating a transparency attribute), and surrounded with all sorts of clutter, including a file-cabinet load of legalese, the image caption lost in the clutter.

The importance of the enlarged view is crucial and the checkerboard issue arises in the case of technical data plots.

Can we please have what the user REALLY wants and that is an enlarged version of the image with caption preserved, perhaps an embellished caption, but certainly clutter-free with no checkerboard background or any other type of image maintenance information on glaring display? You can always put a link there to the maintenance page. Thank you. Rtdrury (talk) 21:43, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

Could you provide an example of this? The link isn't necessarily to enlarge the image, it's to provide the source, author, and license information. In the case of Fair Use images, we can't have them very large, and the "file-cabinet load of legalese" is required. Also, the caption is totally separate from the image; there's no way to carry it thru to the image because they are unrelated. Each image should have a general summary, though. EVula // talk // // 17:09, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
I believe Rtdrury is referring to the icon that appears when using the "thumb" attribute (as seen to the right). Rtdrury seems to be suggesting that clicking on that icon, which implies by its appearance that it will show the user a larger version of the image, should do simply that, rather than taking the user to the image description page (which must indeed contain all of the information you say). Powers T 19:10, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

Abolish the use of [dubious - discuss], [jargon], [who?], [weasel words], anything not citation related

This is extremely unprofessional. It is normal in literature other than wikipedia to cite things like this[1], and so therefore it is logical to stick a note expressing a lack of citation where it belongs in the space where a citation would normally go. However, I doubt you would find any style manual that tells you to insert notes about the text into it using syntax and punctuation which is derived from that of citing sources. This is a wikipedia-ism, and is very amateurish.

I agree that we should have some kind of better inline way or warning readers about problematic clauses in articles, but it needs, IMHO, to be something else. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:22, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

What would you propose as a solution? Feel fee to make suggestions, you are as much an editor as any of us. By the way, your question title and its content differ slightly. I don't think you mean to abolish the use of these tags, perhaps just modify their display and placement. Personally I don't mind the way they look or they way they are used now. I prefer the superscript style to having it inline for example, but it would be good to get more suggestions on this. On the other hand it is better to question a specific sentence IMHO than to stick a general tag in each section or at the top of the article. The other alternative is for editors to remove the offending sentences altogether, but that serves us and our readers rather poorly. Zunaid 12:08, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
I regard tags like [dubious - discuss] as being equivalent to proofreading marks, which does indeed indicate the article is unfinished. But if it really is unfinished, we should so indicate. --Jc3s5h (talk) 12:26, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
(ec) Everything on Wikipedia is unfinished. —Ost (talk) 14:52, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
  • To me, all those tags have the same (important!) function that a {{fact}} tag has: The information marked by it is to be taken with a grain of salt.
    It might look unfinished or unprofessional, but that's because the text marked by it is unfinished and unprofessional as well. If you have an alternative I'm all ears though. Amalthea 14:42, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
    • Agree with Amalthea -- I like the fact that these kinds of tags can honestly reflect the amateurish state of a part of an article. (They can also reflect amateurish antagonism, but hey -- we're amateurs!) When Wikipedia shows readers that its editors aren't claiming to be totally professional, our overall credibility actually goes up a bit, in a very healthy way. When repairs are needed but haven't been done yet, the equivalent of a "Caution: Construction Zone" sign is a good service to editors and readers. -- Noroton (talk) 17:49, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
    • Agree also. Wikipedia is not an old-style Encyclopedia. Part of its strength lies in being continuously edited. But that strength is also a weakness - some articles just aren't in perfect shape while being edited. It would be misleading to pretend that they are perfect when they are not. Readin (talk) 18:24, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Something like [who?] is citation related; it's indicating that a citation is needed for who has put forth the idea being stated. EVula // talk // // 17:57, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

Is the anon claiming that those tags are used too often, misused, should be changed, a combination of those or something completely different? I don't know what he wants to be done. SMP0328. (talk) 18:35, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

I had to use [dubious-discuss] a couple of weeks ago. I know, but I don't know the source, that Hurricane Hugo had sustained winds of 65 MPH when it hit Charlotte. The article claims the hurricane was still Category III. I'm hoping we'll get this resolved in a couple of months with the second anniversary of the storm. I called The Charlotte Observer a few years ago to request that they stop printing that winds were 89 MPH. Those were probably gusts, but you don't measure a hurricane by gusts. Hopefully after my action they'll make sure to get it right.
Or I could try an Internet search (I avoid unfamiliar sites here at home), or a database I recently discovered. A year ago, though, this wouldn't have been a problem as I would have still had access to all Observer articles from that era for free.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 17:59, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

One improvement might be to require each tag insertion that isn't a citation request to be accompanied by an explanation on the talk page. If not, that would be grounds for another editor to remove the tag. An explaination requirement would cut down on "drive by" tagging. All too often, for example, I've seen [dubious-discuss] tags with no discussion. The added effort of explaining the tag on the talk page might encourage editors to just fix the problem. Instead of tagging "Smoking is bad for you, according to experts." with a [who] tag, It would be better to change it to "Smoking is bad for you." with a reference, a fact tag or just remove the unsubstantiated statement. We have too many tags that sit there for years. Tagging should be kept to situations where an editor knows there is a problem but doesn't know how to fix it.--agr (talk) 19:13, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

I hate to suggest something that may not be possible, but suppose that tags on the article automatically created text on the talk page. What if instead of just putting "dubious" in brackets, the tag would only work if it were "dubious|explanation" and then the Dubious heading and explanation would appear on the talk page. This would both ensure that we get the talk page, and would make it immediately clear if someone did not have an explanation thus allowing other editors to delete the tag.
For some other tags, "who" for example, no explanation would be required, but the Who heading and some context around the tag would appear on the talk page. Readin (talk) 04:20, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
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