Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 7

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Contact us/Article problem

OTRS regularly gets emails from people who are told that in many cases (unless something exceptional's up), that OTRS team members cannot override community consensus, and that they need to edit the wiki themselves, or seek dispute resolution.

However, a user with a concern who sees "contact us" is presently directed to OTRS at the first resort, and a fair number of OTRS replies therefore say "we can't help, it's the editorial community" or "you can edit it yourself if you like". It's not the best communication we could have. We could explain the basics before pointing them to email.

I have added a short introduction to Wikipedia:Contact us/Article problem, so that users at least are clued in about community v. OTRS and how we handle problems, before clicking through to "What's the problem".

Can others review or improve this, as its a major page by which people contact us?


FT2 (Talk | email) 14:21, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for thinking of this, I like your text. Only the page structure seems problematic, though I am not sure how it can be fixed. I had not seen the pages before, so looking at them was a little usability test. (A site like Wikipedia should really have a proper one.) While the overall experience with the page is probably very good for most users, I am not sure about those who are on an adrenaline trip because they have just read some bizarre claims about themselves on their biography page:
  • Wikipedia:Contact us has a very visible link labelled "Report a problem". That's obviously for me. Good.
  • Why does the writing suddenly get smaller?
  • "Editorial community"? I am not going to read this. I want this server taken down. Immediately. Who can I yell at?
  • Three lines about some "OTRS email system". No need to read that either, because I can see at a glance that there is no [imagine an expletive] email address there! They are hiding from me!
  • At the bottom of the page it says I get priority with this "OTRS" nonsense, or something like this, but again no email address.
  • I call my lawyer.
I hope that my imaginary user is very rare in the real world, although his lawyer is unlikely to make us much trouble. With this user we have no chance to get it exactly right, but some of his concerns are actually valid. BTW, the bit about the green box was a lie. In reality I can't even see that without using the scroll bar. (Let alone the list below. Configuration: 1024x768, Windows XP+Firefox.) And I heard it's surprising how many users have never used a scroll bar.
Perhaps the structure of the contact page(s) should be designed by someone who does it commercially for big companies and gets truckloads of money for that. One could even think about stepping out of the usual Wikipedia frame, to make it absolutely clear that Wikipedia takes the user's concern very seriously. It would look as if we were stopping all other activities to accomodate and pacify them. Most will be prepared to learn a few things about Wikipedia after they have calmed down.
On second thought, perhaps it would be enough to have a kind of panic button on Wikipedia:Contact_us that leads to a very small and simple page like this one. The text of the link going there should of course make it clear that it is for exceptional cases like libel only.
Also, I suspect that the information about OTRS people being ordinary editors and having to build consensus first is even more likely to be read if it comes in an automatic reply from OTRS.
I hope some of this makes sense, otherwise just ignore it. --Hans Adler (talk) 00:55, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

What _is_ the email address for OTRS? I went to add it (since it seems obvious it should be there), and I can't find it anywhere. —Random832 21:06, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

Nevermind - I found it, it's just not obvious that the email address given is, in fact, OTRS. —Random832 21:10, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

Trying to find a policy

Not sure if this is the right place to ask this, but I've been trying to find a policy that basically says "Don't take an editor's word for it." I'm positive it exists, as I'm fairly certain I've seen it mentioned before. For example, just because someone says that they work at Disney, and therefore know something about upcoming projects doesn't mean that they do, as there is no way of knowing for sure, and as such anything they add based on their own knowledge cannot be accepted as fact. I'm not talking about WP:OR, but mainly for discussion pages on attempting to get a consensus on something. On an article on my watchlist, there is an IP editor who claims to have background on copyright and trademark laws. Is there a policy that would justify my skepticism that he does have such background? I'm fairly sure there is one, but I've been unable to find it. Anakinjmt (talk) 21:27, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

Sorry but I don't know where that policy might be. On the one hand one should assume good faith, including taking people's claims about who they are at face value and not accusing them of lying or misleading. On the other hand, on most matters we are a meritocracy where everyone's participation and views are important, and professionals are accorded no special status. We do our best not to have policies where specialized legal knowledge is necessary. Claiming in article space that one's opinions have special weight due to extra learning and expertise is seen by many as rude and improper; whatever one's credentials one's contributions to Wikipedia are only as good as the quality of the edits, and the appropriateness of edits is decided by consensus, adherence to policy, and verifiability, not by assertions of entitlement. In a few specialized areas such as policy arguments on non-free use policy or BLP defamation issues, certain editors are recognized by others as having some extra credibility but as a convention I think that extra respect is a personal decision by the audience, and has to be earned through reputation, not resume. An IP editor would have a hard time earning that credibility if nobody knows their edit history. It's not a matter of assuming bad faith, it's simply that you have to prove yourself to be taken seriously. Wikidemo (talk) 21:39, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps you are looking for WP:VERIFY? If someone adds something to an article and you "don't buy it", the best option might be to add {{fact}}. If it's someone on a talk page and you think something fishy if going on, maybe list at WP:RFC to get some experienced editors involved. --SB_Johnny | talk 21:44, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
No, not WP:VERIFY. I'm not exactly talking about good faith. More like, on a discussion page, someone says "No, it's right because I have a degree in this, and so I know." I don't think that's part of Verify. I'm certain there was some policy. Maybe it was an essay. I'll keep RFC in mind. Thanks anyways for your help. Anakinjmt (talk) 21:49, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
That sounds like part of WP:NOR and/or WP:CITE: You can't just claim something, you have to prove that someone else has proved it. (talk) 22:49, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
Yup, you're thinking of Wikipedia:Original research ("WP:OR") and Wikipedia:Citing sources ("WP:CITE"). OR covers that an editors own view or say-so, is never support for a challenged statement, however skilled and experienced that editor may be. We need actual published sources, not "hearsay". The term "original research" means "work that one has done oneself that hasnt been independently published" but also covers all forms of personal view, opinion, statement, deduction, or belief that aren't based upon independent sources if required. WP:CITE then says that if asked or needed, you must name the sources so others can check them too. FT2 (Talk | email) 23:05, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
That might be it. I might have combined the two, although now that I think about it, it seems to me what I'm thinking of also said something along the line of "Just because this editor SAYS they're this person doesn't mean they are." Other than that, I think I did pretty much combine the two (which, makes sense, as the two go together very well). Thanks again for your help! Anakinjmt (talk) 05:33, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, can't point to it directly, but there is a policy/guideline that says that editor X claims to be person Y in real life, an admin is to contact the editor (by email, I think) to confirm the identity. (Perhaps someone else can point more directly to this?) -- John Broughton (♫♫) 20:09, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
User accounts that claim to be, or are the names of, well known people are usually blocked and the claimed "owner" contacted to see if they're real. (talk) 00:41, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

Notability Question

If someone can cite an article using a specific word or phrase about a notable person, is that word or phrase automatically notable such that it should reasonably have its own article? Are some venues for publication considered more notable than others? In general, how do you determine if an article should exist on its own, or be merged into another article? See the talk page of Putinisms for more info on the situation. Cromulent (talk) 07:38, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

Removing false allegations from talk pages

A user recently used his talk page to allege that I and another user were sockpuppets. The "evidence" posted to this talk page has now been discredited and the user has been banned for disruption by ArbCom. Is it acceptible for me to remove this material from the talk page, or is there an appropriate procedure for requesting that it be removed permanently by an administrator? Thin Arthur (talk) 07:49, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

Banned users usually don't get user pages. There's a blocked indef template you could replace it with. Always good to ask the blocking admin, though. — Someguy0830 (T | C) 08:52, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Confidential evidence

Following certain recent events where editors believed by many to be of good conduct were indef blocked on the basis of "secret evidence", a number of editors proposed an addition to WP:BLOCK covering confidential evidence. The section gained a strong positive response.

The issues related to confidential evidence are too large for a subsection, and in any event, they extend outside the narrow limits of blocking policy. So a proposal emerged organically, for a separate policy page covering cases when misconduct may be alleged on the basis of evidence of a confidential, secret, or similar nature.

FT2 (Talk | email) 21:47, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

RfC: Reguarding publication of WWE match results and reliablility of broadcast episodes

An RfC was initiated at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Professional wrestling#RfC: Publishing embargo on televised WWE match results? regarding two separate issues, but somewhat related issues. That is whether there should be a publication embargo on the outcome of wrestling matches between the broadcast of a taping of Smackdown! in Australia and the rebroadcast of the same taping in the United States. The second issue of whether television broadcasts can be cited as a reliable source, particularly in reference to the broadcast of Smackdown!, or if most television broadcasts are considered "unreliable". --Farix (Talk) 23:02, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

This seems pretty cut and dry to me. Unless the events are done live for both locations, any television broadcast would be inherently reliable in regards to its content. I can't comment on wrestling specifically, but I can't see how it's different. — Someguy0830 (T | C) 23:04, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
To you man me, i tis pretty cut and dry. But to those who want to keep match results off Wikipedia until at least the US airing, then the Australian broadcast is unreliable because someone could be lying about it. Of course, it is WP:ABF to assume that a person is lying about a broadcast. --Farix (Talk) 00:20, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
No offense to the US fans, but they could just as easily be lying when it hits the US. I can't imagine a quick confirmation is all that difficult (, any WWE fansite), and to say that a broadcast is unreliable just because it's in a different country doesn't work. I'll admit I've cleared episodes that broadcast in different countries before, usually when the info is poorly written by IP editors, but I can confirm it fairly quickly. — Someguy0830 (T | C) 00:24, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
Anyways, I encourage you to add your 2¢ to the RfC discussion. --Farix (Talk) 00:49, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

Primary, Secondary and Tertiary sources at No original research

After many months of discussing the applicability of WP:PSTS section at WP:NOR, a yes-or-no question on its future has been posted to the talk page at WT:NOR#Let's find Waldo. Please feel free to comment on the inclusion of the Primary, Secondary and Tertiary sources definitions in that policy. Dhaluza (talk) 04:03, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

Merging RS and V

Plans are afoot to merge Wikipedia:Reliable sources back into Wikipedia:Verifiability. Relevant discussion here and in surrounding threads. Also see WT:V. About seven people have commented and it's 7-0 in favour. The basics:

  • The content of RS generally sucks and has since it began; it's unstable and hasn't ever produced canonical, lasting language. Even the people who edit it heavily agree on that. At present, the page has little useful content that isn't redundant with V. What is of use is being shuffled out.
  • Why on V? Because you can't define verifiability without defining reliable sources. What is verifiability but the state of being confirmed by reliable sources? as one editor put it. So why not have it in both places? The descriptions will be either a) redundant, which is pointless, or b) divergent, which is dangerous as it can create differing policy interpretations. There was divergence as of this morning: compare "If all the sources for a given statement or topic are of low reliability, the material may not be suitable for inclusion in Wikipedia" (RS) to the much more emphatic and memorable "If no reliable, third-party sources can be found for an article topic, Wikipedia should not have an article on it" (V).
  • RS was not started because of prompting from Jimbo or OFFICE but dumped in place as a kind of rambling essay. It's never been official policy.
  • Is this Wikipedia:Attribution redux? Are we next going to merge in NOR? No. This is a separate issue. We've arrived organically at the point where there is no use to the page. The concept of reliable sources is, of course, here to stay; a rich description of it will remain on V. Marskell (talk) 14:58, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
This seems well-thought out, and I see WP:RS has already been somewhat depopulated. As a suggestion to ease the transition, may I say that it would be convenient if someone set up a subpage which took what RS looked like a few months ago and indicated to which policy/guideline everything has been shifted and what has been deleted, to assist people in updating their mental bookmarks. Relata refero (talk) 18:09, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
I gather the intent is to leave the detailed content of RS nowhere. If there are problems about getting agreed language on a guideline page, it will be even worse on a policy page. As mentioned, ATT was rejected. 19:47, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
DGG, I think you may be mistaken here: it seems to be claimed on the talkpage that most of the content has been moved elsewhere. In any case, it would be nice to have things absolutely clear as to what is moved, and what is no longer valid. Relata refero (talk) 21:18, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
I will list where everything has gone. Basically, there were two descriptions of reliable sources, a weak one on RS and a strong one on V; the former is now gone. We don't need two. As I say, it's either redundant or divergent.
Most emphatically, this is not a redoing of ATT. The central feature of that was the V + NOR merger, which isn't happening. RS is a different beast. Because it was not created by Jimbo or OFFICE and has never been an official policy I think editors can organically merge it. Redirect it, more precisely. Marskell (talk) 12:29, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
Oh, and re the "detailed content of RS", I must ask: what detailed content? It hasn't had any for some time and when it did, in '05 and '06, it was a bloated. Marskell (talk) 12:33, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
Some history may be in order for those who don't know. WP:RS was originally split off from WP:V... for both negative and positive reasons. Negatively, it amounted to a POV fork. Positively, it was offered as a guidleline to explain what was meant by the term "reliable sources" (as used in three of our core policies). Unfortunately, It quickly became a sort of pseudo-policy, outlining what was reliable and what was not. Because of this, WP:RS has never been stable. I have personally been invovled in at least two complete re-write attempts, and there have been others. None have been satisfactory. One major problem has been that the Wikipedia community has never really reached consensus on what constitutes a reliable source and more importantly, what constitutes an unreliable source. Those who work on hard science topics have very different criteria than those who work on social science topics, and those who write articles on pop culture have yet a third concept of reliability. The guideline has been a constant debate... and what it said has swung between being seen as too strict and being seen as too loose like a pendulum.
For those who are fans of WP:RS, and are worried that this proposal means that the flood gates will open and we will get all sorts of unreliable sources being allowed in Wikipedia, fear not... It is very clear that the concept of requiring our editors to cite reliable sources to back what they say in our articles will remain sound. It is a concept that remains at the core of WP:V, WP:NOR, and WP:NPOV. That concept is not going away. If anything, the proposal to merge promotes the concept. Things that had guideline status will now be part of Policy. In other words... while guideline page WP:RS will go, the concept of Reliable Sources is being stengthened. Blueboar (talk) 18:03, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
I see nobody here has yet mentioned Wikipedia:Reliable sources/examples. I imagine the intention is to keep it renamed somewhere. It's an odd page, being neither policy nor guideline, and probably nonetheless containing the actual real meaning. there are also the RS-like sections Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons#Sources and Wikipedia:No original research and others, which also contain a good deal of the material. Personally, I would like to see this all consolidated properly and consistently, and the place to do so would appear to be as a page called directly Wikipedia:Reliable sources--instead of trying to de-fuse the issue by diffusing the content.
But perhaps that's unrealistic--we seem to be dealing with the disagreements by deciding to not discuss them. Ignoring the need for consistent general statements will make discussions more difficult and results more variable. maybe that's the intent--everyone will try to interpret things as conducive to the favored result for their favored articles. I realized early on here that this is what is meant by discussing "policy"--that is why I stick to AfD by and large, where at least it's explicitly over the specific articles.DGG (talk) 02:52, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
It is consolidated at Wikipedia:Verifiability#Reliable sources. That's our main RS wording. It's stable, tight, and has been gone over by a lot of our best editors. To repeat: Why on V? Because you can't define verifiability without defining reliable sources. The examples page is all the bloat that was left over from '05 and '06. I remember the first time I read RS (summer '05): it advised me to go to my local library, which I'd surely enjoy; I remember because I thought it so stupid. It was just a page to drop off mini-essays. V, of course, has changed over time but in a way that's made it steadily better. Marskell (talk) 12:52, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
well, that makes it an essay. i will be BOLD and rename and remark it accordingly. It is now Wikipedia:Reliable source examples At a quick reading, i see only one or two places where it does not in fact represent accurately what the consensus is in discussions of sources, but of course you or anyone is welcome to edit it. If you want to revert the move though, I would appreciate it if we discuss it first there. DGG (talk) 00:31, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
The essay tag is fine. It's the meandering that bothers me more than points made themselves. Just from the TOC, I don't like it. Put one way, just because you can think of an example doesn't mean we have to talk about it. Brevity is the soul of policy. I think we should start again with a short and simple Verifiability/FAQ. Marskell (talk) 07:29, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

Guidelines for protecting pages

I asked for a partial protection of the sodomy page. As you can probably guess, it's a big magnet for vandals. I was surprised that the proposal was rejected. At first a false reason was given (no vandalism?), and then later it was said by another admin or editor that it was not vandalized often enough. That article is a clear example of a page that needs protection. It could not be any clearer. There are very few anonymous IP users who have ever contributed anything that doesn't constitute vandalism on the page, if any. This is yet another example of being lenient to a fault on Wikipedia. - Cyborg Ninja (talk) 05:31, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

By my count, it has been vandalized twice in the past two weeks, and both times were reverted within a minute or two. That's hardly serious enough to justify protecting the page. If you want a page that's being vandalized enough to justify protection, look at the edit history of George W. Bush. --Carnildo (talk) 06:05, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
I agree. "Not enough recent vandalism to justify protection". Protecting pages that do not need protection is just against what Wikipedia is. - Rjd0060 (talk) 06:28, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
As a recent changes patroller and AIV-active admin, I can fully appreciate the frustration that stems from having certain articles that are vandalized on a regular basis, essentially in perpetuity. But the general community consensus is that we are willing to accept a limited amount of such vandalism in order to keep the open nature of the Wiki. It's obviously a tradeoff, but one that most of us are comfortable with.
There's also the honeypot theory: Some people are intent on vandalizing Wikipedia, and if the first article they come to is protected, they simply find another. Leaving those heavily vandalized articles unprotected and listed on numerous editor's watchlists actually allows us to detect and block IP vandals faster. (If anyone ever saw my watchlist, they'd think I was some kind of raging pervert who's really into politicians and celebrities!) — Satori Son 15:49, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

Romanization of Russian

This is a formal announcement to inform the community that a proposal to redefine the criteria of conventionality in the Russian language romanization guideline has been submitted and to solicit the community to review the said proposal and vote on it. The proposal is available at Wikipedia talk:Romanization of Russian#Proposal to re-define the criteria of conventionality. Thank you for your attention.—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); 17:32, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

Celebrities myspace accounts

I keep seeing these when I read articles about various celebrities. Most of the accounts look very fake and I don't know whether I should remove them or not. Many of them claim to be the "official myspace page of X", but their offical website has no mention about the myspace page. For example the page on Leila K contains an "official Myspace page" that seems to not be official and the artist herself is completely broke and lives on the streets. -Lapinmies 19:18, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

I don't know why we would use Myspace as a source for anything, not to mention that it is not reliable in the slightest. You're right, a lot of them are hoaxes (the "Official page of X" garbage). Myspace pages are like blogs, not reliable. - Rjd0060 (talk) 19:42, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
  • At best I can see these in a See Also section, but have mixed feelings about including even a link to something where the info is not verifiable. The term "official site" has always seemed odd to me. What does official mean? It seems to be an over used ambiguity. --Kevin Murray (talk) 19:49, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
Exactly. It all boils down to verifiability. Anybody can make a myspace page, and claim it is X's "Official" page (I guess it is supposed to mean that it actually is X's page, although I don't buy it). - 05:13, 22 November 2007 (UTC) Rjd0060 (talk) 05:21, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

ANI and AN

So I just read the history of the "Community Sanction Noticeboard" that was deleted earlier this month. That made me wonder exactly what is the distinction between the "administrator's noticeboard and the administrator's noticeboard/incidents" ? Don't the two overlap entirely? Shouldn't they be merged or one deleted? What actions or remedies should we seek? Belicia (talk) 04:05, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

The way I've always thought of the two: AN for basic "FYI" stuff, while ANI is for things that need administrator attention, somewhat urgent. By the looks of things right now, things on the AN, IMO, should be on ANI instead. I guess some people don't make any distinction between the two though. - Rjd0060 (talk) 05:12, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

License plate numbers in images?

Do we have any guidelines here for whether licence plate numbers can appear in images? This recently uploaded image [[1]] is of an unmarked (or personally-owned) police car in Slovakia. It's a beautiful shot but the plate number is clearly visible and I don't know if that's cool or not. Do we have any precedent about whether plate numbers need to be airbrushed out in this situation? Squidfryerchef 22:29, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

Good question. I can't think of any specific policy on it, though one could argue that it should be airbrushed or otherwise obfuscated in compliance for privacy and in keeping with the living persons guideline (since the license plate is only slightly less personal info than posting someone's DL number, at least in the US), especially for a personally-owned car. The license plate could trace back to a living person. So my off the cuff 2 cents is that a readable plate shouldn't be seen in an image. Collectonian 02:23, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Collectonian. Unless this person is ok with their license plate being shown, and has said as much, a courtesy blurring or blotting of the number would probably by the best option. I can't imagine such a modification would cause any problems in regards to attribution or license used. — Someguy0830 (T | C) 02:33, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
In general, I disagree. A license plate on image of a car (absent any other context) is not significantly identifying information. I can walk down any street and get dozens of license plates without knowing anything significant about their owners. Now if the caption said, this is Bill Person's BMW and it had an identified license plate, that would be entirely different. But I don't see any need to remove isolated pieces of information taken out of context, any more than I feel the need to blur out all of the potentially identifiable faces in photographs of a crowd.
All of that said, in this specific case of a license plate on an undercover police car, it is the kind of specific context where removing the plate is probably a good idea. Dragons flight 02:44, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
The police in this case could if they wanted have arrested the photographer if they didn't want the picture taken so why are we worrying about it .Garda40 19:46, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
I would say that in this particular case the courtesy blurring of an in service undercover vehicles plate would be an option. I would hazard a guess that the blurring of all non-relevant plates to halt possible identity theft is not within Wikipedia's remit. If some governments are silly enough to sell their licence databases to anyone who wants them (such as the US DMV), and those buyers charge one-off fees on the internet to anyone who wants all the information related to that plate isn't our problem. 03:16, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
I'm with Dragon's Flight. It's not exactly private when you slap it on your car and go for a drive (unlike your DL number or SSN, which presumably you keep to yourself). As for this image, it's not exactly undercover with that red light on the roof. Not sure I see a privacy problem with it. --Kbdank71 03:58, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
I'd just like to clarify. I don't think it's an unmarked in the sense that it's used for undercover detective work, i think it's for traffic enforcement. The notes with the pic said it was taken at such-and-such highway in Slovakia. Squidfryerchef 03:57, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

There may also be a law in that country that prohibits the disclosure and publication of police and other government vehicles for security purposes. Otherwise we could all produce a database on such vehicles which would pose a national security threat. Better to obscure the undercover vehicle's plate. --Andmark 15:55, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Beg pardon, but "While I don't have anything definite, there might well be a law against (blank) somewhere!" is not and has never been a justification for removing anything on Wikipedia, nor should it be; our standing orders are to report any legitimate legal concerns to WP:AN and the Foundation's full-time legal counsel) who will then bump it up the ladder to Jimbo as necessary. Any more than that is WikiLawyering and beyond our individual mandate to act.
For the record, and in keeping with the Project's status as a "neutral source of encyclopedic information", I oppose any material alteration of an image unless it's WP:OFFICE ordered or manifestly designed to improve the image in some inoffensive way. Bullzeye (Ring for Service) 21:01, 11 November 2007 (UTC)

I don't see any problem with showing this information. Tim Vickers (talk) 04:53, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

IMHO : Since we can get a name and address for a few bucks (and a SSN from there if you pay enough), the general rule should be to avoid showing a license plate. To state “Not our problem if DMV sells the info” is a bit short sighted. There is a difference between a single guy walking on the street, me placing the plate on my car for all to see (an obligation by law) and showing it to millions. Modern character recognitions also makes it a “big brother” issue. This being said, in this specific case, it’s a civil servant and I have liberal views on obtaining information on any government activity. They should have nothing to hide, be it a blue collar sleeping on the job in a city truck, a cop giving a ticket, or the mayor’s aid in a red light district. Finally I bow to Bullzeye’s opinion, if the picture is considered Art by the author he should have the last word on a case by case basis. YegLi (talk) —Preceding comment was added at 20:09, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

Possible major re-interpretatation of the use of fair use images

There is a discussion here which has implications for major re-interpretatation of the use of fair use images. Please provide input. Corvus cornixtalk 00:21, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

This is already being discussed above. -- (talk) 03:45, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
Thanks to some forks it's being discussed in about four places at once now. The most extensive, and central (in my opinion), discussion is at WT:NFC, via the link above.Wikidemo (talk) 09:07, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

Use of NFC in BLP articles - Please weigh in.

Note - for those, like me, not yet fully conversant with all the acronyms in use on Wikipedia, NFC stands for Non-free content and BLP is Biographies of living persons. Hope this helps,  —SMALLJIM  09:34, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

Could you people please weigh in here here. The issue at hand has to do with use of fair-use/non-free images on wikipedia and particularly on BLPs. I removed three fair use images from the Cillian Murphy article and it has set off a storm. Both sides are arguing their POVs with equal conviction and it seems to be raising tempers. Could somebody here please step in and settle this once and for all.

If memory serves me right, I have been prevented from using such screenshots from movies in the same manner as Cillian Murphy in the past. I cant find the diffs now, but I believe, I was told that such used didnt constitute fair use.. especially when the subject was alive.

So please address the core issues.

1) Are the fair use rationales used on for the three images (of which one got deleted and i believe is now in del review) on Cillian Murphy valid? 2) Is there a limit to how many fair-use/non-free images can be used on an article? Or is it simply, 'more the merrier'?

Please settle this once and for all and etch it into our policy. Because, if use of non-free content in the manner being used on Cillian Murphy or Preity Zinta is valid, there are hundreds of articles that are waiting to be 'improved' with such images. Really, how difficult is it to create screenshots from movies. If otoh, such use is not allowed, please let people know and stop them from attacking me. Thanks. Sarvagnya 22:19, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the note, for being frank about your involvement, and for laying this out neutrally for the most part. The counterargument is that there is no image use policy against using screen shots of an actor's performances in their bio article, no BLP problem or concern, it already passed muster in featured article review, and unilaterally deleting approved images from featured articles without so much as a speedy deletion notice is disruptive to the project.Wikidemo (talk) 23:50, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
Wikidemo, we've already heard your views over there. What is the point in repeating it here? My note was only an invitation to folks here to weigh in on the issue. The idea wasnt to repeat all our arguments here. Peace. Sarvagnya 01:18, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
Did you want a discussion here or there? If you want to start a discussion here, great, and I'm entitled to contribute here just like anyone else. If you want everyone to go over there, perhaps that could be more clear and without advocacy of what people should say over there. Cheerio. Wikidemo (talk) 01:41, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
  • I would say that BLP is irrelevant. The question hinges on the fair use of the pictures. If there is a concern, then the best option is to nominate the pictures for deletion and see what consensus is reached. Personally, I see no problem here and no reason to (a) remove the pictures and (b) take any further steps. --Kevin Murray (talk) 01:34, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
I concur with Kevin-- I do not see any reason why BLP has the least to do with it; it goes under the same copyright practices as anything else. DGG (talk) 01:47, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
I pretty much agree with Kevin and DGG, although, do you really need 3 fair-use pictures depicting him in roles? That just seems to me to be a bit much, possibly breaking fair-use policy. If so, I'd make them some of the more prominent ones, such as his role as Scarecrow in Batman Begins. Anakinjmt (talk) 05:37, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
From the guideline Wikipedia:Non-free content:
  • Significance. Non-free content is used only if its presence would significantly increase readers' understanding of the topic, and its omission would be detrimental to that understanding.
  • Film and television screen shots: For critical commentary and discussion of the cinema and television. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 20:06, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
The question however is, what constitutes critical commentary? Is there a good example of one? Does the manner in which it is used in Cillian Murphy constitute "critical commentary"? Sarvagnya 21:18, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
Sarvagnya, are you working on your Wiki-law-degree? --Kevin Murray (talk) 01:38, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
Come on, that's not civil, especially as he made a perfectly relevant remark. It's a long-established principle that "Here is X in role Y" does not count as critical commentary for FU purposes. Relata refero (talk) 07:39, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
Agree with Relata refero here, that comment was out of line, and Sarvagnya did give a very good summary of the key points. The issue with fair use images of living people is their replaceability--that it that anyone could take another picture and use it, rather than make fair use of an existing one. It is a copyright issue that has nothing to do with slander or libel that is the basis of BLP. The exception for fair use images of living people is when a new image would be out-of-date and therefore the older image is no longer replaceable. For an actor who played a roll (and where the role is a defining characteristic) an image of them in that role would be irreplaceable, and could qualify for fair use. My suggestion would be to simply add some sourced commentary on them in that roll to support the fair use of the image. As for how many images to include, use good judgment on text content to avoid undue weight, and add images to support the text. Dhaluza (talk) 11:41, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
My comment was meant to be humorous not to give offense, but after reading the section on wikilawyering, I see the error as it is considered pejorative and uncivil. I do think that there is a lot of hairsplitting here and on the related various discussion pages. This discussion is spread over multiple pages. I don't dispute that Sarvagnya makes some good academic points here and elsewhere, but practically speaking it's a no harm no foul in my mind. The holders of the copyright are the indirect beneficiaries of the extra exposure for their product. As is frequent, Dhaluza offers a good solution. --Kevin Murray (talk) 01:53, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
  • I read an interesting passage at the WP article on Fair use:
The four factors of analysis for fair use set forth above derive from the classic opinion of Joseph Story in Folsom v. Marsh, 9 F.Cas. 342 (1841), in which the defendant had copied 353 pages from the plaintiff's 12-volume biography of George Washington in order to produce a separate two-volume work of his own. The court rejected the defendant's fair use defense with the following explanation:
[A] reviewer may fairly cite largely from the original work, if his design be really and truly to use the passages for the purposes of fair and reasonable criticism. On the other hand, it is as clear, that if he thus cites the most important parts of the work, with a view, not to criticize, but to supersede the use of the original work, and substitute the review for it, such a use will be deemed in law a piracy....
In short, we must often... look to the nature and objects of the selections made, the quantity and value of the materials used, and the degree in which the use may prejudice the sale, or diminish the profits, or supersede the objects, of the original work.
I see the bolded phrase to be most critical in our assessment. These images while loosely defined as criticism, certainly do not supersede the use of the original work, nor do they: prejudice the sale, diminish the profits, or supersede the objects of the original work. To the contrary these uses probably enhance the sales and profits for the original works -- free advertising! --Kevin Murray (talk) 03:56, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

Chick ?

Why is one of the skins called "chick" ? I see nothing relating to baby birds of girls in it. Jackaranga (talk) 16:57, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

Maybe because the Chick skin was made for mobile devices. PrimeHunter (talk) 01:54, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

please let the world know about wikipedia!

Dear Friends Wikipedia is a philosophy, so don't let people to just silently donate and go away, give something back to them to show that they are part of this philosophy, something like a logo for their personal web logs saying " I love giving to wiki" or some badge to put on their bag or t-shirt some thing to be like a motivation for them and others who see them. Some thing to spread this beautiful way of thinking and living. Please let wiki philosophy became a way of living for us in this new age. I feel it's much much more than a great encyclopedia , I feel it can be the meaning of humanity in the future century . Please don't miss this great chance. We don't have any credit card here in Iran, if we had donating wikipedia would became one of my hobbies.

Best regards J.Anvar —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:04, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

any policy against users clearing warnings off their own talk pages??

Anshuk 06:54, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

They can do it if they want. Doesn't change the fact that they've been warned. Can't erase the history. — Someguy0830 (T | C) 06:56, 1 December 2007 (UTC)
That makes me harder to know whether some guy is a habitual vandal or a innocent first - timer.. Anshuk 07:02, 1 December 2007 (UTC)
No it doesn't. Habitual vandals have easy to read edit histories. Pick a talk page version by a non-vandal, you'll find the warnings. Block logs are also a tell. — Someguy0830 (T | C) 07:12, 1 December 2007 (UTC)
Hmmmm. User: Careless hx pointed me to WP:UP#CMT. I will archive this discussion. Anshuk 07:19, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

Lack of Consistency in Sanctions

Shortly after I first registered on Wikipedia I was blocked indefinately with no warning (and with no complaints against me from any users) for being a sock puppet because I had engaged in a (civil on my part) argument with User Porcupine. (I was eventually unblocked after a more reasonable Administrator reviewed the case). Today another newbie engaged in an argument with User Porcupine - and at one point began a message with "Listen pig" (albeit written in Romanian). That user has received a gentle warning for the offence. I realise that these decisions were taken by different Admins and so there are bound to be differences in the sanctions that each feels is appropriate but quite frankly in this instance the disparity is a joke. There needs to be some guidance given to ensure more consistency in these cases. For the record I actually believe both Admins were wrong - the one who blocked me was wrong to do so - blocks should not be handed down when no one has complained about a users behaviour, and someone who calls another user a "pig" should at the very least get a 24 hour block. Kelpin (talk) 18:48, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

What does being a sockpuppet have to do with a dispute? If you were a sockpuppet, then the block was completely justified, and the cases would be extremely different. Feedback 06:10, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
I wasn't a sockpuppet though. The fact that I had had an arguement with an experienced user was used as evidence that I was a sockpuppet by some twisted logic. (Even the user who I was arguing with - said he knew I wasn't a sock). Kelpin (talk) 08:28, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
The argument that "blocks should not be handed down when no one has complained about a users behaviour" is utterly specious. For example, if I encounter a user in the midst of a vandalism spree or campaign of racist harassment I'm going to block him to prevent further damage rather than waiting to see if anyone complains. Note that I'm commenting on a general principle here; I haven't looked into the particulars of your case. Raymond Arritt (talk) 23:58, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
Fair point - in that instance I'd agree but this case was different. User Porcupine had complained about another user who was using socks, my name wasn't on the complaint, but I got blocked because I was arguing with Porcupine - even though Porcupine later said he knew I wasn't a sock. Kelpin (talk) 08:28, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

I totally agree. That problem was the same in the criminal justice system before sentencing guidelines, with judges giving totally disparate punishments for the same offenses. Belicia (talk) 05:46, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

but what was the result: rigid guidelines prohibiting the use of discretion and enshrining harsh standardized punishments--equal justice, by rejecting mercy. DGG (talk) 10:12, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

If he was not a sockpuppet, and only had a dispute, he shouldn't have been blocked, and less indefinetly. He should've been requested at WP:RFCC &/or the ArbCom and the consensus would have brought a definite solution. Feedback 06:10, 23 November 2007 (UTC) I think its high time to go back to the days where you could not be banned by the "community," only by ArbCom after a full hearing. (like 2 years ago). Belicia (talk) 06:56, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

I think I know who you are talking about - that other user was a newcomer who is obviously new to things like WP:CIVIL. The other user, on the other hand, had been blocked for a similar offence before (and see his/her block log). The newcomer has the equivalent of a level 4 warning on his/her talk page now, anyway - and I happen to think the punishments are justified. (Non-admin) x42bn6 Talk Mess 13:57, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

Deletion amendment

I am so tired of individual users, often the most uncivil ones or the ones with agendas, putting up articles for deletion with no previous discussion or involvement. I am not talking about speedy deletions.

My proposal: An established article (i.e. an article that has been present for a long time and with numerous editors) may not be put up for deletion without first discussing it on the article's talk page. If after discussion on the talk page there is no consensus (to keep or delete it), then the nominator may open an AFD.

To me this seems like nothing more than common courtesy, though in all the AFD's I've witnessed I've never actually seen it done. What do others think of the proposal? Dovi (talk) 12:41, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

I'm in support of this. Tcaudilllg (talk) 14:11, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
What you are saying amounts to WP:PROD, a very useful method. But I've not seen that may article put up for AfD where a discussion would have made much of a difference. Maybe 10% would be improved, and another 10% agreed on deletion or merge. Of course, even that 20% might be worthwhile. DGG (talk) 08:17, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
No, doesn't look like WP:PROD, which is for "uncontroversially a deletion candidate." Rather, I am talking about things which are not self-evident, like where a user questions an article's quality, neutrality, notability, etc. and then simply goes ahead and slaps on an AFD template. I also mean it especially for established articles (that have been around for months or years and been edited by numerous respected contributors).
I am not saying that articles should be given automatic "tenure" or that established editors should be given a veto regarding AFD. But I am saying that these two factors should at least be taken into account by discussing questions about the article's suitability to Wikipedia on the talk page before actually doing an AFD. That is a reasonable courtesy to expect, and it does not prevent the individual AFD nominator from going ahead with the nomination if he isn't convinced on the talk page. It does, however, obligate him to consult with others first, making AFD less of a haphazard and annoying experience for others. Dovi (talk) 08:46, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
I don't see the point in this. You are just turning it into two discussions instead of one. AfD should not be an annoying experience, if the article is good enough then the AfD will soon be snowed and the only one who has had an annoying experience will be the nominator. If there are serious problems with an article, despite it being "established", then the editors should rethink why those problems were there in the first place. An established article with numerous editors which is unverifiable, original research, a POV fork, or (the most probable) fancruft, is the problem of those editors, not of the nominator, and making it a lot harder to put up an AfD for such articles will not be a net benefit for Wikipedia. If editors want to discuss it before nominating, that's obviously fine, but it should in no way become a requirement. Fram (talk) 09:43, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
"Harder"? It is not hard at all, anyone can do it at any time for any reason, including people with agendas (and there are lots of those). They can also do this as many times as they want! It is simply far too easy to be a pain in the neck with an immediate, undiscussed AFD. "If the article is good enough then the AfD will soon be snowed..." -- why should that happen at AFD with an annoying notice on the page and an immediate deadline for deletion discussion to finish? Why not make an initial good faith effort on the talk page?
Rather, put an least a bit of onus on the nominator, not just those who oppose it. Let him raise the problem on the talk page, and see how discussion goes for a limited time. Perhaps 2 days? If he is still unconvinced, and still determined to delete the article, then let him file an AFD. What's the big rush to add a disturbing template and open an immediate AFD page? Yes indeed, two stages: first a "local" discussion at the talk page and then only if necessary an AFD. Yes, require (or at least very strongly suggest within the policy page) a basic courtesy on the part of the nominator. Have a good weekend all, Dovi (talk) 11:41, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
We do need to give some deference to established articles that are either clearly notable or well-written. Deletion of established articles can be awfully contentious and disruptive, and when articles keep getting attacked on second, third, and fourth deletion nominations because somebody did not like the result of the last one, even when the proposal gets turned down yet again it ends up wasting a lot of time. If the goal is a better encyclopedia, that effort would be better spent working on truly pointless new articles, or else improving what we have. I'm not sure whether requiring a discussion before a deletion proposal is best, or a higher standard, or a longer period, or giving some weight for prior consensus to keep. We ought to do something. Wikidemo (talk) 22:37, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
I agree - it's just too easy to slap an AfD template on a perfectly good article (ugly, sits there misinforming readers) without any real consequences (if you expect WP:SNOW, that's hardly a disincentive). On the other hand, it's difficult to come up with rules about AfDs, to solve the problem, that don't get into significant instruction creep.
So, an alternative: Either a separate section on the AfD page (e.g., "Established articles") for articles over X months age and/or Y edits, or some other way for editors to find these easily (template that generates searchable text?). That way, if there really is going to be WP:SNOW, it will happen a lot quicker, since a lot of folks interested in AfDs might head directly for such easy pickings. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 01:27, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
Sorry guys, I just don't think this is necessary. I'm seeing more and more "bad faith" AfD nominations being rapidly closed per WP:SNOW lately. Obviously some people will feel that an article should be nominated, and some people do not. It would be like a pre-AfD discussion? Seems pointless. Why have 2 of the same discussions? First, we'll talk about it on the talk page, which will be just like an AfD discussion, and then, we'll do it all over again on the official AfD discusssion? No need, in my opinion. - Rjd0060 (talk) 01:55, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, there's no way a policy change like this will work. You can't segregate discussion about the encylopedic merits about an article to that article's talk page, since the whole point of the AFD process is to get a broad community consensus about the topic. All that's going to happen is two discussions; one of which will be totally pointless, because no matter what the "losing" side will say that consensus was broad enough, and take it to AfD instead. It's not going to work — I also frankly don't much care for the idea of segregating articles based on "age" or "number of edits to them". A two minute old article can be vastly superior to a months ago article and deserves the same respect and consideration. --Haemo (talk) 03:17, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
What's the point of soliciting a biased debate? Usually, the people paying attention to the Talk page for an article are the "keep" votes. --- tqbf 19:51, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
AfD can be a biased vote for "deletion". Not always, but sometimes. What sort of people are likely to be attracted to a set of process pages with "deletion" in the title? :-) Carcharoth (talk) 02:48, 25 November 2007 (UTC)