Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 70

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Wikipedia in the future

On the news we hear that Wikipedia loos writers and editors (based on volunteer work). I can just say this: I had written some articles. They were all correct, and had some interest. However a few months later they were removed. Why? Because other volunteer people believe they had too few links – going to these articles. The idea was that they were “irrelevant” if there was not a number of such links. To remove false info, yes do that. But other articles should not be removed unless there is a stronger reason other than number of links. It takes some time to build up new areas (my was related to historical companies) and get those links. After such a treatment / who wants to write? Wikipedia needs another policy in this regard. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 94.197.213.140 (talkcontribs)

Given that this is the only edit from this IP (deleted or otherwise), could you please provide us with the article titles (and any relevant deletion discussions) to which you are referring, so we can evaluate why that might have happened? postdlf (talk) 22:39, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
Are you sure it was that and not because the article was unsourced? -Jeremy (v^_^v Stop... at a WHAMMY!!) 23:03, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
Regardless of what the situation was in this particular case, there certainly are people who take great delight in picking holes in articles and trying to get stuff deleted just for the sake of it (I presume it gives them some kind of psychological feeling of superiority), and I'm pretty sure it's one of the things that creates an unwelcoming atmosphere here. Even if your article survives the AfD process, it doesn't exactly encourage you to be part of a community where the loudest-voiced people seem to be working against you rather than with you.--Kotniski (talk) 07:14, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
Internal links are just a style concern, and not a tool to check (not even to suspect) notability. A new article may not always be the result of many redlinks awaiting its creation: perhaps the articles where it may be linked are not linking it, or link a more generic but already created article, or link the uncreated article by different names. Even more, article bifurcations such as "Causes of the Foo event" or "Fictional portrayals of Foo" are unlikely to be linked prior to creation. Too much links do not grant notability either, as there may be overlinking.
I think that any article proposed for deletion (either speedy or otherwise) on the grounds of lacking internal links should be speedily kept. MBelgrano (talk) 14:07, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
Nice way to assume Bad Faith, Kotniski. I'm sure there are a few people who do it for the lulz, but others are strict because we want the information here to be as accurate as possible. If we can't be sure it's accurate, we'd rather it not be here at all. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 14:50, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

"Recreational use" terminology in drug articles

Currently the prevalent practice seems to be to refer to intentional overdosing of medication as "recreational use" rather than "abuse" as a politically-correct tactic. My feeling is that this practice is somewhat inaccurate. In order to use medication recreationally, it needs to be used in a manner contrary to the indications and dosing instructions on the (generally government-approved) label, or the instructions of a doctor. If a medication has been made available to consumers only for specific purposes, or has been prescribed by a doctor for a specific purpose, and is then used in a different manner for the purposes of inducing a high, such use would be abuse, by definition. In light of this, "recreational use" seems excessively "polite". I'd like to discuss this practice in the hopes of establishing a consensus for which terminology to use, perhaps resulting in a new guideline, as this debate applies to many drug articles. Equazcion (talk) 04:29, 30 Nov 2009 (UTC)

Step one: follow the sources. If this doesn't work, then err towards "abuse". OrangeDog (τ • ε) 19:48, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
I think erring to the neutral work "use" is probably the second choice. Abuse is a loaded & culturally bound term best avoided. Recreational use is by comparison a relatively straightforward idiom. But absent a source, both imply value judgments. --Tagishsimon (talk) 23:25, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
Yes, that makes perfect sense, doesn't it? Abuse of children is so culture-bound. Better to say "use of children" or "recreational use of children". Actually, no. Words on Wikipedia should be used in a way that accords with their normal usage in the real world occupied by our readers. The ill effects of pharmaceuticals aren't cultural phenomena, they're objectively bad. If I drink a bottle of vodka straight down and it kills me, that's abuse of drugs. --TS 23:32, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
You've hit the nail on the head, but I'm not certain that it's the nail you were aiming for. For reasons that are primarily cultural and historical, rather than rooted in sound science, it is held that certain drugs are acceptable to consume for recreational purposes, while certain drugs are not. Generally, we hold that the consumption of alcohol and of nicotine (quite potent drugs!) are both acceptable unless or until they reach the point of causing, serious, permanent deleterious effects. (Actually, while the term 'alcohol abuse' is quite common, I don't believe I've ever heard the term 'nicotine abuse' — even though roughly half a million Americans are killed every year by use of this particular drug.) So, is it drug 'abuse' – for any drug – if the use is for recreational purposes, the user does not engage in activities harmful to others while under the influence, if the individual's life (work, other hobbies, social interactions) aren't damaged, and if the long-term deleterious health effects are minor (or at worst, no worse than those of the socially-acceptable yardstick of cigarettes)? While most people would endorse your point that downing an entire bottle of vodka at one go is abuse, most probably wouldn't call a single vodka martini abuse. The line in between those two cases is very hazy indeed. Similarly, describing all off-label use of any drug as 'abuse' is very much a value judgement — one that we shouldn't be in the business of making. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 00:16, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
{EC} And only those who have forgotten everything they learned about the factories act would suppose that there were not strong cultural aspects involved in notions of child abuse. --Tagishsimon (talk) 00:19, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
Abuse, by your definition, differs by political jurisdiction, the instructions from the manufacturer, and even by the instructions from individual doctors (who, in the USA, often prescribe drugs to treat off-label symptoms, which the manufacturer claims as abuse). That doesn't sound like a standard at all. "Recreational use" is a common and everyday term of speech, which most people have done in their life. It is just fine to use in an article.
Calling all off-label use of a drug as "abuse" is a POV, mainly a political and law-enforcement POV - it is not even accepted medically that all off-label use of drugs is "abuse". SchmuckyTheCat (talk)
I didn't say all off-label use should be called abuse; Only uses that would otherwise be termed "recreational". Doctors prescribe drugs for off-label use too, but never legitimately to induce a "high" or psychedelic experience in their patients, and that goes for all jurisdictions, as far as I'm aware. Legitimate off-label use should still be called off-label; My concern is only over so-called "recreational use". Equazcion (talk) 00:02, 1 Dec 2009 (UTC)
It was psychologists who wanted (and many still want) to work with LSD, MDMA, and other drugs specifically for their hallucinogenic and euphoric experiences. Whether this is legitimate or not is a political and law-enforcement issue that varies by jurisdiction. There is a fine line between recreational use and abusive use, but on the recreation end of that spectrum are uses that everyday normal people do. As an example article of a typical pharmaceutical available on the shelf in most of the world, Recreational use of dextromethorphan seems like a fine title which directly matches the content, describing effects and typical dosages. DXM is taken regularly for coughs, and many adults don't bother reading the dosage, they just take a gulp from the bottle when the symptoms increase. They may like the euphoric side-effect, but if you told them they were abusing drugs, they would laugh.
There is no reason to assume the rhetoric of drug prohibitionists and label "recreational use" as "abuse". It's moralizing and that isn't what Wikipedia is about. SchmuckyTheCat (talk)
Going back to the child abuse example, Wikipedia's regard for government views and use of moralization seems to be dependent on how widespead those views are across the world. If most governments or international agencies deem something to be abuse, we seem to tend towards calling it that. Equazcion (talk) 00:34, 1 Dec 2009 (UTC)
Going back to that very example, where most governments or international agencies and most people see abuse, we call it abuse. Where there's a difference of opinion, as there clearly is in the use of drugs, we do not take a line. We also have articles such as Child labour in Lesotho rather than Child abuse in Lesotho --Tagishsimon (talk) 00:37, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
That's a bad example, because the article isn't about such a broad topic as child abuse, which could include many forms of abuse other than labor, so that would be a bad title regardless. The definition of abuse as it relates to medication is merely use contrary to the indications allowed by the government. Medication isn't like alcohol or children, in that medication is provided only on the provision that it's used for specific medical purposes. If the government knew that you (for example) were buying the drug for some other purpose, they wouldn't let you buy it; ergo those uses are abuse by definition. Abuse of medically-available medication is referred to as such more because it constitutes the abuse of a privilege than "abuse of a drug", the latter of which doesn't actually make grammatical sense if taken literally; You can only actually "abuse" something if you mistreat it, and what's being mistreated, in this case, is the privilege of being able to obtain the medication, rather than the medication itself. PCP can be said to be a recreational drug, and alcohol can be referred to as the same, but drugs obtained through channels meant for medical use that are subsequently used for other purposes is abuse by definition. Equazcion (talk) 01:06, 1 Dec 2009 (UTC)
It is abuse by definition only if you accept that definition. That definition comes from those with a point-of-view. Wikipedia doesn't prescribe points-of-view. SchmuckyTheCat (talk)
The definition of the word isn't a matter of point-of-view. Abuse has a rather clear-cut definition. The possible negative connotation of the word "abuse", on the other hand, is more the POV issue. If you obtain something for recreational use that's only available in the first place on the provision that it's used for specific medical purposes, that's abuse of the privilege, which is precisely what medication "abuse" refers to. If certain people take offense because they view the term as a value judgment, that still doesn't have any bearing on the definition. The literal term is not negative per se and poses no moral judgment. Equazcion (talk) 01:19, 1 Dec 2009 (UTC)
A good attempt at the reverse swing, there. But why use a loaded term when a neutral term is available?
(ec)Abuse of children is harm to a human being. Abuse of a drug is a concept most likely to harm the abuser. I am offended at this morally bankrupt equivocation. They have nothing to do with each other and nothing to add to this conversation. "Recreational use" is a term in wide and common usage. Calling all non-prescribed usage of pharmaceuticals "abuse" is a politically charged usage. We are not here to validate politics, drug moralists, or adopt the vocabulary of prohibitionists. We use everyday speech. SchmuckyTheCat (talk)
A significant amount of harm to children is caused directly by use or abuse of drugs including but not limited to alcohol, prescription drugs, solvents and street drugs. Nonetheless linguistically the equivalence is flawed, the word "abuse" is used in different senses "drug abuse" is generally taken to mean the use of drugs for a bad purpose, whereas "child abuse" is causing injury (in its broadest sense) to a child. In the unlikely event that those definitions were universally accepted we would simply have arguments about what does and does not fall into the respective categories, instead of about the comparative use of the word. Rich Farmbrough, 11:53, 1 December 2009 (UTC).
(also ec) ergo those uses are abuse by definition. No. Ergo those uses are abuse by your assumptions about governments' definitions. But if we check this government or that we find non-trivial use of the phrase "recreational use", seeming to indicate that even they, your touchstone, do not support your case. --Tagishsimon (talk) 01:16, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

The relevance of quotes that contain only speculative derision

I'm curious if there is any policy regarding quotes which contain, effectively, nothing but a notable party (of which there are a great deals, e.g. a newspaper commentator) calling something or someone silly, insane, irrational, stupid, etc. I am thinking most recently about a quote contained in an article where I commented on the talk page: "it appears that the material content of popular initiatives is subject to ill-considered draftsmanship because the drafters are affected by particular emotions that merely last for snatches" - which effectively is simply a rhetorically eloquent way of calling someone stupid. What is the relevance of such quotes for inclusion, when they come from a party that is recognised as notable? For example, in an article about mosques, or religious tolerance provisions, would it be relevant to include quotes from the Swiss People's Party making negative comments? Which criteria can be applied to an article to determine whether a negative depiction is relevant to that article or not? I'm new to the policy side, so would appreciate pointers. 158.143.137.1 (talk) 09:31, 1 December 2009 (UTC) Sorry, the article is naturally Minaret controversy in Switzerland, but I'm interested in this from a general perspective that can be applied to all articles.158.143.137.1 (talk) 09:32, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

I would examine the neutral point of view policy, in particular the section about undue weight. I think this passage is very relevant: "... the article should fairly represent all significant viewpoints that have been published by a reliable source, and should do so in proportion to the prominence of each" (emphasis mine). decltype (talk) 09:36, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
Quotes shouldn't be used to circumvent the neutral point of view by making "someone else" say something that the article itself can't say. Quotes should have importance in themselves rather than the topic they talk about. At least, someone else should have previously reacted somehow to the formulation of such quote. MBelgrano (talk) 10:51, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Notability (events) has been marked as a notability guideline

This is a notice to inform you that WP:EVENT has been marked as a notability guideline after a successful RFC. The WordsmithCommunicate 13:56, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

Really? Although I opined a support vote, I'm not sure if less than twenty votes makes a community consensus for a new notability guideline. From the few votes taken the proposal does enjoy the supermajority it would need to be adopted, but it just feels that more should participate to get a representative sample. ThemFromSpace 04:59, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
There wasn't much else that could be done to advertise it. It was listed on Village Pump, RFC lists, and Centralized Discussion, as well as brought up in a few AFDs and several times on IRC. I even made a post on the WikiEN-l, but I think it was denied. RFCs automatically end after a month anyway, and this one lasted three weeks. Also, I believe it had 21 or 22 votes, and plenty of discussion. The WordsmithCommunicate 05:35, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Checkuser discussion (was: Any checkusers handy?)

NOTE: This discussion was started at WP:AN and eventually closed. I have moved it here to the proper venue so that discussion may continue. <>Multi‑Xfer<> (talk) 18:45, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

If so, can one take a look at this SPI case? Its been open for over 4 days at this point: Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations/Scibaby. Thanks! --Jayron32 04:12, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

I was just about to comment about SPI here. We really could use some more dedicated Checkusers, clerks and people in general to handle SPI-related stuff. Some of the cases have been there quite some time as noted by Jayron. The one I filed has been checked but has been in a holding pattern with the checkuser saying he wanted to get a second opinion and nothing more since for about a day and a half. I'm not criticizing current checkusers or anyone who has more pressing real life to deal with but we could use some more folks with the necessary tools who will agree to regularly patrol SPI. <>Multi‑Xfer<> (talk) 18:20, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
This is what happens when the arbcom decide to take a firm line with the likes of WmC and Raul, stuff they were doing (AN3 & Scibaby) get backlogged and we get bogged down in delays. Spartaz Humbug! 21:28, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
We shouldn't be so dependent on a few souls to do this kind of work. :-/ Is there some way we can recruit other experienced sysops and/or regular editors to learn the checkuser tools and deal with SPI reports? <>Multi‑Xfer<> (talk) 21:32, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
ArbCom limit the number of checkusers, and there has to be a community bitchfest vote to approve a new checkuser.--Elen of the Roads (talk) 21:48, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
That seems awfully counterproductive. The current number is clearly not adequate, even when dealing with the three or four people (Scibaby, Gra**, Bambifan101, etc.) who give them the most work. I don't have time right now (and I'm not really sure how to go about it) but if someone wants to draft a RfC I'd love to participate and help present a case for opening up spaces for more checkuser personnel. We really need more of everything... more Checkusers, more sysops, more NPPers, etc. Might as well start somewhere. <>Multi‑Xfer<> (talk) 22:26, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
While there appears there might be a Checkuser flag going spare, this is a time where such appointments - which are via the ArbCom - are a little problematic. The ArbCom elections are about to start, with some Arbs preparing to leave office and there being an incipient change of guard, that such decisions are likely going to be held over until the results are in and results declared. Since Arbs are offered CheckUser status, so to be able to review other CU's work, as part of their role - and the fact they might become active in using it, then the requirement for CU's is not known until into the New Year. Plus, the new ArbCom may come to a new consideration on whether CU's should be increased. Lastly, CU is one of the more technical flags, having to be able to understand the results, and combined with the discretionary requirements means that the pool to draw from is pretty limited. I suggest that you pop over to the WP:CU page and look over those editors with permissions and see if they are busy (the two I am familiar with certainly are), and make a direct request to look over some outstanding tasks. LessHeard vanU (talk) 22:49, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, it would be a while before anything happens, true. Still, it couldn't hurt to have more people with the tools... I have some thoughts for the evolution of Wikipedia that involves the checkuser topic, plus the issue of losing editors both new and old and failing to attract more newbies... I need time to formulate it all but I'll possibly look into starting some kind of central discussion, whether at RfC or Village Pump about "the future" and see if I can't stir people into thinking about how we're going to continue to grow and operate, how we can improve, etc. Even if everyone just tells me to stuff it where the sun don't shine, maybe some good ideas would come out of it. :-) Thanks for your suggestions. <>Multi‑Xfer<> (talk) 23:13, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

The problem is not primarily that we do not have enough checkusers. The problem is that approximately five people are doing all of the checks at SPI, and two of them don't do very many. J.delanoygabsadds 23:16, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

(edit conflict) I was just about to write out a long post about how desperate we clerks are at SPI, but J.delanoy summarized it quite well. So...what J.delanoy said. NW (Talk) 23:26, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
So... the solution is to coax the existing checkusers into doing their "fair share" of work? As this is all volunteer work, I'd say the solution is to enlist more checkusers.—Preceding unsigned comment added by Tanthalas39 (talkcontribs)
That's far too sensible. You can expect a formal reprimand soon. Lt. Gen. Pedro Subramanian (talk) 23:55, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
If the rules governing who can have Checkuser tools are strict and the number is currently limited, maybe people who do not use their Checkuser tools should have them removed so someone else can? (This is not a criticism of anyone in particular, just a practical consideration. What good does it do to give someone tools if they don't use em to the communitiy's benefit?) <>Multi‑Xfer<> (talk) 00:04, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
Its not a matter of a "zero sum" of checkusers; removing checkuser access from users not using it doesn't "free up" anything. The deal is that checkusers have access to highly sensitive and technical information, that means that they need to be users of the highest possible moral standing at Wikipedia AND that they are users who have the technical expertise to interpret and make judgements of the results of the checkuser tool. The problem isn't that there are only a limited number of slots availible for checkusers, its that there aren't enough suitibly acceptable users to give the checkuser tool too. --Jayron32 06:04, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
Well, also, checkuser doesn't seem like the most rewarding work. Burnout is a problem at pretty much every level on Wikipedia, and the most active and helpful checkusers seem the most vulnerable to burnout. Since we generate new checkusers at a very slow rate, if at all, periods like this are probably inevitable. More checkusers would be nice, but I can't think of many suitable candidates off the top of my head, nor is there any real mechanism for getting people appointed other than asking ArbCom (which, in election season, is a non-starter). MastCell Talk 07:30, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
Actually, there certainly ought to be a limited number of CheckUsers. I understand you may have just been noting that there are not a finite number of CheckUser flags to hand out, but based on the complaints above, calling simply simply more CheckUsers, I think I should point this out. While it can be a pain to have to wait a few days for a response, it is a much better problem to have too few CheckUsers than too many. Too few only means that we have to wait around; too many means that there are people with access to private data unnecessarily. I think that the current situation is that we have both too many CheckUsers and too few active CheckUsers. If this means greatly restricting the current inactivity policy, pruning the access list quite a bit, and adding new blood, I would be quite happy. However, I would prefer the status quo to just seeing more CheckUsers appointed without any pruning at all. Dominic·t 09:34, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
Most Arbs have CU flags, and there are a number retiring (not seeking re-election) from the Committee this year. Perhaps they can be persuaded to request retaining them and getting involved in CU work? Again, this will be in the New Year when all the carry over cases end. LessHeard vanU (talk) 13:49, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
  • Y'know, it's rather tempting to be hire professionals to do this one for us. What need is there for CUs to be Wikipedians? All they really need to be is technical experts who can evaluate IP patterns. The role of CU clerk could be expanded to evaluate whether the request complied with the checkuser policy, and evaluation of editing patterns is done by sysops/whoevever anyway. With paid CUs we could be assured of regular service and quick-solving of bread-and-butter sockparties like Scibaby/Jacob Peters etc. I guess they'd need to be extended the legal protection of WMF in the event of lawsuits, but then again, as they'd be external to community wikipolitics, I think they'd be running far fewer ethically dubious checks in the first place. Obviously we'd still need a couple of people who are both technical experts and regular editors for extraordinarily complex cases like Poethorde, but probably not all that many. Moreschi (talk) 14:11, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

(Outdent) Apropos of nothing, I am minded to think that this 'checkuser woo woo privacy' thing is one of the Wikipedia Urban legends. All social network software captures the IP address of posts - Wikimedia foundation is unusual in that this information is not retained indefinitely or made visible to other users. If you use LiveJournal with the IP option switched on, it captures the information for the journal owner and stores it as far as I can see forever. Ditto with Survey Monkey - if I chose to capture the IP addresses of people who take my surveys I would effectively have that info for ever and I could theoretically share it with anyone. WHOIS lookup and geolocation are available to anyone. I presume the clever part of the checkuser tool is that it allows the user to display edits from several locations side by side and matched for time, so they can tell when accounts are active. Elen of the Roads (talk) 14:07, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Elen, while it is true that every web site captures visitor's IPs, Wikipedia chose a long time ago to protect the privacy of editors who registered account names by hiding their IPs from all but a select few users. There would be some very interesting consequences if the software were changed to no longer hide IPs--some good and some bad--but it would require a massive change in the social architecture of the place to do it. Thatcher 23:16, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
Both of you have illustrated good points. Elen of the Roads, there are some forums, such as Simple Machines Forum and Invision Power Board, which has a feature to provide administrator with nearly identical capabilities as CU. (I have used these "forum-checkuser" in both boards before and I can confidently say that the result output is very similar to MediaWiki's, after seeing the screenshots on Meta.) The only thing those forum softwares are not capable of doing so is checking collateral damage on a range block. More kids go on forums globally and act disruptively than on Wikipedia, those IP info are retained indefinitely, and many kids nowadays are more smarter in computer technology than most of the grown-ups yet you never hear in the news that a person got stabbed, bullied, or hunted down for disruptive online behaviours (be it Wikipedia or others). OhanaUnitedTalk page 14:03, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
To be clear, I'm not suggesting we display IP address on every post here. All I'm saying is that this depiction of checkuser data as "highly sensitive and technical" and only a very few admins can be trusted with them is something of an overinflation. All the checkuser has to go on is the IP address of the post (which they could WHOIS or geolocate) plus the standardised times the various accounts log on and post. Analysis largely consists of (a) seeing if the IPs are the same, belong to the same provider, or locate to the same area, and assuming that the guy can't post to two accounts simultaneously (this actually not true, but that's another story). Personal data is your name and address, the school you go to, your employer, your National Insurance number, not your IP address. To get from your IP address to you requires (a) a court order and (b) luck. Elen of the Roads (talk) 16:36, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

The harm in not having enough checkusers is that people are discourage from filing WP:SPI reports and they just quit instead of going through all the slow motion bureaucracy. Meanwhile, bad actors are incentivized to create socks because they can have a lot of fun before a CU catches up with them, or we end up with admins placing dodgy blocks because they didn't have the patience to wait for CU. I agree that we need more. Enough CUs should be appointed so that there is no backlog at WP:SPI. If there are people with the CU flag who don't use it very much, then it should be removed, per Dominic's concerns. Jehochman Talk 14:12, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Yes, we definitely should appoint more checkusers in order to get a faster response time. I believe there are more than enough respected admins who can be trusted with the tool. Offliner (talk) 21:51, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

The question, though, is "Do they have the technical knowledge to make use of the tool"? That may prove harder to find. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 15:13, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
Currently, there are no cases waiting for checkuser analysis. Sometimes things back up for a day or two, unfortunately. Also, other cases, such as Scibaby, are handled by the CU's who know them the best and can identify them easily. Nishkid has done a huge amount of Scibaby checking, for example, and so he is deferred to for those. -- Avi (talk) 16:05, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
Part of my concern is having CUs we would consider "specialists"... Nishkid has no doubt done a huge amount of work checking Scibaby, but what happens if Nishkid retires? Or has health or family problems and has to take an extended abscense? It seems efficient and easier to let people with the greater experience and knowledge work on the same troll accounts all the time, but this leaves us at a disadvantage when these "specialists" can't be there. I can think of a few sysops who I would trust with the tools. <>Multi‑Xfer<> (talk) 07:20, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
There always seems to be at least something "pending", on check or cases... some editors (ok, me) deliberately avoid asking for CU checks or filing small (2-user) SPI cases because they're WP:DUCK-based and I don't want to take up CU time on something frivolous compared to big cases they're working on. "...Don't want to trouble the busy CU folk" I say in hopes someone violating might realize they're doomed and back off without filing later. Geolocate and traceroute are extremely useful in formulating a quick hypothesis, but as said, it can only make up some WP:DUCK test evidence but they do at least give normal editors some data to start with. Since I don't know how the format exactly works, is there any kind of "CU-lite" that could be setup that only produces back a portion of a report? Would help in making confirmations to prevent a case from hopping across 4 boards before ending at SPI. I'm doubting this, sadly. daTheisen(talk) 12:04, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Comments sought on community de-adminship

Comments from all interested editors are invited and welcome at Wikipedia talk:Community de-adminship/Draft RfC, where a proposal for community de-adminship is being discussed. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:51, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Retaining editors: limited amnesty?

I've given a great deal of thought to the issue of us losing contributors. While certain journalists and now-defunct projects would have us believe this is due to newbies being bitten, I propose that this is an oversimplification and that our issues with retaining editors run much deeper.

While newbies are no doubt being bitten, this is nothing new. The greater issue is why were we so heavily dependent on a constant flood of newbies to fill space left by existing editors who either leave the project, get bored and stop, etc? This seems to imply that exsting editors have been leaving all along and only now are not being replaced as we've come closer to the "peak editors", or too many newbiews are being bitten, or a combination of both.

As one part of a plan to increae our ranks (I have others that I'll being up here as I develop them more thoroughly), I propose that we offer a limited amnesty to certain editors who may have had issues in the past, but were primarily good and productive editors. I can think of a few people who came off of bans and have been quite productive. I can think of other people currently blocked who could become valuable contributors once again.

Obviously, this would not be a general amnesty, we don't want to unblock Bambifan101/Jacob Peters/Scibaby, etc.

I would like to hear everyone's thoughts on this. As far as I can tell, the worst that could happen is we have to reblock someone. But we may get to keep a few good contributors, maybe even most of them. <>Multi‑Xfer<> (talk) 07:16, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

I'd guess that the number of people affected by blocks is fairly minimal. We'd rather do something to retain our experienced editors in the first place. If Randy creates 5 sock puppets to insert his theory into Battle of Mantinea (418 BC), should we really template the resident historian if she reverts 3 times and block her on the 4th? While Randy's little brother can smear "F!ck you NiggaFukkas!" over 387 pages and get a Template:Uw-test1 in reply so he can go on and insert his theory on the alimentary processes of royalty into Elisabeth II? --Stephan Schulz (talk) 09:34, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Ugh, no. It already takes way, way, way, way too long for disruptive users to be blocked if they've made some productive edits in the past. If anything they need to be blocked faster so that their actions won't drive away as many non-disruptive users. Mr.Z-man 15:15, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm not referring to habitually disruptive editors who cause more problems than they're worth. User:Jack Merridew came back after an extended block and has been quite constructive beyond being hounded about his signature. User:Betacommand has come back and seems to have had no issues since then. User:The undertow is overall a good editor who got into trouble for socking, but could he come back tomorrow and contribute significantly? Although the number of people affected by blocks of this nature is probably not huge, the overall quality of their article work and editing is pretty high. The scenario above regarding Randy's 5 socks and the resident historian being blocked for reverting Randy's nonsense would seem to support my suggestion: how many good people over the years, many of whom are now mostly forgotten, were blocked in such a scenario when they were goaded into an outburst and were eventually blocked for resorting to personal attacks on Randy or shouting at sysops for telling him to calm down? And there's another problem: is it really constructive to block useful contributors for violating NPA when they lose their temper over Randy and his 5 socks? Or for edit warring with Randy? Or any other myriad offenses that are secondary to the real issue? You do have a point that something should be done to avoid getting these people blocked in the first place. <>Multi‑Xfer<> (talk) 18:05, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
So how do we tell the difference? Yes some editors have done rather well since returning, but we can't know in advance that they will. It could just as easily backfire, wasting a ton of time and possibly driving off more editors in the process. It just comes down to giving them a 2nd 3rd 4th 20th nth chance when we already give too many chances. We need to work on editor retention from the top down - retaining the editors who produce quality content and create a collegial atmosphere - rather than from the bottom up - keeping around users who produce mostly drama and strife under the naive hope/gamble that this time will be different from the 10 previous chances we've given. Mr.Z-man 18:37, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
In my experience, some admin or another is almost always willing to extend AGF past the breaking point and give an editor that last, nth chance (as illustrated by the Betacommand example). As forgiving as the system currently is, should we really make it more forgiving ... ? — Kralizec! (talk) 18:45, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
I agree w/Mr.Z-man. Overall, we lose more editors by putting up with rude/disruptive editors who contribute content then we lose by blocking these people. As it currently stands, one can get away with almost anything as long as they've written a few articles and been around awhile. (By get away with, a mean be blocked every now and then, create a huge fuss, and get unblocked with a slap on the wrist.) --ThaddeusB (talk) 23:29, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. It's that thinking which inspired my comment at WP:VPR#A Permanent Record. Rd232 talk 10:48, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
Well that went over like a lead zeppelin 718smiley.svg. I have other thoughts, will be back when I've formulated them. <>Multi‑Xfer<> (talk) 06:53, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Clarify "National Chart" on WP:BAND

NOTE: This discussion was started at Wikipedia_talk:Notability_(music). I moved it here because it discusses a guideline change. Click23 (talk) 15:18, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

WP:BAND states "A musician or ensemble may be notable if it...has had a charted single or album on any national music chart"

There is currently an WP:AFD that is open, and the above definition is being discussed. The nominated article was charted in the top 200 of the !earshot chart, !earshot is "a supplement that serves as the official monthly chart publication of the National Campus and Community Radio Association. The argument has been made that this chart satisfies the definition of "any national music chart". I would be happy if "Has had a charted single or album on any national music chart" was completely removed from list, but really would be just as happy with a better definition. Click23 (talk) 16:13, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

  • I believe this is the AFD you are referring to. I think a better definition is in order as well, because not everyone will 'assume' a national chart equals commercial charts such as Billboard. IMO there are too many smaller charts, such as student/campus/local station charts that are 'charts' as such, but are nonnotable. ♫ Cricket02 (talk) 17:52, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
Maybe a national chart in accordance with WP:CHARTS? SKS (talk) 18:04, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
  • I don't think it is reasonable to read "national chart" as including campus radio charts. List of record charts and WP:BADCHARTS might help with this discussion. Fences&Windows 22:11, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
  • IMO this situation would qualify as a national chart and meet the standard. It isn't one college but a national association of college and community stations. J04n(talk page) 22:19, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
The guidelines (both here and at WP:CHARTS) are supposed to refer to general, all-encompassing national charts. That's why, for example, genre charts are generally not permissible, nor are retailer- and network-specific charts. Since this refers to a relatively small subset of national radio stations, why should it be considered acceptable and notable? SKS (talk) 22:27, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
I agree that they shouldn't, but WP:BAND states "any national chart", and does not say what that includes and what it excludes. Click23 (talk) 22:38, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
I don't see this particular discussion having anything to do with WP:CHARTS, it has to do with WP:BAND, which as Click23 pointed out states "any national chart", which includes genre charts and this non-commercial chart. The idea that a non-commercial encyclopedia would discount a non-commercial radio chart seems to go against the spirit of this project. If it were a local chart my opinion would be different but I believe my opinion in in step with both the letter and spirit of the law here. J04n(talk page) 01:39, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
drat, it's already been deleted J04n(talk page) 01:43, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
J04n, the reason I started this was that I do think wiki should "discount a non-commercial radio chart". The WP:GNG guideline is pretty stringent, with the "any national music chart" statement WP:Band is actually allowing subjects to be included that do not meet the spirit of WP:GNG. To exaggerate a wee bit, as it stands now if a album was ranked #6982 on the American College Top 10,000 Jazz Band Albums with Bald Irish Trumpeters, it would be notable per WP:BAND. Click23 (talk) 12:03, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

There appears to be a small word that's being missed. WP:BAND says "A musician or ensemble (note that this includes a band, singer, rapper, orchestra, DJ, musical theatre group, etc.) may be notable if it meets at least one of the following criteria:" (my bold); it doesn't say they are notable by meeting at least one of the criteria. To be notable there still needs to be the coverage in reliable independent sources etc as per WP:GNG. The guidelines at WP:BAND attempt to show a list of what are likely to show that a musician/band etc are notable, but not what definitely makes the musician/band notable. --JD554 (talk) 12:18, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Click23's point about WP:GNG and JD554's about the word 'may' are well taken. I didn't look at the article in question before it was deleted so I'm not going to comment on whether it should be Kept or Deleted. My point is on criterion 2 of WP:BAND. I wasn't there for the drafting of the policy but when you look at the other criteria the wording is much more specific ("non-trivial coverage in a reliable source of an international concert tour" as opposed to "performed in an international concert tour" or "a major label or one of the more important indie labels" as opposed to "a label") so why would this one be so open-ended? The way I see it, if the criterion is there it should be accepted as written. If others think it should be changed that's fine but I don't think it is appropriate to interpret it differently. J04n(talk page) 15:39, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Almost everything in WP:BAND is depressingly subjective, and the "may" shoved on top is even worse. The chart bit in particular, since a top 200 of anything you wouldn't think would be all that difficult for something supposedly "notable". US Billboard top 200? Perhaps. Anyone else's 200? Okay, it gets hard. Could we do something like... "appears in nation's stand sales chart"? That'd be the overall 200 in the US, there are some 50s elsewhere that I see listed fairly often. That's still "pretty easy", but actually defined. Lord help us if it's genre-specific charts. Like, top 100 Country in the US might equate to being in the "Billboard 800" if such a thing existed. I have no idea how to treat it. IMO, disqualify genre-specific charts for being too inconsistent and having differing definitions. What chart sources, then? Ug, I'd love to just say "the nation's leading xxxxx", but that could be argued all day, and you also can't write a guideline around something which is the de facto infokeeper like Billboard is in the US despite there not really being a reason why anymore, nor do I know how it started. It's like we'd need a list of what "the" chart is from a list of nations, and a generic catch-all for all bands in other nations.
If we excluded genre-specific charts in an alternate reality, I suppose I could never really complain about them again. Can't we just advice than 2-3 of the 12 be necessary? 'm sick to death of people giving a "keep" on things like, "lots of google news hits" without reading them to notice they're all the exact same blob of press release from a for-hire PR firm that's an "indie label", which they so politely send a copy to to every last media outlet that doesn't consider them spam. It might have 1 line of interview included that may or not be related to their music, or say things like "about to get on tour with...!" My replies are generally WP:PROVEIT, but it never matters. WP:CRYSTAL seems not to count for bands, if you were to poll most. Well, I know it does (WP:HAMMER) but it gets ignored. If anyone discovers even the most minuscule qualifier into the 12, AfD might as well be closed on the spot. Even if there are overriding issues like WP:CRYSTAL that are being ignored. This is why I've given up on AfD for awhile... things like someone who claimed notability for a song (via legacy) because he "remixed" a current #1 song it by changing its tempo so it could be used in some misc video. Published remix? No. Popular? The YouTube video had over 5,000 views in a week, so that counts, like, right? Nevermind the copyvio matter on the use of the song. daTheisen(talk) 16:37, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
You are right, the list could use some work. If the list was narrowed down to 1, 3, 8, 9 and 11, it would remove most of the subjectivity for establishing notability. Click23 (talk) 17:57, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
It may be suprising that I'm suggesting this but all that is really necessary is criterion 1. It is WP:GNG in a nutshell. My problem stems from the fact that there are criteria, in very plain language, that an editor can read and say "ok this fits" and then someone else can say no that's not what it means. Even though I defending the wording of criterion 2 as a broad definition, if it came down to an !vote to get rid of it, I would !vote to get rid of it. The way it is now though it is unfair to tell an editor that the article they created is being deleted despite the fact that it meets WP:BAND. Another option along the lines of daTheisen's "2 or 3 of 12" suggestion is that criterion 1 plus one of the other 11 are required for inclusion. This would ensure that WP:GNG is met. J04n(talk page) 18:16, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
I like the way it's done at WP:FILMNOT. Where they say that a film must meet the GNG and then goes on to say: "The following are attributes that generally indicate, when supported with reliable sources, that the required sources are likely to exist:" and then listing the conditions. --JD554 (talk) 08:36, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
This problem of saying that a band is notable when it has not been "noted" in accordance with WP:GNG is that it makes writing an article difficult: without significant coverage from reliable secondary sources, the only alternative sources of coverage are Questionable sources. It may seem a good idea to load subject specific guidelines with lots of subjective inclusion criteria that suggest a topic is notable, but by doing so it compromises the quality of the articles that get written. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 09:41, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
The "may" pointed about above is in line with what the GNG says: that notability is "presumed" by the presence of secondary sources, which means that there may be other aspects of policy and the like that say that those may not be enough (typically true for news events and people). It is generally considered that that sub-notability guidelines are either/or with the GNG: either the topic shows its met the GNG or that its met one of the subject-specific criteria (which are designed to presume that, in time, secondary sources will be present to build a better article, because of the honor/merit of achieving that criteria) (This was re-established by consensus at an RFC at WP:N about a year or so ago). The "may"/"presumed" in the GNG has the same meaning in the sub-notability guidelines - the criteria may be met, but other policies may further deny notability.
That said, this implies that the charts that band notability criteria used need to ensure that there is likely coverage of the band somewhere. Which to me means that any chart used needs to be as all-encompassing of all possible listeners and not single out sub-groups of them. Which means: even national top songs from all college radio stations and genre lists are too narrow a division when compared to something like Billboard's lists (which are genre-agnositic and apply at the national level). --MASEM (t) 14:27, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

--MASEM (t) 14:27, 3 December 2009 (UTC) I suppost a change. The current wording is too general. Reywas92Talk 02:05, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

False ads in fundraising campaign?

I don't mean this as an attack on anyone, but I've noticed that across different language Wikipeidias, the same name is posted in the fundraising advertisement with different information. Specifically, the English site claims that a Yizhao Lang donated $1.95, saying "My amount is little but my support sincere." The German Wikipedia has an article stating that a Yizhao Lang donated €50.00, saying "Wikipedia ist eine große Hilfe in meinem Alltag (Lehrer!)!.[sic]" So, is this the same person donating in two different currencies and languages, two different people with the same name, or are people being invented for the campaign? Once again, I am writing this not to hurt Wikipedia, but rather to ensure that it does not injure its own reputation. Thank you. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Thephilologist (talkcontribs) 21:24, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

An interesting observation; I second the request for information on this matter. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 01:24, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
It doesn't seem unreasonable to translate the donation comment, but that currency conversion is way off the mark. --Cybercobra (talk) 01:48, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
That's not a translation. The German says "Wikipedia is a great help in my daily learning". I don't know what happened. Reywas92Talk 02:02, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
Yizhao Lang's $1.95 donation is real: [1]. I don't know what is going on with the German. Dragons flight (talk) 03:32, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
There was a mistake made in the German translations that caused a couple of the banners to have the german translation not match up with the correct donations. It is being worked on now. Prodego talk 04:16, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
My aim too is to protect Wikipedia, in fact all Wikimedia Foundation projects, from any damaging publicity that could so easily result from this or similar incidents and any following discussions and actions. Wikipedians assume good faith, but others may not. There may be a simple explanation, a technical glitch, or a well-intentioned process that went wrong. But how it is explained is crucial. Anyone representing WMF (including on this page) needs to please be aware of potential public perception and media spin.
The original issue that needs to be explained is why what looks like the same person is being shown as donating twice with different amounts in different currencies and "commenting" in different languages. (Can Yizhao's apparent German donation record be cited too please?) Because such a situation is highly unlikely in reality, it raises suspicions of being made up. We assume good faith, but desire a verified, attested explanation please.
Sorry, but translation is so not the issue! The meanings of the donor('s/s') comments are irrelevant. The issue is how the name(s), amounts, currencies and comments got into the records. We need to see evidence that they are from genuine separate donations.
My initial hope was that in the modern Chinese diaspora "Yizhao Lang" is a common name so two different people were involved, but Prodego's interim explanation now throws doubt on that, increasing the need for a full explanation, please.
Prodego, do you mean the mis-matching was across languages and currencies? Also, please advise how you know "it is being worked on now"?[who?] Thanks, -- Bricaniwi (talk) 12:41, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
German versions of banners did not match the other languages. I knew it was being worked on but I do not have access to change the banners, I asked someone to fix it for me. Prodego talk 15:03, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
It's probably a simple clerical error - someone probably swapped 2 names in 2 donation entries by mistake when translating them. --Cybercobra (talk) 13:04, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

It is actually a bit more complicated than that. What happened was that when donation templates were translated, Pavel Richter replaced the German translations with quotes from different donations. It does not appear that he had permission to do this from the fundraising team. Then, when the quotations were added in to the banner system, these different amounts, quotes, and donation dates were set for the German versions of the fundraising banners. But since names aren't usually translated, that field was left blank. As a result the name fell back to the name that goes with the quote that was supposed to be used on that banner - Lang. The correct version of Lang's quote, donation date, and donation amount have now been added [2] [3] [4] by Az1568. The other German banner that was affected has also been fixed. Prodego talk 14:59, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

Thank you for the detailed investigative work, Prodego and to Thephilologist for first speaking up. This is a good example where self-policing by wikipedians worked as intended. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 18:28, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

As with all the translations, we gave the translating team some leeway with some of the quotes. Obviously, quotes like "No knowledge, no wiki" were not going to translate well into other languages. Sadly, when we built the German versions of the latest quotes, we mistakenly didn't account for the changing of names and amounts. We appreciate the community's fast work in finding and fixing the problem. Thank you! Rand Montoya (talk) 17:22, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

Yes, many thanks for the comprehensive and mostly satisfying explanations.
The area that still concerns me is the concept of translating donors' quotes. People are very tetchy about being mis-quoted, especially if they are made to appear un-idiomatic, or worse, illiterate. If we have a reliable record of what they actually typed then it's OK to publish it as a quote. But from the statement above, citing 4 for the "correct version of Lang's quote", it appears that we are quoting donors like Yizhao Lang as if they wrote in German. Am I reading that right? If that is the process, did we get legal advice on it?
Thanks, -- Bricaniwi (talk) 18:43, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
Just so you know, the german banners are still completely f***ed up. Plus more banners than 2 or 3 would be in order, sir. ;) --92.202.15.47 (talk) 22:03, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

Can a delisted featured article still be a good article?

The article Introduction to evolution was listed as a WP:GA, then promoted to WP:FA, then demoted from FA. At that point, is it still a good article? Or does it have to be renominated to be listed as a GA? Gabbe (talk) 01:12, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

It would still be a good article unless it was shown it didn't meet the requirements. Since a featured article is a higher step than a good article, this only makes sense (at least to me). :) ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 02:59, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
I never did quite understand the use of the A label, perhaps that's what it would be listed as?Camelbinky (talk) 03:54, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
The A, B, C and other grades are Wikiproject ratings, placed by someone involved with a project and not part of the GA or FA processes. They do not confer the same type of formal imprimatur that a GA or FA passing does, and are more for internal use of the project to monitor the quality of articles in the subject area, and to prioritize work on those articles. See Wikipedia:WikiProject Council/Assessment FAQ. I'm not sure that the GA can (or should) be just placed back. An example comes to mind of an article that was a GA in 2006 and achieved FA later that same year. Then, in 2010, it's demoted. Between 2006 and 2010 the standards of GA may have increased past that of FA in 2006, so the simple fact that it was at one time at an even higher step than GA may not mean it meets current GA standards. Also, I know that the GA people have done a massive standards sweep recently, and the article in my example would not have been looked at. I think this is really a question for WT:GA (or at least post a link there to this discussion to get involved people to weigh in).--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 04:57, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
P.S. I have just dropped a note at WT:GA.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 05:21, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
I don't see a problem with putting it at GA until such time as someone reviews it. ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 06:10, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
I would agree with Fuhghettaboutit that this would be a more appropriate question for WT:GA. I have seen FAs that were delisted to GA by default, but I'm not sure if this is the way it actually should be. -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 06:17, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
Maybe a good idea would be to list the article at WP:GAR by default after an FAR and FARC? Presumably some of the problems listed at the FAR / FARC would need to be corrected at the GAR, but not all of them I suspect, and the GAR might serve to highlight the issues. Then again, peer review would also suffice, before retry to the GAN process instead... Hmm. Yeah, best to see what WT:GA has to say, methinks. --Izno (talk) 08:51, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

The German Wikipedia has solved this problem very elegantly. After a huge RfC in summer, they merged GA and FA (and also the corresponding process for lists) into a single "article candidacies" process: de:Wikipedia:Kandidaturen_von_Artikeln,_Listen_und_Portalen. Now you just start a discussion on an article (regardless of whether is FA, GA or nothing), and then editors improve/criticise it and vote for FA, GA or nothing. Basically, if after 10 days there is consensus for FA it becomes FA, otherwise if there is a clear majority for FA or GA it becomes GA. These specific rules are of course tailored for the specific situation at de, where GA criteria were becoming so strict that the gap to FA was about to disappear.

It's not clear if this system would work here, since a unified article candidacies process here would be very busy. But it could be a basis for innovative ideas, and I believe a bit more communication between FA and GA might be beneficial. Hans Adler 09:20, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

Proposed lower threshold for the creation of new stub types

So far as I can tell, stub types exist to categorize stubs in distinctive, manageable groups so that users proficient that category of knowledge can commit to improve Wikipedia's lacking coverage in the subject. If that's not their intended purpose,I think we should consider moving them in that direction. As it now stands, it takes 60 articles of a general type before a new stub type can be considered for creation to contain them. 60 is far too many for any one user, even a relatively ambitious one, to commit to destubbing in a reasonable period of time. This means that whatever their purpose, in practice, stub types merely group short articles rather than making them easier to achieve greater quality. To rectify this, I make two proposals:

1.) The purpose of stub types and sorting should be to make it easier for knowledgeable editors to improve areas of weak coverage in Wikipedia, rather than just rearranging those deficient areas.

and

2.) In order to make stub categories into manageable potential projects for knowledgeable users, the number of articles of a given type needed to justify the creation of a new type of stub should be lowered significantly. I think it should, at least, be lowered to 25 articles needed to justify the new stub type. My personal preference would be something more akin to 10 articles needed to justify the new stub type, but that may be a bit low for some of you.

I believe that the way our stubs are currently categorized does not contribute to their long term growth but if we implement the above proposal there will be more productivity among Wikipedia's most deficient articles. Abyssal (talk) 05:31, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Generally Agree. Anything that cuts down on possibly half-sentence things that pass through NPP that would have any number of fates depending on the stub writer and patroller. Things meant to be starter subs are pretty clear; usually has one reference and one citation, a line of info (with citation) and a general info line, with notability crammed into one of them.. Ta-da! Good enough to pass NPP. ...Or at least it should be. I'll try to rescue some CSDable items by jury-rigging them into stubs but those are of even lower quality and I kind of have to AGF on a user improving it later. So, which standard do we want to use that counts as "stub"? The second type is bad not so great to run into when doing NPP since even if someone knows they're trying to make something "really small" they don't know what the requirements are. This ambiguity is what led to some of the issues in WP:NEWT last month.
It's not just limited to this-- stub tags are left on things that are much better pages than some existing articles, sometimes. Lower the number, and can we have any sort of "acceptable" contents of a basic stub? How immune from notability should a stub be up-front? Was it approved in the project as the grouping being notable, or just a list? If it's for filling, then no wonder some things look very strange at creation. That's also a frustrating matter at NPP. If we knew it was a stub for part of a project and its (hopeful) good future would end with an article the project was looking for, we could just let them pass by. daTheisen(talk) 16:58, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose- as per WP:WSS/P, only thirty articles are required for the creation of a stub type for a WikiProject, and it is hard to imagine that any subject that has 25 stub articles does not in some way also fall within the scope of some WikiProject. If there are 25 or more stubs within a given topic field that is not covered by an extant WikiProject, I tend to think that trying to create some sort of project or task force which deals specifically with that subject would both be more productive, as it provides if nothing else a central forum, and more useful. John Carter (talk) 17:30, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
The section Wikipedia:WSS/P#Proposing_new_stub_types_-_procedure says you need 60 articles. 30 is for the primary stub type of a wikiproject (ie Wikproject Dinosaurs' primary stub type would be dinosaur-stub, theropod-stub would be a sub-stub type that would still require 60 articles with the way the rule currently is). Those main stub types usually have way over 30 articles and are not often by any means small enough for a smart dedicated editior to go through and destub. You're right that task forces and such are a good way to deal with specific areas of deficiency, but having smaller stub type categories would givem the a convenient, organized target on which to focus their efforts, which doesn't really exist with the current larger, broader stub type categories. Abyssal (talk) 18:18, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose — by way of self-credentialing, I used to be quite active in the stub WikiProject preceding and overlapping with the establishment of the current stub-type proposal process. The intent was never to provide a manageable article set for a single editor to address, which appears to be the concern based on the abstracted quote "60 is far too many for any one user, even a relatively ambitious one, to commit to destubbing in a reasonable period of time." The intention was to provide a critical mass for multiple editors in an area to address either collectively (precipitating the creation of a WikiProject, perhaps) or individually. To put it another way, the intention of the 60 mark was to provide a corpus which would attract collaboration rather than enable one person to address the topic area. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 01:36, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
How often does that happen? I've never seen a group coalesce around a stub type and make significant headway into destubbing it since I joined like 4 years ago. For some stub types it's not even possible. I've seen stub types with many hundreds of articles (>800). How is any small group supposed to put a dent in that? Abyssal (talk) 13:38, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Stub classes were a bad idea to begin with; the category mechanism should be used to find stubs on specific areas. Making it easier to create stub classes only makes the problem worse. --Jorge Stolfi (talk) 15:59, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
The proposal you seem to be basing your objection on isn't gathering any traction. Abyssal (talk) 13:39, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

IP blocking policy

Please see discussion at WT:Blocking IP addresses#Updates required? and respond there. OrangeDog (τ • ε) 13:28, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

Use of transclusion in mainspace

I just noticed today on the List of House episodes page that an editor has decided to use the transclusion feature in order to transclude the content from each individual season article onto the overall list article. I may be mistaken, but I thought that this practice was contrary to policy. I looked around a little bit, but I couldn't find anything directly on point in my brief search. I wanted to bring the subject up here in the hope that someone could provide some direction, prior to doing anything else regarding this subject.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 15:48, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

Yeah, that sounds wrong. Presumably it was done to save time, but editors can be confused when they click "edit" and the edit box is almost completely empty. --King Öomie 16:30, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
The transclusions should only be used to include the episode lists themselves (which is common practice). Transcluding paragraphs of information, however, is contrary to practice (and one of the reasons it failed its FLC). I vaguly remember attempting to get the editors to change it to properly do just the episode lists themselves, however they would not listen. -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 16:39, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
It's common practice to transclude the lists? I'm not very familiar with the TV area of wikipedia, but I've seen a couple of these (and at least one that is the same size as, if not slightly larger then, the House list) and I've never seen transclusion used, that I can remember.
Regardless, I don't see our personal feelings on this being terribly meaningful of anything. Is there any existing wider discussion, precedent, or policy on this issue anywhere? I'd swear that I've seen something about this someplace, but I'll be damned if I can find it.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 17:10, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
Yes, it is common, the episode list is even configured just for that. It is used on almost every episode list, anime episode list, and anime manga volume/chapter list that is split into multiple lists, so that the main list just as the list of episode titles/dates, while the individual lists have the details. I really don't see any need for a policy on this, as it isn't a problem. The main issue with the House list is that its being badly done and needs fixing to properly follow the consensus of the project/FLs/template itself. The largest I know of using transclusions would be List of Lassie episodes. If you look at some others, though, like List of Dragon Ball episodes, you can see how it is supposed to be done. It has been discussed many times in the television project, anime/manga project, Template:Episode list, Template:Japanese episode list, Template:Graphic novel list, and probably some other places, including FLCs. Would need to search to find them all. -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 17:17, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
Alright... humm. Well, rather then doing anything else on this then, I think that I'll just drop a note on Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Television.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 17:26, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

Policy templates

We discussed moving policy pages around within the policy subcats above at #Wikipedia administrative policy above, and I'm doing that now. Next up are the templates that appear on the policy pages ... they were outdated before, and they're really outdated now. What would be best ... templates that mention a lot of the policies, guidelines and principles (see WP:EDIT for an example), or something less? Personally, I could go for only mentioning, say, content policy pages on a content policy page, plus WP:5P, WP:List of policies (which I'm fixing now to correspond to what we did above) and WP:List of guidelines (which probably needs some work). - Dank (push to talk) 14:35, 30 November 2009 (UTC) tweaked 18:49, 1 December 2009 (UTC) 13:51, 3 December 2009 (UTC) struck because it looks like footer decisions will be made page-by-page

I fully support your boldly updating/renaming/recategorizing all the relevant templates, as part of your excellent cleanup effort. Reducing a bit of the redundancy would also be good. I like your specific suggestions above, and would only add that I hope we can avoid using the [show]/[hide] function in them as much as possible (ie. Please let's not go the route that {{Style}} is currently using)
I find examples/indexes handy, so here are all the templates that list policies or guidelines (or "principles", as discussed elsewhere). (Add anything I missed, or annotate/trim at will). -- Quiddity (talk) 07:04, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, that's helpful. Of those, Content policy list is closest to what I'm thinking of, with the links I suggested. Most people's first trip to policy pages isn't because they're browsing, it's because they were told they can't do something and they were given a link to policy. It seems to me that's a bad time to be saying "and while you're here, here are 40 other pages of rules you might be interested in" ... it's likely to leave a bad taste in their mouth. OTOH, if all someone knows is say NPOV, then they know just enough to be dangerous, not enough to make good judgment calls ... NPOV is complemented by the other content policies, so a prominent pointer to other content policies would be useful. Likewise, if you only know one deletion policy but not the others, then you don't know what your alternatives are. Now that we've taken some policies out of the conduct, content, deletion and enforcement cats that weren't like the other pages in the cats, these sidebars will be shorter, less scary, and more likely to tell people stuff they actually want to know if they follow the links. - Dank (push to talk) 15:34, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

Request for comment on sidebar and navigation templates on policy pages

{{rfctag}}: no objections, I guess we're done, feel free to revert. - Dank (push to talk) 18:22, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

This RFC is called to decide which navigational templates, if any, would be best on policy pages. Quiddity's and my thoughts are above. Some policy pages currently have several large templates (see WP:Editing policy); some have none. I think we need an RfC because everyone has favorite pages, and there will be resistance to removing some of the links. There will also be resistance to adding links for reasons discussed above. - Dank (push to talk) 17:39, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

  • I'd generally favor a short/relevant sidebar template (eg {{Content policy list}}), and a completist footer template (eg {{Wikipedia policies and guidelines}} once it's updated), on each page. -- Quiddity (talk) 20:40, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Hm, not a lot of participation in this RfC. With this little to go on, I'm not comfortable making a decision on the footer. Can we at least get agreement that short, relevant sidebars would be best? - Dank (push to talk) 17:39, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
    • Suggested templates are the conduct, content, deletion and enforcement templates at Category:Wikipedia policy list templates. - Dank (push to talk) 14:44, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
      • It's been almost 5 days, this isn't generating any opposition, I'll make it so, but feel free to revert, as always. - Dank (push to talk) 04:55, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
  • No objections from me. The sidebars are quite useful as long as they are kept to a reasonable length. The footers are also fine. --ThaddeusB (talk) 06:35, 6 December 2009 (UTC)


Dank, I recognize and appreciate you made attempts to publicize this in order to gain consensus, but think the changes sufficiently wide-ranging and fundamental to require publicizing and discussion substantially beyond what took place. By my count over six days 6 or 7 usernames beside yourself took part.

The changes go far beyond mere organizing for easier retrieval. In other words, unintended consequences or effects. They elevate policies above others; impose distinctions among policies; aggroup into specific category or super-category policy laying down board resolution with policy that does not; impute authority or set in stone permanence to policy through other category-tree members, irrespective of whether legitimate consensus formed that that policy be such. Taking one example, the mandates in the "Volunteer response team" document and its policy status were, its talk page shows, disputed as recently as August. Now, it is a policy that sits right next to "Wikipedia:Office actions". Regardless of any statement the changes were not done to establish any hierarchy, it seems certain that will be the effect nonetheless.

Given it can be reasonably considered that readers or editors will perceive something in names or groupings of the new system other than their being navigation labels, I propose two things. First, all implementation related to this should be reverted, without prejudice to its reintroduction following sufficient community-wide consensus merited for such a wide-ranging and fundamental change. Second, discussion be restarted with Request for comment publicized through Wikipedia:Cent, the Signpost, all talk pages of the policies and guidelines affected, Watchlist notice, and MediaWiki:Sitenotice displayed to both registered and anonymous users, to continue for as long as reasonably appropriate. –Whitehorse1 16:50, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Proposed Idea: A Simple Hit + Edit Counter on Each Wikipedia Article

Articles on the 'most popular Wikipedia articles of [year]' are common. I think it'd be interesting to display the number of unique page views (and edits) on every article's page. This need not be flashy, or prominent, but simple, numerical FYI.

Any thoughts? —Preceding unsigned comment added by ItsMechanized (talkcontribs) 18:39, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Probably not used due to caching issues. If you want to find out these things, there are loads of tools on the tool server. OrangeDog (τε) 19:50, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
I believe MediaWiki supports this, however it has been disabled to prevent unnecessary drain on resources. Resolute 00:53, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
I think it would be useful to address this with a broader request - to have a link to the Toolserver in the "toolbox" sectin of the article sidebar. The wording of the link and whether parameter passing would be useful is beyond what I've thought on this so far. It is telling that the Toolserver is described as providing "hosting for various software tools written and used by Wikimedia editors". Placement of a link in the Toolbox would be a recognition of the Toolserver having reached a level of maturity where it the hosted tools might be of interest to more than the most dedicated wikipedian, that they are relevant to the more everyday wikipedia user. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 02:20, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
Agree, that would be a useful link. It might take the article name as a parameter & delivers up a list of tools which take article name as a parameter. --Tagishsimon (talk) 02:27, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
Well, Toolserver is not giving me much joy right now. I'm combing through Wikipedia:WikiProject edit counters now, though, and there are some interesting things to consider. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 02:55, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
I think that http://en.wikichecker.com/ and in particular a link like http://en.wikichecker.com/article/?a=myelin is getting closer to what User:ItsMechanized might be looking for. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 02:58, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
The history page of an article has a "External tools" line with links to four tools: Revision history statistics · Revision history search · Number of watchers · Page view statistics. I suspect these are the sorts of things a single toolbox link might take us to. --Tagishsimon (talk) 03:04, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
Now how did I overlook that? Thank you, Tagishsimon. I've looked at the grok server stats in the past and I've always wondered how many of the visits are human and how many webcrawler/bot. For the purpose of understanding the true traffic across a page, filtering against robotic visits would be helpful. Thoughts? --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 03:14, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
Talk to its owner - User:Henrik? --Tagishsimon (talk) 03:17, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
The data used to generate the graphs only includes the title, the number of hits, and I believe the number of bytes transferred. Mr.Z-man 03:43, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
I'd say avoid this; my experience with hit counters is that they always seem very tacky. Riffraffselbow (talk) 10:37, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Eliminate stub classes, use categories instead.

Proposal: All the current stub type tags should be replaced by a single {{stub}} template. To label and find stubs on particular subject areas, the [[Category:...]] tags should be used instead.
Justification:

  1. As a general rule, statements about an article rather than about its subject — including requests for editor action — do not belong in the article itself; they should go into its talk page. Stub tags are editorial notes, and therefore their presence in the article itself is an historical exception to this rule, whose merit is already debatable. Having *two or more* stub tags on the same article is defintely abusing it.
  2. Stub tags are inherently ugly, flashy, and only add to the already excessive visual clutter of Wikipedia pages.
  3. With their (usually pointless) icons, stub tags needlessly waste network bandwidth and WP server time.
  4. The time that editors spend adding and replacing stub tags could be better spent editing article contents.
  5. The stub classification essentially duplicates the category mechanism. In any system, having two independent mechanisms for essentially the same purpose is bad.
  6. Stub-class tags are temporary and will eventually be deleted. Category tags are basically permanent. Editors should be encouraged to use the latter rather than the former.

All the best, --Jorge Stolfi (talk) 16:40, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

number 3, WP:DWAP. --Izno (talk) 18:03, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
Re #1: As invitations to readers (who may never have seen a Talk page) to become editors, many statements about an article itself, such as "... please help expand ...", very much belong on the article page, IMO. (Requests to individual editors belong on their talk page (if not breaching WP:OWN.)) And I certainly agree each task should be done in one way (either tag or template, the best tool for the job), and only once per page (unless a particular section needs to be identified), and I agree with the last point in #1.
Re #3: I agree to a point with WP:DWAP, but lots of Help pages contradict that by discouraging "too many" even basic links on grounds of performance (which I also agree with to a point), so WP:DWAP is not an absolute, there's plenty of validity in point 3 above.
Re #5: I certainly agree with the second statement, but I don't know the system well enough to know the degree of duplication.
-- Bricaniwi (talk) 19:31, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
The reason the stub categorization system duplicates the category system is because the category system sucks. There's no easy way to find category intersections, so we hack it by just having extremely specific categories. We could probably cut the number of categories in half if we had an easy to use category intersection system in the software. We wouldn't need categories like Category:Theatre companies in New York, we would just need Category:Theatre companies and Category:New York.
The tiny little stub images typically use ≤ 2 KB. Even for a stub, this is still going to be a fraction of the size of the HTML of the article or of any larger images in the article. Mr.Z-man 20:30, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Stub tags, if properly maintained, can be an immensely useful tool that couldn't be replaced by categories or the generic {{stub}} template. The Wine Project is very active in maintaining stubs and regularly go on "stub-killing" sprees where we take a few stubs and expand them up to at least start-class quality. It is very easy to find an appropriate stub article to work on depending on whether I feel like working on grape varieties, wine regions or a biography article. It is far easier to find these articles with the stub tag then it would be with wading through pages and pages of categories which groups stubs, starts, Cs, Bs, GAs and FAs all together. With winery articles, we have to be very vigilant for spam and the inclusion of non-notable wineries which makes monitoring Category:Winery stubs an important task that would only be hindered without the winery-stub tag and so forth. While stub tags can be messy, don't discount their usefulness if they are being used and maintained by an active project or group of editors. AgneCheese/Wine 20:36, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
  • But, er, how do you find the stubs that need to be tagged with "winery-stub" in the first place?
    Anyway, I gather that your objection would be removed if there was a way to list the intersection of two or more categories. This capability should relatively easy to implement in the current search machinery. The article indexer would have to parse and store the [[:Category:...]] entries at the end of each article; and the search engine would have to accept searches like "category:stub category:winery category:'north america'" (note the quotes), with the usual "and" semantics. Both changes seem relatively easy to do.
    For best results, the index builder would have to be smart enough to index a page under super-categories of the explicitly listed categories ("Category:birds of Canada" --> "Category:birds" + "Category:fauna of Canada" --> "Category:vertebrates" + Category:flying animals" + "Category:fauna of North America", etc.) This is probably harder but still seems doable, no?
    Another possible solution is to enhance the "What links here" tool to accept two or more target pages, instead of just one; so that one could ask for all the pages that link to Category:stubs and also to Category:wineries.
    All the best, --Jorge Stolfi (talk) 23:30, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

Even simpler: Category:Stub-Class rail transport articles --NE2 23:54, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

Yes, the Wine Project has the assessment based Category:Stub-Class Wine articles too but I disagree that it is "simpler". For the wine project, there are nearly a 1000 articles in that cat which begs for some sub-classification in order to make it more manageable. (And believe me, I've gone through every one of those articles) That is where the stub cats are of huge benefit. We can take those 1000 articles and break them down into a little more manageable categorization of Grapes, Bios, Regions, Wineries and "Other wine stuff". That way, when we come across a good WP:RS for expanding wine grape varieties articles, we can go to Category:Wine grape stubs and have a neat, simple listing of grape articles that need the most attention and expansion. We couldn't do that as easily wading through Category:Stub-Class Wine articles. As for Jorge's question about how we find which articles need to be categorized with which stub cat--just good old fashion grunt work. You pay attention to new pages listings, articles that get tagged with the generic Template:wine-stub or have the talk page project banner added and then you go and properly categorize them. Grunt work, yes, but oil keeps the machine running smooth. AgneCheese/Wine 00:05, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose — get the solution ready (category intersection methods) before tossing out current tools which would be obsoleted by a better category-based solution. It is not useful to say 'it is easy to make such and such a functionality work'; it is useful to work on a solid proposal for doing this, and contribute to its coding. I agree that a category-intersections method which allows a real transition from a poly-hierarchy to a network (nodes = category intersections) would be game changing and very beneficial in many ways. Have at it and make it so! --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 01:47, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
OK, there are three separate issues here:
Problem A: The existence of two separate taxonomies of articles, one for stubs and one for full articles, whose classes do not always match. Independently of how they are implemented, this is bad because it makes the "WP experience" more complicated for editors (two things to learn instead of one). Agne's arguments do not seem to justify the need for two different taxonomies. Some of the stub classes mentioned (wineries, wine grapes) are also bona-fide categories — why can't all stub categories also be article categories?
Problem B: The use of specialized templates like {{winery-stub}} to indicate the stub's category, instead of having a single {{stub}} template followed by one or more explicit [[Category:Winery stubs]] tags. As far as I can tell, this alternative approach gives all the benefits that Agne appreciates (quickly finding all the winery stubs), but removes the need for some 7000 stub templates in the 'Template:' namespace that (again) largely duplicate that many entities in the 'Category:' namespace. (While the templates are a bit shorter, they seem to have inconsistent — and hence hard-to-remember — names: {{chem-stub}}, for example, expands to [[Category:Chemistry stubs]].) This solution is not as good as my original proposal because one would still have to edit out the "stubs" part from the category tags when the article stops being a stub; but is better than the present system, in which one must delete the {{xxx-stub}} templates and insert the corresponding [[Category:Xxxx]] tags.
Problem C: The fact that each {{xxx-stub}} template expands into a separate "This is a Xxxx stub" notice, with icon and all. This seems pretty unnecessary since the reader obviously can tell what the stub is about. So, a *single* note inviting him to expnd the article seems more than enough. Besides, each stub class already appears as a category "Xxxx stubs" at the bottom of the page, so those separate stub notices are in fact redundant. The alternative approach above would automatically solve this problem.
As for implement it or shut up : unfortunately I do not have access to the software, so all I can do is suggest that it be implemented. I cannot see why the first part of the proposal (getting the search engine to parse and index the categry tags) could be that hard to implement. Please note that this is not a selfish request: I am sure that such a tool would be immensely helpful to thousands of editors, more than to myself. All the best, --Jorge Stolfi (talk) 04:31, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Support. There are editors who do little but change stub tag types and "rate" articles they've never touched, and who clearly have no interest or knowledge of the subject. These sorts of "improvements" are little more than busywork, and do not improve the content of the encyclopedia. Removing stub types would help keep the stub-sorting busywork to a minimum. Firsfron of Ronchester 04:44, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
    • What about the people who actually use the stub categories (like Agne and WP:WINE)? If some people doing harmless busywork makes the work of content specialists easier, why should we stop that? Mr.Z-man 05:00, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
My problem is that the stub category system is foisted on projects which do not use them, by people who do nothing on the articles but add stub categories (same goes for the A/B/C class "ratings"). I also wouldn't say that it's harmless, because it causes me to have to review each one to make sure it isn't subtle vandalism. Firsfron of Ronchester 05:05, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
Regarding the class ratings, from what I gather, WP:CD would probably care to disagree with you about their utility. --Cybercobra (talk) 05:14, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
Has there been a recent centralized discussion of A/B/C-style "ratings"? I've looked through Wikipedia:Centralized_discussion/Conclusions and I can't find it. Firsfron of Ronchester 05:49, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
My bad, I assumed that would be a shortcut to the WP on compact discs project. I meant Wikipedia:Version 1.0 Editorial Team. --Cybercobra (talk) 06:33, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
Ah, no problem. Thanks for the clarification, Cc. As far as WP:1.0 goes, a WikiProject I work extensively on had two dozen articles accepted to the CD without ever using one of those silly A/B/C ratings. Firsfron of Ronchester 07:15, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
  • How the heck is {{chem-stub}} "inconsistent or hard to remember"? Pretty much all the stub templates I've seen are named "(abbreviation of topic name)-stub". --Cybercobra (talk) 04:56, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
(e/c)For problem B, category names are often just as inconsistent as stub templates, probably more so due to the work by WP:STUB to maintain the stub template system; categories are more of a free-for-all. Given that this would require hundreds of thousands of edits to implement, with the only "benefit" of not having multiple stub templates, I can't see how its justified. Putting the categories in manually seems like a step backward IMO.
The software Wikipedia uses is open source and documented here. People without commit access can submit patches to Bugzilla. Mr.Z-man 04:57, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose.
  1. As a general rule, statements about an article rather than about its subject — including requests for editor action — do not belong in the article itself; they should go into its talk page. Stub tags are editorial notes, and therefore their presence in the article itself is an historical exception to this rule, whose merit is already debatable. Having *two or more* stub tags on the same article is defintely abusing it. This is fundamentally inaccurate. Maintenance tags (such as {{expand}}, the cousin of stub templates) are only applied to article pages.
  2. Stub tags are inherently ugly, flashy, and only add to the already excessive visual clutter of Wikipedia pages. Removing clutter may be laudable, but it's better to start with clutter that is not useful.
  3. With their (usually pointless) icons, stub tags needlessly waste network bandwidth and WP server time. If you wish to propose the prohibition of icons in stub templates, that is a separate issue.
  4. The time that editors spend adding and replacing stub tags could be better spent editing article contents. Makes unwarranted assumptions about what editors would otherwise do.
  5. The stub classification essentially duplicates the category mechanism. In any system, having two independent mechanisms for essentially the same purpose is bad. It doesn't duplicate it, it subsumes it. Bongomatic 05:12, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
  6. Stub-class tags are temporary and will eventually be deleted. Category tags are basically permanent. Editors should be encouraged to use the latter rather than the former. Tags that are no longer applicable (such as maintenance tags) are removed as a matter of course. Why the difference here?
Bongomatic 05:12, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
Hi Bongo,
In answering my comment, you've slightly changed the meaning of what I wrote. I stated: "The time that editors spend adding and replacing stub tags could be better spent editing article contents." Your reply was, "Makes unwarranted assumptions about what editors would otherwise do." (emphasis mine). I'm aware that removing the "let's-add-another-stub-type" temptation wouldn't guarantee that editors would actually add worthwhile encyclopedic content to articles. But it would remove that particular tag-compulsion. I think the random drive-by tagging trend on WP has been out of hand for several years. Firsfron of Ronchester 07:29, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

Is featuritis killing Wikipedia?

[Secioned out because it is getting off-topic]

[unindent] Once, when I was a kid, I had a pair of shoes whose heels were made of several layers of leather held together by glue and nails. As the leather wore off, the nails were slowly pushed up until they went through the sole. But it didn't bother me at all: as the tips of the nais came up, my feet grew calluses arount those spots, each with a neat little cavity in the middle where the nail tip would fit, "mostly harmlessly".
The stub-category tags remind me of those shoes. Actually there are many, many things in wikipedia that remind me of those shoes. No matter how illogical and inefficient a "feature" is, there are always people who, having gotten used to it, will no longer notice the defects, and will vehemently oppose any proposal to remove the feature. Meanwhile, the 99.9% of the editors who do not use the feature, or are forced to but hate it, will not even notice the proposal.
Take the {{cite...}} templates, for example. It takes much, much, much more work to put a reference in {{cite...}} format than to typeset it by hand, and the result actually looks worse. The template also takes much more space in the wiki source, so that only the most determined editor will work on a paragraph that has {{cite...}} (or several of them) stuck in the middle, often inside a sentence. The templates are also more fragile and much, much harder to learn than manual formatting. In short, those templates were a terrible idea with absolutely no redeeming features. But go try proposing their elimination. Unfortunately there are many editors who have grown used to entering references in that format, and many who have taken as their mission to convert ordinary refs to {{cite...}} refs. They have wasted countless hours doing that, and think they are doing a great job and helping Wikipedia, because "that is the Wikipedia policy".
Meanwhile, my friends, Wikipedia is dying. Just look at the statistics on the creation of new articles or edits. Until 2005 or so, the number of active aditors was growing exponentially (doubling every 11 monhs). Since 2006 or so, it has been decreasing exponentially (halving every 4 years or so). This change is not a natural growth phenomenon. Wikipedia is not getting close to completion, we are not running out of interesting topics for new articles, and people are not spending more time editing than creating articles. The plots can only mean that, since 2006, no new editors have joined the pool, while old editors are gradually leaving. If the present trends continue, is easy to forecast that Wikipedia will slowly freeze out before the 6 million article mark --- in a very much incomplete state.
Why is this happening? My guess is that because editing is nowhere as easy as it was in the beginning, not by a long shot. In the early years, a plain Wikipedia reader who clicked on the "edit" button for the first time would see the same text as the article, in a simple, self-evident markup. Now, what he will probably see is a bunch of editorial templates, navboxes, infoboxes, etc. --- all in a cryptic wizards-only notation. He would have to scroll a couple of screenfuls to find the lead paragraph, interspersed with half-screen-tall <ref>{{cite...}}</ref>s, <math>...</math>, and so on. Which ordinary reader will dare edit such a mess?
Like any bureaucracy or software product, Wikipedia has been steadily growing features over the years --- templates, tags, projects, navboxes, infoboxes, categories, policies, style guidelines, grading schemes, etc. etc.. This feature growth is disease, not progress. Most of these features are worse than worthless; they make Wikipedia uglier, more inefficient, and harder to edit. But they will never be removed, as long as that decision is left to the editors themselves: the 0.1% of aficcionados, who have grown mental calluses around them, will always out-vote the 99.9% of editors who hate them, or have stopped caring. Meanwhile, features that would be really useful --- such as making the search tool sensitive to categories --- do not get implemented, presumably because the WP staff is too busy keeping the other features working.
As I see it, the only way Wikipedia can be saved from premature death is by radically curbing the creeping featuritis, eliminating most of the features that make the "Wikipedia experience" so complicated. That includes all navboxes, for example, and most of the Wikiprojects, style guidelines, templates, tags, etc.. It is not enough that a feature be somewhat useful to some readers editors: because of the hidden but large cost of mere complexity, a feature should be kept or added only if it is certain that it will be massively useful to most readers and editors.
All the best, --Jorge Stolfi (talk) 14:34, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
Please familiarize yourself with facts before commenting. Not counting the usability initiative's temporary staff, Wikimedia has only a few paid software developers (fewer than 5) working on MediaWiki, the rest are all volunteers, including the primary developer of the search engine backend. There is virtually zero software effort required to keep templates like navboxes and citation templates working. A better solution, that people are working on, is to improve the editing system so that its not just a plain textarea (WYSIWYG, syntax highlighting, collapsing references etc.) so that users can use features without having to memorize them. Stripping out useful features to make software easier to use is just lazy development. Mr.Z-man 16:41, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
  • The rationale for the proposal to eliminate stub-classes (and many other WP features) is NOT to make life easier for the software maintainers (although that might be a minor benefit). The goal is to make WP simpler for novice editors; because I cannot think of another explanation for those scary plots. (Features that are largely invisible to editors, or have a simple and self-explanatory interface (like the search engine, or the history lists) are not a problem.)
    By the way, it it takes far more determination to delete a feature than to add one more... --Jorge Stolfi (talk) 03:13, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
    I didn't say anything about making life easier for the developers, I just pointed out that the maintenance cost for keeping them was basically zero since you complained that developers were apparently spending too much time maintaining these features to add more important things, which is not at all true. For the actual software developers, the cost of removing them is also zero, as they're done entirely through on-wiki templates (unless you're proposing removing templates altogether). Mr.Z-man 03:18, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps you find it easier to format a citation manually than to use a citation template. But I also note that you state on your userpage that you are a professor, which implies that you often have cause to create citations in your daily work. For those of us whose last exposure to citations outside of Wikipedia was in school long ago, it may well be easier to copy the template and fill in the named fields rather than to read a very long page of citation formatting instructions and try to figure out what should be italicized and so on. I certainly find it so. Many of your assertions seem to be based in this sort of personal bias. Anomie 16:53, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
I have to agree with Anomie. You really think that the time users spend converting hand-written refs to templated citations is wasted? This sounds more like a call to convert Wikipedia into a paper encyclopedia. --King Öomie 17:13, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
  • [This is straying out of the topic, but...] I am not advocating a paper-like Wikipedia, nor a scholarly-journal-looking Wikipedia; quite the opposite! One (a small one) of the reasons why I hate the CITE templates is because they generate the cryptic "scholarly" format "12(3):355" instead of the reader-friendly "vol. 12 issue 3 page 355". Now, guess who invented that cryptic format, and why? In fact, guess who invented the convention of one style for book cites, and a different style for journal cites? And guess which readers will be able to "decode" that convention?
    Try to imagine a novice editor who decides to add a reference to an article, for the first time. If the article already contains some plain hand-formatted refs, he will easily figure out the general style (Author (year), Title, volume, etc.) and easily hand-edit his own entry in the same style. That will be, say 30 seconds of his time. If he gets the format or field order a litlle bit wrong, who cares! If he really blotches it, of if he just copy-pastes the reference from some random source without caring about the format, the next editor who comes along will easily fix it; that will be another 30 seconds of editor-time, tops. On the other hand, if the article contains CITE templates, our novice editor will think that references *must* be entered that way. Perhaps he will give up at that point, and (plunk!) become another tiny dip on the plots. Perhaps he will try to type the template by hand, and possibly mistype a keyword, and not notice that the title or author has been silently dropped; or he will notice but will not be able to figure out why. Or perhaps he will notice the CITE button in the toolbar and try it out. Then it will take him a minute or so to copy-paste the fields into the form, one by one. Not being a scholar, he may have trouble figuring out what part of the reference goes where. He may think that the author's "first name" field must be spelled in full, and all fields of the form must be filled; and since he has only the author's intial, and can't find the ISSN or the OCLC (?) of the 1830 issue of the Farmers Almanac, he may give up (plunk!). But hopefully he will click "Add" anyway, and get its citation inserted in the text. Hooray! (Well, not being a scholar, he may have used "cite book" when he should have used "cite journal", but probably no one will notice the mistake anyway.)
    Now, what are the chances of that editor coming back the next day, for a repeat of his "gratifying Wikipedia-editing experience"?
    Plunk!
    As for the "waste of time", can anyone tell me a single advantage of converting a hand-formatted ref to a cite template? ("Uniformity of style" is not it -- it is always much easier to fix the hand-formatting by hand than to convert it.)
    And finally, that "very long page of citation formatting instructions" is the sort of thing that we should get rid of. One of the smartest decisions in the history of Wikipedia was to use straight quotes instead of paired open-close quotes. That was one moment when WP dared to step out of the old printed-paper mindset, by placing simplicity of editing over appearance and tradition. The reference machinery could use some of that bold out-of-the-box thinking, too.
    All the best,--Jorge Stolfi (talk) 03:16, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
I have no problem with citation templates (I use them myself), but only the second part of Jorge's comment concerned CITET templates; the last three comments haven't addressed the topic of this thread: the silly stub-sub-cats. Also, the "Please familiarize yourself with facts before commenting" is unnecessarily rude. Firsfron of Ronchester 23:47, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
To Jorge Stolfi's commentary — I believe that it is just as easy to create content now as it was in the beginning. Well written, scholarly, constructive content added with citations in any format is not, in my opinion, thrown out because it does not conform to the Manual of Style. I would certainly welcome people contradicting me on this, because it is one of the reasons to stay here - that encyclopedic content is accepted regardless of mechanical style ... as long as the content contributor is accepting of the style being worked on while preserving the content. It is quite easy for someone to be attached to both content and style to the point that they confound the two and raise a huge stink when someone tampers with the work by revising the style. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 01:41, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Yes, old editors like you and me still find it easy to contribute — partly because we were able to adapt to the growing complexity, as features and rules were added one by one; and partly because we have developed a healthy contempt for most style rules and guidelines. But what about new editors?
    My reading of the plots is that most of the editors who joined before 2005 managed to survive the "2006 catastrophe" (whatever it was) and kept on working, except for a normal drop-out rate. Since that year, however, the influx of new editors seems to have stopped, suddenly and completely. Why? My only conjecture is that the complexity of WP universe increased significanly at that time, to the point that it began to scare away new users --- before they could learn that 95% of all the rules, guidelines and manuals can be simply ignored.
    If there is another plausible explanations, I would like to hear it. Until then, I remain convinced that Wikipedia needs some very radical pruning to survive.
    All the best, --Jorge Stolfi (talk) 03:57, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
  • IIRC, the leveling off of the editor population has been observed across several language versions, and the level of legalism and quantity of policies likely varies across the language versions, so it's not clear how much of a factor WP:CREEP is in causing this phenomena. Not that it isn't a factor. --Cybercobra (talk) 04:24, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
For reliable, professional research on these issues, have a look at our very own http://usability.wikimedia.org/wiki/Usability_and_Experience_Study. (It's been up since May this year, but, amazingly, there is zilch on content on its discussion page!)
In the section http://usability.wikimedia.org/wiki/Usability_and_Experience_Study#The_.22right.22_way_Vs._The_.22wrong.22_way and most sections following it, almost all the issues discussed in this sub-thread are well-covered. IMO it gives strong and credible support for major changes to current practices, policies, tools, "Help", etc. - everything basically except the foundation mission and principles.
There are only three other pages that link to it (is that just within usability.wikimedia.org?) so hard to see any definite actions resulting, apart from encouraging work on (a?) new interface(s?). Anyone know any definite plans? -- Bricaniwi (talk) 14:25, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
Hm, we really should have a "basic wiki syntax in 20 seconds" cheat-sheet in the edit window... --Cybercobra (talk) 14:49, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
Good idea! Then we can delete all the other WP styles and guidelines pages!
(Oops, sorry, I was dreaming. Why did you wake me up?) All the best, --Jorge Stolfi (talk) 17:09, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
"As for the "waste of time", can anyone tell me a single advantage of converting a hand-formatted ref to a cite template? ("Uniformity of style" is not it -- it is always much easier to fix the hand-formatting by hand than to convert it.)"
Perhaps one day we will change the way citations are formatted. Or maybe a new or old style will root as 'the' correct style of citing whatever. When that day comes, a code change to a template or two and every citation on the encyclopedia with a CITE (or variant, since they all run off the same central core) template is updated just like that. Not to mention that when they are formatted correctly, they are very easy to separate from the mess. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 18:06, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Policy Question: Religious Affiliations

I was wondering if WP had a specific policy on the style in which we are to refer a person's religious affiliation. For instance, when in an information box by the religion category, would we put "Methodist" or "Methodism?" "Buddhist or Buddhism?"

Looking at various articles, there does not seem to be a clear style in which to refer one's religion in the religion category. Barack Obama's infobox says "Christian" while Ernest Bai Koroma says "Christianity." Vladimir Putin's says Russian Orthodox (instead of Russian Orthodoxy) while Lee Myung Bak says "Presbyterianism." (instead of Presbyterian)

Example:

Overall, my question is: In infobox, by the religion section, do we put the term for an adherent of the religion or the name of the religion it's self? OtherAJ (talk) 02:14, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Why is religion of Mary Landrieu for instance of interest in an infobox if it isn't of interest in the main article? I'd have thought the description in the main article would be the one to use. Dmcq (talk) 06:11, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
The adjective, rather than the noun is most appropriate and consistent. The analogy would be to the Nationality field. We logically put "American", not "United States"; "Dutch", not "Netherlands"; "Chinese", not "China". The approach to the Religion field should be similar: "Christian", not "Christianity"; "Jewish", not "Judaism"; "Buddhist", not "Buddhism".—DCGeist (talk) 11:23, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

High School Notability Unclear...Little Help Please?

There is a pretty interesting debate going on over at Wikipedia_talk:Notability_(organizations_and_companies)#All_High_Schools_Notable.3F_GUIDELINE_DEBATE which would also be appropriate here. I'd like to invite all interested editors to read over what has been said and leave their own opinions. I'd also like an admin to volunteer to rule on the consensus when a certain amount of time has passed. A couple other admin have given their opinions, but we really need someone impartial to read over everything and make a decision of some sort. Any volunteers? ɳoɍɑfʈ Talk! 15:46, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

I think it would be good if this discussion were publicized in as many appropriate places as possible, as it seems to be tackling a large bone of contention that could potentially have some sweeping effects on guideline. -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 16:02, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
I agree. Anyone know of other appropriate places to publicize this? I'll do the work if someone can point me in the right direction. ɳoɍɑfʈ Talk! 16:50, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Centralized discussion? 99.166.95.142 (talk) 17:07, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
 Done - Link added to CENT. --ThaddeusB (talk) 01:09, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

Reminder: Comments sought on community de-adminship

Reminder: comments from all interested editors are invited and welcome at Wikipedia talk:Community de-adminship/Draft RfC, where a proposal for community de-adminship is being discussed. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:18, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

Disturbing trend in Admins to rewrite policy/guidelines by fiat?

I've noticed a worrying trend lately. Admins will act in a way contrary to the text of current policies or guidelines, or tell people to do something that contradicts the given instructions of a process. Then when questioned on this say "Well, Wikipedia guidelines and policies are normative. So if us admins aren't going by them, then they're wrong."

The flaw in this should be obvious. The guidelines and policies are the consensus of *all* editors, not just the admins. Admins were never granted special priveleges to get to change them, and this amounts to changing them by fiat. If they want them changed, they should seek consensus to do so. And if they really are acting within the spirit and intent of what consensus wanted, that shouldn't be a problem. But mostly, they don't appear to.

Are these just limited to a few bad apples amongst admin, wanting to just get to do what they do policies be damned, or is this wide spread and are we going to have to have an RfC over it? --Barberio (talk) 04:52, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Read WP:IAR. If an editor believes that ignoring the policies or guidelines makes for a better encyclopedia he should do so. If others disagree then he will of course have to justify why his way is better, and work to create a consensus for his application in the case where it applies. In principle admins have no special standing, however they are far more likely to "get away" with IAR, since they generaly have more experience with wikipedia. Taemyr (talk) 09:19, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Two issues...
  • IAR does not apply here, as the actions are not taken under IAR. It is taken as if it is the way things should be, and then the conflicting policy or guideline declared to be wrong.
  • IAR was never intended to be used as a blanket exemption, it was intended solely for ignoring the rules when following them would damage the project. Citing IAR to allow Admin to modify the rules as they wish on grounds that "they don't do it the way the policy say so the policies are wrong" is dangerous. Why even bother having policies if they can be changed at whim by a *minority* of the users of this project.
  • Consensus trumps IAR. Civility trumps IAR. Maintaining a working project trumps IAR. Many things actually do trump IAR. When you use IAR you're supposed to come up with a DAMN GOOD EXPLANATION FOR WHY, put it to the community, and be willing to be overturned and suffer consequences if people decide what you did was disruptive.
IAR is not a get out of jail free card. And it is damaging to the project, and counter to the purpose for having IAR to claim it as such. Admin actions particularly should almost never use IAR as their basis. --Barberio (talk) 10:24, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Support: IAR demands a rationale, ultimately one that is supported by consensus. Unomi (talk) 11:09, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Incidentally, I believe this discussion was prompted by my decision to relist a deletion debate which ultimately came out a way Barberio didn't like. At no time did I invoke WP:IAR; Barberio is claiming that I'm bound by Wikipedia:Deletion process to only relist a debate if there are one or two editors commenting. In my view this is unsupported by policy. See User talk:Mackensen#BLP Relisting of Thomas K. Dye‎ for further discussion. Mackensen (talk) 12:06, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

A few days ago some user talk message templates were deleted, as they "warned" users about the chance of being blocked because of leaving red links (yes, no policy supports that, and that's why they were deleted), so the problem is real. Perhaps we should mention somewhere about not "misleading" users this way: to disagree about a topic or procedure is one thing, to tell other users that they have to follow a novel interpretation of policy as if it were policy, is another.

As for IAR or UCS, they are intended for a single user being alone and unaware of how to proceed about a certain topic. They get instantly negated as soon as there are 2 users involved: at such point we resort to other policies or guidelines, explanations on why to do this or that, and consensus building; but not to IAR. It may be possible to ignore a policy or guideline if users agree to do so, but that's consensus rather than IAR.

And certainly IAR never applies for changing policy or guidelines, except perhaps for small wording corrections that do not modify the main idea. MBelgrano (talk) 12:43, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

I don't know what motivated Barberio to make the suggestion but I still think it is worth capturing our thoughts on how IAR should be invoked. In looking through pages linking to IAR, trying to see ways in which it was invoked, I came across these 2 essays: WP:What_"Ignore_all_rules"_means and WP:EXCEPTIONS. Perhaps it would be better to try to achieve consensus for a version which could be promoted to guideline. Thoughts? Unomi (talk) 13:32, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Barberio: you said, "The guidelines and policies are the consensus of *all* editors, ...". This is the main issue I have with your argument. The policy pages were not created by some large process that involved many users. Mostly policy pages were created by other people randomly writing things down in the past. Telling people now that they can't do that just gives more weight to some other small group of people who randomly wrote the original policies. It doesn't actually empower anyone.

Our entire "policy" system depends on the ability to edit policy pages when they are out of sync with generally accepted practice. Many policy pages would not have been approved in their current form if people did not think it will be easy to fix the policy pages when needed. That is: policies are not like laws that are debated, voted, and passes; they are just sort of notes about the way things are often done, and update from time to time as things change. — Carl (CBM · talk) 13:57, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Policies are policies not because of who wrote them or how old they are, but because there is wide consensus on them right now. If there wasn't, a policy would get demoted and no longer marked as such. However, there has to be debate to make it clear that the old consensus is lost, old policies are not "untouchable" but neither "obsolete" simply because of their age MBelgrano (talk) 14:15, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Following on from Mackensen's unilateral disposal of Wikipedia:Deletion process's restrictions on what can be relisted... WP:DRV has it's own set of problematic admin. It's now apparent that a group of admin decided amongst themselves that Merge results reviews should be speedy closed, on grounds that 'they not a delete'. (Despite them being direction to act in ways that can remove material.) There was no debate or discussion about changing DRV policy on this, DRV policy was not changed, neither were the directions and templates reffering all disputes over XfD decisions to DRV. The only cited documentation for their behaviour was an essay, Wikipedia:Non-deleting_deletion_discussions which they upheld as the standard practice.

Now that this 'standard practice' has been uncovered on the talk page of DRV, there has actually been dispute that this is not standard practice, not supported by policy, and not even desirable to do. And it's clear now there was never consensus building on this.

This is a serious issue, and needs to be squashed right away. Admin cliques can not write and enact their own processes with disregard to existing policy or consensus building, that's directly destructive to the Wiki.

I hope we're not going to need a big review to find out if there are any other 'pseudo-policies' being used by Admin cliques. I hope this is not the tip of an iceberg of hidden bureaucracy. --Barberio (talk) 18:42, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Would you care to be more specific about a particular instance to back up what you say please? Preferably with diffs and references to the relevant policy. Dmcq (talk) 22:07, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
I don't appreciate being called "problematic" and I would ask you to withdraw your remark. I've pointed out to you, multiple times, that Deletion Process is not a policy, does not have the force of policy, and merely suggests ways of handling debates. Prior to late 2008 no one had even bothered enumerating possible situations for relisting. That someone enumerated examples does not now mean that you may only relist under this conditions, and none other. No one ever intended that. Probably no or very few administrators believe that to be the case. Guidelines do not, and have never, worked that way. Mackensen (talk) 23:10, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
I am sorry for any hurt caused by the remark, but I can not retract it. Guidelines are there for a reason. If you regularly act in a way that is contrary to the guideline then either you are wrong, or the guideline is wrong. If the former, stop contradicting the guideline, if the latter, work to change the guideline. Exceptions to guidelines should be few and far between, exceptions to the guidelines should not be unwritten rules of "but that's how we've always done it". Existence of unwritten rules is bad for the wiki, and creates bureaucracy.
There are too many users, and too much content, for us to work without some clear documentation on what is and is not good practice. We can't have you at whim deciding what rules you may and may not follow, and just act how ever you want to and then shout down dispute about it by declaring "but this is how we have always done it". Avoiding bureaucracy means that any editor can look at the guidelines and policy, look at the way Admins actually act, and not see any conflicts there. If they do see conflicts, then something has gone wrong. --Barberio (talk) 02:23, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
No, the issue is that admins regularly act in a way which is contrary to your interpretation of a guideline, an interpretation which finds no support in policy, the community or much anywhere else. Mackensen (talk) 02:48, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
My "interpretation" was the plain English reading of the guideline in question. And you did not dispute that at the time, but claimed that it did not matter because that's not the way things were really done. --Barberio (talk) 02:55, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
I think you have completely missed the point of WP:BUREAU. On the subject of relisting deletion discussions: any discussion "can" be relisted, and any admin "can" close the discussion (even though it is relisted) as long as the original discussion period has elapsed. There is no fixed and firm criteria for when a discussion can be relisted, and creating such criteria would be a perfect example of the instruction creep that WP:BUREAU tries to discourage. — Carl (CBM · talk) 03:02, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
Except that directly contradicts what Wikipedia:RELIST says. Wikipedia:RELIST actually does provide some pretty direct rules on re-listing, with some well thought out reasons for them. And it apparently has consensus support to exist as the guideline on the deletion process. Administrators should not be regularly directly contradicting what is supposed to be a guideline, either through ignorance or disagreement. That would be enforcing unwritten rules in contradiction of written guidelines, and that is very much missing the point of WP:BUREAU. --Barberio (talk) 03:09, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
As far as I can tell, and as Mackensen has already pointed out, WP:RELIST seems to have no relation to reality. If the text of WP:RELIST bothers you, I suggest changing it to correctly describe our deletion practices, rather than berating Mackensen. At my count I think I am the fourth person to suggest this. — Carl (CBM · talk) 03:15, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
Well, no. By it's very definition a guideline is not a "direct rule." Let me quote from WP:POLICY: "Guidelines are sets of best practices that are supported by consensus. Editors should attempt to follow guidelines, though they are best treated with common sense, and occasional exceptions may apply. Where a guideline appears to conflict with a policy, the policy normally takes precedence." Now let me quote from WP:BUREAU: "Wikipedia is not governed by statute: it is not a moot court, and rules are not the purpose of the community. Written rules do not themselves set accepted practice, but rather document already existing community consensus regarding what should be accepted and what should be rejected. When instruction creep is found to have occurred, it should be removed." A four-fold expansion of a guideline is the definition of instruction creep. If, as you claim, all administrators are "ignoring" a guideline, then by definition the guideline is wrong or your understanding of the guideline is wrong. Mackensen (talk) 03:18, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
Did you mean to say that Administrators should be allowed to over-rule the expressed consensus of regular editors on what Wikipedia's guidelines are, simply by contradiction? Are regular editors allowed any say in the creation of guidelines, or is Wikipedia now ruled by the dictation of Administrator fiat?
The principle you are arguing for comes close to Nixonian. "If an Administrator does it, then it's not against the law." --Barberio (talk) 03:31, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
You'll forgive me I'm sure for declining to defend arguments I didn't make or responding to baseless attacks such as those above and elsewhere. If it's your desire to persist in misunderstanding how relisting works then I cannot help you. Cheers, Mackensen (talk) 04:07, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
This is no longer about re-listing, this is now about your apparent belief that Administrators, a minority of editors, are able to declare that consensus supported guidelines are "wrong" simply by refusing to follow them. In your own words, your claim was "If all administrators are 'ignoring' a guideline, then by definition the guideline is wrong." That's called 'dictat by fiat', and turns the Admin into a ruling class who get to chose what the rules are and if they'll follow them. --Barberio (talk) 04:12, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
No, I could have just as easily said "editors" and the same meaning would apply. I said administrators because I was talking about relisting, which tends to be done by administrators. Here, let's try this: "If, as you claim, all editors are 'ignoring' a guideline, then by definition the guideline is wrong or your understanding of the guideline is wrong." Mackensen (talk) 04:21, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
The solution to that would be to change the guideline, not work under an unwritten rule that only people in the know understand. --Barberio (talk) 04:24, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
See, we keep coming back to the fact that no one other than you understands the guideline this way. Mackensen (talk) 04:29, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

I really fail to see how anyone can get hard criteria out of WP:RELIST. The relevant lines are quoted below:

However, if at the end of the initial seven-day period, the discussion has only one or two commenters (including the nominator), and/or it seems to be lacking arguments based on policy, it may be appropriate for the closer to relist it, to get further discussion to determine consensus. It may be closed once consensus is determined without necessarily waiting a further seven days.

Emphasis mine. Its quite clear by the use of "may" and "appropriate" (versus "is" and "required," not to mention the complete lack of wording suggesting exclusivity such as "only if") that the "one or two commenters" part is purely a suggestion. As an aside, "storm in a teakettle" comes to mind when reading some of the hyperbole here. Mr.Z-man 04:39, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Discussion started on the guideline page at Wikipedia talk:Deletion process#WP:RELIST wording. Fences&Windows 16:10, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Proposal

Before this thread gets too off-topic by engaging too much into specific cases, I suggest we make tangible suggestions about the topic.

Proposal Nº 1: Policies and guidelines do not cover all the possible circumstances that may take place (and it shouldn't, to avoid instruction creep). However, Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines should mention what happens when there isn't a policy or guideline about something, or the existing ones deal with it just tangencially. Which is, of course, that editors should discuss the topic and achieve consensus (independently if that consus ends being written at a general policy or guideline or just applied for a specific case). And, as consequence of it, no editor should enforce his or her interpretation to others, whose different opinion may be equally valid.

Proposal Nº 2: Misleading users about the current state of policies or guidelines should be considered a policy violation in itself. Not when a user states his or her own opinion, but instead when trying to evade or disrupt the discussion and consensus building process with it. This may be included at the "Don't bite the newcomers" page. Deletion of templates with unambiguous misrepresentations of established policy is already a speedy deletion criteria, this would be just a generalization of it (after all, using a template or not is just a technical detail) MBelgrano (talk) 13:52, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

How about we just use discussion and consensus to deal with these things on a case by case basis like we have been all this time? When people disagree about policy, or when policy is not clear on a matter then it is time to start talking. I see no reason why any user cannot interpret what they believe our best practices to be, admin or not. Intentional misrepresentation of policy is already a nono, it is covered under "disruption" normally, but more often than not it is an honest difference of opinion and not an attempt to misrepresent. Chillum 14:15, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
The problem is that some admin take it that only an their interpretation is what matters. See above re: Mackenson's attitude to my difference of opinion. To him, his is the clear correct and true reading, while I am causing trouble by misreading them and being an obstinate fool. And not only that, but the declaration that even if it could be read a different way, then it was wrong since in his view "all other admin" don't work that way and "never have", and that trumps any written policy or guideline. --Barberio (talk) 17:42, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
It should be noted that nowhere does WP:RELIST say that only admins can relist a discussion. 99.166.95.142 (talk) 16:50, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
Non-Admin are strongly discouraged from making any closure decisions, which 'relist' is one of, on AfD, and are restricted to a set of closures which does not include 'relist'. Wikipedia:Non-admin closure --Barberio (talk) 17:22, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

The specifics at dispute

1. Relisting. Should admins be permitted to relist a debate even when the circumstances don't meet the specific wording at WP:RELIST? I think they should as it's a guideline, and it is standard practice of admins to relist when the existing debate is patchy and they would like to see more contributions before making a decision. I suggest that WP:RELIST be updated to match reality. 2. Merge and DRV. Should deletion review consider merge decisions made at AfD? I see no reason why not, but other admins disagree with me on this. In particular I feel that an unwritten rule that merge results may not be reviewed by DRV is unhelpful. I fail to see the logic as DRV exists as a forum to challenge all admin judgements at AfD. There is no risk of 'function creep', i.e. DRV taking on other disputed merges, as they were not conducted via AfD so fall out of DRV's remit. Fences&Windows 15:35, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Regarding relisting, or any sort of controversial act related to deletion then the community decides if it was valid on a case by case basis through WP:DRV. Admins generally don't repeat mistakes when they find themselves reverse and those that do quickly have this pointed out to them by the community. This seems to be working fine so far. Chillum 15:41, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
In this case tho, I couldn't. Because the Admin who patrol DRV had created an unwritten rule that they wouldn't review Merge cases. --Barberio (talk) 17:43, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
Regarding the second part, this is a general flaw with our current AFD system. We have a way to delete articles altogether, and a way to merge articles, but we don't have any good way to handle the opinion that "this concept deserves a brief mention somewhere, but it should not have its own article". It's good to see some progress being made to improve the AFD process by allowing "merge" closures.
The problem is not that it is too hard to reverse these merge closures right now; the problem is that it is too easy, because these closures do not have the full weight that a "delete" closure would have. This is why DRV is reluctant to review merge closures, because they are considered a sort of second-class outcome. Allowing DRV to review these merge closures would be another step toward giving a "merge" closure the same weight as a "delete" closure. — Carl (CBM · talk) 17:52, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
A merge and DRV discussion is also going on at WT:Deletion review#Edit the policies.. WP:AfD and mergers attempts to describe the peculiar status that merge outcomes have at AfD. Flatscan (talk) 04:29, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
These discussions don't seem to have gone anywhere, and the disparity between the policies and the actions at DRV still exists. We really need to get more light on this since a major process running on an un-written rule that conflicts with another major process is a bad thing. --Barberio (talk) 01:37, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
I wonder why that is? We had a perfectly workable proposal on the table for discussion and someone aggressively rejected it out of hand and were totally unwilling to compromise or bend with the discussion and now no-one seems interested in fixing the problem. I wonder if the there is any connection??? Spartaz Humbug! 02:46, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
Spartaz, are you referring perhaps to this edit [5], or were you trying to imply the blame was mine? --Barberio (talk) 18:40, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
If you think the cap fits feel free to wear it. Spartaz Humbug! 07:25, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
Frankly, *you* walked out in a snit after other people started to disagree with your position, and commented that perhaps merge results *should* be discussed at DRV. You established the 'unmovable' point that DRV was not going to consider merge discussions, and freaked out at people when they started to disagree. Your 'style' of arguing was confrontational, and based on the very assumption I want to quash. "Admin Practice" policy are not 'descriptive of what Admin do', it's actually the opposite because otherwise the regular editors could never stop administrators acting a way they don't agree with. You can't alter community policies by declaring that because a minority of the project want to do it that way, they should get to keep doing it that way. Admin practices function with the consensus agreement of the wiki, if people start questioning an admin practice, then you've lose that consensus even if "most admin" still follow that practice.
I want you to repeat this to yourself a few times. Administrators are a minority of the project. One we prize, and do hard work, but still a minority. They do not get to dictate policy by fiat. --Barberio (talk) 12:23, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
Does it ever occur to you to wonder why so many users get frustrated dealing with your intransigence and inability to compromise or is it everyone else's fault that you upset people with your pedantic and depressing whining and wiki-lawyering all the time? I have yet to see an issue you have engaged yourself in that has not swiftly spiralled into meaningless arguing about minutiae and complaining about admins and unwritten rules. Why don't you just get off the high horse and go do something productive. Spartaz Humbug! 14:19, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
Well, I'm new to talking in this discussion but have been following it (laughing most of the time). This is my twenty cent opinion (inflation y'know?)- If a guideline is ignored, whether it is by just admins or some other group (a wikiproject for instance) and the Community-at-large has done nothing to reign them in, the per WP:Silence we can infer that the guideline is no longer valid in that/those situation(s). A policy or guideline is legitimate only because the Community feels like adhering to it, they have no inherent right to exist either in a specific wording or in any broad understanding (with obvious exception of Jimbo interference such as he has done at WP:IAR to maintain it from weakening). If the Community is not going to enforce (and it is the job of the Community-at-large to enforce things, Admins only carry-out certain enforcements of our rulings/decisions after we ask them, they dont have any more of a vote or voice of opinion than an IP). If a guideline is not being enforced the problem is not with the wording of the guideline or with the need to make a new guideline/policy or new bureaucracy; the problem is with the Community and the Community needs to decide "are we going to enforce this or ignore it?". A guideline that is ignored goes the way of those laws on the books such as the one in Ocean City, NY that says men may not go topless on the Boardwalk, still exists, still enforceable theoretically, but well... (they also have a law prohibiting the playing of pinball machines on Sunday)Camelbinky (talk) 04:12, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
You got it right Camelbinky. Written policy or guidelines round here often lag behind what we actually do, which is why policy is descriptive rather the proscriptive, but some editors cannot ever get the hang of this and get really upset if actual practise for every event isn't written down exactly and make a massive fuss whenever they run into cases like it. Fortunately, there are enough sensible editors to prevent them from completely bogging us down in policy arguments. What you should do in these cases is update the guideline or policy to reflect what we actually do rather then getting into a disruptive unproductive snit because wikipedia doesn't work the way you want it to. Spartaz Humbug! 07:25, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
God-forbid that Wikipedia have clear open policies and practices that everyone can understand. That's far too much work for the Admin.
Repeating myself here again. Administrators are a minority of the project. One we prize, and do hard work, but still a minority. They do not get to dictate policy by fiat. Policy that restricts or defines the behaviour of Administrator actions is prescriptive not descriptive because otherwise only Admins would get to define what is allowable for Admins, simply by doing what ever they want, and can ignore what the rest of the project thinks. This re-enforces the 'Admins are privileged, separate to and a better class of people than regular editors' meme that is pushing people away from Wikipedia. Admins are here to administrate, not to decide the rules themselves. There's a name for rule by administrators and obscure rules, it's called 'Bureaucracy'.--Barberio (talk) 12:23, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
Barbario meet dead horse, now stop beating it. Spartaz Humbug! 14:19, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
Barbario, I can understand your frustration, I feel it often myself; that is why I use the word "Janitor" instead of Admin when refering to those editors. However, all policies are descriptive, none are prescriptive. Even policies that describe things we must do for legal reasons arent prescriptive, they are simply describing the actual laws in effect in the United States, we obey the actual law regardless of wording of the policy. Yes, it is a shame and a disgrace if there is a case of a few Janitors abusing their "title" and ignoring a policy, those Janitors need to learn their place; however if the Community isnt sticking up for itself that is also a shame and we deserve what we get when we allow things like that to happen. Policy and guidelines, per Spartaz, must be worded in the way that they are actually enforced and applied, not in the way we "wish" they would be used, and so policy must be reworded to reflect what goes on, if no one is going to enforce the current wording and reign in those admins (and it sounds like no one is willing to do so in this case).Camelbinky (talk) 19:27, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
  • As an aside- If the Community continues to allow Janitors to think of themselves as "higher" than other editors and other editors continue to show them that kind of deference then we'll seriously get to the "Bureaucracy" you mention (and it may be closer than I think, and may be too late to stop). There will come a day when the regular editors, newbies, and IP addresses will say "enough" with Janitor abuse and arrogance and classism and we'll see a shift in the structure of Wikipedia; I suggest the Janitors start thinking now about how to reform the system now to avoid a class-warfare fight by doing things such as- changing their name, making it much, much, MUCH easier to de-admin someone, making it clear that they everyone is equal, giving more authority to regular editors to make admins look less important (especially in their own userspace pages), and a non-admin review noticeboard to take complaints of admin abuse where non-admins only can decide on sanctions/blocks/de-admin/etc to be placed on admins who abuse their power or are rude, arrogant, and uncivil.Camelbinky (talk) 19:27, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

RFC on Content forks: Is this applicable to Scientific opinion on climate change

An RFC and related discussion is underway regarding whether the article Scientific opinion on climate change is a content fork from the article Climate change. Alought there are some well establish editors who are quite sure that content forks don't apply to the article, the lead says:

This article is about scientific opinion on climate change...

Although both articles are articles are based on scienfic opinion, it seems to me that two articles are about the same subject matter.

Perhaps it is time that some fresh eyes were cast on this article. Your participation in the RFC would be most welcome. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 15:41, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

It looks like a content fork to me, but I think the bigger issue is that someone needs to look at the structure of how that topic is covered in general. The main climate change article is rather incomplete. SDY (talk) 16:41, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Its been brought to my attention that there is another fork, Climate change consensus, as well. It seems to me a mockery of Wikipedia's content policies that we can have an article to suit different groups of editors. This is an important and newsworthy subject area, but it is sad to see petty disagreements over Wikipedia:Naming conventions when the subject matter of these articles is obvious. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 17:22, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
See the manual of style for why I think this is actually OK. See below for some further comments. SDY (talk) 17:26, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia often goes out of its way to offer "opposite view" articles even in cases where it can look rather silly, but 1 article per topic on these things as a form is more than enough. On climate change in particular it seems persons against wide consensus won't admit to any alternate views until Wikipedia is blanketed so heavily that they can use the articles they created as part of why they must be right! Well, that's how I see the spinoff article at least. 1 POV split at a fork is okay. To have "other-other" articles that have unrelated names but focus on that same selling point of the alternate POV they should be merged in one direction or the other. daTheisen(talk) 21:24, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
These are not great articles but clearly not POV content forks. It is a long and complex topic which is broken into some sub articles and should be broken into more not less. The same group of editors edit all the different sub articles there is no POV forking in that regard. --BozMo talk 22:37, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
What is clear to one editor, may not be clear to another, I think we can take as a given. However, the titles of the articles "Scientific opinion on climate change" and Climate change do seem to me to be more or less about the same thing. Setting aside the interchangeablity of the terms "climate change" and "global warming" for a moment, I think Datheisen will at least conceed that they are in the same category and are closely connected. I would go further than that and ask, whilst it is possible to agrue that Scientific opinion on climate change is a spinout article, why would you want to seperate the "Scientific opinion" on any topic from the main article? What purpose does it serve to seperate the scientific opinion on any topic from the main article?
I have seen some imaginative excuses given for content forks, but it seems to the "Scientific opinion on climate change" is no different from having an article entitled "Reliable secondary sources on climate change" which, forgive if I am wrong, is more or less defines the coverage in article "Climate change". I may be mistaken, but I don't think that WP:SPLIT applies at all.
I think the relevant policy to look at in this context is Wikipedia:Naming conventions, which says
  1. The choice of article names should put the interests of readers before those of editors, and those of a general audience before those of specialists;
  2. Article names should be recognizable to readers, unambiguous, and consistent with usage in reliable English-language sources.
I could be wrong, but I think this is the only article in Wikipedia which uses the convention of using "Scientific opinion on...." in its title. As a reader, if I was to do a search on Climate change or Global warming, I would expect to find those topics addressed in articles of the same name, and not some artifical variant or content fork which borrows one or more of these terms from them. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 22:56, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

Automatic user ban for deleted articles

[This section is a spin-off from a different thread above. --Jorge Stolfi (talk) 17:00, 9 December 2009 (UTC)]

  • PS. I have another related but orthogonal concrete proposal: if an editor proposes an article for deletion, but the proposal does not pass, then he or she will be automatically suspended from Wikipedia for one month. All the best, --Jorge Stolfi (talk) 15:35, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
    • FacepalmThe Hand That Feeds You:Bite 23:45, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
      • Thanks for the appreciation. 8-) (What is the template for "bleeding sarcasm"?) --Jorge Stolfi (talk) 01:09, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
        • By that logic, anyone who has an article deleted should be suspended from wikipedia for a month. Riffraffselbow (talk) 10:36, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
          • Fair enough...
            Justification for the original proposal: (1) deletion is, a priori, a negative action that implies rejecting the work of another editor; and editors who attempt to perform unwarranted negative actions should be tangibly reproached. (2) Counting the proposal itself and the ensuing discussions, the cost of an AfD proposal (in terms of the editors' time) is equivalent to that of creating a good article. On the other hand, the cost of keeping an article that is just borderline (e.g. a stub article on a non-notable person) is virtually nil. Therefore, to make the editors' work more productive, it is desirable to induce editors to submit AfDs only for article that are unquestionably inappropriate.
            Argument (2) could be adapted to justify Riffraffselbow's counter-proposal, too. All the best --Jorge Stolfi (talk) 17:00, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
            • Yeah, that's a really, really, good idea, the review process is perfect and never keeps articles that should have died. Articles never need multiple deletion attempts, and never have any element at all of vote stuffing.- Wolfkeeper 02:18, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

Yours is a really stupid idea. It sets up a peverse incentive against deletion. It can only be understood from the point of view of an inclusionist. AfD should be seen as a neutral thing done in good faith. AfDs lead to deletion, to status quo, or to article improvement. All are good outcomes. Why on earth would you want to punish people for trying to do good things? If you are concerned about the time that AfD takes up, do not engage in AfDs. Really, your argument is that weak and ill thought through. Try this: anyone who makes a dumb proposal on the village pump should be blocked for a month for exactly the same reasons as you adduce. --Tagishsimon (talk) 17:10, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

  • Having an article deleted is a tremendous dis-incentive, especially for a novice editor. Even if the creator understands and agrees with the deletion, it hurts; it is telling him "your work is no good". Even if the article is ultimately kept, the mere action of posting it on the AfD's cucking stool is humiliating and frustrating. So, my proposal is meant to discourage editors from engaging in an action whose social-worth balance sheet alrady starts off with a large negative entry.
    I was fortunate to have only a few of my articles deleted, and only after I was alredy incurably addicted to WP. One of them was a stub about Alex Orbito, an obscure Brazilian psychic surgeon. I had created the article because the guy was mentioneed in another WP article, about a much more notable "colleague". The deletion happened during a period when I was kept away from Wikipedia, so I never got a chance to defend or improve the article. It still bothers me when I think of it. The fact that managed to save a couple of other people's articles from the guillotine (by doing a bit of research and cleanup that the prosecutors could have well done themselves) does not compensate for it.
    The "notability" guidelines are presented as being a "consensus". Whose "consensus", may I ask? How many WP readers (or editors) were polled to establish that "consensus", and how were they selected?
    All the best, --143.106.24.25 (talk) 15:29, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Agreed, this idea is absurd. You might as well propose doing away with AFD altogether, and drop us back to only CSD. Marking an article as a possible candidate for deletion is not a negative act, "rejecting work" be damned. This encyclopedia has inclusion standards, so unless you intend to propose doing away with those as well, let's try to avoid binding and gagging those who would attempt to enforce them. As you said yourself in the thread above, 'aggressive pruning'. Think of deletion as Debridement- but with less maggots. --King Öomie 17:18, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
I Lol'd! – ukexpat (talk) 17:23, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Have in mind that if the AFD was clearly unjustifiable and we can notice other kind of purposes for it (such a republican requesting to delete the article on Obama, or a democrat the article on Bush, for example), there's already Wikipedia:Do not disrupt Wikipedia to illustrate a point to justify blocks for abusing the process. Starting a AFD is not disruption, but can be done for disruptive purposes MBelgrano (talk) 17:24, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Well, at least this saves me the effort of reading future lengthy suggestions from Stolfi. Algebraist 17:28, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
That is good advice, actually. About once a year or so, I get the urge to make such "lengthy suggestions" and engage in longer diatribes. In retrospect, I see that it is only a symptom of frustration. So you have all the right to be rude. (In my excuse, I can only say that, looking at previous discussions, one would think that this *is* the proper page to vent one's frustration. Isn't it?)
Please don't read what I write. Instead, everybody please read the usability team's report or the Wikipedia growth statistics page. All the best, --Jorge Stolfi (talk) 18:15, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
Have you any idea yet what might have happened in 2005-2006 to brake the growth of Wikipedia? There re an enormous number of articles on notable subjects waiting to be set up and I have no idea why they are not tackled. Some areas that are already fairly deep are being mined deeper but others are very skimpy indeed and no one touches them. I think the deletionists do seem to have had a field-day but I don't know if that really is where the problem is, most of the stuff I've seen deleted is really rubbish and would just take effort removing vandalism without adding extra value. There seems to be an awful lot of people with a mission, vandals, and crackpots who think they have the truth, is it them that drains life away from good editors? Dmcq (talk) 18:36, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Not really, only conjectures. I *believe* that current activity is mostly due to editors who started before 2006, because the other scenarios I can think of should yield very diferent plot shapes. I *believe* that the "fertility" of an average regular editor is bounded, so the exponential growth before 2006 can only mean that the *number* of regular editors (not their fertility) was growing exponentially. From these two assumptions it follows that since 2006 no new editors (or very few) have entered the pool of regular editors.
    I assume that Wikipedia still has millions of readers who have never edited, so the question is, what is it that, since 2006, has prevented virtually all of those pure-readers from becoming regular editors. Perhaps they simply stopped feeling tempted to click the "edit" button in the first place. (Unlikely, but who knows -- perhaps the skin changed and made the button less conspicuous?). Perhaps they do click "edit" but never get to click "save"? (This behavior seems to have been observed in the usability test). Perhaps they give up after doing a few edits? Perhaps they give up after their first article (on their high school, on themselves, on their favorite Pokemon character, on their friend's rock band...) gets deleted for being non-notable? Some statistics might help us figure out:
    1. Number of edits done by first-time editors, per month
    2. Number of "my first article" created, per month
    3. Percentage of those articles that got deleted within one month
    4. Number of editors who started in each month and remained "regular editors" (in some appropriate sense) for at least 3/6/12/24 months
Speaking for myself, the only change that significantly spoiled some of my "joy of editing" was the insertion of reference bodies in the middle of the source text --- which made it very hard to read. However, I can't rememebr when this particular "feature" got implemented. Moreover, as a relatively experienced editor (since 03/2004), I have become insensitive about many things that seem to scare the usability subjects. For example, I am not put off by the infoboxes and other boilerplate at the top of the article source (even though I think that WP would be much better without them). I don't use "cite" templates and I don't read style guides; I simply format refs and other things by hand, with what I think is a good enough format, or by imitating other editors' style. At the same time, I have learned --- half consciously, half by Pavlovian conditioning --- how to write and edit so as to escape "the jaws that bite and the claws that snatch" of the deletionist militias, and the reverts of overly possessive editors. And I have learned to keep away from articles that are the watering holes of ravenous beasts, like "Obama" or "function (mathematics)".
So I cannot really guess what the "Wikipedia experience" feels like for a novice editor. We definitely need some real data.
All the best, --Jorge Stolfi (talk) 00:16, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Oh dear I hope I'm not a ravenous beast, I reorganised the function (mathematics) article some months ago then there were a lot of edits to put in a large history section but the bit I did has had very little done on it since. Thanks for all that, I'll have a better look at the usability report too to see if I get some ideas. A particular problem I see is that a lot of knowledge does not have secondary sources talking about it, for instance see Stain removal where there's tons of web pages saying how to remove stains but not exactly a surfeit of secondary sources or peer reviews. Can one really argue though that stain removal is not notable? And that's something from before the internet era so it does at least have books about it. I've been meaning to have a go at floor cleaning but I don't see much in the way of sources about that never mind a secondary source. Dmcq (talk) 01:02, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
No, my experience happened a couple of years ago, when I got caught between one editor who objected to the use of the word "set" because is was "too advanced", and another who insisted in defining "function" within the framework of category theory. I haven't looked at that article since then. Cheers, --143.106.24.25 (talk) 15:02, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
That usability study is very interesting. I never felt any of those problems when I started so I find it difficult to see where other people get stuck. I've had a bit of a look myself at some of those aspects and have managed to get wording into WP:POLICY to direct people to WP:5P if they are just starting off but the help pages and introduction to editing looked like it could have a lot of work done on it. Producing citations looks like a particular problem for people and if they could just be given the idea that if they get the information into a halfway decent looking state someone would come along and clean up any stylistic problems I think that would be good. Dmcq (talk) 18:52, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
It may be that Wikipedia has seen a decline because when an editor first starts out he/she is new and wants to do some good work and be proud about adding things that few other might not know, and goes through working on things they are interested in, but then as time goes on and the main things they wanted to work on get complete and they learn the dirty side of policies and bureaucracy and start caring about wording of badly written policies and working on noticeboards they spend more time trying to clean up wikipedia than on working on articles; and in the process get disenchanted with the whole thing. I personally blame the inane bureaucracy that has been setup to control the Community and make us all conformist little "good" editors who all think alike, who make decisions based on established policies instead of policies based on new decisions, and encourage us to not have independent thought. When you take away the fun, excitement, and sense of accomplishment that is inherent in adding information, creating articles and spreading your own knowledge about a subject by creating rules and conformity and telling new editors their opinions and new ideas about doing things arent needed because "we already have long established wording" in a policy, then nobody will want to participate in actual editing/creating. This is what happens when policies are set in stone and new users cant attempt to change them for the better, they feel disenfranchised, disheartened, and unwelcomed. Everyone wants to have a say and a voice and feel like they have control over their own editing and Wikipedia-destiny.Camelbinky (talk) 22:06, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
Oppose per the five pillars of Wikipedia (pillar 4): all decisions made in Wikipedia are based on community consensus and collaboration between the community. Proposing an article for deletion or suppporting or opposing such an undertaking is merely attempting to record or improve the result of recording community consensus for a certain action, not an offensive act. And I believe that there are no rules prohibiting the record, analysis and use of consensus, as it is actually encouraged? Also, the software can't do it without a MediaWiki extension, which would require huge modifications to the community layout and would cause general confusion and dissatisfaction by approximately the majority of the active community (including actively editing unregistered editers). With regards, TheGrimReaper 19:56, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

Reverse (and not really serious) suggestion

I am half-tempted to suggest the opposite: that those who vote to keep articles for which the consensus is to delete should be suspended for a time, at least from AFD participation. I have to say, first of all, that I don't see many frivolous or disruptive AFD attempts. Perhaps this is because there are lots of classes of articles (e.g. bands and recordings) in which I don't involve myself, but there it is. What I do see, however, is a lot of "keep" comments which follow WP:USEFUL or other Wikipedia:Arguments to avoid in deletion discussions. It seems to me that there is a great deal of cluelessness as to what is appropriate for inclusion.

Anyway, this isn't a serious proposal; it's just a perspective from the other side. Mangoe (talk) 19:29, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Remember that ATA is just an essay. I know it says to avoid the argument that it's just an essay; that's one of the points on which it's flat wrong. I am not particularly an inclusionist. But ATA is terrible. --Trovatore (talk) 19:42, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
You've missed the point in focusing on the status of WP:ATA, if for no other reason than that people are as free to REgard its advice as DISregard it. Whatever its status as an authority, it remains the case that some of the arguments it lists are, on the whole, unpersuasive. Yet they continue to be advanced. Mangoe (talk) 22:02, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
No, I haven't missed the point, because the point is that people continue to quote it as though it were an authority, rather than summarizing the argument they agree with. When they do that, their error needs to be pointed out. --Trovatore (talk) 22:04, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
Hmmm, ATA is just another wiki article. You say it lists unpersuasive arguments. So fix it. LeadSongDog come howl 14:19, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Actually, a wiki essay is not an article. An editor that disagrees with it shouldn't "fix it", but write instead his own one. Fixing an essay can be done only with things of format or better explanation or the idea, not for modifying the idea told in it. MBelgrano (talk) 15:09, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
According to the policy at WP:ESSAYS, an editor should put an essay in their userspace if they don't want it editing by others. --JD554 (talk) 15:34, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Well, since people apparently respect citation to it, either it is a de facto authority, or it is a convenient way to name arguments which are generally agreed to be worthless. My point in either case is that the arguments don't prevail, and the articles get deleted anyway. Mangoe (talk) 15:46, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
I don't respect citation to it, and I call it out when it comes up. Not all the arguments that it lists are in fact worthless. --Trovatore (talk) 19:36, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Well, since I mentioned WP:USEFUL, am I to conclude that you think it is an adequate defense of an article to say "It's useful"? Mangoe (talk) 16:50, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
An adequate defense per se, in all cases? No. But it's not irrelevant either.
ATA enthusiasts seem to believe that AfD can be turned into an objective process with well-defined criteria for keeping or deleting. I think that's just wrong. The subjectivity of the process needs to be accepted and dealt with. Just the same, predictability is usually a good thing, and one thing that enhances predictability is a respect for precedent. That's why it's also not irrelevant that, for example, OTHERSTUFFEXISTS. --Trovatore (talk) 23:02, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

Here's another variant — anyone who makes a policy proposal which is rejected should "be automatically suspended from Wikipedia for one month". Obviously, any person making such a proposal is not sufficiently familiar with the desires and goals of the project and its community, and needs to be sent off to sit in a corner for a while. Seriously, though, was this a genuine proposal, or has Stolfi just done a brilliant job of winding you lot up? No answer requested or required. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 16:36, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

  • You mean, "is Stolfi a troll"? No, my proposal was quite serious. If it seems "trollish", perhaps it is because this and other policy forums have apparently become the exclusive turf of the "deletionists", as they seem to call themselves.
    In fact, I was actually trying to be quite moderate. If you want to know my real opinion about what should be changed in Wikipedia policies, here it is: "rm -r -f namespaces/Wikipedia:*".
    I invite you to dispassionately think about how this simple "edit" would affect Wikipedia as seen by (a) readers, (b) novice editors, (c) regular editors who write end edit *articles*.
    And now, mirror, mirror on the wall: who is the greatest deletionist of them all? 8-)
    All the best, --Jorge Stolfi (talk) 02:03, 11 December 2009 (UTC).

I see references to ATA as just short-hand. It's like somebody saying, "Instead of listing the types of things you shouldn't say in such a discussion right here in the discussion, somebody already made my arguments for me, and here it is:" Quoting ATA is not an appeal to authority, it's just making it easier for the person making the argument, so they don't have to repeat the same arguments every time. 99.166.95.142 (talk) 17:05, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

If someone ever mentions WP:USEFUL as part of a keep rationale, apparently they never actually read the title of the essay. There are a ton that are too casual or could never in a million years be deemed "official" but are still important. Consider good essays to be this; it's some existing guidelines + a duck test already included. WP:GARAGE being one of my favorites. AfD discussions regulars spot it, or can go read it and understand its purpose. Yes, it's basically a shortcut and it eliminates the need to ramble on for 10 lines about the finer points of the debate. I feel sorry if anyone ever for any reason uses it past the application of common logic. Does that mean that even in a joke proposal they should be blocked for a set time? Er-- no. Usually other editors will spot what they're doing and a verbal ribbing should be enough of a reminder of reality. As an extension of that, I have no idea why a temporary or accidental lapse in logic should mean anything at all suggested here seriously (top) or jokingly (bottom).
Of course, as a reminder at to why the top would never work, of course everyone in an AfD discussion knows absolutely everything and must be right! It's consensus so it's truth, hm? ... Only not. This is why renomination and other things exist. A lot of people in a sole snow minority have completely reasonable concerns or questions. It's not their fault if no one replies to them because they consider it a waste of time since it'll keep regardless. OH! Okay, as a counter-counter proposal, how about people that don't take the time to respond to concerns raised in AfDs be blocked? All the better. Honestly though, might want to flag this section as humor in some way or it'll end up being listed as a precedent for something, too. daTheisen(talk) 21:18, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Stolfi, please stop grandstanding. We're not going to start blocking people who propose articles for deletion, and we're not going to delete all of the policies and guidelines. They help us build an encyclopedia rather than a free-for-all filled with spam, trivia and libel. If you want such a place, Knol is that way. Fences&Windows 22:49, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

Problems with subarticles

As some might know from my previous posts, I've been a longstanding blowhard about criticism articles, but the discussion above is prodding me to consider them as a larger subset of articles: sub-articles that contain information that is hard to present in a balanced fashion. Some of these contain information that is problematic, but might nevertheless be useful to those who want a full explanation of the background on a topic. The "in popular culture" sections might benefit from the same treatment.

What I'd allow is that subarticles that are explicitly identified as subarticles (1) where there is a neutral, weighted coverage in a parent article (2), and the content is not delusional or obviously inappropriate (3), might be able to meet a somewhat relaxed version of WP:WEIGHT. Some of this is just common sense, and some of it is addressed in the manual of style, and I believe that the community generally enforces italicized criteria #2 and #3 above.

Would it be possible to have a generic and distinctive boilerplate for these subarticles so that a reader who is linked to that subarticle understands that this is not a main article and is not "the whole story"? A distinctive symbol or icon (maybe based on a typical browser's "back" button) that takes the reader to the full coverage would be ideal. Template:Main exists, and the icon could just be added to the template. SDY (talk) 17:25, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

If the main concern with an article is "balance", then something is seriously wrong already. This is an Encyclopedia after all, not FOX news. Balance should never be our concern, since the encyclopedia itself should remain voiceless. We're supposed to parrot what others are saying here, not speaking with our own voices. That's neutrality, not some perceived "balancing" of what's going on.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 17:33, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Editorializing is obviously problematic and usually simple to identify and correct, it's choosing what to include and what not to include that causes long-standing problems. Subarticles are sometimes treated differently for inclusion criteria, and it should be obvious if a different standard is being applied. If the community does not support this idea, we should probably revise the linked section in the MOS. SDY (talk) 17:47, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Could someone please give an example of a "sub-article", if possible a "problematic" one? I am having trouble understanding the concept. It is quite normal to have articles on specialized sub-topics (and sub-sub-...topics) of topics covered by other articles. There is an article on "Transportation", one on "Car", one on "Racing car", one on "Porsche", etc. As long as each article is accurately named and introduced, the fact that it gives only a partial view of the broader topic should not be a problem. Moreover, I see no need for any special mechanism for tagging or linking such "sub-articles"; plain wikilinks embedded in the text could establish any connections that may be necessary, no? Can the "problems" be fixed by properly renaming and/or rewriting the sub-article? All the best, --Jorge Stolfi (talk) 23:17, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

Well, the specific example that prompted this is referenced further up the page, Scientific opinion on climate change, which is a subarticle of Climate change consensus which was spun out because of length concerns. If the expectation is that any subarticle behaves as a "long paragraph" then it has to fit in the context of the main article. If all articles exist on their own, then the linked section of the MOS should probably be clarified. SDY (talk) 23:47, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

  • I see. Well, even on a quick look, I see several things that are wrong with that article:
  1. It should be retitled "Official positions of scientific societies on climate change", or something like it. Note the neutral plural "positions" (independently of whether they all agree or not at present) and the word "societies" (to exclude inividual scientists, universities, etc.). Note that "science" is a philosophy or method, not the collection of scientific societies, and no organization or community can pretend to "own" it; so "scientific positions" is a misnomer for what are more accurately nmed "majority positions of the governing bodies of scientific societies".
  2. The first sentence should define what the title means, not tell what the positions are. Say, something like this:
    "The official positions of scientific societies on climate change are the current positions assumed by national and international scientific societies, usually as majority or consensus decisions of their governing bodies, on the reality and degree of the [[anthopogenic climate change]]s in the last century.
    These positions have had a significant impact on the emerging [[climate change consensus|global consensus views on climate change]], as well as on the government policies and popular opinion of many nations. However, decisions of scientific societies generally have no legal binding power, and should not be assumed to coincide with the positions of institutions and individuals affiliated to those societies, of the respective national governments, or any other organizations. Indeed, there are many [[List of scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming|scientists who hold dissenting views]] on this issue."
    Only then (perhaps even in a section, not in the lede) one should tell what those positions (currently) are. As it is, the article definitely sounds like the writer is trying to impress or convince the reader ("See? See?"), not merely to inform her.
  3. Rather than state upfront that they all agree, it would be better to merely give a table listing all societies and a half-line (or coded) summary of their positions. Then perhaps give the tally of the table. Or just stop there — let the reader look at the table and draw her own conclusions.
  4. With these changes, hopefully we can get rid of the embarassing disclaimer at the top (in italics). Please.
In any case, this article (like any other article) should be written in such a way that it will stand alone even if the alleged "parent" article ("climate change consensus]] is deleted or radically reorganized. Plain wikilinks in the lede (as in the suggested text above) should be enough to establish the relationship between them. In other words, this should not be written as a "sub-article" of anything, but simply as a normal article on a specialized topic. Ditto for any other similar cases.
Hope it helps. All the best, --Jorge Stolfi (talk) 01:27, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
Regarding 2, see WP:LEAD#Title variants. This is a rare special case where nothing should be bold in the lead. Hans Adler 01:55, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
Hm, that note does not seem to be pertinent to this case. The proposed new title (above) does not have "list" or "outline" or anything of the sort; the topic is precisely what the whole title names. So methinks that the whole phrase should be in bold. All the best, --Jorge Stolfi (talk) 02:12, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
Sounds like a good suggestion for that article. I think I'll be bold and just copy Jorge Stolfi's suggestion practically verbatim to the article. Dmcq (talk) 08:07, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

The specific article has some specific issues, but from a policy standpoint, I guess I'll boil it down to the following "options":

  • 1. Everything is independent-

All articles must absolutely meet WP:WEIGHT regardless of other articles on Wikipedia. (i.e. a "Communist opinion of Mao Zedong's Political Philosophy" article is inappropriate, since it gives only a subset of views on the topic.)

  • 2. Sub-articles do not exist on their own-

Sub-articles that are explicitly linked and explained must be transparent enough that any differences in weight from the main topic are obvious. (i.e. a "Communist opinion of Mao Zedong's Political Philosophy" article is appropriate, since it obviously addresses a specific subset (scientific opinion) and is clearly hatnoted to the main article).

  • 3. Something else-

I'm already knee-jerking that the example I gave above and the example I linked earlier are both explicitly "opinion" articles, which give me all sorts of creepy WP:SOAP feelings. SDY (talk) 20:29, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

    • I don't think one can answer this hypothetical question based only on the article title. I don't see why an article with that name would be inappropriate, as long as its contents is factual, fair, verifiable, etc. etc.. "Mao was a nihilist because Brezhnev said so" is opinion; "Speaking at the 1975 USSR Communist Party Congress, Brezhnev called Mao a nihilist" is a historical fact (well, not really, I am making it up). I imagine that people interested in politics and history would like to know how other communist parties and intellectuals viewed Maoism. On the other hand, it would be unacceptable to use the name "International views ..." (or, worse, "Reliable views...") for an article whose contents was exclusively communist views. All the best, --Jorge Stolfi (talk) 12:19, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

Any (reasonable) objections?

Before I go on a massive binge (in an indeterminate point in the future), would anyone object to me removing any unsourced statements in trivia/cultural references/etc. sections that are qualified with "seems to be" or "probably"? Please don't ask me to expand the scope; I am only one man. OrangeDog (τε) 21:49, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

  • "Massive binge"? Please, don't. Whatever "cleanup" you intend to do, do it gradually, as part of general article editing, on the handful of articles that you care about. If your cleanup is a good idea (such as deleting original research, opinions, or unverifiable statements), don't worry, other editors will do the same on the other articles, on their own. If they don't, well, then perhaps that cleanup was not such a good idea after all. All the best, --Jorge Stolfi (talk) 23:16, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
    signing in agreement with Jorge Stolfi. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 01:15, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
I have no objections at all, but wish you good luck with it. Those who love that stuff have very bad habits with reverting and going nuts about it. -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 23:18, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Don't just hack away at unsourced statements, make efforts to source anything before you remove it unless it is very plainly trivia. Fences&Windows 02:44, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
WikiProject Popular Culture notified. --Cybercobra (talk) 02:52, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
Keep in mind that many articles are what they are today thanks to trivia and miscellaneous sections. They are essentially notepads to put pointform down. Trivia sections should be merged into the prose of the article. I personally think pop culture references (Where sourced or obvious) help to give readers something familiar to relate a concept to.
However, any instances of "seems to be" or "probably" should be removed, as Wikipedia is not the place for speculation. ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 03:36, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Yes, I certainly have a problem with someone blindly removing material which they do not understand. "Seems to be" could be OR, POV pushing, or simply a bad choice of words by an inexperienced editor (or in rare cases a highly relevant direct quote). If you don't understand the material, you likely won't be able to judge which applies in a "massive purge" attempt. Instead, these sorts of problems should be eliminated through normal editing. I.E. while already working on improving a given article. --ThaddeusB (talk) 03:58, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for your input. Some replies:

As you can probably tell from my contribs, I often hunt down and fix incorrect uses of the phrase "based off of" and similar. In the majority of cases, these occur in the form of an IP edit to an obscure page saying "X seems to be based off Y" or "X was probably based on Y".
These tend to be on pages with very few editors and even fewer watchers. Just because no-one particularly cares about the subject of an article, should that article be treated differently re. WP:V, WP:OR and WP:TRIVIA?
If someone does object, they can put the statement back in and I'm not going to change it back. My aim is not to get into as many edit wars as possible. Nothing (excl. WP:OVERSIGHT and a certain software bug) is ever lost.
If I'm unsure whether it's both clearly unsourced and clearly trivia, I won't do anything.
Direct quotes (esp. if by living people) should definitely be removed if they're unsourced.
OrangeDog (τε) 19:22, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
No sign in your reply that you're looking for sources before removing material. Please do. Fences&Windows 00:37, 13 December 2009 (UTC)
Given that material would be both unencyclopedic trivia and unsourced I would think this a waste of time. OrangeDog (τε) 18:16, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

Depending on how much free time I have, I might tag them all first, then remove a month or so later. OrangeDog (τε) 18:16, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

Account Protection?

I got pretty distraught over some false accusations and snide comments directed at me when I made some newbie edits, so I got pretty irresponsibly blitzed and consequently got arrested for D.U.I. I ended up serving fifteen days in jail and just got out today. I was thinking during my incarceration about ways we can make Wikipedia safer for those users who must involuntarily (or voluntarily) suspend use of their accounts for more than just a few days. I think we need a procedure to put these accounts on "lock down" while their owners are away. Accounts remaining dormant for long periods of time are ripe for hijacking and abuse while their legitimate users are incarcerated, hospitalized, on vacation, in exile, or in any other situation where the person will be away from Wikipedia for more than a few days. Gerbelzodude99 (talk) 02:30, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

If the absence is anticipated, editors may use Wikipedia:WikiProject User scripts/Scripts/WikiBreak Enforcer. Fences&Windows 18:31, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

Last chance to vote in the Arbitration Committee Elections

This is a brief reminder to all interested editors that today is the final day to vote in the December 2009 elections to elect new members to the Arbitration Committee. The voting period opened at 00:01 on UTC 1 December 2009 and will close at 23:59 UTC on 14 December 2009 as initially planned. Updated 20:57, 13 December 2009 (UTC).

The voting this year is by secret ballot using the SecurePoll extension. All unblocked editors who had at least 150 mainspace edits on or before 1 November 2009 are eligible to vote (check your account). Prospective voters are invited to review the candidate statements and the candidates' individual questions pages. Although voting is by secret ballot, and only votes submitted in this way will be counted, you are invited to leave brief comments on the candidates' comment pages and discuss candidates at length on the attached talkpages. If you have any questions or difficulties with the voting setup, please ask at the election talkpage. For live discussion, join #wikipedia-en-ace on freenode.

Follow this link to cast your vote

For the coordinators,  Skomorokh  12:59, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

Countries in infoboxes (biographies)

An editor has been changing around some infoboxes in articles and I wanted to see if there was a set guideline on this. Basically, the infobox listed the subject being born in "Everett, Washington USA". Thechange is the removal of the country. A couple people chimed in on his talk page so even if it is the standard, it might be time to lay it out clearer somewhere. I noticed that Template:Infobox person has "city, administrative region, sovereign state" as the description for birth place and the example has city, state. The soveriegnty of the states has been questioned so that makes this a little unclear. Template:Infobox actor states "town/city, state (if relevant), country". When is and when is it not relevant? I assume there are several other examples of clarification being needed in the other infoboxes. It looks like the editor's primary reasoning is what he views as the intent of Wikipedia:Naming conventions (geographic names).

So is there a set practice either way on this? If so, does it need to be laid out clearer in an independent guideline? Apologies if this has already come up. I assume it has but did not see anything while looking through the archives or editor's index. If I didn't look hard enough a quick point in the right direction would be appreciated.Cptnono (talk) 03:07, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

So any thoughts you geniuses of Wikipeida?Cptnono (talk) 08:21, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
There's probably something in the Manual of Style about it, but I'm not going to search through that rat's nest to find it. IMHO, the country should be in the infobox for completeness and clarity. --Cybercobra (talk) 19:37, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
For the record, I am not against having a the country name in the info box, just not (City, State, Country), per WP:PLACE#United States--Jojhutton (talk) 20:42, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Two questions: What do you mean, "just not (City, State, Country)"? And, how does WP:PLACE relate to this, since it is about article titles? Omnedon (talk) 20:48, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
I have already mentioned insert big SIGH here that the intent of the guideline was for it to cover all of wikipedia, despite the title, based on the section on content. You know that. I am done trying to answer the same questions over and over.--Jojhutton (talk) 21:29, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
You haven't answered it, though. WP:PLACE simply does not cover this. In a nutshell, an article about a place that is within the United States should mention that the place is within the United States -- yet you continue to remove "United States" from the opening sentences of articles, despite having been questioned by many editors about this practice. Omnedon (talk) 21:35, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Look at the title of this section that you have been editing. It says infoboxes. So your reference to other editors is completely out of place and shows that you have not done enough research into the prior discussions.--Jojhutton (talk) 21:46, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
You have attempted to justify removal of "United States" both from infoboxes and from lead sentences with the same arguments. The situation needs to be discussed. The discussion seems to be occurring here now. Omnedon (talk) 21:57, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Please don't demean the views of other editors by inserting a "big SIGH" into your comment. Trust me, you're not the only one frustrated by going over the same points. Several editors have stated that the guideline is for the naming of articles, and you can't just say that you've decided to place a different interpretation on it "despite the title". The "title" is there for a reason, and does not allow for a different interpretation, as are the comments in the opening paragraph and the section WP:PLACE#United States that state with absolute clarity that the guideline relates to the naming of articles. You have said elsewhere that you have investigated the situation and have decided that the intent of the guideline was to cover all articles, but the guideline does not say that. You are also subtly misrepresenting on your talk page FAQ what other editors have been saying. "there is no convention anywhere on wikipedia that says that (City, State, Country) is the best and proper way to present the information." Well, firstly, yes there is. "Convention" would be the widespread use of this style, particularly in infoboxes, and the endorsement by several projects who include it as part of the infobox instruction. That's convention. There is no guideline. Different thing. Nobody has been trying to say that "country" must be used in infoboxes, which is what you are implying, only that it is acceptable, and that removing it with WP:PLACE#United States as justification indicates a misinterpretation of the guideline and is not acceptable. Rossrs (talk) 22:05, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Thirded. The page is clearly labeled a Naming convention. Naming conventions apply to article titles, not article content. Any alternate interpretation needs evidence of consensus for such interpretation. --Cybercobra (talk) 22:43, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. Jojhutton: I see on your talk page you say that "English speaking scholars" write just city and state without country, and broadly cite every English manual of style as the basis. However, having thumbed through my MLA handbook, I don't see anything pertinent to this; can you cite the section number? I'd be interested to see the rule you're referring to. (It's just for my own curiosity, of course, since Wikipedia is in no way bound to follow any particular rule set forth by the MLA, APA, etc.)
Incidentally — it's worth noting that venerable institutions like the Encyclopedia Brittanica use the State, Country convention. You can see examples in their geographical articles[6], biographical articles[7], etc. Huwmanbeing  00:22, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
Ok all, One last time. What does it mean then when the contents section begins with: this applies to all articles using the name in question? And it once said: this applies both to the article on a given geographical place and to other articles linking to it. Then there was this:
Which says very directly in articles. This header was removed back in February without any consensus to do so. Can anyone explain the part on the contents then?--Jojhutton (talk) 03:09, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
The contents section seems to refer to usage of modern vs. historic names of places, not whether to include the country along with subnational divisions or not. As to the removal more than 6mos ago, I'd venture that WP:SILENCE applies; and anyway, the nutshell again seems to refer to historical vs. modern names, which is not the issue at hand. --Cybercobra (talk) 03:33, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Our various naming conventions are probably the most contentious guidelines we have (heck, even the main Naming Policy is being hotly debated right now)... It is clear that this is a policy area that needs some serious thought... every topic area and sub-topic area seems to have carved out its own convention, and they often conflict with each other. As to this issue... I don't really care, but will note that in the info boxes on various cities around the world, we do include both the State and the Country... see (as a random sample) Dispur in India; Canterbury in England, Marseille in France, and Omsk in Russia. It seems that practice does not match the convention in this... and when that happens I think that it is the convention that should change to reflect practice. Blueboar (talk) 03:21, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Huwmanbeing brings up an interesting point with Britannica. Of course we don't have to be bound by any style guide but Wikipeidas. If there isn't a guideline for infoboxes in biographies, what is the next step? I assume some people care one way or the other. I actually really don't have a strong opinion (I only lean towards keeping the country) and would like to have something clear for editor's to refer to. Any bickering while attempting to create a standard sucks, but it is even worse having the back and forth when one editor thinks he is doing it right while another thinks he isn't. Even saying "there is not consensus" might be better than nothing.Cptnono (talk) 03:58, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
Yes it is interesting, and I agree that we don't need to follow any guideline but our own. It's fair to say that both styles are valid. Considering the number and variety of infoboxes that we use, a guideline would probably be a good idea. Each infobox has its own set of "instructions" but there's nothing that brings them all together under one guideline. It's not surprising people become confused. I'm just not sure if we need an infobox guideline that discusses place names, or a place name guideline that discusses infoboxes. Rossrs (talk) 08:28, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
Jojhutton, you focus on the phrase, "this applies to all articles using the name in question" -- but the full sentence is, "The contents (this applies to all articles using the name in question): The same name as in the title should be used consistently throughout the article." This says nothing about leaving out the country when describing something or someone in an article; that guideline simply does not apply to this situation, as has been stated by several others. In an encyclopedia that describes people and things and places from all over the world, it seems relevant to specify the country and not assume "United States". I have yet to see any guideline(s) that supports what you are doing: removing relevant information from articles. Omnedon (talk) 12:57, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

The country should be mentioned: a city or state may be "unique" within a country, but with many other ones with similar names abroad (and this isn't a rare ocurrence), and a given biography may be about someone from either place. Wikipedia shouldn't asume the reader to be from the US, and it's better to "state the obvious" for the ones who are than to give confusing or incomplete information to the ones who aren't MBelgrano (talk) 13:21, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Old category with a new use as a policy subcat

Category:Wikipedia basic information has been around for a while (it holds WP:5P and other pages), and I've suggested using it as a policy subcat to hold some policy pages where attempts to add detail tend to get reverted, and I think what might be going on is that people want to keep the pages simple because they are seen as a representation of the principles in the Five pillars: WP:Consensus, WP:Civility, WP:Ownership of articles, and WP:Ignore all rules. (WP:Copyright violations is a possibility, but if so, it's not problematic.) I left pointers to the discussion at WT:POLICY#Agreed on all the relevant talk pages, and since there hasn't been any objection, I think it's worth running the experiment to see what happens. (The only thing I'm worried about at the moment is that people might start dumping other policy pages into Category:Wikipedia basic information as a way of claiming that the policy pages are more important or more basic than other policies ... I'll keep an eye on this.) There's no grand theory here, just an attempt to group pages where the same kinds of conflict get replayed over and over ... maybe comparing similar struggles on similar pages will enlighten the arguments, we'll see. Anyone is welcome to revert and discuss. - Dank (push to talk) 16:00, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

I was considering adding WP:Copyright violations because it's a concept that's specifically mentioned in WP:5P. The danger of labeling pages like this as "Basic" is that it might start non-productive, drama-filled arguments over whether other policy pages are "basic principles" or not. At least until the problems with WP:Consensus and WP:Civility are a little clearer, I'd rather not throw more pages into the new subcat unless there's a credible argument that the new pages qualify, that they have some slow-burning conflict over WP:5P principles going on that never quite resolves, cycling between non-specific language (think WP:5P) and specific language (think Conduct policy pages) in the way that WP:Consensus and WP:Civility do. WP:Ownership and WP:Ignore all rules aren't really problematic, more emblematic I guess, but you can see lots of the same kind of conflict in those talk archives, and in fact WP:Ownership has just recently cycled back to "more detailed." - Dank (push to talk) 17:33, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
While I'm here, a quick follow-up on the previous RFC above about sidebars on the policy pages: I added them to the conduct, content, deletion and enforcement pages, and haven't been reverted so it looks like they'll stick. Since the legal and especially the procedural policy list is longer, a legal or procedural sidebar might be off-putting ... I don't want to add it myself, but I have no objections if someone else wants to discuss that. I added a sidebar for this new "basic policy" subcat but just reverted myself; I think I'd prefer not to draw so much attention, it might result in competition to get policy pages named as "basic". - Dank (push to talk) 19:14, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
P.S. I'm in negotiations to shorten the list of legal policies so that Wikipedia:LOP#Legal and a legal policy sidebar will be less scary; see WT:POLICY#Tweak to list of legal policies. - Dank (push to talk) 02:34, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

File:Miss Gibraltar logo.png

The fair use image File:Miss Gibraltar logo.png is appearing on the Category:Miss Gibraltar page. As the fair use claim only claims fair use on the Miss Gibraltar page, is its appearance on the Category page a fair use violation? I realize that it's appearing on the Category page because of the use of the Category on the File page, it wasn't added there specifically. But does fair use preclude using it in a Category? 99.166.95.142 (talk) 17:33, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

You can prevent it being shown by adding __NOGALLERY__ to the category page. Nanonic (talk) 17:39, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
That worked. Thank you. 99.166.95.142 (talk) 17:31, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
FWIW, that looks like a good candidate for {{PD-textlogo}}. Anomie 01:03, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

Quoting sources

Hi. I have a question about quoting sources. Is it permissible to quote a portion of a sentence from a source without using an ellipsis or otherwise indicating that you have quoted part of a sentence? — goethean 13:56, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

It's not good practice since it verges on or may clearly be plagiarism and ditto verges on or may clearly be a copyright violation. Better to rewrite or to differentiate the quote. --Tagishsimon (talk) 16:55, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
He didn't say without using quotation marks (or attribution) to indicate that it's a quote; he said without using an ellipsis to indicate that part of the quoted sentence was omitted. I think it depends on the usage and what portion of a sentence you have quoted. The underlying principle is to be accurate. I could quote you by saying that you have "a question about quoting sources." I would not need ellipses there because by beginning the quote with lower case (and by using a quoted portion that is not a complete sentence) it's quite clear that it's only part of what you wrote. I could also say you asked "[i]s it permissible to quote a portion of a sentence from a source without using an ellipsis...indicating that you have quoted part of a sentence." Brackets indicate my change to your original; ellipses indicate that I've omitted words in the middle of your writing from which I quoted. Without the ellipses in that instance, it would misrepresent the original writing. postdlf (talk) 17:09, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
I parsed "or otherwise indicating that you have quoted part of a sentence" to mean that no indication whatsoever would be given. YMMV. On reflection, I tend to agree with your take, Postdlf --Tagishsimon (talk) 17:26, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
I urge caution when quoting only part of a sentence. The key here is context. When quoting only part of a sentence, we run the risk of losing context and changing the meaning and intent from the original. Blueboar (talk) 17:53, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
We use quotations often, but they must be correctly attributed and kept to suitable length, per WP:Quotations. The ellipsis is a necessary (almost indispensible) tool for conveying to the reader that text has been omitted. Note the the ellipsis must not change the meaning of the quote in the context used.LeadSongDog come howl 18:30, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Standardized English spelling

I would like to propose a change to the current WP:ENGVAR. It seems like the rule of thumb has mostly been, that the first person to write an article determines which localized spelling is used, This has led to a complete lack of consistency within Wikipedia as a a whole. It bugs the shit out of me, that green is a color, and orange is a colour. Is green American and orange British? On the flip, side there have been countless edit wars do to the fact that a large number of editors believe that Wikipedia should represent their spelling. The way I see it, we need to get rid of both the "I'm right, fuck you" attitude, and the "We can't have a standard, because someone won't like it", attitude. Just like there is to be one spelling standard within an article, there needs to be one spelling standard for all of Wikipidia. SInce Wikipedia is an international encyclopedia, the standard should reflect, it's international nature.

My recommendation is that we establish The Cambridge Guide to English Usage , as the authoritative standard for spelling grammar and syntax.The reason being, that it is the result a collaboration of linguistic scholars, from major universities in UK, US, Australia and Canada, and it applies logical rules toward determining the best international variant, without giving any national preference.

In all cases where there is a dispute over spelling and word usage, then the Cambridge Guide will be followed. In the even that a dispute arises that isn't covered by the Cambridge Guide, then a second source, possibly A Dictionary of Modern English Usage (or another internationally recognized, authoritative source) should be followed. However, in the cases of proper names, titles, and quoted source material, the spelling should still follow the original (Australian Labor Party, Canadian Labour Party, Apollo Theater, Grauman's Chinese Theatre).

... Misty Willows talk 06:48, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

EDIT: From the Comments below it seems that people either misunderstand the proposal, or are throwing red herrings. I am not proposing that variant spelling not be allowed on wikipedia, or people be banned for spelling differently, I am proposing a specific change in criteria used to resolve and avoid conflicts. I should have specified exactly what wording in the WP:ENGVAR I am proposing to change so here it is:

Retaining the existing variety If an article has evolved using predominantly one variety, the whole article should conform to that variety, unless there are reasons for changing it based on strong national ties to the topic. In the early stages of writing an article, the variety chosen by the first major contributor to the article should be used. Where an article that is not a stub shows no signs of which variety it is written in, the first person to make an edit that disambiguates the variety is equivalent to the first major contributor.

Opportunities for commonality Wikipedia tries to find words that are common to all varieties of English. Universally used terms are often preferable to less widely distributed terms, especially in article names. For example, fixed-wing aircraft is preferred to the national varieties fixed-wing aeroplane (British English) and fixed-wing airplane (American English). If one variant spelling appears in an article name, redirect pages are made to accommodate the other variants, as with Artefact and Artifact, so that all variants can be used in searches and in linking. Terms that are uncommon in some varieties of English, or that have divergent meanings, may be glossed to prevent confusion. Insisting on a single term or a single usage as the only correct option does not serve the purposes of an international encyclopedia. Use an unambiguous word or phrase in preference to one that is ambiguous because of national differences. For example, use alternative route (or even other route) rather than alternate route, since alternate may mean only "alternating" to a speaker of British English.

The Cambridge Guide to English Usage is the preferred guide for determining commonality, In all cases where there is a dispute over spelling and word usage, that can't be resolved by consensus, then the Cambridge Guide should be followed. In the even that a dispute arises that isn't covered by the Cambridge Guide, then another internationally recognized, guide (e.g. A Dictionary of Modern English Usage) should be followed. However, in the cases of proper names, titles, and quoted source material, the spelling should always follow the original (e.g. Australian Labor Party, Canadian Labour Party, Apollo Theater, Grauman's Chinese Theatre).

... Misty Willows talk 21:42, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

So, basically you want to be neutral, but when you can't be default to British English? Yeah, that'll solve the problem real good </sarcasm>. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 07:13, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
Have you even bothered to look at the Cambridge Guide? I'm an American I would and personally would prefer US spelling, but I recognize that US English is not global. the Cambridge guide is balanced, and will cover 99% of all cases, Fowler's Dictionary of Modern English Usage is British, but his choices represent much of what has been internationalized..... Misty Willows talk 07:43, 14 December 2009 (UTC)



Given the complete lack of sense that goes into arguments about the color of the bikeshed, my guess is that the consensus is to let sleeping dogs lie on this one. In an ideal world, we'd handle it the way we handle date formatting (i.e. encoded such that it's always "correct" per user settings). I would support an RFC that suggested changing the variant of English used for consistency within a category, but this seems like a solution in search of a problem and adds requirements without improving the quality of the information. SDY (talk) 07:19, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
I have disagree with you there. Creating an international Standard for English greatly improves the quality of Wikipedia. Wikipedia is becoming a the de facto reference, and has a major influence on journalism, education, science, history and culture. If Wikipedia adopts a single standard, my prediction is that in a short time the world will follow. ... Misty Willows talk 07:43, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
I don't think if Wikipeida should be trying to change the world's spelling and grammar.
I've seen editors use variations depending on the subject. A football player in Newcastle gets the version better suited for the available sources and locality of the subject while a soccer player out of Seattle gets what suits his article best. This practice seems to work out pretty well and I personally wouldn't want it any other way. Cptnono (talk) 08:00, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
So tell me, who is orange for and who is green for? ... Misty Willows talk 08:04, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
That doesn't really address my point. I did jump into terms instead of spelling. Organised and organized ball works though since the subject's location and the way sources discuss it can certainly be reflected without hurting anyone's feelings.Cptnono (talk) 08:13, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
Neither does this proposal. If in Newcastle, the game is called football, it still will be called football, in an article about Newcastle. And if in Seattle, it is called soccer, it still will be called soccer, in an article about Seatle. If you look at what I'm proposing, it is limited to cases where there is a dispute. I'm asking to replace "we got here first" with "this is the best compromise". And I can see no reason, that we should be the least concerned, with hurting peoples feelings by how we spell. ... Misty Willows talk 08:26, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
Probably got hit with an edit conflict since I added then type-o'd both versions :) . Replacing "We got here first" with something that is not standard in the location or coverage of the subject seems just as bad. I personally have never run into it, but if I did my argument would be using whichever version is more related to the subject. There will obviously be some where there is confusion but if something has received significant coverage in Vancouver or is related to Vancouver (companies, inventors, etc) use Vancouver speak. This is something that I think works best on a case by case basis and making a blanket change will do more harm than good to the project.Cptnono (talk) 08:32, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

Please Re-read what I am proposing, because your arguments are entirely off point. I am in complete agreement that local topics should use local terms. But the disputes are mostly over globally relevant topics. ... Misty Willows talk 08:51, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

(Undent) the primary virtue of the current policy is the simplicity. It avoids arguments that will (and have!) gone on for years between two correct spellings when the article is neither false, misleading, or unclear. This isn't a major issue, and the current policy recognizes it for the triviality that it is. Maybe when the publication date gets a little closer we might worry about consistency, for now there are other things that are more troubling as quality issues. SDY (talk) 08:36, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

How are arguments being avoided? We have endless edit wars. Inconsistency is not simplicity. A single standard, to resolve arguments is simplicity ... Misty Willows talk 08:51, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
Arbitrary standards tend to end arguments when the topic is trivial. When people get confused about the importance of what they're doing, any standard at all other than their own opinion will be ignored. Is the current ENGVAR policy perfect? I know that it's not. I just don't want all the complications and bureaucracy from changing a longstanding guideline on a contentious topic, especially one that has no impact on the quality of the information in articles. SDY (talk) 09:36, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
They are being avoided. Implementing such a change would cause even more arguments. Can you imagine what the incident noticeboards would look like for people refusing to follow such a guideline? There is also an editor retention concern. I could care less about losing an editor who is not staying neutral, but losing the guy who is fixing all of the redlinks for state parks in New Hampshire is a concern. Why risk turning off editors for something that is not standard. The Cambridge Guide might have made a valiant effort (more sources are needed at that article for easier verification because right now I can't tell if they had 4 guys working on it or 4000) but it is not yet the standard. Who are we to force it? Cptnono (talk) 09:38, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

Some thoughts:

  • I am not familiar with the Cambridge Guide to English Usage. If (almost) nobody has a copy, we would automatically work mostly with speculations about its content. (This could be solved with a noticeboard for spelling questions, frequented by several proud owners of the book.)
  • The single most important difference between the two major variants is the spelling of -ise/-ize and -isation/-ization. If we want uniformity this is where to start, because: "-ize stands at 3:2 in the British National Corpus." Only in Australia and New Zealand is -ise strongly preferred. [8]
    • If we are to standardise/uniformise, then this is the weakest point and needs to be attacked first.
    • It is also the most visible point. More precisely: A majority of readers is not used to seeing -ise, while (almost?) everybody is used to seeing -ize.
    • Nevertheless, a large proportion of our articles that have no relation to Australia or New Zealand, including many that are not even related to the Commonwealth in any way, use British spelling in the -ise variant.
    • This current practice contradicts the spirit of WP:ENGVAR#Opportunities for commonality.
    • In British English the choice between -ise and -ize is really a minor point, about as minor as details of punctuation that are handled in style guides. It is not a language variant. Regulating against -ise in British English would not be suppression of a language variant.
    • While I prefer the -ise spelling myself, in my opinion it should be deprecated in British English as used in articles.
  • I am assuming that -ize spelling is also what the CGEU would propose. I doubt that we will ever standardise on that, but if we do, -ize spelling is a first step.
  • The Chinese Wikipedia is coping with dramatically bigger issues. They have technical means to present the same article in either traditional or simplified Chinese, and they can even translate some words automatically for different variants of the language. Where automatical translation is not feasible the two variants can be hand-coded. It would be feasible to do this for American/British English as well. It does have some non-trivial implications; e.g. we would have to consistently mark all foreign language passages and everything that is quoted with original spelling, to prevent incorrect conversions.

I guess it would also increase the load on our servers, and perhaps cause additional downtime. Note that many of the technical issues would be similar to those of a technical solution for date formatting. In fact, date formatting (which has been rejected in the form and context in which it was previously proposed) can be seen as part of such a solution. Hans Adler 09:55, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

I remember a discussion on that proposal a while back, people were of the general opinion that it would be too difficult to implement. it would solve a lot of problems if it could be done. ... Misty Willows talk 02:39, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Well I don't have that guide. Tell me, is it color or colour? I'll decide then whether or not to support the proposal. :) Dmcq (talk) 12:07, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
Well I hope you don't mean, that you'll support it, if it's the way you are used to, ands oppose it if its not. I hope you will support or oppose it on a much more objective basis. the cambridge guide recommends: color over colour, theatre over theater, catalogue over catalog, standardize over standardise, aluminium over aluminum and sulfur over sulphur. Each with a very rational reason for the choice. -... Misty Willows talk 02:39, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Understood that our job is made harder on Wikipedia because different people speak and spell the language differently, but that's life. Our mission isn't to lead the world, our mission is to reflect it. - Dank (push to talk) 15:03, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
It may not be our mission, but it is the reality. People treat wikipedia as an authoritative source. I can see two possible results: 1. Wikipedia adopts a standard for english spelling, and people who read wikipedia start to spell that way, making it the de facto standard; 2. Wikipedia maintains its current policy, people read variant spellings in Wikipedia and start using random variants, that may or may not be consistent with their local spelling, variant spellings become acceptable everywhere and spelling will become harder to teach in schools, because there be a need to accommodate every variant in every location . A friend of mine at school, used british spelling on some words as a result of reading that spelling on Wikipedia, and the teacher marked them as spelled wrong, and in a local spelling bee, the contestants had to spell the words with all common variants if they got any of them wrong, they would lose-... Misty Willows talk 02:39, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Anyone who treats Wikipedia as authoritative is (1) on crack (2) hasn't read our disclaimers. --Cybercobra (talk) 03:18, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

Would you require that every person who writes on Wikipedia use the "standard" (whatever that is) spelling? And what would happen if they didn't? Ban them? Require them to purchase a copy of the Cambridge Guide before they edit? Just go around getting into edit wars when they spell it "catalog" and don't like it when heir national spelling version gets reverted? Too much tempest in a teacup. Let sleeping dogs lay/lie/alone. 99.166.95.142 (talk) 17:16, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

No just the opposite; this is about resolving conflicts.If everyone is happy with a spelling then this rule doesn't apply, but if there is an edit war, then the standard would be applied to resolve it. So, using your example, if there are some editors of an article, who want catalog revert edits of others editors who want catalogue,and vice versa, and consensus isn't reached on the talk page, then the standard would be applied to resolve the conflict, and it would be catalogue. If someone insists on editing against the standard, after it has been discussed on the talk page,they should be treated the same as if they make edits against consensus. No one needs to be concerned with this standard, until there is a conflict. In reality this is no different procedurally, than what we do now; it's just that the standard now is keep using whatever the article started with. All the " it will cause more conflicts" or "it will discourage people from editing" arguments are red herrings. The real issue is do we want the WP:ENGVAR to encourage consistency or diversity. ... Misty Willows talk 20:20, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Just in case anyone thinks otherwise: this is not going to happen. First of all, what in the world makes Cambridge the sole authority? 'They don't even think that "British English" is the only correct form of the language!
    V = I * R (talk to Ω) 21:08, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
    • I must agree. While this proposal might solve the occasional single article argument, common sense says it would replace these manageable problems with site-wide religious wars over which is the "correct standard". --Allen3 talk 22:44, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

I think Misty makes some good points, but against the idea (apart from availability) is that if adopted it wouldn't just be "the standard if no other agreement can be reached", it would rapidly become "the standard", with people going around with AWB, Huggle etc and standardising everything in sight. If it could be limited to use just as a "tiebreaker", that would be fine, but any formal adoption would swiftly go beyond that. So I suggest those interested in these debates keep it in mind as a helpful guide that might occasionally help informally resolve 50/50 disputes. Rd232 talk 12:10, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

"Whole ISP" blocks

My own ISP, Smart Telecom is currently -- and for the second time -- effectively (soft-)blocked in its entirety, along with account creation. Some business customers are still OK, being allocated static IPs in the upper half of the 84.203.*.* range, but as best as I'm able to tell, all the dynamic IP domestic customers are affected (unless they have a pre-existing account).

I intend no particular criticism of the blocker, Alison, here: I don't know how bad the sockpuppet vandalism is, but if blocking those is necessary, then she's doing the only thing that's possible under current conditions, as far as I can see. But this seems to be a significant enough step as to merit wider discussion. In particular:

  • What about asking the devs to make provision for "account creation only" blocks? It appears the concern here is largely with logged-in users: if there's lots of anon vandalism, it must be on deleted pages or oversighted revisions, because I can't find much of it otherwise. If available, would they be of possible help in cases like this?
  • While there's not heavy use of anon editing to make "good" contributions either, there are some. As things stand, if someone like that happens along they'll find themselves blocked; if they don't immediately give up at that point, they may make an unblock request. This will then be turned down by the reviewing admin, who (if they entirely get the situation at all) will do so on the basis of it being a "{{checkuserblock}}". Unless they happen themselves to be a checkuseruser themselves -- as is statistically wildly unlikely -- they have no way to do anything else, in fact. The user may file a few more requests, but won't get anywhere until they email the unblock list, and ask for an account to be created for them. (For example, see what happened to me, at User_talk:84.203.78.225.) This looks like a process that's very much likely to deter or confused most such editors; it's not at all clear whether the majority of admins are fully up to speed with this process either, and able to effectively assist. Are there ways to streamline and clarify this?

I have some sympathy for the proposition that anon editing is more trouble than it's worth, anyway. However, if Wikipedia is moving in that direction, it should do so with some foresight and planning as to the best way to proceed, and not by haphazard fits and starts. (However much that corresponds to "local tradition".) Smartiger (talk) 03:49, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

Unbelievably persistent sockmasters do sometimes give up eventually. I assume this block is for the benefit of User:Redking7, per WP:Sockpuppet investigations/Redking7/Archive. If you check anon contributions from 84.203.0.0/17 you will indeed see some evidence that Redking7 is working anonymously. A two-week block of a /17 seem tolerable for a long-running problem. My review suggests that as many as 20 IPs, of whom at least 2/3 are good faith, have had their work temporarily interrupted by the rangeblock. These folks are welcome to create accounts, and in any case we hope that the good-faith ones will resume work when the block expires. There has been no blizzard of unblock requests from this range. In fact, your IP is the only one from the range that requested an unblock. EdJohnston (talk) 05:47, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
I assume that too, though apparently Alison didn't wish to make any connection explicit, out of privacy concerns.
The lack of unblock requests itself isn't a particular reassurance in and of itself: what we don't know is how many others simply gave up in advance at that point. (Though we can guestimate it from the number of good-faith contribs over similar periods of time.)
Surely a handful of problematic anon edits aren't in themselves such a problem that if an account-creation-block-only option were available, if wouldn't be suitable in such a case? It would have the net effect of making account creation that bit harder, as at present, where the checkuserusers are better able to scrutinise them; but allowing anon edits to happen "in the open", where they can be judged on their merits as problematic or otherwise. Smartiger (talk) 05:19, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

RfC on WP:Consensus and WP:Civility

{{rfctag}} Removing RfC tag 13:16, 18 December 2009 (UTC) For anyone who wants to participate, please read WP:Consensus and WP:Civility quickly and answer two questions: what changes would make either page more effective as a guide for newbies? What changes would make the page more useful in settling hard questions for experienced users about consensus or civility? (Bonus question: can the page do both, or would it be better to choose one focus or the other?) - Dank (push to talk) 13:01, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

No comment on consensus, but on civility — if one needs to read a policy document to understand that one should be polite and constructive in addressing other volunteers on a collaborative project, there just isn't any document that's going to do the job. Newbies who haven't yet reached a level of maturity where they can interact on a calm, civil, adult level aren't going to be straightened out by a policy page. As for the 'hard questions', we don't have any easy answers. Some things have to be hashed out on a case-by-case basis, through discussion. We will never have policy documents which anticipate every single situation. WP:DICK is the best nutshell summary I can think of. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 13:35, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
Agree with that. Why point newbies at civility except at the WP:5P? However it is good as a pointer if there is incivility. Consensus is more important as a guide to how wikipedia works though they should normally be able to work out enough from 5P. They may think one donates articles or that there is a lead author or something like that. I believe the basics of consensus can be covered adequately in a guide to editing though. As to experienced editors the main problem with consensus I've seen is when people really don't understand what things like reliable sources, neutral point of view, weight or suchlike mean so I'd point people at trying to determine the underlying issue and whether it is covered by another policy or its noticeboard first. Dmcq (talk) 13:52, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
The problem seems to be that there is no common understanding of what consensus means. We can write all the policies and guidelines and essays we want, but while there is no common understanding among editors about what constitutes a consensus decision (and no way of enforcing such decisions anyway), it's all just empty words. Civility and the multiple associated pages should be reduced to about two crisp paragraphs (but certainly avoiding the "don't be a dick" language - that was always a misguided way of expressing it, as you can't refer people to it without at least implicitly calling them a dick, which is uncivil itself). --Kotniski (talk) 14:19, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
Keeping score: this sound like 3 votes for "keep it short" to me. It sounds like you guys are saying that after either a newbie or experienced Wikipedian has read a few paragraphs at either page, they'd be better off turning their attention to whatever page deals directly with whatever they're interested in. - Dank (push to talk) 15:19, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
I would say the WP:CONSENSUS is probably the most misconstrued policy on WP, and I would say there really isn't any hope for a concrete resolution. It's all subjective. The policy points to "quality of arguments," which has been taken by many, many editors to mean, "My arguments are better than yours, so my side is right." Editors tend to freak out when a poll is started, stating that per WP:VOTE, "Polling is not a substitute for discussion." Many editors think there should never be a vote ever on WP. Even after long discussions, an evenly split argument is then argued to be a case of "no consensus" and revert to the staus quo, even if 10 editors argue for the change and 10 editors vote against it. The problem with most minor discussions is that the only group that can make a definative, final decison is ArbCom, which is a long and arduous process, and typically isn't used for petty cases.
Am I arguing that WP should change to only voting on issues? Not at all. Does consensus work the vast majority of the time? Yes. I'm just saying that the subjectiveness of WP:CONSENSUS will always cause problems somewhere, but it is probably the best solution in a community-based encyclopedia. The only alternatives would be to implement voting as a solution, or have arbitor-like admins roving around to make final decisons for the community. So, WP is not perfect, but when you have differing opinions on everything, it's doing a pretty good job. Angryapathy (talk) 15:24, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
Well said! *golf clap* The good side of using consensus as a cornerstone for our behavioral expectations is that it works. I think that the best selling point to using a consensus based decision making process is that it is a low cost and effective solution which allows for the broadest possible participation in the project. I do think, however, that it's about time that we recognize some of the limitations of consensus. Angryapathy touched on the limitations above, and I think that it would be a good idea to explore that area further. There seems to be a dogma around consensus that has developed over the years, which unfortunately tends to halt discussions along this vein fairly quickly. That in and of itself suggests a need for reform to me, but I can also point out a myriad of contentious discussion, in just about every namespace, where consensus has been brought to it's knees. I think that we're all generally aware of the failings of consensus, we seem to simply be scared and/or dogmatically opposed to addressing the issue.
V = I * R (talk to Ω) 16:21, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
Expanding on Ohm's comments, I would say WP:CONSENSUS is vague, and intentionally so. I think there is a significant portion of WP editors that prefer all policies to be vague, citing WP:CREEP. Many people don't want solutions to come from the policies, but instead from the consensus of the communities, but consensus is defined by a policy, and take one step forward, and travel around the paradox once more. Try not to get dizzy. Angryapathy (talk) 16:34, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
Funny... I don't think WP:CONSENSUS is all that vague. It has those flow charts and stuff to tell us exactly how to achieve a consenus. Whether anyone pays it any attention, of course, is a different matter. Blueboar (talk) 20:28, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
Okay, it looks like the feedback has died out, and I think I've got the information I need. I'm removing the RfC, but feel free to keep commenting. - Dank (push to talk) 13:16, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

Improper behavior on talk page

There is a problem with a section on Mobile TV that has a message which includes a link to the talk page. Just to see if any more had been said there, I went to the page and found that this [9] had been done.

It not only constitutes advertising (I left {{uw-advert1}} on the talk page) but the IP deleted worthwhile information on the page. I couldn't find an appropriate message for that.

Was it also proper to just revert, since the content was inappropriate for a talk page? That was the easiest way to put the proper content back.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 19:36, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

Everything you did was exactly right. {{uw-blank1}} also would have worked, but just one warning is needed per incident. Powers T 21:15, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

tweaking user rights levels

See: Wikipedia talk:User access levels#Be autoconfirmed to create a page? Beeblebrox (talk) 21:46, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

Craiglist advert

What the heck? I don't mind Wikipedia pushing this donations scheme - clearly it is vital to keep the project going and also amazing to see the speed with which the money is being raised. But surely endorsements, such as that by 'Craig from Craiglist' which appears at the top of my watchlist right now are perilously close to - or could even be considered as - adverts? The endorsement promotes Craiglist over other similar services or websites, it suggests some sort of relationship between the two organisations etc. Can I now consider the Craiglist entry to be neutral? Would Craig remove his support if the content of that article changed? More importantly, who decided to places this advert on Wikipedia? Pretty Green (talk) 09:36, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

No idea what endorsements you're referring to. I haven't seen any. OrangeDog (τ • ε) 13:50, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
I have seen the endorsement; I'm not than that disturbed by it. I think you'd have to adduce any evidence that anything more than an endorsement of the wikipedia fundraising drive by Craig took place. The endorsement does not seem very close to an advert to me; the mere fact that it makes reference to Craig and Craigslist does not imply support for him or his website, though clearly both achieve some name recognition for it. I think we have to be prepared to experiment to get money in, and frankly it's nice to see other faces than Jimmy's when the begging bowl goas around. --Tagishsimon (talk) 16:52, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
It's a large image of the guy's face in colour and the name of his website. How is that not advertising?Pretty Green (talk) 10:27, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
Cobranding, reduces the donation base as other players worldwide in that sector will stop their donations, normally, you dont see co- branding of profit organizations on non-profit organizations. Mion (talk) 10:52, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
I'd strongly urge the foundation to take this particular message down. We don't want to appear to favor any outside interests, and an ad-based Wikipedia is not supported by most of the community and I believe it goes against our fundamental principles. ThemFromSpace 08:42, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
Completely agree. If I owned my own website, and as a prolific user/editor of Wikipedia I decide to donate say 1,000 dollars or more, could I then say "Camelbinky of Camelbinkycars4sale supports Wikipedia!"? That would in fact be advertising. Even if Craig didnt donate any money, its obviously getting his website's name out and getting good image promotion for him and his company "wow, Craig is a nice guy and his website is cool for doing that to support Wikipedia!". Perhaps in the future someone not so identifiable with a "product"? I bet Tiger Woods has nothing better to do right now...Camelbinky (talk) 22:37, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
Just a note, Craig is actually now on the WMF advisory board. See here for when it was reported. Killiondude (talk) 23:33, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
Get on the board and you can plug your own website? Nice. Good precedent we set there. I have nothing against him being on the board or donating money. But we dont allow spurious non-encyclopedic spam or links or advertising in our articles, we dont link to pay sites that are obviously linking to them to promote the website. We dont allow articles to mention or promote companies in a promotional way. This applies just as much, if not more, to the WMF. Craig doesnt get special treatment. If you disagree show me why.Camelbinky (talk) 22:16, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

Sportsperson categories and gender

How should our sportsperson categories be organized with respect to gender?

In many cases, we have a category of the form "(nationality) (sport) players" and a subcategory "(nationality) female (sport) players". All of the male players are in the supercategory but the females are shunted off to a subcategory. With the exception of sports that are very different between genders (examples of which I can't really come up with), I see no reason for this unbalanced separation; it implies that the fact that the person is a female player of a particular sport is more important than the fact that she plays the sport, while for men it implies that their gender is of secondary concern.

Certainly the argument for highlighting a player's gender is stronger in some sports than in others -- for instance, that a woman plays gridiron football may in fact be notable enough to highlight that fact in the categories. But there are so many female association football players, for instance, that spotlighting their gender seems sexist, or at least unnecessary.

My initial attempt to correct this was Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2009 November 13#Category:Brazilian footballers, but it was rejected in part because such a change was seen as requiring broader changes as well for consistency. I then attempted to spark a discussion over at Wikipedia talk:Categorization/Ethnicity, gender, religion and sexuality but only two people responded. I was hoping to get some wider attention on the subject. Probably that talk page would be the better place for comments but I'll check back here as well.

-- Powers T 19:17, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

OK, if this isn't the right place, does anyone have any suggestions on how to get broader discussion going? Powers T 03:10, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
I thought I had responded but must have not sent it.
Anyway, my thoughts are: if the sport is considered to be played nearly by one gender (like American Football) , I would not worry about both gender as sub-cats, only the exceptional one, even if it can be taken as biased, since it really isn't, it's just part of the sport's reality. In all other cases, it should be two gender-based cats (like for golf and tennis). --MASEM (t) 03:23, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
What about sports with mixed-gender competition? Powers T 04:00, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
Category for each gender. --MASEM (t) 04:04, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm curious as to your reasoning. Powers T 14:06, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
LtPowers, I'm jumping in a bit late; but for my own part, I think you have a good point. If male players are put into categories that don't mention gender, whereas female players are put into such categories, that would seem to be biased. For sports that have mixed-gender competition, I'd say that there should be no gender-based categorization, but rather a single category for players of the sport in question. Where there is separation, it seems fairest to include the gender in the name of each category (for both male and female players). Does that make sense to you? Omnedon (talk) 14:13, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
Yes. Powers T 00:13, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
When I say "(American) football player", and fail to mention gender, I would suspect the average reader would immediately assume "male", simply because the number of females participating in the sport are exceptionally small. That is, the category "football player" is already associated with the male gender, and thus a sub-cat to further denote male players would be unnecessary. But, on the other hand, if I were to say "basketball player" or "tennis player", one cannot immediately assign a gender there, which is why it is fair to have both gender-based subcats of the main category.
And note that I'm only talking sports where it is clearly dominated by one gender, which isn't that many, but would include football, rugby, and possibly a few others. Even with sports that are traditionally played by one gender, like basketball, baseball, gymnastics etc. but where there are collegiate or professional teams, there's enough of the other gender involved that one cannot presume the gender of a player of these sports without knowing more.
Of course, all this would be unnecessary with proper category intersection, but I don't see that happening for a while. --MASEM (t) 16:16, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for explaining. =) It's looking like there's not a really strong consensus, but maybe we can come up with something. Powers T 00:13, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
Mind you, I'm not against specific gender subcats even for where the gender is "obvious" for purposes of avoiding bias. Personally, I'd rather see us get category intersection in place to avoid having to make all these subcats. --MASEM (t) 04:29, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

May I Weigh In Again?

Wikipedia gives new meaning to the word bureaucracy. Arguing over English versus British spelling, "concensus", and about everything under the sun except the actual data. Folks come to Wikipedia for data, not the seemingly endless arguments of the editors at Wikipedia and whatever "mission" Wikipedians feel they are fulfilling.

And a few months back when I said Jimmy Wales was anxious to dump his baby like yesterday? It has come to pass. Jimmy is spending beaucoup bucks for his moment of fame, and Google has a free online encyclopaedia without advertisements. Not quite a fair exchange.

And in the unlikely event Jimmy can unload this turkey, the new owner will be interested in the data only and rather abruptly tell the Wiki bureaucracy (especially the ones that object to "Wiki") their services are regrettably no longer needed.

Anyway, I'll give this post about a day tops before a Wiki-cop deletes it. Editors are by nature negative and like to delete. I'll make their day.

And the funniest thing about Wikipedia? No one knows anything about computers. Zip, nada. Once they become an admin, it is like they have achieved their lifelong goal ... like honorary assistant-coach of a south Alabama middle school hockey team.

If they did, they would understand there is no upper limit to the number of articles in Wikipedia. There is no need to put stuff under a magnifying glass, and argue over punctuation. Put it all in, the good, the bad, and the ugly. That is Google in a nutshell, and no one has a problem with all the trash in Google.

The number of newbies that have their hopes crushed and never return to contribute? Must be in the millions by now.

Cheers! —Preceding unsigned comment added by 98.27.53.61 (talk) 06:04, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

Feel better now? Powers T 13:47, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
Wow, while I not only disagree with some of that stuff, my brain hurts just trying to understand some of it. The basic frustration however I can understand, yes Wikipedia is overrun with conservative bureaucratic editors and admins who care too much about enforcing and meddling with non-encyclopedia crap instead of spending their time researching, creating, and putting information into articles. Spending hours and days deciding who should be blocked while only spending minutes on actual article improvement is a shame and embarressment. We should have more discussions about that (though that would be ironic). So perhaps your strange rant could lead somewhere. BTW- your comment about this probably being deleted is off-base, I for one would defend your right to comment no matter how much I disagreed with it or couldnt understand it. More should understand we really are inclusive, though more editors and admins should start allowing more freedom of speech as is standard in the majority of the English-speaking world (this being the English version of Wikipedia).Camelbinky (talk) 22:27, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
Yes, there is nothing like a good rant to clear the brain. Glad you think there should be free speech. Somehow I get the feeling this concept is incredibly foreign to foreigners. Anyway, my two key points as you easily picked up on were the administrivia and and focusing on new information. Interestingly enough, over at knol there are folks who don't contribute any new information but are intent on policing the knol site. I mean, there are no admins or folks that can change your work, but there are STILL police waiting to pounce. They must just come out of the woodwork naturally. Anyway, as you suggest, the creative gather new data types are generally not encouraged at Wiki ... and that is the whole reason people come here. For the data. Another lost cause here? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 98.27.53.61 (talk) 23:39, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
"Somehow I get the feeling this concept is incredibly foreign to foreigners." Sorry, I don't listen to xenophobes, freedom of speech or not. Fences&Windows 02:01, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
I in no way endorse xenophobic, racial, anti-semitic, ethnic slurs no matter what the intention of the editor when stating their statement. Free speech though means they are free to state their beliefs. It also means we are free to disagree with that speech and/or ignore it.Camelbinky (talk) 02:11, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm sure this can't be WP:Verifiable, it is WP:Original research. Just looking at the start, Wikipedia is not a bureaucracy, see WP:BURO. It is WP:CONSENSUS as that's how it was first written, see WP:ENGVAR. I'm sure people come here for more than just WP:DATA. Wikipedia already avoids WP:MISSIONs. I'm not sure why he'd want to get rid of WP:TURKEY in particular. Anyway I feel affronted by this and there should be WP:No personal attacks, I think I should set put a bit at WP:Wikiquette alerts or even something for WP:ANI and perhaps we can get WP:Oversight to remove all traces plus the comments in the WP:Edit history. Then we can get back to our WP:BOLD, revert, discuss cycle. We are of course welcoming to newbies, {{subst:Welcome}} does the job essily and efficiently. ;-) Dmcq (talk) 08:23, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm assuming you are referring to Knol? One disadvantage of Knol from what I can see is that many people have complained that their submissions have been flagged for deletion pretty much straight away, but that they weren't notified of either the proposed deletion, or the reason for it. Although this may happen a lot on Wikipedia, most of the time the editor is given both notification *and* a reason for it (via the CSD/PROD/AfD messages) - and if for some reason they aren't, then they can either look at the deletion log where the reason for deletion will be shown in the edit summary, or they can contact the deleting admin and get a reason from them.
As for Wales getting rid of this 'turkey' - it's not his, it's the WMF's! And I've seen no indication that the WMF would walk away from Wikipedia or any of its projects (even on Wikipedias which have been found not to be viable, such as the Afar Wikipedia and the Toki Pona Wikipedia (which are both 'locked'), the WMF don't delete them (although they have no content), they just lock them so that nothing can be edited/added etc.)
So, I do not agree with your assessment. Also, while you are right that most people come to Wikipedia for data, I would contend that that is what they see - the vast majority of visitors to Wikipedia do not see the discussions (about American vs British spelling, etc, etc) - they only see that if they look for it!
I would also point out that if Knol is indeed as "free-for-all" as your comments seem to imply, it will never be counted as a reliable source. Despite its critics, many people count Wikipedia as a reasonably reliable source - if an article has been well sourced, they can always check out the sources cited and confirm the information in the article. As Knol does not require sources, or verifiably reliable sources at least, I would find it hard to trust as a source of information - or at least no more reliable than a blog which allows anyone to post anything!
Anyway, that's my 0.02 worth - so now I have to get back to real life! -- PhantomSteve/talk|contribs\ 09:15, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Persons Unknown, minimising scope for dispute

Hi, I have a proposed policy or guideline. It is rather roughly written but I believe the gist of it can be understood and it is meant to be unpredjudiced, specific and worthwhile in content disputes. It relates to accusing persons of conduct without defining the persons. Such accusations, "The French are all bad!", type of thing are of no value in discussing content so I am suggesting a guideline that is specific and would instruct editors to remove such comments until such time that they are rephrased. Similar guidelines exist but I do not know of one that defines comments about non-specific persons specifically (). I hope that this guideline can be developed to be very specific about removing comments about cabal and political gatherings disrupting the wiki for rephrasing to usefulness (AGF). Of course cabals and political gatherings disrupt the wiki but if Al Gore is disrupting an article there should be no room, not even an inch to say, "Democrats are bad for Wikipedia!" or "All Democrats are biased!", and to be specific in such a guideline, no group be they American Democrats, French Republicans or Easter Island villagers should be fair game for comments about their general effect on Wikipedia unless we can be personally specific and find proof that all Easter Island villagers, bar none, were found to have edited Wikipedia and disrupted it willfully. Before that, comments about Easter Island villagers affecting Wikipedia, particularly in the bad sense, are invalid. We do not need told that political groups have political values and that those from any nation wish to value that nation. This guideline would not prevent or even slow down an editor accusing another specific editor or group of bias or disruption, only from accusing editors in general, French in general, anarchists in general etc. Support for and help with the better writing of this guideline would be greatly appreciated. I have come across many instances of undefined "group bad for wikipedia" culminating at times until not even reprimanded and if an editor is not specific in an accusation, it is only soapboxing general politics, there can be no constructive value to the encyclopaedia and arguements ensue. This affects no policy or guideline outside this description that I can imagine (NPOV, notable, etc. etc.)

  1. Political bias must be reduced to neutrality when it is found, as best we can.
  2. Having a political preference or a love of something in dispute does not prevent neutral discussion, even if that is difficult.
  3. We can judge the influence of a specific editor but judging editors in a general way, expressing it without being specific, is disruptive in content discussions and rarely leads to understanding on any "side". If concern is valid, it must be explainable through actual content or relation to content, or it is not valid concern.
  4. Placing accusations of bias or disruption without accusing particular editors, or in a manner that may include many editors unspecifically ("all the black guys are bias" or "the democrats have all teamed up with the nationalists" rather than "Jimbo the black guy is bias" or "X, Y and Z Democrats and many members of Project Nationalism, who I can name clearly, are doing blank or blanks"), rarely leads to an understanding.
  5. If you cannot accuse User:Y of bias without adding, "and the rest of them!", the whole comment should be deleted by any editor until rephrased specifically. (No, "And your mother!" type comments)
  6. If a careful explaination of the rights and wrongs of such accusations was available it could be described in ways such as, "Accusing persons unknown/unspecific", Warchanting, Generalised accusation, and Picking bar fights etc.

As I intend in future to remove whole comments, indescriminately, which place a strong weight on accusing persons unknown, I want to be clear about neutrality, Leave a note about, Removed accusations of persons unknown ~ R.T.G 19:20, 18 December 2009 (UTC), and so propose it as a guideline. Most cabal accusations are humourous but some are more than disruptive and a large hand should be provided, as always, to reduce that to zero without drama. Not knowing who they are accusing should be treated in the same way as not knowing why. There is no change as far as I see it just clear definition of a specific example which crops up a lot and causes useless arguements. ~ R.T.G 19:20, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

A bit tl;dr (brevity is the soul of wit), but if I get your gist the easiest way to encapsulate this idea against non-personal attacks is to incorporate wording into the civility policy. Indeed "1. Direct rudeness (b) personal attacks, including racial, ethnic, sexual and religious slurs, and derogatory references to groups such as social classes or nationalities" may already cover this, and could easily be altered to specifically address this. Fences&Windows 01:58, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
The part about derogatory to groups, I would like to make that include political groupings (confirmed or otherwise) and to instruct a user to delete the entire comment immediately in the same way as a personal attack. After thinking about it a bit the sure way to recognise these comments, and the major reason that they can never be constructive or helpful, is that they refer to Persons unspecified but with a particular tag, nationality, politics, ethnics etc.., and their affect on Wikipedia. Perhaps "Persons unspecified" would be more accurate. Referring to somebody but only that somebody in our imaginations then telling us that our new imagined freind is having a detrimental effect. This is bad psychology at least. I can rail off a list of examples if anyone doesn't understand which type of comment but I think this crops up a lot in ethno-political-and various other types of dispute. It is an arguement to no end if no editors are specified. Of course someone might begin a thread "*X Group* are doing something wrong" and we don't bite but in the middle of a thread where there is no room for "Let's get them all!". I know there is scope for removing such comments but I have come across so many that I want to remove them on site with specific clause not to enter debate about it. I cannot imagine a situation, except such as new users first few posts, that "That group are all around!" can be helpful or constructive, even if the group is all over the place. Without example it is just a disruption and often a purposely aimed spark too. ~ R.T.G 11:15, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

Redlinking to articles in other Wikipedias

Please see Küchl. I have been reverted twice now. It was always my understanding that we should not have redlinks in disambiguation pages, but on top of that, those red links are nothing but interwiki links to articles on the German Wikipedia. Clicking on them wouldn't do any good as far as creating articles here, since the links don't go to the English Wikipedia. Woogee (talk) 23:29, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

When I clicked the (de) links they all had articles or pages on the de.wiki. As pointed out by BKonrad (who reverted) it is a page of notable surnames. Red links are encouraged on listing guidelines to remind readers if a notable subject has not had any article written yet. If all notable articles were written tomorrow the wiki would probably quadruple in size or more. Not all red links should be kept and not all red links should be removed. To evaluate ask, how notable are the subjects of the red links? Maybe they are cultural leaders of Germany waiting for an article or famous pop stars or even of minor notability but notable enough to be certain this article will be included on the wiki at some time. Check the encyclopaediac value of the topics in that way first. If they are notable indeed, consider writing a small starter article from online resources or just leave them as a reminder to others reading. I started two article stubs a few weeks ago I found as red links on John George. They just happened to be very notable people. At least making a stub gets the ball rolling and the same goes for having red links, if the articles which are now red links are definitely going to be included in the encyclopaedia, you should leave them there to remind people a start is required. If they are not very notable and someone just put the links there to see how notable they were, delete them. These are the reasons to have or remove red links on any page. There are thousands of examples of this on Wikipedia where there should or shouldn't be redlinks. ~ R.T.G 07:32, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
These redlinks were added by banned User:Sheynhertz-Unbayg, who adds hundreds of them per day if you let him. See Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations/Sheynhertz-Unbayg/Archive for some background. Whether the redlinks in this particular case are good or not: all of SU's edits require checking and cleanup. See Wikipedia:SU for some older information about this editor. — Kusma talk 07:50, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
For what its worth, I do not like the links. However, the rationale given for deleting them was related to disambiguation page style guidelines. The page is not a disambiguation page and that particular guideline is not applicable. If there is some other applicable guideline, then by all means clean up the links. olderwiser 11:09, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
Apparently there is a WikiProject at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Anthroponymy that deals with surname pages. — Kusma talk 11:48, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
Redlinks are fine on disambiguation pages. The de. links are a little eh. --NE2 11:43, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
Redlinks may be fine, see MOS:DABRL. — Kusma talk 11:48, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
Redlinks are fine if they'd otherwise be fine in articles. --NE2 13:36, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
Red links on dab pages are fine if an article also uses the red link and the dab entry description includes a blue link to an appropriate article (probably the same one). Unlinked entries on dab pages are fine if they include an appropriate blue link in the description. -- JHunterJ (talk) 13:40, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
Red links are also fine if they're to an appropriate topic, even if nobody's created a link there yet. I've had a disambiguation turned into a redirect because someone removed the links from other articles to the redlinked entries! --NE2 14:52, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
Not according to consensus, but removing red links from other articles would (according to the guidelines) just result in removing the link from the red linked entry, leaving an unlinked entry with a blue link in the description. The entry should only be removed if there is no appropriate blue link for the description. -- JHunterJ (talk) 16:35, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
Removing the link is still stupid, as it creates more work for someone disambiguating a link that should point to the link that was removed. --NE2 18:24, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I agree that needlessly removing red links from articles is a waste of time for both the remover and then the subsequent editors. -- JHunterJ (talk) 02:08, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
If we have redlinks on disambiguation pages, isn't that the same thing as advertising for the creation of an article about a non-notable topic? How is anyone supposed to know whether the redlink could ever be to an acceptable article? Woogee (talk) 22:08, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
How do we know the topic is non-notable just because it's a redlink? These sorts of redlink deletions concern me. Firsfron of Ronchester 22:23, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
How do we know it isn't, if there's no article to attach reliable sources to? What's to keep an editor from adding their name or the names of their schoolmates? Woogee (talk) 22:26, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
What's to stop any editor from doing anything? Nothing at all. WP:REDLINK states that red links help Wikipedia grow, and cites an academic study: Diomidis Spinellis and Panagiotis Louridas (2008). "The collaborative organization of knowledge". In Communications of the ACM, August 2008, Vol 51, No 8, Pages 68 - 73. doi:10.1145/1378704.1378720 . Removal of redlinks because some of them may not lead to notable subjects stifles the growth of the project. Firsfron of Ronchester 22:34, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
Interesting. So we should never remove a redlink? Woogee (talk) 22:42, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
No, we can remove redlinks when it's clear no productive article could come of the redlink. but removing a redlink because it's a redlink (as shown in the edit summary I linked to directly above) stifles growth of the project. Firsfron of Ronchester 22:58, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Disambiguation#Set_index_articles clearly says "It may contain redlinks to help editors create articles on notable entries". Obviously when notability requirements are met.Debresser (talk) 14:45, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Indiana Militia Corps

Can someone help me explain the current policy to JP419? He's not certain if militia are notable...

Thanks!

--AllyUnion (talk) 21:01, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

Plot and plot elements, and original research

Please comment on a discussion at Wikipedia_talk:No_original_research#Plot_elements. Debresser (talk) 14:40, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

The bias against academics on wikipedia

Why is there such a strong bias against academics on wikipedia? I'm not going to write or improve any more scientist stubs or articles on wikipedia. It's pointless. AfD should be renamed: Academics for deletion, because that's essentially what it is. The latest trend is that anyone can claim any h-index, without citing how they did their h-index and justifying its validity for that field (which h-index depends upon), and the closing admin or editor will use that as a basis for deleting the bio.

This is why experts leave wikipedia: they're not cartoons. Their biographies are written in books and journals that are not available on-line, and if you can't find it with a google search, they're not real. Or, if you can find it with a google search, they have an h-index of 11, and they're out of her. In spite of the cautions about using h-index in the first place, in spite of the users never supporting the validity of using the h-index in that field, for that expert, or their particular search, as soon as someone quotes an h-index the scientist is gone.

I have a list of hundreds of scientists who are acclaimed world-wide, who are members of the American/French/Russian Academy of Sciences, who are in the news all of the time, who receive prestigious awards, who are red-listed as the award recipient in wikipedia, and I've been writing their articles up over the years. Although none of the articles I've submitted have been deleted, a handful of scientists on the list have been nominated for deletion. What does fighting to save them get me? Blocked for "stalking" in one of the most absurd, unsupported whines I've ever seen on AN/I.

There's no point in arguing at Criteria for Speedy Deletion that a full professorship should at least be an assumption of notability and give a decline to a speedy, because administrators are as biased against scientist biographies on wikipedia as the run-of-the-mill editor.

Why do experts in the sciences leave wikipedia? They're not wanted. No, they're chased away. Banned. Deleted. It's pointless in fighting such an ingrained bias against you.

To hell with wasting my time on articles that are not wanted.

--IP69.226.103.13 (talk) 20:51, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

I don't know that there's a bias against articles on academics; there's probably a bias against articles on people in general (particularly living ones). The twin concerns of libel and self-promotion mean that editors look with great suspicion at new people articles, and hence they are more likely than others to get deleted. And once the deletionist enthusiasts discover that, they jump on the bandwagon and focus their efforts on those articles (presumably whatever buzz they get from seeing other people's work deleted is more easily attainable there). And of course the subjects (particularly academics, I suppose) don't have armies of fans to stick up for them as the cartoon characters do. --Kotniski (talk) 21:32, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
I tend to agree. We do have much stricter rules and behaviors about living people than anyone else. And I should say that simply being a full professor doesn't necessarily mean that the subject has inherently received enough significant coverage to establish notability as per WP:NOTABILITY. For what it's worth, I've made the same argument about leaders of major religious groups, religion being my specialty. The matter of receiving an award which generally has some sort of significant press release and/or local coverage is a real one, but if the articles reference those sources, I don't know that they necessarily get deleted. Another problem, unfortunately, is that some awards are not for the person, but for one thing they have done, when WP:BIO1E may apply and have the content about the event/action included somewhere other than a biographical article. One of the major problems a lot of academics in general have is that their notability is often related to a single event, like winning an award and/or the related action they did to win that award. John Carter (talk) 21:42, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
I'm not running into BLP concerns. What I'm running into is that AfD is about what's visible on the web, what can be googled. An academic who has been invited to write review and encyclopedia articles in his area of expertise has been certified a leading expert by others far better qualified to judge than wikipedia editors. Is this enough, that the academic has been certified an expert in his field, has noted that among scientists and others in this field, this person is considered an authority? No, it's not enough. Seldom is there anything controversial in any of the scientist articles that interest me, occasionally a geologist has been the target of creationists, and one scientist article I wrote was about a scientist involved in a notorious event written up in Science, but that's not usually the case.
I'm also not writing articles about scientists who are famous for single events. What I'm interested in is improving coverage on scientist with widespread long-term notability in their fields for major contributions to a change in the dominant paradigm. These are scientists who are well known for their contributions to a small part of science, but with long-lasting impact on the field, not single award winners.
What it comes down to, is, if the scientist has significant google coverage they're considered notable, otherwise forget it. Significant coverage does not mean google, but that's how its interpreted on wikipedia for AfD.
Yes, there is apparently a hidden award for getting articles deleted that a number of editors are striving for. --IP69.226.103.13 (talk) 21:56, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
If your not on Google your not famous? Thats ridiculous. Google doesnt even cover the entire English speaking part of the Internet, let alone even 50% of the everything online. You do realize that its not like Google searches the ENTIRE internet everytime you search for something right? It searches the websites it has listed in its own personal database, which of course is not nearly everything in existance online. Not being in google does not mean the thing does not exist, person or otherwise. There are libraries, magazines, etc that can be used to show a person or thing is notable. People need to stop being so internet dependant. There is a whole world out there. Visit a museum or library and get off your asses.Camelbinky (talk) 22:11, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
So it seems, "Here's my evidence: I searched Google scholar for "mesoamerica" and his name didn't appear in the first 100 hits, so I'm not at all convinced that he really is a leading expert in the subject. —David Eppstein (talk) 20:56, 28 November 2009 (UTC)" Says an academic with an article about him that claims no notability. --IP69.226.103.13 (talk) 23:38, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
You are missing the point. I am happy to accept print media sources; I use Google because it's easier, not because it's uniformly the best choice. But the context for this quote is an AfD in which it is being claimed, with no evidence at all, that someone is a leading expert on X. I was asserting that we need some actual evidence to be able to verify that claim, that no evidence had been presented, and that my own attempts to turn up such evidence had failed to do so. I was also explaining what I had done to try to find the missing evidence, so that others who wanted to find it would know to look elsewhere. —David Eppstein (talk) 01:15, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
What you did to find the missing evidence was search for the broadest possible criteria and when that failed to lead you anywhere declared your search as proof there was no evidence. Like I said, if I search for Cope in the firs hundred google.scholar hits on geology, likely won't find him. It's no proof he's not notable. Your search was inscholastic. --IP69.226.103.13 (talk) 18:28, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
(ec) This is a pretty confused discussion.
IP69.226.103.13's contribs tell a tale.
However, there factors that make it for academics difficult to contribute to WP - not to all academics, I know a few are comfortable to WP's style; but some find it a culture shock. Examples of the difficulties:
  • WP:V is much more stringent and time-intensive than academic citation. In academic publications, points below PhD level generally don't need citation, while in WP anything above 12-year level may need a citation. Hell, I'm no academic, but in working on academic articles I often find the elementary stuff hard to source. In addition academics working on journal artciles have often offload such tasks to e.g. sub-editors or graduate students - but at WP they have to all the grunt work themselves.
  • At the same academic are required to at least pretend that what Wikipedia:Randy in Boise says is worth hearing. And some Randys, while ignorant about a subject, are willing and able to use WP policies and guidelines to defend that they regard as their rights - and often a bunch of like-minded pals, who then shout about consensus.
  • And Randy is much less trouble than the POV-pushing, who seem to have infinite time to spend on their obessions. --Philcha (talk) 22:20, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
I don't find WP more stringent at citation than writing an academic article at all! Where'd you get that idea?! I've spent days researching a single paragraph for a publication. Wikipedia, you just need one credible reference for each statement. For a professional journal? You also have to find and cite, in some way, everyone who ever disagreed with you! No, you can't, as an academic offload to the grad student, or they get first author. I disagree that academic writing is the least bit easier than wp. It's much harder, imo and ime.
Do you mean in your last paragraph that wikipedians are at least required to pretend what Randy says is worth hearing? Yes, that, imo, is the heart of what makes writing at wikipedia hard when it should not be. Oftentimes Randy is just loud and spouting crap, or he's cleverly writing about something so obscure with big words that no on dare challenge him (Essjay and, the current one: Metamaterials). --IP69.226.103.13 (talk) 23:43, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
  • Speaking personally, I'd add to the above that WP is a radically different environment to work in than what academics usually experience - collaboration in academia normally consists of a small number of selected peers, all of whom have equivalent expertise (or, alternatively, where there is a clear hierarchy, such as student/supervisor or junior/senior academic). Wikipedia, by its very nature, doesn't support this - you engage with a large group of effectively random people with varying levels of expertise, and the anonymity means that no particular weight can be given to claims of academic qualifications, so hierarchies based on expertise are both undesirable and probably impossible to implement. (Hence Citizendium's alternative model). As I see it, this doesn't make Wikipedia biased against academics, so much as biased towards people who are comfortable in this environment. That said, I do occasionally see examples of bias, where academics have been accused of having a COI in their area of expertise simply because, as experts, they must have strong opinions on the subject, while non-academics with similarly strong opinions but less expertise are encouraged to edit instead. Fortunately these instances are comparatively unusual. - Bilby (talk) 22:44, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
I think that collaborating with a group who are not your academic peers is what makes wikipedia readable. But, yes, it probably also makes it more challenging for a lot of academics. This can't be changed, though, because not only does it make wikipedia readable, it makes it more inclusive, except for in the area of academics. The environment does play a lot into comfort, the nastiness makes it unpleasant for everyone.
Wikipedia editors often think that "expertise" confers bias toward researchers in academia. It's the wrong way of looking at it, imo. The experts are seen as experts and more reliable because time and again they've been shown to be correct. Having to establish your expertise by the strength of references supporting your arguments is not a bad thing, and good academics have to do this their entire lives. That's how they came to be known as experts in the first place, supporting everything they do and say. The big difference is sometimes they support it with original research. This does get researchers into a bind at times on wikipedia, the NOR. --IP69.226.103.13 (talk) 23:48, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure that there's any evidence of a general bias against academics on Wikipedia — at least, not in the complaint as you've presented it. It's worth remembering that any one single editor is all it takes to nominate an article for deletion. They don't need any permission, any pre-nomination review process, any formal endorsement. Any editor can say, "I think we should delete this", and up it goes on AfD. That doesn't mean that any of Wikipedia's other thousands of regular editors or hundreds of active admins think that the page should be deleted, or that they have anything against academics. An AfD nomination just means that one guy out of thousands brought the article forward for review.
In your original post above, you note that none of the articles nominated were actually deleted. No content was lost. The project wasn't harmed. The participants in the AfD (and the closing admin) apparently examined the evidence and read the discussion, and reached the correct conclusion. Though sometimes frustrating, it appears that (inasmuch as the correct conclusion was reached) the system worked. The articles (and by extension their subjects) stood up to the scrutiny of our process. Wikipedia is, apparently, resistant to misjudgments, brain farts, and even bad-faith deletion nominations by single editors. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 22:23, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
Sometimes ec have compensations, like IP69.226.103.13's recent comment - "What I'm interested in is improving coverage on scientist with widespread long-term notability in their fields for major contributions to a change in the dominant paradigm" sounds like trouble with WP:N..V. --Philcha (talk) 22:32, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
How could that be against NPOV? Maybe you meant something else? --IP69.226.103.13 (talk) 23:51, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
It seems that there are two separate issues in the above: a bias against articles about academics, and a bias against academics editing on Wikipedia. I'm not sure that the two should be conflated. On the former, while I haven't often defended academics at AfD, when I have I found the standard for inclusion to be fairly reasonable given the usual BLP issues: WP:PROF may not be as inclusive as WP:ATHLETE, but the criteria seems to be fairly easy to meet for academics, although I guess it will tend to make it harder for those involved in narrower disciplines with less opportunities for large numbers of citations. - Bilby (talk) 22:53, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
But it's not harder for athletes in sports with smaller audiences. In fact, if the criteria for prof were similar to the criteria for athlete, then any associate professor at a university would be deserving of an article. --IP69.226.103.13 (talk) 23:53, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
The fact, as mentioned above that the articles are being kept means the system is working. A certain user that shall remain nameless spent gallons and gallons of ink railing against WP:CSD because a number of articles in his area got tagged, even though the speedies were declined! As also noted above, anyone can bring an article to AfD so the fact that they're brought there means very little if they're ultimately kept. By the same token, many, many articles are taken to AfD because they do not already cite sources. I'm not sure if I can remember ever seeing an article taken to AfD that was well sourced with inline citations to good sources that were cited with proper attribution. That is the standard all articles should ideally be posted with. If they're not, well we have WP:BEFORE (and certainly there is much failure to abide by that standard), but those who are seeing the unsourced or poorly sourced article on an academic, and who can't source it through Google, have done their due diligence. How can you fault them for going to AfD if the sources are not available online and they looked when the print and specialty sources have not been provided by the creator who ultimately bears the burden of verifying the content and showing notability (and is far better situated to do so). If we truly had a sourcing culture this wouldn't be an issue. Can you point to a concrete example of an article on an academic that was deleted that shouldn't have been? Until I see a trend of those, I'll take the idea there is a targeted bias with a large grain of salt.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 23:54, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
The above paragraph is the pergect summation of all the complaints against much of WP deletionism. People come, they write what they know...but they don't back it up. They just say "I'm an expert/fan and know this is true!". Then it gets put up for AFD because there is no proof that it's true and/or notable. See the problem? Sure someone may indeed BE an expert, and theoretically WP welcomes them with open arms, but how can anyone else know? Anyone can claim to be an expert in something and lie. It's, in fact, completely possible to create what looks like a real fully sourced article and it be totally fake (take User:Ned Scott/Upper Peninsula War for instance). So yeah, it's true that things are deleted when they shouldn't be, but people just do NOT want to go and actually follow WP's rules about what needs to be done. That's why there's so much bitching out there. Not because of Randy in Boise, but because people think that "anyone can edit" means "anything is welcome" when it's not. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 01:24, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
This is all part and parcel of not enforcing verifiability with any teeth, which would develop a culture of sourcing (but that's a monstrously large topic and beyond this conversation). No academic whose article is properly sourced will be "discriminated against". In fact, they'd never be at AfD or be tagged with A7 (and if they can't be properly sourced by the people who are best situated to do so, we shouldn't have an article on them). I so often see the complaint after the fact of an AfD or an A7 deletion but he/she/it is important/significant/notable Somehow the retort "but you didn't assert it/show it" the perfect response to my mind, that should be devastatingly effective, doesn't work. I have a stock absurd A7 example to emphasis the idea for people. I tell them an article that says: "Albert Einstein was an Austrian scientist" is a perfect A7 candidate and should and is properly deleted (if the admin has never heard of him of course).--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 01:56, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
I completely and utterly disagree (respectfully) with Fuhghettaboutit, especially the example given. We do not delete because something is a stub, poorly written, has bad grammar, isnt written in "our way". If Einstein's article was a stub that said what you wrote, then it still would be notable. Of course no one person is going to have heard of the majority of the notables included in Wikipedia.
  • Here is my example- If X put an article up for deletion with "you didnt show it to be notable", ok, fine, X is herself then guilty of A- Being stupid for not knowing who Einstein is; and B- being to stupid to go to a library (or, ugh, do a google search). Deletion because "I never heard of him" is the most ridiculous reason to delete given that our goal is to be the most complete encyclopedia possible. If the sources showing notability exist but have not been used for the article, that is not a reason to delete; if X cares enough to spend time putting an article up for deletion for lack of notability, he better have spent due diligence researching to see if it really isnt notable, and not just basing it on the article not showing it. X needs to stick to articles she knows about and not go around putting for deletion articles she doesnt know squat about and doesnt bother to research.Camelbinky (talk) 02:46, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
The whole point of this thread, though, stems from the fact that it's NOT always so easy to just see if someone is notable. As said above, NOT everyone is on Google. The Einstein example isn't a good one at all because of this. But if you're going to say "people should look for all sources" then we might as well just never delete anything again because it's impossible to prove a negative that sources DON'T exist. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 03:11, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
I don't think that's the issue. No sources is different. --IP69.226.103.13 (talk) 18:34, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
    • Shorter Camelbinky: some level of WP:BEFORE should apply even in speedy deletions. "Speedy" doesn't mean that the admin can or should make the decision in less than five seconds, it only means speedier than prod and afd. —David Eppstein (talk) 03:10, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
  • Respectfully Camelbinky I think you're responding to a strawman. My example was for A7, that is WP:CSD#A7, not AfD! and I think that misunderstanding is driving your response though I could be wrong (and of course I sometimes throw around shorthand when it might be better to be explicit). But if you did catch that we are talking about A7, then speedy criteria are lines in the sand. An article that says "Joe Blow is a scientist from X Country", makes no assertion of importance or significance and is a proper A7 candidate. Contrast this with Joe Blow is a tenured professor at _____, or Joe Blow won some award, etc—assertions of importance. This is entirely divorced from anything regarding AfD.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 03:12, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
I was talking about AfD, as I said in my post, not CSD. Similar problems there, but a number of administrators routinely decline academics when the article has at least an assertion of notability, so, imo, not as big an issue. --IP69.226.103.13 (talk) 04:10, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

Some examples, current AfDs for academics

From the list of academics and educators AfDs

  1. "Self-written vanity page; don't see how this meets WP:PROF. Reads more like an academic CV, no indication that this individual is particularly notable within their field. See also this afd. "
  2. "No external sources in article, can't find coverage outside of research area in reliable sources"
  3. "Article with no encyclopedic content, started by User:Mkostic2, about a full professor with a low h-index (~11), and claims of being in Who's Who."
  4. "not apparently notable; no sources to verify content identified"
  5. "An overly promotional biography on a non-notable assistant professor of chemistry. No real evidence that he passes WP:PROF. ... The former doesn't really demonstrate notability to me, and the latter is given for one's Ph.D., so I'm not sure that qualifies either. Perhaps will be notable eventually, but this can be recreated then (with a less promotional tone)."
  6. "His only published work doesn't doesn't bring up anything, he is a "visiting lecturer" so this may be borderline. Main problem is so far everything is unverifiable, possible vanity article."
  7. "Autobiog - author has blanked their user page to hide the fact after COI was placed on page"
  8. "Non notable surgeon in my field"
  9. "This biographical article fails to meet WP:PROF as McLaughlin is described as a senior researcher and her significant is not otherwise clear. Examining Google Scholar and checking her staff page, it is not clear that the requirements of WP:PROF will be definitively addressed by later addition of available sources."
  10. "Extremely non notable figure in my field. This is a vanity bio for PR"
  11. "I can't find any reliable sources on google search. It is also a clear violation of WP:BLP"
  12. "No evidence of meeting WP:Notability (academics): Only an associate professor, ... The fact that this is an autobiography and that the author included his full contact information leads me to think of this as self-promotion and a resume rather than as an encyclopedia article."
  13. "fails WP:BIO and WP:PROF. hardly any coverage in gnews. some coverage in gscholar but nothing that seems to meet WP:PROF. "

So, vanity appears to irritate people, but vanity pages should be cleaned up. Many notable people are vane, and, on wikipedia it sadly appears quite a few think they can write well when they can't. The nominations incline, imo, toward the wikipedia editor not being able to find significant sources, like no. 3. It't not that no sources exist, but that the editor can't find any. Ask these editors where they looked, it's pretty exclusively: google. Another AfDer is obsessed with h-index, a couple are, but they don't quote how they came up with the h-index, and get belligerent when challenged about it. Here we have an editor who is a surgeon who is nominating other MDs in his field for deletion based on his say so, no other evidence necessary! Are these valid reasons for deletion? Are academics getting full process on wikipedia? No, someone who doesn't know what an h-index is, and won't say how they arrived at the one they quote, and won't relate it to h-indexes in the field, just says the h-index is low, or the google scholar appearance is low, or they know the doctor isn't notable in their field (a valid sourced reason, but not an individual editor decision, that makes it OR), just throws up articles and, by and large, they're deleted.

No big rooting section for academics on wikipedia, like game players or cartoon characters or football players. That's what is deciding what articles are in wikipedia: popularity. That's why the requirements for academics are so much more stringent than the requirements for football players, the latter are far more popular and have bigger fan clubs. They have fan club. A minor league player talked about by a professional team? He's got an article. An academic, full professor with 26 publication? Low h-index and they're out. --IP69.226.103.13 (talk) 03:22, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

The perfect response to any of the above, is, "here's sources". I know it rankles that most pokemon character can be sourced in five minutes with Google and X tenured professor possibly can't after searching for an hour, but the point is that articles must be able to be sourced. And if those posting the articles can't or don't we are left with an apparently unverifiable subject since Google etc. is only useful for some subjects. That's not the fault of AfD.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 03:29, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure what this IP is complaining about. Wikipedia official policy has always been that if it can't be found in 15 seconds on Google then it doesn't exist and must be reverted or deleted. Mostlyharmless (talk) 03:44, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
Actually Wikipedia policy has always been that we are a tertiary source and should only publish material that has already been written about in the wider world and we need to show this through reliable sources. It is the wholesale molly coddling of unsourced content as sacrosanct because someone write it down that has dug us into the massive hole we face that grows deeper daily because we can't get a toehold now from the bottom of the pile.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 03:57, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, Mostlyharmless.
Not correct, Fuhgettaboutit. I've started checking sources on popular culture articles. Many are sourced to fanzines and blogs. I've deleted hundreds of blogs from popular culture articles this past month, starting on the martial arts articles recently. But, yes, googlepedia = wikipedia. --IP69.226.103.13 (talk) 03:58, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
Funny, I routinely use offline sources and have never had a single article deleted... go figure. Anyway, your examples would be easier to judge if you actually linked to the discussions. As it stands now, those are just empty statements lacking context. Resolute 04:00, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, see link above-originally I included a sentence about their source, it's just the list of current AfDs for academics. But, I don't get your point. --IP69.226.103.13 (talk) 04:06, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the link. My point is this: The "googlepedia" complaint is mostly bunk in my view. The primary problem here remains the lack of sourcing. The average layperson will not have access to offline journals and texts that an expert would, they really only have what Google can tell them, and so they judge that way. If an article provides clear references to reliable publications, people are far less likely to question them, even if they can't see the citations themselves. Often, it becomes one of fixing the appearance rather than fixing the substance.
However, the reliability of sources is also a big issue from what I can see. i.e.: the majority of the Muhammad Akhyar Farrukh article is nothing more than an attempt at selling its own notability. That's going to be a giant red flag at any XfD discussion because of how it appears. But, when you get down to it, there are only three references - The first almost appears to be a Facebook type thing for academics, leading to concerns about whether the info is user submitted. The second is not independent, thus not reliable, and the third strikes me as a site that features a lot of user submitted information, again not reliable. The references in this article do not sell the notability of the individual. The article on Milivoje Kostic likewise has issues. References 2, 3, 4, 6 and 14 point to his own sites - not reliable. Ref 9 doesn't even mention him, while the rest generally point to books written or edited by other people, for which it is nearly impossible to identify whether there is any importance to what Mr. Kostic contributed. Of critical note is that not a single one of the references provided offers independent, non-trivial coverage of the individual. Basically, there is no indication that Kostic himself has been the subject of any work that meets WP:RS.
Now this is part of the beast when it comes to how Wikipedia treats reliable sources. There is, of course, a systemic bias in this regard, as pop stars and athletes will always easily gain far more media exposure than some obscure professor at a random University. That is somewhat unfortunate, but it is also not likely to change so long as the current requirements exist. Resolute 05:34, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
What!? The line, "He is considered one of the youngest and top chemist in his country," isn't a big enough warning in the Farrukh article? On the Kostic article, in the AfD discussion it was found in searches that he wrote a review and encyclopedia articles. Reviews in scientific journals are invited. Frankly, wikipedia should consider that notability: that a group of experts consider the scientist enough of a leader in his field that he has been asked to be the writer of a review or an encyclopedia article. In fact, that is a criterion for how encyclopedia article writers (paid ones, not wikipedia ones obviously) are selected, part of the process is you start with a leading expert in their field. So, experts in the field consider Kostic a leader in his field, but that's not good enough for wikipedia? AfD isn't Bad Articles for Deletion, by the way. If it were, it would be a lot more popular and populated. But it's not. The scientist is notable. Experts in his field have declared that. That should suffice for wikipedia notability. --IP69.226.103.13 (talk) 05:42, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
Notability on individuals for Wikipedia has always been that such people have been the subject of multiple, non trivial, independent works based on reliable sources. Frankly, I disagree that Wikipedia should break these rules for one group of individuals. Until someone independent of him actually writes about him, he is not notable under Wikipedia's terms. Resolute 05:46, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
Which makes the criteria for academics far harder to meet than for pokeman cards, because the sources where academics are written about are far smaller than the sources where pokeman cards are written about. Pokeman cards are written about all over the internet in self-proclaimed notable sites with requirements for reliability far reduced than for academics. And, the encyclopedias and journals have brief biographies of the authors of the pieces establishing their notability to the reading audience. --IP69.226.103.13 (talk) 05:56, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
Don't understand how your point addresses mine at all (actually it bolsters it). Seriously though, I really want to know what that you mean when you and others say this. What deletions are you actually talking about? Avoiding speedies as well as AfD is best done done through reliable book sources and the like (and you don't need any sources to avoid a speedy). Every day at AfD we have numerous discussions about the reliability or lack thereof of fanzines and blogs and other wikis as sources and articles are deleted because of the very lack of reliable scholarly sources to cite. As for reverts, all material should be reverted if it's questionable and you don't have a good source to back up your claim. So, what is the substance to this googlepedia adage. If your point is that the majority of users wonlt go to the library to look anything up and rely entirely too much on google books, news, web I agree with you, but the rub there is that those wishing to keep content are the ones who need to come up with sources (and I'm off to bed).--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 04:26, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
I agree that we do have problems with systemic bias, but, to put it bluntly, when someone complains they can't find sources for something, the solution is to prove them wrong by finding sources, not to complain about them. Mr.Z-man 04:24, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
Sources aren't the only problem, so that doesn't thoroughly resolve the issue. It's the google-perpetuation, imo. If I can add a source that's not in google, someone, like David Eppstein can still argue that he did a google scholar search and couldn't find anything so the subject isn't notable. Why bother sourcing something with an offline source if the google standard is the be-all and end-all of notability for wikipedia. Everything isn't in google. If that's all that wikipedia is striving to be, support for google, why bother? That's not an encyclopedia, it's a pop culture contest. --IP69.226.103.13 (talk) 04:29, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
Have you added offline sources to an article on AFD and observed this, or you just assuming that? If the former, it may not change their attitude, but they'll at least be wrong then and you'll at least have policy behind you. Mr.Z-man 05:02, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
Yes, that's why I should stay away from AfD and why I have such a bad attitude about the deletion of academics. It's a waste of time in the face of forces that take pleasure from deleting articles. --IP69.226.103.13 (talk) 05:05, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
As others have said, it's not really that they go to AFD that's a problem, it's if they end up being deleted. You keep saying that people shouldn't rely on Google, but you haven't given a good solution as to what people should do. Again, yes we know Google isn't the be all and end all, but if someone as the article writer isn't going to take the time to search for the sources (especially if said sources may take a long time to gather), then why in the world should others do it, with the possibility they still might not find any? ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 05:17, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
Why not start with the assumption that a full professor is a notable individual. The news does, that's how they find scientific color commentary. Why not enforce the deletion standards that exist and require nominators for AfD to assert one of the existing deletion criteria? --IP69.226.103.13 (talk) 05:29, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
I've known full professors with very little contribution at accredited, albeit smaller, schools. Level of professional achievement is not related to notability.
But another point that's sorta under this is that we've yet to be shown a case where two things occur: there are no online sources (within a reasonable web search) provide the backing for notability, but there are offline sources that have been stated that do so. If an AFD for an academic came by and someone wishing to keep it stated, against all the cries of not being Google-able, that they had offline papers, I would assume AFD and let that person add those sources. But that doesn't see to be what is being argued here, just the issue that, when assessing notability at AFD, people use google, which is a great tool but not the end-all. If you have offline source, you need to make these known; it isn't the closer or participants' job at AFD to find these for you. At worst, if you fail to produce them in time for the AFD, you can always request userification and improve the article and then seek opinions to restore it. --MASEM (t) 05:36, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
But it's going to happen with Robert N. Zeitlin not because there are no sources in the article (which there aren't), but because an editor searched google scholar for articles on mesoamerica and did not find Zeitlin in the first hundred hits. However, if I search google scholar for mesoamerican trade, I find Zeitlin as a reference in 4 of the first 20 hits (I reviewed less than half). His field is obscure. And, you know what, I'm not going to userfy it. The arguments for deletion are that he isn't represented in a huge all-encompassing google scholar search, so he's not notable. That's bogus. I'm tired of bogus arguments at AfD based on idiotic google searches.
Let's search geology and see if we find Edward Drinker Cope in the first 500 google results. If we don't, he's not notable. Why not use the existing criteria, reached and agreed upon by community consensus? No good, the googlepedia users must offer their google results. So, why bother getting an off-line source? That's not what's sinking the article, it's David Eppstein's lame google scholar search for the broadest category he could find to prove the professor isn't notable. --IP69.226.103.13 (talk) 05:53, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
Again, it's not the position of those that participate at AFDs have to find sources, though it is expected they should make a good faith effort to confirm (but not establish) if the topic is notable or not - particularly the case of the nominator. If, lacking offline sources, know of a better way to search to confirm the notability, then you should provide that to help out. If you are going to write an article without any sources, this is exactly what you should expect to have to do if someonet challenges it. --MASEM (t) 06:05, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
If I nominated an unsourced or unreliably sourced Pokeman card for deletion, the AfD would be closed, and I would be accused of trying to make a point. It's a double standard. Pokeman card article writers are NOT required to have reliable sources that show notability, they can quote the package materials. Anyone trying to AfD the articles for lack of notability would be accused of pointedness. If you are going to write an article about an academic and don't have iron-clad sources that's what you should expect, but if you're going to write about pop culture, use whatever you want of nonindependent sources. Because anyone who tried to challenge the article about a self-cited pokeman card would get drummed out of wikipedia. Now, an academic, get your sources lined up. --IP69.226.103.13 (talk) 06:29, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
You do notice that we don't have articles for every Pokemon, yes? It used to be there was, but in 2006 (IIRC), it was decided that the majority didn't have notability and thus, merged to a list. However, there are some Pokemon that stand alone; the one you use as an example below has both secondary and primary. That's the same we're asking for any topic, including academics. --MASEM (t) 06:37, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

(undent) No, it's not, these cards don't have sources. It's a list made up of unsourced information. I can include the unsourced info if I put it in a list instead of an article? No, all of the information must be sourced.

Here's another ridiculous nomination for AfD. Nikolay P. Serdev, a bad but sourced article. It's going to be deleted because it was nominated for deletion by a guy who claims to work in the same field as Serdev, and claims "Non notable surgeon in my field Droliver (talk) 08:33, 22 November 2009 (UTC)."

That's the entire nomination: "Non notable surgeon in my field." The votes, and they ARE votes, are "Delete per DGG and per nom." and "Delete. Not enough for notability." That's it, delete per nom who claims to be an expert in deciding who is notable in his field or not.

That's what AfD for academics is about: it's about crap. Crap nominations by editors who want academics deleted, while the standards for inclusion of Pokeman cards in lists or articles, doesn't matter, is that you can copy the information from the package wrapper and that's good enough.

It's two different standards: one for academics, a completely different one for pop culture. And the one for academics is much more stringent because they don't have pop culture fan clubs supporting them on wikipedia.

Is wikipedia the place for knowledge on the net, or is the place for pop culture socializing on the net? As long as only the one requires reliable sources it's obvious what it is. No one would dare to try to delete a Pokeman card for non-notability by saying, "I'm an expert in Pokeman cards and this one is not notable." The AfD would be closed for what it is: bogus. But any academic put up for deletion is fair game for any deletion discussion, because no one would try to stop a bogus academician AfD based on bogus criteria, because there's no fan club.

So, I've provided two examples of academicians who are up for deletion right now, and who will be deleted based on bogus internet google search criteria and a self-proclaimed wikipedia editor expert. Would this happen with a Pokeman card? Never. A user would get banned for trying it. --IP69.226.103.13 (talk) 08:41, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

I think the problem here is that, in academia, the notability of a person is judged by what (and to some degree how much) the person has written... but on Wikipedia notability is judged by a different standard... what (and how much) others have written about the person.
That said... I think this complaint is much a-do about nothing... None of the articles that IP69 is concerned about have actually been deleted. They have simply been nominated for deletion. There is a difference. All it takes to prevent deletion is the addition of a few reliable sources that will substantiate notability. (actually, just mentioning the sources at the AfD is usually enough to prevent deletion... you don't actually need to follow through and add them to the article... a flaw in our system, that has bothered me for a long time). Blueboar (talk) 22:28, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
I don't know that it's a flaw. I would rather see a system in which the nominator goes back and adds the sources if it turns out the nomination was in error. That would provide some incentive for nominators to do their research ahead of time, instead of "forcing" other people to do it. — Carl (CBM · talk) 22:47, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
They will be deleted, Blueboar, so I'll look for your comment after that happens.
AfD is about scoring points for nominations, it seems to me at times. The nominators seldom back down. The doctor who has declared the other doctors are not notable according to him and that's sufficient to cause deletions isn't about to add a source when it's his stated intention to remove badly written articles about doctors in his field from wikipedia. --IP69.226.103.13 (talk) 23:03, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
So... Who cares what the nominators say?... they don't determine whether an article is deleted or not, they just state an opinion... you can state an opposing opinion. And if you can find some reliable sources to back your opinion up, then the article will not be deleted. Instead of complaining ... try to fix the problem. Blueboar (talk) 01:13, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Reference comparison with Pokémon cards

Here, this is the reference that is considered reliable for an article on Pokeman cards, "Pokédex: Its paws conceal sharp claws. If attacked, it suddenly extends the claws and startles its enemy. Game Freak. Pokémon Gold. (Nintendo). Game Boy. (2000-10-15)." So, what is that? It looks like it's the card package or a game. Game Freak is the card publisher, Nintendo the game manufacturer, Game Boy a Nintendo game. So, for some 50 references in this article, self referencing is fine. List of Pokémon (201–220) Here's an article on one of the individual cards. Tell me these are independent reliable resources? But, if a scientist isn't mentioned in the first of 100 returns on a google search that includes the arts, the history, the geology, anything remotely related to mesoamerica, he's not notable enough for wikipedia. But this card, now, that's notable. Just try to demand reliable sources or try to AfD that article. --IP69.226.103.13 (talk) 06:07, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

I'm inclined to agree, but the answer would be to cut the amount of pop culture material rather than reduce standards on everything else. To some extent, notability is proxy for the likelihood of a significant number of users wanting to access the information, and it's probably true that more people will look up an obscure Pokémon character than an obscure academic. Will the Pokémon character still be considered notable in 20 years? Probably not. My own pet hate is the number of articles on obscure albums by obscure bands, to which the same applies. But I can live and let live, so long as the dreadful pop culture sections don't continue to encroach on the serious articles I am interested in. In serious fields we need to apply high standards of notability and reliability. Cyclopaedic (talk) 09:26, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
Reliability yes, but notability? Obviously we need some kind of notability standards (Wikipedia would be impossible to maintain in practice if it could have articles on anyone or anything whatever), but I don't think we should be talking about "high standards of notability" as if they were a virtue comparable to high standards of accuracy. By "lowering" the standards of notability we actually improve the encyclopedia (by increasing the amount of knowledge it delivers), providing that the lowering can be done without total loss of control.--Kotniski (talk) 10:05, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
Yes, Kotniski, this is, imo, true. And, if we accepted a standard like full professors at universities (schools offering graduate degrees) are inherently notable, then this would ease up the traffic on professors at AfD, and maybe turn the deletionist glee club to Pokeman cards. A professor who has written 36 articles and has a low h-index will still have contributed something to his field in 20 years. A minor pokeman card in 20 years won't be worth the paragraph its self-reference gets it on a list in 20 years. Which one is a useful contribution to wikipedia? The professor. In 20 years someone may still come across his/her research and want to know basically who he is. Wikipedia should be the place to go for that information. Consider it for a minute, all who disagree with me. --IP69.226.103.13 (talk) 18:40, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
I for one despise the term "inherent notability"; what is usually meant is "these should be included despite not meeting the guidelines in WP:N", but saying "inherent notability" opens up a pointless debate over whether notability can be inherent. Look for example at the mess over roads: many editors feel that certain types of roads should be included in Wikipedia (since Wikipedia is supposed to be a gazetteer), but much has been wasted on arguing over whether they're "notable" or not (and what types of secondary sources are necessary/sufficient to establish that notability) instead of discussing the real question: "Should we include these types of roads?" I started a draft of something that might be useful at User:Anomie/Inclusion criteria, but so far no one else has been interested in helping flesh it out. Anomie 01:11, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
We've decided species are inherently notable, without much problem on wikipedia. The discussion about common names opens up wars among the editors at animals and birds and plants, inter and intraproject wars. Every once in a while, someone comes by one of those places and suggest species are not inherently notable. The argument goes nowhere as it should.
There are requirements for reaching professorship. Not every professor is granted tenure. What is it for wikiepdia to admit that someone besides the god google can confer notability, like an institution with a vest interested in their professors? If wikipedia is to be the source of all knowledge, wikipedians should understand that means people will come here for information. If I see a professor giving a sound bite, I want to be able to find information about him or her at wikipedia. If it's an associate professor, so what. But, yes, a professor, with publications. Wikipedian deletionists have made up original, unsupported criteria for deletion, like the h-index girl who got so pissed at me she had me blocked rather than establish the notability of her pet criterion. The doctor who claims to be the one who decides who is notable in his field. The librarian who counters with his own unsupported proclamations of notability based on a related h-index. The computer scientist who decided that only the top scientist in the field at its broadest (to include artists, historians, everyone) are notable.
It makes a mockery of writing an article. It's why 40,000 editors left in the first few months: the standards are biased against non-pop-culture, and, really, AfD is about personal biases of the deletionist. --IP69.226.103.13 (talk) 01:20, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Rant or Proposal?

I invite the OP to make a succinct proposal for what we should do about these concerns here. So far I see a lot of heat, but very little light. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 14:56, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

At any rate, this discussion is probably better left to the relevant notability guideline. I'd also hazard the guess that some of the people who are being AfD'ed are notable for one event, and current guidelines frown on independent articles in that case. SDY (talk) 15:12, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
We need to be careful deleting, while the above example is not great, I have seen articles speedied, prodded and afd'd which shouldn't have been. But there is certainly a moving marker of notability, becoming more inclusive as time goes by. And maybe in the longer term we will be able to provide automatic de-POVing and de-COIing. Rich Farmbrough, 16:03, 1 December 2009 (UTC).
Easy to see where my rant stands in your opinion, Hand That Feeds. Wikipedia should be as dynamic a thing as human culture and the web; but it's not, because of a high resistance to change. Not to change that is detrimental, but to any change. You want ranting just read the responses when I do propose a change.
Yes, I think that the notability guidelines for professors should be changed to reflect their positions in a university. A full professor at a university (an academic institution that offers graduate degrees) should be worthy of inclusion as a wikipedia article. If they have anything published in the professional literature their biography, no matter how brief, will be something that could endure decades to centuries of inquiry. Wikipedia should be the place where this knowledge is maintained. This was the original goal of wikipedia: to be the source for all knowledge. Something about this professor who wrote these 21 articles is knowledge that someone should be able to find on wikipedia. The search for that obscure pokeman card will never require wikipedia resources beyond the uncited reference in a list those treasures now hold.
It's a rant to consider that full professors at universities are inherently notable. They run laboratories, teach classes, guide graduate students, belong to boards, write curricula, monitor millions of dollars in grants they gain themselves and trusted with by the taxpayers courtesy of the NSF and NIH. In fact, they're like the CEOs of small companies, except that their results are published instead of sold. Other scientists sit at journals and read their papers and decided that, of the hundreds to thousands of journal articles received this one (out of the twenty one) is worthy of being reviewed by a jury of professional peers. That jury of professional peers then decided that the content of the article was worthy of being published. That obscure professor with the low h-index and 21 articles passed that test of his peers 21 times. Before he even got to be tested by those peers he convinced even more demanding juries of his peers to grant him millions of dollars of taxpayers' moneys to gain graduate students, study the question, and produce the research to write the results that were then certified as worthy of notability by his peers.
All this and an unknown editor at wikipedia who doesn't give references pronounces his h-index is low and his article should be deleted. Who ya gonna believe? The unknown, non-cited statement by one wikipedia editor or dozens to hundreds of professional peers who have given money and journal space and salaries at the university stating unequivocally that this professor is notable. Put your money where your mouth is: mine is on the professor.
--IP69.226.103.13 (talk) 21:10, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
Maybe, by your logic, we should also make all CEOs of small companies notable as well? We don't even consider all companies notable, much less their officers. "Dozens to hundreds" isn't the kind of notability the guidelines expect. I am related to on the order of 10 professors, some at prestigious universities, and only one of them has a Wikipedia article. He won a major award in his field and laid some of the groundwork for a major breakthrough that is part of the way we understand the natural world. That's the way it should be, we don't consider people notable just because they're accepted in their field for mundane work of decent quality. SDY (talk) 01:15, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Let's consider this, the difference between the CEO of a small company and a university president. Do CEOs of small companies have external peer reviews of their research as a means to gain the CEOship in the first place? No. Anyone can become the CEO of a small company. Anyone cannot become a professor, it's more rigorous. Do CEOs command the attention of multi-million dollar government grant review boards with their proposals? No. The can gather venture capital money but the requirements for NIH and NSF grants and the competition for those grants are much more stringent than the requirements for venture capital money. Ventura capitaliists can give their money to anyone they want, and do what they want with the results. NSF and NIH grants cannot be given to anyone the boards want, and the research done with the money has to answer to government laws and regulations. The moneys are considered very important and desirable grant moneys, they are fought for, getting one of these grants is prestigious. What size is a small company? Well, it can be 10 employees and a CEO. What size is a university? It's huge, and, while the PI's lab may be 3 postdocs, a technician and two graduate students, the PI is tied by name to the university.
Professors at universities are not accepting in their field for "mundane work of decent quality." Not only does mundane work of decent quality not confer notability or acceptance upon a professor, it won't get them publish.
So, you've offered no comparative arguments against professors at universities. They're not accepted for the reason you offered. Every paper they write and publish in a peer reviewed journal is reviewed by a panel of their peers and approved as worthy of contributing to the body of knowledge called science or ethnography or the humanities. --IP69.226.103.13 (talk) 06:03, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Interesting ideas that I don't disagree with, but you'll never get anywhere with it in our bureaucracy. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 06:47, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
;I know. --IP69.226.103.13 (talk) 06:57, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
You'll never get anywhere if all you do is complain without proposing anything, that's for sure. How you intend to write an article without reliable secondary sources is problematic, and that's ultimately the sticking point: "I know that he is a truly great and good man, for he told me so himself" doesn't cut it. SDY (talk) 07:04, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Note that "reliable secondary sources" are only required in order to pass WP:N, and WP:N is not the one and only criterion for inclusion (although it is the most commonly used). If the community decides that we want articles on all professors or on a certain well-defined subset regardless of whether they pass WP:N, then we just need reliable sources (without concern for the semi-arbitrary "primary"/"secondary"/"tertiary" distinction) to write the actual article. As this (sub-)discussion is specifically proposing inclusion criteria not based in WP:N for professors, bringing up WP:N-specific objections is inappropriate. Anomie 13:54, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
I've mentioned this before, but I know of numerous professors and universities/colleges with such where achieving tenure is just a matter of continuing to publish and bring in funds - the same type of job a CEO would be. There are some schools with much higher standards, but this isn't even true across all colleges within some universities. Also, using peer-reviewed publications is also not a fair comparison: some journals (Nature and Science, for example) are much more difficult to enter than, say those "Letters" type journals.
The cross-section that is needed is what level of achievement in the field is there for the academic. This is a matter of knowing can be used to show this, which is going to vary from field to field. Some fields will have much easier times to do this, say, chemistry, due to the number of academic trade publications from its user groups and professional societies; smaller fields will be very difficult, but this could imply using review papers and the like to establish it. Of course, if the field is small, and it's hard to show this, maybe the key figures should be established in the article about that field instead of a separate article. --MASEM (t) 04:00, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
CEOs of companies are not required to publish in peer-reviewed journals. I said that above. I repeat it. --IP69.226.103.13 (talk) 07:09, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
But I point out that the barrier to getting an article in any "peer-reviewed" journal is very very low. I know, I've done it. It's work to do it, but it is by no means a barrier that infers notability (much like getting articles here to pass as Featured). There are some journals that invite authors - that's one suggestion they are notable - and there are some journals that have a known high threshold of quality and reputation (eg Nature) that make it difficult for non-established academics to get in (unless they co-author). But this is not true for all journals. There are also professors that get tenure and stay where they are by simply pumping out grad students through grants and the volumes of papers they publish - 100s or so - and yet make no significant contribution. If an academic is going to be notable, it needs to be based on their work in the field (not what they sign off on their graduate's papers) that we need to use. --MASEM (t) 14:25, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
The other problem with the journal criterion is that it's biased against academics in the arts, where academic journals are not the focus of their careers. Take, for example, Alison Lurie. She's written a few articles but that's almost irrelevant to her notability. The problem with the quasi-proposed publication-implies-notability criteria is that it opens the door to Dr. Nathan Carberry at Whatsamatta U. because he had a paper published in Quarterly Review of Psychoceramics, a journal founded by his award-winning father in an obscure field. SDY (talk) 16:19, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

(undent) An article based solely on primary sources is by default original research. SDY (talk) 15:35, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

The whole point of WP:OR is that we don't interpret, explain, analyze, or evaluate what is in the source, and of WP:SYN that we also don't "synthesize" original interpretation from multiple sources; we just use what the source actually contains. It makes no difference whether you're citing a "primary", "secondary", or "tertiary" source as long as you keep that one point in mind. Unfortunately, WP:OR is currently full of cruft that obscures that basic point. For example, it says of "primary" sources "Do not make analytic, synthetic, interpretive, explanatory, or evaluative claims about information found in a primary source", and about "secondary" sources "Articles may include analytic, synthetic, interpretive, explanatory, or evaluative claims if they have been published by a reliable secondary source" (emphasis mine). In other words, the second quote says "Do not make analytic, synthetic, interpretive, explanatory, or evaluative claims about information found in a secondary source (but you can use claims that are actually in the source)", which is no different than what the "primary" source sentence states. Anomie 19:43, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Yet Pokeman cards, comic books, and minor video game characters are included based solely on the OR of wikipedia editors extracting the information from the back of the card. That confers notability for including any number of pop culture icons. But, a professor, whose work has been analyzed and scrutinized by a panel of his or her peers hasn't a chance of getting put in wikipedia based on the wrappings of his cards. There's no synthesis necessary: he/she's published in a peer reviewed journal. Someone else has already declared the work itself to be notable enough to be published. The professor has beat out hundreds to thousands of other applicants for that professorship. A friend of mine just got his first lowly professor job right out of post-doc ship. He had a lot of anxiety from not being contacted for weeks to months from any of his applications, but the schools told him they had to cull through the hundreds of legitimate applications they get for the positions. A Pokeman card? A professor? One already has beaten out at least dozens of others for a coveted position, gotten the stamp of approval on his accomplishments by his peers. The other one could have come from 3 bored coworkers discussing doughnuts at lunch. Who knows? --IP69.226.103.13 (talk) 07:09, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
The reason why primary sources are set aside is that any use of them other than direct quotation is analytic, synthetic, interpretive, explanatory, or evaluative (with some situational exceptions). Secondary sources can be condensed, paraphrased, reorganized, edited, and otherwise muddled with as long as the final product comes to the same conclusions as the source. SDY (talk) 21:57, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Why can a primary source not be condensed, paraphrased, reorganized, edited, or otherwise muddled with as long as the final product has the same information as in the original? For example, by your metric every single plot summary of every book, movie, video game, and so on on Wikipedia is invalid because "OMG someone summarized a primary source!" (NB: WP:PLOT is a separate issue unrelated to this discussion). Again, the important point is that nothing has been added in the process of condensing etc., not what "kind" of source it is. Anomie 23:14, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
That would be one of the common sense exceptions where the rule is ignored, but plot summaries can introduce all sorts of original research. For example, the plot elements that these people would consider important are probably not those that these people would, and who's to say who is right? Normally, we'd consult a reliable secondary source if there's a disagreement about the interpretation of a primary source, but in this case and in the case of the professors, we wouldn't have one to fall back on. Frankly, I'm against plot summaries as well, but I know that's a rather extreme view on a very contentious issue in our fiction articles. SDY (talk) 03:49, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
It seems that your view of OR is similarly extreme, if you really think summarizing a plot without introducing any interpretation or analysis is somehow an exception to OR. As for your Harry Potter example, to quote WP:OR: "Carefully summarizing or rephrasing source material without changing its meaning is not synthesis—it is good editing", and if you're thinking of "interpretation" you're already going in the wrong direction with your summary. Just because satanists might find different plot elements "important" for their interpretation than homosexual-fan-fiction fans, it doesn't mean an NPOV and encyclopedic summary is impossible. Anomie 04:17, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
Biographies of most college professors, tenured professors at universities (schools that grant graduate degrees) exist. The sources may be hard to come by. Their notability is established by their position and the fact that they have notable research in peer-reviewed journals (CEOs do not necessarily). So, unlike the pokeman card and the plot summary the original research isn't in their notability, it's the lacking sources other than say the professor's academic pages that is the problem.
Plot summaries on wikipedia are disasters. I've corrected some OR in plot summaries of satires and dystopias on wikipedia. I had a good laugh with some English teachers at school a while ago: they can always tell which kids copy from wikipedia versus which kids copy from SparkNotes: at least the SparkNotes plot overview plagiarisms are factually correct. --IP69.226.103.13 (talk) 07:35, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
be aware that a close paraphrase is also copyvio. It is necessary to change the organization as well as the wording. DGG ( talk ) 00:11, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
Speaking of close paraphrases, I was going to pull an example of the bad plot summaries on wikipedia versus sparknotes from Catch-22, a familiar satire, but the wikipedia plot is plagiarized from sparknotes. Or vice versa, I would guess, except that usually the wikipedia plot summaries are wrong. I'll find another example. --IP69.226.103.13 (talk) 07:42, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
  • [unindent] I have a concrete proposal: (1) Anyone who has written a book or article in a scholarly journal or widely circulated magazine may have an article in Wikipedia. (2) Any author who is mentioned in Wikipedia must eventually have an entry in Wikipedia. (3) Whenever someone opens a biographical article for editing, there should appear a warning "Please do not create or expand articles about yourself, your relatives, your boss, or anyone close to you. You may of course edit such articles for accuracy or wording."
    Points (1) and (2) should hold especially if the author is not otherwise notable. On several occasions I spent a lot of time searching Google for information on authors of papers cited in Wikipedia. One example was "Raj Sharma", author of a book on carbides and hydrides published in India. His book is the only source I could find that asserted the existence of lead carbide, a compound which by most other textbooks does not exist. The book seems authoritative, but I could not find any information about the author on Google. In several other cases, after much serching I found only the person's affiliation and full name. That was the case, for example, of Hans-Werner Wanzlick, who made an important contribution to a specialized field (and has the Wanzlick equilibrium named after him), but is hardly visible in Google. If Wikipedia had entries on those persons, even minimal ones ("Pofessor at X university since 1969"), it would have saved me (and presumably many other people) a lot of fruitless work.
    Saying another way: "notable" should not mean "meritorious" but simply "likely to be looked up by Wikipedia readers". If the past is any guide, a paper in a scholarly journal is going to sit in libraries and to be read for centuries to come. The Wikipedia articles that cite those papers too, hopefully, will be read for decades to come. Some readers of those articles will want to know more about the authors. Why should Wikipedia purposefully disappoint those readers?
    All the best, --Jorge Stolfi (talk) 15:35, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
    • Number 1 is already taken care of (anyone may have an article, but they don't necessarily get one). Number 2 is completely impractical, and such a proposal would require changing our notability policy. You're welcome to discuss it on that talk page, but I doubt you'll make any headway. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 23:45, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
      • Yes, the proposal is to change the WP policy with regards to who may and must have an article in Wikipedia. The name "Notability policy" is already biased - it assumes that the criterion must be "notability" of some sort. No, I don't have the energy to take it up on the other forum, sorry. People who read and contribute to policy pages like this one, it seems, are either nearly-burned-out editors like me (and perhaps the other user above), who are just venting their frustration; or people who enjoy discussing policies, rules, and procedures; who naturally are not very receptive to the idea of having *fewer* rules and *fewer* procedures. Sorry for the bother, and all the best --Jorge Stolfi (talk) 01:09, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
        • Actually, what's being proposed is more rules, ie. "Make an exception for professors, they always get articles. Also, I would suggest you refrain from framing things as the poor new proposal folks versus the policy-happy regulars. We're all here to make the encyclopedia better, we just disagree on how to do so. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 18:15, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

[Moving proposal on auto-ban for deletions to a separate section, below. --Jorge Stolfi (talk) 16:42, 9 December 2009 (UTC)]

  • Yes to the naysayers at wikipedia always. No matter how useless it makes maps to have no names when you click on them, no matter how silly and poorly written and unsourced the pokeman card articles, no matter how bad a FA picture on the front page is, anyone cannot contribute to improving any area of wikipedia. Yes, why bother trying to make wikipedia a useful resource on the internet, when there's always someone to support the useless status quo? --IP69.226.103.13 (talk) 17:34, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
    Just out of curiosity, what's up with the preoccupation against Pokemon?
    V = I * R (talk to Ω) 17:58, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
See WP:POKEMON. The essay even links an AfD that addresses the exact same question being raised here. SDY (talk) 18:08, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
Not exactly the same. I'm not saying that because a minor pokeman card is notable a tenured and published professor is also notable. I am saying that the standards for academics is much higher than the standards for pop culture topics creating a bias against professors, and a bias for inclusion of articles on popular topics such as pokeman cards. While the pokeman cards can be found in a list, a professor with 13 published articles that are still quoted from, if only in a minor way, in 200 years will have disappeared from knowledge. Who was this person? You see it in the sciences all of the time, doing research in an area and trying to find information about the author of other research. You don't see, however, the search for information about each and every style of pot made by a famous potter (the pokeman creator), but, rather, researchers expect to find little information, and publish it compiled in a book (list). The scientist, though, is not found in a list. He/she's an individual. --IP69.226.103.13 (talk) 23:11, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
Mozart was the pop culture of his day, and people finding and cataloging and documenting his compositions is definitely nontrivial. The main reason I'm opposed to the proposal, though, is that if a page about a Pokemon is wrong, it's really not a big deal. If a page about a living person is wrong, it can have real consequences, especially for people who generally fly under the radar. If the professor wants to have a page, there are plenty of other Web 2.0 ways to do it that have much better editorial controls. SDY (talk) 23:28, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm not against pop culture articles. I'm against double standards. I'm not for attack articles. I'm against double standards. I'm not for vanity articles. I'm against double standards. I'm also against OR, and en.wiki, when it comes to articles about academics is the king of OR. --IP69.226.103.13 (talk) 01:18, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
There will always be a double standard for WP:BLP articles, since they're held to higher demands than other articles. Frankly, the better counterexample is all these minor and forgettable footy players we have articles on, but a professional athlete is by nature a rather public profession, so it's more the WP:NPF issue. I guess you could easily argue that there's a triple standard: normal articles, living people, and non-public living people. The group you're trying to add generally falls into category #3, as very few academics are public people. There are exceptions, of course, like Noam Chomsky, but most stay within their own field and out of the public eye. SDY (talk) 03:26, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
Pokeman was a random choice. I could change the example each time, but it doesn't matter. The principle applies to many pop culture topics: multiple articles based almost entirely on primary sources, such as the wrapper, the game box, whatever. --IP69.226.103.13 (talk) 23:04, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

I'm an academic and I don't think any serious academic should be wasting her or his time on Wikipedia. Wikipedia, like communism, was an apparently good idea that just does not work in the real world. For every expert, there are a hundred self-important hyperactive dullards with barnstar collections and admin privileges, just waiting to give you grief and promote disinformation. 88.213.44.205 (talk) 11:33, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

Yes, you have to find articles without any of them around and sneak edit. As soon as one of them gets near: you're dead, time to move on. Sad, but true. Physics used to be an area of general excellence on wikipedia. Between the deletionists and the amateur owners that's no longer true. It's a garbage dump now. --IP69.226.103.13 (talk) 23:33, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

Banned users

WP:BAN currently says "Wikipedians are not permitted to post or edit material at the direction of a banned user, an activity sometimes called "proxying", unless they are able to confirm that the changes are verifiable and they have independent reasons for making them." Would it be helpful to provide a mechanism for banned users to make editing suggestions, with policy amended appropriately? What I have in mind is {{editsuggestion}} - working as {{editprotected}} does. This would be a way for banned users to make suggestions which others may or may not wish pick up. Apart from the actual useful contributions gained (particularly relevant for users banned for behavioural reasons), it would reduce the attractiveness of socking, and increase slightly the long-term chance of banned users being able to come back, with increased maturity and a record of making useful suggestions picked up by others. Rd232 talk 01:11, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

Clarification: I conceived the {{editsuggestion}} as something that would need to be added to the user's talk page, as the only relevant place the banned user can edit. Rd232 talk 01:45, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
I whole-heartedly support this suggestion, as someone who probably will be banned eventually anyways :-). But a much better suggestion is- how about we stop caring about "behavior" problems and ignore those like me who get heated and pissed at the ignorance and "rudeness" of others? If we cared only about encyclopedic material and not about drama and ignored drama and stopped blocking people for simply being people then Wikipedia would be better. "OMG! Someone called another person a name! I must do something!"; we have no police and shouldnt be proactive, only reactive if there is a complaint. I do alot of good work, its easier to get banned from Wikipedia than it is from AOL, Facebook, or Myspace and this place is not a networking or chatting site. If you see two people "fighting", ignore it instead of getting involved (which will probably only feed the flames anyways; just as in real life). We shouldnt need this suggestion because we shouldnt ban at all anyone who is a good contributor; but since we do ban good contributors with good ideas I guess we do need this suggestion and I support it. Bans and blocks should be reserved for those who do not contribute good edits at articles and only for that reason; anything else is immaterial; if you dont hurt the encyclopedia then you should be allowed to continue. You have the right to ignore me right now for instance.Camelbinky (talk) 01:33, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm not persuaded that we're sufficiently desperate to have these users' contributions back — especially when users have been banned for 'behavioural reasons'. If their conduct and interactions with other editors have been sufficiently unpleasant, obnoxious, or atrocious that they've drawn a full-on ban for them, the remaining editors who have had to put up with their abuse, insults, harrassment, incivility, or wikilawyering probably don't want to see them continuing to pop up. Let's be honest — it isn't that difficult to not get banned from Wikipedia. (Really, it's not particularly difficult to avoid ever being blocked.) To pull a ban, you have to be a long way over the line; either you're an unrepentant spammer, or you're completely failing to behave with the minimum common sense and courtesy expected of a functional adult.
For potentially-redeemable cases, we have the Standard offer. I don't think we need to be any more flexible than that. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 01:39, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
Standard offer is an essay - and one I've never heard of. And wouldn't giving banned users an outlet make that offer more effective? I take your point about the abuse, but if such a mechanism existed, nobody would have any duty to listen to the abuse, which would be solely limited to their user talk page. oops I didn't mention that! In addition, the existence of this mechanism would make the threat of locking the user talk page more of an actual sanction, and give more incentive to users to behave themselves, both to prevent locking, and to give people a chance to care about their suggestions. Rd232 talk 01:45, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
Ten of all trades- are you saying that because someone is arrogant, rude, or obnoxious (which I dont think should ever be a reason for being banned, it isnt even a reason to get kicked out high school, at least those decades ago when I was in HS) then someone else who has been on the receiving end of that abuse is going to not want to see good contributions from that rude person? Really? If someone "wronged" me in the past and I saw them doing good constructive edits I would not only forgive and forget I'd be happy that, hey I dont like the guy (or girl) but at least they are good for the encyclopedia and the encyclopedia is better for having them around even if they piss me off. User:Dmcq and I have had our differences, but I see that the user has done some good things at policy discussions lately and while I still dont agree eye-to-eye on alot of fundamental ideology I respect and admire many things lately, though I'm sure Dmcq might be surprised to read I feel that way and that I dont "hate" him. This idea that you cant say you hate someone, you cant show your feelings or frustrations or give an attitude back to those that give you attitude is ridiculous and is trying to control fundamental human nature. If someone contributes good material, allow them to contribute good material and ignore everything else. You dont have to listen to them if you dont want to. Most issues I see result from admins and others trying to "reform" by warning and continuing a discussion instead of walking away. If someone says "I dont feel like discussing it" then dont discuss it! Most things blow over quietly and quickly if left alone instead of making a big deal and pointing things out. Isnt that what most mother's tell their children?Camelbinky (talk) 04:09, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
Why thank you, but I disagree with you on this too. I always try and design systems as I describe it so it wouldn't matter if I was run over by a bus. I see no point in having a ban where the person then goes around pestering people to put in things that they were probably getting hassled about anyway before with personal attacks or whatever. Wikipedia is big enough to survive without such contributors and there is usually provision to try letting them edit articles again eventually. The whole point is stop disruption and allow work to continue on the encyclopaedia in an orderly manner. Dmcq (talk) 10:04, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
How would letting people post to their own talk page be disruptive? They can do that anyway. This is just a mechanism for organising that, and explicitly permitting people to act based on suggestions made in this transparent way (dollars to donuts we already have this happening in a non-transparent way). Rd232 talk 13:00, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
If people want to write constructively on their user page I don't see that's a problem. However the original poster was looking for some other mechanism which implies a way of getting out of the box, presumably to put some note onto the talk page of an article as I can't see any other place they'd find somebody interested. Wikipedia can live without the contributions for a while, it isn't going to fall in a heap without their contributions and there's no need to bend over backwards when most banned editors are back again in no time flat. What worries me far more is editors getting away with gross incivility because they have made valuable contributions. They spoil the environment and cost wikipedia potential new editors. High editorial ability is not correlated with boorishness as far as I'm aware, an environment where incivility runs riot is not one that such people will wat to be associated with. Overall I believe civility is more important than the contributions of an individual good but uncivil editor. Dmcq (talk) 13:35, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
Er, I'm the original poster, and that's not what I meant. I clarified above that the mechanism would be a way of identifying particular "suggestion" notes left on the user's talk page only. The technical solution proposed requires that anyway, since the banned users are blocked and can't post anywhere else. The comparison with {{editprotected}} was for the way that template creates a mechanism to review such notes (which in that template's case are left on article talk pages). Rd232 talk 09:02, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

Actually, {{Helpme}} would have been a better comparison; {{editsuggestion}} would just be a more specialised form of that. Technically easy, the discussion is here because it needs a change in policy to permit it. Rd232 talk 12:23, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

Boorish behavior should be excused or ignored by competent and good contributions seeing as how "boorish" behavior has nothing to do with an encyclopedia. We need to worry only about contributions to articles and not about how someone words. Some of us dont have "people skills" and trust me in the real world many of the best minds havent had people skills. Look at Tiger Woods and cheating, Phelps and smoking weed, Einstein and cheating (or lack of commitment, and lack of caring about his own children), Clinton and cheating, Nixon and... morality. Good contributions can come from people who hate other people. Who cares? This isnt a social networking site and we dont all have to be friends and pretend to all get along to do good work. In fact the majority of drama around here stems from people not minding their own business and prolonging disagreements that should just be ignored and dropped. The only thing things like the Wikittequete board, AN/I, and ArbCom do is perpetuate and continue drama. How does someone calling another editor "an idiot" or worse hamper anyone's ability to add information to an article? However, ACTIONS such as reverting someone for no reason, committing vandalism, continual inclusion to an article of false information, violation of BLP policies, violation and disregarding consensus' reached, and such ARE disruptive of articles and people's ability to edit and should be the ONLY reason to be blocked. This is an encyclopedia, not Facebook; and it is harder to get kicked off Facebook for uncivil behavior than it is on Wikipedia.Camelbinky (talk) 23:04, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
Oh, and the idea that banned users suggestions wouldnt be listened to anyways is not true; if I were to be blocked tomorrow I guarentee that suggestions and sources and information I put on my talk page would be used. If there's anything I'm good at its researching and adding good information to an article. And that is the only thing that matters on Wikipedia. The content you put into articles; and not anything else. Editors and especially admins would do well to remember that. Personally I think this proposal should be expanded to allow blocked users to edit any subpages off their userpage so they can continue to make sandbox articles that others can then bring to mainspace. I also guarentee if I was banned every single article I created that way would be snatched up. So, really if someone was like me, and got banned, but was still seen as a great asset...why should they be banned? Because some people get "offended"? That's their problem, not the encyclopedia's.Camelbinky (talk) 01:24, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
Under the current system users listening to your whilst-banned suggestions could get in trouble. I'd be fine with the subpage idea, as long as it was something that could be turned off if abused (like editing your own talk page, if abused). Rd232 talk 12:14, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

This is actually an idea that I had been considering proposing myself, so I obviously support it. A major burden on the wiki is banned users returning to make legitimate contributions. If there were a way to let them contribute productively while removing the possibility of disruption (if they abuse the template they can have talk page editing disabled), it would help significantly. The WordsmithCommunicate 04:34, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

  • Oppose Banned users have been banned for a reason, and offering them redemption just doesn't work because it encourages them to stay involved in the project. If we have taken the step of banning them, we don't want their help and we should encourage them to move on to something else. SDY (talk) 06:19, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
    And yet Wikipedia:Standard offer is an essay which is not infrequently cited. Rd232 talk 23:50, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
The proposed idea is essentially digital meatpuppeting, which isn't that much different than the socking that the standard offer rejects. SDY (talk) 00:58, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
No it isn't - see Wikipedia:Sock_puppetry#Meatpuppets. Quoting and bolding key points: "Do not recruit meatpuppets. It is considered inappropriate to advertise Wikipedia articles to your friends, family members, or communities of people who agree with you for the purpose of coming to Wikipedia and supporting your side of a debate. If you feel that a debate is ignoring your voice, remain civil, seek comments from other Wikipedians, or pursue dispute resolution." Rd232 talk 09:41, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
Names and literal meanings aside, and on the most basic level, this is editing-by-proxy. Banned should mean no editing at all, regardless of how it is done. They wouldn't have been banned if their presence was felt to be helpful. A distinction could be made between people banned for vandalism and mischief or civility issues as opposed to those who are banned for trying to use the site to push an agenda. Those who are banned for tendentious editing should not be encouraged to recruit someone else to continue the edit war for them. SDY (talk) 11:16, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
it's not "editing-by-proxy". It's providing an onwiki channel for transparently making suggestions, which may or may not be acted on, depending on whether anyone bothers to look and whether they think the suggestions are any good. Currently there is no such onwiki channel - however there are many alternative channels (most obviously email to Wikipedian friends, actual meatpuppetry via RL friends, and outright socking). Is this mechanism better or worse than that? PS if you're talking about "recruiting" to "continue the edit war" then you really seem to be missing the point. The channel is supposed to be an open and transparent means of providing information which can be evaluated by many people, not just whoever the banned user has contacted by email. Any users choosing to act on such suggestions would remain responsible for that decision, and could be held accountable because the suggestions would be onwiki. Rd232 talk 12:08, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
I don't agree, but I concede that it can be seen several ways. Out of curiosity, what happens if said banned user uses this limited editing ability solely to engage in personal attacks and other incivility? Do we ban them from being banned? SDY (talk) 17:32, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
No, then we reblock with talk page editing disabled, the same as we do for abuse of the {{unblock}} template. The WordsmithCommunicate 17:52, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm guessing that that will happen with no small frequency, given the editors I've dealt with who have later been banned. Burning out the mop-wielders dealing with people whose bad faith has already been demonstrated doesn't seem helpful, but I guess most of them have pretty thick skin to begin with. SDY (talk) 18:05, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

I support the proposal. Meatpuppets are a complete different thing, as this system would be transparent and wouldn't involve consensus-building topics (well, it seems as a logical side-effect, but users using this system should refrain from involving themselves in controversial edits). MBelgrano (talk) 14:05, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

  • I would oppose this. If a banned user wants to, on their own, contact someone to make an edit, they can do so. We don't need to go out of our way to assist banned users after they've already wasted so much of our time. Mr.Z-man 21:49, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
    • "If a banned user wants to, on their own, contact someone to make an edit, they can do so." - as I understand it, currently this would be held against both the banned user and the user acting based on the banned user's prompting, regardless of the merits. Hence the issue of changing policy to permit this, when through an appropriate, transparent mechanism. Scroll back to my initial post on why we should go out of our way to create a simple mechanism like that to give banned users an outlet - an outlet which then may or may not be effective (needs people to monitor it) - but worst case it has no effect, in which case it's surely not doing any harm. Rd232 talk 22:13, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
      • No, in the worst case it gets more disruption and trolling than useful edits and becomes a net negative. Mr.Z-man 22:17, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
I don't see how. The banned user can only post to their talk page, and anyone picking up their suggestions is responsible for that decision and subject to the same sanctions as they would if it were their own information. And the option of locking the user talk page remains. Rd232 talk 19:16, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
Ok, many of you know me. I am (egotistical) and a good editor, I dont vandalize, edit war, make bad articles, or otherwise disrupt or ruin articles. In fact with help from several editors I have made lots of great articles, expanded others, and turned crappy ones into great ones. I dare anyone to show that my editing of articles has been a negative. My personality though, to those that piss me off because in my opinion their views are bad or I just dont think they are good editors, is harsh and not tolerant of them and can get mean and abusive. So, if I'm banned is it a net negative that I'm not able to contribute? Hell freakin yea; would allowing me to create subpages where I can continue to create new articles and list sources and information I have found for others to use and put into mainspace be a net positive? Hell freakin yea. Yes, as with anything there will be those who abuse the new system, those will be ignored and their suggestions not picked up even if the priveledge isnt taken away of editing their talk page and subpages. Being banned for incivility doesnt make your contributions bad. It means you dont work well with others you find annoying. Guess what? Neither did Einstein, Bill Gates, Richard Nixon, Robert Moses, and most of the most successful men (and women) who have ever lived. People are annoying, some of us dont have the ability to deal with them and we get snippy snappy and we bite. Allow good contributors to contribute if you are going to continue to ban for incivility. Which you shouldnt, because its ridiculous and unnecessary; I can say worse things to my boss' face and not get fired than I can on Wikipedia (and why? Cuz I'm damn good at work too, and good work DOES excuse bad social skills in the real world).—Preceding unsigned comment added by Camelbinky (talkcontribs)
This isn't just an encyclopedia, it's also a community for building an encyclopedia, and a community cannot function without basic civility. You can't have it both ways. If you're skilled at editing articles there is no excuse for not being able to edit your personal comments appropriately. Pillar 4. OrangeDog (τ • ε) 13:11, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
When you are rude to an editor you are rude to a volunteer and a potential finacial contributer to the project. Speak to folks the way you want to be spoken to, or better yet the way you want folks to speak to your grandmother. People are here because they want to work on an encyclopedia, a few words of encoragement and constructive criticism can go a long way in nurturing productive editors. BTW, I have fired productive workers who disrupted the harmony of the workplace with bad attitudes. Happy Holidays to all.J04n(talk page) 13:47, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
Most banned users, especially by the time they're banned, are not especially good content contributors. That's usually the reason we finally lose patience, when we notice that they're being disruptive but they also haven't contributed anything useful in months. Mr.Z-man 17:43, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
To reiterate the above, we don't edit in a vacuum. Because this is a collaborative project, the manner with which we interact with one another can have a beneficial or detrimental effect on the project. Which is not to say we should (or do) cater to those with the thinnest skin. I doubt any online forums are completely lacking in snark or sarcasm, and even the most level-headed among us are still human. But if someone is banned because of their conduct, it was obviously recognized as a significant and continuing problem by a significant number, and the loss of that one banned editor shouldn't be viewed as a net loss. Such editors have been declared impossible to work with constructively, and threaten to drive many good editors away if they are suffered to remain. No one is so indispensable to the project that they get free rein to be an asshole. postdlf (talk) 18:05, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
That's an argument for banning people if necessary. How is it an argument against providing a mechanism to organise/evaluate thoughts banned users may still contribute on their user talk page? How is it an argument against permitting other, non-banned users to pick up any useful info provided in this transparent manner and run with it as they see fit? Rd232 talk 19:16, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
I was responding to Camelbinky's post, not to anything you wrote. Notwithstanding that, I would think a ban means the community has decided that user has lost the chance to "share his thoughts" after many such opportunities proved unfruitful. postdlf (talk) 01:03, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

In summary, I don't think we should waste our time creating a system to enable people who enjoy wasting our time to waste more of our time. OrangeDog (τ • ε) 12:49, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

I would say "creating and maintaining a system" but otherwise I agree totally. SDY (talk) 12:57, 23 December 2009 (UTC)