Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 73

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Notability: why?

(this discussion began in The Notability of High Schools)

(sorry for the drift) I never understood why something calling itself an encyclopedia needs notability criteria. Though I'm sure there have been raised many good, rational arguments against this point of view. Paradoctor (talk) 11:01, 21 February 2010 (UTC)

If there are no criteria for inclusion, then ANYTHING goes. Do you think any encyclopedia should have an entry on yourself, for example, or me, or that neighbor four doors down, across the street whose name you can't recall? How about your car? Someone's pets? Etc. -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 16:49, 21 February 2010 (UTC)
Provided there are supporting WP:RS, why should that be a problem?
  • "whose name you can't recall": That only means neither you nor me would have any interest in creating or maintaining such an article. I'm pretty sure that is true for the vast majority of articles in any encyclopedia, let alone a behemoth like Wikipedia. In fact, you couldn't even read all articles in your lifetime.
  • "your car": See above.
  • "pets": That means you want to AfD Socks, All Ball, Hodge, Humphrey, Smudge, Scarlett, Tama, Trim and Wilberforce, don't you?
To reiterate: Where's the problem? Paradoctor (talk) 17:40, 21 February 2010 (UTC)
FWIW, I agree. I've never understood what Collectonian and most others are so concerned about. That being said, that some "notability" (loosely defined, mostly related to fame, despite that being specifically disclaimed) is required has become a well worn standard among many. It's become such a part of the background here that I doubt that many who are sympathetic to this point of view, such as myself, would seriously consider trying to deprecate it.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 18:45, 21 February 2010 (UTC)
I'm aware that it's popular. What I'm trying to figure out is why? I willing to consider the possibility that I'm inclusionist because I'm ignorant. But so far, my impression of the arguments for notability is "only the important stuff", by whatever yardstick is handy. For an encyclopedia, notability can at best be a compromise forced by limited resources. I'd like to know about the horrible things that would happen if WP:N was AfD'ed. Paradoctor (talk) 19:27, 21 February 2010 (UTC)
In many cases, notability is used to restrict or delete content. I'm not sure why people are more interested in deleting content than adding it. WP:RS and WP:V are all that's really needed to judge inclusion. RxS (talk) 20:55, 21 February 2010 (UTC)

A defense

  • OK, a defence of notability as a standard. Inclusionists want everything verifiable in reliable sources to be included (some extreme inclusionists don't even want to be restricted to what reliable sources say). Imagine the result: rather than being a summary of noteworthy topics, Wikipedia becomes a mirror of the internet and the press, with no discrimination. Every local news report gets its own article, every sports match, every self-published book with a press release, etc. The problem is that Wikipedia becomes a compendium of trivia and self-publicity, even more than it already is. An encyclopedia does not serve to record all information ever, and Wikipedia is not the only outlet for information in existence. Fences&Windows 22:14, 21 February 2010 (UTC)
    eh, you're just setting up a false dichotomy though, and seemingly basing your entire argument on that. Aside from an emotional assumption, what evidence do you have that Wikipedia would become "a mirror of the internet"? What does that mean exactly, anyway? To take it to a real extreme, if we actually took away the ability to delete articles, is it your position that Wikipedia would become useless? I think that Paradoctor is hitting the heart of the matter here in asking "where's the actual problem?"
    — V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 23:29, 21 February 2010 (UTC)
    Yes, I think that without notability large parts of Wikipedia would become completely unmanageable, full of trivia and self-publicity. It would be like Google Knol (not something we want to emulate). Don't cherry pick my worst argument to refute ("mirror of the internet" was hyperbole): if we only have WP:V and WP:RS, every topic covered in at least one news article, book or scholarly article could have its own article. That wouldn't be an encyclopedia, it would be a mess. You want this? Fences&Windows 00:48, 22 February 2010 (UTC)
    See, this gets to the heart of where this ideology looses me. Do you see yourself as some sort of "guardian of Wikipedia", or something? Perhaps yourself and others are running around exposing yourselves to more problematic articles then I am or something, I don't know for sure, but I don't see anything even remotely approaching a real problem (even when I do random article copy editing). I'm just not sure where this idea, which seems to be something like "I must approve your editing", is coming from (and it probably doesn't help that I have no clue why Knol is being mentioned, especially since AFAIK that's the way that Knol operates). It seems to me that many of you who espouse this "notability is the most important content guideline" idea are over-involved in testoterone filled "enforcement" tasks here, rather then actually building article content. It is interesting to note that most those people who hold that sort of view end up nominating and approving each other to be "admins" as well. Y'all have pushed the pendulum to far towards policy enforcement recently.
    — V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 03:39, 22 February 2010 (UTC)
    That's very well said. I see people running around defending the old idea of what an encyclopedia is, calling the alternatives ill defined terms like "mess" etc...but never explicitly identify what the actual problem is. Like I said above, reliable sources and verifiability is all that's needed to control content, but many editors are more interested in writing rules than writing content and want to enforce that on the rest of the group. RxS (talk) 04:11, 22 February 2010 (UTC)
    "Many of you who espouse this "notability is the most important content guideline" idea are over-involved in testoterone filled "enforcement" tasks here, rather then actually building article content." Nonsense. I've started ten of articles and significantly expanded hundreds. I've deprodded over two hundred articles and I've probably argued for keeping hundreds of articles at AfD. You have set up a false dichotomy of "content builders" and "gatekeepers". Believing in notability does not make one a deletionist. Of course we have to approve each others' editing, it's a collaborative project aiming to achieve a quality product, not a playpen or a walled garden. Anyone care to address my specific issue, which is that all things ever covered once in a reliable source could have their own article without notability being used as a guide? I think that notability is a good thing as it forces editors not to be lazy, we have to actually find multiple reliable sources that discuss the topic rather than relying on the first Google News hit or primary sources. Many who don't like notability are either promoting something (including fandom) or are just bad at finding sources. I don't think that writing a neutral, quality article is possible in the absence of significant coverage in multiple reliable sources, as without this you're relying on single sources (bad for reasons of bias and incompleteness) and primary sources (probably presenting a biased view of the subject). As for policy enforcers being admins, it's one of the things admins are meant to do so you may be putting the cart before the horse. If you want a diversity of editors as admins, nominate some. Fences&Windows 14:37, 22 February 2010 (UTC)
"Wikipedia would become completely unmanageable" ... "a mess": That looks like a serious concern. But what do you mean by that? Wikipedia has no management to begin with. Sounds a bit like arguments against democracy. (Relax, /me is AGFer ;)
"notability is a good thing as it forces" ... "multiple reliable sources": Umm, You seem to be conflating two policies here. I'm every bit as interested in WP:V as you are, but if you feel that WP:N is necessary to uphold WP:V, that is an argument for upgrading WP:V, rather than a justification for WP:N.
"Many who don't like notability": Neither do they like WP:V or WP:RS. That's basically the same argument as above, you wish to use WP:N as a tool to enforce other policies.
"without this you're relying on single sources": Again, this has nothing to do with notability. If you say that a single reliable source is not sufficient to satisfy WP:V, then let's add that to WP:V. Paradoctor (talk) 21:53, 22 February 2010 (UTC)

Too limiting

My 2 cents is that WP:N is fundamentally too limiting in many cases. I think there are things many people care about where the coverage is in depth but primary (say TV show episodes or Pokemon) where there is plenty of material and interest in the topic by our readers. That said, I generally favor and support WP:N because it's a fairly objective standard and that's darn useful. Otherwise we get too far into debates with people who think covering TV shows (for example) at all is "trivia" and not worthy of coverage here and we end up spending all our time arguing rather than just most :-). I'd love to see something better, but I've no idea what that would be. Hobit (talk) 06:40, 22 February 2010 (UTC)

Absolutely necessary

WP:N is absolutely necessary. While it's true that Wikipedia is not paper, and so we are not limited by physical space concerns, it is fallacious to proceed to saying that we have unlimited resources. We do not. We, the editors of Wikipedia, are not a limitless resource. A metric of notability serves to help us keep the encyclopedia to a size manageable by the population editing it. The exponential increase in size precipitated by a revocation of the notability guidelines would produce an unmanageable mess, and would only serve to harm the reputation, and ultimately the usefulness, of the encyclopedia. Powers T 13:45, 22 February 2010 (UTC)

"exponential increase in size precipitated by a revocation of the notability guidelines": Please forgive me for finding that amusing. Where were you a few years ago? ;)
Actually, removing WP:N could improve our editor base. How many potential editors waste their time at Wikia? And who knows, maybe some of those SPAs grow into fine, upstanding model Wikipedians? If the stats are to be trusted, only one in 10000 accounts becomes an active editor right now, so our strength lies in numbers.
"fallacious" ... "saying that we have unlimited resources": Dunno about that. There is WP:PERFORMANCE, and considering the way IT is developing, technology will not be the limiting factor for the foreseeable future. And as argued above, WP:N may be be a liability to our growth and well-being.
"unmanageable mess": Some facts or reasonable speculations would be nice here. Both F&W and you talk about a "mess", but I don't see how it would be different from the current state. Paradoctor (talk) 22:10, 22 February 2010 (UTC)
As I thought I made clear, I wasn't speaking of technical limitations when I said that we don't have unlimited resources. I'm well aware of how quickly technology is advancing and that it is not a limiting factor. I apologize if that wasn't clear. As to your last point, widening the project's scope without a concomitant increase in editorial activity would necessarily result in lower-quality content. I suppose it's possible that some of the new content would be contributed by new regular editors, but it seems far more likely that the content will be contributed in large part by drive-by users who just want to say their piece but have no interest in maintaining or developing the content they add. Powers T 14:20, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
"I apologize": Please don't, if I followed your lead, I'd soon have to disembowel myself in order to satisfy propriety standards. Seriously, I'll gladly presume that any typos of yours are really brainos of mine.
"widening the project's scope without a concomitant increase in editorial activity": I argued above that broadening the project scope would possibly lead to an increase.
"no interest in maintaining or developing": That's the edit pattern of the vast majority of contributors. And yet, they make a substantial contribution overall.
"far more likely": I hope you have a good argument for that, because I'd love to pick it to pieces. ;) Paradoctor (talk) 21:30, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
As you note, that's the edit pattern currently common; there's no reason to think it'd change. And we're barely hanging on as it is now; to add more drive-by users would risk overwhelming the rest of us. Or so it seems to me. Powers T 22:15, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
I'll refrain from characterizing yourself and those who also hold your stated opinion here (I'm sure that you've heard it before anyway, but it involves control), but I happen to think that "being overwhelmed by drive by editors" would be one of the best things to happen to Wikipedia in a while. Beware insularity.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 01:09, 24 February 2010 (UTC)
  • sigh* I don't think it's being a control freak to want to avoid diluting the mission of this project. We can't be all things to all people. There's a reason one of our five pillars is "Wikipedia is an encyclopedia". Achieving that goal requires a clear definition of scope. If we overreach when defining that scope, we risk infringing on other projects, increasing the enormity of our task (possibly by several orders of magnitude), and for what real gain? At any rate, just because I disagree with you on the impact such a change in scope would have is no reason to start casting aspersions on my motivations. Powers T 13:13, 24 February 2010 (UTC)
"infringing": ?!? Are there cyber-fiefdoms I'm not aware of?
"orders of magnitude": Why is that worrysome? Nobody will sue us if we don't meet some imagined deadline, and so far there is no reason to believe that we couldn't meet it if it existed. We don't have completion criteria telling us when to stop. Who says we should not have 3 billion pages? If we have articles about extinct snail species never existing outside a few acres of beach, we can also have a history of the house I grew up in.
"real gain": More free knowledge, more contributors.
"casting aspersions": I'm on to you. You probably want to singlehandedly improve Wikipedia. I think you don't even shy away from making useful edits to helpless articles, don't you? ;) Paradoctor (talk) 20:40, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

Hurts more then helps

I agree completely that WP:N hurts us more than it helps us. Honestly, back when we had an article on every single Pokemon, did that actually hurt us? Are we better off now? The people saying that Wikipedia will become a "mess" with WP:N are forgetting a few things. First off, what's it to you if someone creates an article on a topic that you don't think is notable? It's not your job to singlehandedly maintain the quality of this encyclopedia. And it's not your job to stand between this encyclopedia and the legions of roving My Little Pony fans out there either. If you don't like an article, and if you don't think that it meets your subjective notion of "notability," then ignore it and get to work building content somewhere else. Disc space isn't the issue, so what is? I have never seen a good explanation of this.

If you drive off Mr. My Little Pony and he goes to Wikia and spends the rest of his days writing oodles of high-quality content about My Little Pony, who has been hurt and who has benefited? I really just don't see how notability is a positive influence on our encyclopedia.

Also, something tells me that a WP:N-free Wikipedia would not be immediately inundated with 1950s weather data, because in such an encyclopedia you not only have to have V and RS, but you have to have the crucial factor of someone caring enough to take the time to put it up. And if someone cares enough to post something, and someone else cares enough to look it up, why shouldn't the two be able to enjoy that information? If people can't find what they are looking for here, they'll go look somewhere else, but if we have people lining up at the door the provide those seekers with what they are after, it makes sense to let them provide it.

Of course, I don't really think that this little discussion here will actually succeed in knocking out one of Wikipedia core content guideline's, but it sure was nice to come here and vent. ; ) --Cerebellum (talk) 04:25, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

Very well said. That embodies my own feelings perfectly.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 05:12, 25 February 2010 (UTC)


Actually, while Wikipedia is "not paper" (as opposed to some other encyclopedias), it does have a limitation that other encyclopedias don't. Editors of other encyclopedias can generally be trusted (to know what they are writing about etc.), but the editors of Wikipedia (again - generally) cannot... That's what leads to all the policies and guidelines about verifiability, sources etc. And they lead to notability. For if there are no independent sources that discuss the subject, we are going to end up with a "mess" - an article that is "just" non-neutral (a likely result of having sources representing only one side), an article that looks like an advertisement (a likely result if all sources are advertisements), an article that contains "original research" (which is not unlikely to result in falsehoods - and they are probably the worst kind of "mess")... Other encyclopedias might trust their editors to do some "original research", but, unfortunately, we cannot... And that's why (unfortunately) we can only write articles about subjects that "are notable" (are discussed in appropriate sources)... --Martynas Patasius (talk) 22:44, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

I generally agree, but that's why we have Wikipedia:Verifiability, Wikipedia:No original research, and similar. Stretching that general idea to the point of creating and espousing what is embodied in Wikipedia:Notability is what I personally think is going to far. Also, despite what the actual document may or may not say, I think that it's worthwhile to look at the actual use of Wikipedia:Notability. Despite any and all denials to the contrary, you'd have to be blind in order to not see that it's actually used as a club in order to beat mostly newer editors up, in many instances. It's not reasonable to expect us to completely divorce intent from actual implementation in cases like this.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 23:32, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
"other encyclopedias can generally be trusted": When was the last time you have compared two encyclopedias? If one isn't derived from the other, chances are you'll find clear contradictions. Besides, why trust when you can verify? It seems to work here.
'if there are no independent sources that discuss the subject, we are going to end up with a "mess"': This confuses notability and verifiability. If there is no way to verify the content of an article, we don't need to appeal to notablity criteria, WP:V already does the job. If the content can be verified, where's the problem? Paradoctor (talk) 00:14, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
Er, it's not "other encyclopedias can generally be trusted", but "editors of other encyclopedias can generally be trusted". That is, it is more reasonable to trust an editor of Britannica than an editor of Wikipedia. If it doesn't seem obvious, consider who is more likely to vandalise the encyclopedia: a random editor of Britannica, or a random editor of Wikipedia?
And about "This confuses notability and verifiability." - well, it's not like notability (as defined by WP:N) has nothing to do with verifiability. That's the whole idea. "The subject is notable." is essentially defined as "We can write an article about the subject without violating our policies and guidelines about verifiability, neutral point of view etc.". And "If the content can be verified, where's the problem?" - well, if none of this content comes from independent sources (which is probably the main difference between "verifiability" and "notability" - technically, content coming from the subject itself is also "verifiable"), we will only be able to give one point of view (or resort to original research). But could it be that we actually agree on the matter and you just doubt that the word "notability" is suitable to describe the concept in question? --Martynas Patasius (talk) 00:53, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
A couple of points. First, Verifiability is more then simply "it exists". I'd suggest reviewing Wikipedia:Verifiability, because it does actually say that independent sources are our requirement. Also, of less importance, I don't fault yourself or anyone else for actually trusting the editors of other encyclopedias, just as I don't fault people for trusting the authors of books or even most Wikipedia editors. Just because it's more difficult to criticize editor/authors, and that such criticisms are less public, doesn't mean that they don't exist. Personally, I don't trust the editors at Britannica or anywhere else further then I could throw them, but that's me.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 01:10, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
(Ω) "that's me": Not just you. Thanks for commenting ahead of me, I wouldn't have been nearly as restrained as you. ;)
(MP) "editors": Sure, but the thing that we trust them with are the articles, not their reliablity in paying back money we lend them, right?
(MP) '"The subject is notable." is essentially defined as "We can write an article about the subject without violating our policies': If that was true, WP:N could be reformulated as: "Stick to the other policies". I don't think we need a policy for that. Thanks for making my point. ^_^ Paradoctor (talk) 01:28, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
I guess I should have worded it better... Of course, "Editors of other encyclopedias can generally be trusted (to know what they are writing about etc.), but the editors of Wikipedia (again - generally) cannot..." did use hyperbole. It's just that other encyclopedias can find an "expert" with some credentials, ask him to write an article and hope that "the expert will know what to write", while we can't do that (as we cannot check those credentials) and thus have to make our policies "non-expert-proof". Of course, it doesn't mean that the "expert" always writes a better article than "non-experts". For example, User:Renata3#Just how accurate Britannica is? (permanent link - [1]) does show examples of errors in Britannica that Wikipedia doesn't make.
And as for "Stick to the other policies"... Well, maybe it's closer to "Don't waste time writing an article that will inevitably violate other policies anyway"... It should be rather obvious, but maybe this clarification does help someone..? And, as someone already noted, "Wikipedia is not paper" (I guess it doesn't become paper when we consider clarifications of policies and guidelines?)... --Martynas Patasius (talk) 22:55, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
"we cannot check those credentials": Really? How do Britannica editors check credentials? I think they gather verifiable information on the prospective contributor, and use it to decide. Which is the same thing we do with our sources, only we're not under pressure to sell our product.
"this clarification does help someone": Maybe, but we don't mark explanations of other policies as policies themselves. We clarify the other policies.
What I'm missing from you is an explanation of what essential ingredient WP:N contains that's not already covered by our other policies. I see nothing, and that's the reason this entire thread exists. Paradoctor (talk) 16:42, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

But WP:RS is not WP:N. In fact, WP:RS is not even WP:V

I'm seeing a conflation of "notability" (which actually is a synonym for the interest taken by "interesting" or "official" people), with "source reliability" which actually has to do with something entirely different, which is truth. There is a huge amount of reliable-source information out there which is likely to be true, but which isn't interesting and thus not notable. Like mundane weather reports from mundane places, decades ago. Who cares that someplace that often gets cloudy skies, had cloudy skies on March 9, 1952? Unless there's some interesting historical event at that time and place it bears on, the answer is: nobody. The same for high school goings on from the same day, even if they made it into some Fische record of some (now disappeared) newspaper. They're like the weather. The routine weather reports from local places are examples of stuff that is WP:RS but not WP:N. Thus, WP:RS does NOT and should not define WP:N, but that bad idea is something I'm seeing proposed above. These two things, N and RS, are two different things, and it takes both to be really worthy of inclusion. Of course, that said, the problem is in defining N in some other way that has nothing to do with RS, and I've had my say about that. It ends up being a game where celebrities identify celebrity, and they themselves are identified the same way. Soon you can be famous for being famous, ala Warhol.

Perhaps the nastiest example of such conflict comes in the area of BLP, where RS is defined in terms of "likely to be true," but then "likely to be true" is defined as "having come from a source identified as reliable." This gets to the epistemological problem of when we admit that our list of standard V sources (you can look them up) are not RS sources (likely to be TRUE), because some things aren't as likely to be reliable as our memories, which aren't available to anybody. So WP:V is not WP:RS, either. For example, I myself am the leading expert on my own life, and if I disagree with something that gets into print about me, from somebody who met me for a few hours, I'm more likely to be right than the "source" is, if we disagree. Especially when a statement I myself made is the source for the information in the "RS" source, which got it from ME, second-hand! And yet, in a deletion fight, the WP:V claim would be taken over mine, even though it came from me originally, and was garbled. Go figure. This is a prime example of what may be called the "celebritization of truth." The idea being that something is more likely to be true, if some "notable" or celebrated person or source claims it, than if an "ordinary person" (like you or me) claims it. Say what? That's an incredibly stupid idea, indeed ridiculous idea on the very face of it, but it's written right into WP's policies. They make no exception for BLP, in part because of a foolish consistancy which is the hobgoblin of little minds. SBHarris 19:53, 21 February 2010 (UTC)

There are a couple of logical fallacies which are apparent to me, here. The first is Who cares that someplace that often gets cloudy skies, had cloudy skies on March 9, 1952?, which makes the galling and presumptuous judgment that you somehow know the information that all of our readers might want or need to see. This seems to be the core idea under which the "notability warriors" operate, that they are somehow more knowledgeable then the rest of us. Is it then any wonder that the various XFD areas are often turned into a battleground?
And then there's For example, I myself am the leading expert on my own life, and if I disagree with something that gets into print about me, from somebody who met me for a few hours, I'm more likely to be right than the "source" is, if we disagree. This is certainly true in day to day life, but there's a fundamental problem with it's use here on Wikipedia. How do I know who you are? Even if you do something to connect your Wikipedia identity with your real life identity, how can we verify that anything said through your account actually comes from you? Unless and until some legal means of generally establishing identity is created and adopted for the Internet (yea, right, that'll happen...) then this is just a generally untenable line of thinking to pursue. If there really is untruthful information out there, then some publication will be willing to print it, at which point we can and should cite that.
All of that being said, I do agree that our self-referential verifiability, reliable sources, and notability policies and guidelines are a problem. I think that comes from the fact that there are (obviously) different ideological ways to look at this whole subject. I have no idea how to really address the issue though, or if it's even possible to address it.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 21:27, 21 February 2010 (UTC)
"isn't interesting and thus not notable": But where is the problem in having uninteresting articles? The vast majority of the current articles are not interesting to you in any meaningful way, so that doesn't seem to be a good exclusion criterion. Wikipedia does not need to sell itself. You're under no obligation to work on stuff you're not interested in. So where's the problem?
"WP:RS does NOT and should not define WP:N, but that bad idea is something I'm seeing proposed above." Umm, I did not make any proposal. Right here and now, my interest is in learning why people think that notability is important. Paradoctor (talk) 21:47, 21 February 2010 (UTC)
We know that Verifiability=/=truth, but you're going to have to live with it while editing Wikipedia. If you can't verify an objection to published material, how are the rest of us supposed to trust in the objection?
As for us basing our articles on what is "notable", i.e. what is given significant coverage in multiple, independent, secondary reliable sources, on what other basis should we make our decisions on inclusion? Your assertion that reliable sources=celebrity sources isn't true, scholarly sources are in plentiful use on Wikipedia.
Your point about trivia is covered in WP:UNDUE, and seems to be a straw man as I don't think that many editors would want to detail the weather on a random day five decades ago in an article. Wouldn't WP:NOTNEWS be a reason to exclude listing all the weather reports ever for a town in Weather of X? Whether to include information about the weather or high school events in a particular article (if they can be verified) is an editorial judgement. If the information is pretty trivial, we'll likely not include it. It is already well established that Wikipedia is not for listing every verifiable fact, see WP:NOT. But the weather on the day of a major event (like a space shuttle disaster) might be worth including. Fences&Windows 21:54, 21 February 2010 (UTC)
This is confusing to me. What exactly is the difference between WP:Verifiability, WP:Reliable Sources, and WP:Indiscriminate? They seem redundant or at least largely overlapping. I think I understand the difference between them and notability, though - this can be demonstrated through examples. There are plenty of newspaper articles, books, photos, video, and other reliable media concerning construction projects, weather, business openings or closings, car crashes, murders, and weddings of random people dating back hundreds of years, but they may not be notable (or no longer notable, even if they were 50 years ago). To me, it seems that things may be notable for one group of people (like everyone in a small town within a certain time period, but nobody else), but it would not satisfy our criteria unless it was notable for a larger community (how big? notable to a small town of 300 is too small, but if 2 newspapers and a mayoral announcement of a city of 5000 covered it, that would probably be notable?) and there was coverage beyond a few months (WP:NTEMP). But I still am not convinced of the need for the notability requirement, though the notability essays make for good reading. Also, in practice, in my experience with AfD discussions, notability is satisfied by having a certain number of verifiable, reliable sources in the article, usually about 5. I understand that there may be more theory behind it, but pragmatically this is how the system appears to work. It's like a simple equation: 2 or 3 big newspapers coverage (or 10 prominent online sources) equals notable - admins probably don't have time to ponder things like the impact of an article's topic. -kslays (talkcontribs) 23:42, 21 February 2010 (UTC)
"No longer notable, even if they were 50 years ago". No, "notability is not temporary" means that notable topics are always notable. Read WP:NTEMP again. WP:V is about the fact that we need to verify facts using sources, WP:RS is about how to find reliable sources, and WP:INDISCRIMINATE means that we don't include everything we can verify: all very separate. Fences&Windows 00:41, 22 February 2010 (UTC)
I see, thanks for the pithy distinction. So, per WP:NTEMP, if something was notable in 1952, it is still notable, regardless of whether it would be interesting to anyone today. That leaves the matter of how big the population of people who care(d) has to be, and the functional distinction of notability from having a minimum number of sources during AfD discussions. -kslays (talkcontribs) 01:13, 22 February 2010 (UTC)
This conversation is fabulous. It would help if we could see some statistics, i.e. a list of articles that have been deleted on the grounds that they lack notability -- does such a thing exist?
I'm going to venture that it's mostly rock bands, books, restaurants, bios of struggling professionals, startup companies ... in other words, self-promoters. I have always felt that Notability embodied Wikipedia's (admirable) hostility to greed; it means, "We have to be convinced that this article will help OTHER PEOPLE more than it helps YOU", but we can't really say that. Andrew Gradman talk/WP:Hornbook 11:35, 22 February 2010 (UTC)
That would be all AfD and PROD deletions, and the CSDs that deal with notability. OrangeDog (τε) 13:09, 22 February 2010 (UTC)
Not to answer your question, but there are some old deletion stats here: User:Emijrp/Statistics#Most deleted ever, User:Emijrp/Deleting, Wikipedia:AFD 100 days. Deletion archives here: Wikipedia:Archived deletion discussions. Common outcomes gives a qualitative description rather than quantitative: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Common outcomes. For light relief, see Wikipedia:Deleted articles with freaky titles. Fences&Windows 15:08, 22 February 2010 (UTC)
(Andrew Gradman) "self-promoters": If the information is verifiable, where is the problem? We don't judge edits by the motives of the editor, we judge them by their value to the article. Wikipedia does not participate in advertising, and I'm probably one of the greatest fans of that. But on the other hand, we don't censor facts just because someone might stand to profit from them. Paradoctor (talk) 23:16, 22 February 2010 (UTC)

Unequality shown in the enforcement of 3rr

There is at least one academic study of wikipedia which has stated that Wikipedia rules are unevenly enforced, but these conclusions appear only based on general observation.

  1. Does anyone know if there are other academic studies which discuss the idea that wikipedia rules are regularly unequally enforced?
  2. I think the Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Edit warring noticeboard would be the most likely page to study.

Okip 12:52, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

  • Most likely, least valid. They could just as well study Dear Abby's mailbox. NVO (talk) 13:33, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
  • I would jolly well hope they are being unequally enforced. We're trying to make a good encyclopedia, not to play games by some set of consistently applied rules.--Kotniski (talk) 14:17, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

(Akk, formatting craziness here) Why do you need an academic study to see in a place with a large group enforcing the rules, some people will do things different than others? ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 14:52, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

The rules are designed to be enforced unequally. It would be nonsensical to treat experienced users in the same way as a user who has been here for less than a week. We have WP:IAR and most rules give very non-specific "enforcement" provisions specifically so enforcement can be tailored to the situation. Moreover, the people doing the enforcement are volunteers, nobody watches everything and nobody is required to act. Mr.Z-man 17:16, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

  • Its a well known fact [citation needed] that all admins are content hating vandals who like nothing better then to torment content contributors with unfair arbitary blocks so I can't see the point of a proper study myself. And more seriously, AN3 stopped being consistant when WMC was defrocked because we now have so many different admins working there. Its impossible to be fair and consistent without being officious and block happy. That's why I stopped working that board. ((you can choose for yourself whether being officious or block happy was the thing I had problems with)) Spartaz Humbug! 20:32, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
    lol... You're probably correct about that noticeboard needing an admin or two (preferably a couple) to "adopt" it. Being somewhat reliant on one or two people tends to at least create consistency due to the fact that there are only one or two interpretations being expressed. I actually think that sort of thing is the largest policy related issue that we have here, in that there are too many "cooks in the kitchen", so to speak. If we had fewer, yet more active, administrators then we could at least get to know their foibles and interpretations. That's the way that most online communities end up working, although it's not really intentional, most simply don't create so many moderators (and before anyone says anything, yes, I'm fully aware of the fact that Wikipedia admins are supposedly not "moderators").
    — V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 20:47, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
  • That would be my experience. Wikipedia is more and more about cliques backing each other up than it is anything else. Artw (talk) 19:03, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
  • *groan* Why in the world would you cite IAR in a discussion such as this? What's with this recent compulsion to bring that up at any opportunity available?
    — V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 19:22, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
    Because we like to pretend that IAR actually happens among experienced editors. Angryapathy (talk) 19:25, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
    Uh, because its relevant. Did you read my comment, or just see "IAR" and reflexively respond? Mr.Z-man 20:21, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
    I wouldn't have commented if I hadn't actually read your statement. Your own defensiveness on this admittedly very minor issue speaks volumes.
    — V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 20:38, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
    As does your willingness to change the subject of a discussion about enforcement of 3RR into something about your dislike of IAR. Mr.Z-man 20:42, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
    Where in the world do you get that I dislike IAR? O_o
    — V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 20:48, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
Okip, re your question about studies re WP enforcement, some quick googling turned up this; also this, this, this, etc. which may be of interest. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 23:05, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

Our rules are written in such a way as to make a casual reader believe that our rules are enforced equally. Okip 03:55, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

Yes, that's a problem. Calling them "rules" in the first place is probably the biggest mistake (although as far as I can remember it's only 3RR that's actually called a rule).--Kotniski (talk) 07:39, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
This is not really related to academic studies on Wikipedia, but just on the general topic of 3RR application...I used to volunteer at the 3RR noticeboard more often but I quit partially because of the whining people gave me about "uneven application of the rules" (which, in practice, generally means "application of the rules in a way I don't like so I'm going to go complain to administrators about it"). I wrote a rant about it here. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 03:59, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

blogs v. "interactive column"

Blogs are not allowed as sources in wikipedia. From WP:RS: self-published media—whether books, newsletters, personal websites, open wikis, blogs, personal pages on social networking sites, Internet forum postings, or tweets—are largely not acceptable.
But newspapers host blogs by their writers, and newspapers are generally WP:RS. From WP:RS: Some newspapers host interactive columns that they call blogs, and these may be acceptable as sources so long as the writers are professional journalists or are professionals in the field on which they write and the blog is subject to the newspaper's full editorial control.
Question: Is there a distinction between blogs by newspapers which cannot be used as sources in wikipedia, and interactive newspaper columns which can?
e.g. this by is alleged to be a blog not an "interactive column", and not a legitimate source for wikipedia in this dispute from Abdolmalek_Rigi talk page:

:Sorry, what you're quoting does not apply to the blog you used, what you cited is not an "interactive column", it's a blog, and it's not clear if it has any editorial supervision or not. In any case, "may be acceptable as sources" is not good enough when dealing with controversial claims and topics. It is Wikipedia's policy that exceptional claims require exceptional sources, and no blog is an exceptional source. --Kurdo777 (talk) 21:24, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
--BoogaLouie (talk) 20:29, 28 February 2010 (UTC)

Seems clear enough. The interaction should not include readers but "may be acceptable as sources so long as the writers are professional journalists or are professional".
I think the default is that any such blogs are not reliable, except for very special situations (ie hosted by a newspaper and written by professional authors) that need to be argued on a case by case basis. Arnoutf (talk) 20:32, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
So its acceptable if the writers are professional journalists? or "such blogs are not reliable, except for very special situations"? What are "such blogs"? newspaper blogs? "need to be argued on a case by case basis" - does that mean they are not allowed if another editor disagrees with its use?
throw me a bone here please.--BoogaLouie (talk) 20:39, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
My interpretation was that if we know where a piece of writing comes from and the source is reliable and/or notable, and otherwise policy compliant, it doesn't matter what the official label of the source is. I've seen people use blogs written by notable people. I don't see that it's a good enough reason to reject a source just because it is labelled a blog. I think the blogs we should be rejecting are blogs that could be written by anyone. AzureFury (talk | contribs) 01:11, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
The New York Times news blog is generally going to be a reliable source, it is written by professional journalists. Fences&Windows 02:05, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
Wait, do the news blogs have the same "reputation for fact checking" as the NYT itself? I think attributed notable blogs are only usable for opinions, not facts. AzureFury (talk | contribs) 06:53, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
Just a couple of points here, AzureFury. (a) Newspapers don't "fact-check" to the extent that is commonly believed on Wikipedia - yes, editors may query dubious or unlikely facts, or very rarely actually check a fact at the extreme end of that spectrum. But they simply don't routinely check every fact in the way that the likes of Newsweek used to. In this respect writers' blogs are not so different from what goes into the formal publication. (b) Having said that, there is a kind of self-imposed regulation on blogs by staff writers of reliable newspapers. If a journalist at the NYT, for example, consistently lies on his blog, sooner or later it's going to come to the attention of his managers, and it's not going to help his career. So, absent reasons to the contrary, I'd consider the blog of a staff journalist at a reliable source just as reliable as their work in the publication. Guest blogs are a whole different issue and may well only be reliable as to the author's opinion. Barnabypage (talk) 00:28, 2 March 2010 (UTC)
Sounds logical, but good luck trying to get consensus with a deletionist. AzureFury (talk | contribs) 08:51, 2 March 2010 (UTC)
Unfortunately, WP policy isn't as logical as that. It uses the same definition of RS for opinions as for facts. I.e., an opinion is supposed to be mentioned only if it appears in a source with a reputation for fact checking. Doesn't make much sense. I was told that the definition was originally drafted by WMF's legal advisors for BLP & then mindlessly applied to everything.
The main exception seems to be that, in the article about the author, their statements can be cited as their views directly from such sources. Peter jackson (talk) 10:46, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
WP:RS says this, "Self-published material may, in some circumstances, be acceptable when produced by an established expert on the topic of the article whose work in the relevant field has previously been published by reliable third-party publications." In other words blogs by notable people are usable as sources for their opinions in articles besides those about the author. AzureFury (talk | contribs) 11:11, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
That's right, but, as it says, only for opinions. The effect is much the same as if you had different RS criteria for facts & opinions, as would be sensible, but it's formulated in an odd way. The basic criterion is given as if it applied equally to both, but then SPS is added as a sort of afterthought. Peter jackson (talk) 15:38, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
  1. FYI, I expect that the intended distinction largely has to do with vetting. That is, the difference for our purposes between any given blog and a blog on a newspaper site by a newspaper employee is that the newspaper employee had to have some amount of screening before being hired. And that employee is subject to being fired, losing the blog, etc., if the work is not up to par. With Joe Schmoe's blog, we often can't tell if Joe Schmoe is even the real name.
  2. That being said, blogs on newspaper sites (and some other stuff on newspaper sites) usually do not get the same level of editing as the material in the actual paper. Blogs often get no editing. (I am a newspaper journalist.) Maurreen (talk) 09:06, 2 March 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Notability (railway incidents) has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Notability (railway incidents) (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been edited to mark it as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 2 March 2010 (UTC)

And then reverted back to a proposal. There's still discussion to be had. All interested in guidelines in this area are welcome to join the discussion. --Tagishsimon (talk) 14:43, 2 March 2010 (UTC)

About publicity

Hi. I have a question. Can the users put publicity in Wikipedia? I tell this because i think that a lot of userboxes contains the promotion of a thing. For example, this user prefer Wii over Playstation 3 and X Box 360, or This user drinks Coca Cola. I think taht, in a encyclopedia, this typo of dates are irrelevant: you can need a userbot to say taht you write spanish, but you needn't a userbox to say taht you drink cocacola, also, say "I prefer Wii over.." is a type of promotios about Wii.--HHH Pedrigree (talk) 15:09, 27 February 2010 (UTC)

Userpages aren't articles, so the same standards do not apply. Personally I feel these types of userboxes (and in fact any userbox not related to what you do on Wikipedia) are a pointless waste of space, but apparently there a lot of users who enjoy posting every tiny detail of their personal likes and dislikes and think that someone actually cares if they like to eat pizza or whatever. Beeblebrox (talk) 17:41, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
There is a content guideline as to what userpages can have at Wikipedia:User page, but userboxes are an accepted norm and practice on wikipedia.Smallman12q (talk) 00:05, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
When we deal with so "abstract" discussions (which are not about article content, or our relation with the "real world"), the best way to measure the correct answer is with pragmatism: "Which is the potencial benefit of this?" vs. "Which are the likely side consequences?". The side consequence is a very long discussion, users getting upset about the whole thing or protesting the "abuse" when such deletions are performed, etc. And the benefits... which real and tangible benefits can be achieved?
Even more, you are from Wikipedia in Spanish, aren't you? There was a big discussion recently at that project when an admin decided to "be bold" and delete most userboxes of the type "This user watches Smallville" or "This user uses Mozilla Firefox". The discussion was whenever they could be following the policies of spam or user pages, or not. Without going to the abstract discussion, ask a better question: beyond the point of following rules because there are rules, how was the project actually benefited by such development? MBelgrano (talk) 00:53, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
The project benefits in a very important way -- it allows people to add harmless info about themselves rather than scaring potential contributors away. It really DOESN'T hurt anything for someone to claim they like Zelda or macaroni or the color blue on their user page; hell, rules against it might as well just be saying that no one should have a user page at all. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 01:09, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
Actually, I understand that the first user is proposing deletion of such userboxes, as performed at the Spanish wikipedia, and asks if there is support for that. When I question which benefits can be obtained, is which benefits can be obtained from deletion of the userboxes, not from the existence of such userboxes. MBelgrano (talk) 01:21, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
No need to revisit the Userbox Wars here on En. Suffice to say, userboxes serve a legitimate purpose in community building, which creates personal connections among editors, increasing investment and participation, ultimately generating more encyclopedic content. So no, we should not delete them. Dcoetzee 13:31, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

WP:DICTIONARY needs tweaking?

Thou, Gay, Dude, Craic, Humbug are all articles about words (Thou is a Featured Article) but WP:NAD prohibits this. It can be argued that the articles go beyond a simple dictionary definition but WP:NAD states:

Note that dictionary and encyclopedia articles do not differ simply on grounds of length. A full dictionary article (as opposed to a stub dictionary article, which is simply where Wiktionary articles start from) or encyclopedic dictionary entry would contain illustrative quotations for each listed meaning; etymologies; translations; inflections; links to related and derived terms; links to synonyms, antonyms, and homophones; a pronunciation guide in various dialects, including links to sound files; and usage notes; and can be very long indeed.

Should WP:DICTIONARY be tweaked to allow these types of articles? If so, how? If not, should these articles be removed? --NeilN talk to me 17:22, 27 February 2010 (UTC)

The particular policy you quote has been there since as far back as I could check, it was present in 2002, about 8 years ago.
You're subtly incorrect: dude is about a person that has always lived in city, not the term. Thou is about a grammatical construct. Craic is another word for fun and needs to be merged. Humbug just means nonsense. gay just means homosexual.- Wolfkeeper 17:32, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
The wikipedia is not a dictionary; articles are not supposed to be about words or terms. Unlike a dictionary, encyclopedia articles are translatable into a foreign language, because the article is not about the term in the title, they're about one thing the title refers to. When you have articles on English terms, that usually no longer applies, it would be a translation of an English article, not an article properly in the language.- Wolfkeeper 17:32, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
I think you're splitting hairs. Thou is about the term, grammar is one part of the article. Dude is defining itself "as about a person that has always lived in city". --NeilN talk to me 17:44, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
If the article Gay were just "An adjective meaning homosexual," then that would be a clear dictionary definition and should be removed. However, it's not. It's got extensive historical usage of the term. More importantly, it provides enough reliable sources that it meets the core policy of Verifiability. It would also make the Homosexuality article excessively large if it were included, so it needs to be split out somewhere.
In a general sense, I think there's a slippery slope to say that any article with usage information is a dictionary definition and should be purged. While "Wikipedia is not a dictionary" is a good starting point for deal with stub articles, but it's not an absolute. When an article contains historical perspective or other encyclopedic information about the term beyond mere usage instructions, and when the article brings in secondary sources to support the discussion, then whatever you want to call it, it's worth having an encyclopedia article on. —C.Fred (talk) 18:08, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
Well, adjectives- the wikipedia doesn't have those either; everything is a verb or noun or noun phrase.
There's no blanket ban on usage information in an article; although a complete article would probably have to include associated terminology usage of every language.- Wolfkeeper 18:25, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
But the point of a (general) encyclopedia is that it's not a linguistic work. The English wikipedia is not about English, it's written in English. It has articles on English, but not down to individual words. When you have an article that contains multiple definitions of the title, with usage, history of usage (of the title); that's always a linguistic article, and in practice, it's always a dictionary entry (albeit often a long one).- Wolfkeeper 18:25, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
What makes you think that articles about words are only articles about English words? We have articles on words from all kinds of languages. See, for example, Banlieue, Guanxi, Chinese word for "crisis". rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 02:13, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
What makes you think that Banlieue is about the word, as opposed to a city outskirts? The article was just badly written; so I rewrote the intro to be more clearly encyclopedic. Guanxi doesn't claim to be about the word anyway; it's a type of relationship. I'm not sure about chinese word for crisis this may well be non encyclopedic, but I haven't looked into it carefully, it seems to be simply about the usage and interpretation of the word, which is soundly into dictionary territory.- Wolfkeeper 04:11, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
I reverted you. You are in no position to be going around making controversial changes in the name of your ill-conceived crusade when almost nobody else at this project agrees with your strange interpretation of the guideline.
For what it's worth, Tsar is another good example of a foreign-language term that is clearly notable (the use of this term in United States politics caused some small ballyhoo last year). rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 04:34, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
You do not have the right to insert lies about me in the subject line of edits. I am *highly* offended by your ignorant and highly inaccurate slander of calling me a POV warrior. A POV warrior is somebody who deliberately slants an article; who violates NPOV. This is completely inaccurate. You are way out of line here.- Wolfkeeper 05:21, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
Apologies for the term "POV warrior", which in retrospect was not what I was trying to get across. Perhaps "policy warrior" would have been better. But I think you get the picture already. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 05:37, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
It's really mostly to do with article scope; when you define the scope to be a word or term, then right there, it's not encyclopedic, it's immediately limited to linguistics; and you can see that here, this article isn't really anything to do with being gay/homosexual, it's just a word for that. The word is part of being homosexual; that's where the content needs to go (and also reference the dictionary).- Wolfkeeper 18:25, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
Yes, we do include articles on terms, and words, when the topic has sufficient scope for an encyclopedic treatment. Per WP:Five pillars, Wikipedia "incorporates elements of general and specialized encyclopedias". As in, linguistic encyclopedias, and encyclopedic dictionaries. -- Quiddity (talk) 19:37, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
Wolfkeeper has been told dozens of times that he is interpreting the policy and proper course of action incorrectly, by admins from here and Wiktionary (eg here, and Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Linguistics#Prithee for the tip of the iceberg). He has also been steadily rewriting parts of WP:NAD WP:NOT to suit his own narrow interpretation for at least a year. He has said here: "All I know is there's only two kinds of discussion I get into in the Wikipedia; one's I win, and one's I haven't won yet; because I don't get into discussions where I'm not on the wikipedia's side. Currently pending discussions I haven't prevailed on: 0. I never give up; and I'm not kidding." Discussions with him about this just go in circles. -- Quiddity (talk) 19:37, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
Actually, this is a bad faith character assassination by Quiddity which he trots out pretty regularly. I have actually been involved in quite a number of AFDs of articles, many of which have indeed been deleted; my batting average is about 50%. Getting the policies actually applied to articles that have been around for a long time is never very easy.- Wolfkeeper 19:57, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
And I have definitely not rewritten WP:NAD. WP:NAD has actually always pretty much said the same thing. Unless Quiddity can come up with an edit where I have done so; I demand he retract this false and malicious accusation.- Wolfkeeper 19:57, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
Whoops, I meant parts of NOT, eg [2], [3], [4]. -- Quiddity (talk) 21:12, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
I just bought it into line with the actual policy as best I could. These are supposed to be summary-style breakouts. They're supposed to be the same.- Wolfkeeper 04:11, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
So can we make this explicitly clear in WP:NAD? Something like "This excludes articles whose contents may be about a term but have historical perspective or other encyclopedic information about the term beyond mere usage instructions" (I'm stealing some of C.Fred's wording here). --NeilN talk to me 20:00, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
No, because that would be practically every term in the English language, they all have history.- Wolfkeeper 20:05, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
That's a false slippery-slope argument. Only a few words have potential for an encyclopedic treatment. If it were just the etymology of a word, without the potential for expansion, that would indeed be an item unsuitable for here. But articles like Voseo, Prithee, Fuck, Thou, Moonie (Unification Church), etc etc etc are encyclopedic in scope. -- Quiddity (talk) 21:12, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
Voseo isn't a word article anyway, it's not about usage of the word Voseo nor does it claim to be; it's about Voseo. Moonie isn't encyclopedic it's just about usage; and it's a start-class article. Thou is more of a legacy grammar thing than a word. Fuck, well, yes that's a word article but I would imagine that WP:IAR kicks in on that one as far as any AFD is concerned.- Wolfkeeper 04:11, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
Dictionaries are about terms, not things. Encyclopedia's are about things not terms. You see the difference?- Wolfkeeper 20:07, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
fuck and prithee shows the community does not make as clear a distinction as you do. --NeilN talk to me 20:16, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
All Fuck and prithee show is that the community like the word fuck and prithee; and even prithee has only been tested at AFD once, and was by no means a slam dunk (the vote was about 4 to 6 or something). If you actually look at the number of word articles in the wikipedia there are incredibly few.- Wolfkeeper 20:39, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
It shows the community can distinguish between articles which are dictionary definitions and articles which have encyclopedic merit. --NeilN talk to me 20:47, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
Nah. In any case the proposed change does not address that in any way, so you're basically admitting the change would be pointless.- Wolfkeeper 21:00, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
The change does directly address this: "but have historical perspective or other encyclopedic information". It would prevent some edit-warring over move to Wiktionary tags - not useless at all. --NeilN talk to me 21:19, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
Nearly all words have some kind of a historical perspective. And note that whether something is encyclopedic or not is not about length; so any historical perspective would make any word eligible. That dog doesn't hunt.- Wolfkeeper 04:11, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
NeilN and Wolfkeeper are misunderstanding the point of WP:NAD and the content of the articles they're citing. Words that are notable, have attracted attention and controversy, and even have books published on them, such as Nigger, Fuck, and Gay, already meet the general notability guideline on their own merit. The articles about them are not dictionary definitions, they are encyclopedic articles about notable entity. A notable entity can be a person, a mountain, a film, a mathematical formula, etc...a notable entity can also be a word.
Wolfkeeper's comments claiming that people support the inclusion of such articles just because they're "naughty", made both here and at Talk:Gay, suggest that this editor is a little bit fanatical and isn't bothering to listen to the actual arguments being put forth by others. I see no constructive changes coming out of this discussion. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 02:10, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
Sigh, no; point of fact, notability is only a guideline, something can be entirely notable and utterly unsuitable to be in the Wikipedia because it violates any one WP:ISNOT.- Wolfkeeper 04:11, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
For the amount of time you spend quoting WP:NOT#DIC (and its counter part WP:NAD), you have conveniently not noticed one of the key phrases in it: In some cases, a word or phrase itself may be an encyclopedic subject. Or do you think that should be removed? rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 05:09, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
That "Wikiepdia is not a dictionary" is User:Wolfkeeper's only reason for being here is easily apparent by a quick glance through his contributions. I don't know, or particularly care about, the particulars here, but this is hardly the first such conflict that he's been involved in (if not outright created).
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 02:24, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
No, he's not a single-purpose account, there are some other edits in there. He may have a bad argument here, he may even be a bad editor in general (if his lengthy block log is any indication), but there's no need to call him an SPA. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 02:29, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
Well, when the preponderance of edits have to do with seeking out and AFD'ing articles, all using DICDEF as the defining reason (or any other single reasoning), that classifies as a SPA account in my book. The presence of "some other edits" hardly helps (especially when their largely made for exactly the purpose of avoiding the SPA label). That's my opinion, at least. *shrug*
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 02:43, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
Afaik, he primarily edits engineering topics, with good content additions and patrols. (With occasional disproportionate rudeness, but generally positive). However, he does also spend a lot of energy in a non-consensus effort to delete content and articles that he believes violate WP:NOTDIC. Some of the stubs really do need deletion, but he seems to believe all articles on words need to be deleted. I'm currently attributing it to, to quote an unrelated sociological paper, "a particular mind-set among engineers that disdains ambiguity and compromise." He doesn't seem to be able to agree that some words have the potential for encyclopedic treatment, despite copious examples. -- Quiddity (talk) 03:22, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
I've only ever run across him in relation to WP:NOTDICT subjects, so maybe that colors my view. That being said... I'm an engineer myself (chemical, if anyone cares), and I can certainly deal with ambiguity and compromise... but, knowing some of my fellow colleges as I do, I can understand your meaning (I tend to stay away from Wikipedia's Engineering articles though, since the lack of details would drive me crazy...). It's not that important to me anyway, despite any possible appearances to the contrary here, and this isn't WQA or an RFC/U, so...
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 04:17, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
That's an interesting point Rjanag (and one I wish I made when I got my head bitten off). Do you think there's any value in clarifying WP:NAD? --NeilN talk to me 04:39, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
No, I think the guideline is already clear enough...other than Wolfkeeper, I don't know of anyone who's had any trouble understanding it. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 05:06, 28 February 2010 (UTC)

Given the fragmentation of this discussion over several places now, I want to express my view here now that the word gay has a special significance in that it was deliberately chosen and given a new definition by a part of society which used it as a simple but powerful unifying tool. Sadly, that usage has now led to a further usage as a derogatory adjective, but it's all because it was made to represent a lot more than the simple evolution of a word could ever do. It's not "just a word" HiLo48 (talk) 02:44, 28 February 2010 (UTC)

Ah, this is about the word "gay", is it? What's up with all of the recent battling over homosexuality? Two RFC's in fairly quick succession, an admin going completely over the edge due to perceived "BLP issues" (for the second time!), and now Wolfkeeper looking to delete something to do with "Gay"? is there a campaign underway here, or something?
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 02:51, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
Gay (word) does seem to be a legitimately problematic content-fork - because - they were discussing splitting the article gay into a few parts at Talk:Gay#New_proposal in October, which is when the content got duplicated. They appear to have duplicated part of the content, without removing the original (or it got reverted, or something). No controversy (not homophobic, at least). If anyone is trying to delete the article Gay itself, (which a talkpage thread at Talk:Gay#Structural problem with article suggests might be potentially in the offing), then that would be cause for concern. But it isn't likely to gain traction, as nobody agrees with him. -- Quiddity (talk) 03:22, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
Maybe it's just bad timing then, but the appearance of some sort of organized campaign is easy enough to perceive, if you're aware of RFC's, AN/I, and the VP. *shrug*
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 04:21, 28 February 2010 (UTC)

I would strongly support modifying WP:NAD to more clearly indicate that a highly restrictive interpretation such as Wolfkeeper's is not supported by community consensus. olderwiser 14:23, 28 February 2010 (UTC)

WP:NAD and WP:NOT#DIC are already quite clear on this. Other than Wolfkeeper, I don't know of anyone who has a hard time understanding this, and I don't think we need to keep bending over backwards to modify simple guidelines for the most extreme of fringe cases. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 15:19, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
There are a couple of editors who specifically agree with Wolfkeeper's black&white interpretation; the only example I can think of offhand is here. Perhaps Wolfkeeper can prompt any others who feel the same way to chime in here, and try to explain their point of view.
There are also frequent !votes at AfD misusing/misunderstanding "WP:NOTDIC". See Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Prithee, Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Pissing contest, Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/-logy, Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Voseo for a few examples.
I think it would be very helpful to refine the NOTDIC policy's wording, to make it clearer. I don't have any specific suggestions though, and people have argued interminably over past attempts. -- Quiddity (talk) 02:04, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
I stand corrected; I had no idea there were so many people on this project who don't understand WP:NAD. The 'Voseo AfD looks pretty SNOWy and the 'delete' votes were mostly from problem editors, but some of the other AfDs had numerous delete votes from established editors. I guess perhaps a clarification in this guideline is in order. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 03:50, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
Voseo was actually a misunderstanding, at the time the AFD was called the article superficially read like a foreign word that had been sucked into the Wikipedia, whereas it is actually a technical grammatical construct. I rewrote the intro and I think most people would agree that it's clearer now. - Wolfkeeper 06:08, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
But the really crucial thing that you are failing to understand is that NAD is absolutely not a guideline, in fact it's the first policy in WP:ISNOT after 'The Wikipedia is an Encyclopedia', and it's very old, and incredibly fundamental.- Wolfkeeper 06:08, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
And, like most things on Wikipedia, can be modified if the community wants it modified. --NeilN talk to me 06:12, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
Especially considering most besides Wolfkeeper don't think the clarification would actually be a substantive change. --Cybercobra (talk) 06:21, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
You know what? I don't claim to be telepathic and be able to know what 'most' people do or do not think; but apparently you do. Congrats on that. But it's been my experience that when push comes to shove policy modifications of anything but the most trivial sort are very difficult.- Wolfkeeper 01:22, 2 March 2010 (UTC)
Yes, Wolfkeeper, it is a policy. One which doesn't say what you seem to believe it says. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 06:41, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
(By the way, there's no need to misrepresent the extent of your contributions to an article. I would certainly not call this "rewriting the intro".) rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 06:43, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
Barnstar denied! I'm all broken up.- Wolfkeeper 01:22, 2 March 2010 (UTC)

I think this might be solved once and for all by just synchronizing WP:NAD with Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not#Wikipedia is not a dictionary. As pointed out above the latter specifically says that "In some cases, a word or phrase itself may be an encyclopedic subject..." Clearly in certain cases an indicidual word merits encyclopedic treatment.--Cúchullain t/c 16:08, 2 March 2010 (UTC)

Policies are things you should only normally follow anyway. In which case we don't need to specify 'in some cases...'; policies are not expected to be 100% binding, just most of the time; ultimately it's what ever goes down in AFDs that counts.- Wolfkeeper 22:46, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
So will you stop tagging articles like Gay as a dicdef and edit-warring to keep the tag on? --NeilN talk to me 15:15, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

Flagged Revisions poll by Jimbo Wales

Please visit and comment at User talk:Jimbo Wales/poll. Fram (talk) 12:16, 2 March 2010 (UTC)

That needs to go on the centralised discussion list. DuncanHill (talk) 10:18, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
The irony being Jimbo seems to have specifically requested the opposite: "Please just leave it here rather than turning it into a formal RfC or request" --Cybercobra (talk) 10:50, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
It was added to CENT two minutes after my note here[5], i.e. almost a full day before you posted that it needed to go there. Fram (talk) 11:03, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

Any user is entitled to have a poll in userspace. The authority, statistical accuracy, or impact of the poll is, naturally, a matter of interpretation.--Scott Mac (Doc) 10:53, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

And at least 3 of us have pointed out that it's not at all clear exactly what the poll's about. Peter jackson (talk) 11:20, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
How is it not clear? He explicitly states:
whether we should ask the Foundation to simply turn on flagged revs in the form that the Germans use it
... is the question of the poll. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 22:20, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
And yet he doesn't want it publicized? Woogee (talk) 22:42, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
There's no clear explanation given in any clearly pointed to place of just what the German form is. Peter jackson (talk) 10:30, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
That 200 pollers +1 are going to flag 3,212,248 articles :), have fun Mion (talk) 01:19, 5 March 2010 (UTC)


I propose either fixing or removing the Macau link. It seems to be broken. Kayau Voting IS evil 11:27, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

Wait - I thought this was proposals. Sorry. Proposals starts with P so I put 2 and 2 together and made 5. Kayau Voting IS evil 12:47, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

Spaced disjunctive en dashes – request for comments

There's a new request for comments on the Manual of Style talk page about whether spaces should be required around disjunctive endashes when a disjunct contains spaces. For example, currently the Manual of Style requires the spaces around the second dash in the phrase:

"Franco-German and Japanese – South Korean relations after World War II"

and the proposal is to omit those spaces. It's been suggested that this RfC be advertised more widely, so I'm mentioning it here. Further comments are welcome. Eubulides (talk) 16:53, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

Temporary Autoblocking of Probable Vandalism Only addresses

Discussions are on here ▒ ♪ ♫ Wifione ♫ ♪ ▒ ―Œ ♣Łeave Ξ мessage♣ 19:44, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

Research of Wikipedia/Wikipedians

Proposed policy: Wikipedia:Research

Over the last few months, members of WikiProject Research have been drafting a policy for research of Wikipedia and its users. Specifically, this policy describes a process for recruiting Wikipedia users to participate in research studies, and creates the Subject Recruitment Approvals Group to manage this recruitment through an applications process for recruitment requests similar to the one used by the Bot Approvals Group.

This policy has been designed to facilitate research of Wikipedia while ensuring that studies are not disruptive to the community.

At this time, we are seeking input from the Wikipedia community. Although we have had (sometimes heavy) involvement from non-researcher members of the community, this policy has been largely written by researchers. That is why we are posting to ask for your comments and assistance to turn this draft into a proposal. -- PiperNigrum (hail|scan) 21:30, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Count me out... our job is to write an encyclopedia... not to engage in research. Others are free to disagree of course. Blueboar (talk) 23:29, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
Included in this policy is the ability for people who are not interested being recruited to participate in studies to be able to indicate that they not be contacted. -- PiperNigrum (hail|scan) 20:40, 12 February 2010 (UTC)


I've re-vivified this discussion since the proposed policy now has an RFC for becoming an official policy.--EpochFail(talk|work) 22:38, 5 March 2010 (UTC)


Is it OK to point vandals to Uncyclopedia? Many vandals do humorous but destructive edits to WP. Uncyclopedia seems to welcome such edits. I'm wondering if we could, besides giving them a warning, tell them about Uncyclopedia when they vandalize. I've never seen a vandal use the sandbox which they are told to use. But uncyclopedia seems like a place that they will have more fun editing (as they won't be reverted). The problems with this proposal are:

  • Potential good editors may be lost
  • Its kinda unethical to make our problem someone else's (even though uncyclopedia will welcome their edits)

Can someone tell me if it is an aberration of policy? Thx. ManishEarthTalkStalk 03:10, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

Referring vandals elsewhere is not a good idea since that would only encourage a belief that it really is funny to add "poop", or to otherwise damage an article, and it would let them know that their edits are being noticed. Just revert and give one of the standard warnings that are well crafted for compatibility with WP:DENY. Johnuniq (talk) 06:30, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
Uncyclopedia is not a graffiti wall for childish vandals either. There's a reason they have How To Be Funny And Not Just Stupid. On the other hand, redirecting talented writers of entertaining hoaxes there might be a great idea. Dcoetzee 09:04, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
Thats what I meant. Multiple times I see vandals who do funny edits (I know I shouldn't consider them funny, but I'm human...). I was thinking of telling them that their edits here would be of no use as they would be immediately reverted, but they might find scope there. They will most probably go there. ManishEarthTalkStalk 09:34, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
I made a template for subst'ing on the talk pages of such users: {{User:Manishearth/divert}}. Please tell me what you think of it (Improve it if necessary, I made it in a hurry). Thx, ManishEarthTalkStalk 10:05, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
It looks excellent. I am going to use it. Hans Adler 10:10, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
Just remember that it should be subst'ed and signed. ManishEarthTalkStalk 10:19, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
That's a great template for something I've done manually in the past. A couple of small suggestions. Firstly, "Your edits will be accepted" isn't really something we can guarantee. "Amusing edits will be accepted" might be better. Secondly, there may be complaints from the few Wikipedians who get upset at any oxygen of publicity for Uncy. (My first mention of it on a disruptive comic's talkpage was reverted by a third party.) Certes (talk) 02:23, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
Changed the template according to first point. The template is diverting vandals who would increase our workload to a place where they can be useful. Whats wrong with publicizing Uncy? I have noticed that vandal accounts never contribute constructively after being warned. So its better to publicize uncy to someone whos 99% never going to contribute to WP than to let him vandalize. ManishEarthTalkStalk 05:47, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
I divert vandals to Uncy myself, and I agree that it's a constructive thing to do. I've just noticed that the editor who deleted my comments has since been blocked for similar behaviour, so I think we can safely ignore his views as unhelpful. Even for the 1% of vandals who would improve Wikipedia, Uncy is a good place for them to practice editing until they're ready to contribute positively. A nice template, and one I'll use.Certes (talk) 17:27, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

By way of a link to the next section, Uncyclopedia is just one of many alternative outlets which unashamedly provide what Wikipedia is not. Certes (talk) 23:27, 6 March 2010 (UTC)


Perhaps, analogously, other people could be referred to Wikinfo, where there are no rules of NOR, RS, NPOV, FT, notability, or a lot of WP:NOT. Peter jackson (talk) 10:41, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

Thats a good idea for people who are sincerely adding info, but don't know WP's rules. The problem with that is that we lose valuable contributors. It's better to educate them. The uncyclopedia proposal was for funny vandals who don't really want to contribute. ManishEarthTalkStalk 10:53, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
It's understandable that WP wouldn't want to lose out to the competition, but it really does depend what people want to contribute. You can't order people to refrain from original research. You can only tell them this isn't the place for it. Similarly if people want to do fringe theories, non-notable topics &c. Peter jackson (talk) 12:07, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
You're right. I'll create the template...ManishEarthTalkStalk 12:40, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
Here it is: User:Manishearth/wikinfo. ManishEarthTalkStalk 12:50, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
Looks useful. Peter jackson (talk) 15:34, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
Wikinfo is hilariously bad. I had a poke around and found some excellent examples of where their policies lead, see Criticism of criticism of intelligent design, Adolf Hitler Campbell, Criticism of MariusM (an attack page on a ro.wikipedia and en.wikipedia user), and Criticisms of Monica Goodling, which exists in the absence of a positive bio and contains this gem: "She is noted for applying the fascist values of Christian fundamentalism in her work for the Justice Department and the White House", referenced to "the personal opinion of Fred Bauder." We can point people to Wikinfo as an example of the dire mess that results from a lack of WP:OR, WP:V, WP:CFORK, WP:BLP1E, WP:N and WP:NPOV. Fences&Windows 16:47, 2 March 2010 (UTC)
Of course there's a lot of rubbish there. But then there's a lot of rubbish here too. It's the dire mess that results from a lack of enforcement of WP:OR, WP:V, WP:CFORK, WP:BLP1E, WP:N and WP:NPOV. Especially NPOV. There are numerous articles dominated by propagandists for various political & religious factions, & WP has no effective procedure for dealing with this.
The idea on Wikinfo is to allow virtually any POV to be expressed. At the top of the article it will say See also, linking to other POVs. Each side can put whatever evidence & arguments they want in their articles, & readers can decide for themselves. That doesn't always happen here. A POV with little support among editors working on an article, however much it has among reliable sources, is liable to be suppressed. Appeals to the community to resolve disputes tend to elicit little response (on either side). Peter jackson (talk) 11:29, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
The attack page you mention has now been deleted, perhaps as a result of your comment. BLP rules do apply on WI. They have to, for legal reasons. Peter jackson (talk) 11:37, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
"Perhaps as a result of your comment". Don't be so shy Peter, you're an admin there. While Wikipedia might have somke dreadful pages, most of those fall outside policy. On Wikinfo, dreadful pages are dreadful by the design of the policies (and most of the site is an abandoned ghost-town version of Wikipedia from 2003). I have no objection to the template, but I'm certainly never going to use Wikinfo as an editor or reader. If the founder, Fred Bauder, labels a politician as a 'fascist' according to his personal opinion and that's A-OK, that's a fundamental flaw. Fences&Windows 00:15, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I'm an admin there. I didn't ask to be. One day Fred just decided to make me one. I haven't used the powers much. In particular, I didn't delete that page. I don't know who did.
"design of the policies" Well, this depends on how much of a conspiracy theorist you are. Are WP policies not enforced because all the propagandists got together to block attempts to change the system? Or for some other reason? If so, what? Peter jackson (talk) 10:49, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
Here's something interesting from policy (WP:DR):

[heading] Last resort: Arbitration [text] If you have taken all other reasonable steps to resolve the dispute, and the dispute is not over the content of an article, you can request Arbitration.

So the policy itself is admitting, in italics, that, for content disputes, "If you have taken all other reasonable steps to resolve the dispute", there is no last resort. In effect, WP hasn't got a resolution procedure for content disputes. "fundamental flaw"? Peter jackson (talk) 15:15, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
WP:DR means that we don't have an editor-in-chief or any senior editorial body to rule on content, and that ArbCom is for behaviour only. In practice an RfC is the "last resort" for content disputes. If after consensus is clear one party refuses to accept the decision and edits contrary to consensus, that is a behavioural problem and can lead to AN/I or ArbCom. Editors make editorial decisions by discussion on talk pages, RfCs, XfDs, etc., while admins and ArbCom enforce our policies - which includes accepting that you're not always right and playing nice. So no fundamental flaw. Fences&Windows 18:54, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
That's the theory, but in practice many RfCs elicit little or no response, leaving things unresolved. This, as I said, is effectively admitted there. Peter jackson (talk) 11:31, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
The above comment is based on my own experience, backed up by others'. In addition, I have it on hearsay (Wikipedia_talk:Reliable_sources/Noticeboard#Enforcement) that admin often won't enforce consensus anyway. Peter jackson (talk) 16:45, 5 March 2010 (UTC)


Apparently AWB and SmackBot both tend to add {{DEFAULTSORT}} tags to everything they can. This is not only redundant in most cases, it "enshrines" incorrect sorting for many pages that need sortkeys but haven't gotten them yet, like those starting with years (e.g., 1982 in home video) or ordinal numbers (e.g., 66th Academy Awards -- although note that this one actually has a correct sortkey on it). I propose a policy that {{DEFAULTSORT}} tags not be "automatically" (or "semi-automatically") added to articles that begin with numbers. Or, better yet, limit such activity to specific kinds of articles, like people and articles with titles starting with grammatical articles ("the", etc.) -- which are pretty much the only kinds of articles that actually need special sorting in the first place. - dcljr (talk) 01:01, 2 March 2010 (UTC)

It would be helpful to have figures for the positive versus false positive rates for either of the sources of defaultsort, and in the absence of these, it is a little hard to know what to make of this proposal. (Or these proposals, since you don't seem to be sure what you actually want.) In other news, I don't buy into your notion of enshrinement. The sorting is not made worse by defaultsort, and arguably the fix is easier in that defaultsort is already in place and merely needs its argument changing. Looked at orthogonally, is wikipedia really improved by adding more layers of tedious and possibly tendentious regulation? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tagishsimon (talkcontribs) 01:14, 2 March 2010 (UTC)
And is it improved by tedious and unnecessarily complex bits of wikicode? I don't see any reason for bots or anyone else to add DEFAULTSORTs automatically; it should only be added by a human who has actually assessed that the proposed default sort key is the right one (otherwise identifying a default is not only pointless, but potentially misleading as well).--Kotniski (talk) 07:36, 2 March 2010 (UTC)

What is the correct defaultsort for 1982 in home video? You could just bring the subhect to AWB's attention first. This is easily fixable. -- Magioladitis (talk) 09:50, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

The problem with "redundant" DEFAULTSORTs (those identical to the article title) is, they're only "harmless" until the page gets retitled, in which case they become a nuisance; presumably, though, a well chosen DEFAULTSORT would be more likely to remain appropriate after a page move.
As for prevalence, based on my recent activities in various awards-show categories (Tonys, Grammys, Golden Globes, etc., adding sortkeys and DEFAULTSORTs to the articles about the annual broadcasts/events), I've found that redundant DEFAULTSORTs are prevalent enough to be worrisome. There are a ton of articles that begin with a number, of course, and I'd wager that the vast majority of them should be sorted into most categories by something other than that number. For example, the correct DEFAULTSORT for 1982 in home video would be {{DEFAULTSORT:Home video 1982}}, since only in Category:Years in home video would the year be significant enough to sort by. As another example, 1st Air Army might be sorted as {{DEFAULTSORT:First Air Army}} or maybe something like {{DEFAULTSORT:Air Army 0001}} (I don't know, since I'm not familiar with such military articles.) The point is, it takes humans to make these kinds of decisions; they should not be done automatically.
If AWB is adding redundant DEFAULTSORTs by default as claimed by this user, then the prevalence will only increase over time; and the more it's done, the more people will copy it, thinking it's "the way things are done". That's why I proposed here that we should put a policy up somewhere that says, no, it should not be done. (Since posting my original comment, I've found the following somewhat ironic advice at Wikipedia:Categorization#Sort keys: "Default sort keys are sometimes defined even where they do not seem necessary – when they are the same as the page name, for example – in order to prevent other editors or automated tools from trying to infer a different default.")
I brought the matter up here because SmackBot apparently gets the behavior from AWB, so who knows how many other bots/scripts/helpers/whatever are doing it, too. I don't use any of them, so I don't know exactly how it's being implemented. I'll post about this at Wikipedia talk:AutoWikiBrowser (or a subpage), SmackBot's owner, and/or Wikipedia talk:Categorization... - dcljr (talk) 23:54, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
What is the mistake exactly in the diff given above? I think it's correct. Am I wrong? PS I informed AWB's developers on the subject. -- Magioladitis (talk) 23:34, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
I think the mistake is that this article does not benefit from having a DEFAULTSORT, but the bot added one identical to the title. The change is currently harmless, but it may cause problems if the article title changes in future. Certes (talk) 02:33, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
I think it's a rule that the first letter of each word should be capitilised, or not? sorry for all these questions but I am trying to help. -- Magioladitis (talk) 14:14, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
Ah, I see: the purpose of this DEFAULTSORT is to ensure that Award for Best Aardvark is listed before Award For Best Zebra, even though For sorts before for. That scheme works, but it might be better to give DEFAULTSORT the standard prefix "Award for" and to omit it if the article title actually begins with "Award for". Certes (talk) 22:46, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

"The consensus will never change" propaganda pushing method

I've noticed that in the past 4 years it has begun a norm in wikipedia to tell to users "it has been discussed, stop discussing it". But this is completely undemocratic and ultimately a propaganda machine method since as time goes by, gradually, but surely, this "consensus" becomes dated. What is most disgusting, is that such methods of pushing bias and POV are even seen in the most tiny of articles. e.g. here: Talk:PIIGS#Racist.3F This is a very tiny article of a) very few editors b) even a very new topic and people still try to push to users "stop discussing it, it has reached". --Leladax (talk) 04:23, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

Consensus will not change when the same arguments are being made. I've been involved in one of these repeated debates actually at Star Wars kid. I think we have a similar situation on this very page with the WP:Perennial proposals. It's hard enough to work through a contentious issue. But it is extremely frustrating when a previously uninvolved editor resumes the debate months later, making the same arguments and drawing in all the previous editors. I think pointing to past debates, or simply stating "this has been discussed" serves a purpose. If you've ever been in a heated debate you can understand the shortness of the response when someone tries to revive it. AzureFury (talk | contribs) 04:31, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
It seems to me that if the same arguments keep getting brought up, then no consensus was ever reached in the first place. So why are you surprised that the fights keep recurring? That's just politics: people who feel cheated will periodically express their frustration about it, and will do so indefinitely until they have a reason to stop feeling frustrated.
Fact of the matter is that very few decisions on wikipedia are actually consensus-driven; consensus here is a pleasant fiction. Most decisions are casual agreements between editors who never really disagreed with each other much in the first place - they are only 'consensual' in the limited sense that the people who bother to care about the article don't disagree. Many others are policy-driven "We can't do that" choices, which are simply authoritative and have little to do with consensus (except in a negative sense). The remainder - those that happen on contentious articles - are almost invariably decided by sheer petulance: whoever can hold out long enough to get the opponents to wander off in frustration (or worse, can frustrate others intentionally in the hopes of getting them blocked) wins. Decision-by-petulance, however, isn't even remotely akin to consensus, and such decisions will always be questioned by new editors and old editors alike, and whenever they are questioned the people who were historically petulant about the issue will return full of vim and vigor to be petulant all over again. It's actually kind of funny to watch. and honestly, people are exporting the technique from contentious pages to non-contentious pages, and it will continue to expand across wikipedia because it's a good technique. It works, people get in the habit of using it, and there's no reason not to use it, so...
Sorry, but pointing people to old debates is never going to resolve a damned thing and it's never going to stop the the complaints from recurring, not unless the old debate actually managed to resolve the issue to everyone's satisfaction. If it never reached consensus it never reached consensus, and trying to tell people it did is only going to tick them off. --Ludwigs2 05:09, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
It's unreasonable to expect that good faith disputes will always end in a unanimous decision. In the Star Wars Kid example I mentioned, the vote ended up bein 12 against inclusion of the kid's name and 3 for inclusion (this time around) and thus the name was excluded. I don't think it's fair to say that 12 editors are being "petulant" to direct new editors to the 4 previous debates that each produced the same result. I didn't say that pointing to previous debates was an ideal solution, just that it served a purpose. AzureFury (talk | contribs) 05:38, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
I largely agree with Ludwigs2. The Wikipedia:Perennial proposals are either evidence of perennially poor explanation of guidelines etc. or evidence that the guidelines etc. are perennially unsatisfactory. For example WP:MOS has several sections that were created were quickly by a handful of people and with no wider comment (e.g. no WP:RFC). Some guidelines etc. have now become empires, whose main function is to preserve and extend the influency of the functionaries. --Philcha (talk) 05:58, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
I think I'm missing the wiki-politics experience to understand that, so... What? AzureFury (talk | contribs) 06:10, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
Azure, there are two issues here that need to be distinguished. first is the inevitability that there will always be new editors who need to be brought up to speed on given issues. The Star Wars Kid thing is a good example of that - new people will come along and want to know the kid's name, they will neglect to read the FAQ, and they will need to be pointed to it. There's nothing to do about that. In these cases, fortunately, the vast majority of people who get pointed to the FAQ will read it, and get it, and drop the issue, and the few who don't will have more bluster than bite to their arguments. On the other hand, there are cases where a particular side of a dispute has been shut down for whatever reason - look at Intelligent Design or Global warming for examples. It doesn't matter in these cases what past arguments or FAQs say, because the past arguments make no attempt to to be reasonable, and no one on either side will treat them as though they are
It's really easy to see: wherever editors listen to each other, problems go away; wherever they don't, problems persist. unfortunately, there are a lot of advantages to not listening that make it an attractive approach. --Ludwigs2 06:53, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
Fair enough. Out of curiosity, you wouldn't happen to be involved in either the BLP or CDA debates would you? It seems like everyone on Wikipedia is really stressed out ever since this all started. AzureFury (talk | contribs) 07:52, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
No, neither. My problems arise because (a) I work on offbeat articles (pseudoscience, paranormal, esoteric religious stuff, and etc) where many of the core editors on all sides are irrationally combative, and (b) I occasionally pick up RfCs where I have specific knowledge (science, politics, religion, sociology) where tempers tend to run high. If you want to see some of the experiences I've had, let me know and I'll send you an email (email rather than talk page, because otherwise you risk getting long angry rants from editors telling you what a jerk I am, and how I've misrepresented the situations). --Ludwigs2 16:10, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
Leladax, that article was kept in a deletion debate last month. A single editor saying "this is racist" shouldn't suddenly lead us to delete an article that has been kept by a clear consensus (unanimous with the exception of the nominator). Do you now see the value of reading past debates, and why it is frustrating when new contributors bring up debates that have already been flogged to death? Fences&Windows 14:49, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

It is a bit of a balancing act. You certainly need to be able to quickly dismiss reraised requests for a couple of months or you run into the rather nasty problem of WP:Civil POV pushing. Dmcq (talk) 23:47, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

The purest example of "consensus can change" on Wikipedia is Articles for Deletion, where many articles are deleted in their 4th or 5th nomination after having been kept until then. However, AfD also acknowledges that someone who just renominates an article for deletion 2 weeks later with no new arguments is just being disruptive. Dcoetzee 18:26, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

Discussion on whether navigational templates adhere to core policy

User_talk:Cygnis_insignis#Blake_template_2 Please comment there. Thanks, Lithoderm 05:41, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

Would think it's more visual, more organised and suitable to discuss the issue here rather then on a users talkpage. SunCreator (talk) 14:23, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
The discussion is targetted on a particular template at the moment. I suggest seeing if it gets resolved first, before opening to a wider debate. Ty 15:08, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
No one has yet agreed with Cygnis insignis, who has taken to deleting posts he doesn't like, [6] so obviously his talk page is not a suitable venue for discussion. Ty 17:07, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
A user can remove whatever they like on there own talk page. A good reason why talk is more appropriate here then on a users page. SunCreator (talk) 17:17, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
Not quite true. Per Wikipedia:TPG#Behavior_that_is_unacceptable: "Do not misrepresent other people: The record should accurately show significant exchanges that took place". By removing responses, it makes it look as though a post was not contested. But I agree that the discussion is more appropriate here. Link to discussion.[7] Ty 17:37, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
Exactly what I removed, and you tendentiously restored. I don't mind contributions to discussion, the edit history shows something else. I suffer people debating instead of discussing matters, but I don't like people resorting to puerile tactics of disruption and character assassination - I removed that. cygnis insignis 17:45, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
Your credibility about what you don't like is somewhat undermined by your edit summary of "blockhead".[8] The points I restored were valid contributions to the discussion as Paradoctor points out below. Ty 01:59, 7 March 2010 (UTC)
Extending me the courtesy of WP:AGF, or at least trying to ask for clarification/retraction/apology would have been nice. Regardless of this particular cobblestone, which I consider settled as of this edit, you have not yet addressed the other three concerns. Paradoctor (talk) 22:18, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

"Mark all edits as minor by default"- should we even have this?

This is an option in preferences. Since it's usually a bad, drama inducing idea to mark edits that are not minor as being such, and since nobody ever got yelled at for not marking an edit is minor, I think it may be in WPs best interest to eliminate this option from the preferences menu. It seems to cause more problems than it solves. Thoughts? Beeblebrox (talk) 20:56, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

I tend to agree. There are people who go around making almost all minor edits, and I can see that it might be a slight convenience for them, but there are also editors that go around marking almost all their edits minor whether they are or not, and I wonder if it's because they have that option on without having considered it well. --Trovatore (talk) 21:00, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
Also tend to agree. Even allowing it seems to run counter to WP:MINOR, which indicates that fewer, nor greater, edits done are actually minor in nature. -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 21:02, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
Agree barring hearing a good reason on why it's there in the first place. Confuses the new editors who like to play around with their settings, causing tension. --NeilN talk to me 21:09, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
Before we do anything, I'd like to hear from people who use this feature: When do you use it? Is it important to you? If so, what if we helped you find a substitute? (I don't know much about computers, but I hope we could develop a substitute that involves editing one's CSS or JS pages.) Andrew Gradman talk/WP:Hornbook 21:25, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
Disagree. It's very useful. Marking an edit as minor indicates a necessary though low significance change. Any observer can ignore such edits to their taste. Some time back, I dealt with a reasonably-sized cluster of articles within a category that all needed similar changes. It was partly related to ISBNs I think. I didn't want to add each one to my watchlist, and all the changes were minor. Anyway, through that preference option I was able to turn off auto-watchlist edited articles plus mark all edits as minor by default, for the duration of that exercise. Once done, I switched my prefs back to their usual. –Whitehorse1 21:30, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
Agree. Personally, I feel marking an edit as minor is specifically a vandal's tool. The only way you can be sure no bad edits are slipping through is to check all of them. This is especially important of low traffic pages with only a few people watching them. I feel the goals intended by this option could just as easily be accomplished by a short edit summary such as "spelling". I do not always feel the need to check edits from established editors with edit summaries like that. AzureFury (talk | contribs) 01:53, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
Agree: I treat any edit as non-minor until I see it is. Mish (talk) 02:08, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
Comment: Not enough data here to say whether the harm of the option exceeds the usefulness or not. It doesn't stop vandals (high-volume vandals don't have to worry about checking a box - they use scripts), but it might stop confused newbies. On the other hand, confused newbies usually fix their options when you explain the problem to them - so why worry? Dcoetzee 11:42, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
A fair question to ask is: is there an epidemic of people who have "mark all edits as minor" abusing this? Is there any WQA/ANI-type reports of users that do this? The intent suggested makes sense, but I think it's making a presumption that all editors engage in a combination of editing tasks to article content; I believe there are probably less-active editors that do rather simple (and truly "minor edits") changes to articles to help things along. --MASEM (t) 14:15, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
I don't have a complete list, but this thread Wikipedia:ANI#Looks_like_vandalism._Second_opinion_needed was what prompted me to think about this, and it's not the first time I've seen this cause trouble. I wouldn't say it's an "epidemic" but it is a recurring issue at ANI and on user talk pages. Beeblebrox (talk) 17:37, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
FWIW, I Support removing the gadget. As far as I can tell, what Whitehorse1 is talking about is completely unrelated.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 00:59, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
I can't understand how what I talked about could be unrelated? In my comment I said I found it useful, mentioned the advantage of marking a change minor in general, gave an example of a situation I'd experienced where having a mark-as-default option would be helpful, and how I'd used it. –Whitehorse1 02:39, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
I just don't understand what you were really talking about, above. Marking edits as minor has nothing to do with adding pages to your watchlist. (there is an option to make edits marked as "minor" invisible on your watchlist, but that has nothing to do with adding pages to your watchlist.)
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 02:47, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
It doesn't have, I agree. I probably wrote it poorly. What I was trying to put across when I mentioned watchlisting, was that this was a bundle of related articles I'd be unlikely to edit again and which I was only editing to fix a common issue each one of them had. (Generally, I edit articles that interest me and therefore want to watchlist them so I can easily reach them again.) In going through the bundle making the edits, the minor-as-default option meant there was no need to check minor-edit or uncheck add-to-watchlist each time. I was comparing one prefs option's usefulness to another's.
As you say, users can make edits marked minor not visible on their watchlist, plus the recent changes page. The edits themselves I'd chosen to mark minor because, well, the recent change patrollers really don't need to have to scroll by a page of my ISBN changes (or whatever) nor other users have their watchlist suddenly filled by the changes. –Whitehorse1 03:26, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
OK, that's a bit more clear, thank you. The problem that I see there is that you're talking about three different gadgets/options, as far as I can tell. There is an option to add pages that you edit to your watchlist, there is another gadget to hide "minor" edits by default, and there is a third to mark all edits minor by default. The number of people using variations of those three options must be wild, but I'd bet that the number of people using none of them outweighs even those using any single one. The point being, I see the logic behind what you're saying, but this option (or any set of options currently available, for that matter) will not accomplish what you expect it to for the vast majority of users. I seriously doubt that NPP/recent change patrollers ever use "hide minor edits" regardless, since the whole point of those patrols is to examine all edits.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 04:09, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
Agreed, I think my talking about what/when I add to my own watchlist wasn't effective. It sort of made sense to me at the time, but now I see it just confuses the matter. I've struck out that part, in my original comment at least. Thanks. I've never used the second gadget myself, though occasionally toggle the similar link on my watchlist page. Looking at the preferences now, there're separate hide "minor" edit options for both recent changes and own watchlist pages. Hmm. Maybe the first one's more useful on small wikis, I don't know. The Recent change patrollers' settings probably isn't the best example. A better use case example might be the Related changes link some WikiProjects use to generate a changelog of their articles, such as this; toggling minor edits to filter out rollbacked reverts or bulk maintenance edits and the like. –Whitehorse1 06:15, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose The tool can be useful when doing a large number of menial edits without having tools like AWB to help. For example, cleaning up a large number of double redirects or templates. For things like that, having one fewer click to do makes a big difference. People can enable the gadget for just the time that they're doing that series of edits, and then un-enable it again. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 02:19, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
    I've gotta ask though, why do you need to, or why should you, mark such edits as "minor"?
    — V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 02:30, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
    Because they're superficial (presumably)? --Cybercobra (talk) 02:49, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
    How does that help you though? Suppose you didn't manually or by default mark your edits as minor. The only people that's going to affect are people that have specified on their watchlist to not be told about "minor" edits. The only difference is the number of people that ever become aware of it. AzureFury (talk | contribs) 03:21, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
    Yes, that's the whole reason minor edits exist. When I mark an edit as minor it doesn't do anything for me, but I'm trying to throw a bone to people for whom it might matter. This doesn't have to be a selfish project. From the responses to my !vote, it looks more like you guys are trying to say we shouldn't have minor edits at all, rather than just wanting to get rid of this one tool. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 03:46, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
    I am, and by extension this tool. I suppose I don't understand why people would ever want to ignore minor edits. Why even have a page watchlisted if you're going to make it that easy for editors to slip something by you? AzureFury (talk | contribs) 03:53, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
    Personally, I use the "minor" flag occasionally myself, to indicate minor spelling corrections to my own posts/additions. In my personal estimation, the minor flag should never be used when editing other people's contributions, but that's me. That right there sums up the whole issue with the flag actually, that there's absolutely no meaning to it. What's worse is that, even if we were to come up with some actual definition of what constitutes a "minor edit", since it's impossible to change edit summaries it would be impossible to enforce any restrictions on it (again, making it a meaningless "flag"). Having the gadget/option available just makes a bad situation that much worse, in my view.
    — V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 04:03, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
    Well, if you guys think minor edits are bad and should be done away with, then that is the discussion you should be having (perhaps on Help talk:Minor edit instead of here). Trying to disguise one issue as another by making this ostensibly about a tool is not really a good way to go about it. And from what I can tell there is not yet any community consensus that minor edits are a bad thing, so there's no reason that this tool is inherently a bad thing. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 04:25, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
    I freely admit to my somewhat biased viewpoint here, but that doesn't really change the fact that I support the idea that the "mark all edits as minor" option is a bad idea. They may be closely related subjects (they both center on the minor edit flag, at least), but their definitely not the same topic. We're realistically not going to get the minor edit flag removed, so even asking for that would just be silly. Rather then tilting at windmills though, removing the "mark all as minor" option at least minimizes the damage. I understand the minor utility that yourself and Whitehorse1 see in properly using the option, but it ignores the overwhelming (as far as I can tell, at least) misuse which it sees, and that's why I support removing it. The simple fact that the option causes fights is enough for me to support it's removal, when balanced against the very minor utility it affords to those who may occasionally properly use it.
    — V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 09:13, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
    Let's pretend you like the television series Doctor Who. It doesn't matter if you truly do or not, let's pretend. Because you like the show you have all the episode-set articles watchlisted, or at least a healthy bunch of them. You probably intend to work on them sometimes, or just enjoy further improving or reviewing other edits on them.
    One day, a user makes a minor change to one. It's an improvement in its own small way, yet far from earth shattering. Then they make a similar change to another of the episode-set articles, and another, then another. They seem to be working through each one, or at least those before its 2005 relaunch, maybe from this list?
    Although they might include other small fixes in each edit—whitespace, the odd typo, for the most part the edits are that same minor change. Your interest in and possibly fondness for the show means each one shows up in your watchlist. And, since there's in the region of 150 of the articles, it takes up a lot of space there!
    You might've been interested by the first edit enough to take a look at the diff. Maybe even the second. By the tenth time, not so much. But you're on your watchlist page. At the top, near the 'go' button you have links to hide your own edits, anon or all logged-in users, and bots. None of those help much with your suddenly-cluttered watchlist page. It's a fair amount of articles, but at 150ish hardly bot level; the edits're probably a onetime thing as well. This one day though, you're in luck. The user apparently endeavors to be less about 'the I and the me', more about 'the us and the we': they've marked all the edits minor. That means you're able to click the link at the top to hide minor edits, and they disappear. You can see other edits to those articles easily, staying up to date with them, as well as to unrelated articles more clearly, now that you've switched off the watchlist flood. –Whitehorse1 04:49, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
    How many pages from the same topic do you have on your watchlist? How many edits have you ever seen on your watchlist from the same editor? Assuming that an editor just happens to edit every single page from this group, the number of edits from the same editor cluttering up your watchlist is exactly equal to the number of pages from the same topic. I don't think that number would be huge. Additionally, the only thing a watchlist is good for is telling that a page has been altered since you last looked at it. If you're taking responsibility for the article and you want to make sure that no bad edits are slipping through, you don't use the dif link from the watchlist. You have to look at the page's history. From this view it is a trivial matter to ignore edits from established editors with a low probability of being "bad." Minor edits are not hidden on the page's history. AzureFury (talk | contribs) 06:27, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
    Most people just don't, and won't, use the minor edit option for those edits, though. I could argue that their not "minor" at all, anyway. Like I said above, there's no standard for what is or isn't a "minor edit", and any attempt to create one is a fool's errand anyway since edit summaries are non-editable. What you're describing here is a fundamental problem with watchlists, which would benefit from some developer time, imagination, and work, but I don't see how that addresses the problems with intentional misuse of the "mark all edits as minor" option.
    — V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 09:20, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
    Err, there is a rule for what is minor in WP:MINOR: "typographical corrections, formatting and presentational changes, rearrangement of text without modification of content". In practice I, and probably all of us, use the history rather than looking at the watchlist diff, but the idea behind minor is sound and screening noise and content changes is something that needs to be done. If we could trust that minor edits were being screened out responsibly (as defined above), these could be dropped from the watchlist for some people. It would be nice to implement some standard diff tags in addition to minor, such as "add reference", "remove references", "tone", "unsourced content", ect. Also, these should be editable - if someone wrongly tags an edit as minor, the database should be correctable. "Corrected" in itself could be a diff tag. II | (t - c) 10:29, 28 February 2010 (UTC)

Azure, the people who abuse the "minor" tag to "put something by" other editors need to be disciplined. Admins should be able to revoke the privilege. Fact is, there are lots of people who have pages watchlisted but are not religiously checking all edits. The minor edit helps them ignore noise, which is always a good thing. I don't know whether the preference needs to be taken out, but minor has an objective definition per WP:MINOR: "typographical corrections, formatting and presentational changes, rearrangement of text without modification of content". I don't know whether the option preference needs to be taken out, but the minor rule does need to be enforced. II | (t - c) 10:24, 28 February 2010 (UTC)

Comment: I think it could be allowed for bots (with approval) if their tasks really are to do minor edits.Jinnai 23:45, 28 February 2010 (UTC)

Yeah, I stopped checking bot edits awhile ago. Another thing, the only reason anyone ever catches a bad faith editor marking non-minor edits as minor is because people are checking the minor edits. AzureFury (talk | contribs) 01:07, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Comfortable with removal In theory it's useful to distinguish major and minor edits, or self-correction to existing edits where nothing substantial is being added. In practice all edits need scrutiny and minor edits cannot be skipped or treated as "less significant" without checking them anyway. Because use of "minor" varies so widely, one cannot ever assume that minor edits are indeed insignificant or trivial. That said, if there was a way for standard semi-automated tools (spellcheckers, link fixers etc) to tag their edits as "automated task" I'd endorse that, because those edits really are mostly ignorable. (Sadly even this is questionable, we'd probably see vandals tagging their edits this way to reduce the chances of being noticed.) Overall a nice conceptual idea in page history, but unsure if it "pays its way". FT2 (Talk | email) 14:15, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Keep but add warning Keep it but add a warning to make sure users don't use it arbitrarily. Or remove it and let the users who need it use monobook.js for this.ManishEarthTalkStalk 06:51, 7 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Remove, except for bots with limited functions, just as Jinnai suggests. I agree with FT2 that it is useful in theory if one is doing a string of minor edits, or if everything one does is primarily minor edits, but that it is too liable to misuse and even to abuse. Legitimate uses of it can be handled by inclusion of marking an edit as minor in various semi-automated tools, where we can and do control who is permitted to use them. DGG ( talk ) 19:47, 7 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Keep this tool, oppose removal, as I use this myself when making humdrum repetitive minor edits without the benefit of an automated tool like AWB. Any WP tool can be used for vandalism; that doesn't mean these tools aren't useful for many editors. Firsfron of Ronchester 19:56, 7 March 2010 (UTC)
  • comment I was one of the first responders, and I said I "tended to agree" with the proposal. On reflection, I do have to say that I'm not a big fan, in general, of putting arbitrary barriers in the way of things that people are allowed to do ("you can mark all your edits minor if you want, but you have to do it by hand".) Just the same I think there is a nontrivial problem with editors that have this option on, and I don't know whether they've considered it sufficiently. So maybe I agree with StalkManishEarth above — keep it, but add a warning. --Trovatore (talk) 20:13, 7 March 2010 (UTC)

WP:CHILD policy proposal

This was proposed as a policy once back in 2006, from what I understand, but was defeated. The version that failed to achieve consensus was significantly different from the current version, and had called for blocking of any user account found to be in use by a child. I feel that since then, based on seeing its advice invoked on many occasions, that the contents of the current version have become standard practice. Also see Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Protecting children's privacy, where the original version was rejected, but the principles in the current version of the page were upheld.

Since the role of policy is to document accepted practices, I feel the page should be labeled as such. In summary, the main points of the page seem to be:

  • Self-identifying minors editing in good faith are generally required to limit the amount of personal information they reveal on-wiki, and their revelations may get oversighted otherwise.
  • Self-identifying minors who disrupt Wikipedia and are thought to be adults posing as children, projecting a provocative persona and/or deliberately revealing personal information, may be banned on a case-by-case basis.

Let me know if you support this proposal, or if not, what changes (if any) you'd suggest to better suit this being a policy. Thanks. Equazcion (talk) 05:32, 4 Mar 2010 (UTC)

  • I strongly support this proposal. Personally, I wish it extended to cover COPPA laws (non-profit, I know) but there ya go - Alison 07:31, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
  • I too support this. Also, While I agree that having something that covered Children's Online Privacy Protection Act laws would be nice, we must also understand that it only applies persons or entities under U.S. jurisdiction and thus really isn't practical for Wikipedia as a whole. Tiptoety talk 08:02, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
    • There's an argument to be made, Tip, that because WMF and our servers, etc are largely US-based, that it applies. However, COPPA generally only applies to for-profit organizations. Still, some sort of voluntary compliance would be the right thing to do, y'know ... - Alison 09:16, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
  • I don't understand the purpose of this proposal. The policy recommends that each situation mentioned be taken on a "case by case basis," soooo what's the point of having the policy? Of course we block disruptive editors. AzureFury (talk | contribs) 08:03, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
    • What prompted me to propose this was this ANI posting, where someone made the "just an essay" argument. Enforcers of these practices often end up having to explain their rationale and the history of the issue that way since there's no actual policy label yet on any page detailing it. It would be nice to be able to simply point to a policy when someone questions the practice. We pretty much already do this as a matter of course, so the policy label is justified either way. Equazcion (talk) 08:10, 4 Mar 2010 (UTC)
  • "Are thought" and "appear" in a ban policy? And who are "children", exactly? Could you be more specific? NVO (talk) 08:18, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
    • Don't take my summary above as the actual policy proposal; read the page (WP:CHILD) instead. I didn't write it, I'm just proposing that it become policy. I did however write WP:FAQ/Contributing#Is there a minimum age requirement to contribute or register? a long time ago (October 2007), which approximates the age of a minor at under 16, and that seems to have stuck. I'd be alright with inserting a specific age into this policy, I suppose, but I don't really think it's necessary. It's not law; it's Wikipedia policy. The specifics can be left up to the discretion of those handling a particular case. Equazcion (talk) 08:24, 4 Mar 2010 (UTC)
  • Very strong oppose as completely unnecessary and likely detrimental policy. There are two parts to this proposal - blocking disruptive users who are or appear to be children, and oversighting personal information about users who are or who appear to be children. Regarding the first part, disruptive users already can be (and are) blocked, regardless of how old the disruptive user is or what the manner of their disruption is. Codifying something like this will lead to wikilawyering and some users (well intentioned or otherwise) debating whether a particular user is too old to fall under this policy or whether their behaviour is intended to be sexual provocative or whether it is actually sexually provocative. Regarding the second part, oversighting is explicitly and rightly limited to a very select group of users and all uses of it must be in accordance with the WP:OVERSIGHT policy, which lists 5 cases in which it is acceptable. It would appear that what is proposed here is already permitted by case 1, but if it isn't then any changes or extension to when oversight is permissible must be made by consensual modification of the oversight policy, not by other policies dotted around the place. Thryduulf (talk) 12:24, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
    • Thryduulf has exactly the right idea here. Wikipedia:Oversight already permits "Removal of non-public personal information" - do you really want a policy that just says "do what you're already doing, but if it's a child then it's even! more! important!" As for the rest of it, the idea seems to be a very poor attempt at preventing sexual solicitation of children on Wikipedia by codifying the response to a particular tactic. But not only is this type of activity very infrequent (I've never seen it happen), but there's nothing in this policy objective enough to determine what constitutes "a sexually tinged persona." Moreover, this response is likely to affect more users who actually are minors than adults imitating them. I'm not saying there's not some kind of problem here, but a poorly-specified, overbroad response inspired by moral panic will do more harm than good. Dcoetzee 13:27, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
      • Actually, "Do what you always do, but in this circumstance it's super important" sounds like the crux of WP:BLP as well, enacting a zero-tolerance policy on various rules that already exist. --King Öomie 15:20, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Doesn't do anything - the proposal recaps a bunch of stuff that's well stated elsewhere (users can edit anonymously, disclosure of personal info discouraged, immature/disruptive users may be blocked/banned, etc) and concludes that 1/ disruptive users may be banned and 2/ non-disruptive users who post personal information should be warned and personal information by or about minors may be oversighted (which is already a stated norm). People who present as minors tend to be scrutinized anyway; disruptive users tend to be removed and in any case personal information is removed, strongly so for minors. If they don't present as minors then there's no way to tell.

    If this is aiming to document or highlight a norm, the norms are amply documented and adding this page would be "surface dressing" (the norms it discusses already exist elsewhere). If this is aiming to change a norm it's unlikely to do so and a full RFC on editing by minors would be more appropriate. FT2 (Talk | email) 14:27, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

    • To Thryduulf: The disruption being described isn't one that would be readily apparent from other policies. This page defines a different kind of disruption -- someone identifying as a child, acting as in a provocative way, disclosing off-wiki sources of personal information, etc.
    • To him and everyone else: I've described above what the motivation behind my proposal of this is, and it has nothing to do with moral panic. The idea here isn't to be prescriptive, but descriptive of what's already done. I realize of course that the definition of "policy" has become skewed towards including the former, so any attempt at proposing one is seen as a suspected attempt to change practice, but that's not what this is, at least as far as my intentions go. "Doesn't do anything"? You betcha'. It does nothing in the way of changing anything. It just serves to describe what we already do so that people can hopefully understand it. If people are afraid that this would change practice, I'd be open to making changes that remove any implied change of practice, or perhaps making it a guideline instead of a policy, if people would be more comfortable with that.
    • To FT2: As I've said above, more or less, the policies affecting children are currently sufficiently spread out as to require some significant explanation when people ask about how to handle the situation, or ask why we're doing what we do in these situations. Pointing to this page doesn't usually help because it's "just an essay". That's what I'd like to change. Equazcion (talk) 14:45, 4 Mar 2010 (UTC)
In that case its wording can be a lot simpler:
"Wikipedia allows anyone capable of doing so appropriately to edit, whether as an IP address, under a pseudonym for anonymity (encouraged), or under almost any other name they choose. Anyone of any age can edit Wikipedia, however users who are disruptive or incapable of editing an encyclopedia will usually be removed. Posting of personal information is discouraged and users who self-disclose as minors will usually have such information removed by Oversight as soon as it is noticed. There is a zero tolerance policy of pedophilia-related advocacy or other inappropriate interaction attempts by editors. In cases of concern over solicitation please contact the Arbitration Committee; to remove personal disclosures please request oversight, and for users whose self-representations or other conduct are a concern please request administrator assistance."
"Other pages cover handling of harassment and threats of harm (including self-harm). Inappropriate user page content can be removed or the entire page discussed for deletion, pages that attack people can be deleted on the spot, and users who attack others can be warned, blocked or banned."
FT2 (Talk | email) 15:03, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
I'd reword the "pedophilia" bit as it might be misunderstood to include content or content discussions. Something like "predatory behavior" maybe. The intolerance of actual pedophilia advocacy on Wikipedia doesn't really have anything to do with how children are treated, just how adults talking about children in a certain manner are treated, which seems outside the scope of this potential policy. Your wording also lacks the description of a more or less unique type of disruption that's stated in the current page text. I'm going to start a draft subpage so we can try to work something out easier. I'll post a link soon. Equazcion (talk) 15:22, 4 Mar 2010 (UTC)
In principle, make it a "useful information and resources" page. A page of that kind doesn't need to be a policy, it just needs to tell people what's available elsewhere and the norms that they can rely on. If it's proposed to change any norm, then that would be different. FT2 (Talk | email) 15:32, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
I've posted Wikipedia:Child/draft as a possible simpler-language replacement, if people are more comfortable with it. It's an amalgamation of your words and the current page. Feel free to tweak. Equazcion (talk) 15:50, 4 Mar 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose Doesn't solve any problems that aren't already solved. Creep should be avoided. OrangeDog (τε) 19:46, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
    • I don't see this as being a creep concern, because aside from defining a unique form of disruption (self-identifying minors being sexually provocative), it doesn't impose any new specifics. Creep is more about adding extraneous detail, like if there were already a policy on how to deal with children, and then we created another one on how to deal with children who create too many non-notable articles. This page moves in the opposite direction, toward the general, showing how other more specific policies affect children as a whole. Maybe that's just my rationalization centers acting up, though. Equazcion (talk) 20:32, 4 Mar 2010 (UTC)
  • Okay if rewritten as an essay. If this "policy" is rewritten as an essay that describes the history of the issues, points to existing policies, and does not recommend any specific action, then I would support it. Comparisons to BLP are specious - BLP involves the quality of our content and our legal liability for libel. We are not legally responsible for the safety of children on Wikipedia, and need to balance their safety with the need to protect active content contributors from bans and blocks based on false accusations and unfounded fears. Dcoetzee 20:50, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
  • reply to comments upthread. "The disruption being described isn't one that would be readily apparent from other policies. This page defines a different kind of disruption -- someone identifying as a child, acting as in a provocative way, disclosing off-wiki sources of personal information, etc." I still don't see how this is anything other than policy creep -
    • Self-identifying as a child is not, in and of itself, disruptive
    • Someone acting in a provacative way is either doing so disruptively (in which case appropriate action to the disruption is taken) or their provative behaviour is not disruptive (in which case there is no problem, but advice is often given anyway). This applies regardless of the age of the person acting provocatively.
    • People disclosing off-wiki sources of information are either doing so disruptively (in which case appropriate action to the disruption is taken), if they are not they are counselled about and overmuch personal information (or links to such) is already removed per WP:OVERSIGHT. If they are misusing userspace WP:USER covers this as well.
    • Adults identifying as minors either act disruptively (in which case appropriate action to the disruption is taken) or they do not (in which case there is no problem).
  • disruptive users identifying as children and acting provocatively are exceedingly rare - after extensive research I am aware of exactly one instance in 9 years (that which spawned the original, rejected, policy proposal). That one case was adequately dealt with by the policies in place at the time - policies that still exit now and will still work as well as they did that time. Wikipedia is not a social networking site, and anyone using it as such is blocked for disruption - regardless of their age. Thryduulf (talk) 21:24, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Regarding Wikipedia:Child/draft - remove the non-bulleted part of the "Response" section, call the whole thing and essay and note that it is simply stating the facts as they are and I'll be perfectly happy. Thryduulf (talk) 21:24, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
Self-identifying as a child is not, in and of itself, disruptive -- Who said it was?
As for the rest of your points: There's a lower threshold for considering these things as disruptions, such as sexual behavior (but also including reference to off-wiki social sites et al), that can be considered disruptive if it's coming from a child. If an adult makes a playful implied reference to oral sex it's not generally seen as a disruption. If someone who has announced that they're 10 years old did the same, it would be taken differently. The problem isn't necessarily that an actual kid said something like that, but that accounts engaging in that combination of self-identification and a sexually-tinged persona are often not children at all, but are baiting (for any number of reasons), and it's a disruption, as Arbcom pointed out. It of course needs to be determined on a case by case basis, but on the whole it's something worth pointing out to the community. Equazcion (talk) 21:37, 4 Mar 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment: The biggest issue I see with the draft policy is that it seems to treat children and teenagers as the same, when they are not. If it is intended to include everyone who is still a minor the same, then the name of the policy should change to include teenagers/adolescents too. If it is just for children, then some clarity as to what ages the policy applies to. You certainly would not treat people under the age of 13 the same as those in the 13 and older category. Atom (talk) 23:20, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
    • Wow, this is much more difficult that I'd imagined. I figured this would be a slam-dunk. Okay... specific ages don't matter in my mind, as they never have mattered much in the past. There's a gray age line. What matters more is the ratio of immature or provocative behavior to the degree of youth claimed by the user account. We've been practicing this for years, despite it having been an essay all this time (forget about my draft version if you don't like it). I'm just proposing changing the essay tag to a policy tag, since this page details what we always do in every applicable situation, rather than the opinion of one or a few editors. Equazcion (talk) 23:35, 4 Mar 2010 (UTC)
      • As others have said, this simply doesn't happen frequently enough to write policy about. It's happened maybe once. Infrequent situations can be dealt with adequately on a case-by-case basis. Making something policy requires a lot of careful writing to avoid collateral damage and edge cases, and this policy is poorly thought out and full of vague terminology. Maybe you could make a policy out of it, but I don't think it's worth the effort. More useful would be a case study of past cases that we could draw on for precedent and informed decision making. Dcoetzee 00:14, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
        • I was really more interested in the oversighting of good-faith minors' personal info. That's happened a lot. The other part seemed obvious too, and is already in the page, so I figured why not include it. Frankly I'm not sure what people are afraid the current wording would result in, but if it does get taken the wrong way it can always be edited, the same way we continually revise all policies. The careful writing doesn't need to come before the policy tag necessarily, and even so, the focus here should be more on whether the concept has consensus rather than the specific wording found in the current revision. Regarding the concepts themselves in that way, I'm not sure what is so controversial: We delete and oversight personally identifiable info posted by kids, and we have cause to consider banning those who identify as kids but portray a sexual persona. What is the problem? Equazcion (talk) 00:49, 5 Mar 2010 (UTC)
          • I agree with oversighting of personal info of minors (which is already sanctioned by oversight policy and practiced, making this part quite redundant but not actively harmful). The trouble with banning people who "identify as kids but portray a sexual persona" is the potential for widely varying interpretation of these terms. If someone identifies as 16 and has a userbox saying they're homosexual, does that count? If they make edits to the article Penis does that count? If they get angry and tell another user to "blow me" does that count? These would be really stupid reasons for a user (who probably is actually 16) to be banned without so much as a talk page warning. An overbroad policy too often provides an excuse for trigger-happy admins to ignore common sense. Dcoetzee 01:23, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
Before even attempting to make this a policy, it must clearly explain what a "child" is. 17 years, 364 days? 12? 15? Unless we specifically say what a child is, we're going to run into the same problem we just had with editors arbitrarily removing pictures from a User's User page on the unsupported claim that he was a child and should not have his pictures shown, even though nothing on his page indicated that he was a child, nor said what his age is. Woogee (talk) 20:34, 7 March 2010 (UTC)

'NA-importance articles' categories

I can understand why WikiProjects choose to categorize pages within their purview as being of 'High-importance' or 'Low-importance' to them, but what is the purpose of categorizing pages as being of 'NA-importance'. 'NA-importance articles' categories, of which there are currently more than 1,200, are essentially dumping grounds for pages that are not articles or lists (i.e., categories, files, templates, redirects, disambiguation pages, project pages, and portal pages), but I can't understand why they are categorized. So, in this context, I would like to pose two questions:

  1. Is it possible to tweak WikiProject banners so that an importance category is not automatically generated for these types of pages?
  2. If it is possible, then should we do away with the 'NA-importance' assessment class?

Thank you, -- Black Falcon (talk) 06:37, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

Articles that aren't tagged with a recognizable rating get dumped in the "Unknown importance" categories. This includes everything from newly tagged/unassessed articles to articles with typos in the assessment parameters. NA-class allows us to mark pages with, essentially, "I do not plan to assign an importance rating", which moves the pages out of the "I still need to assign an importance rating to this page".
I do a lot of the assessment work for WP:MED, and I would be very unhappy if the ~150 articles awaiting importance assessment were mixed in with the ~1,500 pages that should not receive a top/high/mid/low assessment. WhatamIdoing (talk) 08:00, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
My proposal would not affect any of the subcategories of Category:Unknown-importance articles; rather, it would involve disabling the 'importance' parameter for those classes of pages ("Category", "Template", Portal", and so on) which do not require an importance rating.
In the case of WP:MED, Category:Unknown-importance medicine articles and the article talk pages it contains would be unaffected; Category:NA-importance medicine articles, which consists almost entirely of category, file, and template talk pages, would be the only grouping affected. (By the way, only ~200 unknown-importance pages for a project as large as WP:MED is quite impressive!) -- Black Falcon (talk) 08:22, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
I think it is preferable for all pages to have an importance because then the "total" is correct, for example in the following template:
WikiProject India Articles by importance (refresh)
 Top   High   Mid   Low   NA   ???  Total
315 2,464 10,577 135,363 40,836 8,539 198,094
I really can't think of any advantage in disabling the NA-importance. — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 12:51, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
Even if it is disabled, the problem pointed would remain: there would be no clear way to notice when the assesment is missing because of the article being unassesed, and when it is intended to be that way. Even if not at the "unknown importance", both ones would be mixed toguether. MBelgrano (talk) 14:33, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
If the page has a class rating identifying it as an article or list ("Stub", "B", "List", and so on), or if it has no class rating at all, then the standard "This article has not yet received a rating on the project's importance scale" message would be displayed and the page would be placed in the appropriate Unknown-importance articles category until: (1) someone adds a class rating identifying the page as being something other than an article or a list, thereby removing the need for an importance assessment, or (2) if the page is an article or list, someone adds an importance assessment. The only situation wherein mixing might occur is if a non-redirect and non-disambiguation article or list was intentionally left unassessed, but I can think of no reason for that to happen. -- Black Falcon (talk) 20:08, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
I'm with MSGJ here - this proposed solution hasn't presented a legitimate problem to be solved. –xenotalk 15:04, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
There is no problem as such, but rather an inquiry regarding the utility of 'NA-importance articles' categories. Martin, could not the total be obtained using {{Articles by Quality}}, and are there other templates where a discrepancy in the number of pages by importance rating would cause an issue? Thanks, -- Black Falcon (talk) 20:13, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
Wikiprojects generally want to include items like a template in the pages they deal with. Templates like {{Chess diagram}} and {{Infobox chess player}} are relevant to Wikipedia:WikiProject Chess and it's natural to include them as they do relate to the articles. The question then becomes once you've decided to categorise it, how it is best to do so? The Top/High/Mid/Low importance are meant for articles and have little meaning to a template. Putting them in the unassessed ??? is really unhelpful because this is a place you want to see the occurance of new unassessed article. So instead they are allocated into "NA" section. SunCreator (talk) 16:36, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
Yes, but I am not suggesting that they be put in the unassessed category. Since (as you say) importance ratings are meant for articles, I am suggesting that non-articles should not be placed in any importance category. WikiProjects can continue to include items like templates and assess them as 'Template-class' without assigning an importance rating. See Portal talk:Aviation/Selected Aircraft/23 for an example of what I have in mind: the article is assessed as Portal-class (i.e., non-article) and an importance category is simply not generated. -- Black Falcon (talk) 23:58, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
Aviation WikiProject don't use importance at all, but it's an interesting idea. I removed the importance from Portal:Chess[9] with the result that it still stays in the NA-importance category(a surprise as I thought it would go back to unassessed). I can see where your coming from with the idea of tweaking the WikiProject banners so it goes no where, but what would happen in case of error, for example importance=best or a typo? SunCreator (talk) 00:29, 7 March 2010 (UTC)
I tested this (using "Show preview") on a couple of pages tagged with different project banners, and specifying an invalid importance parameter value (e.g., "Loew" instead of "Low", or "Best" instead of "Top") results in the page being placed in the appropriate Unknown-importance {topic} articles category. {{WPBannerMeta}} seems to be designed to recognize and add categories only for certain valid responses, and any invalid response results in the "unknown" category being added. If my suggestion is implemented and pages such as categories and templates are made automatically exempt from importance assessments, then specifying an incorrect importance value or specifying no value at all would make no difference as long as the page is correctly assessed as 'Category-class' or 'Template-class' (since an importance category would not be generated for these classes of pages). -- Black Falcon (talk) 21:02, 7 March 2010 (UTC)

Censorship and Servers

I've always been a bit worried that Wikipedia could be censored for real. Wikipedia is subject to US (and, I guess Florida) law because its servers are located in Florida.

Let's say Congress passed a law making it illegal to "cause others to view the American government with contempt" during (say) a string of terrorist attacks on US airplanes around the world. (A similar law was passed in WWI; see the Sedition Act of 1918.) Would the trustees be forced to bring down or drastically alter thousands of current articles, when presented with a federal injunction?

Would Wikipedia, if it had existed in the 1970's, have been allowed to report fully on the Pentagon Papers (including the classified material) while its injunction was being appealed, even though the NY Times was not? Could the US government enjoin us right now from publishing certain articles that provide "expert advise or resources" to terrorist organizations under PATRIOT III?

Sometimes I wish that Wikipedia's servers were spread all over the world, so that that the action of any one government could not overturn the independence of Wikipedia's consensus. What if Wikipedia's servers just happened to be located in China?

Comments, criticisms, opinions? --RoyGoldsmith (talk) 17:13, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

I think on the sad day that we surrender our right to free speech, editting on Wikipedia will be the least of our worries. AzureFury (talk | contribs) 17:23, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
It isn't just a matter of protecting the content; the non-profit organization that runs Wikipedia, the Wikimedia Foundation, needs to be secure as well. Civil liability is a much greater threat to the Foundation than criminal prosecution in the Western World (given the last 100 years of cultural change and free speech jurisprudence); libel and copyright infringement are very real threats, and those claims are much easier to win on in certain countries than in the U.S. So spreading Wikimedia servers throughout the world would probably just have the detrimental effect of making the Foundation vulnerable to local laws and courts in multiple jurisdictions. If you can get at the owner, it's much easier to get at what they own regardless of where that property is. The best way to protect the content is to encourage more unaffiliated content mirrors. postdlf (talk) 19:11, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
Mirrors are good, but the central servers that facilitate editing are the hub of collaboration. Without ongoing collaboration, Wikipedia is no longer a living document and its value is greatly diminished. It's a good idea, therefore, to put the servers in a jurisdiction that provides great freedom of expression. The United States, despite some erosions of freedom, is still in the top tier of freedom, and therefore is not such a bad server location. The laws on fair use are particularly helpful. Ideally, of course, we would want to put the servers in a country that does not recognize intellectual property at all, and that has no legal prohibitions on distribution of libel, hate speech, child pornography, etc. but I'm not sure such a country exists, with the possible exception of anarchies like Somalia. But can the necessary physical security, communication infrastructure, and system administration talent be procured in Somalia? Hmm. Tisane (talk) 21:46, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
There are worse places to locate your servers. US seams fairly tollerant towards free speach. I do not support anarchism as in allowing child pornography etc. US is a bit overrestriced towards nudity and some other issues in general though[10] ;-) Arnoutf (talk) 21:54, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
I've made the argument before that allowing limited forms of child pornography would be helpful in illustrating certain articles - for example on medical conditions that affect the genitals of children. The need to follow US law does constrain our ability to be as informative as we would like to be, not generally not by a lot, unless they attempt to start enforcing local obscenity and vulgarity laws. Dcoetzee 23:05, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
I absolutely agree that we should keep our principal, editing servers here. But could you make the argument that it would be cost-effective (if somewhat more expensive) to locate some of those servers outside the United States? I'm thinking about places like Holland and Australia and Japan and Bangalore but there may be lots more. The main point is to have maybe five to ten relatively small locations in different countries with different politics. Wikipedia long ago became international and there is no reason why our servers shouldn't reflect this.
I would like to see enough servers located all over the world so that no government could dictate to us. If the United States passed another version of the Sedition Act of 1918, I would want our board to have the option, in the extreme, of locating somewhere else. If the servers in Florida were down for a significant period of time for any reason, say due to a massive hurricane/power-failure or a madman-bomber, how long would it take to restore Wikipedia, even if editing was incredibly slow? With the right network topography and about half a dozen nodes, it could be done automatically. --RoyGoldsmith (talk) 23:13, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
Dcoetzee, medical images are not pornography. Don't be sloppy in your use of language, please, if only for your own sake. Just because some disturbed people might find medical images of children sexually arousing doesn't make them pornography. Fences&Windows 00:55, 7 March 2010 (UTC)
The problem is that one has to balance the cost of doing something like that with the likelihood that it will actually be necessary. You would need quite a few servers in each location to restore even a read-only site. You would also need a high-speed link between each node and the main servers, to keep the database copies up to date. Note that there is a backup copy of the database in Amsterdam (used for the Toolserver), but its nowhere near enough to completely run the site. Mr.Z-man 01:23, 7 March 2010 (UTC)
I didn't mean all at once. But Wikipedia is still doubling its size every year or two. What if the next 10 servers that we buy/rent were installed in, say, Bangalore? What would be the cost of maintaining them there, including leasing bandwidth, etc. at India's rates, compared to Tampa, in which I assume we're getting a hefty volume discount. It might be cheaper in Bangalore. The real, ongoing costs would be in personnel: the network gurus on this side of the pond having to deal with a subnode half a world away.
But I still think it may be worth it. We might have the multi-node system described above in 5 years. But I agree with Z-man: it really depends on just how paranoid we are. --RoyGoldsmith (talk) 04:15, 7 March 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I'm not sure about censorship, but Wikipedia should have a contingency plan. The servers may be strong against hackers, but one hurricane and all of that work is gone, including backup. We should have atleast a backup server on the other side of the planet. Even better if it was a server which was immediately updated to mirror the main server, so that people on the other side of the planet get a faster connection to WP and the Tampa server has less load. (Editing should be redirected to Tampa, though, so that we don't have lagged edit conflicts) ManishEarthTalkStalk 04:40, 7 March 2010 (UTC)

The problem is that you would need (a lot) more than one server or even 10. I think the sever cluster in Amsterdam has over 2 dozen severs (not counting servers that are only used for the toolserver), and all it does is serve as a database backup and as a frontend cache for European users. Mr.Z-man 17:56, 7 March 2010 (UTC)

Comment Practical concerns aside, does anybody in here believe we're not going to be P2P-hosted in a few years? Paradoctor (talk) 01:14, 7 March 2010 (UTC)

I don't, mainly for the practical reasons. Mr.Z-man 01:23, 7 March 2010 (UTC)

user credit on article space in Cologne War

This discussion the vpp consensus refers in part to a user name credit in article space. Although the translation in question is from German to English, surely a simple matter that anyone who reads both languages can do, it is not quite so simple. The material that was translated is "verifiable" in that it is in published works, but it is written in an old form of German and in an old script. Furthermore, the material, although included in some electronic texts, is not widely available (4-5 copies in libraries and not globally available on the internet). The user who translated is fluent in German (says on his user page), as well as other languages. Several people have removed the credit, but I reverted it. Why didn't someone contact me, especially when I kept reverting it? Anyone who actually examined what was being taken out, put back and taken out, and by whom, could see that the translator is an established wikipedia with the proper credentials for specialized translation. If the people removing the link did not realize that it was a specialized translation, then perhaps a note to either me or the other user would have been appropriate, rather than simply high-handedly removing the credit. It seems to me that vpp consensus was reached in a vacuum, rather than with the facts. I strongly disagree with removing this: This is a highly specialized translation of a published source but I'm willing to compromise on this. I will discuss this with him and we will probably put something related to it on the talk page instead. However, in the meantime, until we get that done, please leave it. I will remove the translation credit when we've fully documented the translation on the talk page. Auntieruth55 (talk) 16:50, 7 March 2010 (UTC)

Userspace followups:
Jayren466: "we can simply delete the in-article attribution. Talk page attribution is not required either."
Moonriddengirl: "that's kind of an odd one, and completely contrary to Wikipedia:Signatures.... I don't find the argument that the translation was tricky convincing, even if true: we don't have contributors sign particularly brilliant prose in featured articles. The fact that it was a brilliant translation wouldn't seem to merit an exception. :) As long as you are credited in the edit history, as well all are, I don't see why you would need to be singled out."
Moonriddengirl: "She was completely correct to attribute you; just it should be done in edit summary."
It's interesting you are complaining about not being notified, but you didn't notify me about any of the four discussions on this either. tedder (talk) 00:29, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

Oversighting of User:JPatrickBedell

It appears that the userpage User:JPatrickBedell was oversighted, and that, based on a look at this mirror, the situation did not meet any of the criteria set out in WP:OVERSIGHT for suppression, i.e. Removal of non-public personal information; Removal of potentially libelous information; Removal of copyright infringement; Hiding of blatant attack names on automated lists and logs; or Removal of vandalism. While the Wikimedia Foundation has unquestioned editorial authority over the site, I think it is good policy to reserve oversighting for only those cases that meet the criteria above, in order to preserve the open culture of the wiki.

If there was any objectionable content, editing, blanking or at most deletion would have sufficed. But I am not sure there was even anything particularly objectionable per our guidelines on userpages. Some people have interpreted his comments on his userpage as a suicide note leading up to the 2010 Pentagon shooting, especially in light of his comment about being "determined to see that justice is served in the death of Colonel James Sabow." But that could have been a reference to the successive deletion debates on the James E. Sabow article, particularly when Bedell's own philosophy of "transwikianism" (the wiki editing philosophy that views the effect on the Real World of wiki information as a primary consideration when editing) is taken into account. Further, we have no reason to believe that his account was compromised or that it was created by an impostor.

While I realize that, given the recent tragedy, emotions may be running high in reference to this matter, it is times like this that it is most important to adhere to our standards, lest we be viewed as hypocritical about our philosophy of transparency and openness. Tisane (talk) 21:29, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

Possible misuse of the oversight tool should be reported to the audit subcommittee which handles that class of inquiries. That being said, my personal assessment of that suppression is that it is reasonable given the significant harm it may cause to the editor's family and the possible legal implications of its contents. I would not restore that user page without advice from the Foundation Counsel. — Coren (talk) 03:22, 7 March 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict)I don't know that it needed to be oversighted, but there's nothing there that Wikipedia needs for the purpose of writing an encyclopedia, and there's absolutely the potential for great harm to Wikipedia's reputation and encyclopedic purpose if we continue hosting the manifesto of a notorious and deceased individual. The particular technical means for removing it aside, there was no reason to continue providing that page for public gawking. Gavia immer (talk) 03:24, 7 March 2010 (UTC)
The former contents of that user page can be seen elsewhere on the Internet. I could provide a source, but I didn't feel that would be appropriate because then it would cancel out the oversighting. SMP0328. (talk) 03:53, 7 March 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. Userpage content isn't really important, except for interaction. He can't edit anymore, so the userpage content is no longer important. Anyways, we don't need to host anything controversial, especially stuff like this. ManishEarthTalkStalk 04:50, 7 March 2010 (UTC)
User:JuJube can't edit anymore either, but we keep his userpage. Although Wikipedia is not a memorial, Wikipedia is a community and there's nothing wrong with memorializing our dead (hence the existence of WP:DECEASED). No matter what Bedell did in the outside world, he was an editor in good standing when he passed. Further, there's nothing on his userpage that's beyond the pale; he just voices some background and opinions, and there is no overt threat expressed that would have been deletable or blockable per our threat policy. Lastly, the ethics of his action are a matter of debate, especially for those familiar with Rothbardian views on guerrilla warfare. Let's not proceed down the slippery slope of oversighting stuff just because it's controversial. We should delete if we must, but avoid oversighting unless it meets the very specific and limited criteria set out in policy. Oversighting is just too susceptible to abuse because of the limited group of people with access to it, and we should draw a bright line. Accordingly, I went ahead and filed a complaint with the audit subcommittee. Tisane (talk) 11:07, 7 March 2010 (UTC)
A better precedent than JuJube would be Bruce Ivins's userpage, which is also deleted, though not oversighted. And any talk about his ethics being "a matter of debate" ignores the fact that Wikipedia is not the place to debate them, apart from the appropriate discussion of particular article contents. That's what I mean by "harm to Wikipedia's reputation" above: if we become a place to argue about extremist politics and what amongst that should be preserved against "censorship", then it will seriously damage our ability to also be a neutral encyclopedia - which is the only thing we should be. Gavia immer (talk) 21:02, 7 March 2010 (UTC)
If the guy did post something with serious legal implications (like a threat, suicide note, etc.) it makes sense to oversight the last few revisions. (And given the severity of the situation, it's forgivable if in the heat of the moment the oversighter did the whole thing instead of the bad revisions only.) But as the older copies of his userpage are widely available and known to be innocuous, it's probably in the project's best interest to restore the known innocuous revisions. Oversight is a very important tool, but needs to be used carefully, and mistakes corrected, so that the community can keep their trust in it. Fran Rogers 01:23, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
 Done by Dominic: it's now back to admin-level deletion, which is the usual precedent in cases like this (cf. Bruce Ivins, as mentioned above). A good decision, in my opinion. Fran Rogers 20:24, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
Considering how widely available the actual page contents are now, there wasn't anything actually being suppressed by the "suppression" here, so that's plainly reasonable. It ought to stay deleted nonetheless, of course. Gavia immer (talk) 20:35, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

RfC on Temporary Autoblocking of vandalism only IP addresses

The RFC is progressing here ▒ ♪ ♫ Wifione ♫ ♪ ▒ ―Œ ♣Łeave Ξ мessage♣ 19:38, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

Wikinews... is our current consensus outdated?

Please opine at WT:IRS#RFC on Wikinews as a reliable source. The short version is that we need to re-establish exactly what our current consensus is, due to some recent changes at Wikinews. Blueboar (talk) 22:32, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:NS6 has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:NS6 (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been edited to mark it as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

This was the result of broken redirect syntax, which I've now fixed. Gavia immer (talk) 02:07, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

Image credits in footnotes?

Hi all,

I've perused a few of the earlier discussions about image credits in captions, and while I find the arguments unconvincing, I can at least see where their proponents are coming from. Essentially, the argument goes something like "allowing credits in captions will add clutter and could potentially make wikipedia articles seem like advertising for the image creators.

The move to banish all credits to image description pages seems to me to violate several important tenets of wikipedia style: (1) articles should be self contained (2) article content should be verifiable (3) wikipedia should honor both the letter and spirit of free content licenses (4) wikipedia policies should be follow a consistent set of foundational principles.

To this end, I propose allowing articles to add photo credits in footnotes. This avoids all of the stated problems (clutter, promotion), while keeping articles self contained and verifiable (many users do not know that images are clickable, at least that I've witnessed), making them viable as printable (rather than only screen) documents, and crediting photographers concerned with proper attribution (for instance, as implied by the spirit of CC-BY type licenses).

This brings the citations for images in line with citations for quotations, numerical data, other facts, and even ideas and interpretations used in article text. Adding image creator credits to footnotes is unlikely to be enough incentive for users to add spammy images as self-promotion, and balances the goals of professional clutter-free encyclopedia writing and proper ethically proper credit for image creators.

I'm putting this same text at Wikipedia talk:Captions#Image credits in footnotes.3F, which seems like the appropriate place for the discussion, since several previous discussions of image credits took place there. (As far as I can tell, both numerical majorities and prevailing arguments in all the discussions I've seen have favored crediting image creators, while defenders of the status quo have mostly argued on the basis of "this is already settled, you punks." but that's neither here nor there).

Once again, I suggest directing discussion here

Thanks for your consideration,
jacobolus (t) 05:08, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

Add a speedy deletion criterion for files uploaded by a copyright infringer

Jumamuba (talk · contribs) vandalized Wikipedia by posting many copies of copyrighted images - about 50 over two months. This is 25 copies per month; on average, about ten every two weeks. Many of these copies were with false licensing information, claiming that he took the pictures, when in reality, he stole the pictures from forums (of course no source information there) such as

I propose that if a user is known to have likely falsely claimed at least one file as his own, and has been blocked for copyright infringement, then all files he uploaded within one month of the falsely claimed file(s) with an "own work" declaration may be speedily deleted immediately. Evidence for false claims of ownership can be established in a WP:FFD discussion. If a user does not want his files deleted, he should not falsely claim any of them as his own and lose the implicit trust of the community that he will respect copyright. Unfortunately, the current situation is that it takes, according to policy, at least seven days, to get a file deleted because of questionable permission or source info. PleaseStand (talk) 02:32, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

On Commons this comes up all the time. Standard procedure is to just nominate all the affected images at once in one mass deletion. We do sometimes just unilaterally delete additional images by the same uploader discovered later. It's worth having a deletion discussion because often a user thought to be a serial copyvioer actually uploaded a mix of copyvios and personal images. Dcoetzee 23:59, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the suggestion, as one file (Commons) has already been identified as public domain and salvageable. I have started a broader PUF discussion for all his contributions. By the way, I suspect the user has a sockpuppet, and so does Commons. PleaseStand (talk) 02:22, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

Rollbacker Question

Is it proper or within policy for a rollbacker to rollback his or her own user/talk page after a vandal hit, or should said editor refer elsewhere for help ? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mlpearc (talkcontribs)

No problem about using rollback in that situation. Fut.Perf. 17:35, 7 March 2010 (UTC)
Thank you Mlpearc MESSAGE 18:04, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

Listings of a vanished user

I've been going through CAT:FFD, and finding several images where the original listing had been overwritten due to a bug in Twinkle. I've been relisting these, and linking back to the edit where Twinkle overwrote the nomination. If the original nomination (possibly from 2008) was made by a user who had since vanished, should I remove/change the sig in the relisting, in order to help keep the user "vanished"? (It will still be visible in the diff which I link to) עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 06:51, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

PROD for books

Proposed deletion (books), an adaptation of the PROD process for Wikipedia-Books has been proposed. Feedback and comments would be appreciated. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 20:26, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

Popular Science

Popular Science magazine has posted their entire 137-year archive, all hosted on Google Books. In the bottom right corner of each page image is, in gray text, the phrase "Copyrighted image", even on old magazines that have fallen into the public domain, like the March 1905 issue I have open in another browser window here. A scan of the original magazine wouldn't have been marred by this, and in the US, the "Copyrighted image" claim is incorrect, per the court ruling that a photograph of a public domain work of art isn't copyrightable. (See Copyfraud.) My question: When I grab full page scans of the old copies of this magazine that have fallen into the public domain, is it considered a "best practice" to use image editing software to simply remove the "Copyrighted image" text? Is it acceptable to just upload the image to en with the "Copyrighted image" text intact, even though this is incorrect and may in the future cause editors to waste time debating whether the image is or is not copyrighted and subject to deletion? (I ask whether it's acceptable because it takes time an effort to hack the text out of every image.) And, finally, does anyone have a link to a Google Books page where I can just grab the highest-res PNG or JPG file of a particular page without having to use their clumsy, awful reader with the scroll arrows and zoom magnifying glass icons? I don't really want to have to take 10 screen captures and stitch them together just to assemble a single page. Comet Tuttle (talk) 07:23, 7 March 2010 (UTC)

I think you want to know about Wikisource:Popular Science Monthly. Paradoctor (talk) 10:45, 7 March 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the pointer. After browsing for a bit, it looks like that project so far has a tiny subset of the magazine, so my question stands. Comet Tuttle (talk) 15:24, 7 March 2010 (UTC)
As long as they are indeed public domain, you are quite within your rights to crop off or otherwise remove text. Whether you should, well, that's up to you. As for getting other copies of them, sometimes Google provides a "download as PDF" (or somesuch) button; you may also want to try - Jarry1250 [Humorous? Discuss.] 17:45, 7 March 2010 (UTC)
There are some complicated legal questions lurking in this area, which I'd be curious to hear informed commentary on. Suppose I publish a book of photos, and included are some public domain photos. Clearly I have copyright on the work as a whole, even if not on the PD photos individually. Are you allowed to copy the PD photos from my copyrighted book? What if I've modified them before publishing them? How much modification is needed before I can assert copyright on the modified version? --Trovatore (talk) 21:52, 12 March 2010 (UTC)
Reprinting public domain materials does not give you a new copyright in them, so you can always copy a public domain photo from wherever you find it. Even a book entirely composed of public domain materials may have a copyright in that particular compilation--in your selection and arrangement of them--but that would just prevent you from copying the book exactly as is and keeping it in the same arrangement. As far as "how much modification," 10 lbs worth. It's really not a meaningful question in the abstract, beyond answering that the modifications have to be "creative" or "original" in some way; these things always have to be discussed case by case. postdlf (talk) 22:09, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

Citing evidence of an occurrence within subject.

A bit of a debate is rising on the article One shot (music video) numerous videos have been added to the list without citations. Some of these have been added in error because they give the appearance of one continuous shot when in fact the shot changes are well hidden (this has been made easier using modern techniques, though Alfred Hitchcock also did it for Rope (film) in 1948) a lot of these have unreliable secondary/tertiary sources claiming they are "One Shot" but little or no reliable evidence either way.

Now when recently removing some of these to clean the article up, I was asked to provide citable references that they were *not* one shot which I could do for two of the videos. I also added a section explaining why they were not One Shots. The problem now exists that for many there is no academic study/analysis of this field from which a secondary source can be drawn. I did attempt to cite the Primary Source (including the Timecode of the cut) but this has been removed by another editor - citing this reference as "Original Research" because the cut may not be apparent to a casual viewer.

This leads to a rock and a hard-place; if the references stay in we get further tertiary sources taken from Wikipedia. If we remove them entirely they simply get them re-added.

So the question of Wikipedia Policy Remains, is it/should it be acceptable to cite the event within the primary source when there is a lack of secondary sources? I asked the question of do we require a secondary source to cite that Moby Dick begins with the words "Call me Ishmael"? Or do we require to assume a certain level of ability on the part of the reader - i.e; citing the Timecode is not enough because it requires a certain level of technical knowledge to understand what is being seen. A similar literary equivalent might be House of Leaves where the Editor has cited sections of the book which contain Codes but a request for further citations has been made.

My personal opinion is that in either case these videos need to be identified to prevent further error, even if a reliable secondary source cannot yet be found. Then marking the video as Citation Needed or Citing Timecode will encourage further editors to search for sources in places I have't even thought to look for them - or possibly encourage reliable third parties to carry out the required research so that a subsequent editor can cite their work.

Thoughts, additions and comparisons? Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 10:41, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

In this particular case you could try pointing out that they've got it the wrong way round. Under WP:V it's up to them to provide citations to show they are OSVs, not for you to show they aren't. Peter jackson (talk) 11:17, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
Peter, I agree but I'm Pre-Empting a wave of errant secondary sources being cited. For instance the OK Go video This too shall pass was the one that led me to start editing this article. I noticed it only because Edgar Wright declared it OSV when it clearly wasn't; it was one that I was able to cite Damian Kulash from the band themselves as proving it was not one shot - but if Damien had not been citable; Edgar could have been cited as an errant Secondary Source. For the other video for the song, "The Marching Band" there is a cut that is clear to anyone versed in editing but there are errant secondary sources that claim is OSV yet no secondary sources to back the opposite position.Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 11:45, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
Then my understanding of policy is that you're not allowed to do anything about it, unless there are so few reliable sources on the topic that it could be deleted. Peter jackson (talk) 18:19, 11 March 2010 (UTC)


I'm on a fact finding mission, and I'm hoping to get some help from the greater wikipedia. WP:ELG, the Exit List Guideline, is a guideline created by User:TwinsMetsFan in September/October of 2006. It was immediately posted as a guideline and part of the manual of style without any (apparent) discussion outside of the one pointed to by the guideline as its basis.

A recently started discussion, which I and a couple others from outside of the United States are questioning, aims to add an amendment to this "guideline". I however, would like to question it's status. This was a guideline discussed by American editors in the American roads wikiproject, and then applied to Wikipedia as a whole as if it were the international standard without ANY discussion outside of the US. As it stands, no project besides the US roads wikiproject, and Canadian road articles created by the members of the US road wikiproject, follows this hidden jem of the manual of style. When I asked that any discussions amending a worldwide guideline be brought up to every road wikiproject that is active, I was refused because it's too tedious. This nullifies the guideline as any sort of non-US standard, and many of the administrators involved in it seem oblivious to the fact that if you aren't discussing this with wikipedia as a whole, it's not a guideline.

I would like to see this demoted as a guideline, and potentially moved from its current title to reflect that it is an American standard. The rest of the world is not going to spell it 'color'. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 16:52, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

It seems like the best thing to do in this case would be to tag it disputed, and start an RfC on the talk page neutrally summarizing while you feel it is not an appropriate guideline. However, as it has been around since 2006 and seemingly undisputed before, it will likely be argued that it has de facto community consensus (many of the guidelines that exist today started in the same fashion around that time). -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 17:07, 12 March 2010 (UTC)
Hmmm. Well, it's time these policies come to light and get decided by something other than a straw poll of a very narrow demographic. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 17:18, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

Request for Comment on BLP

On the closing note it said to start a discussion on WP:VPP concerning the specifics. I am starting this discussion here. Any PROD can be removed by any user? Sapporod1965 (talk) 21:43, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

I believe the discussion is already happening at Wikipedia talk:Sticky Prod workshop --Cybercobra (talk) 22:09, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

Exceptions to Wikipedia namespace restrictions

A case arose recently where an editor with a community imposed restriction was blocked for commenting on an AfD for an article that editor had created. A number of editors felt this block was unwasie and/or unwarranted. I have therefore created Wikipedia:Standard exception to Projectspace limitations after a discussion at WP:ANI#Specific question. Comment is welcome. DES (talk) 00:12, 13 March 2010 (UTC)

Field-specific guidelines

I believe that the points above all easily explain why some concept and baseline for notability is necessary - while not paper, we're not an indiscriminate collection of verifiable information.

That said, understanding that notability as it is treated today as one swing of the pendulum of self-correction on WP is probably a bit too heavy-handed but also a bit too unfocused. I think most editors know how to use notability, but it is clear that most of this inclusist vs deletionist war that's been going on is due to a vicious circle of events that typically start with a heated argument at AFD and lead to ranges of articles being contested. This is often fueled by disagreement for what is appropriate coverage of certain fields relative to other fields (a fact often joked at by the press, which fuels the battles further) - I know one of the biggest is concepts from fictional works (characters, etc.) which some believe are important to be covered but rarely can be covered by secondary sources, thus making the present WP:GNG statement difficult to work with. But this is also true for schools, sports figures, etc.

It is not that notability isn't a bad idea, nor one to be abandoned, but we need to remind people that we a combination of an encyclopedia/gazetteer/almanac - to that end, we should be asking ourselves, first and foremost, what is it that we want to cover, and not the negative of what we don't want to cover. Given any field, we should be able to say "Ok, topics that satisfy these conditions from this field that demonstrate notability within that field should be included", and list out specific criteria that avoid subjection assessments. This may not be possible for some fields, but I think most fields can provide a good swath at appropriate topics that, with reasonable assurance, would be part of the encyclopedia/gazetteer/almanac. To that end, we already have the various sub-notability guidelines (SNGs) that provide that. Failing the SNG then drops you to our next goalline, the general notability guideline, which says that a topic that shows notability via secondary sources should be included. Mind you, many topics that would meet the field-specific guidelines likely would meet the GNG, but this should not be taken as a sign that the GNG is more important. The GNG is the fallback position of a topic doesn't meet its field's guidelines or if the field lacks any guidelines or falls outside of any known field. When viewed like this, this can significant help discussions at AFDs where notability is in play, because we're not talking about the presence of sources but the appropriateness of the topic for WP: if it is notable in the specific field but lacks sources, we should be more open to keeping it than deletion.

The problem we stuck with is this impression - when you read through policies and guidelines and AFDs - that the only good encyclopedic article is one that has third-party, secondary sources. Granted - verification and avoidance of original research and bias are all important, and third-party, secondary sources are a strong way to get there. But that's satisfying the "encyclopedia" part of WP's mission - gazetteers and almanac are works that tend to just cite facts and not attempt analysis or the like. Not every article on WP needs third-party secondary sources to meet WP's mission. That's not to say that we open the door to thousands of articles by allowing primary, first-person accounts as the only sourcing metric, and that's why, again, the field-specific guidelines of what is actually notable should come into play - there may be some topics within a field that should be included even if the sourcing is otherwise not as strong as one that is provided through secondary sources. Failing the field, then the lack of secondary sources will mean the topic fails the GNG, and we likely would not have a separate article on it.

We still need to make sure that field specific guidelines for inclusion are not overly inclusive compared to others. For example, if a guideline says that a one-time cameo fictional character always gets an article, while we exclude an amateur that plays one time at the Olympics through an athlete-field guideline or a single mom-and-pop business through a business-field guideline, we've got a problem. These field guidelines cannot be developed in a vacuum and should be challenged if they are overly inclusive - or overly exclusive too. We also need to realize that not every topic easily shuffles into established fields, or that new fields may become more obvious over time as we work towards this. We still have the GNG for those.

Basically, the "tl;dr" version of the above is simply that we should be asking ourselves, "what do we want to include in WP" instead of always playing the negative "This doesn't belong in WP". We want to assure ourselves we are covering all topics within individual fields well enough to meet the mission of WP, and being overly reliant on the GNG is harmful. (An argument I've had to point out several times is that while the property of having significant coverage is usually the result of something being wikt:notable, it is not true that having significant coverage is what makes something wikt:notable. There is a small but significant gap between GNG-based notable topics and dictionary-definition-based notable topics. We need to find out how to fill that gap, and field-specific guidelines are one way to do so.) --MASEM (t) 16:58, 22 February 2010 (UTC)

This has some merit. But it might be hard to do in practice. That is, a list of included fields could be too long. Maurreen (talk) 17:19, 22 February 2010 (UTC)
A complete switch to this approach is not something to be done overnight. But the framework is there, in how the existing SNGs (like WP:BIO, WP:BK, and WP:MUSIC already are written towards this idea. It would be a gradual change. The only immediate switch is applying to all editors the general understanding that the GNG needs to be treated as the fallback for notability, not the first barrier. --MASEM (t) 17:23, 22 February 2010 (UTC)
That makes sense.
In one of the sub-guidelines, I don't remember which one, is something like "has made a major, lasting, contribution to his field." I think that is a good guideline in general.
The question then would become, "When is a field to small?" But that could be addressed gradually and organically, as you suggest, such as by adding sets of sub-guidelines. Each set of sub-guidelines could be addressed specifically. Maurreen (talk) 18:39, 22 February 2010 (UTC)
Sounds like WP:CREEP to me. I dunno; I always felt our ultimate goal was well-researched articles regardless of the field. Fundamentally, I see Wikipedia as the biggest literature review in existence. Nifboy (talk) 00:16, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
Thank you! Finally someone with brains. (Ok, I'm gushing ;) Paradoctor (talk) 00:39, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
Technically it is not creep as the framework is in place, though yes, as more field-specific guidelines are added, that increases the size, but I don't see that changing the general ways things are done. And while I do agree with you about WP being a literature review, that itself can be conducted, with care, in the absence of secondary sources which is why the GNG should fallback over topic-inclusion guidelines if it is a topic we decide we want to cover. --MASEM (t) 00:49, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, I'm still not reading you right. I see "in the absence of secondary sources" and read it as "in the absence of anything resembling a decent article at all." Then again, I'm most active in a project with a big list of things not to do because GameFAQs, TV Tropes, Wikia et al do them better (see WP:VGSCOPE); those sites are not constrained by things like WP:OR. What Wikipedia does better than any other place on the web is source compilation and summary. The notability guideline emphasizes that, and I like playing to our strengths. Nifboy (talk) 01:15, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
That point of view is starting from the possibly flawed opinion that secondary sources are necessary in a good article. I will content that it is likely difficult, working from non-secondary sources, to make an article as strong as one that is backed by that, but that it is not impossible. The reason I consider this possibly flawed is that what we consider an "encyclopedic" article is so disputed to know if this is consensus or not. I propose that being more open about topics but still alert to indiscriminate incluse, what we include will tell us better what we expect of "encyclopedic" articles. --MASEM (t) 04:24, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
You probably could make a good article, but I don't think it would be a Wikipedia article, if that distinction is at all meaningful. Nifboy (talk) 05:24, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
If we were just an encyclopedia, yes, I argue for what you're saying, but the fact we're more than just an encyclopedia means that we may have articles that don't fit the pattern of an encyclopedia but nevertheless part of what we considered to be covered. --MASEM (t) 05:48, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
We are? And here I thought Wikipedia was just one of many different knowledge bases on the internet, willing to let other projects pick up subject matters where we're weak, typically due to our policies. Nifboy (talk) 06:14, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
We're an encylopedia that anyone can edit, but we're still just an encylopedia. People forgetting this is possibly the single-most cause of drama and conflict here. OrangeDog (τε) 12:30, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
I do agree that where a MediaWiki sister project exists or has the possibility of existing, we should consider moving non-encyclopedic material to there. I also agree we are to be summarizing knowledge, not simply reiterating it, and pointed to reliable sources outside of the Foundation should be encouraged, but that's after we've summarized the topic here. I also point to the difficulty that many editors have resolving the first pillar in what "encyclopedia" means when we have elements of more datum-driven works like almanacs and gazetteers as elements of WP as well. This, in part, is the problem of notability, is that it is a way to drive home one's own opinion of "encyclopedic", when I doubt anyone can say exactly where the consensus stands on what "encyclopedic" quality really is. The bounds of that opinion are likely much narrower than they were 4-5 years ago before notability, but it is still a very fuzzy line and one that we need to be careful of.
That said, even if we take a stronger concept of what we expect a good WP article to be (a point I contend against, but will assume for this discussion), I would still assert that field-specific inclusion guidelines are needed. There are likely topics we want to include because they are in fields that are core to human knowledge, but due to difficulty in getting sources (due to rarity, age, cost, etc.) may not easily be expanded in the short term. It is better to put out the article with what limited verified information we have and hope that anons and other readers can expand it before those sources can get added, than to have no article at all. Eventually we hope that article gets to this "encyclopedic" quality, but there is no need to have it off the bat. That's the benefit of being a continuous work in progress with community additions. --MASEM (t) 15:08, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
It seems to me that Masem is trying to adapt the inclusion guidelines so cater for poorly sourced articles, but no amount of rule changing can make up for poor content. The idea that Not every article on WP needs third-party secondary sources to meet WP's mission is essentially a rejection of inclusion based on good sourcing in favour of questionalble sources. However, Masem forgets that secondary sources are needed as evidence of notability and enable articles to meet Wikipedia's content policies.
The problem with field-specific guidelines is deciding what will be the basis for incluision? There are only two choices available: notability or subjective importance. It seems to me that Masem is proposing the latter, based on the idea that a topic gets its own article if it can "prove" its coverage is of "encyclopedic" quality, but what he really means is that topics can have their own articles based on editorial opinion not veriable evidence of notability.
Masem's proposal for field-specific guidelines amount to little more than special pleading for badly sourced articles that fail WP:NOT. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 12:06, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
Since what is wikt:notable is determined by the subjective measures of mankind, subjective definitions that gain consensus to define field-specific inclusion guidelines seems perfectly acceptable to define those topics, by nature of being an encyclopedia, gazetteer, and almanac, that we absolutely must cover regardless if there is in-depth, secondary sources or not. --MASEM (t) 14:41, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
Except wikt:notable has not really ever been the standard of inclusion. It's been Wikipedia:Verifiability + Wikipedia:Neutral point of view, which Wikipedia:Notability essentially defines the minimum standard for: A single source is not NPOV, it's just one POV. Therefore, we want enough sources to write a half-decent article. The term "notable" is just a word we've appropriated for our own uses, because it's about as close to the concept as we can get without making up words. We do this all the time: Daniel Brandt's article got deleted after 14 attempts for WP:BLP concerns, even though we didn't have a name for BLP yet, much less a policy. Nifboy (talk) 15:52, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
It is possible that a single source - likely tertiary in nature - can be neutral. But this isn't about single sources or the like. This is about understanding that we have two issues in conflict: what we should be including as an encyclopedia/gazetteer/almanac work, and what type of sourcing do we expect at bare minimum an article to show. There is a large fraction of editors (I wouldn't necessary say "majority" necessarily based on past RFCs) that use WP:N to connect these two points. This is not that WP:N is bad - when we get to topics that are not traditionally covered by printed encyclopedias/etc., and thus where we don't know exactly how we should cover something, WP:N provides a good way to make sure the topic can be fairly covered on WP. But, WP:N is a bridge between the two issues and only spans so much. That's why there are people that insist WP:N is rubbish because it is used in a overly-enforced manner to demand sources without considering the first part of this issue, what WP should be covering in the first place. Mind you, this is not diminishing anything about sourcing requirements per WP:V and the need to avoid bias and synthesis in writing articles. This is: if we as editors under consensus expect that people will turn to WP to learn about certain topics from specific fields, we should damn well have some article about it, even if it is basic factual information.
I'm aware this statement is tricky: I know there's been arguments in the past that readers come all the time to learn about fictional characters from WP (judged by view counts) and that deleting these "harms" WP. Which is why it is important to understand that these critical field-specific topics are ones that have global consensus. Maybe the global consensus is that we should have an article on every fictional characters for our readers (I doubt it, just an example). We can't know that under we get over this stigma that WP:N and sourcing is the first barrier for inclusion and in actuality should be the fallback consideration for inclusion after we've tested a topic against field-specific guidelines. I would still argue that knowing the general population of editors that global consensus on field-specific inclusion guidelines will nearly always lead to an topic that can be secondary-sourced, but that needs to be considered a happy circumstance of determining what we should be covering as a combination encyclopedia/gazetteer/almanac. --MASEM (t) 16:12, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
Turning people away because Wikipedia isn't what they think we are/should be is not something new, especially in fiction. I don't know if you were around when webcomics were this huge issue (circa '05) because 99% of their articles were close to what is now CSD criteria. That's just how the field is; there's very little criticism or analysis that goes on outside each individual comics' forums. We spent a freaking long time and an ArbComm case trying to draft inclusion criteria that got in all the webcomics we wanted; it didn't help that the whole thing was kicked off when Websnark (the closest thing to a webcomics "expert") suggested a very lenient inclusion criteria based on archive size. We went over WP:ALEXA and all that other nonsense. It wasn't until something very similar to WP:N came along that I personally realized, "Hey, this is actually rooted in policy! I like it!". Nifboy (talk) 16:41, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
I suspect what Masem is actually proposing when he talks about an encyclopedia/gazetteer/almanac is a comprehensive directory of fictional elements, that would encompass characters and episodes from films, TV shows, comics and other forms of fiction in which backstory is a significant component of a fictional work. In some ways this might be a good idea (it would certainly appeal to fans of fictional charcters for instance), and like a TV guide, a detailed description of every character and episode would be used as reference source by the readership. This is approach used by TV guides or forums such as TV Tome, but there is example is of questionable relevance to Wikipedia.
The one big sticking point with this approach and that is there is not much you can write about a fictional character or a TV episode that is anything but plot summary.
Starting with WP:NOT#PLOT, it is the general consensus that plot summary on its own is not encyclopedic coverage, i.e. plot summary is more immersive than it is informative. It is also the consensus that too great an emphasis on plot summary (particularly fictography) results in an over-reliance on a perspective that is in universe and should be avoided in accordance with WP:WAF. There is also the consensus on Wikipedia that articles should not be split and split again into ever more minutiae of detail treatment, with each split normally lowering the level of notability and giving undue weight to elements of fiction, rather than the works themselves.
On the one hand, I can see where Masem is coming from, but on the other I do not like the implications, for what he is proposing is effectively a watering down of policies and guidelines that have widespread support. I don't honestly know how our opposing prespectives can be reconciled. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 17:18, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
(ec)That's a good example of what field-specific guidelines should not do, and agree with the end result, in this particular case since it is not true that identifying web comics is a core part of being an encyclopedia/gazetteer/almanac. However, this is one case. The cases that we do have today, namely things like every village/town, or every professional sports player, are the ones that call to mind of where there is a need to understand field-specific inclusion guidelines and what these should and should not do. In my opinion, we're in part a gazetteer, so it makes sense to have an article on every village, even if the only source is a government census that identifies the name, location, and that X people live there; on the other hand, while I can argue every sports team and respective seasons should be outlines (as part of an almanac), every individual player is not necessary a topic we should be covering per any part of the mission. But that's my opinion. The point though is that we would need global consensus to determine these and make sure that one field does not try to stack out a larger piece of their field than we've limited other fields to; again, I think most would agree that the present allowance on WP:ATHLETE for any professional athlete of any sport to have an article is much much looser than any other WP:BIO-related allowance.
Realistically, our first shot at any field-specific guidelines need to be short, simple "all-or-nothing" statements; eg: I would doubt anyone would be against assured inclusion of every single country in the world, every single known chemical element, every single President of the US, and so forth. Now, I know that in these examples, every single case likely can be met through normal WP:N standards as well (if they aren't already present and accounted for), but this exercise is for understanding what "field-specific inclusion" guidelines should be bounded by. If we go to biology, for example, is there a certain taxonomic rank where every known classification in that is considered appropriate for inclusion? Given the simple points above for other areas, maybe its not the case that every species should be included, but maybe at least every genus or family. Again, simple, all-or-nothing classifications as a starting point would help this approach and avoid what you've described happened with webcomics. Heck, I'd argue at the initial pass, most contemporary topics would not have such field-specific guidelines until we understand how best to use them (leaving the current SNGs in place until such a time has been determined). --MASEM (t) 17:23, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
And to Gavin, there is a possibly that there could be fiction-based field specific guidelines, but certainly not as an immediate result, nor would I even suspect that such field-specific guidelines would result in ones for every character or every episode (as there's no easy way I can see an "all-or-nothing" inclusion standard that doesn't add a lot of nuances to assure meeting it). Now, you may be speaking the other aspect, which is, once a topic is included, what is appropriate coverage for it, but that's is completely separate from this discourse. This is simply realizing that there are topics that, through global consensus, need to be in the work regardless of sourcing or meeting notability guidelines, and providing high-level field-specific guidelines for those will help the work out in the long run. --MASEM (t) 17:27, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
I can see what Masem is trying to do, but there is just no framework of policies or guidelines to support this approach. All the content policies generally require reliable secondary sources to demonstrate that article content can meet Wikipedia's standards for encyclopedic coverage, and are they are the source of external validation used to settle editorial disputes. Even if he were to create special guidelines, there would be no content polices to support them, and as I have mentioned regarding fictional topics, they would probably conflict with existing policy. I don't see a way to make his proposal work, because of content polices just don't work if you make lots of exceptions to the existing rules. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 18:59, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
No content policy require the presence of secondary sources to justify the presence of an article; verification yes, but this can be through primary or tertiary third-party sources. Now one can of course argue if a topic isn't shown to be notable it should be deleted, but what is notable or what we want to include is what we as the collective group of editors can decide. Which is why if we decide that we allow specific types of topics due to field-specific guidelines to be included because they are part of the core knowledge WP should be coverage, pressing for their deletion because they lack sourcing is inappropriate. But this is important: we have to be set that field-specific guidelines are appropriate to describe what topics we want to cover; if we try to use field-specific guidelines that do not have global consensus, we'll be seeing topics at AFD all the time that may have been included from these. This is why I'm saying that its doubtful that implementing field-specific will, at least initially and until well established, allow for a fiction-relation inclusion guideline because we don't know what these guidelines for core topics of key academic interest would even look like to start with; I would dare not attempt to start this process with an area as heavily contested as fiction. But I don't rule out the possibly that if you set in place field-specific topics for several other academic areas and make sure they work for a long-enough period of time, that eventually we could establish one for fiction.
The problem you're having, Gavin, is putting the "requirement" of sourcing before anything else. Sourcing is important, but WP is based on common sense and good faith editing; good in-depth sourcing is only required for highly contentious statements and for avoidance of editor-claimed synthesis. If someone put forth an article on a topic that has encyclopedic value due to its academic nature (falling into a proposed field-specific inclusion guideline), but no one could easily provide in-depth sources on it due to limitations on achieving those sources, should we delete it? In our present attitude and environment, there would be editors that clearly would AFD that article citing "no secondary sources, fails WP:N", but that's the wrong attitude. We want to have these fundamental articles that fall into classes we have determined to be core to WP to be visible, inviting readers that do have that knowledge to add to it. Using field-specific guidelines would allow retention of that article and allow it to be improved over time without concerns of deletion. --MASEM (t)
"good in-depth sourcing is only required for highly contentious statements": You mean, there are uncontested statements in Wikipedia?!? Paradoctor (talk) 19:52, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
WP:LAME is proof that any statement can be "highly contentious". Nifboy (talk) 23:08, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
I can see where Masem is coming from, in the sense that most fictional elements are pretty harmless, so as long as they are not the subject of "highly contentious statements", in which case then any editorial disputes can be resolved by "common sense and good faith editing". This might be true 95% of the time, so Masem has a valid point.
However, despite the fact fiction is one of the less controversial subject areas in Wikipedia, compared with say religion or politics, its not a controversy free zone. Fiction has always been written to reflect real world controversies and tensions, often with real-world implications, such as the Lady Chatterley's Lover legal case. Although our views about "public decency" have moved on, there are still topics that are taboo today. If we want to write articles about these topics, we still need content policies to defend our right to create articles, and defend them, if need be, against arbitrary deletion proposals. I agree with Masem that I often put the content polcy anything else, but it precisely these policies that provide us with freedom to write about what ever we choose.
Even without controversial topics, I have to to agree with Nifboy that editorial disuputes are all too common. It only takes two editors to start a dispute, and issues such as original research (e.g. Kender) or content forks (e.g. Terminator (character) vs. Terminator (character concept)) won't ever go away. If field-specific guidelines conflict with content policy, then they will be a source of conflict, rather than building block of consensus. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 10:46, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
  • There's a nice paradox in the above reams of WP:TLDR. Those who maintain that there should be strict standards of inclusion which forbid personal essays on subjects of choice, nevertheless go on and on endlessly in talk pages like this. And all their maundering, repetitive, stream-of-consciousness thoughts will be preserved here for all eternity. In centuries to come, there will be terabytes of this stuff. But the actual encyclopedia will still be unfinished. For example, it seems that the real issue is creative control. But notice that our article on the subject is poor. The equivalent policy page, WP:OWN, on the other hand, is better. The players here want to be directors rather than spear carriers and so it goes ... Colonel Warden (talk) 21:59, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
I have to stop you there. Who are "Those who maintain " and where have they "personal essays on subjects of choice"? I say now you are making this up. Cite your sources or forever hold your peace. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 23:58, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

I'll talk about fiction related articles because it's a good example and, to be honest, the majority of all the squabbling that goes on is about fiction related articles. To my mind, sources are required to address two basic questions regarding Wikipedia articles. Is it true? And why should anyone care? All reliable sources can address the first question, but only reliable secondary ones can answer the other question. That is the main reason why articles on elements of fiction are frowned upon if they only cite the work itself as a source- the question of why anybody should care has not been addressed. And don't think it's not an important question; Wikipedia has been mocked, and its reputation as a serious scholarly resource undermined, for its undue fannish obsession with minute details of popular culture.

There is another, and also very good, reason to insist on independent sources. When an editor writes an article based solely on the work of fiction it is extremely difficult to determine where their reporting of the primary source crosses the line into inappropriate interpretation, speculation or editorializing, or where they place undue weight on one element or another. And it is also true that such articles tend to be very badly written, consist mostly of plot summary without balanced discussion, and can be difficult for subsequent editors to work on. Independent sources mitigate all of these factors.

Masem pointed out that it can sometimes happen that a worthy topic might come along, where everyone can see it's important but by some fluke the sources don't exist or are extraordinarily hard to get at. This is true. It happens. But it does not happen very often, and it's for cases like this that the old motto ignore all rules should be applied. By all means break the rules when it's obviously the right thing to do. We should not generate a set of blanket exemptions to catch the occasional freakishly sourceless worthy topic- because we'll catch so much crap along with it as to make the whole thing more trouble than it's worth. This is especially true in coverage of fiction because the exemptions will inevitably be misused, often deliberately. I would like to make it clear that I don't want to generalize because I know there are a lot of good-faith editors doing a lot of good work in that area, but the sad fact is that when spurious, misleading and irrelevant sourcing happens it's almost always when someone tries to defend a fiction-related article from AfD. Take away or lessen the requirement for independent sourcing and the problem will just get worse. Reyk YO! 10:43, 2 March 2010 (UTC)

  • If the people driving this battle are doing so because they worry about Wikipedia being mocked, we've already lost everything we ever hoped for. See you on the other side. Hiding T 23:20, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
    • How is this unreasonable? Do you think, instead, we should be emulating TVTropes and Wookieepedia in all things? I aim for a decent encyclopedia that can be trusted and be taken seriously, full of well-written and informative articles that present their subjects in a neutral and balanced way. And not being made fun of for having inappropriate obsessions, glaring systemic biases and over-the-top fannish enthusiasm is part of that. I don't know what you've been hoping for, but if that's not at least part of it then perhaps it really is time you and the 'pedia part company. Not that I think that's how you feel; I think we just differ on how to achieve it. No biggie. Reyk YO! 05:04, 7 March 2010 (UTC)
    • Indeed, Reyk, I will agree that those 2 questions, is it true and why should I care, are essentially what we are after. However for some items, such as Probability amplitude it is self-evidence that they are encyclopedic even if we only ever find just one reliable source. Removing it because it fais the GNG would harm, not help, Wikipedia.
    • The question as to is it important, however, does not necessarily need significant coverage by independent secondary reliable sources; there are other ways of determining it, such as sales figures, citing by research that something is a major influence to other unrelated topics, etc. Of course the quality of these sources should not be someone's personal blog, but they don't have to be more than one that is significant to show that it is if it is generally agreed upon by others in the field.Jinnai 05:24, 7 March 2010 (UTC)
      • Hi Jinnai, needless to say I disagree but you make some decent points that deserve a thoughtful response. Sales figures (I assume you're just talking about the number of copies sold, without accompanying commentary) can be included in the article as a verifiable fact, but their ability to confer notability is very limited because that number needs to be interpreted. For instance, say we have a source that says only: Issue 14 of Captain Freaktacular sold 10,000 copies. You might consider 10,000 copies to be a lot, but I might go "Pff. Only 10,000? Clearly not notable". It's not an asertion of notability because it requires the reader to judge it. If the source said With 10,000 copies sold, Issue 14 was the third highest selling single comic book issue of the year then we're getting somewhere.
      • Regarding "citing by research", I am not sure what you mean. Do you mean that Wikipedia's editors should show the influences of the fictional work on unrelated topics? That would be original research and is not allowed. Or do you mean that we should cite the research of others? Because that would substantial coverage in reliable independent sources. Can you clarify? Reyk YO! 05:55, 7 March 2010 (UTC)
        • For sales figures, I meant more in relative terms, ie, makes NYT Bestseller list. Absolute numbers are good to know, but they are sometimes hard to figure out what is a good qualifier.
        • For the second, no. I mean say we have Superman and pretend we are trying to build an article from scratch. All that we can find on him from RSes with significant coverage is research by someone recognized by his peers in the field as a qualified researcher citing that "Superman is influential in the development of the Superhero genre." and then he goes on to describe how this is. Everyone other respected researcher in the field we find cites him, but only ads 1-2 other lines generally agreeing. There's also some tertiary stuff like awards, sales figures, etc. No reviews from RSes with significant coverage or anything else that would qualify. There is a significant amount of creation info from the creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster though.
        • With that, he'd fail the GNG because he lacks more than 1 significant source because no one feels a reason to further look into Superman specifically because they feel the researcher did a good job. They use bits and quotes from his research to support his argument, though in other books with other research not directly related to Superman, at least not enough to constitute significant coverage of the character itself.
        • EDIT: In addition with regard to fiction specifically, we often have works that reuse the same characters and worlds and those overlap. The information, if copied and pasted (with some tweaking) in each article would repeat a lot of plot info in each one. That is a valid argument for having separate list/article because we want to limit the amount of repeat plot.Jinnai 04:45, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
I think Jinnai is ignoring my earlier point, that lists of characters should not be created for their own sake, as this would be giving undue weight to elements of fiction, rather than the works themselves. Rather, a more balanced approach is to omit those characters who are best summarised as part of the overall plot summary. Giving undue weight to characters and episodes that are not the subject of significant coverage simply reduces the quality of coverage by reducing the context afforded to the reader through commenatary, crtiticism and analysis. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 18:00, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
No, I wasn't. My point is, in lengthy and/or complex works you cannot always summarize down without destroying content necessary to understand why a work became notable.Jinnai 03:22, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

OK, but now what if you ARE the authority on something? Let us look at an extreme case that probably won't happen: Stephen Hawking decides to post something on Wikipedia that summarizes his conclusion that his earlier mathematical calculations, showing that the universe originated with a singularity, may be a special case, and that it is quite possible that there was no "Big Bang" after all. I suppose he could wait until his publisher puts this out in hard copy, and then cite himself; but "he da MAN," as we say in the street, so why should he?

Granted, Hawking will get published as a matter of course, so presumably the stuff will get out there sooner or later, and filter back to Wikipedia. But one of the virtues of this encyclopedia, over any other in the world, is that it can promulgate information very quickly relative to a dead-tree publication process that can take months to years. And for every Hawking there are ten thousand perfectly competent scholars, not a few of them without institutional affiliation, doing perfectly sound original work even while primarily engaged in some other discipline. (The translation of the Old West Saxon poem "The Wanderer" by the late attorney Clifford A. Truesdell IV is a good example of this, published three years ago on line but as far as I know still unavailable in hard copy.)

The error, I think, lies in an assumption that original research is somehow unverifiable. But those two assertions are by no means fungible. Independent scholarship can be very sound, and readily replicated by anyone who is willing to take the trouble, while on the other hand there is a great deal of piffle that finds its way into print anyway, even from university presses that should know better (I've worked for some of them). Just because a press publishes something, even a careful scholarly press, is not an absolute guarantee that it is true; and just because a epiece of research hasn't been published yet does not mean that its findings are ipso facto false.

It seems to me that on the one hand, Wikipedia exuberantly celebrates (and rightly, in my view) the ability of regular folks to be self-starters in the collection, editing, and dissemination of information; yet this very same principle seems to me to be flouted in its institutional unwillingness to allow itself to be (on rare occasions, to be sure) a primary source, written by the people who are in a position best to know whereof they speak. That "original research" should instead appear in this connection as though it were a term of opprobrium seems, at least to this independent scholar, both contradictory and more than a little counterproductive. (talk) 23:35, 14 March 2010 (UTC)Nick Humez 14 March 2010

CSD A1 and CSD A3 tagging moments after creation

I've noticed that looking at Special:Newpages, there is a notice that says: "Note: articles should not be tagged for speedy deletion as having no context (CSD A1) or no content (CSD A3) moments after creation." I'm not sure how long ago this was added, but I can't recall it being there when I started new page patrol. Was there ever a discussion about this? If so, could someone point me in that direction? Also, I couldn't find this explicitly stated anywhere in our policy about speedy deletion. If this is desirable perhaps we should add that. Jujutacular T · C 23:21, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

It's possible that someone may be creating the article "piece by piece": a bit now, save, another bit, save, etc. That would be a legitimate way of editing, and tagging it would bring unneeded grief and discussion. That's why it's better to tag articles when they have been stable at their current version long enough to confirm that they are actually a page without context or content and that nobody is working in them. MBelgrano (talk) 00:40, 12 March 2010 (UTC)
I Jujutacular. I am the culprit on that edit (to address the same issue I previously created {{Hasty}}). I added the text on December 3, 2009 (diff), following this discussion. The topic—the inappropriateness of tagging articles as A1s and A3s seconds after creation—has been discussed many times at WT:CSD, including here, here, here, here, here and here. The long and short of it is that while the consensus is pretty clearly on the side of viewing it as bad practice to tag as empty or lacking context immediately after creation, we have not yet come up with a workable technical way to apply it to the tagging, such as having the tag not propagate into CAT:CSD for a set time after an article's creation. As to the time span of delay before tagging and deletion, 48 hours or a day as has been suggested, is far too long, one minute after creation is far too short, while about an hour allows a creator who didn't realize there might be any problem with posting and then working on it, plenty of time to add enough content to meet the very low threshold to avoid A1 and A3.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 05:07, 12 March 2010 (UTC)
I build articles this way. I make sure to always slap up a CONSTRUCTION banner. { {construction} } So far it has kept the boogeyman away... Carrite (talk) 03:41, 13 March 2010 (UTC)
@Fuhghettaboutit: Thank you for that. I mainly ask just because I still see pages being tagged immediately, and administrators still deleting fairly soon after. Specifically, I saw Parisjohansen was tagged at 23:06 and deleted at 23:15. I'm not sure exactly when it was created as I'm not an administrator. I was considering leaving a message on some talk pages, however I couldn't find anything written in policy. What should be done in these instances? Jujutacular T · C 18:36, 13 March 2010 (UTC)
That particular page was clearly non-constructive - I can't see that there could be too much drama in getting rid in pretty short order. There's certainly no reason to WP:CREEPily sustain this nonsense for 48h. Anyway, FYI Parisjohansen was created at 2306. --Xdamrtalk 23:41, 14 March 2010 (UTC)
Also, that particular page had content when created and thus not an A3 anyway. Should have been A7 deleted, so it's not a good example. But anyway the point is that pages should not be tagged A1 or A3 hastily because with those tags it's much more likely that the reasons for deletion might disappear with further edits by the page creator - but that does not mean that exceptions cannot be made if it's clear that further improvement is impossible or very unlikely. Regards SoWhy 23:58, 14 March 2010 (UTC)

French wikipedia have simplified their policy

Basically what they've done is changed their Wikipedia is an Encyclopedia to state what an encyclopedia is (for their Wikipedia), and then marked a lot of the other policies like Is Not as essai i.e. essays.

This seems to me rather sensible, provided you can define what an Encyclopedia is in the policy. I think they've more or less succeeded.

The problem with the English Wikipedia's policy (which doesn't define encyclopedia in policy, but does so in article space) is that the Encyclopedia article space doesn't really know either, and many encyclopedias are very different from the Wikipedia and the Encyclopedia article has to cover all of them.

  • French version of WP:ISNOT google translation, note that google translates essai as 'test' which doesn't seem correct, it means essay.
    The word essay originally came from essai, and "try" is the original meaning of the word. "This page is a test" and "This page is an essay" both seem to work equally, so Google Translate chose the more used version of essai, which is "try" (essai is a deriviative of the french essuyer, which means "to try"). If Google had read the second line, it might have realized that it means "essay", but that would require a few more years of data as Google is a statistical machine translation software. ManishEarthTalkStalk 05:33, 14 March 2010 (UTC)

The question is, whether we should do the same sort of thing. It probably rests on being able to change Wikipedia:Wikipedia is an Encyclopedia acceptably. - Wolfkeeper 15:06, 13 March 2010 (UTC)

I like their "Wikipedia is an encyclopedia" page. It might not be the best idea to overwrite or displace our Wikipedia:Wikipedia is an encyclopedia page, however. Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is is a redirect to WP:5P -- perhaps we could repurpose that page.
No, I don't think so. The page at Wikipedia is an Encyclopedia logically has to say what Wikipedia is, not be a list of 6 or so things it isn't. That's what the French enc does, and it works. The en page is underperforming; it just doesn't say what the wikipedia IS, it says what it isn't..- Wolfkeeper 15:27, 14 March 2010 (UTC)
Turning just about any policy or guideline into an essay on en: is going to be a steep battle. WP:BURO and WP:IAR aside, we have a very legalistic culture here.--Father Goose (talk) 21:26, 13 March 2010 (UTC)

That's an essay, we need a policy. If you could refine it so that its more neutral etc., we might be able to incorporate it. Actually, we should have a concise set of policies. Right now, we have tons of policy pages, and each one is quite large. We should have a policy cheatsheet which has the "nutshell" text, commonly used acronyms (those acronyms are aggravating for a newcomer), and a little description. ManishEarthTalkStalk 05:33, 14 March 2010 (UTC)
You seem to have misunderstood; they've rewritten Wikipedia is an Encyclopedia to be most of the policy, in the French Wikipedia it actually says what the wikipedia is. By doing that, they've been able to turn most of the other policy into essays.- Wolfkeeper 15:27, 14 March 2010 (UTC)
The English Wikipedia doesn't define what an Encyclopedia is in the policy anywhere, and it pays the price, because you end up having to say it in the negative, it's not this, or that or the other... or whatever... it goes on and on.- Wolfkeeper 15:27, 14 March 2010 (UTC)

Impact factor depreciated

Recently, the reliable source guideline (WP:RS) was edited to make it appear that evaluating the impact factor of journals to determine their reliability was prohibited entirely. There is a discussion on the talk page to determine if this is accurate or not at Wikipedia_talk:Identifying_reliable_sources#Impact_factor_usable.3F. Hipocrite (talk) 18:26, 13 March 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Quotations is being proposed as a guideline

There is an active proposal to turn Wikipedia:Quotations into a guideline.--Father Goose (talk) 21:41, 13 March 2010 (UTC)

PRODding images?

As soon as I finished clearing out the backlog of expired PRODs a few minutes ago, I went to Category:Proposed deletion and discovered that one of its subcategories is Category:All files proposed for deletion. Why do we have such a category, since only articles are eligible for PROD? Was it once common practice to PROD images? Nyttend (talk) 01:51, 14 March 2010 (UTC)

The purpose of the category is as a collection point for incorrectly tagged files needing correction (see Wikipedia talk:Proposed deletion/Archive 9#Files proposed for deletion). --Allen3 talk 03:11, 14 March 2010 (UTC)
I am pleased to note that it is empty ( and should be empty). Graeme Bartlett (talk) 08:33, 14 March 2010 (UTC)
Okay, thanks for the clarification; it does seem like a good idea. Any idea why we don't have categories for templates, categories, Wikipedia space, talk pages, etc.? Nyttend (talk) 13:30, 14 March 2010 (UTC)

Categorising human settlements

A series of discussions at CFD over the last few days have revealed a number of problems in the naming conventions of the top-level categories for inhabited human settlements.

The issues are too wide-ranging to be resolved in the format of a CFD discussion, so I have opened a centralised discussion at Wikipedia talk:Categorization/Categorising human settlements to try to find a consensus on how to proceed.

Your contributions will be welcome. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 22:43, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:NS2 has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:NS2 (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been edited to mark it as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

This was the result of bad redirect syntax; now fixed Gavia immer (talk) 02:08, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:User pages has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:User pages (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been edited to mark it as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:User page no longer marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:User page (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has been edited so that it is no longer marked as a guideline. It was previously marked as a guideline. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

These two are merely the result of a page move from the singular to the plural. Gavia immer (talk) 02:08, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

Global sysops

As a bit of background info, global sysops are a handful of highly-trusted users who have admin tools on all small wikis, as well as those that elect to opt-in. The first batch were recently appointed a couple days back. In my opinion, it would be a good idea for enwiki to opt-in for several reasons. Most notably, global sysops dealing with cross-wiki vandalism won't have to stop at enwiki during low-traffic hours, when we're short on local admins patrolling RC. Language isn't a problem, since all of the current global sysops speak English to some extent. Now, I know this has been unsuccessfully proposed before, but I think it's worth looking into again. –Juliancolton | Talk 14:05, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

Policy in development

Resolved: Abandoned draft redirected to wikipedia:administrators. –xenotalk 14:44, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

We have an apparent proposed policy in development at Wikipedia:Administrator policy. It has been unanimous since late August 2009. We need some work and action regarding this page. Thank you. -- IRP 00:28, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

As far as I can tell there's nothing there which isn't already on Wikipedia:Administrators in fact much of it appears to be copied from there--Jac16888Talk 00:33, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
Actually all of it is, I can't see any difference between the two--Jac16888Talk 00:35, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
By we, you mean the 3 people who knew of that page's existence before today [11]? Mr.Z-man 01:06, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

As you can see, this is a draft of proposed changes to Wikipedia:Administrators. -- IRP 02:14, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

What exactly is the proposed change? The only difference between the two is content that isn't on Wikipedia:Administrator policy, all the text is copied from the original. Is it proposing Wikipedia:Administrators be cut down?--Jac16888Talk 02:22, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
Please see the page history. -- IRP 03:33, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
I've looked at the history. It was a redirect, then someone dumped part of Wikipedia:Administrators, then removed a couple of arbcom quotes , then someone else came along and removed a category, then you came along and decided it was a proposed policy, then a draft of proposed changes. None of which answers my question, could you please give a proper answer, its nearly 4am, I'm very tired and find your inability to give a straight answer very tedious. What is the proposed change? Why is it any better than the current? Why can't we just restore it to a redirect? and What do you want someone to do to it?--Jac16888Talk 03:48, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
My thought was that somebody was proposing changes to Wikipedia:Administrators and then the changes went un-commented-on, as far as I could see. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that if this proposal (of edits) was finished being reviewed and worked on, then it would have been converted right back into a redirect, rather than left to sit. Do you see what I'm saying? -- IRP 04:17, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
Not really, pages like that get lost and forgotten about all the time, there's no reason to believe anything would have come of it, Rich may have just forgotten. Anyway, I've asked him User talk: rich Farmbrough--Jac16888Talk 04:24, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

At the time Wikipedia:Administrators was full of waffle - things that admins shouldn't do - which applied to any editor so were superfluous, tendentious assertions based on leaps of faith from things said by ArbCom which didn't define policy etc etc. Why I chose to wrok on a draft there I really can't remember, but as far as I'm concerned it can be changed back to a redirect if it is useful. We can always dig out the history if we need to. Rich Farmbrough, 14:32, 17 March 2010 (UTC).

Internet Off-Broadway Database

Is this a reliable source? I ask because it has come up in an article I'm editing (Maya Angelou). I reverted an edit because at my first glance, I didn't think it was. The editor who added information supported by this source insists that it is. I mean, to me, it seems like IMdB (which isn't reliable, I know) for plays. When I looked more closely, however, I can see his point, since it isn't edited by anyone like IMdB; it's edited by professionals in theatre. Would someone more knowledgeable give their input about this, please? Thank you. --Christine (talk) 04:56, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

WP:RSN might be a better place to ask this question. I'm presuming you mean the one at [12]? I'm inclined to say it is since its a database from a professional theatrical foundation. -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 05:05, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
Yes, please do check with WP:RSN. The Internet Off-Broadway Database is run by a not-for-profit organization, the Lortel Foundation, and works from verified sources such as theatre contracts and Playbills. It is not a commercial operation like IMDB, and is no more connected to it than the Internet Broadway Database, which is run by the League of American Theatres and Producers, is.

In the meantime, please do not use deceptive edit summaries such as "improving ref", when, in fact, you deleted a ref. Beyond My Ken (talk) 05:31, 17 March 2010 (UTC) Striking comment that appears to be incorrect -- it looks as if I viewed the article when FSF when in the middle of changing the format of the ref. My apologies. Beyond My Ken (talk) 05:35, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

Thanks, guys. Sometimes I don't always know where to find stuff, so I appreciate the assistance. Your responses are satisfactory to me; it looks like the evidence supports the site's reliability. I haven't been aware of it up to now; it may be a good source to use in the future. So thanks. And BMK is right; that's totally what happened! We're all good now. --Christine (talk) 12:47, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

Discussion as to the propriety of using 'hat' templates to bring closure to discussions

There is an ongoing discussion at Template talk:Hidden archive top#merge discussion: arbitrary break as to whether the language used on the {{hat}} template (often used to to close disputes) is appropriate. More opinions are requested. –xenotalk 14:37, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

  • Now an RFC - would definitely appreciate some additional commentary as the debate is just back-and-forth between three of us right now. –xenotalk 16:58, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

"Reliable" or "Authoritative"?

I wonder: wouldn't calling the sources acceptable for Wikipedia "authoritative" instead of "reliable" be more exact? Russian Wikipedia (ru:Википедия:Авторитетные источники) and Ukrainian Wikipedia (uk:Вікіпедія:Авторитетні джерела) seem to do so...

Also it looks like the use of "reliable" sometimes has side effects ([13], [14])... That name might seem to imply that we want sources that report information accurately (do not lie etc.), while in fact it would probably be more accurate to say that we want sources that are known to report information accurately... "Authoritative" would seem to be more accurate in this respect...

Now, of course, "reliable" has one major advantage: it is currently in use. Thus trying to change it at once might not be a good idea. But maybe it would be reasonable to consider changing "reliable" to "reliable, authoritative" in at least some cases? --Martynas Patasius (talk) 20:47, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

I think you would just be substituting arguments discussions about what is and is not "authoritative" for the current ones about what is and is not "reliable". – ukexpat (talk) 21:16, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
Of course - after all, the actual requirements would stay the same. But maybe in some (rare) cases the decision "This blog is not authoritative." would be slightly easier to accept than "This blog is unreliable."? --Martynas Patasius (talk) 21:55, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
Changing the wording for what is basically a term of art anyway doesn't seem worth the effort. Ultimately whatever the phrase is, the meaning is something like "acceptable for use as a source in Wikipedia articles, per the detailed standards discussed in the relevant guidelines". No short phrase will carry that as its obvious meaning to anyone who isn't versed in wiki-culture. --RL0919 (talk) 22:01, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
Many sites which are not authoritative (i.e. are not the authority on a subject) are nevertheless reliable. Consider science reporting in a newspaper; the newspaper is not an authority on science, but it reports it reliably. --Tagishsimon (talk) 22:05, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
To a native speaker of English, reliable implies breadth of consistency, as in Tagishsimon's newspaper example: a reliable newspaper reports across many subject areas, and is considered to have a careful editorial policy in all of them. But in any one subject area, an international peer-reviewed journal would be more authoritative in depth. - Pointillist (talk) 22:17, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
(ec) Not sure that's such a good example. Science reporting in most newspapers is spotty at best. RS is not a one-or-zero proposition, and I certainly wouldn't want to assert that one can never cite a newspaper as an RS about science, but I think their limited reliability in the area needs to be kept in mind. --Trovatore (talk) 22:18, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
A major sporting event might be a better example. A newspaper report would be expected to reliably provide the final result, statistics appropriate to the type of contest, and other details about what occurred during the event. The event's sanctioning authority (league, commission, athletic association) would however be the only authoritative source as they are the only entity with the ability to officially verify the final results. An example of an event without an authoritative source would be a military battle, there is no official or referee to decide which army won. --Allen3 talk 22:35, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
Well, I was just re-using Tagishsimon's newspaper example, maybe I should have stuck with my my first thought, which was to say New Scientist might be reliable but in any one subject area, an international peer-reviewed journal would be authoritative. We're talking here about secondary sources: the "sanctioning authority" in Allen3's example would be a primary source, where "authoritative" has a different meaning. - Pointillist (talk) 23:54, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
"Authoritative" would be much more precise than "Reliable." But I am ambivalent about whether the change would be worth making. Maurreen (talk) 00:01, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
No, it would not be more precise, Maurreen, but rather an entirely different thing. There is a world of difference between a reliable source and an authoritative source. We've tried to illustrate that difference in the last few posts. It is not a simple question of wording, would represent a colossal change, and is not a good idea owing to the relative scarcity and primacy of authoritative sources. --Tagishsimon (talk) 00:14, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
I agree there is a huge difference between "reliable" and "authoritative". For example, I wrote all of the content in Paramount Television Network and about 50% of the content in DuMont Television Network, and used some of the same sources in both articles, all of which I considered reliable. However, Bergmann's book, Weinstein's book, and several other books cannot be considered an authoritative source on the Paramount article because they don't even mention the company's network operations (it's hard to be "authoritative" on something you don't even mention).
For this reason, I'd resist any proposal to change the current wording here. Other examples could be given. Firsfron of Ronchester 00:33, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Another option is "reputable." Maurreen (talk) 18:19, 17 March 2010 (UTC) Or even "acceptable." Maurreen (talk) 18:22, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

I think Maurreen got the right word - "reputable". It mirrors "reputation for fact-checking and accuracy". It can even use the name short same, WP:RS. And it also reminds us that an reputation can be deceptive or unearned or tarnished. --Philcha (talk) 00:48, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
"Reputable" makes me think of something having a good reputation. Would it not then change the onus of editors to try to "prove" that a source was held in high esteem? That seems quite different than just determining if a source is reliable (though there is obviously some overlap between the two sets). Firsfron of Ronchester 00:51, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
It is easier for editors to check and argue reputation than to check how well a given source is "engaged in checking facts, analyzing legal issues, and scrutinizing the writing" (from WP:RS). Maurreen (talk) 03:36, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

Can we do a quick reality check? There will always be boundary issues, whether out totum is "reliable" or "authoritative" or "reputational". This debate started with the OP pointing to a pair of boundary issues with "reliable". That is not anything like evidence for me that there is a problem here that needs fixing. We seem to have fairly quickly blown "authoritative" out of the water. And so now suddenly we're proffering "reputational" as though it is going to be easier to agree that, or less likely to accrue boundary cases. I'm sorry, but it strikes me as nonsense on stilts that without esablishing any real cause, we're being invited to rootle through the thesaurus to choose a different word. And Maurreen; I don't think it is so difficult to determine the extent to which sources "engage in checking facts, analyzing legal issues, and scrutinizing the writing", but I promise you that if you anchor policy to something as subjective as reputation, then you'd have entered gun-shoot-foot territory. Really and truly, our problem is not WP:RS but rather that the majority of our writing has not RS whatsoever. Changing a workable definition for either of the inferior definitions suggested in this thread will not well serve wikipedia, and does not have a snowball in hell's chance of happening. --Tagishsimon (talk) 03:55, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

In informal discussion, I tend to use the term "valid" source. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 04:03, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Maureen's hit the target again - how can we check how well a given source is "engaged in checking facts, analyzing legal issues, and scrutinizing the writing". We can't check the source's timesheets. We can't how thoroughly the check was - the spectrum may be from WP:V to a casual phone call. We don't know the source's objective(s) in the check, e.g. an academic source may want to support or undermine a hypothesis (so the check would be rigorous) while a commercial source might be happy to avoid risk of a lawsuit. --Philcha (talk) 05:04, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Oh come off it. We have a good idea about how much of the media, academe, government works, because we work in the media and academe and government. We have much less to go on, as well as n different opinions, when it comes to "repuation". Let me illustrate: we have a fair idea about BBC editorial guidelines. But if we deal with it from th reputational point of view, do we, for instance, agree with the Tories that it's the last bastion of commies and pinkoes? But interesting as this discussion is, could we start by establising that there is any problem here to fix? --Tagishsimon (talk) 05:14, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Tagishsimon, no need to be huffy just because people disagree with you. Maurreen (talk) 05:42, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
I'm sorry. Reading "Maureen's hit the target again" shortly after reading your '"Authoritative" would be much more precise than "Reliable."' assertion followed by your horse switch to "reputational" just made me wonder about the extent to which brains are engaged tonight. You didn't hit it on the head the first time around nor the second. And to be honest, I don't think my response was huffy, merely somewhere between flabbergasted and incredulous. --Tagishsimon (talk) 06:02, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Without biting anyone, I think "reputable" opens a can of worms. Fox News and MSNBC both have reputations for biased news reporting. If the policy is changed to "reputable", and the onus is on editors to "prove" that their source is reputable, citations to either cable channel -- whether the article is political or not -- might be challenged: it may be difficult for an editor to prove that that organization is reputable, since there will be many sources claiming that Fox News (in particular) is "not reputable"). Firsfron of Ronchester 22:51, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

Italic titles

I wasn't exactly sure where to put this, so I hope here is appropriate.

I noticed that if you look at the pages with italic titles, many of them are not taxonomic names, which, according to the template itself and several associated policy pages, are the only titles with consensus to italicize. Some italicized titles include Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Annals of Mathematics, Nature (journal), BMJ, The Adventures of Tintin, The Day of the Triffids... et cetera; there are many more.

Does this reflect any new consensus? Is it against policy? Should other literature/academic journal articles have their titles italicized for consistency, or should the current italicizations be removed? My first impulse was just to correct it, but when I realized so many were italicized, I decided it would be best not to make such a sweeping change on my own and came here. -- 11:50, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

As far as I know there is no consensus to switch to italicized titles for this sort of thing. I'm not sure of the reasons why not, except for fear of the new, but it doesn't seem to be widely accepted (and for consistency, should probably be changed back, I'd have thought).--Kotniski (talk) 12:14, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
There's various debates on various wikiprojects about the use of Italics - in Literature (based on the examples you've given) I believe the consensus was Against. Template_talk:Italic_title seems to be the repository of such debates and you might be better discussing it there. Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 12:38, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
No, consensus was strongly against it and those need to be removed. People are randomly continuing to do it because of the consensus to use them on taxonomic names, and (hopefully) are just ignorant about the community consensus being against it in any other articles. Might be helpful to have a bot go through and fix them, and keep them fixed. -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 16:53, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

Article or talk page

I'm a little confused about the correct usage of {{Expand language}} and whenever it should be placed at the article page or the talk page. The rules on this are a mess: Wikipedia:Template messages list it at both the article namespace (as cleanup) and the talk page, Wikipedia:Template messages/Talk namespace includes an example of it among talk page templates, but it links to Wikipedia:Translation for futher information, and this page explains to leave the notice at the article page.

Anyway, none of them seem conclusive or the result of a well-thought discussion: the first ones are mere lists, and the other seems like a help or how-to page. I haven't found any policy or guideline stating rationales of where do each template belongs that may be of use to settle this.

I may explain why should this go at article talk pages, but I'm not sure of the correct place to do it either. The template talk page seems obvious, but there is already an orphaned thread on the topic, started months ago; clearly nobody watches it and a new thread would end the same way. Templates for discussion doesn't seem the right place either, as I wouldn't be requesting deletion of it (in fact, there has been a deletion request before, declined). Do I start the discussion here, at some related noticeboard, open a request for comment...? MBelgrano (talk) 13:25, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

Wiki Now Shilling for Commercial Companies?

"Coke mini From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search Coke mini is a new 7.5 ounce can packaging of Coca-Cola that debuted in December 2009.[1][2][3] The Atlanta-based soft drink seller plans to also sell smaller cans of its Sprite, Fanta Orange, Cherry Coca-Cola and Barq's Root Beer sodas.[4"

With all the articles carefully rejected because folks reach deep to find a way, here is an article solely devoted to a change in product size?


But of course it is carefully footnoted and obviously meets Wiki's quality review standards.

What next? Articles detailing the various Snickers bar weights? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:25, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

Added link to article: Coke mini. Regards, SunCreator (talk) 14:30, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
Would suggest a merge and redirect to Coca-Cola#Brand portfolio. –xenotalk 14:38, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
(ec) {{PROD}} or WP:AfD are thattaway. Inappropriate articles on wikipedia are ten a penny. They do not need to be raised to the Village Pump when there are perfectly good channels by which they can be disposed. I'll assume good faith, that you were unaware of this, --Tagishsimon (talk) 14:41, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
AFD is here, please vote: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Coke mini- Wolfkeeper 19:50, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
Snowball. I've merged and redirected to Coca-Cola. Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 22:48, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
You can't simply do that, so I reverted it, the AFD has to complete first.- Wolfkeeper 23:03, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
Yes you can. OrangeDog (τ • ε) 13:34, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
No, per the AFD process, the AFD has to close first.- Wolfkeeper 16:52, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
I don't think that's really accurate. Bold mergers can happen anytime... Ideally this one should've happened before the AFD (because it's still called Articles for deletion - not discussion - a {{proposed merge}} tag could have been used instead if one didn't want to be bold), but no use crying over spilt milk. –xenotalk 17:01, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps you didn't notice that another editor has redirected the article and closed the AFD, also as WP:SNOW? Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 17:27, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Per WP:IAR and WP:SNOW, process can be ignored in deference to common sense and improving the encyclopedia. To continue the AfD would be a waste of time at best. Your reversion for purely bureaucratic reasons is disruptive. OrangeDog (τ • ε) 22:57, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Wolfkeeper is correct for the general case: WP:Guide to deletion#You may edit the article during the discussion (last bullet) advises against premature merging. Procedure is not a good reason to reopen the AfD at this point, and momentum was for merging, but four hours is a very brief discussion. Flatscan (talk) 05:22, 20 March 2010 (UTC)

Proposal for amendment to WP:NPA

This proposal is quite simple. Although it may be already addressed by the policy itself, I believe, just for transparency, it should be added.

Barnstars are not to be used to reference other editors in lieu of personal attacks, whether they be blatant, or veiled, unless the editor being referred to has a long history of abuse, and his indef blocked or bannned, and even then the barnstar must not attack the editor in question, but rather award other editors for combating their abuse.

If not that, then something similar, something that can be worked out, here, on this board.— dαlus Contribs 04:41, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

Please alert me to any updates regarding this discussion, as I will not be watching this page because of it's high traffic.— dαlus Contribs 04:42, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

Is this preemptive on your part, or can you point to the kind of practice you want to see stopped by this? Are people giving each other the "Barnstar for putting up with User:XYZ's stupid bullshit"? postdlf (talk) 04:57, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
I think the practice he's referencing here is more the use of negative or sarcastic barnstars (e.g. "congratulations, you receive the Jackass Barnstar, for not knowing when to leave well enough alone.") Dcoetzee 05:03, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
Either way, I don't think we need to spell out every possible method of being uncivil or making a personal attack. We also probably shouldn't upload a jpeg of a Lolcat saying "User:XYZ iz stoopid on mah Wikis", or create a table with usernames in rows and column headers like "jackass". It's always the content that matters, not the form. postdlf (talk) 05:20, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
I suspect that Daedalus has opened this section as a result of this. In my opinion, we shouldn't be listing every conceivable type of personal attack at WP:NPA, and furthermore, this is already covered by the policy anyway. Just because some thing is encased in a barnstar doesn't mean that policy no longer applies to it, but everyone should already know that, and it's unnecessary to explicitly state it; if we wanted to we could expand the list of "what is considered to be a personal attack" to cover every single attack we can think of, however, the page would be about the size of AN/I and all it's archives, and would be used as a primary reference point for trolls. NPA already states "Insulting or disparaging an editor is a personal attack regardless of the manner in which it is done. When in doubt, comment on the article's content without referring to its contributor at all", and that is, in my opinion, quite sufficient. Kind regards, SpitfireTally-ho! 09:14, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

Is there any policy regarding "Plot" sections for movies?

I was just perusing the Ace Ventura: Pet Detective article and the plot section is just appalling. It's like it was written by a 12-year-old boy who was watching the movie at the time. Additionally, the section for Jesus Camp seems to be nothing more than a collection of fans' favorite, most outrageous scenes. Is there any policy regarding material in plot sections? I personally don't see any reason for a plot section beyond one or two paragraphs summarizing the film, but I doubt that proposing such a thing would ever go anywhere. Seregain (talk) 17:23, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style_(writing_about_fiction)#Plot_summaries, perhaps? It says the length of a plot summary "should be carefully balanced with the length of the other sections." Theleftorium 17:33, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
Two places would be Writing about fiction (which has general approaches to how plot summaries should be made) and WP:MOSFILM, the Wikiproject Film's guidelines for plot sections. In general, the approach is to keep these reasonably brief (movies, IIRC are between 700 and 900 words, but I may be wrong), highlighting key points about the plot, instead of scene-by-scene breakdowns. --MASEM (t) 17:36, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
Hmm... Okay, although I personally think WP needs to address this issue better. Those guidelines are pretty weak and allow for situations such as what is seen in the Jesus Camp article where editors just keep adding scenes to the hodgepodge. Seregain (talk) 18:06, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
It's hard to solidify certain aspects of good writing in any policy, and the existence of one wouldn't necessarily prevent anything. You can rest assured, generally, that if you try to fix a plot section by removing blatant "fan cruft" and replace it with a more generalized plot summary, you'll have a lot of support from the more experienced community of editors, policy or no policy. Equazcion (talk) 18:09, 19 Mar 2010 (UTC)
The plot sections of film articles should be 400-700 words, with exceptions generally reserved for very long films (i.e the 4 hr+ ones often need closer to 800 or 900). For fairly simple plots, it should be closer to the 400 range (i.e. most animated films). The plot should cover the major plot points, from start to finish, without excessive coverage or detailing of minor scenes. As for Jesus Camp, yes, it sucks. WP:WAF and WP:MOSFILM give very good guidelines that, if followed, result in excellent plot sections. The former, however may be harder to apply in this case, since its a documentary type film. Please don't consider the guidelines as "weak" just because they are obviously not being applied to a single article. If you are familiar with the film, though why not fix it and give it a proper summary? As Equazcion notes, a good summary will be supported by the community and if there continues to be a problem with random editors adding back cruft, a note at the Film project will get it on several more folks watch lists. If you'd like examples of good summaries, I can point out some good GA/FA articles that have proper summaries. -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 18:49, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

Scope of "Outline" articles

Let me start by saying that I am not familiar with the Village Pump, so I'm not sure if this is the right place for my question, but here goes: While editing Cocos (Keeling) Islands, I discovered a link to Outline of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. My first response was bafflement: What is the point of a long list of headings for nonexistent content about a topic that is already covered in an existing article? My impulse is to push for deletion of the outline article. Then I did some investigation and found that there is an entire Outlines project with a group of committed editors behind it. I realized that any move to delete this IMHO useless outline article could set off a political firestorm. Now, having taking a look at some of the Outlines project pages and articles, I see some value in them, but only for large topics, such as a major country, all aspects of which could not be covered in a single article. By contrast, the Cocos Islands are a very small island group with 600 inhabitants. No more than a handful of notable topics can possibly exist for these islands. Without taking a position on the value of the Outlines project as a whole, this would seem to be an example of a topic too small to merit an outline. Are there any policies or guidelines on a minimum scope for outline articles (for example, in numbers of existing articles that could be linked)? Marco polo (talk) 18:24, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

I'm not sure any guidelines have been written for those yet, though I personally find them completely useless and I have seen a few deleted in AfD because others seem to agree. I'm not sure what point they are supposed to have at all. -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 18:51, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
Agreed. These outline "articles" are little more than category trees run amok. Resolute 15:10, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
A small number of people are pushing these outlines as if the future of Wikipedia depended on them. This outline is obviously neither notable (the islands are notable of course, but I am pretty sure no reliable sources mention the outline of the islands in the sense of that article. Since it also doesn't serve any legitimate organisational purpose, it should be deleted as a housekeeping measure. I am not using Twinkle, and nominating something for deletion without Twinkle is rather hard, so I am not doing it. Hans Adler 19:11, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
Only 1 editor is taking it that far (and thereby frustrating almost everyone else). The majority of people seem to be capable of separating the good examples (eg Outline of anarchism, Outline of Buddhism, Outline of cell biology, Outline of forestry, and Outline of Japan) from the bad examples (there are many of both), and to see the potential uses that some of them provide. More, below. -- Quiddity (talk) 21:25, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
The justification for useful outlines is that they are useful for structuring content. See WP:Summary style for some related explanations. Problems arise when people insist on basically duplicating every single of our articles. That creates a maintainability nightmare and a maze of "articles" that nobody wants to read. If the proponents don't understand how wrong that is, we must fight the silly outlines with the formally correct argument, and that happens to be that of notability.
You may think that you have found a great trick that allows you to play Wikipedia editor without having to deal with something as boring as encyclopedic content. Wrong. Hans Adler 15:19, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
There are topic experts and admins working on some of the good outlines (eg User:Minnecologies built most of Outline of forestry, and User:Earthdirt built most of Outline of cell biology, etc). Personally, I barely ever edit outlines; I'm primarily a reader (and advocate) of them. Your personal attacks are mostly untrue and are completely inappropriate. -- Quiddity (talk) 21:26, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
I don't know where you are seeing personal attacks. I am simply not interested in "outlines", consider them completely useless, and am not going to pretend that I feel otherwise about them. I don't mind those for huge topics (which you may be proud of) too much; when I think of outlines I think of those that should be nuked as totally useless, such as the Cocos Islands one. Hans Adler 01:13, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
Sincere thank you, for acknowledging that there are good outlines; it often gets overlooked, and newcomers to the discussion only get acquainted with the bad examples of outlines.
I completely agree that some are untenable, and should be deleted (or merged somewhere, like a navbox). I've started a list of potential scope guidelines at User talk:Karanacs/Outline RfC draft#Ideas for scope guidelines requested. -- Quiddity (talk) 20:00, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
A few of us attempted to put together a potential RfC, but we haven't gotten enough input to make sure we're even crafting the right thing (so far the few who have come to look just said that the RfC isn't right without giving a lot of feedback). See User:Karanacs/Outline RfC draft. Karanacs (talk) 19:17, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

I am somewhat agnostic about the inclusion of outlines in article-space. The Outline of Japan might have some value, and similar outlines could exist for a few hundred very large content areas. However, I feel very strongly that, if they appear anywhere, outlines need a minimum scope, probably defined in terms of the number of linked, relevant articles. I am not very familiar with how policy is made for Wikipedia. Is there a way that I could propose such a policy? Marco polo (talk) 19:54, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

It would be good to start at Wikipedia:WikiProject Outline of Knowledge. Maurreen (talk) 20:14, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
I agree that they should be restricted to broad topics rather than tiny ones like Cocos (Keeling) Islands. There's no point in outlining something unlikely to be expanded beyond a very small number of articles. Outlines are only useful if the topic can reasonably include at least 30-50 separate articles. At the very least. Anything smaller than that doesn't really need an outline as it should be easy enough to link all the articles together within each article. ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 20:41, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
I think there's quite a potential behind these outlines, as sort of a third-way between categories (which are off the mainspace and only function in limited ways) and lists (which should strictly adhere to policy). For example, a lot of lists which fail our policies and guidelines can be changed over into outlines without much work having to be done. I also support defining a purpose and scope for outlines in a guideline. ThemFromSpace 20:54, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for making my point so eloquently. If I want to do something that doesn't belong in an encyclopedia, I just claim it's an outline. Then it's fine. *tears hair out* Hans Adler 15:22, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
To clarify, I believe that there is useful, encyclopedic material that is lost in the gap between lists and categories. This isn't to say that every conceivable outline would be appropriate, just like every conceivable list and category isn't appropriate. I agree with you that the Outline of the Cocos Islands is a bit trivial. I suggested that we establish a guideline to define the scope of outlines so we could avoid trivial and useless outlines such as this. ThemFromSpace 17:40, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
I also agree that the abundance of outlines should be restricted in scope somehow, and that a discussion of the scope is warranted/necessary. I previously suggested that one possible criteria for scope, could be some of the articles in the various "core/vital/top" listings (best summarized at {{Core topics}}). Additional specific suggestions haven't been offered, the few previous times this has been discussed. Please, please, suggest some specific criteria, at the RfC draft talkpage (User talk:Karanacs/Outline RfC draft#Ideas for scope guidelines requested). There was a much shorter list for most of 20012007, that exploded soon thereafter. Somewhere in between that size, and what we have now, might be something to aim for.
Tangentially, for an overview of the issues that all "non-exactly-an-article/partially-navigational" pages are facing, please see Navigational pages RfC draft. That's a densely informative page, that I hope is fairly clear, once digested. -- Quiddity (talk) 20:00, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

Common-usage terms that lack a single "overview" article

Something that has quite frustrated me in using Wikipedia is when I search for a term that has an everyday, common-usage, general-consensus, meaning - I end up at a disambiguation page instead. Now here I am NOT referring to terms for which 'genuine' disambiguation is required; but rather terms where there is indeed a Primary Topic the disambiguation page was supposed to refer to - but there is no 'overview article' coherently representing the said Primary Topic, so no referral is made. Rather, you just have links to how different academic disciplines handle that term.

Examples are terms such as self, identity and personality. (There are many more)

Granted, I understand the need for academic hair-splitting, and how such terms may be treated vastly differently in various academic disciplines, or even across sub-disciplines. (This I find especially true of terms that are 'shared' by philosophy / psychology / sociology / etc.. and also between mathematics / computer science / physics)

However, more often than not, in common parlance, we don't use such academic categorizations when using those terms. You don't say "I love my self (philosophy)" or "I am not sure of my identity (social science)". Rather, we refer to this... hazy, blurry, but nonetheless commonly-held, generally-accepted meanings of such words (In fact, such 'blurriness' / uncertainty within these terms may be an impetus for someone to look them up on the first place on Wikipedia).

My point? There is often at least a "lowest common denominator" meaning of such words, and this should be the basis for an 'overview' article on that topic. And this overview article can deal with why various disciplines interpret the term differently, and hence 'guide' the reader to the appropriate discipline-specific article. To me current disambiguation pages utterly fail in this latter regard - the one-sentence explanations, whilst appropriate for differentiating between completely different articles, are very inadequate when articles come down to inter-disciplinary 'hair-splitting' (or at least it may appear that way to lay readers) - hence, lay readers need better 'guidance', and what better place to do it than in an 'overview' article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:54, 20 March 2010 (UTC)

It may stem from Wikipedia not being a dictionary. But that's just a guess.♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 14:10, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
It's a valid point. Some of these disambiguation pages might in principle be better done as overview articles, with specific concepts presented in WP:SUMMARY style. The problem with this is that such general topics are often done very badly on Wikipedia, and having a simple disambiguation avoids having a poor page. Rd232 talk 14:18, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
While some disambiguation pages could be done in overview article, the current lack of such article (for all example self, identity and personality) mentioned above means that you should end up on a disambiguation page. The history of the Social Psychology shows how tense a discussion can become if disciplines claim the same term; and how much effort is needed to create an overview article, even it involves only 2 disciplines. Arnoutf (talk) 22:25, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
Yes, it's the dictionary thing. If there's a unifying idea, between the different meanings of the term or even different terms, then you can usually have an article on that, but they're not supposed to be only linked by the term. It's a subtle point but encyclopedias are about ideas, and dictionaries are about terms. The Wikipedia isn't about having articles describing how terms came to be, unless they're earth-shatteringly important; or maybe if people killed each other over them or something, then there are WP:IAR get-outs. But it's desirable to mention differences in ideas (and to some extent terminology) in the individual articles. It's perfectly OK to describe the evolution of an idea.- Wolfkeeper 13:42, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
The thing is, in cases where different, but related, articles "claim" a term, there is often quite a bit of "shared content"/"common ground" between those articles. Put it this way - 'Article (Discipline 1)' has content 'X-A-B-C'. 'Article (Discipline 2)' has content 'X-D-E-F'. Now, as a reader, I am having to read through that same (or very similar) 'X' every time I read through each article. Thus, given that these articles actually share the very name of the article itself, why can't we have an overview article 'Article (Overview)' that describes 'X' and then branches off into each of those subsequent, more specialized, articles. I guess ultimately it's a failing of human collaboration if anything, the authors of each of the different 'articles' claiming their article as the article on said topic, thus we end up at this sort of neutral, but empty, no-mans land - the disambiguation page. To me the overview article of Social Psychology is a step in the right direction, where people coming from differing viewpoints *gasp* collaborated. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:05, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

There is excessive disambiguation, and disambiguation is not the proper solution for poor general overview articles. Rather, the increased visibility of those general overview articles due to making them the replacement for the disambigs may lead to improvements in their quality. Further, there is nothing to prevent anyone from implementing this. I think this calls for a nice cup of SOFIXIT. Enjoy! <clinks glass and sips> Tisane (talk) 09:26, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

Overview articles have at least 2 large obstacles:
  • You need as much knowledge and research as for all the articles at the next level down. I've got some animal phyla to GA, and I regard these as mid-level relative to the tree of life.
  • You might that what you think is a high-level article is really 2nd-level. For example a "Life on Earth" might result out be subordinate to "Exobiology". --Philcha (talk) 12:58, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

Flagged Protection: ready for more testing

Hi! On behalf of the FlaggedRevs team, I'd like to announce that Flagged Protection, the proposed use of Flagged Revisions on the English Wikipedia, is ready for more testing. We have made a number of changes to improve clarity and usability for both novices and experienced editors.

If you have an hour or two to devote to testing it, we'd love your thoughts. You need not jump in immediately; we'll be posting updates every week or so. But we'd like it to be in the best shape possible for the upcoming trial. Since we've been working without feedback for too long, I expect this first week or two will be bumpy, but bumps now are preferable to bumps later, so bear with us.

To check it out, start here:

There's space for questions and discussion on the labs site, and I also welcome direct email and talk page questions.

Thanks, William Pietri (talk) 23:22, 20 March 2010 (UTC)

Very non-intuitive interface. Prodego talk 05:18, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
Very unhelpful comment. --MZMcBride (talk) 05:20, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
Mmmkay: I find that having the reviewing interface directly above diff views makes it harder to read the diffs then it should be. The primary purpose of diffs is to see changes, not to review pages. Additionally, since you do generally have to read changes before reviewing them, it would probably be better to have the review bar below the diff. Having separate review and protection logs, but a single interface is also a bit strange, and counterintuitive. Better? Prodego talk 05:23, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
Much. :-) --MZMcBride (talk) 05:26, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

I think a good UI would be to have the review UI at the top of old-revision pages, with a diff to the last checked version displayed on activation of the review interface iff there is a previous reviewed version …and a link from diff pages to the review page for the newer of the two revisions, if the diff compares two revisions from the same article (yes, it's possible to diff different articles to one another). The version that's around is acceptable, though—I think at this point I'd prefer FPPR live even if there are a few rough UI edges as long as it works well from a technical point of view. Otherwise, mainly looking forward to updates. Putting updates on the Village Pump is a good idea (though you should, next time, post a link to the discussion on the technical village pump as well, as MZMcBride did this time). {{Nihiltres|talk|edits|⚡}} 06:28, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

Proposal for a policy on contradictions

Contradictions, in general, are considered faults or errors. For example, if I say that widgets are large, then later say that widgets are small, most people would say that I made a mistake. This is reflected in the large number of WP discussions in which contradictions are considered to be faults: Search results.

Another example is stating that widgets should be written "widgets" but elsewhere stating that the proper spelling is "Widgets" (the capitalization of a word is inconsistent).

Of course, if I said that widgets are large compared to ants and small compared to adult elephants, there is no contradiction and hence no fault. And if I said "A is (not A), where A is a variable representing a truth value, is called a contradiction", then the contained statement "A is (not A)" is not considered a contradiction for which this policy would apply, since it is part of a meta-discussion rather than a 'primary' contradiction.

I propose that WP add a new policy prohibiting such contradictions in WP articles. This includes contradictions within sections, between sections, and between articles. It would exclude contradictions in and between quotations, as well as contradictions (which must be described as such) for which the contradicting statements are supported by WP:RS references (either the same reference or different references).

A quick search indicates that there seems to have been no such proposal in the past. However another quick search indicates many upheld complaints that articles contain contradictions.

This policy would take precedence over WP:NOR, since contradictions are 'internal' problems, like typos, spelling, and grammar, rather than substantive original research.

Please vote, so we can see if there is a consensus for me to make a formal request. David Spector 18:19, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

  • Support: My vote.
  • Oppose: Any such "contradictions" simply mean that the article is incomplete or not fully developed. They can be fixed, but there's no need to "prohibit" anything, that would just provide instruction creep and unneeded stir. MBelgrano (talk) 18:31, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
  • (ec)Oppose: AFAIK they are already dealt with (including use of {{contradict}}) by a pretty strong consensus that articles should make sense. Why is more policy needed? OrangeDog (τε) 18:34, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose - I agree that this is unnecessary instruction creep. We should never leave a contradiction in an article un-noted, that's just common sense as OrangeDog expains. But if the contradiction comes from reliable sources, the proper course of action is to point out that sources contradict each other and let the reader make their own opinion, not to use original research to determine which one is more correct. Mr.Z-man 18:55, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose as stupid pointless drivel... ╟─TreasuryTagstannator─╢ 19:00, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose would contradict WP:NPOV. Dmcq (talk) 22:42, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose Unnecessary instruction creep. Z-Man offers further sound reasoning. --Cybercobra (talk) 22:49, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Z-Man. Also, as we've seen with WP:CSD, anytime we add a policy, people misuse it, citing it in inappropriate situations. I can see this being used in deletion debates, with people saying, "Delete, it violates WP:CONTRADICT." Tisane (talk) 03:34, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
  • support and oppose, mostly per TreasuryTag, also per Tisane. ^demon[omg plz] 11:22, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Support. Contradiction is false is true, but it so much so that no words will be required to express it. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 11:45, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose, obviously. This is kind of like saying there should be a policy stating that mistakes in articles should be avoided. The day that we need a policy to explicitly state that, I'll weep for humanity, even more than I do already. Equazcion (talk) 11:58, 22 Mar 2010 (UTC)

Voting is closed, thank you. I withdraw my informal proposal. Thanks to everyone. @Treasury: "stupid pointless drivel" is quite impolite (it is a personal attack instead of an objective reason for opposition). This violates a WP policy. We don't want to bite or drive away people like me who are trying very hard to help WP. David Spector 14:02, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

...@David spector, it is not a personal attack (I'm not calling you pointless drivel). You can argue with me on our talkpages if you think that that's appropriate use of your time. ╟─TreasuryTagconstabulary─╢ 18:28, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

Guideline or essay on contradictions

I think a much better idea would be a guideline called something like "How to deal with contradictions". The guideline would probably start life as an essay and then be upgraded if there is a consensus for that. The essay would talk about the different types of contradiction and how to deal with each one. e.g.

  • Sources use different spellings/capitalisations
  • Sources use different names. Can we be sure they are talking about the same thing?
  • Official title of something contradicts Wikipedia policy (e.g. capitalisation, inclusion of "the")
  • Sources have different points of view
  • Sources differ in areas which each claim is a matter of fact.

The essay would link to the relevant policies and guidelines, such as WP:Article titles and WP:NPOV. Yaris678 (talk) 13:19, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

I'll start an essay if no one else does; thanks for your effort. David Spector 14:02, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
Note the failed Wikipedia:Consistency. PrimeHunter (talk) 14:20, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
That appears to be a vaguely-essay-like attempt at dealing with contradictions between two articles - something I didn't think about in my previous list. I guess that needs to be considered, but I wouldn't necessarily advocate the approach that Wikipedia:Consistency appeared to be taking. I say appeared because it looks far from complete. If Wikipedia:Dealing with contradictions, or whatever you call it, gets some momentum behind it then I guess you could replace Wikipedia:Consistency with a redirect to the new essay. The previous work would still be available in the history of the redirect page, should anyone be interested.
Yaris678 (talk) 21:15, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

Reliable Sources?

Is the a reputable source for wikipedia articles? What about Perez Hilton's newspage? Sapporod1965 (talk) 05:58, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

Please see the Reliable sources/Noticeboard. Johnuniq (talk) 06:44, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
Sry couldn't find the answer on there. So please enlighten me. Is the a reputable source for wikipedia articles? What about Perez Hilton's newspage? Many thanks in advance, Sapporod1965 (talk) 20:23, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
John meant that you should ask your question there, not here. --Cybercobra (talk) 20:25, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

collapsing discussion text

As part of a dispute over a merger between {{hat}} and {{cot}}, and issue has popped up which could use some debate. The main question is this: When/where/why is it acceptable to use technical tricks - like collapsing tables, collapsing divs, or CSS coloring - to hide/close discussion text? there are a number of cases where this is already conventional:

  • Closing administrative debates - usually with {{archive top}} or {{discussion top}}. These are colored and bordered, with a 'no modify' warning, but are usually left expanded.
  • Hiding extended discussions - usually with {{collapse top}}. Discussion text is colored, bordered, and hidden, usually for readability. long discussions can be hidden from view so they don't take up so much space.
  • hiding off-topic debates, personal attacks, and etc. - usually with {{hidden archive top}}. discussion text is colored, hidden, and given a 'no modify' warning.

The last is the contentious one. while we all agree that there are cases where it is useful and beneficial to collapse discussion text and cases where it's abused, we don't really have any clear sense of what is and what isn't responsible usage. There is a vast gray area here (or so it seems to me) where one side is going to think {{hat}}ing a discussion is a good idea while another side will see it as an offensive form of refactoring, and I've seen that exacerbate talk page conflicts. If we can get clarity on that issue life would be good better.

My original goal (which has now become kind of a side issue) was to merge together all of the discussion-closing templates into one template (for minor reasons - I liked the consistency and simplicity of a single template, and I was thinking of adding some features, such as a debate summary quote box and some color-coding for different types of debate resolution). any input on that would be nice as well. --Ludwigs2 18:08, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

BLP PROD duration discussion

Just dropping a note here; it seems the discussion on how long BLP PRODs should last is ending, with current average of roughly 2 weeks. Anybody who wishes to chime in and has not done so is welcome to at [15]. The WordsmithCommunicate 21:00, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

User talkpage query

There is a user (who I won't name here, let's keep it hypothetical for the moment) who refuses to receive perfectly normal messages on their talkpage—"Please communicate with me in private. This sort of exchange does not belong on WP,"—deleting such material and instead asking for missives to be sent via a contact-form hosted on the website of their software business.

I see a number of things wrong with this: it's spamming Wikipedia with links to this (very) commercial site. It's disrupting the normal talkpage system. It's requiring editors to provide their personal email-address, without the user in question revealing theirs.

Any thoughts? If the general view is that the system is inappropriate, I will alert the editor to this discussion. ╟─TreasuryTagSpeaker─╢ 22:07, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

Hm. I would just ignore their request and post whatever needed to be posted on their talk page and take the WP:BLANKING as an indication that the message was read. –xenotalk 22:08, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
I did!
But the issues of WP:SPAM, WP:OWN, and the fact that editors less inclined to be unco-operative than myself (!) will feel obliged to reveal their personal data, still concern me... ╟─TreasuryTagcabinet─╢ 22:10, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

==Please don't add messages to this page, except for official messages.==

Please contact me directly by using my Contact Us form instead of editing this page. I don't tend to visit here often, and when I do I delete any messages I find. I do discuss specific pages, but prefer to do so on their associated Talk pages whenever possible

I suppose the saving grace here is that they explicitly permit "official messages" (whatever that means) and further encourages others to engage him on relevant article talk pages. I know it's still called Miscellany for Deletion, but an MFD that focused specifically on this line might be a good way to determine if it's an acceptable request of other editors. –xenotalk 22:18, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
  • I thought about this further and left the user a strong advisement to reconsider their desired method of contact (and notified them of this thread for disclosure purposes). –xenotalk 22:50, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

I didn't realize there was anything wrong with asking people to email me directly so I can see and respond to messages immediately when I'm around. My heading has been there for years without complaint. But as always I am happy to conform to WP policies and guidelines whenever they are pointed out to me. I am a guest here, and did not mean to flout accepted procedures. I will remove my heading right away. Please accept my apologies. David Spector 23:33, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

You might invite users to email you through Wikipedia email, when they've left you a message if a response is desired, etc. Thank you for your understanding. –xenotalk 23:50, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

Category for G3?

Hi: I noticed we don't have a separate speedy deletion category for G3 candidates. Since G3 is for obvious vandalism, that seems to be something we'd want to prioritize over some of the run-of-the-mill speedy deletion candidates. Does anybody object to creating a category, and altering the db-g3 template to place things in it? RayTalk 23:43, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Proposed deletion (books) has been marked as a policy

Wikipedia:Proposed deletion (books) (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs) has recently been edited to mark it as a policy. This is an automated notice of the change (more information). -- VeblenBot (talk) 02:00, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

On the say-so of seven editors, no less. Was this deletion policy proposal actually advertised anywhere? Gavia immer (talk) 02:05, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
It was publicized.
I am not involved but remembering seeing notice. Maurreen (talk) 02:09, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
It was advertised at several locations: {{Cent}} (diff), Wikipedia talk:Proposed deletion (diff), the Village pump (archive), Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Wikipedia-Books (diff), and perhaps a few others. -- Black Falcon (talk) 03:32, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
More to the point, do you personally oppose it?--Father Goose (talk) 05:13, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
Not particularly, as a matter of fact. I just don't know that most editors were aware that this was under discussion, based on my scientific survey of one editor whose ignorance I can be perfectly certain of. Gavia immer (talk) 05:20, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
It's a fairly uncontroversial way of deleting things in a fairly obscure part of the project - I was certainly vaguely aware of the discussion from the notifications posted, but didn't work up the enthusiasm about it to even really read the policy past the opening paragraph, let alone vote. I suspect quite a few others were in the same boat - it seems that those people who actually pay attention to that part of the project were amicable enough to the proposal, which works for me. ~ mazca talk 14:23, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
My reaction was: Prod for books? Great, I thought it always existed. It seemed so clear that this was going to pass that I didn't even look at the proposal or the discussion. Hans Adler 14:47, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
I saw it too; no opposition. OrangeDog (τ • ε) 19:52, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
I've added it to our list of policies and to Category:Wikipedia deletion policies. A Stop at Willoughby (talk) 18:10, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

Autoconfirmed status

I feel that it could be helpful to lengthen the amount of time (and edits) that it takes to become an autoconfirmed user from 10 edits and 4 days to 1 month and 100 edits, as theoretically a user could create an account, began editing their user page, make 10 edits (all in their userspace), and then, after 4 days, vandalize a semi-protected article. What I am saying is I think that it would be best to be able to have a longer interval between account-creation and autoconfirmed status, as in some cases some vandalism-only accounts could even attain autoconfirmed status and disrupt semiprotected articles if they edit occasionally (and thus do not recieve a block immediately). Regards. Immunize (talk) 15:08, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

  • VOA accounts that gamed autoconfirmed are usually dealt with swiftly at WP:AIV. Without further data as to the extend of the problem that is herein asserted to exist, I have to oppose. –xenotalk 15:14, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
  • (ec) but pretty much what xeno said: no evidence there's a problem to be fixed. --Tagishsimon (talk) 15:17, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Why not make it harder to game the system? Only count mainspace edits which aren't reverted. ManishEarthTalkStalk 16:04, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Because it still hasn't been demonstrated that there is actually a problem here to be solved - and that would take developer resources away from more pressing matters. –xenotalk 16:05, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Is there any evidence that there's actually a problem? Until then, I must Oppose. --Cybercobra (talk) 18:05, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

I am concerned that this is a gap in the system that must be addressed. Immunize (talk) 19:45, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

  • We're not in the business of making Wikipedia more difficult for new users to edit, unless there's a demonstrated need to do so. A tiny minority of vandals deliberately edit-farm their way to autoconfirmed status generally for page-move vandalism, and since the edit filter went live to prevent this even these seem to have dropped off significantly. Unless you can actually point to a real, rather than theoretical, need for this restriction I fear it won't gain much support. ~ mazca talk 19:49, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

I feel that every incidence of either page-move vandalism or vandalism of a semi-protected article represents a major problem that requires repair, and that the best way to correct the problem is extending the length of time needed to become autoconfirmed. Immunize (talk) 14:53, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

  • Oppose longer interval between account-creation and autoconfirmed status. If the IP is shared in any way, the longer interval is a deterent to a god user. If the new account is a vandal, we can block it quickly and severely. --Philcha (talk) 16:34, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

Clarification regarding global blocking of named accounts

A recent situation at WP:AN (Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard#Keepscases erroneously blocked indefinitely / perm) seems to have highlighted a grey area in our policy - whether or not stewards are permitted to place blocks here at on named users following requests at m:Global blocking. Comments invited. –xenotalk 14:03, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

Update - I believe this can be chalked up to a steward training issue rather than a grey policy area; and these blocks are not permitted per Wikipedia:Global rights policy#Stewards. –xenotalk 14:27, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
My understanding was that global blocking was for IP addresses, not named accounts. From the meta page, "Global blocking is the technical function of the blocking of an IP address or range from editing all Wikimedia projects." Hipocrite (talk) 14:12, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
That is my understanding as well - though please correct me if I'm wrong. That being said, the m:Global blocking venue appears to have evolved into dealing with named user accounts as well. I'm not even sure that we opted into global blocking of IP addresses, but I am fairly sure we never opted into allowing stewards to place non-emergency blocks on named users here. Personally I think they should hand these off to a local checkuser except in clear emergency situations. The recent block of Keepscases (talk · contribs) by Sir Lestaty de Lioncourt (talk · contribs) does not appear permissable per Wikipedia:Global rights policy#Stewards. –xenotalk 14:15, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
They should not be allowed to take such unilateral actions. Either an checkuser has to confirm there's a problem first, or if the "evidence" is more vague but potentially persuasive, then a consensus of admins in open discussion here should be required first. In this case, as I understand Alison's finding, there was no IP evidence to support this yet the block was made nonetheless (even the emergency situation should be handled here -- if someone is running around making clear block on site edits, getting a local admin to deal with that would only add a few minutes to the process.)Bali ultimate (talk) 14:17, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
Global blocking only works on IP-adresses. We have locking for named accounts, which simply disables the account. We sometimes block locally on enwiki, but then it's blocking with suppression of the username, because of PII, and it's done across all wikis. That specific block placed by Sir Lestaty de Lioncourt was against the steward policy and should be discussed with the user on meta, since enwiki has local administrators that can handle the request. Laaknor (talk) 14:49, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

Discussion on IP block lengths

Wikipedia talk:Blocking IP addresses#IP block length and comment. Thank you, –xenotalk 16:51, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

Trying again... [global sysops]

Resolved: Resounding "no", but fair enough. –Juliancolton | Talk 16:55, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

I posted this thread a while back and it was archived with no responses. Any thoughts at all? –Juliancolton | Talk 18:06, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

No, I don't think it's a good idea. For better or for worse, en-wiki is a very large community with rigorous and often very wiki-specific standards regarding who gets administrative privileges. The idea of circumventing that process, even in a small way, strikes me as problematic. RayTalk 18:14, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
I agree. Anyone who's active here and wants administrative rights can go through RfA. Anyone who isn't active here, and yet wants administrative rights here, frankly shouldn't get them; there is no shortage of administrators or new candidates. Moreover, in the early days of the global sysop proposal, it was fairly obvious that some people wanted it as a way to get enwiki sysop rights without going through an enwiki RfA - that's reason enough to stay opted out and away from that temptation. Gavia immer (talk) 18:24, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
We have no need for them. Enabling them will, at best, make it more complicated to contact the relevant admin in a timely manner. At worse, it's a drama-bomb of bypassing RfA. OrangeDog (τ • ε) 13:20, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
For ease of reference:

As a bit of background info, global sysops are a handful of highly-trusted users who have admin tools on all small wikis, as well as those that elect to opt-in. The first batch were recently appointed a couple days back. In my opinion, it would be a good idea for enwiki to opt-in for several reasons. Most notably, global sysops dealing with cross-wiki vandalism won't have to stop at enwiki during low-traffic hours, when we're short on local admins patrolling RC. Language isn't a problem, since all of the current global sysops speak English to some extent. Now, I know this has been unsuccessfully proposed before, but I think it's worth looking into again. –Juliancolton | Talk 14:05, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

I think that if stewards are having trouble following our local rights policy, I would not want to also open that up to global sysops to also make similar mistakes. –xenotalk 13:23, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
That was a one-time mistake though. Local admins frequently violate local policy, yet we're fine with promoting new sysops! –Juliancolton | Talk 13:55, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
And we can deal with local admins locally. Global sysops - not so much. –xenotalk 14:01, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
I'm seeing zero enthusiasm for this, and zero evidence that there's a problem (e.g. of cross-wiki vandals operating at times when there are alleged to be no EN admins available). So that's mainly a no, then. I'm not sure why you are trying to shoe-horn a protocol designed expressely for wikis with small memberships onto a wiki with huge membership. The fit is just not good. The solution is that cross-wiki admins should present themselves for promotion to an EN admin. Presumably if they're that good, they'll be given the credential. --Tagishsimon (talk) 14:02, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

I think we can probably close this as no consensus to opt-in, global sysops can just bring problems to the attention of our local people. As a sidenote, it might be a good idea to have a page where global sysops can come to and report problem users when they do occur. The WordsmithCommunicate 14:18, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

They can use AIV and existing pages. No point in a parallel structure for globals to report. --Tagishsimon (talk) 14:44, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, I'm fine with it. Just wanted to run it by the community one more time. –Juliancolton | Talk 16:52, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

Policy of using Transparent image backgrounds

Below message copied from Talk:UK Space Agency as relevant to wikipedia as a whole not just this particular image.

Why has the logo been replaced with an altered image that uses a transparent background ? The union jack colours are red, white, and blue. Not red, whatever colour the webpage or web browser is using as a background, and blue.

If this image ever appeared on the front page of wikipedia it would appear red, green and blue in the FA section or red, blue and blue if it was in the in the news section.

More to the point it appears red, black and blue on my web browser, since I browse the web with the browser set-up to use its own bacground colours. Why do people use transparent backgrounds ?

If you want the logo to be slightly off-white then make the image slightly off-white. What is the point of a transparent background ?

The only point of a transparency is so that it merges into the background no matter what the background colour is, but either:

a) you know what the intended background is going to be, in which case why not just make the image that colour ?


b) you don't know what the intended background is going to be, in which case you've got no business creating a transparent background in the first place

The union jack is red, white and blue. (talk) 08:49, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

background colour: #00ff00

File:UK Space Agency.png

border colour: #00ff00
background colour: #00ff00

File:UK Space Agency.png

border colour: #00ff00
background colour: #abd5f5

File:UK Space Agency.png

border colour: #abd5f5
background colour: #fad67d

File:UK Space Agency.png

border colour: #fad67d (talk) 09:14, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

Better? If you can provide an example of the actual logo used on a coloured background correctly, then it can be made to match that. OrangeDog (τε) 13:18, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
You've understood some of what I wrote, but missed the point. Now that you've partially changed the image, it may prevent others from appreciating the issue I raised.
I'll try again with another picture:
background colour: #00ff00

File:Lloyds banking group.png

border colour: #00ff00
background colour: #00ff00

File:Lloyds banking group.png

border colour: #00ff00
background colour: #abd5f5

File:Lloyds banking group.png

border colour: #abd5f5
background colour: #fad67d

File:Lloyds banking group.png

border colour: #fad67d

I'm not talking about these specific images. These are just examples. The black background should show you what images appear like on my computer when the image uses the colour "transparent" where it should be using the colour "white". A transparent surround on something like the Hearts fc logo is fine - The problem is when people change not just the surround but the main part of the image itself, like with the Lloyds logo, and thus mix the page colour with the image which goes against Separation of presentation and content and goes against the purpose of html where web page designers should not assume they are in control of the presentation.

background colour: #00ff00


border colour: #00ff00
background colour: #00ff00


border colour: #00ff00
background colour: #abd5f5


border colour: #abd5f5
background colour: #fad67d


border colour: #fad67d

Chimage (talk) 15:18, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

If wikipedia wants to take accesibility seriously, then on a windows pc, go into control panel, accessibility options, display tab, settings button, choose "High contrast black" and then try browsing wikipedia and see the mess that is made by images that mix the content of the image with the page colour. Transparent surround is fine, Transparent bits in the middle of logos and other images is not. Chimage (talk) 15:25, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

In the Lloyds logo and a zillion other images on wikipedia, the colour white is an integral part of the image and should not be made transparent. Transparent surround fine, but not parts of the image that are properly part of the content of the image. Chimage (talk) 15:37, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

It isn't wikipedia that makes white transparent as far as I'm aware. This should be covered by some advice to people uploading images. Personally I use some colour like pink for instance for the transparent colour so I don't make this sort of mistake. And for web work where I have a patterned background I use the average color of the background and anti-alias it in just around the edge, it makes for a nice smooth border. Dmcq (talk) 15:52, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
I have commented out the images used to illustrate the issue, as all are non-free and allowed only in appropriate articles. To my knowledge, there is no guideline that the white areas of an image be transparent. It is good to have the background be transparent. The backgrounds of article pages and infoboxes are not white and can be changed by the reader through CSS or browser setting— my browser is set to light blue so I can check transparency. I think that common sense would indicate that any part of an image that should be white should not be transparent. It would appear that the issue here is about a particular image.
The rationale for File:UK Space Agency.png gives no source. Most organizations have a branding guide that specifies the colors and backgrounds for their logos. I know the agency is in transition, so it may be difficult to find a guide. Regardless, there is no policy regarding this, so the issue should be discussed on the article talk page. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 16:43, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

An essay on Wikipedia not being as important as real life

Is there a place to ask if such an essay has been written? Or does anyone know that such an essay exists? It would be a good link to have handy in dispute resolution if it does exist, or if something similar to it exists. I have attempted to search the VP but the terms were too vague for me to find anything. SGGH ping! 18:10, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

Please note this is in "existing" not "proposed" sections of VP because I'm not proposing anything just yet! :) SGGH ping! 18:12, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not that important ? –xenotalk 18:14, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
Perfect, thank you! SGGH ping! 21:24, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

Defining news organisations

Hi, I am trying to start a debate about defining what news organisations, as a reliable source, are good for and/or not good for. Please see Wikipedia_talk:Identifying_reliable_sources#News_Organisations_section ~ R.T.G 18:35, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

Removing a merge tag

When and by whom can a mergeto tag be removed? I ask this because a certain editor has removed a merger proposal, relating to an article created by him, before a consensus had been reached.--Nilotpal42 (talk) 22:37, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

WP:BRD generally applies, so anyone. Work it out on the article's or user's talkpage. --Cybercobra (talk) 23:40, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
Having a merge template on an article is not a requirement for discussing a merge. It may be handy, but the template is optional. You can (and should) continue to figure out what the consensus is regardless of the presence of the template on one or more articles. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:41, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
As an aside, I've seen a number of proposed merges where the proposer did little or no follow-up to posting the tag -- where there is little or no actual discussion and the proposer apparently did a drive-by. Maurreen (talk) 00:02, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
I've done that, and sometimes it's the right choice. "This looks like that, and nobody at either page seems to know about the other -- but I don't know if it really is the same subject: Would a better-informed figure it out and merge if necessary?" can be entirely functional.
The person proposing a merge isn't actually required to defend the proposal or to perform it. (It's often helpful, productive, effective, desirable, etc., but it's not required.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:21, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

Flagged protection: weekly update

As requested, here's the weekly Flagged Protection update.

This week we've seen a lot of helpful testing from at least 15 people, and we'd love to see more before launch.

To participate, start on our labs site.

To see what we've changed this week, check out the list of items completed.

To see the upcoming work, it's listed in our tracker, under Current and Backlog.

There will likely be more work than that before launch as user feedback comes in; we just added a number of items based on tester feedback. But if this week's feedback is any guide, we don't appear to have much major work remaining.

We expect to release again next week, and each week thereafter until this goes live on the English Wikipedia.

William Pietri (talk) 01:01, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

Proposal: Option to disable images

Dear all,

I propose a simple new feature to be added to any article in Wikipedia that may contain images of a graphic nature - this would basically consist of a small button somewhere on the article giving the user the option to block all the images on that page.

I propose this feature due to the fact that some articles that are fairly neutral in nature tend to contain images that are unsightly, graphic, explicit, and which make it hard to read the text near them (e.g "Nail").

The feature would be as non-intrusive as possible and its purpose is certainly not to patronize users.

Perhaps the feasibility of this option could be reviewed.

Regards -- (talk) 22:09, 11 March 2010 (UTC)tpos1an-- (talk) 22:09, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

Can you give some examples of pages you think this would be useful on? I can't think of any myself... ╟─TreasuryTaginspectorate─╢ 22:11, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
You can switch off images in many browsers. For example in Firefox it's: Tool -> Options -> Content. Untick the load images and save with ok. Regards, SunCreator (talk) 22:17, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
I think this has been discussed before, but it seems unlikely to be something that the WM devs would spend time on. Have you considered a browser plugin such as Adblock - it will let you block images on a page, or a whole domain. I mostly use it to block creepy images on fellow Wikipedians' userpages (e.g. Commons:File:Jimbo Peeking.gif), personally. :D – Toon 22:19, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
+1 to Adblock, it works great. –xenotalk 22:21, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

I support the idea. An example of an article that this button could be useful is Meningococcal disease, which features an image of an ill infant with the disease. While I personally am not overly disturbed by the image, there has been question as to weather or not the picture is appropriate on that pages talk page. A feature such as the one you suggested would eliminate such concern, as everyone would be able to choose themselves what they look at. Immunize (talk) 21:41, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

Which comes first? They'd have to actually look at the image before pushing the "button" to hide said image which seems a bit pointless to me. Why not consider rating potentially disturbing images and allowing users to download an image filter tool or select an option in their preferences akin to the Google Images "SafeSearch" functionality which would filter out flagged photos for that individual user while not disrupting the articles at all. Nefariousski (talk) 21:52, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
How about filtering images by category? If you filter anything related to sex or naughty bits, bodily functions, illnesses, serious injuries and contentious political symbols, it should do the trick. Surely most of those are in easy to find categories? It would catch some things most people don't find offensive, but avoid the endless drama of fighting over each individual pic. Since this would be opt-in only and not used much, it isn't worth a big fight. Just my 2 anonymous cents anyway. (talk) 12:59, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
I think we're all forgetting WP:NOTCENSORED. Stuff like this gets rejected all the time. RadManCF open frequency 17:56, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
If some group outside Wikipedia wants to compile blacklists of images and article, then go for it. Self censoring in this manner is not going to work. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 18:55, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
There already is a blacklist at MediaWiki:Bad image listManishEarthTalkStalk 07:57, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
That is a list of images that are restricted because they have been misused, not because they are "bad". ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 15:05, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
I'd support an option to disable images, but for an entirely different reason: users on slow connections, such as 2G and dialup, may be discouraged from viewing Wikipedia if pages contain large-filesize images that take forever to load. jgpTC 18:28, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

Maybe have an option to allow the user (if he is signed in) to self block images on a certain page by typin in the page and having a block images option or something? I do not know. Such option i agree would need to be done on a user level.. not as a whole as per Wikipedia is not censored

Evenios (talk) 07:24, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

International distribution section for television shows

While reading an article on the television show Burn Notice, I came across a section at the end of the article listing all of the countries where the show is broadcast as well as the specific network it is shown on in that country. My first reaction was "What the heck is this doing here?" I then removed the section, as I didn't see it as encyclopedic or useful, but was immediately reverted. I put a note on the talk page and am awaiting feedback there, but I am curious as to what Wikipedia policy is on this matter.

This information is not included on the Wikipedia page for all television shows, only some. I think there are three different mutually exclusive positions on this matter: A) This is relevant info and should be on every article about an internationally distributed TV show, B) This info is more appropriate for TVGuide and should not be on any TV show article, or C) It is relevant and useful on some TV articles but not others. If C is the agreed upon answer then the question that must be answered is "What makes this info relevant for some shows but not others?" This question would need to be asked for every individual show if C is indeed Wikipedia policy.

Is there already a policy page which deals with this matter? Thanks (talk) 19:38, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

I had the opposite experience in an article on a collection of books by an author. I had added the titles under which they appeared in other languages. This was promptly reverted. Discussion could not be based on any policy. In my view the information about distribution of these cultural products is relevant for an encyclopedia. It should be included. −Woodstone (talk) 04:08, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

Why are IP's allowed to edit?

Recently, as I have reverted vandalism (most of which was from anonymous IP's, I have began to wonder why we do not require logging in for all editors. If this policy was changed, it would not effect wikipedia's promise that it is "the encyclopedia that anyone can edit" because anyone can log in, and it would probably reduce the amount of vandalism we see quite a bit. Immunize (talk) 21:33, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

I don't think that requiring editing from a registered account on all cases would be a good idea as a lot of people wouldn't have the ability to log in or register as they are intensely private people and don't have the patience to learn how to log in or create an account on here. This is a very complex process and it would behoove us to respect those people that cannot bother to log in ans they provide useful information to the articles and what not, you know what i am getting at here Sapporod1965 (talk) 21:41, 12 March 2010 (UTC)
This has been proposed before and it's been rejected everytime. I agree with those rejections, but I would support quicker blocking of IPs that commit Vandalism. SMP0328. (talk) 21:51, 12 March 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia:PEREN#Prohibit_anonymous_users_from_editing --Cybercobra (talk) 22:08, 12 March 2010 (UTC)
Poop!! (talk) 18:20, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
If you've been reverting vandalism, you should have noticed that most edits are legit. Anyways, we urge IPs to create accounts with {{Createaccount}}ManishEarthTalkStalk 02:31, 13 March 2010 (UTC)

I 100% agree with the view that there should be a mandatory registration and sign in in order to edit. Instead there are enormous expenditures of editor energy eliminating vandalism and frightened proposals for draconian sight-review for all articles. 95% of the problems could be resolved with a simple Sign-In-To-Edit, which I hereby give the WikiJargon Acronym (WJA) SITE. But Wikipedia has a strange inertia-driven culture, so it's not gonna happen because it's SPOOKY. Carrite (talk) 03:28, 13 March 2010 (UTC)

IP's are allowed to get away with all sorts of tomfoolery, as one of the core policies of wikipedia is that "anyone" can edit. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 03:35, 13 March 2010 (UTC)
And 67% of percentages are just numbers made up to support an argument with no real data or evidence backing them. Mr.Z-man 03:49, 13 March 2010 (UTC)
Yes, Dilbert, that's been verified by 87 studies. :) ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 04:01, 13 March 2010 (UTC)
It is true that 98% of vandalism is from anonymous IPs. It's also true that we'd have somewhat less vandalism if users were required to register to edit (not 20 times less, since many vandals would register). However, we'd also lose a lot of constructive edits, and a lot of new users. It's not worth it. Small wikis, without the manpower for vandal patrol, often decide differently. Dcoetzee 04:20, 13 March 2010 (UTC)

But I personally doubt that we would lose that many constructive edits, because nothing prevents someone who otherwise would have edited anonymously from logging in. Immunize (talk) 13:37, 13 March 2010 (UTC)

Yes the amount of vandalism that Wikipedia gets does make it a lot less fun. And I would not doubt that it drives away some of our most productive editors and keeps people who are very competent or experts in the subject from editing due to their lack of desire to deal with vandalism. I think flagged revisions would be a great compromise especially for medicine article which get more than their share of vandalism ( thinking specifically about sexually transmitted diseases ).
Registering actually gives people more autonomy in a way as it hides your IP address. Wikipedia will eventually need to address the problem of allowing IP to edit. We have IP addresses that have made hundred of blatant vandalism edits and are allowed to continue to make more. This one [16] finally got a reasonable block.
Another possible would be to require all IPs which vandalism two or more times to create an account. Thus everyone can edit at the start but only if they continue to have a good record. The reason why this keeps getting brought up over and over is many people see an undressed problem ( the large amount of vandalism from IPs and only minor positive edits ). Many of use consider writing an encyclopedia to require a certain dedication and have concerns that if someone is unwilling to put in the effort to register there maybe a good chance they will not put in the effort to edit constructively. My first edits were as a registered user. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 20:34, 13 March 2010 (UTC)

Yes, I feel that in the event that a editor does not put in the effort to log in, it is very unlikely they will become a constructive editor. I am also concerned about the issue that it seems that the policy for dealing with vandalism-only accounts is so much different than our policy for handling vandalism only IP's. While most vandalism-only accounts are indef blocked, most IP's only ever used for vandalism get only a 24-31 hour initial block. I feel it would be more appropriate to indef block all vandalism only IP's, just as we do with vandalism only accounts. Thus, the indef block would force logging in. I also support the idea of flagged revisions, at least on heavily vandalized articles. Best wishes. Immunize (talk) 21:28, 13 March 2010 (UTC)

Sorry but your post is wrong in several ways. First of all there is a stack of evidence showing just how much good Ip editors do, every day I see IP's reverting vandalism, tagging for speedy deletion, adding good content. Second, we don't block IP addresses indef because they change so frequently, I have a new one every few days, many change even more often than that. Thirdly, if we indef block IPs forcing them to log in that will do two things. The helpful people will be pissed off and not come back, and the vandals will just register accounts. This proposal has been rejected time and time again for the simple reason that blocking anonymous edits will have a proven negative effect on the encyclopedia. Its never going to happen--Jac16888Talk 21:35, 13 March 2010 (UTC)
First, could you cite the studies that show how much good IP-editors do on I know of a couple on French Wikis, but IP behavior is very different there (most semi-protected articles on don't even need protection on French Wikipedia).

Second, I know of no study showing a "proven" negative effect of not allowing IPs to edit. This would need to be randomized and prospective, since any retrospective study of IP edits that is used to project what would happen if registration were required, would be forced to make assumptions about what those great IP-editors would do, if forced to pick out a name and password. The truth is, we don't know. They might be so "pissed off" as to quit. Or not. And in the meantime, other good name-users might become so "pissed off" by IP-user continued vandalism to their work, that THEY might quit. It's a total guess as to which one wins. Personally I think anybody who goes through the arcane work of leaning how to make edits that "stick" on WP, is not likely to balk at the very simple task of registering. You don't even need an email address to do it.

Third, if you yourself edit from and ISP where your IP changes often, you're either editing from a proxy (a no-no) or one of those ISPs with rotating IP-exits, which are EXACTLY the sort of IPs that need to be soft-rangeblocked (with account creation enabled). The reason being that such ISPs are a perfect hide-out for vandals, who cannot be blocked by any means when using them. Best to force vandals who use those ISPs to take a name which CAN be blocked, and (in the meantime) cannot edit semi-protected articles. Persistant vandals from rotating-IP-exit type ISP services have had their entire ISP IP ranges soft-blocked, with NO-account creation enabled (which means only previously-resistered users in that range can use them, but no new users can register), which is even more draconian. But it's within policy. SBHarris 05:03, 14 March 2010 (UTC)

User:Dragons flight/Log analysis shows that anonymous users make ~40% of non-reverted edits and almost 80% of IP edits are not reverted. I don't know of any newer statistics. Mr.Z-man 05:11, 14 March 2010 (UTC)
It looks to me like an IPs is 4 times as likely to make a reverted edit as a name-user, an 10 times as likely as an admin. The only reason they only contribute less than half the reverted edits is that there are fewer of them. If there as many IPs as name users, they'd be contributing 80% of the reverted edits or vandalisms. Anyway none of this tells us what would happen if we forced these people to register. The assumption that all IPs would simply disappear, is unfounded.SBHarris 08:06, 14 March 2010 (UTC)
I like the suggest from Doc James (20:34, 13 March 2010) and Immunize (21:28, 13 March 2010) - allow "good" IPs to carry on, but indef block IP vandals and force them to register after just 2 incidents. As another discussion recently commented, most vandals won't have the patience to register.
I also support Sbharris's comment (05:03, 14 March 2010) that we should be quick to block shared IP ranges. Their users would have to register at any other site, e.g. a forum, so it's hard to justify making vandalism easy on WP. And if the organisations running shared IP ranges complaint, WP's response is: editing WP is a privilege, not a right; it's the job of shared IP ranges to police their users. --Philcha (talk) 05:59, 14 March 2010 (UTC)
Keep in mind we don't even have to total-block IP ranges. A "soft block" can still let users from that range edit, but only if they become a nameuser. Which takes 10 seconds. So why does it matter, and won't IP-vandals just get a username, and then still vandalize? No. You know why. Because individual name-users are treated far more harshly than IP addresses, which are apparently fantasized in administrator minds to all be be shared junior high library computers, or something. SO the coddling of IP users is endless. Anything to make them take usernames, is to be encouraged. SBHarris 08:06, 14 March 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Side note: It should be imposed on admins to do a WHOIS and check the identity of the editor. If its a school IP, they should only softblock. Rotating IP's (they will be shown with "status:ALLOCATED PORTABLE" on a WHOIS) should be 24hr blocked (no matter what their block record is) without autoblock, but account creation prevented, and fixed ip's should be blocked by the same guidelines for normal users (24hr, then a week, then a month, etc.), except the block should be a softblock. ManishEarthTalkStalk 11:26, 14 March 2010 (UTC)

Personally, I oppose the proposal to prevent IP addresses from editing, as many of their edits are good-faith, although I support the thing with blocking the vandals. (talk) 01:05, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
The success of Wikipedia is largely built on the concept that any reader can edit any page, right now. And that's built into Wikipedia's core principles. The gain to Wikipedia from that perception vastly outweighs the inconvenience of vandalism. Experienced editors would also be aware that a huge number of constructive edits are made every day from IPs, and while we'd all love them to create accounts, that doesn't make their contributions any less valuable. On a more specific level, the majority of IP vandalism comes from schools; on a purely philosophical level I think the lessons learned about knowledge (and the reliability of information) that students acquire from editing from IPs vastly outweighs the inconvenience their vandalism causes us. - DustFormsWords (talk) 01:46, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
Speak for yourself. I wish there was some way that we could separate out people who feel as you do, and actually give you all the IP-vandal-revert tasks. Then the rest of us could put our feet up, perhaps sipping a drink with a little umbrella in it, and say "Snap it up a little, will ya? My favorite science article still says magnesium is gay."

To be a bit more serious, I find your argument a big disingenuous. It is not true that any editor can edit any page RIGHT NOW. Semi-protected pages make you wait FOUR DAYS. Now, you're promoting the idea that it will destroy WP if we make some people wait the 30 seconds it takes to pick a username and password. Come, now! It takes about that long for a new editor to figure out how to save their new edit. And far longer for a new editor to learn enough rules that their new edit is likely to "stick" and not disappear. Having your edit disappear must be far more disconcerting than getting a message that says "Hi, there! Please pick yourself an anonymous username and a password." So, I don't buy it. SBHarris 20:38, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

A very large number of our editors - many more than any of us realize, more than likely - started out with one or more edits which could easily be considered vandalistic - I myself started here by adding a spam link to a forum where I was/am an administrator. Many IPs which make vandalistic edits, if they continue to edit, turn into productive editors, and blocking IPs from editing would cause us to lose those editors. Even with the fact that I have been an administrator for coming up on a year now, I still edit while logged out myself, for a number of reasons. --Dinoguy1000 (talk · contribs) as (talk) 04:40, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

However, these editors would be just as likely to become productive even if we blocked their IP, as the majority would create accounts and go onto become productive editors. Immunize (talk) 17:54, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

  • The question is not "why are IP's allowed to edit," but rather, "why aren't autoconfirmed users allowed to block IP addresses." The answer is "because that's not easily doable in the current version of mediawiki." Hipocrite (talk) 18:21, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
    • Actually, both are trivial to do, each requires a single change to LocalSettings.php; however, neither is done in the English Wikipedia because they are both very bad ideas. I also vehemently oppose the idea that blocking IPs doesn't prevent them from registering accounts and becoming productive editors - while there are no technical restrictions (unless the blocking admin specifically prevents account creation), the fact of being blocked is itself a significant deterrent to further contributions for new editors, in effect saying "we don't value your edits, and we don't want you here". ダイノガイ千?!? · Talk⇒Dinoguy1000 20:31, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

This is why I feel the best option may simply be making registration universally mandatory, because a message that says "you must log in to wikipedia or create an account to edit" is much less of deterrent from editing than one that says "because of your persistent vandalism, you have been blocked indefinitely from editing". Immunize (talk) 15:39, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

We could change the message that blocked IPs see so that it is friendlier to the innocent, and places more emphasis on encouraging them to create an account. I think that it is generally good to allow non-logged-in users to edit, so as to create an easy first step leading to escalation of commitment and later full-blown wiki-addiction. They will create accounts soon enough if only to gain the advantages of being an autoconfirmed user. Really, we should also be allowing non-logged-in users to create articles and such, as part of that whole effort to get them hooked; it was a mistake to get rid of that capability. [[User:Tisane|Tisane] (talk) 08:19, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
There's a reason why IPs aren't allowed to make NPs. See Wikipedia_biography_controversy, especially The decision to restrict NPs to account holders. IPs (the sincere ones) sooner or later create an account anyways. One way to indirectly force them to create an account is to haunt their every waking edit with a notice telling them to make an account (When they press save, send them to a page with a notice containing the text of {{createaccount}} )ManishEarthTalkStalk 13:17, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

My opinion is this: I believe on the one hand allowing anyone to edit wikipedia without having to create a user account is a great way for a person to dive in and help out at any time. it allows people to not have to worry about creating a user name and signing up to contribute and indeed a number of very productive edits and contribution have been done by users who never create a user-name.

However i have found for the most part most vandalism i have run across thus far has been by users with just IP addresses shown. The problem also is that a user may be using Wikipedia from more then one location; a school, a public library, from home, from work. from a friends house. In that case a user can have more then one ip address and cause problems time after time by switching to a new location, also many users have non static ip addresses that change every time they get online (dsl services have that). I would think if IP addresses alone were not allowed to edit.. it woudl cut down vastly on the number of vandilsim and incorrect edits to wikipedia. Also perhaps a step further, because a user can simply create a new account with any email.. i even propose that in creating new accounts a user has to wait a certain time period, say something short maybe an hour or two before they are allowed to edit. That way it could also cut down on abuse.

The reason i say this is because we have pretty much a two faced system in wikipedia. No matter how many good faith edits we matter how much time is spent stomping out vandalism and catching bad users.... this will ALWAYs be undermined at least in some small way with vandalism and bad faith users costing the integrity of wikipedia. If the current system we have now is kept in place....this will always be true.

Also keep in mind the more popular wikipedia becomes the more people out there will be interested in causing harm to it. In fact in one study in Wikipedia (forgot the link.. its here somewhere) but it says that the number of "bad faith edits" to good faith edits to wikipedia is rising. In fact to be quite honest i am a bit dissipointed with the number of vandalism edits i am able to find at any given time. Even with the hundreds of users at any one time checking for vandalism and cluebot and other tools. We still have many many bad faith edits per hour in Wikipedia.. some which end up going unchecked for hours if not days..

Unless something is changed we can NEVER bring Wikipedia to being close to the standereds we want for it. I propose in the future that more serious discussion needs to be made on this topic. While on one hand it might close the idea of "anyone being able to edit at any time" It could go a long way to helping bring better credibility to everyone, after all if our goal is to bring the sum of all human knowledge to every person on the planet, should that also mean we should strive our best to make as vandal free as possible? We cant do that with our current set up and to be honest with you i think more time sometimes is wasted fighting vandalism and bad faith edits by ip addresses and users who create brand new accounts within seconds then that same time can be used for making Wikipedia better!

Just my thoughts!

Evenios (talk) 07:18, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

Great long paragraph. By TLDR I shouldn't read it, but I ignored that policy (no, it isn't a policy actually), and read it. My first reaction was: Wait...what? you want to block IPs and have a delay in making accounts? Then Mrs Henpicky English Grammar Teacher won't be able to correct the multitude of spelling/grammar mistakes like "Every dog has it's day" ("it's" should be "its", as "its" is a possessive pronoun). Naah... choose one or the other. I sway towards blocking IPs (though that still might discourage said grammar teacher who will not have the time to create an account to correct said mistake), because a wait period will make the user abandon his efforts. Though both changes are discouraging, the IPblock one is less discouraging and will cut down vandalism more. ManishEarthTalkStalk 13:07, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
Pretty everyone here knows basically everything you said there, Evenios. But for many people -- but most importantly the foundation -- the benefits of allowing IPs to edit outweigh the negatives. I would say that being a little more proactive in blocking school IPs and such that are problems would go a lot further in helping things, personally (but I'm not an admin so I can't do anything about that). ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 14:16, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
That, and you've just stated the real key to this whole discussion. This is a foundation issue, so it really doesn't matter what we think. If we somehow decided that Wikipedia should turn into a facebook close, or something like that, that sort of change wouldn't happen either.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 15:38, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

Ugh, anyone who even takes a peep at IP's edits in the recent changes section can see quite clearly see that IPs make probably more useful edits than vandalism. If we took away the right to edit as an IP then the next time they see a spelling or grammar edit in an article and go to correct only to be told to make an account you just know they would think "Sod that" and that's one less helpful edit. It's not going to change and I'm grateful for it, for a multitude of reasons. OohBunnies!Not just any bunnies... 18:39, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

In the last several months, there have been two occasions where I had reason to do some minor editing without bothering to log in. In the first instance, I was blanking a Talk page redirect that was the result of a move and clearly served no purpose, to anyone who actually looked at what I was doing (or my very clear edit summaries) with a conscious mind. But my edit was undone five times as "vandalism," I was warned five times about my "vandalism", and then I was reported for my "vandalism" (and the report was immediately rejected because it obviously wasn't vandalism). In the second and very recent instance, I edited the hatnotes on an article to be more helpful, and again left very clear edit summaries about why I was making these changes. Again, I was undone over and over, by three different people, with no reason given except that because I was an IP, I must be a vandal (yeah, a lot of vandals get their kicks by modifying disambiguation hatnotes, I'm sure). What was really appalling is when I was told by one of these people that if I wanted to edit without being reverted, no matter how legitimate my edits were, I would have to register an account.

Honestly, if it were up to me, I would probably require registration before editing. But as long as our policies do grant unregistered users every right to edit articles, these people who won't even look at an edit before undoing it and labeling the user a vandal simply because they are unregistered are doing Wikipedia a really appalling disservice. Either they can edit, or they can't, but the project shouldn't say that they can edit and then treat them like scum if they do. Propaniac (talk) 19:20, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

That's pretty bad dude. If I see an edit with a detailed edit summary, whether it's by an IP or not, I don't assume it's vandalism and everyone should check before reverting. I never really knew that was a problem. I don't get why people are so quick to assume when plenty IPs make good faith edits. OohBunnies!Not just any bunnies... 19:28, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
Please point out to me how making IPs sign up will end vandalism? I dont see it. But, I do believe that there is a small minority of first time IP editors who probably dont sign up because they are under the impression they have to give some information and/or eventually pay money (think- dating sites that are "free to sign up!" but to do anything cool (eg- talk to chicks) you have to pay) and I guarentee there are more than you think that think Wikipedia is like that, not a vast majority, but quite a few.Camelbinky (talk) 04:13, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
You're right. Plus everyone has the initial sign-up inertia anyways. ManishEarthTalkStalk 07:20, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

Another possible way to reduce vandalism would be to semi-protect more pages after less vandalism than we do currently, meaning, for instance, that we would semi-protect a page after 2 incidences of vandalism rather than 5. Immunize (talk) 19:41, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

Good compromise. And I don't think that that will garner much opposal, as we already have the 5-vand protect. ManishEarthTalkStalk 12:46, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

I see we have the eternal question here. Advocating the elimination of edits by IP would not only the continuation of WP:Policy creep, but it would merely move the question to new "anonymous accounts" (sockpuppets et. al.) and insisting upon credentials... which would ultimate destroy the base principle of Wikipedia being edited by "anyone". Ultimately, this would require the establishment of identities to ascertain the actual person who has a specific account (side question: how many of the edits above are by accounts which reflect the actual name of the poster? I can "see" only three or four, including this post). It's a slippery slope, but elimination of edits by IP is not the answer as some people with accounts sometimes edit without signing in for various reasons. B.Wind (talk) 17:53, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

B.Wind mentions a very good point in that accounts are just as anonymous as IPs for the most part. And they should be, I for one dont want anyone to be able to come to Wikipedia and figure out who Camelbinky is in the real world. If someone wants to constructively edit on Wikipedia from multiple computers and not have each linked back to them what does it matter? I know of at least one admin who changed his username for the express purpose of making sure that those that know him cant make the connection to his username. B.Wind is correct that if we ban all IPs by making sure that everyone must sign up then over time the next debate WILL be that you must provide identification, email address, your true name, credentials, etc to prove who you are in order to sign up in order to eliminate the problem of sockpuppets and more vandalism. These proposals on banning IPs are just the tip of the iceberg on a greater Wikipedia-version Patriot Act all in the name of eliminating vandalism, just as crime will be with us forever in the real world so too will vandalism on Wikipedia. To eliminate either is to eliminate human nature and in the end creativity as well. Wikipedia can not live with out creativity, and to have creativity one must have a continuous supply of new blood and ideas, without IPs and lots of newbies we will wither and die in our conservative thinking.Camelbinky (talk) 18:14, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

When an anonymous user fixes a page with stale vandalism, I wonder what percentage of the time a so-called patroller reverts on sight thereby putting the vandalism back into the article, presumably without bothering to actually read the diff first. Based on my own experiences, I'd guess around 30%. This type of attitude is exactly why I don't want to register. I'll still help out when I notice problems, even when you make me feel unwelcome, because I support what you do. But that's the reason why I say what you do rather than what we do. (talk) 03:27, 29 March 2010 (UTC)