Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 74

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I've just updated Category:Image with comment templates to add |link=|alt= where required. However I've looked at {{Refimprove}} and there are large numbers of others which aren't compliant should we have a bot or something do a run against these types of icons ? Gnevin (talk) 17:47, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

Anyone here care to offer an opinion? Gnevin (talk) 10:05, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
I agree. Posted to VPT, and requested a bot ManishEarthTalkStalk 10:13, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
Did you check that all the images having their link removed were public domain? –xenotalk 14:11, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
I wasn't aware for this requirement, thanks for cleaning up my mess. I'll make sure to check in the future Gnevin (talk) 16:55, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
I really need to talk to the Alt text people, Wikipedia linking and reuse convention should really overrule the defaults of a single stupid screen reader. And I think we changed MediaWiki output so it wouldn't matter anyway. — Dispenser 04:06, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Withdrawn in light of Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style#Alt text Gnevin (talk) 15:56, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

Assume a certain degree of lack of common sense in articles to comply with NPOV

  • Avoid words such as surprisingly, ironically and perhaps even but and however when they assume common sense in readers
  • Avoid underlinking an article as it would be less easy to understand
  • Avoid 'geographical common sense', as I saw somewhere in Wikipedia (I think it was that NPOV tutorial thing.)

Kayau Voting IS evil 02:56, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

I can't reply to your specific post, as you haven't explained it well enough for me to know what you are talking about even if I use my common sense, but as a general observation I would say that we should assume common sense in our readers, but not assume common knowledge. Phil Bridger (talk) 20:32, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

One Small Suggestion

> Dear Wikipedia, > > I love your project! I think the idea of a public, "peer"-reviewed and edited library of knowledge is just what our species needs. I especially enjoy the counterpoint provided by reading several related articles on a topic, clearly with different authorship, which provide a most-wonderful way of illuminating points of consensus and areas of subjectivity or dispute. > > My suggestion, though, is not in one of these areas, but is fundamental. I have noticed that all Wikipedia numerical tables present data with "left-justification." As a high school math and science teacher - with an M.S. in Physics - this poor practice certainly would get an "F" in my classroom. It is not just some old-fashioned notion of aesthetics. Every elementary school student - by no later than third grade - is taught that the place columns in written numbers correspond to the powers of (the base) ten, i.e., the ones' column, the tens' column, the hundreds' column, and so on. Thus, all left-justified numbers are incorrectly, and also inconveniently, arranged. > > The inconvenience results from the fact that when scanning a tall column of properly right-justified numbers, it is possible, very quickly, to determine which are the most significant (largest), as these will have the most "left-ward" digits. I have heard that some property of using computers may be responsible for the very unfortunate, but now quite common, practice of left-justification of numbers. However, it is wrong, lazy and stupid, and really just represents more of the appalling math and science "dumbing-down" of contemporary Western, and especially American, society. > > I hope Wikipedia rises to the occasion. > > With best regards, > > Herbert Salit > Los Angeles, California —Preceding unsigned comment added by HerbSalit (talkcontribs) 21:16, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

Thank you, Herbert, for your observation. Decimal alignment in MediaWiki table is indeed problematic. The subject is discussed at Help:Table#Decimal_point_alignment. It is clear to anyone reading it that it represents a significant usability hurdle to the production of correctly aligned columns of figures. Eventually I am sure this will be addressed, but it is not presently a very high priority amongst the developers. Regards, User:LeadSongDog come howl 05:14, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
Center and Right justification can be done, I know. Being able to justify based on a decimal point would be a boon, but almost every table can be improved with tools that are already available by using center justification when appropriate, for example. Carrite (talk) 06:33, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

Third party opinion on WP:Synthesis & WP:Verifiable

If it would be possible it would be nice if we could get some additional input on whether WP:Synthesis and/or WP:Verifiable plays any part of the current discussion. Discussion here Note: I am a participant in the current mediation and may be considered non-neutral --Sin Harvest (talk) 00:27, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

Proposal for creation of Village pump (development)

There is a proposal for a village pump development, please comment at the talk page. Cenarium (talk) 00:30, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

Let's admit it: The Elephant in the Room about reliable sources

The Elephant is that journalists are human beings and do their mistakes; there is absolutely nothing denying a wikipedian can have a higher quality assay than a journalist. Hence the problem is not the origin of an assay but the identity of the journalist. Hence wikipedia will advance its quality and culture if it ditches dogmatism on sources and replaces it with identifiable sources and identifiable people testifying openly. i.e. Replace dogmatism to require known journalists with the processes known journalists use. --Athinker (talk) 11:20, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

So all newspaper articles without bylines (which includes most short pieces) would become useless? You'd like to ban practically every article ever published in the widely respected journal, The Economist? No, thanks. WhatamIdoing (talk) 14:23, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
One of Wikipedia's greatest flaws is the worship of easy-to-muster internet journalism links and the Ban from the Gods on "original research" quote-unquote. So one faces the Extremely Stupid Situation — and I am not making this up — where one anal retentive administrator-in-waiting concludes that Glen Beck blathering a membership statistic about a socialist organization on Fox News is a "reliable source" whereas a simple assertion about membership based on published paid subscription statistics to the group's magazine is "original research." No, I'm not making this up, nor is it the only case of AbsurdoWorld Wikipedia Orthodoxy that I've run into in the last month. In another case, the misidentification of an old German socialist sculpted onto the façade of a New York City newspaper building that was misreported at the bottom of an article by Joe Journalist in the NY Times — golly all the sudden that becomes gospel. And a person who lives down the street pointing out that the person on the façade is actually person A rather than incorrectly reported person B? Why, that's not from a "reliable source" — revert that! Accuracy be damned, we want "reliable sources," even if they're wrong! It's the Wikipedia way!

Basically, the sacred policy on "original research" is ill-conceived and fundamentally flawed. I guess it's a concept that works if one's vision for WP is a giant, interlocking Junior High Book Report... However, in my view the publication to be emulated by WP should be Encyclopedia Britannica, not World Book.

In my opinion, the incontrovertible fundamentals of a WP article SHOULD BE: 1. ACCURACY, 2. verifiability, 3. readability, and 4. Neutral Point-of-View. But nobody says anything about accuracy around these parts, do they? There's the huge ruckus about "reliable sources" and boo hoo hoo, don't let any "original research" creep into an article, even if it is accurate, cogent, verifiable from published sources, and written neutrally. Carrite (talk) 06:13, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
Lots of wackos are perfectly willing to be identified, not all are of the tin hat brigade. Dmcq (talk) 18:25, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
The reason that our debates about reliable sources deal with publications rather than with individual journalists or writers is precisely about processes - reliable publications have processes striving to ensure that all the material they contain is accurate. And it is far easier, I'd suggest, to assess the reliability of a publication than of an individual.
Of course, errors do appear even in reliable publications, and in individual cases we can acknowledge that by rejecting them as sources. I recall for example a recent debate - it was about the history of an apartment building somewhere in the northeast U.S., but I forgot where we were discussing it - where it became clear that The New York Times, generally considered highly reliable for Wikipedian purposes, was simply wrong (on a relatively trivial fact).
Still, it's far more effective to work on the basis that this source is reliable unless there is reason to suspect otherwise in a particular case, than to try and prove the reliability of each author and each story. That would multiply the workload involved in producing an article by a huge factor without, IMHO, making the articles any better on the whole. Barnabypage (talk) 19:57, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

People are missing the tl;dr here: i.e. Replace dogmatism to require known journalists with the processes known journalists use.

Originally we didn't go down that path; but it would be an interesting exercise to do so - provided wikipedia hasn't become a bureaucracy since I last looked.

--Kim Bruning (talk) 20:22, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia's misguided reliance on what lamestream academia considers "reliable sources" is going to become more and more unworkable as academic journals and such decrease in importance and influence, and self-published sources become more and more prevalent. But a reform of the system would require an overhaul not just of sourcing policy but of all the other policies, such as notability, that are tied to it. And I just don't see that happening anytime soon, if ever. Wikipedia is becoming harder and harder to make contributions to that will stick unless you have access to the full panoply of academic databases. Tisane (talk) 17:08, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
Eh, I do have access to a panoply of academic databases, and I rarely see them as useful. The mainstream media does a fairly good job with fact checking, certainly as good as it gets for current events. I do agree that primary sources can, and should, see more use. They don't count for WP:N, but there is no good reason not to use them when available. Hobit (talk) 17:24, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
I agree regarding primary sources. The danger with primary source interpretation lies in a misunderstanding of the context - historical, cultural, and other differences are wide across centuries and millenia. That danger is quite remote when we're talking about primary source reporting on current events. As for deliberate bias, any source can be biased, and I've not noticed that primary sources are notably more biased than secondary ones. RayTalk 18:45, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

Use of images of roadmarkers in an article

Hello, there is a discussion of policy implementation of road marker image use at [1]. It's over my head in terms of policy, but it looked like it might be good to get some additional eyes there. Hobit (talk) 13:30, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

use of {{uw-vandal#}} templates....

I was wondering, if someone (say an IP user) has vandalized a page, is it necessary to start with {{uw-vandal1}} to warn them about vandalism, or can we go straight to vandal2 or 3 if we believe that it was of a high enough magnitude (template vandalism, etc.)? Also, is there a user talk template that essentialy states "Due to your disruptive edits, you have been reported to WP:AIV"? I'm using Twinkle, and I've just been using uw<reason>-4, with a comment "You have been reported to AIV". Hmmwhatsthisdo (talk) 19:31, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

I go straight to 2, 3, or even 4im depending on how blatant/offensive/attackish it is. Whether it's template vandalism or not doesn't really factor into it though, just the intended purpose. And I don't now about a "you've been reported" template, after level 4 I just stop any more warnings and watch their contributions fopr more vandalism until they're blocked. VernoWhitney (talk) 20:02, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
Common sense works here. Level 1 still applies the principle of assuming good faith, 2 is neutral, and 3, 4, and 4im tell the targeted user to bugger off. If a user is posting "LOL POOP!!!111one!!1!" on pages, don't bother with 1! Remember, slavishly applying rules is only useful if you're at a loss for what to do. Also, overzealous generalizations always lead to trouble. ;) {{Nihiltres|talk|edits|⚡}} 20:13, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
Agreed with aboveFor me, L1 is for people playing around - "Hi mom" kind of stuff. I start at least at L2 is for people deliberately harming the article. L3 or L4im for gross violations, especially of BLPs. Resolute 20:56, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
Okay. Because I saw someone vandalize a widely-used template (If you really want to know, it was the template for Spongebob SquarePants. I despise the program, but it was still in the Recent Changes list.), and I went straght to L3. I just didn't want to get my rear end chewed for it down the line. Hmmwhatsthisdo (talk) 21:00, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

Wishing for standardization of "Reaction" section in articles

As was discussed on the 2010 Moscow Metro bombings [2] talk page, I think the "reaction" sections of most articles of this type (Bombings, disasters, etc) have a tendency to be nothing more then the repeating of the same information but with different flags, Presidents, and Prime Ministers. I'd like to propose that we make the "Reaction" section to use this standard. It's relatively neat, compact, and does eliminates the need to put in repetitive information. I'd also like to give Black Falcon credit to helping start the standard. --Hourick (talk) 20:15, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

Support. (involved in the linked discussion). My position is that the redundancy and templated "reactions", where brutal enemies and wholly unrelated countries have the same reaction (which usually involve the root of words "condemn" and condolence"), are uninformative and do not belong in these articles. At the above talk page, there was no consensus for the total removal. If this is the same consensus here, I would support the new streamlined format proposed by User:Hourick and used by User:Black Falcon. --brewcrewer (yada, yada) 20:54, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
I think that there are two issues with 'Reactions' sections that need to be addressed—content and style—so I will express my stance on each issue separately:
On content: Readers gain nothing by reading multiple quotes of the same generic expressions of condolence, condemnation, solidarity, and so on; it is just as informative and more concise to note that "X, Y, and Z condemned, offered condolences, and expressed solidarity". However, reactions that are symbolic but not generic (e.g., erecting a monument, observing a minute of silence, expressing commitment to an actual agreement as opposed to a moral principle) or non-symbolic (e.g., providing material assistance, proposing a policy initiative) may deserve individual mention.
On style: In most cases, 'Reactions' sections should consist of prose and not bulleted lists. Exceptions can and should be made for cases where a list/table format is useful in conveying information about, for example, the unique contribution of each country (see e.g., Reactions to the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, which is a separate article).
-- Black Falcon (talk) 21:23, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
STRONG OPPOSE Wikipedia norms have had this placement for years across a variety of pages (if its too long nothing is stopping a brief rundown on the main page and then the details on another page. look at any attack/war (2008 South Ossetian war or 26/11). just because a few people on this page find it needless doesnt mean nobody wants to read it. an encyclopedia is to collate the results and have it logged. Maybe a political scientist wants to note who said what and the requisite source for it. Who to say no one wants it? the mere whims of a few today can discount what is accepted practice in the absence of explicit rules to the contrary. the presence of such details are integral to be a source of information has wikipedia claims to be. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Lihaas (talkcontribs) 22:23, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
Comment for Keep The point is to keep that particular section short, with only more notable or opposing views, to be expounded upon. It doesn't do any justice to have an entire section of "Me Too!'s" repeating the same accolades, sympathies, outrage, etc when it can be condensed. If a reader wishes to know WHAT a particular President, Dictator, or notable citizen said on the topic, they can go through the references. That's one of the reasons why we HAVE them.--Hourick (talk) 22:40, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
While I see no need for a policy on the matter, I agree with Black Falcon's viewpoint. In this specific case, the reaction section is larger than the entire rest of the article. This introduces a problem with undue weight, and frankly, relevance. While the Russian and Chechnian reactions absolutely should have significant coverage, the rest of that section could reduced to: "The leaders of nations around the world expressed shock and anger at these actions and offered their condolences to the families of the victims" and absolutely nothing would be lost. In general, reaction sections delve far too much into the minutae of an event and really detract from the quality of an article. Resolute 22:38, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
Agreed Though a listing in the way that is currently done in the article is sufficient enough as to WHO and WHERE the comments came from, that should help keep an edit war of someone whining "Why wasn't THAT person not mentioned" etc. --Hourick (talk) 22:43, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
Well I have since reverted to the old practice on wikipedia itself of moving to another page so the encyclopedic log can be kept yet those who suffer from slow connection dont have to wait for it all to load.
i would like to add this comment: "these sections exist in too many articles for you to change it in a whim. Sorry. And there is no need for "a generalized discussion" for something that exists consistently all over Wikipedia. We never had "a generalized discussion" on including photos of facial portraits of people instead of their back in infoboxes either, yet we don't see anyone going and changing that. If you want, you can only make a discussion to change the current state but I doubt you will manage to reach needed consensus. Don't be afraid of wasting virtual paper, it can't be done." —Preceding unsigned comment added by Lihaas (talkcontribs) 23:05, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
No one has argued (see irrelevant thesis) that the redundant quotes should be removed because of "slow connections" or out of a concern for "wasting virtual paper". The issue is not saving space but improving quality. The effect of moving the 'Reactions' list to its own article has been to remove low-quality content from one article and use it to create a new article, in the process bypassing an ongoing discussion about this very issue. -- Black Falcon (talk) 23:34, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
Lihaas is coming from the talk page of the article where the following comment was made by the starter of this thread "Sure, not a problem. Hopefully this will lead to a policy change that will probably save a few gigs of server space for Wikipedia. LOL." While this comment was more made in jest then intended to be a serious argument, it's possible it was misunderstood. Another comment again by the starter of this thread was "Nevertheless, i can understand some acrimony about page laod times, etc." although since Lihaas's comment lacks a timestamp, I'm not sure if it was there before he/she replied here (added a timestamp and Lihaas's comment was after the article talk page comment). Nil Einne (talk) 06:28, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

Massive redundancy in United States health-care articles

The health-care reform issue in the United States is obviously a topic that is attracting a lot of attention right now, and many people are coming to WP to get a summary of the information (e.g. google news is linking to wikipedia on this).

Currently, Wikipedia has two almost entirely redundant descriptions of the 2010 health-care reforms: one in Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and one in Health care reform in the United States. Both contain a long and fairly detailed list of the provisions as they take effect by year. This seems totally counter to established Wikipedia progress and practice.

Since the latter article is already very long and is not specifically on the 2010 reforms, I tried to replace the list with a short summary and a link to the detailed article on the bill. A couple of other editors are reverting this, I think counter to WP practice on redundant articles. WP practice seems to clearly indicate a single article on the 2010 reform provisions (whether in the article on the main bill or in a dedicated article); the current situation seems insane.

Anyway, I just thought that a few other experienced editors should look into this situation and offer an outside opinion; thanks.

— Steven G. Johnson (talk) 19:02, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

IMO, those articles should be merged, because they are about the same topic. SMP0328. (talk) 19:35, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Merging is almost never the answer on WP unless tho articles really are on the identical topic. In this case, most of the Health care reform in the United States is indeed taken up by the description, but not all of it (some is background and history). It's entirely appropriate to make the first article focus on history, and write a longer summary (or leave more of what's there already) for the actual Bill that passed, and redirect the redundant remainder to Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as the {main article} for what finally happened a few days ago. That article is still being written anyway. Duplication is silly, but per WP:SS, each article needs room to grow, and both of these do. SBHarris 20:08, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
A problem here is that some of the editors at the Health care article appear to be rejecting even the principle of WP:SS. We already have subarticles on the specific subtopics of the 2010 reform bills, and yet they continue to copy and re-insert the detailed list of bill provisions back into the generic Health care article. — Steven G. Johnson (talk) 21:25, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
I fail to see how those are redundant. The reform article is about the subject of reform in general whereas the other is about a specific act passed by Congress dealing with a specific implementation of reform. Yes, there will be some overlap, but they aren't the same thing and I believe it's general procedure that acts get their own article. Grandmartin11 (talk) 04:25, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

See also Comparison of the health care systems in Canada and the United States . Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 19:28, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

Autoblock for role account?

I believe that I've discovered a role account; while I'm not sure of the situation, I've begun to discuss the problem with the account owner(s). I'm planning to block the account if I find that it is a role account, per WP:NOSHARE; however, I'm not sure about autoblock. Is it appropriate to autoblock the IP as well to ensure that they don't create a new role account, or should I avoid autoblock because the only issue with this account is the multiple people using it? Nyttend (talk) 19:30, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

If their edits are otherwise unproblematic, you should disable autoblock and allow account creation, imo. –xenotalk 19:33, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Though by "we", I assume they are referring to the other similarly named accounts that made edits to that article. –xenotalk 19:36, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
I've considered that possibility; that's actually the main reason that I'm not sure that it's a role account. Nyttend (talk) 20:25, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
The strict rule against role accounts is stupid and only creates problems. Sure, role accounts should not be allowed to become established editors, but if they are just fixing some errors or pointing out problems there is really no problem. --Apoc2400 (talk) 09:22, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/CheckUser and Oversight/May 2010 election has been marked as a policy

Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/CheckUser and Oversight/May 2010 election (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, 1 April 2010 (UTC) order an at my estore online shopping

Wikipedia:Waste of Time has been marked as a policy

Wikipedia:Waste of Time (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, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

Har-har. Anyway, the policy tag has now been replaced with an essay tag. --Cybercobra (talk) 02:35, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
Must be an April Fool's Day joke. This goes into the log... Kayau Voting IS evil 09:43, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

CheckUser and Oversight Elections

The Arbitration Committee has determined that there is a need for additional oversighters and checkusers to improve workload distribution and ensure complete, timely response to requests. Beginning yesterday, experienced editors are invited to apply for either or both of the Oversight or CheckUser permissions. Current holders of either permission are also invited to apply for the other. The last day to request an application is April 10, 2010. For more information, please see the election page.

For the Arbitration Committee - KnightLago (talk) 16:48, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

Discuss this

Guideline on malicious redirects

I've proposed a new guideline covering malicious use of redirects at Wikipedia:Malicious redirects. I invite comment on it at Wikipedia talk:Malicious redirects. This is particularly relevant in light of our policy on biographies of living persons; we need a good way to deal with this surprisingly widespread problem. {{Nihiltres|talk|edits|⚡}} 16:50, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

Implementation of Wikipedia:Guide to appealing blocks

Following links from various pages led me to Wikipedia:Guide to appealing blocks, which I've never read before. There, I saw that compromised accounts shouldn't expect to be unblocked. I maintain a second account, User:Nyttend backup, for use on computers where it's more likely that my account would be compromised; thankfully, this hasn't happened to date. If it happens, and if I find that the account has vandalised and been blocked for the same, would it be appropriate for me to attempt to log into the account, and if I'm successful, to change the password and then unblock the account with my main account? I don't see how this could hurt, but I wonder whether such a thing would be going against policy. Nyttend (talk) 20:33, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

Policy on list of salaries

What is the current policy on lists of salaries which are reliably sourced such as List of Supreme Court Justices salaries (United States)? Are salary lists considered to be un-encyclopedic? I haven't been able to find any guidelines/policies discussing the inclusion/exclusion of salary lists or what criteria should be met for them. I'd appreciate any feedback. Thanks!Smallman12q (talk) 22:09, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

These aren't really "lists"; they're tables of how one figure changed over time. It would be like having a "list of population of Ohio". They're otherwise poorly named (List of appeals judge salaries (United States) could refer to any state appellate court in the U.S. as well as federal) so I've moved them to better titles. Articles on the individual courts, such as United States courts of appeals, should include these tables. Otherwise, I think at most these tables should be merged to one general article on Salary of the federal judiciary in the United States or something like that; there's no point in maintaining separate articles for small tables when there's nothing really to be said about the data other than what the number was at various points in history. postdlf (talk) 16:48, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
IMO, the community has not developed a strong consensus for what's appropriate in lists. That's why "Wikipedia:Notability (lists)" is a redlink.
If you think this page isn't valuable, try making an argument at AfD based on common sense instead of the notability guidelines. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:44, 3 April 2010 (UTC)

Cleanup tags and stub articles

I kind of remember that there was a recent discussion somewhere on whether it was advisable to put cleanup tags on stub articles, but I can't recall where it was. Can someone point me in the right direction? Thanks. Beyond My Ken (talk) 06:10, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

On this page? You might be thinking of #Over-hasty_tagging_of_new_articles_.3D_off-putting_to_new_users.
(Whenever you find it, you can put me down in the list of people who think that tagging an obviously incomplete stub with {{Expand}} is stupid.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:48, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure where it was. The thread you pointed me to was pertinent, and interesting, but not precisely what I was looking for. Rather than specifically about brand new articles, I'm interested in what the current state of policy is regarding all stub articles. My feeling is that tagging an extremely short article with "expand" or "unreferenced" tags is redundant and unnecessary, especially if they're already tagged with a stub template, but I'd like to find out what the current consensus is, since it may have changed since that last time I was aware of it. (Wikipedia policy, a moving target.) Beyond My Ken (talk) 03:00, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
The documentation for Template:Expand says not to place that tag on a stub, and presumably represents the consensus for that tag -- but not necessarily the actual practice, because editors cannot be forced to read the directions before placing a tag. (I wonder if there's a list somewhere of stubs containing this tag? It seems like some level of compliance could be addressed with a bot.)
WP:OVERTAGGING is pretty widely accepted, but it's not specific to stubs.
There was an RfC at Template:Unref in February (which was announced here), but I'm not sure whether a month ago is "recent" in your opinion. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:46, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, that might be it. I'll check it out, thanks. Beyond My Ken (talk) 04:13, 3 April 2010 (UTC)

Verifiability policy changed to allow summary deletion of all unsourced BLPs.

There is a discussion at Wikipedia_talk:Verifiability#Recent_Change. Gigs (talk) 01:10, 3 April 2010 (UTC)

Uploading Commons-compatible files only to Commons


I tried to find whether this was already proposed in the past and i didn't. If it was, please point me to older discussions.

Is there any good reason to upload a media file whose license is compatible with Commons to Wikipedia instead of uploading it to Commons? If not, then why does the page Wikipedia:Upload say "consider uploading it to Commons"? I believe that it should be mandatory and that only Commons-incompatible files should be uploaded to en.wikipedia. (Some people would say that Commons-incompatible files shouldn't be uploaded anywhere, but that's an entirely different discussion.)

User:Kozuch started a discussion about it at Wikipedia talk:Upload#Deprecate upload of free images to Wikipedia and i believe that it should continue there.

Thanks in advance. --Amir E. Aharoni (talk) 11:50, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

This is a project-wide proposal (what to do with X images), not just a matter of a specific page. I think that the way things are done now is better: uploading images is already complicated as it is for new users. The word "must" should be avoided whenever possible, and redirecting users to a different web site with different rules may be scaring. Of course, we can not remove the "must" from copyright topics (images must follow the licenses requirements or may be deleted), but this one is a "must" we can skip. MBelgrano (talk) 13:34, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
Don't call it "must". Just change the links on Wikipedia:Upload that point to free file uploading forms so that they point to Commons. English speakers will hardly notice the difference. There's the problem of integration, of course - Commons has separate user talk pages and watchlists, but this change won't make it worse.
I find the current situation with "consider" much more confusing. What do i have to consider? What are the options? Are there any free files that should not be uploaded to Commons? If not, then why does this page exist? --Amir E. Aharoni (talk) 14:24, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
I think we need to do a compromise - the means push the upload to Commons as much as possible while leaving a back-door for people that do not want or might not be able to go for Commons. There are links to commons on various Wikipedia upload pages now, but those links must be much bigger, so that every single uploader can not ignore them. I mean like taking up half the text with a "Commons ad" or something like that.--Kozuch (talk) 16:35, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

Bear in mind that it's perfectly possible for media files to be free enough for unrestricted use on English Wikipedia (must be free in the United States and the state of Florida) but not enough for Commons (must be free in the United States and the state of Florida and in the media file's country of origin). Also, importantly, people lie about licensing and sources, or they just don't understand them and pick the option that we treat most favorably. Pushing purportedly free uploads to Commons will mean pushing the need to delete erroneously-licensed media from here to Commons at the same time that it pushes some free uploads directly there. Gavia immer (talk) 16:44, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

That's why i wrote "Commons-compatible" and not "free" in the heading.
Unscrupulous users probably lie about licenses on en.wikipedia as much as they do it on Commons, but you're welcome to prove me wrong.--Amir E. Aharoni (talk) 17:08, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

<-- only allows people to upload to Commons, I found (es:Special:Upload). I think I recall hearing that recently moved all its free files to Commons. But their upload form still allows for localized upload, with just a small box that points users to Commons if they would like to upload there instead (de:Special:Upload). I am in favor of strongly recommending enwiki users to upload to Commons if at all possible. Makes less work with the whole transferring and deleting and stuff. Killiondude (talk) 23:43, 2 April 2010 (UTC) redirects the uploads to Commons because it only uses files from Commons, there are no local uploads. Files that are PD only in the US are not allowed, nor is there any non-free content criteria (articles on movies or TV shows must be left without images). For project with local uploads, this is not a feasible option. MBelgrano (talk) 00:01, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
I am not talking about other Wikipedias. de.wp and es.wp indeed have very different policies which aren't quite relevant here.
What i suggest for the English Wikipedia is a wizard, in which the user chooses the license in the beginning. If the license is Commons-compatible, the next step will be the upload form in Commons. If not, then the next step will be the upload form in en.wp. --Amir E. Aharoni (talk) 09:00, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
It's true that the German Wikipedia only allows free files and that they moved everything to Commons. However, after many of them were deleted because they are free in Germany but it couldn't be proved they are also free in the US, everything was moved back. Hans Adler 05:31, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Proposed deletion of biographies of living people

Wikipedia:Proposed deletion of biographies of living people has been marked (again) as policy. Hobit (talk) 15:45, 3 April 2010 (UTC)

Need some info

Hello. I am a relatively new user on Wikimedia and I wish to participate in Wikimania 2010 by making a presentation on vandalism. I have traced 7 different motives for vandalizing wikis. I intend to prepare case studies for each of these motives by studying edits made by vandals. This is to figure out if there is any Wikipedia policy preventing me from requesting deleted backlogs from admins or accessing them through e-mail. Please help me out. Thank you.Nilotpal42 04:28, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

You mean deleted edits from articles? Nothing prevents you from asking, but if it was deleted for privacy, copyright, or libel issues, the request probably won't be accepted. Mr.Z-man 05:35, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
Can you direct me to the specific policies which prevent using such data keeping the subject of the article and the editor/vandal anonymous? I am not asking for edits regarding a specific article or by a specific user but by any user of the choice of the admin if it fulfils my requirements.--Nilotpal42 06:26, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

Rollbacks marked as minor edits

Why are rollbacks marked as minor edits? Woogee (talk) 05:23, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

The good-sounding answer: Because rollback should only be used for reverting vandalism, and vandalism reverts are minor edits.
The real answer: Because when Brion added the feature in 2002, that's how it was designed. Mr.Z-man 06:01, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

sticky prods for BLPs

Hello all, apparently people are using the "sticky prods" (A prod you aren't allowed to remove without sourcing the article) already Special:WhatLinksHere/Template:Dated_prod_blp. I'd been assuming we'd have a final discussion on this after the details got hammered out. Or at least it would show up in policy somewhere (which it may have done?) before it got used. I certainly object to its use without an up/down RfC on it's use, but I may be in a small minority. Thoughts? Hobit (talk) 03:33, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

I've raised the issue about the lack of a policy document/section. --Cybercobra (talk) 04:44, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
A more-formal page is now at Wikipedia:Proposed deletion of biographies of living people. I've added the info to some relevant pages. Maurreen (talk) 07:01, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
Why are articles already being templated via a proposed process? Hobit (talk) 13:20, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
I don't have a very quick answer.
But there is disagreement over whether "unsourced" means "unsourced" or something else. Maurreen (talk) 13:28, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

Hobit, (n.b. see also earlier discussion & wt:blp) I've added a new section on that talkpage, today. –Whitehorse1 11:47, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

Clear guidelines on whether secret/hidden pages should be kept

Recently, a huge bundle of secret pages have been dominating the landscape of the MfD. I suggest a clear guideline about whether secret/hidden pages should be kept. The nom suggests that WP:MYSPACE and WP:UP#GAMES do not allow hidden pages, but as User:Bahamut0013/Secret pages shows, there is no real consensus as to whether hidden/secret pages should be kept. Kayau Voting IS evil 09:40, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

looks like an innocuous waste of time mildly defensible as related to all the activities related to 'administrative purposes'. I would say let it lie. If you had a particular person that was blasting other Wikipedia pages with the concept, take it up with them as "Excessive unrelated content". Disagree that this needs any further guidelining. Good luck with whatever path you take, though! Cander0000 (talk) 04:52, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

Sticky prods -- proposals for conclusion

Nearly a month ago, an RFC established community consensus in principle for a new deletion procedure. You can see the RFC here.

A main result of the RFC has been development of what has come to be called "sticky prods" -- an expedited method to delete new unsourced biographies of living people.

The sticky prods are now in use, but there are still a few points of contention.

There are now a few proposals on the table to conclude the process.

I encourage your input, whatever it might be. Thanks. Maurreen (talk) 16:45, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

Maurren's post failed to mention that there is already a comprehensive policy on the page (see Wikipedia:Proposed deletion of biographies of living people), written by several editors and which as far as I can tell has consensus. The sticky prod process is working well, and new unsourced BLPs are being tagged with it. SlimVirgin talk contribs 20:21, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
It looks like there is an active dispute over whether this page represents a brand new "policy" or a "proposal". See, e.g., the group of edits around this one two days ago and this one yesterday.
Given the state of affairs, I don't think that it is unreasonable for Maurreen to not emphasize the existence of a heavily modified {{policy}} template currently (and perhaps temporarily) on the page. It's the community's actual view that makes a page be a policy, not the presence of a template on the page. See the map is not the territory, the landmark is not the location, the shortcut is not the policy, the template is not the status... WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:31, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

What a joke. That page. Admins, non-impartiality, and attacks. I give up. ... I really have no words. Whitehorse1 22:50, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

When & how to archive Wikipedia:Bot requests

Wikipedia:Bot requests (aka BOTREQ) is still being archived in chronological order, without regard to whether requests are completed, rejected by the community (for instance as being redundant, against policy, or lacking consensus), or not responded to (for example my 'Grape variety species italicisation' request). I'm concerned that this means that needed changes are not made; bot editors who might be able to make such changes might miss them, and it's harder to see what;s been done or rejected before making new requests. I think a more complex system of archiving is needed, with an archive page for each of the three types I list above with completed and rejected requests being archived more quickly than those still outstanding. I've posted a link to this discussion at BOTREQ but would welcome wider opinion. Note also prior discussion of BOTREQ archiving. Thoughts? Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 18:16, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

Bot operators check that page very often, if its something they are interested in, or already have code to do a task they perform the request. But if its something no operator is interested in then it gets archived with everything else as stale. This works very well and has served its purpose very well for a long time. The main issue is the lack of good bot programmers who are willing to get their hands dirty with requests that no one else wants. Otherwise you can un-archive a request and see if there are any ops who respond. If your not getting anything you might want to see about directly asking an active bot op. I've got just under a 100 days left on my restrictions, once those are lifted Ill gladly give a hand with those that fall though the cracks. βcommand 18:26, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
This isn't about not getting my recent request done (note link to prior discussion); that was merely an example. I don't think that it's correct to say that "this works very well and has served its purpose very well for a long time"; and I think the way that we make it harder than necessary for new- or would-be- bot operators to find unfulfilled, but valid, requests (and f requesters to find rejected requests) is not sensible. Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 18:49, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
I suppose someone could start moving unfulfilled requests from the archives into a separate archive. –xenotalk 18:49, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Just a random thought that this inspired. The bot request page is rather disconnected to the rest of the bot approval system. One idea (that if done well, could fix some other problems as well) would be to integrate bot requests with bot approvals. Bot approvals is basically divided into "New," "Trial in progress," and "Trial complete." I would suggest expanding "New" into "Requested" (someone has proposed it but no work has been done), "In progress" (coding and/or consensus gathering is underway), and "Ready for trial" (coding done, consensus achieved, if necessary). This could also avoid some of the problems we have now, where someone does a ton of work only to have it shot down because nobody thought to get consensus before submitting it for approval. Basically it would merge WP:BOTREQ with WP:BRFA (keeping a structure similar to BRFA) and it would separate the consensus gathering and technical review aspects of bot approval that are currently done together in a rather awkward fashion. Mr.Z-man 20:55, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
One issue with this is the number of unsuitable requests that come to BOTREQ. The BRFA page uses separate subpages, transclusions, etc., and someone having to do all that just to tell them "no, you've requested a perennially rejected bot" could be off-putting. –xenotalk 18:49, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes, it would need a little bit of automation for archiving and creation, but I don't think it would be unreasonable. I believe WP:SPI uses a similar system (or at least it used to until the bot died). Mr.Z-man 19:08, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Naming conventions (U.S. state and territory highways) has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Naming conventions (U.S. state and territory highways) (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, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

Manual of Style (U.S. state and territory highways) no longer marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Manual of Style (U.S. state and territory highways) (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, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

Combined related sections: apparently just some shuffling. –xenotalk 18:50, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Proposed deletion of biographies of living people has been marked as a policy

Wikipedia:Proposed deletion of biographies of living people (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, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

I've added it to our list of policies and Category:Wikipedia deletion policies. A Stop at Willoughby (talk) 18:21, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

Freedom of panorama in Iceland

Commons:Freedom of panorama#Iceland says that "Iceland basically allows freedom of panorama for both buildings and works of the arts in general that have been permanently placed outdoors. If the work is the main subject of the photo and the photo is used commercially, the author of the work (this applies to both buildings and other works!) is entitled to remuneration, unless the publication of the image is in a newspaper or a TV broadcast."

Does this mean that photos of buildings and sculptures can be used here with a fair use licence? I would like to use a Creative Commons image of The Sun Voyager from Flickr (or an editor from here, if he or she wishes to donate one), but I am not sure if the licence can be changed to fair use. Hayden120 (talk) 05:58, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

I would advise asking your question on Commons rather than here; it'd be more relevant. --Cybercobra (talk) 06:42, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
Commons will not allow fair use images, so I don't think it would be much use to ask there. I would like to upload a picture here, on the English Wikipedia, that was previously a 'Creative Commons' image on Flickr (which it technically should not be, according to Icelandic copyright law) and change the licence to a non-free one. Hayden120 (talk) 06:56, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Non-free content criteria Nº 4: content must have been published outside wikipedia. This rules out content created by users, such as photos. That a certain image isn't acceptable for Commons does not mean automatically that it can be tagged with a non-free content rationale. Some cases, like a self-made photo of a copyrighted object, are not acceptable at either place MBelgrano (talk) 02:25, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
Okay, but what if I saved an image from a tourist website and uploaded that? That would be published outside Wikipedia, so would that be acceptable with a non-free rationale? Hayden120 (talk) 03:01, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
Right now NFCC4 says ".. or publicly displayed outside Wikipedia", which is the case for the primary work. If, indeed, the message of NFCC4 is what you said, it must be written explicitly: "users cannot upload their own photos but are welcome to post whatever they find on the web". NVO (talk) 04:59, 8 April 2010 (UTC)
Nope, this is a misunderstanding. The NFCC4 thing refers only to the copyrighted non-free element of a photograph, i.e. in this case, the copyrighted building. The creative element added by the photographer himself, if he/she is willing to grant it under a free license, is a different thing. It is quite possible to have a photograph of a copyrighted building uploaded here in such a way that the photograph as such is declared cc-by, no matter if it's by a Wikipedia user or from some other free source, but the copyrighted non-FoP object is marked as the object of fair use. Technically, the image page still needs to be tagged as non-free and a fair use rationale added, but the free licensing by the photographer should also be mentioned. Fut.Perf. 05:43, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

WP:Research Policy RFC ready to be closed?

I've originated/participated in an RFC for WP:Research that I think is in need of a closer. Can a sufficiently experienced, independent editor (impartial and uninvolved in the discussion) who is familiar with all of the policies and guidelines that relate to the proposal check if everything is in order and ready for a consensus assertion? --EpochFail(talk|work) 15:24, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

I've revived this topic from the archives because the RFC for WP:Research has still not been closed. Could anyone spare a few minutes? --EpochFail(talk|work) 15:20, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Working on it. Hipocrite (talk) 15:21, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

External links to sites showing YouTube videos of TV shows

Could you tell me the policy on this. A user has been adding dozens of links to websites that are showing episodes of Indian tv shows via YouTube. The links are being added on many articles on Indian TV shows. I'm not sure if this is okay or not. Thanks. Bento00 (talk) 21:25, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

See guideline External links. Regards, SunCreator (talk) 21:56, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Research has been marked as a policy

Wikipedia:Research (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, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Subject Recruitment Approvals Group has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Subject Recruitment Approvals Group (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, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

As a neutral notification, both of the above pages are currently up for MfD at Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Wikipedia:Subject Recruitment Approvals Group‎. Gavia immer (talk) 03:37, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

how do you dispute an article belonging to a category?

Category:Nonpartisan_organizations_in_the_United_States is basically ridiculous. everyone wants to add their orgnization to this list... now the problem is, how do you go about deciding what should be there and what shouldnt? you cant really add a 'citation needed' tag to a category, because the wiki software doesnt seem to allow it to work like youd think it should. perhaps a tweak on how the 'category' code works, to allow templates (like 'citation needed') could solve a lot of the problem here. Decora (talk) 17:04, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

I'm going to assume you are referring to American Constitution and Capitalism Defense Front. If you don't believe that the article belongs in that category, then remove it. However, it may be added back by another editor who believes that it does belong there. If this happens then the issue should be discussed with the other editor and/or on the article's talk page. This is what we call the bold revert discuss cycle. --Ron Ritzman (talk) 17:42, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
Generally speaking, if there are not sourced statements in the article supporting the categorization, the category can be removed. And depending on the nature of the category, such as the one you mention, self-identification might not be sufficient. Of course, with a category such as this, it might be difficult to find unbiased sources, which might tend to support an argument that the category itself is useless. olderwiser 17:28, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

The matter could be taken to WP:CFD. Imo the category could well be deleted for imprecision, or some ground-rules set out. Johnbod (talk) 14:42, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

This might be able to help Category Helper Mlpearc MESSAGE 16:55, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

Bubblers and the Oversight policy

Hey all. This probably isn't the usual kind of question from an IP, I've logged out for anonymity, you see. Despite wiktionary saying that "bubbler" in the meaning "drinking fountain" is used in "US Wisconsin and less commonly New England dialects", the term is exclusively Wisconsinite and almost exclusively Milwaukeean. As you can see from my IP adress, I live in Milwaukee Wisconsin. So if, logged in, I happened to offhandedly use the term "bubbler" to mean "drinking fountain", it's basically the same as if I had revealed my IP address (since both indicate city). So hypothetically, is it a viable request for oversigth to hide the use of th eword "bubbler", if i did not want to disclose the city I live in? THX --Anonymous 01:43, 8 April 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Probably not.
For one thing, "I once lived in" is not the same as "I am there now". A person who grew up in Milwaukee could live anywhere in the world, and yet still maintain the linguistic quirks of his or her childhood.
For another, it's a fairly obscure reference.
Also, "having some connection to a metro area with nearly two million residents" does not strike me as being the sort of "personal" information of the sort that the WP:Oversight#Policy seems to envision. A home phone number, for example, identifies a person very narrowly (down to a single household). A (listed) phone number can often be resolved to a physical address. "He may have some connection to a large city" isn't the kind of thing that could result in a person showing up on your doorstep. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:28, 8 April 2010 (UTC)
That IP address does a whole lot more to tell us where you are than a regional phrase (which, by the way, is certainly used in New England - I lived there).The WordsmithCommunicate 05:54, 8 April 2010 (UTC)
"the term is exclusively Wisconsinite". Nonsense. Bubbler is a very widely used term, far more broadly than your city. In fact, I'd never heard "drinking fountain" until travelling to the US. —Preceding unsigned comment added by SmokeyJoe (talk)11:31, April 8, 2010
First things first, I've seen the word 'bubbler' used multiple times in Massachusetts. Secondly, IPs allow a more accurate pinpointing than cities. Thirdly, I personally have the privilege of being able to converse fluently in Bostonian English and Indian English, and I bet five quid that I can bloody well fake the other English's, guv'nor. So really, English style is too, like, y'know, vague to hit the Privacy Policy. ManishEarthTalkStalk 07:49, 8 April 2010 (UTC)
Let's oversight all my uses of the word "colour" to prevent people discovering that I'm English. OrangeDog (τ • ε) 11:26, 8 April 2010 (UTC)
I think that bubbler is a type of drinking fountain — a very old school sort that ran ceaselessly in a public space. Obviously, this wastes an enormous amount of water, which is why, if I'm not mistaken, Portland, Oregon shut down their historic "bubblers" not all that many years ago. Within the last 10, I think. Anybody got an Oxford English Dictionary? Carrite (talk) 01:09, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
Well, I almost got that right... They're still running... Benson Bubblers. Carrite (talk) 01:12, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── This discussion is really pointless:

  • First, you really have to know all the dialects on English to find out where someone is from thru word use.
  • Secondly, you have to notice the word use.
  • Thirdly, even if you get the city, its still pointless (Whoopee! You're from Milwaukee! Now let me proceed to steal your identity. I just have to sift thru 608,000 people to find you...) unless the city has a population < 1000, in which case it wouldn't have its own dialect.

ManishEarthTalkStalk 11:15, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

Sarah Palin. /thread ~ Amory (utc) 02:44, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

Implementation of bureaucrat removal of admin and crat flags

Following from the two discussions on giving bureaucrats the technical ability to remove admin and bureaucrat flags, in February 2009 and then January 2010, and the more recent discussion on implementation; a clear conclusion is that a concrete policy governing bureaucrats' use of this tool is desired. Accordingly, there is now a policy proposal at Wikipedia:Administrators#Bureaucrat removal, which mandates bureaucrats to remove rights only in the uncontroversial instances. Please come and share any thoughts on the proposal at the associated discussion. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Happy-melon (talkcontribs) 12:34, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

Set higher standards for rollbackers

I have recently noticed that there are some rollbackers who have made as few as, in one case, 150 edits. I feel that we should be only granting rollback to users with at least 2000 edits, and a strong history of vandal-fighting. Immunize (talk) 18:33, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

Why? Hipocrite (talk) 18:38, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Do you have evidence that these people are abusing Rollback? If so, it can easily be revoked by any administrator. If they're using it correctly, its a net positive. The WordsmithCommunicate 18:39, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
I wasn't aware there had been a spate of rollbackers losing the tool recently, as would happen if many people were abusing it. Rollback does not have set requirements, only that an admin judge that have shown they can be responsible with the tool--Jac16888Talk 18:44, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

I do not have individual cases to present, however, I do feel that abuse of rollback be significantly lessened if this measure was taken. I am not suggesting any rigid number of edits needed to receive rollback, I am only suggesting we be less enthusiastic about giving this right to new users. Immunize (talk) 18:45, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

Please let me know when this solution finds a problem. –xenotalk 18:46, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
I echo that. Rollback is basically an anti-vandalism tool and anybody who uses it as a cudgel in an edit war, assuming there is such instance, can easily have the cudgel removed. There shouldn't be any "cool kids" attitude about it, it's just a vandalism eraser, nothing more or less. Carrite (talk) 00:27, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
In fact, it's simply a quickening tool. Anyone can manually do a rollback, just it takes longer and doesn't leave an auto-summary. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 02:06, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

I have thought more about this issue, and have come to some personal standards I would set for rollbackers:

  • 1 A clear history of actively reverting vandalism.
  • 2 Edit count higher than 4000
  • 3 Consistently and appropriately warning disruptive editors
  • 4 No history of edit warring

Of course this is not standard guidelines, and there would be some exceptions, such as if a user with a clear history of reverting vandalism had an edit count of just 350 and always warned users well, I would make an exception. Immunize (talk) (talk) 18:29, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

Well if you ever become an admin then you're free to use those standards, but the larger community has got along the last few years with much lower standards. You've yet to show any evidence that this is necessary, in fact in my experience the times rollback is removed is due to edit warring with it, not mass abuse, which is the only thing standards such as though could prevent. In the last 100 user right changes, [3], only 4 people have had the rollback tool removed, one didn't want it, one was a blocked sockpuppet with over 10,000 edits, the other two wouldn't have got it under your criteria, but abuse wasn't why they lost it (block for one and lack of trust the other)--Jac16888Talk 18:40, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
Interesting conditions. They would be sufficient IMO for an administrator. Ruslik_Zero 18:58, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

Athlete notability proposals

There are several proposals located at WT:BIO for modifying notability requirements for athletes. Any interested editors are invited to review the discussions and weigh in. The WordsmithCommunicate 17:40, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

Two subjects in one article?

(nb: I hope this is the right place to ask this) I seem to remember the being a policy against covering two distinct subjects in one article, but for the life of me I cant find it. Can anyone point me to it or am I mistaken? Thanks in advance --UltraMagnusspeak 10:42, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

It's rather unusual, but apparently it is permitted and does happen (mainly for several fairly unimportant people with the same name). See what it says about multi-stubs at WP:Disambiguation, and the section on multi-biographies near the end of WP:Naming conventions (people).--Kotniski (talk) 10:55, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
And then there are two distinct topics but there is an intertwining between them that makes it natural to cover them together. See, for example, Balkline and straight rail. Completely distinct games but the one inexorably led to the other.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 15:52, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
It's absolutely standard for encyclopedias of all kinds, including Wikipedia, to cover many related subjects together in a single article. E.g. I think some versions of Britannica had a section with very short articles that often gave little more than a definition, and another with book sized articles.
What encyclopedias don't normally do is discuss unrelated topics in a single article just because they happen to share a name. Hans Adler 16:02, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

Some thoughts on 'Wikiality' and 'NPOV'

This isn't new, I know, but I thought I'd put my oar in the water and paddle a bit.

As somone who is in the media a fair bit, I am all too aware that the media lies. I have been called everything from an extortionist to mentally disturbed by the media. I am fortunate that my political enemies decided that having my Wikipedia article deleted would be a terrible blow, and so I don't need to worry about such muckraking for myself, but I often find myself in the position of having to waste time and effort countering such material in others' Wikipedia articles. For example, I had the damnedest time on Denis Rancourt's article. As a noted scientist who self-identifies as an anarchist and has infuriated academia with his critique of university culture, he is subject to large amounts of vitriol. An effort was made in his article to make him sound (along with being an imbecile) as being an anti-semite. In support of his supposed anti-semitism, a newspaper article was cited. I tried repeatedly to remove this from his biography, as anti-semitism is in fact criminal here in Kanada and his biography was in fact therefore accusing him of criminal behaviour. Not only did I fail to get this reverted, but I was told by an administrator that it was properly cited and therefore it was reality -- and that if I reverted it again, I would be banhammered. Some time later, the newspaper which made the claim issued a correction and a formal apology. The claim quietly disappeared from the Wikipedia article.

The news media lies. We all know this. It is largely owned by Rupert Murdoch and a handful of other equally amoral billionaires and pursues a neo-conservative agenda, the Straussian tenets of which openly state that truth should only be accessible to the elite, that others are too stupid to know how to deal with it. For Wikipedia to function, it must use something as a basis for its editorial bias -- and it has one, regardless of what King Jimbo might claim -- to remain consistent. The basis it has chosen for its bias is the corporate media. The problem is that Wikipedia also trumpets its "neutral point of view." This media-normative approach is troublesome, since it claims a metaphysical truth quality it does not possess. What Wikipedia does is act as an echo chamber for "conventional" beliefs. And since it is the purpose of the corporate media to manufacture conventions, Wikipedia is acting essentially as an arm of the corporate media machine.

The repercussion of this is not immediately obvious to most people -- but is more clear to me, since I am frequently interviewed by the corporate media. When reporters arrive for their interviews, more often than not they have the Wikipedia article on the organization with which I am associated in hand. The media is using Wikipedia to do their research. Wikipedia is using the media as the basis of that research. The tautology is complete, and reality need no longer be consulted. In fact, the "no original research" rules seems to specifically preclude any kind of reality-checking. If Big Brothers says the skies are sunny and clear, then it's your eyes which are lying when you see overcast and rain.

By the way, I heard that the number of elephants have tripled recently. (Citation needed.) SmashTheState (talk) 14:44, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

On what other sources would you have us base Wikipedia articles? We already use scholarly articles and books, so the corporate news media isn't the only source by any means. You should really be making this argument at WT:V. Fences&Windows 20:40, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
See also Wikipedia:Verifiability, not truth. --Cybercobra (talk) 22:50, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
There is a real trend towards using garbage snippets from the mainstream media via the web, it must be admitted. It's time to make ACCURACY the number one criterion for a WP article and to get rid of the worship of so-called "reliable sources," which actually often aren't. This is all interconnected with the original sin, if you will, of "no original research," which implicitly assumes that secondary sources trump primary source documentation. This is a foundation constructed on a sand bed, upon which the whole billowing superstructure of Wikipedia bureaucracy and micromanagement has sprouted. Things aren't gonna get better in this regard, they're gonna get worse, as generations become less "booky" and more "netty," shall we say... Carrite (talk) 02:14, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
The reliable sources policy assumes that certain management overheads make a source reliable - and it is just an assumption. In the commercial media and publishing, fact-checking is a cost to be minimised and usually stops at avoiding lawsuits and most retractions, and editorial control is some combination of money and the POV of the owner. Academic sources are usually reliable, but for a different reason - academic critising each other other's work, as they all want to advance their own careers; and an academic publisher that gets a reputation for publishing work (i.e. that get hammered) risks being avoided. --Philcha (talk) 05:33, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
  • There are systemic pressures which make academic sources unreliable too. See Why Current Publication Practices May Distort Science for more details. Perfection and absolute truth is only possible in abstract domains like mathematics (maths articles commonly have few sources because their correctness is felt to be a matter of logic not authority). For the rest, we must be pragmatic and aim to present an adequate result, not a perfect one. Colonel Warden (talk) 12:53, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia was founded by a Randroid, and his stated bias is "objectivity." The Uncertainty Principle shows us that objective knowledge is not possible in this Universe as the act of observation affects that which is being observed, or, to quote Heisenberg, "What we see is not reality in itself, but reality exposed to our method of questioning." My problem, then, is not with the bias of Wikipedia but rather its claim to objectivity. Reporters show up to interview me with the Wikipedia article printed out. The Wikipedia article is based on the stories these reporters write. The reporters wrote the article pre-biased by the contents of the Wikipedia article. You've got an echo chamber which creates increasingly orthodox truthiness according to Rupert Murdoch. And while this is a problem in and of itself, by far the largest problem is that Wikipedia falsely bills itself as "objective" and "neutral." When people tune in to Fox News, they know that they're getting crass neo-con propaganda. A teacher who allowed a student to use Fox News as a source for a paper would be quite rightly derided as incompetent (or malevolent). However, there are still many people who regard Wikipedia as a credible source -- and Wikipedia itself (in the body of King Jimbo) pontificates and bloviates endlessly on how accurate it is. I think Wikipedia needs to stop lying and to take responsibility for its biases. SmashTheState (talk) 07:28, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

Hmm, I guess we may have gotten ourselves backed into a corner with NOR. Originally that was just to keep out the occasional kook.

I think partially, it's to do with people interpreting the "rules" far too rigidly. A little common sense solves a lot of the mentioned issues upfront.

--Kim Bruning (talk) 19:43, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

The problem with "truth" is that, as I had stated in the linked essay, "truth" isn't always as clear and shiny as we may think when talking in theorical terms. We won't always be talking about "the sky is blue" statements, in fact we would rarely do so. Problems start with topics that have not "true" answers but just ideas with varying degrees of acceptance, or with topics where accuracy itself is under dispute.
Primary sources do not contain "the truth" either. They can have mistakes, bias, or even lies. That's why we prefer secondary sources, that would have checked the primary ones, detected and discarded such points, and provide a "clean" summary of the information MBelgrano (talk) 13:44, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
Yeah but, yeah but... ACCURACY and VERIFIABILITY should be the mantra. Obviously original source documents differ. Some mislead. Some lie. ACCURACY is the mission, and VERIFIABILITY the requirement. Footnote. Cite your sources. Then comes requirement three: MAINTAIN NPOV. Where interpretations differ, present the smorgasbord of evidence dispassionately. It's not that tough to be honest. Unfortunately, the way the Fundamental Rules of Wikipedia Amen are written now, all power to any dumbass quote from a mainstream media outlet on the internet and don't you dare go citing primary evidence. This is backwards. Carrite (talk) 00:41, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Smash the State has summed up one aspect of the problem very well - the 'echo chamber' feedback effect. I think though that s/he overstates the reputation WP has for 'objectivity' and 'truth'. Anyone who treats WP as truth is in for a shock. In today's world there is usually more than one version of 'Truth'. For example there are two versions of the truth about JW's birthdate. Both of these versions satisfy WP:V, so both are included in the article, even though it seems likely to most observers that Jimbo was only born once. Where articles only represent only one version of truth, they can actually be improved by finding other reliable sources that state the other version, and including them as well. This may make the articles more complex and less satisfactory for those that desire simple answers, but it's not WP's job to give simple answers, even to journalists. People who use WP in a quest for definitive truth are on a journey with no destination and no map. If we show that there is disagreement, controversy or uncertainty about a topic or a particular claim, and encourage people to look more deeply into the sources themselves, then WP has done all it can do. Riversider (talk) 13:47, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
I know the articles I personally work with are just a small category, but at least in history and geography of my local towns/cities/counties there is a truth in facts and there are false "facts" and if I just took the word of otherwise RS sources one everything they wrote then I'd be putting in a lot of things that are just not true. If a newspaper says something that doesnt seem right about the history of a location (probably basd on an interview) I'll check with a source from that time period. I'm sure there are other editors and passing-by IP's who are more POV-pushers who use Wikipedia as a tourist booster, etc and will put in a "reliable source" showing their town invented wheel. A reliable source is a reliable source only for the particular information that is being used for and if that particular information is not the TRUTH then it is, in that instance, NOT a reliable source. A reliable source is NEVER always reliable and allowed to be used to cite a piece of information it publishes. These are statements that we have used at the RS/N for a long time and they have worked and should be clarified more in policy. Truth is not subjective people! It exists, though in some fields the truth may not be fully knowable right now, it still exists!Camelbinky (talk) 16:28, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
Just to be clear, I'm not complaining that Wikipedia contains blatant lies. That in itself is hardly unusual. I'm complaining that Wikipedia contains blatant lies and then bills itself as neutral and unbiased. It's the perception -- knowingly encouraged by Wikipedia itself -- that Wikipedia is trustworthy which bothers me. SmashTheState (talk) 15:13, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
Where are the statements that WP is 'trustworthy'? I've read plenty of statements suggesting the precise opposite, and suggesting that the very untrustworthiness of WP is a pretty good thing - it encourages people not to take what is said at face value, but to delve into the sources and learn more for themselves. Conventional encyclopedias do make claims to 'objectivity' but are at least as likely to be POV. Their reputation for being authoritative meant that people were not encouraged to look any further, but just to accept their word as definitive. Riversider (talk) 12:04, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

Copyright blocks

Not entirely sure where best to raise this, but I wanted to bring up the issue of copyright blocks. I've been advised that some AIV listings for repeated copyright infringement have been declined because, while warning was issued, it did not indicate that it was final warning. We have not had a "final" copyright warning since 2007 (see here), and I think that was probably a correct decision. If a contributor persists in placing copyrighted content after a clear warning, an immediate block is appropriate. Such a basic violation of Terms of Use needs to be stopped swiftly. (Blocks make it plain that we take copyright seriously, and the template that I myself use in issuing such blocks points again to policies which apply. In dealing with WP:CCIs, I've seen multiple times the results of ignoring such behavior. Many of those contributors had been warned again and again and again with no admin action taken.)

Anyway, the question here is really, I guess, whether copyright violations are appropriately handled at WP:AIV and, if so, what ought to be done about the lack of a "final" warning, without which AIV admins are not always willing to block. Is the language currently in {{Uw-copyright}} ("Wikipedia takes copyright violations very seriously and persistent violators will be blocked from editing.") strong enough to constitute a final warning, or should it be retooled in some way (preferably without becoming bitey, as first offense copyvio can certainly be caused in good faith) to make that more clear? If AIV is not the appropriate forum for repeat offenders, we probably ought to clarify that at Wikipedia:Copyright violations. If it is, we may want to retool that policy and perhaps note at Wikipedia:Vandalism and/or Wikipedia:Blocking policy to make it more clear that a single, clear warning is sufficient. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 02:01, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

For other offenses, there is normally an escalating series of warning with a final warning being very explicit about the next violation resulting in a block. I am not advocating letting somebody create 4 copyright violations before we block them. But it may be clearer for all involved if an explicit "final warning" is issued on a subsequent violation which makes it unambiguous that any further violations will result result in a block, with the explicit words "final warning" in the text of the message. This makes it clear to the violator, and the reviewing admin that sufficient warning has been given. As currently worded, the term "persistent" leaves it open to interpretation as to how many violations is severe enough to justify a block. -- Whpq (talk) 02:16, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
Unblocked copyvio uploaders create a mess that under current policy cannot easily be cleaned up. The one I linked to uploaded about 40 images before he was blocked. WP:CCI seems to mostly be based on infringing text, and WP:FFD and WP:PUF seem to mostly be based upon single files. There is no mass deletion process that adequately addresses copyvio images. I had proposed that all "own work" uploads from a user be eligible for speedy deletion if one of them has been shown to be someone else's and the user is blocked for copyright infringement. Although I haven't brought it there yet, I wonder what Commons would think of such a proposal. I commonly see files that are incorrectly tagged as "own work", so it is wise to treat the "own work" declaration with skepticism. PleaseStand (talk) 03:02, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
Commons does have a deletion process for such situations, but not speedy. CCI has handled several multiple article infringers, which has required me to learn the processes for Commons:Commons:Deletion requests/Mass deletion request. The problem, of course, is that Commons is so short on admin manpower that these deletion requests can remain open for quite some time. They have open deletion debates dating back to September 2009. :/ It's true that CCI does more text stuff and the language of the board may have an unintentional text bias because I created most of it and text is where I usually work. So far, we have done exactly that with CCIs for confirmed multiple copyright infringers: deleted with prejudice. This is already supported by policy at Wikipedia:Copyright violations: "If contributors have been shown to have a history of extensive copyright violation, it may be assumed without further evidence that all of their major contributions are copyright violations, and they may be removed indiscriminately." We usually try to make a good faith effort to verify extensive copyvios before taking this step. Feel free to bring that situation by CCI if you need help. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 15:35, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
I have blocked before on three, without a copyvio final warning, when I deemed it appropriate. To me, any copyvio incident after first warning (which could be in good faith as Moonriddengirl correctly says), is troublesome and indicates persistence. Copyright violation blocks to me are one of the most important ways to protect the project as it could be the fastest way to get into legal trouble with copyright owners. I don't hesitate, and neither should any other admin IMO. If strengthening the wording is warranted, I'm for it to make it clear that copyvios are not tolerated. (Note: I mostly talk about text copyright violations. I have done some on images when I see them "lifted" from the net, but do not have much experience in processing images claimed as "own work") -- Alexf(talk) 03:06, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
In general, I don't think we want to block without any warning at all, because people make honest mistakes, and most people try to do the right thing when they're told about a problem. But I have no objection to blocks after a single warning, if that seems to best protect the encyclopedia from someone who isn't grasping the problem. (I'm thinking here of an editor who was convinced that all abstracts to thousands of journal articles were in the public domain... because they were indexed at PubMed, which directly says that it contains copyrighted material, which he interpreted as meaning "does not contain copyrighted material".)
I also think that requiring specific words in the warning ("final", "last", whatever), or the presence of a specific number of nasty notes, or requiring editors to jump through other hoops is a violation of WP:NOTBURO's last sentence. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:02, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
Generally, yes, we don't block without any warning. The only times I recall seeing that invoked are in instances of massive multiple point infringement, and it wasn't that the contributor had not been told that the content was copyrighted and unusable, but that the notice had not been by way of a "warning". --Moonriddengirl (talk) 15:35, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
AIV is not the ideal place for copyright blocks due to the time normally required to investigate the complaint. AIV is very active and fast-moving, and any reports which aren't basically obvious vandalism only clog up the board allowing active vandals to rampage and do far worse damage (see this thread). This is why the AIV instructions are phrased the way they are; otherwise the number of inactionable non-urgent reports increases exponentially. I think the standard for warning, whether for testing, vandalism or copyright, is that we assume good faith and ask people to stop, then if they don't stop then we tell them they'll be blocked. A combination of a 'level 1' or 'level 2' type warning for the first time, then a 'level 3' for continuation, is sufficient for blocking. The AIV instructions very carefully mention 'sufficient warning'. Basically if there is no AGF it is harder to get a block. -- zzuuzz (talk) 11:54, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
The way {{Uw-copyright}} is worded it sounds and looks like a lvl 3 warning. What we have for a level 1 or 2 type warning is {{Nothanks}} and its derivatives ({{Nothanks-sd}} is the default for G12's), but they don't look anything like the usual user warnings and nothanks isn't even listed as an option in most places (e.g., WP:UTM). Also, do we have an existing board which is better for reporting persistent copyright violators? At WP:ANI I have been told to use WP:AIV, which matches what WP:VANDAL says: that repeated copyright violations are vandalism. VernoWhitney (talk) 12:48, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm not a fan of that warning, especially when used singly as a basis for a block. There's no reason why violating copyright (as serious as it is) should be treated more harshly than plain crude vandalism, personal attacks, BLP violations, or libel. It is only reasonable that people are given fair opportunity to read up on our labyrinthine policies and authority figures. Not incorporating {{Nothanks}} looks to me like an oversight by the UTM cabal. As for the venue, repeated copyright violations are like vandalism, and can quite happily result in a block. If you're lucky you'll find an AIV admin who will take the time to look into the complaint, verify the match, and confirm the copyright holder. But it's not ideal for AIV because it takes time - while this is being done there will be a page-move vandal being left to move pages or someone blanking the TFA. AIV expects active vandals who need a quick block, but most copyright violators do it very slowly, or yesterday. I've made the suggestion before that there should be another board, "requests for blocking" for people who are vandalising and need blocking, but don't need an immediate block. It was suggested that splitting AIV into sections with different priorities might work. I'd expect to see most copyright violators in the lower priority. -- zzuuzz (talk) 13:34, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
It's true that copyright violation is usually not the "stop it now!" urgency of ongoing vandalism, and you make a good point that verifying copyvio requires taking the time to compare (to ensure that complaints aren't lodged frivolously). I'm not sure we can quickly swing a new "requests for blocking" board, though. :) Perhaps in the interim we should suggest at Wikipedia:Copyright violations that repeat infringers should be brought to WP:ANI? That would forestall the bouncing from noticeboard to noticeboard, as contributors who list problems at ANI can point to the policy that told them to. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 15:35, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

Incidentally, there is a current discussion at WT:UTM about adding a reference in {{uw-copyright}} to WP:COPYPASTE. I think this would also be a useful link for the nothanks templates. Rd232 talk 15:05, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

And just today I got this denial at AIV for someone who has been warned THREE times about copyvio. Until something changes I think I need to just ask individual admins for blocks like this. VernoWhitney (talk) 01:30, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

That works. Any admin can take action according to policy. But to at least stop the ping-pong game, I have added the following to Wikipedia:Copyright violations: "If a contributor has been previously clearly warned of copyright infringement but persisted, they may be reported for administrator attention to the administrators' incidents noticeboard." (I also did some general restructuring and updating of that policy, including changing "despite appropriate warnings" to "despite appropriate warning". That sentence is still somewhat vague, but that may be appropriate, as there are gray areas here. Repeated copyright infringement is one thing when a contributor is repeatedly stealing images of rock stars from the internet under claim of his own authorship and another when a contributor is attempting but failing to rewrite content enough to avoid creating a derivative work.) --Moonriddengirl (talk) 11:25, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

Electronic non-notorized affadavit

I was browsing music artist content (blues and soul) and noticed a lot of articles noted they were lacking citations. Many contributers may have firsthand knowledge of what they are sharing. For instance, a member of the Spinners moved next door and he can go on and on about with his stories. Could we come up with a way someone could submit an electronic affadavit to affirm firsthand knowledge of facts relating to an article? --Danousd (talk) 04:44, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

In the particular case you mention, getting the member to put up a page on his or the band's official website with the relevant information would suffice. For less "primary" sources, there's a nigh-unsolvable problem of trust/reliability; Why should someone believe what's basically some random dude's blog post?. --Cybercobra (talk) 05:13, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
No, information known by only a few people that is unpublished is not accepted for a variety of reasons. Its a primary source and is about as close as one can get to being unverifiable. Mr.Z-man 16:39, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

Promotional username violations, policy/practice divide

Hi. I've opened a conversation about policy wording on company names at the username policy talk page, here, and would welcome feedback there. The heart of the question: policy says that company usernames are blocked, but practice at the username board often differs. I hope to bring the two in line so that we have clear policy that is consistently applied (whether that is to block or not to block). --Moonriddengirl (talk) 12:16, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

Drive-by tags

Is there any rule, or rule of thumb, about how many months or years a tag may stay on an article without an explanation on the talk page as to what is wrong with its factual accuracy, quality, citations, or whatever the tag complains about? The article I have in mind is this one, which I worked on quite a bit and thought not at all lacking in accuracy, neutrality, quality, or much else. It was tagged here and later here. (A sort of spill over from a long content dispute at 1953 Iranian coup d'état.) I asked about the lack of anything on the talk page, and got a reply but again no information that indicates what exactly needs to be fixed.

Obviously these tags are not old at all but the dispute at 1953 Iranian coup d'état has been going on for over a year and I've seen some pretty old tags on wikipedia with little or no talk page content. --BoogaLouie (talk) 20:09, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

I too am fed up with people just adding tags without any explanation, so now I just delete them (with a very brief note as to why on the talk page). Never recived a complaint!--Aspro (talk) 20:17, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
I must admit, I tag pages without explanation sometimes, because I feel that the problem is obvious. For example, adding an unreferenced tag to an article with no references. While it would be great it I had the time to deal with all problems on the spot, at least tagging puts the article into a maintenance category. I also spend a lot of time going through certain maintenance categories and working on the articles I find there, so appreciate that someone has seen fit to tag the article in the first place. Some of the maintenance backlogs are huge, but that doesn't mean that nobody is working on them. Some of them don't get looked at for a couple of years - which is far from ideal, but I feel that at least they're going to be dealt with eventually. With no tag, they're more likely to slip the net. On the other hand, if there's a tag there with no explanation, and you disagree with it being there, just remove it. Sometimes tags are added by one person, problems dealt with by another, and the tag never removed.--BelovedFreak 21:01, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
You can press the editor further as to exactly what they think is wrong. If they aren't forthcoming, removing the tag is justifiable. --Cybercobra (talk) 20:21, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
thank you folks --BoogaLouie (talk) 20:55, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
The timeline is fraught with factual errors. Here's one example among many. Defections reduce Mosaddeq's ability "to organize crowds in the streets." [44] The editor distorts what p. 233 states. Like so many items in this timeline, this editor has added spin and twisted words to a non-neutral viewpoint. I am not going to go through this article and fact-check all of the spin inserted by this particular editor who has a long history of doing this sort of thing. If the editor wants the tags removed, the editor must work toward transparency and verifiability. What is included must accurately reflect what the sources that are quoted say. Skywriter (talk) 20:44, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Here he is! I've goaded him into action. This raises another question though. "I am not going to go through this article and fact-check all of the spin inserted by this particular editor who has a long history of doing this sort of thing. If the editor wants the tags removed, the editor must work toward transparency and verifiability." Are you saying that because I contributed a lot to the article you don't need to know exactly what is wrong with it - there just must be problems with accuracy, neutrality, quality? Or that until I change my unspecified "transparency and verifiability" to your satisfaction you won't say where exactly (you feel) the problems with accuracy, neutrality, quality are in the article? --BoogaLouie (talk) 21:13, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
See also the guidance at WP:WikiProject Citation cleanup#Tagging articles. User:LeadSongDog come howl 21:14, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
because I feel that the problem is obvious. 
This is a good example of a drive by tagger. 'Feels' that their time is too important to properly read and assimilate said article. They just want someone else to spend loads of 'their' time, trying to get inside the head of what the the tagger ment and who doesn't understand the article enough to articulate their own imagined short comings of the article. User LeadSongDog provides a reference which states: If you don't have time to fix citations/references at the moment, you can still help by tagging the article so that others can find and fix them. . This surely has to be reworded. --Aspro (talk) 21:39, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Not, it does not. Identifying a problem with an article via a tag is a constructive action, albeit a minor one; if an editor (i.e., a volunteer) is willing to spend even a few seconds of time to take that action, then we should do absolutely nothing to discourage him or her. The burden of proof of verifability rests with those who add content, not those who happen to notice that content is unsourced. Also, for most tags (e.g., {{unreferenced}}, {{orphan}}), there is absolutely no need to try to "get inside the head" of the tagger, since simply reading the tag (and perhaps clicking one of the links in it) will leave no doubt about what the problem is. -- Black Falcon (talk) 22:25, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Wow. Ok, I think you may have misconstrued my intention. I don't feel that my time is any more important than anyone else's here. I'm not expecting anyone to get inside my head. If an article has no references, and I tag it with an "unreferenced" tag - that is obvious and shouldn't need explaining. It's a different example from the one brought up by BoogaLouie, but I was just trying to demonstrate that maintenance tags ("drive by" or not) are not completely worthless. I also don't think it's helpful to label people as "drive by taggers", as if people who add tags are just seeing faults in articles but can't be bothered to do anything about them. I edit Wikiepdia, like most people, because I enjoy it and because I think it's a worthwhile project. Exactly how I contribute, depends on what I feel like doing at a particular time. Sometimes that means tagging articles. A lot of the time, that means working my way through maintenance categories making improvements, and then I am very glad that other people have "drive by" tagged them. Other times I patrol new pages and may fix several problems in an article and put a tag up to alert others that more needs to be done. This is going off on a tangent though, so I won't say more, but please don't try to assume what I think about the importance of my time or anyone else's.--BelovedFreak 22:40, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Seriously, if you went through the time to read the article and add the tag, take the time to discuss it on the talk page. Don't play the mystery, "What is wrong with this picture?" I've asked people why they added tags, and the reason was very specific, but they used a broad tag. Angryapathy (talk) 21:29, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Generally speaking, a template that says "This article's neutrality/accuracy/whatever is disputed" must be accompanied by a user disputing said things. If no arguments come forth, the templates can be removed again since we can not assume others to read minds. If there is a problem, either fix the problem yourself or use the talk page to point it out. Always. --Conti| 22:00, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree with regard to tags which identify complex problems or allege a dispute, such as {{POV}}. However, pushing for talk page explanation of tags in all cases is likewise unhelpful. For example, when an article contains no references and someone addes a tag which states "This article does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.", the issue should be entirely obvious to anyone willing to click the links provided in the template. -- Black Falcon (talk) 22:20, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
It's generally obvious when a tag needs more explanation. Sometimes explanation gets buried in talk archives, or in a long-lost edit summary which added the tag. If the person is still active, you might ask them; but if the tag is very old, there's a good chance they're not or they may even have forgotten the point. Removing unexplained tags which need explanation can be done routinely (it can always be re-added, and if anyone actually cares they'll let you know!), but some reasonable attempt to look for or elicit explanation should be made. Rd232 talk 22:31, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
The thing is that tags like 'unreferenced' refer to the entire article; there are no references anywhere. Some of the other tags amount to saying 'I've found a mistake in the article, see if you can find it!!!!'. Sorry, we shouldn't have to play that game, you need to tag the specific problems you've found.- Wolfkeeper 02:26, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
People are volunteers. Noone has to do anything here. People need to remember this, first and foremost. If you come across a tag you think is unhelpful, either remove it, start a talk page discussion, or even ask the tagger. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 23:45, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
If you feel more explanation is required, ask the person who added the tag. Removing tags just because you can't be bothered to find and correct the problems is not justified. Personally, I always try to use the most specific tag I can (inline if possible), but if I can't, I'll leave a brief explanation in a |reason= parameter. It would be nice if the tags actually implemented this, but at least it's in the page source. OrangeDog (τε) 11:41, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
I think that this is a great point; even if a template doesn't implement a reason parameter, anyone can include it when they invoke the template to give further explanation the tag to editors. —Ost (talk) 21:13, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Several of the individual templates have specific documentation about when/whether/how to remove them. For example, Template:Globalize has some rather strong language about removing unexplained uses; I gather it has been misused in the past to complain that, e.g., articles about businesses and organizations that operate in a single country do not provide a "worldwide perspective" on Joe's Hamburger Joint. Ditto with Template:POV -- which, BTW, has an "ongoing dispute" clause, so nearly every article that was tagged more than a couple of months ago should have the tag removed. (Very few POV discussions continue for even one month.)
This information is perhaps not as readily available to people confronted with Template:Multiple issues. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:05, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

Should guest books NOT be part of the site

Wrong venue. Please move to Wikipedia talk:User pages#Should guest books NOT be part of the site. –xenotalk 13:09, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

There are several editors who have guest books on their user pages (you can see several of them here). It was my understanding that guest books fell under the WP:NOTBLOG section of WP:NOT, but they are not specifically mentioned there. So, I want to bring the discussion here to determine if guest books should be listed there as they serve no purpose whatsoever as far as working to improve the encyclopedia. ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 00:17, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

See further discussion at Wikipedia talk:User pages#Should guest books NOT be part of the site
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.
  • As I understand it the consensus is there's reasonably free reign with what goes on in user space as long as it's vaguely connected to the process of building an encyclopedia. Guest books encourage the spirit of community, consultation and interaction that a collaborative project like Wikipedia is built upon and as such they're at least arguably an asset to the project. - DustFormsWords (talk) 00:42, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
No. As a veteran of the userbox wars still no. Trying to control what legit editors put in their user namespace isn't worth the drama it cause.©Geni 00:44, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Agreeing with Dust and Geni on this. They're relatively harmless, and they're uplifting to some people. The Thing // Talk // Contribs 00:49, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Geni and Jimbo. Trying to change people's user pages just upsets them. --Falcorian (talk) 03:04, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Should really be discussed at WT:UP. Coincidentally, there's an ongoing discussion there about secret pages. –xenotalk 00:50, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
We are human beings and to work efficiently and have good morale some of us need these things that make us feel our work is appreciated.Camelbinky (talk) 00:52, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
I don't think they do any harm, as long as that is not all that users are doing; in my time, I've occasionally seen Jimbo invited to sign users' guest books, and done so. If users are only dong this, and using charitable resources as a social network, then we owe it to our financial contributors not to be seen to be wasting their money. Until then, a reasonable amount of leeway should be allowed. Rodhullandemu 01:30, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Jimbo has his own too User:Jimbo Wales/guestbook, see his quote at the bottom of it--Jac16888Talk 01:47, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Stop trying to mess with peoples' userpage. Insofar as WP:NOT applies to benign userspace content from editors who are not disrupting the encyclopedia, you should ignore it. Monitoring someone else's space to see if it meets your definition of "productive" is the opposite of productive. Protonk (talk) 02:55, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Please assume a little good faith here. Instead of boldly deleting all the guestbooks, I came here to have a discussion about it. I'm not trying to "mess with peoples' userpage[s]". I'm merely asking about this feature which has absolutely zero relation to working together on the encyclopedia. I've reworded the header to better reflect what I'm asking. ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 05:12, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
I don't think they are a good thing, but I think it would be an uphill battle to suppress guest books. They seem a manifestation of immaturity. They may involve camaraderie but of a particularly vacuous sort. I think they foster personal bonds that are at best irrelevant to building the encyclopedia. I would not advocate taking any action against them because the howls of protest would be unbearable. Bus stop (talk) 03:09, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Please, since when is a "list of associates", a "show of camaraderie" a "Blog" last time I saw a Blog I saw "hey what's up ? saw your mom, Hey how's your sis.....? Please what's wrong with a list of fellow editors showing "Community Unity"?

Mlpearc MESSAGE 03:28, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

list of associates are not always productive to building community spirit. Gnangarra 03:33, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
And "Smoking" is not "Always" the cause of Cancer Mlpearc MESSAGE 03:44, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
and ducks always quack like ducks. Gnangarra 03:49, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for getting my point. Mlpearc MESSAGE 03:57, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
  • I agree with Geni. This stuff seems harmless, the benefits of a ban are uncertain, they are not worth pissing off even a single editor. Perhaps, at best, I might support MFD of abandoned guest books of the kids who grew up ... NVO (talk) 05:34, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
  • I've already commented above, but after reviewing the discussion on secret pages at WP:UP, I would add that I'm happy with guestbooks being discouraged through policy - after all, we want to encourage people to be actively improving the encyclopedia rather than tinkering with userspace - but that it's not a policy that should be enforced through warning messages or deletions. - DustFormsWords (talk) 05:45, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
    I agree: we should discourage guestbooks, but "enforcement" should be (mostly) voluntary and non-conflictual, with the exception of deleting abandoned guestbooks. The gain from deleting guestbooks is not enough to justify the negative consequences (time spent, conflict, drama, etc.) of attempting to delete them. -- Black Falcon (talk) 05:52, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

These things serve no encylopaedic purpose, but having a policy against them serves no purpose either. --Mkativerata (talk) 05:48, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

  • If guestbooks serve in building a sense of community (and probably they do, at least a little), they contribute indirectly to the encyclopedia, and should be tolerated. Note also the negative consequences of enforcement, per Black Falcon. There is a slight contradiction at times between WP:NOTMYSPACE and the fact that this is a community-built and maintained encyclopedia. Some community-ish stuff serves an indirect purpose for the encyclopedia without crossing a line into merely using WP bandwidth for other purposes, and that should be recognised. I'm not definitively saying guestbooks do that (I've not come across the idea before...), but they may fall into the class of things which do. Rd232 talk 08:05, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
  • There are decent arguments for benefits of hosting guestbooks. The arguments in support of hidden/secret pages are much weaker, and we have trouble achieving consensus on whether they should be deleted. see Wikipedia talk:User pages#Secret pages: Ok or not?. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 11:29, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Guestbooks, not much of a problem. Hidden pages, waste of space, myspacery. The so-called "sandboxians" who spend most of their time here playing sill games in the sandbox - well, that should be a WP:NOT. Guy (Help!) 12:41, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Kill with fire. It's tolerance of this sort of pointless rubbish that leads to more damaging things, such as not being able to stop people abusing the retired template, or not being allowed to label banned editors as banned because it might hurt their feelings, and all the other clap-trap that has previously fallen under this wierd idea that there is some sort of user page bill of rights here. MickMacNee (talk) 13:01, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
    • The fact that Jimbo has one makes it a bit hard to take that strong a line. See also the quote at the bottom of User:Jimbo Wales/guestbook. Rd232 talk 13:06, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
      • The fact that Jimbo has one is no more relevant than the fact that any other editor has one. DuncanHill (talk) 13:09, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Stop wasting our time with this perennial proposal - I don't have a guestbook, have never signed one. I do find it odd that otherwise sane editors waste huge amounts of their time seeking them out in order to complain about them. Guestbooks seem pretty harmless, and I am sure that for those who use them they foster friendship and collegiality. For those of us who don't use them they are pretty much irrelevant. DuncanHill (talk) 13:05, 14 April 2010 (UTC)


Parts of WP:Avoid neologisms have been used as criteria for suitability for inclusion for quite a while at AfC and AfD. As part of the MoS cleanup, it was suggested that WP:NEO be merged into other places. After discussion on WT:MOS and WT:N, I have merged the parts of WP:Avoid neologisms that dealt with unsuitable article topics into WP:NOTDICT. The style guideline parts remain to be merged. This represents a promotion from guideline to policy for this material, so further review is requested. Gigs (talk) 18:13, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

Well done. Another goal of the MoS cleanup is to merge the relevant aspects of WP:NEO, WP:WEASEL, and WP:PEACOCK into a revamped version of WP:Words to avoid to be known as Words to watch. The style guideline material of WP:NEO has been merged into the sandbox version of that new page: User:SlimVirgin/Words to watch. Comments are welcome on that page's accompanying Talk page.—DCGeist (talk) 18:31, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, I was forced to undo it; the contributor rewrote it during the 'merge' and made it say differently both to the policy it was merged into, but also from what it originally said.- Wolfkeeper 18:32, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Wolfkeeper, please go take a look at the relevant talk pages that Gigs points to as consensus for changes. I hope someone reverts your revert that you were "forced" to do, I see no talk page consensus by the Community "forcing" you into your action whereas I saw plenty of consensus to do what Gigs did. Personally objecting to someone is not a reason to do something. Consensus is though.Camelbinky (talk) 11:41, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Gigs' addition looked good to me. Other than process wonkery, what do you actually oppose in what was written? Fences&Windows 15:38, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Merging is perfectly reasonable, and I had and still have no problem with doing that, and it will go forward. However, I saw and see no evidence that combining that with what really turned out to be inversions of the policy text is consensus in any way; that's not what a merge is.- Wolfkeeper 18:04, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

USA-oriented articles

I noticed something with two randomly selected articles related to the USA. One is The Washington Post, an article which still appears on the Main Page. An anonymous user has raised a question on the article's talk page. (Curiously, the user's IP address shows they are based in the same city where I am.) They have taken notice of the sentence after the leading one: Located in the nation's capital, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. Here the USA is called "the nation", without any further particularisation. A similar case can be seen with the other article I talk about, a featured one - André Kertész, where the leading sentence reads: André Kertész [...] was a Hungarian-born photographer known for his groundbreaking contributions to photographic composition... This implies it is natural he should be an American, so it is only needed to mention his being Hungarian-born. One can conclude that Wikipedia talks about the USA "by default, unless specified otherwise" (citation from here). I'm sure many more examples could be found. I know most contributors and readers of the English language Wikipedia are Americans and many of the articles are America-oriented, but should this be the policy observed? --Магьосник (talk) 04:37, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

I'm not sure what you mean by "policy" here. It might be systemic bias that is just waiting to be corrected. Or there may be other explanations within each article. Not that I care for how the Post article intro is written, but its lead sentence states that it is based in Washington, D.C., and so establishes the context of what "the nation" refers to in the second sentence; it's not because the U.S. is presumed in Wikipedia overall. The André Kertész article likely introduces him as Hungarian-born not because it is presumed that he was American, but instead to avoid identifying him as purely American. He eventually became a naturalized citizen of the U.S., but he achieved notability while in France. So in that case I think you're actually complaining about one way many editors try to avoid U.S.-centric systemic bias for globetrotting individuals who may end up in the U.S. By stating only in the intro that he was "Hungarian-born," that article's editors have decided that his country of origin is more defining of him as an individual than anywhere he later passed through or ended up.
Regardless of the particulars, if you have a problem with language in an article, do your best to change it. There's certainly no "policy" that presumes an American-centric perspective here. Nor should you ever assume that an article is written as you have found it because "policy" has dictated it. postdlf (talk) 04:56, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
It's not policy, it's just reality that Amerikans are self-centred, navel-gazing narcissists who divide the entire world into just two categories: "us" and "furriners." It's so completely entrenched in their thinking from the daily brainwashing their receive from infancy on -- that Amerika is the point around which the cosmos orbits -- that their bias is not even visible to them in the same way the ocean is not visible to fish. Trying to remove this bias from Wikipedia is roughly akin to trying to hollow out the Pacific with a spork. SmashTheState (talk) 05:12, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Agree with postdlf about Kertesz - it's not clear whether to call him Hungarian, American, or French, but it is clear that he was Hungarian-born. Washington Post lede fixed, if we assume that readers need to be told Washington DC is "the nation's capitol", we might as well tell them what nation. Other people wanting to help hollow out the Pacific with a spork are invited to join Wikipedia:WikiProject Countering systemic bias. :-) Like Wikipedia's goal of documenting all human knowledge, it's not a goal we'll ever achieve, but we get good stuff done along the way. --GRuban (talk) 11:53, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Smash, it's not needed to be rude with Americans. Anyone, from any country, may be influenced by this bias. There's a similar discussion at Wikipedia in Spanish about many articles being Spain-oriented, and surely if we start checking other projects we may find other similar situations as well (such as the italian wikipedia being Italy-oriented, german wikipedia being germany-oriented, and so on). MBelgrano (talk) 12:52, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Yep. People write what they know from the perspective they know it, particularly when it comes to topics pertaining to one's own country. It takes everyone's efforts to help us realize when that writing needs to be broadened or better contextualized. There's probably also a need for greater participation from people outside the U.S. postdlf (an American expat) 15:18, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

Proposed merging of several MOS

WP:NEO, WP:PEA, WP:WEASEL and WP:AVOID to be merged to Wikipedia:Words to watch Gnevin (talk) 11:15, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

WP:BIRD and the Effort to Capitalize "Rhesus Macaques"

I moved an article to Feral rhesus macaque recently, linked it from Rhesus Macaque, and an editor twice moved it to Feral Rhesus Macaque. He cited precedent from WP:BIRD, a project which has adopted a preference to capitalize all bird names ("The Blue Jay" rather than "the blue jay". I don't really like this style, but more to the point, as it spreads out we end up with two styles for the naming of any article about a living thing. What limit should we set to this aberration? Wnt (talk) 03:10, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

As I understand it, WP:WikiProject Birds by consensus has decided, as is permitted, to capitalise bird names, see Wikipedia:WikiProject Birds#Bird names and article titles. The Primates Wikiproject has agreed a similar convention: Wikipedia:WikiProject Primates#Names and titles. – ukexpat (talk) 03:45, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Capitalization should be used in body text only for proper nouns.
There's no reason to invent new rules for the language here. Maurreen (talk) 05:59, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Birds have official names, used to distinguish species accurately in a similar manner to scientific binomials. Ornithological convention treats bird species as entities; thus jay is a generic word and not a proper noun, but Blue Jay is a species composed of multiple individual jays all related phylogenetically (its the same difference as mountain in the generic being a common noun but a specific mountain being a proper noun). Sabine's Sunbird talk 20:37, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
People are all related phylogenetically, too, but that doesn't make "person" a proper name, does it. ― ___A._di_M. (formerly Army1987) 16:07, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
But we do treat the various subdivisions based on relatedness as proper nouns, don't we? We are after all British, or American, or Armenian.... Chances are, once we start encountering Klingons, Kree and Kryptonians, we'll be refering to Human, when refering to the sentient species overall, as a proper noun as well. Sabine's Sunbird talk 21:09, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure I'd call it an aberration; it's a stylistic choice. Also, many articles on living organisms (those organisms which lack a common name) use the scientific name, where the generic name is capitalized and the specific name (if needed) appears in lowercase, per biological nomenclature. These are codified by WikiProject, because it depends on the needs of that type of article. A "one size fits all" approach doesn't work well on a project as vast as WP. Firsfron of Ronchester 06:18, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
When I checked [4] and type in "rhesus macaque", the titles seemed about evenly split between capitalized and non-capitalized versions (I think they favor my version slightly, but with 31,000 entries and no way to split them by capitalization, that's hard to measure). Wnt (talk) 06:26, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Before I go any further here, I'm not sure this is the best venue for this discussion. Maybe better at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style? Maurreen (talk) 06:30, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
A very large number of animal articles are this way. It seems to be common among all of them. I ran into the issue with one of the bear articles (Brown Bear or Black Bear, I's been a while). However, WP:MOS#Animals, plants, and other organisms seems to be ambiguous about it. ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 08:40, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
And WP:Manual of Style (capitalization)#Animals, plants, and other organisms confuses it further. Art LaPella (talk) 03:43, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

Wikiproject standards that deviate from WP standards

Maybe (though perhaps not specifically there), though I think this is an issue that the wider community should be concerned about. I don't have any strong opinions about birds, but I don't see why we should encourage a situation where "individual WikiProjects" (i.e. groups of editors) can make up their own rules without any regard for the conventions that operate across the encyclopedia. If there's real difference in real-world usage (e.g. if particular kinds of animals commonly have their species names capitalized where others don't) then of course it makes sense for us to follow, but if the only "difference" is in the preferences of a few editors, then our failure to standardize is feeding false information to readers. This happens quite a lot (for example, titles of articles on towns follow different rules on when and how to disambiguate depending on which country they're in, and the differences usually aren't anything to do with actual usage), and ideally it shouldn't.--Kotniski (talk) 07:57, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I thought I had read something like Kotniski is saying on a policy or guideline page, but I don't remember where. Maurreen (talk) 08:08, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
I feel the opposite way: the members of the 'wider' Wikipedia community have proved themselves not interested in WikiProjects on various organisms (by not participating in them), and shouldn't weigh in on topics where they never participate, have no interest in the topic, have not researched the topic, and do not edit. You wouldn't ask a writer of a book on computer technology to weigh in on the title of a book about Pharmacology. Also, efforts to interest the 'wider' Wikipedia community rarely result in generating much interest. Sometimes (actually very rarely), as many as 200 editors weigh in on certain issues. This is a miniscule fraction of the true WP community. If less than .0001% of the WP community weighs in on an issue, can it really be called a community decision? No, I think it is best to leave the decision on article titles up to the relevant projects, where people who know the topic, and who actually care about the content, can make informed, rational decisions without having to argue with editors who don't actually care about the articles in question. Firsfron of Ronchester 18:54, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Up to a point; but where the decision comes down not so much to expertise in the project's subject area but simply personal taste or preference (which as far as I can see is the case with these species capitzalition issues; it certainly is the case with other subjects, such as place names), then there should be harmony between the decisions the individual projects come up with, for the betterment of the encyclopedia (because when readers see random inconsistency they are likely to interpret it - wrongly - as meaning something).--Kotniski (talk) 19:07, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
According to WP:BIRD members, the capitalization issue has nothing to do with personal taste or preference; according to the WP:BIRD project page, "The common name of a species is always capitalised to differentiate it from more general terms." This is followed by a reference: Josep del Hoyo, Andrew Elliott & Jordi Sargatal, ed (1998). Handbook of the Birds of the World, Volume 1: Ostrich to Ducks. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. p. 25. This is what I'm talking about. Even when WikiProject members clearly and unambiguously state that they have chosen a specific style because that is what is used in the real world, and cite it, some other editor can come along and claim it's "simply personal taste or preference". This is the sort of thing which drives expert editors away. Firsfron of Ronchester 19:25, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
I feel that in cases like this it does actually come down to personal preference (even experts differ on their opinions on this matter), however as has been pointed out above the MOS is ambiguous and there should be harmony. However, I feel that harmony within the projects is entirely sufficient. Should overlapping projects be unable to resolve differing opinions then it becomes an issue for the community as a whole, otherwise active projects generally provide much greater consistency and thus readability than any individual passing editor. See also a paper in support of capitalization. VernoWhitney (talk) 19:30, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I think that some better perspective on this discussion would be provided by reading talk pages like Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Mammals. This is a complex matter, and generalisations are hard to make. —innotata 19:44, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

"Always" in what context?
I had seen "The common name of a species is always capitalised to differentiate it from more general terms." I had understood that to mean "always" within the Wikiproject.
If the "always" is meant as an absolute, then that should be supported by all reliable sources. I just checked "blue jay," mentioned above. It is lowercase in my dictionary (American Heritage, 2nd edition).
Also, VernoWhitney says above that the WP style guide is ambiguous. In what way? Maurreen (talk) 19:47, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia:MOS#Animals.2C_plants.2C_and_other_organisms says "For particular groups of organisms, there are particular rules of capitalization based on current and historic usage among those who study the organisms; for example, official common names of birds." which raises the question, "Which particular groups of organisms use particular rules of capitalization?", which I feel is best answered by those experts or other interested editors involved in the respective projects. VernoWhitney (talk) 19:53, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree that the style page is ambiguous, and that it does not reflect consensus. I don't think this is at all a good place to discuss an old and well-beaten debate. —innotata 19:52, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
I earlier suggested moving this to Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style. Maurreen (talk) 20:04, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
OK, but I hope such a discussion will not establish anything but how best to represent the current consensus. Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (fauna) is probably the best place for a general discussion (as though another is sensible). —innotata 20:36, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

I think most editors here would benefit from reading Wikipedia:WikiProject Council/Guide#Advice_pages and WP:PROPOSAL.

We have a system for determining whether advice represents the entire community, or if it is just the opinion of a few editors.

There is nothing magic about a couple of editors calling themselves a "WikiProject": They're still just editors, with the same single !vote as any other editor. Editors who call themselves a "WikiProject" do not own the articles they're interested in. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:11, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

In theory that's true. In practice, all but the smallest and most inactive projects can easily overrun an average discussion such as an AFD or a normal talk page discussion. I've seen projects (ab)use this ability several times in the past. Mr.Z-man 23:45, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Projects are not random groupings or cabals, but users interested in a special topic. Most active users with much of an interst in the topic will participate in a project discussion. —innotata 23:57, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
The problem is that this leads to a misrepresentation of the community consensus. If 8 people participate in an AFD, and 6 of them are members of a project related to the article, that's not remotely close to a cross-section of editors. A bigger problem comes when this issue is combined with groupthink; where people vote to keep/delete an article or support one side of an argument because that's the unofficial (or in the case of wikiproject pseudo-guidelines, official) project stance. Mr.Z-man 04:10, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
So everyone except the people who work on birds articles should have a say, or our say should be less meaningful? And we're sheep while we're at it? Cheers.
An alternative way of looking at Wikipedia's governance of itself is that that it relies on decentralised groups of people working on smaller problems and finding solutions that work for those problems. These small groups know the ins and outs, and dominate the discussion on their subject because it is what they know about and dedicate their time to improving. While conformity can a good thing, it also costs when it alienates or annoys otherwise useful editors. Sabine's Sunbird talk 04:46, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
You are reading more into my comment than is there. I'm not saying "everyone except", I'm saying that projects should not be given disproportionate representation. Projects exist to improve articles and foster collaboration, not to make up and then enforce their own rules. A few years ago I was nearly driven off the project when I dared to challenge a project's notion that essentially every article under their scope was inherently notable. They used the project talk page to coordinate their actions (i.e., block vote on AFD/DRV, wikistalk me to related discussions, and make bad faith attacks against me). Perhaps I still have a little bit of a negative view of wikiprojects when it comes to their involvement in forming rules and participating in project-wide discussions that concern their articles. I was not speaking specifically of the bird project, which I have little knowledge of. This section was a more general discussion about "Wikiproject standards that deviate from WP standards." Mr.Z-man 05:15, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
That sounds like a pretty shitty project you encountered. We mostly write about birds, although we argue a bit about birds too. We've argued a lot about bird names in the past, because birds are no respecters of national boundaries and often accumulate a lot of names (particularly species found in Europe and the US) which is why we chose to defer to the IOC list we've linked to a few times on this page. We chose to follow, warts and all (for the most part), the most authoritative and reliable and up to date and global source and convention for bird names. This strikes me as being in keeping with the general spirit of Wikipedia, rather than a symptom of a out of control Wikiproject on a POV rampage. Sabine's Sunbird talk 05:47, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
I remember Mr.Z-man from WP:TVS's early days, and he was indeed treated shoddily by that WikiProject. He had walked into an already tense situation there by sending several articles to AFD after several mass AFDs by other editors, at least one of which sent 100 articles up for deletion at the same time. However, that was three years ago. I hope Z still isn't upset about it; there are certainly other WikiProjects where editors are more circumspect about other editors' feelings and opinions. Firsfron of Ronchester 06:17, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

I first encountered the capitalization issue over six years ago when I was still new here; I was told at the time that there was already a "long history" behind the decision to capitalize species' common names. I was skeptical, but over time I came to accept it as good practice and have used it in the dozens of animal articles I've created. Referring to the Green Iguana or Common Iguana in the middle of a sentence can be confusing without capitalization, as it is not the only green iguana, and there are many places in the world where another species is the common iguana.

I would hope that those who actually spend time on a particular subject would get some deference regarding subject-specific issues from those who do not, whether or not those particular editors formally participate in a Wikiproject. And I would hope that there would be a better reason to ignore thoughtful editor decisions than project-wide conformity on a purely stylistic issue. postdlf (talk) 00:24, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

Sigh, here we go again. Bird names are treated by the bird community, including the people dealing with the official name list for birds, as capitalized. Because birds have a single official name, it has become a proper noun, and it is rather irritating that people who do not work with birds over and over again propose/demand/ask/whatever that the bird names should be all lower case. Well, I think they better spend their time on other things, because this is a hased out dicsussion that has each time resulted in the same outcome, namely that nothing changed. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 02:05, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

The articles are written for people who do not work with birds.
We should all be thinking about the readers, not whether other Wikieditors are pushy or lazy. Our first rule should be "Write for your audience." Wikipedia articles might be written by ornithology enthusiasts, but they're written for laypeople.
Because Wikipedia is a general-readership publication, we should follow general style guides such as Chicago and AP for the question of whether or not to capitalize species names. Darkfrog24 (talk) 02:18, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Eh, I would be concerned about project-specific standards if they made heavy use of jargon, which is true of some of our legal articles and sometimes the medical articles. If there is no chance that someone will be confused or misled by the change in capitalization, what me worry? The real problems come up when there are questions about what project "owns" an article and which standards apply, and we end up with rules like WP:ENGVAR which basically say "if it's not wrong, don't fix it." SDY (talk) 02:23, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
A few extra caps in bird articles is not jargon. I'd add that exactness/correctness in meaning trumps layterms if meaning is lost. We do try to write our articles to be as accessible as possible. Casliber (talk · contribs) 02:28, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Dictionaries are also good references. Maurreen (talk) 02:38, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
For naming birds? Not really. They deal mostly with generic names (you know, duck, hawk, vulture), not species (Hawaiian Duck, Hawaiian Hawk, Black Vulture). Sabine's Sunbird talk 03:49, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Darkfrog24, if the reader is the criterion for what we write, than we better abolish WP:RS and WP:CITE and related policies, and go write what the reader wants to hear, not what is available in reliable sources. Articles are written for the people, conveying the proper information of the field. And that is Capatalized Names For Bird Species. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 12:26, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
The page linked to above says the following (emphasis added):


An important rule adopted at the outset was that the words of an official birds name begin with capital letters. While this is contrary to the general rules of spelling for mammals, birds, insects, fish, and other life forms (i.e., use lowercase letters), the committee believed the initial capital to be preferable for the name of a bird species in an ornithological context, for two reasons.

1.It has been the customary spelling in bird books for some years;

2.Because it distinguishes a taxonomic species from a general description of a bird. Several species of sparrows could be described as "white-throated sparrows," but a "White-throated Sparrow" is a particular taxonomic species.
There is additional rationale offered on the same page, some of which seems incorrect to me, but the quoted portion raises two of the points made in support and opposition of the style, I think: 1) is an article in WP "in an ornithological context"? and 2) is the potentially greater clarity of using initial caps for a Specific Species to distinguish it from descriptive terms and other, "unofficial," names of greater value to the project than is strict compliance with the article Naming convention? Regardless of the purpose of the project, it seems to me that bird articles here discuss their subjects "in an ornithological context," perhaps due to the efforts of members of WP:Birds. See Bald Eagle, for example. As for the issue of clarity and readability, I like the Initial Caps style considering things like this: "I have seen three or four kinds of jays in the U.S. (Western Scrub-jays, Steller's Jays, and Blue Jays for sure), all of which were referred to as 'blue jays' by the locals." I'm not a birder and I think casual readers will either not notice or will pick up on the style fairly easily. (What I don't like is the hyphen in Scrub-jay. :p That may be worth fighting about.)--Hjal (talk) 06:11, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Considering one jay species, the IOC lists the English name as name "Island Scrub Jay", but the wiki article is called Island Scrub-jay. Perhaps the en wiki should follow the IOC names more closely. Snowman (talk) 10:26, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
We haven't gotten to Corvidae yet. I think it is time for another push. Sabine's Sunbird talk 11:12, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Well, we left the hyphen issue out of the push, and Snowman knows that as that is a lesser agreed aspect of Bird Names, contrary to Capitalization which is rather universal.-- Kim van der Linde at venus 12:26, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
I think that if bird species names are capitalised, then alternative common species names should also be capitalised. Incidentally, I am not aware to what the extent various name formats are agreed. Snowman (talk) 16:19, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
In a probably doomed effort to drag this particular section away from "Are common bird names proper nouns?" and back on to its real subject, which is "What if six teenagers call themselves a WikiProject and declare that they have written a "style guide" that demands that <name of this month's teen heartthrob> be surrounded by little hearts ("♥")?"
This kind of thing -- or something not very far from it -- has happened before.
  • Several music projects were recently taken to task for their edit warring to eradicate infoboxes: A majority of members dislike infoboxes, and they thought that they could declare themselves to have "guidelines" that prohibited them in any article that they declared to be within their scope.
  • A radio station group is attempting to repeat the TVS "all licensed stations are inherently notable" problem over at WT:ORG right now.
  • Members of WikiProject Schools hang out at the school-related deletion discussions, and announce that all schools enrolling teenagers are inherently notable -- even though this particular view of notability has been formally proposed to the community, and firmly rejected, four separate times. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:54, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
I think you are exaggerating the opinions of proponents of WikiProjects. I don't think that discussions should exclusively be between topic editors, but I'm not enthusiastic about having discussions only at this level. Conventions like WP:NC (flora) and WP:MON really should be left at some extent to topic contributors. —innotata 18:35, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Really? Maybe you'd like to read the 250KB at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Composers/Infoboxes RfC and the thousands of words that led to it -- and note that the project members said it was the tenth go-round on that particular subject -- and see whether I'm really exaggerating. Pay particular attention to the complaints about ownership, nasty attitudes, and edit warring by project members.
WP:SCHOOLS lists four formal proposals -- all failed -- to declare "as long as my high school can be verified to exist, it gets an article!" Editors have also repeatedly attempted to enshrine it in ORG and actually been shocked to discover that the view of a couple of noisy editors doesn't actually reflect the entire community's consensus.
There are a few excellent, community-approved guidelines written by WikiProjects (I've done a lot of work with WP:MEDMOS, for example), and there are many more excellent guidelines that haven't been formally approved but still don't conflict with the main pages, but I don't think that I exaggerate at all when I say that this problem does exist. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:49, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
I suppose I essentially agree with you then. —innotata 20:06, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Oh, please, WhatamIdoing — you're honestly equating the capitalization of bird names (which is done by reliable sources) to some teenagers making up their own style guide??! What kind of crazy trip are you on???! MeegsC | Talk 06:04, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Quite. It is clearly exaggeration, despite both the comments above from WhatamIdoing stating s/he isn't exaggerating. Of course, as you've noticed, they aren't remotely similar. Firsfron of Ronchester 06:11, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
This page is for discussing general issues - we're not concerned just about bird names here. If the bird naming convention is a consequence of practice in reliable sources (where reliable sources for other types of fauna have a different practice), then that's fine. But still there are other cases where "projects" do try to "own" articles, forcing abnormal standards on them for no good reasons. --Kotniski (talk) 07:52, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
And this section, in particular, is about "Wikiproject standards that deviate from WP standards", not "Are bird names proper nouns?" I make no claim that whether bird names should be treated as proper nouns is the same as six editors declaring the infoboxes are evil on a page that contains "WikiProject" in the URL gives them the right to delete infoboxes from any article that interests them: It is not, and the problem is far more serious than bird names.
I do claim that an appropriate subject for this section of this page is whether these editors' WP:CONLIMITED "local consensus" entitles them to enforce their purely stylistic choices on articles, especially when (like infoboxes) said preferences cannot be supported by a single reliable source, over the objection of dozens of non-member editors. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:18, 16 April 2010 (UTC)


Change all relevant pages in the Wikipedia namespace to reflect the following:

Capitalization is used to indicate proper nouns. Common nouns should not be capitalized unless any word would be capitalized in the same context. To determine whether something is a proper noun, work first from reliable sources intended for a general audience.

My point is about the general principles. I welcome any suggestions about wording. Maurreen (talk) 06:30, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

We are working from reliable sources intended for general audiences. Pick up the Sibley Guide to Birds (By David Sibley). Reliable, authoratative, and th best general bird guide read by thousands upon thousands of birdwatchers. Or the Field Guide to the Birds of Australia (Pizzey & Knight), the Birds of Brazil (Ber van Perlo), Birds of the Seychelles, (Skerrett & Bullock), Birds of the Solomons, Vanuatu and New Caledonia (Doughty, Day & Plant), to list a few lying around my house. These aren't scholarly tomes full of obtuse jargon, these are general audience field guides intended for laypeople. Similarly the Atlas of Bird Migration (Oglive), Seabirds (Hoskins), Albatrosses (Ticknell) and the Flight of the Huia (Wilson) are general audience books that follow the convention (okay, albatrosses wanders from general reader to technical). We use the more technical IOC list because unlike more general works it covers the whole planet, but the convention is not restricted to technical manuals. Sabine's Sunbird talk 08:28, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
A plea to all: please return to the case of runaway monkeys. Thank you. NVO (talk)
Everyone knows that monkeys should only be shipped in barrels. Sabine's Sunbird talk 11:11, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Sabine, are you at it again. Didn't you take you medication, everybody knows that Monkeys travel first class in an ocean steamer.... -- Kim van der Linde at venus 12:40, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Well, Bird Names are proper nouns now that they have been standardized. So, problem solved. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 12:38, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree with this idea, and with Sabine's Sunbird's comment on monkeys. —innotata 14:04, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
This seems to pretty closely follow consensus so far, as far as animal names are concerned. —innotata 18:37, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
There is one problem, but not one which will have much of an effect—a lot of people use sentence case names for species, essentially as proper nouns (the eastern grey squirrel is found in North America) so perhaps a different phrasing is needed. —innotata 22:37, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── This is something I definitely strongly support. I believe Wikipedia should have a single set style of capitalization. --Mikemoral♪♫ 03:39, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

Strongly oppose I hate this attempt to force standardisation - we accept different spelling conventions rather than insisting on the majority BE (don;t forget India) so why not let large projects use their own prefernces. On a practical note, who's going to go through 10000+ articles changing them, especially as some eg Wilson's Petrel would remain partially capped because of the human proper name. Jimfbleak - talk to me? 05:43, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Oppose for the reasons listed so eruditely above. MeegsC | Talk 06:15, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

Proposal 2

Change all relevant pages in the Wikipedia namespace to reflect the following:

Capitalization is used to indicate proper nouns. Common nouns should not be capitalized unless any word would be capitalized in the same context. To determine whether something is a proper noun, work first from general references, not specialized references. Follow the principles of WP:COMMONNAME.

I'm trying to clarify here that, for example, a book intended for birdwatchers is a book intended for a specialized audience, not one intended for a general audience. WP is for a general audience; it does not focus on birdwatchers, the orinthological community or any other group of specialists. Whether something is a common noun or a proper noun should normally be determined by how the term is used among the general public. "Specialist" is not synonymous with "academic." Maurreen (talk) 14:14, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

Against, as this codifies the ignorance of people by forcing generalized views to dictate the whole range of topics that are much more subtle than that. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 15:00, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
I concur with van der Linde, and I know a a number of other editors who probably will. —innotata 15:57, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Oppose, if you're going to dictate that species names can't be capitalized, you might as well dictate that genus names can't either. Both convention and reliable sources dictate that bird species names are capitalized. How many times do we have to go over this? Kaldari (talk) 16:30, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Oppose; the fact that a WikiProject like WP:BIRDS follows academic standards should be praised, not punished. The bird folks set high standards on Wikipedia, and are one of the most successful groups in terms of Featured Articles, community organization, and overall article quality. Proposing rules with which the members strenuously disagree can only irritate the very editors Wikipedia should try to retain: the cream of the crop. My fear is that if non-bird editors continue pushing this issue, they will end up driving off quality editors. Firsfron of Ronchester 17:47, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Oppose; capitalization in this instance, while maybe not widely used by a general audience or materials aimed at them, can only aid informational clarity for that general audience. Nothing is gained by conforming bird (or any animal) articles to the general style standard on this issue other than superficial conformity, and there are many good reasons to treat animal common names differently. postdlf (talk) 18:56, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
British English capitalizes nouns more often than American English. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 19:09, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Oppose, sorry - (1) correctness and exactness of meaning trumps accessibility where meaning is lost, and (2) Secondary sources are to be preferred over tertiary sources (such as general dictionaries and encyclpedias) according to our own sourcing guidelines. Casliber (talk · contribs) 19:22, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

Oppose as for proposal 1 Jimfbleak - talk to me? 05:45, 16 April 2010 (UTC) Comment. When I started this thread I had no idea that there was so much discussion ongoing about the point. It has since become apparent that:

  1. Although an editor cited WP:BIRD for a naming convention about Rhesus Macaques, similar discussion at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Mammals is at least considering the idea.
  2. WP:MOS#Animals, plants, and other organisms provides some guidance consistent with this, but declines to specify conventions for all species. It does not say that individual WikiProject consensus creates a guideline, only that conventions vary between groups of animals.
  3. Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (fauna) is working to bring the existing opinions of various WikiProjects and individual editors into a single statement of best practices.

In my opinion, these developments, once complete, should sufficiently address the obvious "instruction creep" that could result if every WikiProject had the power to make guidelines on its own. I don't think that WikiProject editors are unreliable - however, they are a very small minority of users who work on any given topic, and by random sampling they can come to different consenses about similar issues. So if there's no coordination between them there's going to be some amount of editing back and forth as editors familiar with different projects impose different styles on an article. I think that once the various perspectives are worked up into a few clear sentences in the MOS, this problem will be resolved. Wnt (talk) 21:50, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

I think the previous proposal works, representing the consensus, and setting out guidelines clearly. —innotata 22:30, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Why make things harder to understand than they need to be? Standardization for the sake of it, without considering the impact on readability and accessibility, is ludicrous. MeegsC | Talk 05:53, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose Reliable sources should be the "standard", and the most-reliable sources are typically written by specialists. Bird names are a perfect example of following reliable sources, and also of trusting the excellent WikiProjects (such as WP:BIRD) to get it right. First Light (talk) 05:02, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

Core for MoS and policy

Wikipedia:Profanity/core is the first example of a proposed method to make see alsos constant over several MoS Gnevin (talk) 12:51, 17 April 2010 (UTC) it's not. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 13:53, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
Um... can you clarify here ? Gnevin (talk) 14:02, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
Okay, I get it. Put the lede paragraph into a transcluded sub-page to make it harder for inexperienced editors to find it and make changes, as opposed to the normal method of page protection. Seen that done and undone in other articles before. Bad idea. --A Knight Who Says Ni (talk) 14:33, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
No, this has nothing to do with page protection. Gnevin (talk) 15:11, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

This was intended as a notification. Can we continue the discussion at Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style#Trial_of_.22core.22_concept —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gnevin (talkcontribs) 15:18, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

Inline templates to emit microformats

Wikipedia uses some in-line templates, such as {{convert}}, {{lang}} (and family), {{coord}}, quite widely. The latter emits a Geo microformat (see also the microformats project). I would favour the use of in-line templates to emit other microformats for things such as people's names, addresses/ locations and taxonomic names; at least in tables/ parent templates, if not in prose (the latter having met some opposition). What do other folk think, and what would be the least contentious way to use a prototype, in order to reassure doubters? Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 15:52, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

Downgrading GNG to an essay

This discussion is to test the claim that WP:GNG doesnt really enjoy general support - that a small group of determined editors have the guideline locked down, preventing it from accurately reflecting wider communities requirements. For certain specific purposes, most can agree GNG has been invaluable. Yet there are multiple reasons to conclude GNG is harmful to our project, due to the way it encourages all types of article to be treated the same. A zoo that handles Tigers the same as Llamas wont last very long. A garden where orchids are tended the same as hardy shrubs wont look very pretty. For an open access encyclopaedia, a key differentiating quality is not threat or ruggedness, but the articles emotiveness. (BLPs being an exception where articles containing libellous claims are a direct threat) Articles on emotive subjects such as politics or religion tend to attract POV warriors, and in these cases the requirement for multiple significant coverage in independent RS becomes an inevitable consequence of our core policies. But counter intuitively, the current overly broad application of GNG seems to be harmful to WP: NPOV!

Folk naturally write with NPOV on non emotive subjects. Various research projects have indicated that where folk have no reason stake in a particular outcome they naturally like to be fair and truthful. Fairness is like chocolate to the human brain! Wikipedia is a very clear demonstration of this. Articles on relatively non emotive subjects such as buses or fictional characters or most nature topics are on the whole without noticeable bias - even when they are entirely without RS citations. Whereas emotive topics very often have a noticeable slant, regardless of dense sourcing. RS are no guarantee of NPOV, Obama could easily be betrayed as a weak and ineffectual leader if we cherry picked articles from leading sources like WSJ, The Economist and Foreign Affairs. It may stretch AGF to demonstrate this with links to specific articles, as you couldnt be sure examples handt been hand picked. But there seems to be such a strong correlation between bias and emotiveness you could easily confirm for yourself if you dont already agree. Just spot check for bias any 10 random non emotive articles on subjects where your knowledgeable, and compare with 10 random emotive articles. This isnt to say we're doing a poor job on NPOV, all things considered our editing policies are excellent at promoting it, but there remains a noticeable difference between emotive and non emotive topics.

GNG hurts NPOV If you take the time to confirm the analyses above, it should become clear that the zealous application of GNG actually hurts NPOV, because it is far more likely to cause the deletion of NPOV non - emotive articles, which by their nature are less likely to attract easy to find significant coverage in reliable sources.

GNG and the link to our declining number of active editors The deletionist environment promoted by GNG has been linked by third party analyses to our declining number of active editors. A singular approach to determining whether articles are allowed existence also conflicts with one of the foundations key strategic goals which is to enhance the diversity of our editor base.

GNG destroys the natural habitat of newbie editors New editors, especially if they lack a strong academic background, dont find it easy to get their changes accepted especially on the high profile subjects that easily pass GNG and therefore are safe from deletion but are also rightly closely watched to ensure high editing standards. The natural place for new editors to gain wiki skills is in low impact articles where they have space to work and collaborate with their peers. A few years back it was much easier for new editors to create and expand these sort of articles, now its much harder due in part to a more rigorous application of GNG. This is not only harmful to our work force but also to one of the great side effects of this project which is the way it encourages academic virtues in the world's net citizenship.

GNG and harmful elitism GNG encourages an attitude where we slavishly follow the elite in what they consider noteworthy. Every week GNG is used to delete scores and even hundreds of valuable articles that essentially arent judged worthy of note by the elite. A subject could be of interest to millions but if its just a character in a computer game its unlikely to have significant coverage in the higher end of the reliable sources spectrum so is at risk of deletion. Many people are interested in these things and enjoy reading about them, and they dont have the kind of real world significance that demands high standards of scholarship. such articles often have all kinds of potential benefits that elite academics probably wont even consider, for example an article on a fictional character is helpful not just to fans but might aid parents engage more fully with their children by helping them understand their interests. GNG is directly contrary to our vision statement, "the sum of all knowledge" admits of no qualifier for excluding knowledge not considered notable by the elite.

The Case for retaining GNG as it is

  • All other things being equal, its preferable to have a single clear and objective criteria such as notability applying in an equal way to all articles.
  • GNG is an integral part of a set of guidelines that have been central to the rise of this encyclopaedia to its indisputable status as the worlds most popular reference source. And so any major change should be considered with great care, if at all.
  • ... To be amended / filled out by supporters of the status quo....

Alternatives to GNG If we accept the GNG in its current form is overly broad, what can take its place? One option is to retain GNG as a guideline , but simply to radically alter it. The concept of emotiveness could be introduced, and then it could be explicitly pointed out that a much more relaxed criteria for establishing notability ought to be employed for non emotive subjects. Alternatively, we could downgrade WP:Notability to an essay, and then erect a replacement guideline. The concept of notability in its current form could still be used to filter out BLPs and articles on various emotive subjects such as politics, religion, fringe science and the like. Other filtering criteria such as verifiability could be used for less emotive articles, perhaps with it being understood that the quality threshold for verifiability would vary depending on the impact of the claim. Therefore even fan sites and not totally independent reference sources would be allowed to establish relatively trivial and non emotive subjects such as say Bus routes. Either way, many more articles would be made safer from deletion, consistent with our vision and the wider benefits of inclusiveness. FeydHuxtable (talk) 17:49, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

I can see that you've devoted a lot of time to this argument, but weakening notability is almost a perennial proposal, discussed as recently as February (see Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 73#Notability: why?). There was even a major RfC about the issue last year, which failed to gain consensus to change the notability guidelines in any major way. -- Black Falcon (talk) 18:25, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
Also, regarding your comment about NPOV and notability: NPOV applies to the content of articles, whereas notability applies to the topics of articles. Notability guidelines do not directly limit article content, and deletion of an article written from a neutral point of view has no bearing on WP:NPOV. -- Black Falcon (talk) 18:30, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
Not directly, but each time a neautral article is deleted it reduces out neautral : biased ratio. And when we have scores of harmless neautral articles being deleted a week... FeydHuxtable (talk) 20:03, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
Oppose Your premise is faulty. You totally lost me at "Articles on relatively non emotive subjects such as ... fictional characters ... are on the whole without noticeable bias - even when they are entirely without RS citations." Our articles on fiction in fact often have terrible bias problems created by very emotional fans and/or haters, and these are often corrected with guidance from Wikipedia:Notability. Thanks, Starblueheather (talk) 18:30, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
Fictional character articles ive read have always seemed NPOV, e.g. the Dune characters, but yeah I guess there will be problem cases . Maybe the guideline could say that if concensus exists that an article classed as non emotive is in fact biased , then the full force of GNG can be applied to ensure the good sourcing we need for POV disputes? FeydHuxtable (talk) 20:03, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
In addition to the above, there is often the fact that
  1. WP:N is not the extent of WP's inclusion guidelines - however, what other stuff we include is very vague but open to consensus.
  2. The GNG is not the extent of WP:N - and this is where the social change needs to be expressed. WP:N states that a topic gets an article if it is shown wikt:notable. One way of doing that is by showing significant coverage in secondary sources. There are many other ways, several outlined in the sub-notability guidelines like WP:SNG, but a persuasive establishment of notability by other verifiable means meets WP:N's approach as well. In other words, the social change needs to be made to understand the GNG is a subset of WP:N, and there's a flexible gap for other topics. (Not, however, fictional characters without significant non-primary sourcing). --MASEM (t) 18:56, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
Granted, but the practical purposes of AfD, WP:N seems to be all about GNG. Im not sure wed get a social change without a change to the guideline first, because of the emphases on following guidelines. If GNG could be changed to more explicitly encourage the flexibility you 've suggested, that would certainly seem a step in the right direction. FeydHuxtable (talk) 20:03, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
Oppose. It is necessary to have independent sources to write a neutral article. Moreover, it is necessary to have some reliable source to write an accurate article that can be fact checked. Routinely, anonymous and new contributors change facts in articles, including dates. To properly determine whether one should revert the change, there has to be some source to refer to. Doing away with WP:GNG as policy would harm Wikipedia's already limited credibility, as it would remove an incentive to properly cite sources in new articles. Before anyone argues this: no, this is not censorship, it is a sound editorial policy intended to prevent Wikipedia from growing into a soapbox, a mere directory, a crystal ball, and moreover, an indiscriminate collection of information.
It is a slippery slope to deprecate the GNG. Recently for example, I was considering whether to create a new article William Brooks (musician) (the artist signed to Magnatune, not to be confused with others such as Bill Brooks or Brooks Williams). The only sources I could find, however, were primary sources: one from the realty firm that he used to work at ([5]), another from the record label itself ([6]), and his self-published e-book. Imagine extending that to all of Magnatune's 328 signed artists, many of which are just as notable, instead of limiting coverage to entries in a list: List of artists signed to Magnatune. Remember that if you disagree with Wikipedia's editorial policies, you have the right to fork the encyclopedia. PleaseStand (talk) 19:23, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
A William Brooks article would be an a BLP and for the reasons you list and others I agree it wouldn't be wise to relax noteability requirements for BLPs. FeydHuxtable (talk) 20:03, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
If I actually thought that Feyd's proposal was going to be taken seriously by the community, I might bother to respond in detail... but frankly it is so far removed from (what seems to me to be) the community's view, that it doesn't seem worth my time.
I hope that nobody interprets the lack of vehement opposition from dozens of editors as support. WhatamIdoing (talk)
Youre probably right. But at some of the recent bus route AfDs for example, its been very clearly and forcefully pointed out that the sourcing for certain article doesnt meet GNG, but a majority have still voted keep. Which is one of the reasons there some hope this kind of proposal might attract support. FeydHuxtable (talk) 20:21, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
I don't see a big problem with GNG, but I could be wrong as AFD is a major problem on Wikipedia and GNG is part of that. Your right about the bus routes, but there are many exceptions to GNG ('A topic can also be considered notable if it meets the criteria outlined in one of the more subject specific guidelines listed on the right.'), how about adding bus routes to Wikipedia:Notability (streets, roads, and highways)? Regards, SunCreator (talk) 20:36, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
My believe is that editors should not spend their effort and mental health on proving noteworthiness of topics they wish to contribute to. This is hazardous to Wikipedia as a community and to Wikipedia as a sum of encyclopedic knowledge.
If axing GNG will guarantee that any contribution of verifiable encyclopedic content is welcome, then I'm all for it.
I however understand that given some proposals of similar kind, this one will not be supported as well. Unfortunately, those who suffer the most from our policies leave Wikipedia in frustration and do not participate in policy discussions. This leads to evaporative cooling of group beliefs and policies getting stricter with time. I do not know how to fight this, but I'm glad to support those who try. MagV (talk) 21:05, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
The reason we have the current notability requirement is to ensure that we can actually write a decent, somewhat comprehensive article about the subject without original research or bias. If there are no (or only 1) reliable secondary sources about a topic, how are we supposed to do that? The bus route articles are a good example. Except for a few, none of them are likely ever going to be more than stubs and there would be no real loss by keeping the information in a list, with links to the few that actually have enough info for a standalone article. With enough detail, you could even get such a list to featured status, but I doubt you're going to be able to write an FA about an average city bus route. But some users would rather have quantity rather than quality. Mr.Z-man 21:15, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

Support you proposal, mostly. While I agree with most of your arguments and also with your conclusions, I didn't completely understand your arguments about NPOV and how it relates to Notability. In my mind, the major problem with notability is the way that it is tied to WP:RS. In a perfect world, our mission statement mandates that we would have an article on absolutely everything; the sum of all human knowledge. However, people have a tendency to lie, especially in the more emotive topic areas, as you have described. Because we don't want lies in our encyclopedia, we have standards of reliable sourcing in order to weed out the lies. Thus, no self-published sources, fact-checking, etc. However, very few people are going to lie about a bus route or a Bonanza character, so it makes sense to relax the sourcing policies for those topic areas. The call for topic-area specific notability guidelines is a good idea, but I also support either re-wording, replacing, or downgrading the GNG as FeydHuxtale has outlined. It might also be a good idea to change WP:RS to allow for blogs and other self-published sources in certain circumstances. The recent discussion about the notability of free open-source software, which I believe took place mainly here and on the mailing list, are a good example of the inadequacy of the current guidelines.

So, to recap: there is definitely a problem, and I think that this is the solution. --Cerebellum (talk) 23:31, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

  • Excellent idea. Now all the non-emotive crap about comedy characters will be challenged and deleted based on WP:V alone. Good riddance. NVO (talk) 23:50, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
    • (ec) And, on a more serious note, proliferation of nonsensical SNGs like "SNG on roads in Nebraska" is an excellent tool to further segregate and alienate user base. Take a look at other wikipedias that chose to rely on SNGs rather than a universal rule. Any group of at least three users invents their own guideline and fights tooth and nail against any intruders, guidelines are trimmed to ensure deletion of rival gang's contributions, etc... A song from classical repertoire must have a book written about it (no less), a song from 2010 needs only be listed in airplay rotation. All for the good of non-emotive bus routes :)) NVO (talk) 00:00, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

Oppose I disagree that GNG is somehow affecting NPOV, for the reasons already stated above, I find this line of argument to be unconvincing.
I also think you are misunderstanding GNG in that you seem to place a lot of stress upon how broad it is, however, GNG is actually fairly narrow in what it covers, as it typically only applies as a preventative measure when the article meets no other more specific criteria, therefore, the solution is not to get rid of GNG, but to another of the more specific criteria. So if you want to make so that the standards required for articles about bus roots are more lax, then I have no objections to you starting a proposal about implementing a new guideline regarding that, what I do have an issue with is trying to get rid of GNG because of a very small problem that can be fixed with a small amendment, rather than a scrapping of such a major guideline. Kindest regards, SpitfireTally-ho! 23:53, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

Oppose- Notability is widely acknowledged as a necessary guideline on Wikipedia, and all attempts to abolish or downgrade it have been definitively slapped down by community consensus. And rightly so, because it is necessary and useful. Furthermore, your link between WP:GNG and WP:N is tenuous at best. NPOV may suffer if editors cherry-pick sources on controversial subjects, but I fail to see how that has anything to do with deleting unrelated articles on non-notable topics, no matter how neutrally written. If we make a decision to retain or delete an article for reasons that don't involve the neutrality policy, then the neutrality policy remains unaffected. Reyk YO! 00:23, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

Oppose. I find almost every premise in the OP erroneous and begging multiple questions by assuming the conclusions sought to be reached. There is a wholesale conflation going on when linking GNG to NPOV, as if the GNG's purpose is to make articles neutral, so since it doesn't and has the opposite effect (you conclude), the GNG fails at its purpose. In actuality the purpose of notability is not to assure neutrality at all. Accordingly, though I don't agree at all with your analysis of notability's affect on NPOV, the entire argument being premises on their connection is a red herring.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 16:59, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

A common opinion is that GNG is an inevitable consequence of our core policies such as NPOV, and I wanted to offer an alternative view. Interestingly, one of the admins at the London meeting last weekend said that TV trope articles tends to be highly accurate and reliable despite having no citations, which is line the view that people naturally like to be truthful and neutral concerning low impact subjects. FeydHuxtable (talk) 15:47, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
The point of my oppose is not that NPOV and notability do not impact each other, although the connection you and the OP focus on is more a connection between verifiability and NPOV (in fact, all of our content inclusion policies and guidelines are interrelated). In any event, the point is that notability serves a truly, fundamentally different underlying purpose than does the NPOV policy, but the OP appears to argue that notability should be deprecated or downgraded because it's not serving the purpose of fostering NPOV, and in a manner that also appears to confuse the policies' purposes. So, though I don't agree with the OP's analysis of notability's affect on NPOV (not at all), I am not addressing that connection because I see no need to to reach opposition to what the OP seeks. If we're going to tear down notability in some manner, it's going to be under an analysis of notability's purpose and why it doesn't serve that purpose (admirably). Not because of what really is a side note, regarding a different policy.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 22:45, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

Oppose as the only alternative is far worse, namely inclusion on the basis of subjective importance, which is not supported by Wikipedia's content policies. Since there is no way of agreeing what topics are encyclopedic unless there is some sort of externally validated rationale, notability is here to stay if Wikipedia is to work as an encyclopedia that everyone can edit. Like death and taxes, there is no viable alternative. --Gavin Collins (talk|contribs) 09:50, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

I tried to take into account your view on that, which is why I suggested we keep notability for emotive topics and an equally objective / externally validated but more relaxed verifiability criteria for lower impact. However, its doesnt appear to be a timely idea, so if anyone wants to archive this thread thats fine by me. FeydHuxtable (talk) 15:47, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

Support. I don't agree with all you suggest, but I do agree that the Notability doctrine is fundamentally flawed. A whole culture of Notability Challenging has emerged, featuring a hardy orchestra of fiddlers... Instead of "Notability" the sacred principle of Wikipedia should be "ACCURACY" (plus VERIFIABILITY plus NEUTRAL POINT OF VIEW). If somebody wants to spend a week writing a frame by frame description of the 3rd episode of the second season of Arrested Development — so what? We don't need to waste time discussing whether or not that is "worthy" of inclusion — all that need concern us is that the summary is accurate and verifiable and written without biased passion.

If two so-called "reliable" sources give two different dates on Jimbo Wales' birthday — at least one of them is not in accord with objective reality, it is wrong. We don't need to mention them both or to average out the two in the name of "neutrality" — ACCURACY is the pivotal principle to which we should all strive. Carrite (talk) 18:57, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

Are we writing articles on Jimbo's birthday? No? Then GNG would not apply there. Angryapathy (talk) 19:27, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

Oppose A universal system is needed to determine whether an article is suitable for inclusion or not and I do not know of any better method than significant coverage in secondary sources. Captain panda 19:17, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

  • Oppose. Saying that most non-notable articles are therefore more likely to attract NPOV content, and that GNG "hurts NPOV", are both highly dubious and I'm not convinced. Although, GNG encouraging elitism and newbie-biting are good points. While some of the points you make are decent, you haven't proposed a clear and viable alternative that's equally objective; and simply demoting it without a good replacement would be harmful. GNG is viable for Wikipedia because its criteria is objectively applicable. To state that GNG is to be applied with a relaxed approach would be adding subjectivity to it application, because there will be disagreement in each case as to just how relaxed the approach should be. Discussions over inclusion would then likely disintegrate into "I like it" and "I don't like it". It would just be less consistency and more drama. A proposal to demote GNG should focus on the benefits of a clear replacement over the current version, rather than on saying how bad GNG is and that it must go. Equazcion (talk) 23:24, 14 Apr 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose because Wikipedia needs to have a general standard for inclusion that can be applied to any subject. The subject-specific guidelines cannot cover all of our needs for determining which topics may have an article and which topics may not. Without a general guideline, many subject areas would be left entirely to the whims of editors and we will see the recreations of many walled gardens, especially in fiction related subjects. In fact, we still have issues with editors asserting the importance of a character or concept within a work of fiction as a reason for creating a stand-alone article when the subject has little to no real-world relevance. If you think the inclusionist/deletionist battles are fierce now, they won't hold a candle to the battles if there are no general guidelines. I also see a general inclusion guideline as a way to enforcing WP:NOT clause in which Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information. Since, Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information, we need to have a bases on which to discriminate with. I also don't see the connection between WP:GNG and WP:NPOV. These two have no relation to do with each other except for both requiring reliable third-party sourcing. So I find that argument a red herring. One counter suggest I will make is to rename WP:NOTE and the subject-specific guidelines to Wikipedia:Article inclusion or simply Wikipedia:Inclusion. That is because we use the term "notability" as a synonym for inclusion. —Farix (t | c) 01:03, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Support. Notability policy should be utterly abolished, and WP:RS should be weakened. Notability is an unnecessary evil that prevents the encyclopedia from becoming truly encyclopedic, and whose other evils have been documented at m:Inclusionism. Having said that, this idea has no chance of going anywhere, and should probably be added to WP:PEREN. Tisane (talk) 22:31, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

About Wendy Sulca, a newcomer Peruvian singer

In the Spanish Wikipedia was created the Wendy Sulca’s article, now deleted; but I realized that biography still exists here. User Netito777 has deleted the article twice and protected its creation because:

  • The article had been recreated seven times and, then deleted due its irrelevance and promotional intentions.
  • Biography section is entirely a copyright violation from a blog, as well as the Controversies’ first sub-section from this news portal.
  • International success section consist mostly on peacock terms and reckless claims without references. Some facts has been verified with YouTube videos, two of them uploaded by Sulca itself.
  • Unexistence of related and reliable sources from accredited media. See Google News search.

The worst part of it, is that singer seems to be very interested on your own article, as her own curriculum vitae and encouraging its fans to recreate it again for promoting her artistic career. I realise about this obnoxious truth checking its Twitter profile (in Spanish).

Sorry if I commited orthographic errors (my English is not perfect). Der Ausländer: Was willst du mir sagen? 16:37, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

Tagged for speedy deletion. -- Collectonian (talk · contribs) 16:40, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, Der Ausländer: Was willst du mir sagen? 16:45, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
Thank you for your report and to User:Collectonian for tagging it, I have deleted it as copyviol. Best regards, Snowolf How can I help? 17:00, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

I notice that exists a new article (17/4/2010) about Wendy Sulca in Swedish Wikipedia. I suggest protect that article against edition for preventing new creations because her fans have proved they can anything for promote her biography at any cost. Thanks for your support. Der Ausländer: Was willst du mir sagen? 19:25, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

Capitalization of book titles

Does Wikipedia:Naming conventions (capitalization)

"In general, each word in English titles of books, films, and other works takes an initial capital, except for articles ("a", "an", "the"), the word "to" as part of an infinitive, prepositions and coordinating conjunctions shorter than five letters (e.g., "on", "from", "and", "with"), unless they begin or end a title or subtitle."

and Wikipedia:Naming_conventions_(books)#Capitalization apply to the capitalization of book titles? In a recent edit to Eugene Znosko-Borovsky, user:Macdonald-ross thinks that it does not. Please clarify, thank you. Bubba73 (You talkin' to me?), 23:44, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

I don't see any reason why caps guidelines shouldn't apply here. I believe that the Wikipedia guideline is correct grammatically; titles are to be capitalized. --Fiftytwo thirty (talk) 00:05, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
Thank you. Besides his edit to the article, the editor said this on my talk page:

In English, only proper nouns are capitalised. They were not proper nouns (though I see WP erroneously thinks they are).

Bubba73 (You talkin' to me?), 00:09, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
Books titles, as can be seen by anyone by looking at a book, are almost always capitalized. Perhaps not every word (in which case, the uncapitalized words should be reflected in the title of the article), but the first word and other primary words are. Don't worry about what he's saying, Bubba, you're in the right here, with both the English language and Wikipedia policy. SilverserenC 00:17, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
Thank you. Just about the time I was posting my original message here, someone else changed it back. Bubba73 (You talkin' to me?), 00:31, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
Certainly book titles should be given in title case -- which is called "title case", not "proper noun case", because the convention is so widely applied to book titles. Perhaps Macdonald-ross could be encouraged to look into a few standard style guides, like Chicago Manual of Style, if further education is wanted.
(NB that style guides, although united on the point of capitalizing book titles, diverge when the case moves to individual articles in newspapers, magazines, and journals, with the humanities preferring title case, and hard sciences choosing sentence case.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:35, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

Talk page guidelines

There is a discussion at WT:TPG about clarifying or strengthening discouragement against altering what other people write. Maurreen (talk) 08:24, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

WP:SOCK#LEGIT - re:privacy example

The line reads:

Privacy: A person editing an article which is highly controversial within his/her family, social or professional circle, and whose Wikipedia identity is known within that circle, or traceable to their real-world identity, may wish to use an alternative account to avoid real-world consequences from their editing or other Wikipedia actions in that area.

If such people is editing an article which is controversial within such famile/social/professional circle, this means the editor has an interest in the article, and this will probably violates WP:COI. Therefore this is not an legitimate exmaple.

I woulkd like to hear your opinion.SYSS Mouse (talk) 17:50, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

Not necessarily. Certain scientific theories are controversial, but we would be foolish to say that experts in an area can't edit articles about it. Also, COI does not forbid people from editing when they have a conflict, it is merely a warning. Mr.Z-man 17:56, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
That said, the line needs rewrite. SYSS Mouse (talk) 17:59, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
My point is that you can't really "violate" COI, at least not on its own. One can violate NPOV while having a COI, but simply editing while having a COI is not actually against the rules. And I would be wary about a policy implying or stating otherwise, as COI is already one of the least understood rules. Mr.Z-man 21:25, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
I disagree. It states "which is highly controversial within his/her family, social or professional circle". This isn't a COI issue, but could very potentially be one that has personal implications. If your employer, for example, is very heavily religious, or a school, and you edit an article on say, gay rights or abortion or maybe even just a yaoi manga title. If it goes against their doctrine, it can be grounds for firing. Look at all the folks in the news lately fired for their Facebook or MySpace posts. And, of course, there can be more serious implications. There are some extremist social groups that would beat, or even kill, members of their group for daring to look at, much less edit, articles on topics they disapprove of. This is the sort of thing that statement is meant to speak too, and not trying to get around any COI issue. -- Collectonian (talk · contribs) 18:01, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
Or even someone just might not want others to know they edit such articles as clitoris or pedophilia but have absolutely no COI with those. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 18:06, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

how many people's opinion is enough for deletion ?

Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Distant Worlds is only three people's opinion are enough? if were only two voices or even one voice would it be still enough ?
I'm sure that it's really silly to consider only few voices as enough for such important decision as deletion (Idot (talk) 01:33, 10 April 2010 (UTC))

A prod is usually the opinion of two people, as is a speedy delete usually, more important is the fact that nobody there objected--Jac16888Talk 02:22, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
what do you mean as "nobody there objected" ? (Idot (talk) 02:17, 10 April 2010 (UTC))
You're right I didn't look close enough. Ok then, the only objection, by you, did not give a valid reason to keep, while the sources in the article proved it exists, they did not show why it is a notable subject, and they were all from the publisher of the product--Jac16888Talk 02:22, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not a democracy. It's not the number of !votes, but the quality of the opinions. Woogee (talk) 01:49, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
the article had sources, reviews etc (Idot (talk) 01:53, 10 April 2010 (UTC))
The article in question Regards, SunCreator (talk) 02:27, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
It had sources to game review websites, but the actual articles linked to appear to be press releases. Each of the 2 groups of sources link to pages with identical text on different websites. Mr.Z-man 02:33, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
Indeed. Totally fails WP:Notability for complete lack of independent coverage; press releases are hardly "independent". Could have been somewhat mergable to the company's article though. --Cybercobra (talk) 02:35, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
  • the subject is not the reason of deletion this certain article - how strong or weak were the arguments for deleting or keeping it, but about general situation:
    if I did not visit this page will it be decision made like "we are two decided to delete?" and if no other people will it be decided that argement of only one or two persons fully represents all opinions?!
    as if to the cort arrived only prosector (as other people execpt a responded who couldn't arrive were not informed) who told "punish by death!" and a judge deicided that only his/her opnion is enough and other opinion is needed
    butr frankly speaking is it enough?!
    it is not fair! and defentily it is not a judgement
    even notrious Stalin's Troikas (by the way I'm from former Soviet Union) had more people, but even they were known as "death punishment commitees" as if usual decion was "punish by death!" and their arguemnts were always "strong" as no other opinion were presented
    the problem not in deletion of this ceratain artcile! the problem is taht articke is executed for deletion even if a number of discussants is not representative!
    has any body here have ever heard about quorum or not?
    and has any body heard about judgement and justice? (Idot (talk) 01:30, 11 April 2010 (UTC))
current wikipedia rules mean: that only one person is enough to lynch anybody and this will not be considered as murder and it will be fully legal (Idot (talk) 01:49, 11 April 2010 (UTC))
Unlike the death penalty for a person, deletion need not be permanent. Articles can be restored or recreated if new information comes to light. For example, if there are no good sources now, and we delete an article now -- then what if tomorrow there are many excellent sources?
The answer is that we'd either start over from scratch or ask any admin to restore the article for work.
Wikipedia does not count votes. This means that the number of people is not important. If you see a discussion that says, "Keep this article. Here are the names of a dozen high-quality reliable sources, which prove people have taken notice of this subject" then that one editor's response is sufficient to result in a Keep.
Because such a response is sufficient, other editors know that they don't need respond, especially if they have nothing more useful to say than, "I think the other editor is right."
On the other hand, if an editor sees a discussion, and doesn't find sources to support it, but isn't sure that his search was thorough, then we don't want him to respond. "Delete, because I'm too lazy to look past Google" is a bad response.
(BTW, in the specific example, five editors participated: Andyjsmith, Cirt, Rankiri, Nuujinn, and yourself.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:53, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
I am not talking about this artilce I am talking about situation in general! I am taliking abot that fact that current rules allows to push opinion of only one person if his/her opponents were temporary absent or just didn't know about his/her actions (Idot (talk) 02:07, 11 April 2010 (UTC)) PS writing article is not as easy as deleting, and it could be comapred with giving birth for child which is much difficult than murdering
Idot, our deletion policies and practices are necessary maintenance, not murderous Stalinesque purges, and drawing that comparison is inappropriate and offensive. We are not talking about peoples' lives, we are talking about housekeeping procedures that don't need a special assembly of the United Nations to be convened every time someone writes a sourceless blurb about some trivial crap. You need to accept that two or an handful of editors can make an informed opinion on an article and take appropriate action, and not immediately accuse them of bad faith and dodgy motives. Reyk YO! 03:20, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
(1) Please do not forum shop. This same discussion, with identical hyperbole is happening at WT:Deletion review#how many people's opinion is enough ?.LadyofShalott 03:30, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
I just didn't know were to discuss (Idot (talk) 00:55, 12 April 2010 (UTC))
(2) Please stop the hyperbole. Deletion is not akin to the death penalty. Death is final. Deletion, especially for notability concerns, is not necessarily. If an article has been deleted but then it can be shown that there are WP:RS that have discussed it, showing its WP:notability, the article can be re-created. Asking an administrator nicely can even get the previously deleted version put into userspace for further development. Shouting "lynching!" is ridiculous. LadyofShalott 03:30, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
anyway have you ever hera about quorum or not? (Idot (talk) 00:55, 12 April 2010 (UTC)) PS intil the end of week I will not be absent, so sorry if couldn't be answer you on time
This is not a democracy and deletion is not a courtroom--Jac16888Talk 01:04, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
And if it's "not a democracy," what is it? I'll tell you — it's an oligarchy run by a fairly small grouping of Talmudic scholars in the Sacred Doctrine of Notability who would rather spend hours and days debating the deletion of extant material rather than writing new material or actually editing the hourly onslaught of new files up to standard. Gimme democracy. Carrite (talk) 18:43, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
  • where is rule that shows that deleters an aristocracy? (Idot (talk) 03:28, 17 April 2010 (UTC))
Just because we are not a democracy does not mean we are an aristocracy, or even that we will become one. With the pedia less than ten years old we are decades away from the situation where the children of our original editors are old enough to inherit, let alone for our first generation to die off. In any event I would suggest that you read Wikipedia:Deletion policy, watch how a few more articles get treated by the process, and if you then want to propose reform Wikipedia talk:Deletion policy is probably the best venue. Though you might want to read the archive of that page first, as there are a number of proposals that have been considered and rejected in the past. Also please remember that a small number of comments does not mean that only that number of editors have seen that AFD, rather that with the obvious comments already made, most other editors have seen no reason to join the discussion. ϢereSpielChequers 12:22, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Who said "aristocracy"? This is an oligarchy, the rule of a select few. Change of the establishment is only possible by the establishment itself, which is fully vested in not changing. And so we have lengthy discussions about the same things without end: to delete this or this or this, what constitutes notability, is that notable enough to delete, why aren't we deleting this when we deleted that? And while the 10,000 words have been spent on the deletion topic of the day, another 50 crappy articles have come through the NEW PAGES pipeline. I have no interest in butting my head against a bureaucratic wall, change will be driven by actual practice of WP editors, not by the relative handful of Talmudic masters suddenly coming to enlightenment en masse. That's all for now, I'm off to work. Carrite (talk) 15:38, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

Copying material from out-of-copyright books

If material is copied from an out-of-copyright book, what is the proper notification of where the material comes from? Woogee (talk) 20:18, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

You can include it on the edit summary, or ont the talk page for a fuller citation. It should be very clear where the text came from, so you can quote and reference in the article page. However old text may not be of the correct style. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 21:24, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
Just a comment: Quoting is fine... plagiarism is not. Blueboar (talk) 11:50, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
It's not plagiarism if it's correctly attributed. OrangeDog (τ • ε) 17:52, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
My question concerns Pells Manny, which is copied from History of Stephenson County, Illinois by Addison L. Fulwider. It's copyrighted 19190, but there's no attribution in the article. Woogee (talk) 18:32, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Creating an article through wholesale copying of uncopyrighted content is certainly not permitted, although I'm not sure what the most direct way is to explain why. For one, we require all content in articles to be verifiable to reliable sources. Collapsing things a layer and simply parroting what a reliable source says, word for word, without citations to individual claims, makes the entire article unverified. For another, we create original content so that Wikipedia can attach its own copyright to it, which it then releases under the GDFL license. Uncopyrighted content cannot be GDFL. If we don't acknowledge it, we are falsely asserting a copyright. If we do acknowledge it, we're unable to assert the copyright we want to have. And then there's the simple matter of plagiarism. I'll bet there's a guideline somewhere on this, and probably a reason simpler than any of these. - Wikidemon (talk) 18:41, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Do not include the full text of lengthy primary sources is a guideline that explains how to use out-of-copyright material, among other things:

If out of copyright, shorter texts such as short poems and national anthems are usually included in their article, e.g. Ozymandias, but longer texts are best summarised with the full text placed on Wikisource, or given as an external link.

I know that the subject mentioned above is probably not a 'primary source', but I think this guideline still applies. First Light (talk) 18:51, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Just wanted to clarify that Wikipedia doesn't own copyright to any of our text; it belongs to the individual contributors who do (of course) license it under CC-By-SA and GFDL. :) The guideline for attributing public domain text is Wikipedia:Plagiarism. Attribution should be supplied on the article's face, usually via an attribution template in the reference section. As Wikidemon notes, this is necessary to avoid asserting copyright over PD text. Wikipedia has a good many articles that are created in this way. Just to take one common PD source, there are 1,493 articles tagged as duplicating content from the PD DNB in Category:Articles incorporating DNB text with Wikisource reference, and that cat is only the most populated of the seven subcategories of Category:Wikipedia articles incorporating text from the Dictionary of National Biography. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 18:54, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification. I stand corrected. - Wikidemon (talk) 20:16, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Ditto. First Light (talk) 20:54, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Importing public domain information wholesale is certainly permitted. See the thousands of articles tagged with {{1911}}, for a long list of examples. See also a large number of anatomy-related articles, which incorporate text and images from Gray's Anatomy. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:05, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Wow. :O I have been using a rather paltry category by comparison. I'm going to use yours for illustration from now on. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 19:09, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
many of these articles are quite far from their Britannica roots. Earth (featured article), West Virginia and Hildegard of Bingen are tagged 1911, so? East of Borschov (talk) 21:10, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Many are also exactly the same as the 1911 articles. So to summarise, it's fine to directly copy articles from other out-of-copyright reference works as long as you give proper attribution, but it would probably be an improvement if you made further edits to the content to bring it up-to-date and in-line with the MOS. OrangeDog (τ • ε) 22:17, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Here's a 1911 template just in case the material is inaccurate: {{Template:Accuracy-1911}}. I doubt the WP:Recentism would ever be an issue :-). First Light (talk) 23:09, 20 April 2010 (UTC)


Many articles now employ the DEFAULTSORT magic word, including many where the sort key is the same as the page name (in such cases, it is not necessary to specify a sort key). Was there a discussion about implementing this on a mass scale? If so, would someone please point me to it? Thank you, -- Black Falcon (talk) 21:14, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

Good question. I see that SmackBot happily adds these useless DEFAULTSORT statements to articles that don't have them—and don't need them. — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 21:26, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
AWB does too if "Apply general fixes" is checked. -- Black Falcon (talk) 21:28, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
That would imply that there was previous consensus at WP:Bot requests for these edits, I suppose. — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 21:33, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I could not find any such general discussion in the archives. There were several discussions about adding DEFAULTSORT to biographies, where it undoubtedly is useful, and even one approved BRfA (SmackBot XIII), but no general discussion about applying the magic word to all articles. -- Black Falcon (talk) 21:43, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
Are they really unneeded so often? When I inquired about this sometime back, it seemed that capitalization affected the sort, such that Every good boy does fine needed to specify a default sort of "Every Good Boy Does Fine". WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:42, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
I wasn't aware that capitalization was an issue... Also, I think I found the answer to my question in the last sentence of 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." Thanks, -- Black Falcon (talk) 21:57, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
That's rather silly. Why would an automatic tool infer a default other than the default? That's just nonsense. And for that matter, all the sort key is used for is sorting articles in categories, why would editors or automated tools even need to use it? There's no real harm in including it on every article, but that sounds like a rather artificial justification reason. Mr.Z-man 01:16, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Dealing with uncited text

A difference of opinion has arisen between myself and another editor on the best way to deal an article consisting mainly ofh uncited text (which is neither controversial nor a BLP). Is it better to remove it, or tag the article with {{refimprove}}. There are arguments both ways, but I've found no specific guidelines as to which is better. Any suggestions would be appreciated. —  Tivedshambo  (t/c) 21:40, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

It depends on the details. The policy is that information must be verifiable, not necessarily that it must already possess an inline citation.
  • If this text is likely accurate/verifiable (but nobody's gotten around to naming a specific reliable source yet), then it should normally be left in the article, with your choice of optional tags like {{fact}} or {{refimprove}} (or none, at your discretion).
  • If the text is likely unverifiable, then it can be removed (and possibly should be removed, especially if you're certain that it is unverifiable).
WP:BURDEN is not a deadline-driven clean-up program: If you reasonably believe that uncited text is verifiable, then removing it to punish other volunteer editors for not having already named the citation will likely be considered WP:POINTy and disruptive. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:34, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Thanks - I'd never considered the difference between verifiable and cited before. In this case, I suspect that at least some of the information is verifiable (even though not currently cited), and I'll continue to look for sources. —  Tivedshambo  (t/c) 22:41, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Accuracy + Verifiability + Neutral Tone. If it sounds accurate, should be verifiable, and is written neutrally, leave it alone or tag it for inline cites. If the content is extremely sketchy in terms of veracity or patently unverifiable or written polemically, lose it. Carrite (talk) 19:08, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Involved admins taking administrative actions in deference to WP:BLP

There is an ongoing discussion at Wikipedia talk:Biographies of living persons#GRAPEVINE and UNINVOLVED regarding whether or when it is appropriate for involved admins to take action in deference to WP:BLP. Comments are invited. –xenotalk 13:28, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

using links...

I have been using the webcitation site for about a year or a bit more now, for references that I know or suspect will go 404.

Today I got a challenge from another contributor, who expressed a concern over "copyright issues".

About six months ago I noticed that the {{cite}} templates had explicit fields to plug in links to archived versions of pages. But that does not prove the question of copyright has been considered with reference to the use of webcitation copies.

FWIW, the copies are (or are supposed to be) byte for byte copies of the original web page.

I would like to know whether anyone is aware of a previous policy discussion over the use of these links.

If there hasn't been a discussion, do we need to now?

Cheers! Geo Swan (talk) 21:13, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

This is preposterous. There aren't any copyright issues. WebCiteBOT got consensus and the cite template parameters got consensus. Onus would be on the other editor to challenge the consensuses. --Cybercobra (talk) 21:25, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
(EC) I am guessing there must have been some discussion that confirmed it is not a copyright issue, as a bot was approved, User:WebCiteBOT, go through and auto add webcite links to all newly added URLs (or it will if it ever gets through its backlog). However, at this time I can't find those discussions either. -- Collectonian (talk · contribs) 21:25, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
The discussion was Wikipedia:Bots/Requests_for_approval/WebCiteBOT. --Cybercobra (talk) 21:41, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Related: Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval/Approved/Archive 4, Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval/WebCiteBOT 2, Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval/Approved/Archive 5, Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval/WaybackBot. User:LeadSongDog come howl 21:55, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Using WebCitation should be encouraged. Ignore the naysayers. The Hero of This Nation (talk) 22:23, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for the information. I trust you now on the copyright issue and i had never doubt that these links can be helpful. The main issue in the post User Geo Swan has linked to is that they don't work. I checked these links and they are all not reachable for me since at least a week. As i said i had never doubts that they are useful if they work but unfortunately for me it looks like they don't and i am concerned we waste the time of our readers by presenting them with tons of dead links.

Could you please click on these WebCite links and see if they work for you: mirror, mirror, mirror, mirror, mirror

They do not work for me and i came across of many of these links in the last days and week and none of them worked. Could you please click on them and give some feedback if they work for you. IQinn (talk) 01:09, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

They aren't working for me (at this time, at least). The tabs are in a perpetual "waiting for" loading mode. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:42, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Ditto. Even some of the examples linked from the main page are hanging. This must be a problem with their servers. User:LeadSongDog come howl 05:07, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
We didn't crash them again did we? OrangeDog (τ • ε) 12:12, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Certainly not completely, but the W3C validator and link checker both find numerous problems on even their homepage. The tiny URLs generally seem to be in better state than the transparent ones. We may just have to wait and see what happens, or try contacting them directly. User:LeadSongDog come howl 13:46, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Ok, so I looked closer at the requested links. The last one is still available live (vice via webcitation) but it triggers an advertising popup. Dismissing that popup (which may or may not be a problem to webcitation) I followed it through its "Print" link for a simple (stripped of popups and other dynamic advertising) page here. Submitted to webcitation it yielded this short url which seems to work just fine.
Lesson learned: archive the simplest version that supports your point, it is more likely to remain functional. Certainly avoid archiving pages that only render content after linking to third party advertising if the option is available. 14:53, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Here's irony for you. On the wayback machinethis query works and finds the desired document, yet it is no longer available from the link on webcitation's main page and they didn't give a webcite for their own best practices guide! User:LeadSongDog come howl 15:56, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

Protection of signpost

Please participate in the discussion here. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 08:35, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

New notability guideline proposal: Periodicals

Please come participate in the discussion of this newly proposed notability guideline. Wikipedia:Notability (periodicals) (talk). Thanks! ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe 20:28, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Offensive material has been marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Offensive material (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, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Profanity no longer marked as a guideline

Wikipedia:Profanity (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, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

These are the result of a page move from Wikipedia:Profanity to Wikipedia:Offensive material. Gavia immer (talk) 03:56, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

Suggestion about editors

First let me state without reservation that i am a fan of wikipedia. it was a brilliant idea and its good to see it growing healthily, mostly...

Being an editor of wikipedia is a heavy responsibility, but it does seem from all the discussions below that not all editors are responsible. many suffer from chronic hubris, a disease also found in editors of copyright journals :) the situation is exacerbated by what seems to be a policy rather like that of some police and traffic warden organisations - the more tickets/arrests an officer makes, the more valuable they are considered to be. this kind of mindless quantitative assessment of performance causes more problems than it solves.

Who will watch the watchers?

Then who will watch the watcher watchers?

It just spirals on, so that's not a solution.

So instead, perhaps it would be prudent to insist that all edits go first into a kind of holding area, viewable only by editors, where they can be considered sensibly and not hastily. and then the practice of speedy deletions and taggings can be discontinued, making the pages available for public view undesecrated by large ads for an editor's ego. oh, it's not relevant, but i am not an editor and neither do i have any interest in being one. i am a writer, not a critic. a proletarian, not a priest. Djhbrown (talk) 17:48, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

Indeed, the history of the deletion of the article on the Political Quarterly should serve as a cautionary tale for the more over-zealous quality control volunteers. After being warned that some wikipedia volunteers were high-handed know-it-alls, who might delete valid material, on WP:IDONTLIKEIT grounds, a columnist for a UK magazine created an article on a small but prestigious long-running policital opinion journal. The journal had, in the past, published both Leon Trotsky and Benito Mussolini. He found his associates prediction was correct, his perfectly valid article was rapidly speedily deleted by contributors who, presumably, had never heard of Trotsky or Mussolini, or any of the prestigious individual who had served as the quarterly's editors. Geo Swan (talk) 21:27, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
[citation needed] on the assertion that the people involved had never heard of Trotsky and Mussolini. Which article, where is the deletion discussion? Woogee (talk) 21:38, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Something like the suggestion above has been under discussion for a long time at Wikipedia:Flagged revisions. Peter jackson (talk) 13:44, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

Block delete discussions after they've been voted keep X times (for some reasonable # X)

After 8 deletion discussions at United States and state terrorism, all of which have resulted in "Keep" or "Strong Keep", a new editor is taking a stab at it anyway. Is there any way that we can stop wasting the community's time with this type of thing, by having a policy that after an article has been voted "Keep" X times, that we should just work to improve the article instead of forcing everyone to defend the article every time someone comes along and nominates it for deletion? I don't know what value X should be, but I would say at least 3 and definitely not more than 10. Basically, the policy would just say that once an article has been voted keep X times, that it can just be removed from AfD immediately, without requiring another discussion. -- Jrtayloriv (talk) 23:39, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

I don't think that hard and fast rules are a good idea. What's accepted repeatedly now might be cheerfully deleted ten years from now. Also, you don't want to set up bad-faith nominations ("If I can get this 'kept' ten times, then Wikipedia will never be able to delete my garage band!").
You might consider a FAQ at the article's talk page. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:46, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
I support leaving a suitable gap between Afd nominations, say 6 months. Other then that you can't have any hard rules about not Afd an article in the future because consensus can change. Regards, SunCreator (talk) 23:54, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
The FAQ sounds like a good idea. Would you suggest just going through the arguments that are made in each of the deletion discussions and the responses to them? -- Jrtayloriv (talk) 23:59, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes, that's what I had in mind. A little basic education, like "It's not whether something exists that makes it notable, but whether sources talk about it," seems like it might be helpful. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:04, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

Bad idea. Consensus can change. Also, often an article will be kept because its defenders insist there are sources (perhaps hard to access and including them will take a bit of time), and the closing admin will close it on the good faith assumption that the sources will be produced in time. Now, very often nothing of the sort happens. The defenders of the article disappear and take no further interest in it until it is nominated again, at which point they will reappear to vote "Keep! eep! There's sources! There's sources!" It might take several goes for the community to twig to what's going on and finally say "Nope. You've had plenty of chances to source this abomination and failed every time. That's good reason to think the sources actually don't exist." Reyk YO! 00:13, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

bad argument! people who sure that article should be kept may go to holiday or vacation or by other reason might be absent, but does' it really means that consensus has changed? (Idot (talk) 01:44, 10 April 2010 (UTC))
PS as I remember all memebers are equal
but why delters should be more equal than others?
as time spent for writing & improving article is much bigger that time spent for it nominating for it deletion, easy deletion means that deleters are more equal than others
On the other hand, people who are sure the article should be deleted might go on holidays. Works both ways. Would you support a proposal that an article that has been deleted X number of times should not keep getting recreated? Of course not; the subject may have become notable in the meantime or Wikipedia's standards may have changed. So what you're really arguing is that keepers are more equal than others. Reyk YO! 01:54, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
  • it doesn't work "Works both ways"! just 'coz keeprs cannot nominate an article for keeping when deleters are absent, while deleters can nomonate artilce for deleting when keepers are absent => so deleters are more equal than others (Idot (talk) 01:58, 11 April 2010 (UTC))
as Woogee said "It's not the number of !votes, but the quality of the opinions. ", but as you telling thereis important not quality of opinion - only consensus - i.e. how many peoples agree to keep or delete
who I should belive? (Idot (talk) 02:12, 10 April 2010 (UTC))
That's not what consensus is. Consensus isn't just a head-count; it is the prevailing strength of argument. There have been quite a few times where an administrator has decided, correctly, that consensus went against the numerical majority because the less numerous side had the stronger arguments. For instance, it sometime happens that an article will be defended by a lot of very new users who have signed up in response to an off-Wiki recruitment campaign of the sort "Come help us save article X by voting keep on the AfD": these people rarely put forward very good arguments but there are a lot of them while the people favouring delete have well-reasoned policy based opinions. Administrators are well within their discretion to disregard the canvassing campaign and so consensus will go the way of the less numerous voters. Of course, it also sometimes happens that the delete voters are in the majority but have the weaker arguments so consensus goes against them as well. I hope this clears things up. Regards, Reyk YO! 02:27, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
why should keepers tell the same arguments X-times, and deleters tell the same arguments X-times?
and if during X+1 time discussion one of the arguments is forgote, why it should be considered as changing of consensus ? (Idot (talk) 03:37, 10 April 2010 (UTC))
When the argument is "we need time to fix this" and two calendar years later the problems are still there, that argument may not count so much. It starts to look like this hasn't been fixed because it can't be fixed. Something is wrong with the topic, not the content. Jehochman Talk 03:48, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
Because we have no real way of knowing whether an argument is forgotten (unlikely, since old links to previous AFDs are listed on the AFD page) or people just no longer support that argument. As Reyk said, standards and policies change over time. There could also be new arguments based on recent developments about the article or the article's subject. Any proposal that replaces discussion and consensus with arbitrary rules is not going to meet with much support here. Mr.Z-man 04:03, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
a person who support this arguemnt just might temporarry absent - it doesn't mean that the argument is not valid any more!

there two kind of people one who write articles
and other who have no buisness except deleting artciles and arguing, and they force other people who might write article to endless arguing instead writing artiles
so why people who push their opinion (deleting) should be more equal than others?
I mean: writing articles are more time consuming and more complicated than deleting, but wiki rules consider such activity as easy as nominating for deletion - which is not true! (Idot (talk) 01:43, 11 April 2010 (UTC))
It would actually have to be 18 since that was the number of AFD's for the Gay Nigger Association of America.-- (talk) 04:55, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
Actually, it's probably "only" 17 because the 11th one doesn't seem to exist. Reyk YO! 05:07, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm also liking the X times per X time period as a guideline. Casual, but objective voices would weigh in the first time, or the second time, but then would lose interest or give up trying to weigh in. you're down to the people who feel passionately on either side. After a month or two, you'd have a chance for different, cooler heads to be brought in. Cander0000 (talk) 05:14, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
I think waiting a full year is always long enough to bring up the issue again. That's more then enough time for those who favor keeping to demonstrate that the article can be brought into compliance with Wikipedia's content policies, or at least to make substantial progress in doing so. Jehochman Talk 16:10, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
I would strongly support a 6 - 12 month waiting period between AfD noms and suspect it would obviate the need for limiting the number of AfD's allowed. Doc Tropics 16:23, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree with the general idea behind the proposal, but there is no need for rule creep. Waiting 6–12 months between nominations is a good idea in many cases, but it is also completely unnecessary in others. I would like to propose a less bureaucratic approach, namely, to add the following guidance to Wikipedia:Deletion policy:

Editors who are considering nominating for deletion a page which has survived several deletion attempts are advised to first initiate an informal discussion on the talk page to assess the potential usefulness of yet another deletion nomination.

-- Black Falcon (talk) 18:15, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
While I agree with the motivation behind this idea, I suspect that it will not be helpful. That is, I suspect that for every case that (thankfully) doesn't reach AfD because the editor "discovered" that he could use the article's talk page, there will be many more in which some wikilawyer tries to have the AfD declared invalid for not following the right bureaucratic procedure. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:04, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
An AfD is a discussion. Why have a meta discussion about having a discussion? Just get to the heart of the matter and discuss it. Perhaps the policy could contain some guidance: Repeated deletion nominations in situations when less than 6 - 12 months has passed since the last nomination and there has been no material change in circumstances may be viewed as frivolous. Please be considerate of other editors time and do not start needless discussions. That said, I think my current nomination, which provoked this thread, is a worthwhile re-visitation of the question of whether to delete a very problematic article. Jehochman Talk 00:46, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
    • the fact that Daniel Brandt was deleted on the 14th attempt clearly shows that deleters do not have incentives toi thing about quality of their's arguments insteda that they just nominating, nominating, and nominating for deletion i.e. they constantly pushing their opinion until it will be pushed liek telling every day "Charphago must be burned!" without any new arguments!
      in my opinion such actions are described as bulling!
      'coz if you had strong arguments for deletion the article would be deleted much earlier! so 14th attempt proves that deleter do not have arguemnts, so they just were for deletion without thinking of arguments (Idot (talk) 01:27, 11 April 2010 (UTC))


so we shall set 6 or 12 months between nominations fpr deleation, should we ? (Idot (talk) 03:20, 17 April 2010 (UTC))

  • Comment I must say that I am considerably surprised that no one has seemed to bring up the fact that notability is not temporary. While I very much agree with the section on the policy that states that certain discussions may not have correctly discussed notability, I also feel that there should be a limit or a point where it can be said that, yes, something is notable, now leave it alone. Otherwise, it seems to me that those that voted delete are just trying to find a time period when no one else is around to vote Keep, so they can get in there and get rid of it. I've seen that happen more than once. So, to conclude this thought, I do believe it is necessary to either have a limit on the number of AfD or DRVs that can be made on a subject (when it is kept, if it is deleted often, then it may become notable in the future) or, at the very least, have a time period in between like Idot is proposing above this comment. That, at least, will cut down on the number of unnecessary nominations to AfD and DRV. SilverserenC 23:18, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose- obviously. These things should be discussed on a case-by-case basis. This proposed rule is obstructionist nonsense. Since the community is well able to distinguish a frivolous nomination from a meritful one and can quickly and easily close it, this proposal will only block proper discussion. Let's say an article on some company closes as keep because there seem to be a lot of sources. Then two months down the track an editor wanders by and discovers that what initially appeared to be independent sources are direct copies of the company's website (I see this all the time). Do you expect the community to say "Whoops, sorry, you're right about the sources and we really dropped the ball on this one, but you're prohibited from nominating it for another four months"? That's why this proposal is counterproductive and silly. Reyk YO! 22:57, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
    the nonsense is repeatiously everyweek nominating the same article for deletion
    or you could say that this practice ha any sense?! (Idot (talk) 01:48, 20 April 2010 (UTC))
    Show me an article that gets nominated every week. I think if something like that did happen the community would put a quick stop to it, so no rule is required. Reyk YO! 10:11, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose as WP:CREEP, although I agree with the sentiment. Although re-nominations of articles whose deletion nominations were recently rejected is a comparatively common form of process abuse, there are just too many different ways of abusing process here to create a special rule about each one. Further, the circumstances are different for each article and associated deletion discussion, so a one-size-fits-all rule may not always create desirable consequences. It's better just to leave it up to the community, which tends to be somewhat more skeptical and averse to repeat nominations. If they involve sockpuppetry or tendentiousness, as is sometimes the case, we can deal with it when we see that. WP:BEFORE already contains the admonition, "if there was a previous nomination, check that your objections haven't already been dealt with". It might be a good idea to strengthen that language, as a start. - Wikidemon (talk) 10:56, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment Repeatedly nominating an article for which there is a strong consensus to keep is a good way to earn a warning for disruption. Articles which are repeat nominated are by and large ones where there is not an overwhelming consensus one way or the other, hence it is probably inevitable that the article will keep getting nominated - and probably end up at DRV or be recreated in a different form if it is eventually deleted. While I share concerns about time wasting and gaming the system, I think these multiple nominations are a consequence of the way Wikipedia works. There is no committee, there is no checklist, and if the community is divided in its opinion, repeated testing is inevitable. The most that should be done is to strengthen the language relating to inappropriate nominations, and perhaps ask the closing admin to take into account whether there have been any substantial changes to the article since the previous AfD - either because promised changes have never materialised, or because the article has not changed since a previous keep decision which was not dependent on making changes to the article - and what bearing this might have on the final decision.Elen of the Roads (talk) 11:22, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose per WP:CREEP. This is a well-known perennial proposal which comes up every now and then but is always rejected for the same reasons, mainly instruction creep and that numerical rules and quotas just plain aren't the way we do things on Wikipedia, where things are nearly always handled on a case by case basis. Besides, community standards handle this issue just fine as it is: if someone nominates something that was kept last week it'll likely result in a speedy-keep and a reminder to the nominator not to do that again. Andrew Lenahan - Starblind 13:47, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

Notability requirements for reference books and other reference materials

Through a recent (and currently still ongoing) AfD discussion, the point was raised that there is no current standard for how notability is to be established for reference materials. As is stated in WP:BK#Coverage notes, "Though the concept of "book" is widely defined, this guideline does not yet provide specific notability criteria for the following types of publications...reference works such as dictionaries, thesauri, encyclopedias, atlases and almanacs..." I would like to try, here and now, to establish some sort of guideline, even if it is merely rudimentary, for what type of notability is required for these kinds of works to pass into notability. Obviously, we still default to the general guideline as a base for articles, but it seems that reference materials may need something more specific, as it is rare to find actual direct information on them, besides them being used as references or mentioned as a reference for someone or something in various news articles.

I am putting the notability guidelines for reference materials up for discussion here. I currently am not sure what would be the best route to take in determining notability for such works, so I am hopeful that some other users can come up with concrete, usable methods of notability. Thank you and I look forward to seeing what the community has to say in this regard. SilverserenC 22:53, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

It's worth clarifying that this regards notability requirements for articles about reference works, rather than for the inclusion of references (sources) in articles (generally speaking references used to write an article should not be removed even if they're non-notable). Dcoetzee 23:00, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Thank you for the further clarification. :) SilverserenC 23:09, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Note: Here are the Articles up for AfD that are involved (If more are involved, please add)
--Fiftytwo thirty (talk) 01:16, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
  • It would seem obvious to this editor that any Works, Collections, Books or Papers worthy of being place in or under a category of "Reference Material" would have to be of the "Highest" Notability requirements, what else could be placed there ? As an after thought, dose this subject really need a "Discussion" ? As to "guidelines yes but notability ? Mlpearc MESSAGE 23:33, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
The problem is, we have to have notability guidelines for what things can actually be considered to be reference works. Otherwise, the rule would be, keep all reference works and that isn't all that viable of a proposition. There should be some minimum necessity in order to prove that a reference book is indeed being used as a reference in various instances. That's why we need to discuss exactly what the guidelines should be. SilverserenC 23:41, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Certainly the standard should NOT be the quantity of independent sources that have the particular reference volume as it's subject matter. Outside of reviews or publication notices of reference works in scholarly journals, rarely are reference volumes the "subject" of either articles or books. Instead, a better test is whether scholarly journals or academic books use the publication in its own citations -- thus viewing the publication as a credible source. Instead of being the "subject of multiple volumes" the test could be: is the publication "cited in multiple volumes of independent, reliable sources." If it is, then the community of writers view the reference work as a significant source of information and thus it is "noteworthy" because of its significant usage. Drmissio (talk) 23:48, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
  • As the user that probably started this whole mess by hastily tagging Who’s Who in Nebraska for speedy deletion, let me offer my opinion on this matter. Here is my suggested guideline. For any reference work that would qualify as a reliable source to reference, there must be at least one review independent of the book itself (so the article can have some content), and the book must have been cited by a reasonable number of other reliable sources and scholars for its informational content. The writers of the book as well as the people featured in any such work would still have to meet the strict biography, or if applicable, BLP criteria. The writers or anyone featured in such type of work would have to meet the strict biography, or if applicable, BLP criteria for a separate Wikipedia article; a reference book does not convey automatic notability. Under these conditions, Who's Who in Nebraska would squeak through because of its review in Nebraska History. Comments? --Fiftytwo thirty (talk) 00:30, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Clarified. --Fiftytwo thirty (talk) 01:05, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree in general with Drmissio's suggestion.
This does not seem applicable to me -- "The writers of the book as well as the people featured in any such work would still have to meet the strict biography, or if applicable, BLP criteria." For one thing, reference books are not inherently tied to biographies. For another, there is no reason to make a stricter standard for reference books, by requiring notability of their authors or editors.
A sales guideline (over X amount) might also be useful. Maurreen (talk) 00:49, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree that requiring the notability of the author and featured people is a bit strict, far stricter than almost every other notability requirement out there, pretty much. I also think that Drmissio's requirement sounds reasonable, we just need to figure out the exact wording and if there's anything else we would like to add for clarification or something. SilverserenC 00:57, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Maybe my wording was poor. The reason that I said that was to prevent someone to say that if a person was featured in one of these books then they were inherently notable, for example, I do not think that all 11,000 people in "Who's Who in Nebraska" are notable. I agree that it is tangential and does not really have to do with the books -- I was not suggesting that the included people and the author had to be notable, merely that writing or being in X book does not give them automatic notability. About sales figures -- Many reference books have limited circulation, and are mainly purchased by libraries, making sales low and rather hard to use in a notability sense. Do you have any ideas for sales numbers? --Fiftytwo thirty (talk) 01:02, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Ah, okay, okay, I understand now. Yes, I can agree with that. A single mention in a reference source wouldn't be sufficient anyways. Most of the mentions in reference works would only be trivial (about a single sentence or so) anyways. Though, if the reference books have, say, a page on the person, I think that would convey some amount of notability.
Yeah, I don't think we should have anything to do with sales numbers, that would make it too complicated. SilverserenC 01:13, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Fifty, thanks for the clarification. I understand now what you're getting at, but I still think any book guideline is not the best place for any guidance about the notability or not of anything other than books. Maurreen (talk) 01:22, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
  • No independent sources = no article. This has got to be the fundamental rule, because you cannot write a fair, verifiable article if there are zero sources or if every source is the equivalent of an autobiography or a sales brochure. That said, there are an enormous number of independent book reviews out there, as any librarian/institutional book purchaser can attest, and requiring the existence of at least one independent source won't have the effect of excluding any major reference works. (To give an example, Encyclopedia Brittanica currently names more than one hundred sources, and nearly all of them are independent.)
    For the specific one in question, Who's Who has a vanity press problem. It's an excellent example of why we must have independent sources. We would neither want to present a vanity press version as a legitimate reference work, nor to deride a legitimate one as vanity press. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:08, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Having a minimum of one independent source that discusses the reference book sounds okay. I don't think it should have to be an entire article or very significant coverage though, because I doubt you're going to find that. The Encyclopedia Brittanica is a little of a special case, since it's especially well known. SilverserenC 01:13, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Well, we need to have enough significant, independent work to write an encyclopedia article. If all we can say about something is "The XYZ Biography encyclopedia covers the People of XYZ in great detail" then the article doesn't serve much purpose and certainly is not encyclopedic. Then we have the question of what reference books are. User:Abductive said here that Who's Who in Nebraska is not a Reference work. --Fiftytwo thirty (talk) 01:26, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Comment Let's be consistent. If Who's Who in Nebraska is "not a reference work" then do a search for the other "Who's Who" articles on Wikipedia. User:Abductive's reasoning would apply also to:
"What reference books are". This is great question still unanswered. The word "reference" belongs to the list of "peacock words": it implies authority, influence etc. Vanity who's'whos and run-of-the-mills compilations aren't even close. And many technical books, on the opposite, are used as authoritative references in daily life, but are simply too technical for wikipedia. East of Borschov (talk) 02:54, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Obviously, WP:GNG still applies, and unused and obscure reference works shouldn't necessarily be included. Also, please don't misunderstand my position on the mentioned AfDs. The fact that the nominations were disruptive and the reasons for deletion weren't accurate was enough to satisfy WP:KEEP. I never said or meant to say that all reference works are notable. — Rankiri (talk) 01:17, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
  • There is a difference between a reliable reference book for the purposes of citation in Wikipedia , and a notable reference book n the sense of having an article about it. I can think of 100s, like the Who's Who series, that are certainly notable enough, but thoroughly unreliable. In the other direction, for use as a source for meeting the GNG, any published source is acceptable (with some special considerations of reliability for BLP)-- no matter how obscure and non-notable. And there's a third level--those standard reference books, such as selective national biographical dictionaries, in which the presence of ann entry for the person is taken to prove notability. Personally, I think the notability criteria for books unreasonably broad--CHOICE for example has reviewed over 100,000 books, and that's just current US academic books--as it is a discriminating review source, and as almost all of them will consequently have been reviewed somewhere else also, that would permit articles for every one of them. I have however refrained from doing so. The net result is we have articles for those books that someone is interested in as the criterion. Particularly for reference books published in the 20th century, almost anything will be reviewed in some standard listing--library review journals emphasise these titles, for libraries are essentially the only market. Unlike some of the above comments , I'm not concerned bout how to deal with books for which we do not have enough sources, because I am thinking of a very wide array of possible sources. There will almost never be a book about which there is not reliable information to write an article if we think it worth writing, at least information about the physical book and the details of publication--such as we use in articles on all sorts of media. DGG ( talk ) 03:05, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment - It appears that we have 3 separate issues here: 1) what is a reference work and how is that defined? 2) how should reference works, as a class of material or genre, be evaluated in terms of "notability" and 3) Does the GNG guideline of "significant coverage" apply to reference works? On questions 2 and 3 I tend to agree with Fiftytwo thirty and Maureen and Seren's comments. Maybe the way forward is to: 1) propose some definite wording, 2) make some changes if needed, and 3) try to get a majority consensus. So here goes:
  • Proposed Definition of Reference Works You can read the classic definition of reference works, as given on the University of Illinois Library website here, but I quote:
"The classic definition of a reference book is a work that is consulted to find a specific item of information (an address, definition, bibliographic citation, etc). Reference works typically include dictionaries; encyclopedias; directories; almanacs, handbooks, and yearbooks; collected biographies; and indexes. They may be single volume (e.g., dictionary); multi-volume set (encyclopedias), or contins (periodical index)."
Therefore I propose the following definition, based on the classic definition above:
Reference works include dictionaries; encyclopedias; directories; almanacs, handbooks, and yearbooks; collected biographies; and indexes. They may be single volume (e.g., dictionary); multi-volume set (encyclopedias), or an index (periodical index).
  • Proposed Guidelines for Articles on Reference Works The statement below is based on the discussion above.
1. For any reference work that would qualify as a reliable source to reference as a separate Wikipedia article, there must be at least one review independent of the book itself (so the article can have some content), and the book must have been cited by a reasonable number of other reliable sources and scholars for its informational content. Specifically, the WP:GNG guideline regarding "significant coverage" is modified for reference works and a "significant citation" standard is added.
2. Any subject or person featured in such type of work would have to meet notability guidelines, or if applicable, BLP criteria for a separate Wikipedia article; a reference work does not convey automatic notability.

Drmissio (talk) 20:57, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

What is a reference book?

Then we have the question of what reference books are. User:Abductive said here that Who's Who in Nebraska is not a Reference work. --Fiftytwo thirty (talk) 01:26, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

Comment Let's be consistent. If Who's Who in Nebraska is "not a reference work" then do a search for the other "Who's Who" articles on Wikipedia. User:Abductive's reasoning would apply also to:
"What reference books are". This is great question still unanswered. The word "reference" belongs to the list of "peacock words": it implies authority, influence etc. Vanity who's'whos and run-of-the-mills compilations aren't even close. And many technical books, on the opposite, are used as authoritative references in daily life, but are simply too technical for wikipedia. East of Borschov (talk) 02:54, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
I would say that a reference book is any book that is ment to serve as a reference more than to serve a general audience reading a book for pleasure. In terms of Who's Who books, I think that each book would have to be evaluated individually. Obviously, if it does not have any 3rd party sources, it does not belong, and it might also not belong if it was self-published or if it is a collection of vanity, paid biographies. Of all of the ones that Drmisso mentioned above, some are truly reference sources and others are not. --Fiftytwo thirty (talk) 21:40, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
I see no problem with obvious cases like the Data conversion handbook. But the whole affair started with an obscure 1940 gazetteer, and then a biographical compilation. What was the publisher's intent in these cases? Should we trust the boastful claims printed on the back cover? East of Borschov (talk) 09:44, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
Comment These Who's Who titles have nothing in common but the first two words of their title - they come from different publishers, with different editorial policies and doubtless different levels of notability. It is a serious distraction to focus on them as a group. Barnabypage (talk) 07:19, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

How to Move forward

I think we need to create some sort of guideline to deal with this problem after deciding on a definition of a reference book. Here are the options that I have seen, listed from More severe (more articles will probably be deleted) to least severe (more articles created).

  1. Reference books are not notable unless they have extremely widespread coverage.
  2. Reference books must abide by WP:NB
  3. Reference books must abide by WP:GNG, but not necessarily the NB.
  4. My suggestion above
  5. All reference books are inherently notable.

Three and four appear to be the most popular. Comments? --Fiftytwo thirty (talk) 21:40, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

  • Comment I rather like Drmissio's proposition up above for the definition of a reference book and how the guidelines should be. For now, his wording sounds perfect. We can modify it over time, depending on how the wording ends up being used in the future in terms of creating reference book articles. SilverserenC 21:57, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

Proposed policy on Reference Books

This policy seeks to outline the Notability guidelines for reference works. Reference works include dictionaries; encyclopedias; directories; almanacs, handbooks, and yearbooks; collected biographies; and indexes. They may be single volume (e.g., dictionary); multi-volume set (encyclopedias), or an index (periodical index).

  1. For any reference work that would qualify as a reliable source to reference, there must be at least one review or other non-trivial source independent of the book itself (so the article can have some content), and the book must have been cited by a significant number of other reliable sources and scholars for its informational content.
  2. The writers or anyone featured in such type of work would have to meet the strict biography, or if applicable, BLP criteria for a separate Wikipedia article; a reference book does not convey automatic notability.
  3. Works of Fiction and those works that are designed to be read for pleasure are not included in this guideline, and must meet WP:NB. Self Published sources and vanity Who's Who books that require payment for a biography are also not included.

That is my proposal complied from the comments of others, particularly those of myself and Drmissio. Comments? --Fiftytwo thirty (talk) 22:23, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

Thanks to Fiftytwo thirty for trying to move this discussion forward. I am not convinced that we should depart from the normal inclusion requirement that potential article subjects have substantial coverage. I see nothing sufficiently unique about reference works to support this, however one defines the phrase. Many other reliable sources do not enjoy a lowered standard. Indeed, if they did, pretty much every non-fiction book from a reputable publisher would then be notable enough for an article; somebody would have reviewed it at least once. I really do not think a case has been made that reference books should be held to such a significantly lower standard than other books face in WP:NB. As such, for #2[I meant #1], I would require multiple non-trivial sources. ALXVA (talk) 22:44, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Except that #2 pertains to separate articles that try to use reference works as a source. #2 illustrates that these works alone are not enough to give notability to a subject and that a BLP must still meet the normal criteria for it's type of article. So, I do not see the problem that you are trying to illustrate, you just seem to be agreeing with the criteria Fiftytwo thirty said. SilverserenC 22:58, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you're trying to do here. You're trying to establish the standard for which we can have articles for reference books, or the standard for which reference books can be used as reliable sources? They're different things, and should not be confused. If you're trying to make a notability guideline, it doesn't matter how reliable the book is. For example, Wikipedia itself is highly notable, but not itself a reliable source. I can also imagine reliable sources that aren't very notable. --GRuban (talk) 22:53, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
We are trying to establish a standard for articles about reference books, your first point. But it is also necessary to point out that these reference books, while they might be notable enough to have an article on WIkipedia, are not enough to be used as the only reliable source for a BLP to establish notability. BLP's must still pertain to their normal guidelines, in which reference books do not count as reliable sources for them (or not by themselves, at least). SilverserenC 22:58, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
That sounds perfect, actually. The only part that I would disagree with is the Who's Who part. Is there actually a consensus that these types of books are not notable? Because it seems to me that slipping that in there might be yet another attempt to delete a series of books that have already gone through AfD anyways. So, in short, I oppose that part of #3 and recommend that it is removed. SilverserenC 22:58, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
The reason that I threw in number three is not to have more articles deleted, but merely to narrow these categories. All of the books mentioned could still have WP articles, they would just have to meet the stricter WP:NB criteria. --Fiftytwo thirty (talk) 02:29, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

"The writers or anyone featured in such type of work" - unacceptable. Reference books are routinely compiled by groups of perfectly non-notable people (if not corporations, in which case writers may remain anonymous). Their names are irrelevant to the significance of a book. And who will dare to verify notability of each contributor to Britannica? Even less acceptable is "anyone featured". Does it mean that every name mentioned in a book must be checked against WP:BIO? It's just not practical. Notability guideline should end up in a cheap and quick test, not detective work. East of Borschov (talk) 09:09, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

As I stated, that provision essentially said that the people featured in these works did not gain notability through being featured in or writing the book. It does not mean that the writers and people have to be notable to have an article about the book. This clause has been removed in the new version below anyways... --Fiftytwo thirty (talk) 14:34, 18 April 2010 (UTC)


Discussion restarted at Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#Building Consensus...please express your views there.
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

To be clear, can we indicate agreement / disagreement to the above statements in a way that shows where there is consensus and where there is not? Here is a "voting" outline -- just add your signature where you want it; please also explain your reasoning so that we can achieve consensus.

Proposed Definition of Reference Works as given above

  • Agree:
  1. Drmissio (talk) 23:32, 16 April 2010 (UTC),
  • Disagree:

Agree to proposed guidelines for Reference Works as per Fiftytwo thirty (above) and Maureen (below) (one independent source, significant citations)

  1. Drmissio (talk) 23:32, 16 April 2010 (UTC),

Oppose new guidelines, Reference books should be included in WP:NB (WP:BK)

  1. Since I don't think the standard should be lower for references, excluding other types of books would irrelevant. I don't see significant value in articulating what is not covered by a guideline. If the definition of what is covered is clear there is no reason to clarify what is not covered. But sometimes articulating what is not covered informs the definition (or is part of the definition), so I am not opposed to this outright. ALXVA (talk) 04:33, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
  2. Reference books are still books. They are covered by WP:BK and WP:N, and do NOT need any sort of special exception. -- Collectonian (talk · contribs) 14:06, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
WP:BK is the same as WP:NB. That guideline states that it does not provide notability guidelines for reference works. Perhaps you want to move your comment to above (where Reference books would have to pass WP:NB/WP:BK). --Fiftytwo thirty (talk) 14:13, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
I know it is. I just always use it with WP:BK. -- Collectonian (talk · contribs) 14:26, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

Oppose new guidelines for other reasons

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Refining the ref book proposal

I'd prefer more discussion. Some of this proposal conflates unrelated matters.

  1. For any reference work that would qualify as a reliable source to reference, there must be at least one review or other non-trivial source independent of the book itself (so the article can have some content), and the book must have been cited by a significant number of other reliable sources and scholars for its informational content.
  2. The writers or anyone featured in such type of work would have to meet the strict biography, or if applicable, BLP criteria for a separate Wikipedia article; a reference book does not convey automatic notability.
  3. Works of Fiction and those works that are designed to be read for pleasure are not included in this guideline, and must meet WP:NB. Self Published sources and vanity Who's Who books that require payment for a biography are also not included.

Instead, consider this:

  1. Reference works are generally considered worthy of an article if:
    1. They are cited by a significant number of other reliable sources and scholars for its informational content, and
    2. There is at least one review of the work or other nontrivial coverage of the work (so the article can have sufficient content). Maurreen (talk) 07:01, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────So, this would just be considering the content that is un-italicized, correct? If so, then I agree with it. It's much simpler and easier to understand. I don't believe there is any real need to mention writers or featured people. It really all depends on the amount of coverage. If they are only a sentence in reference books anyways, then that would be trivial coverage and not count. Thus, it is not necessary to outline that part, which you haven't in your new proposal, so I agree with that. SilverserenC 07:33, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

Thanks. I think we're understanding each other. I agree that there's no need to address notability or not of people here. And I think we all have a general understanding of what a reference work is. Any nuances might best be hashed out as the specific situation arises. Maurreen (talk) 08:01, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
Let's run a quick test ad absurdum. An article about a reference book has been brought to AFD. Nobody contests it's status as a reference (or at least so it was three hundred years ago) but at the moment the article fails both criteria. How many citations are necessary to meet criterion A, and what kind of review will do for criterion B ? East of Borschov (talk) 10:03, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
Streamlining the proposal is okay with me, but I think that a few things need to be added. First, we need to add back other non-trivial source independent of the book itself, because the sources will not always be a review, and non-trivial helps to focus what type of a review we are looking for. Second, defining a reference book would also help, so that we would not have arguments as to whether or not something is one (however, I am open to leaving that out). --Fiftytwo thirty (talk) 13:24, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

How About This ?

  1. A Reference Work is defined in the following way:
    1. Reference works include dictionaries; encyclopedias; directories; almanacs, handbooks, and yearbooks; collected biographies; and indexes. They may be single volume (e.g., dictionary); multi-volume set (encyclopedias), or an index (periodical index).
  2. Reference works are generally considered worthy of an article if:
    1. They are cited by a significant number of other reliable sources and scholars for its informational content, and
    2. There is at least one review of the work or other non-trivial source independent of the book itself (so the article can have sufficient content).

Drmissio (talk) 15:03, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

I'd put the first part in paragraph form, something like this:
A reference work, defined as including dictionaries; encyclopedias; directories; almanacs, handbooks, and yearbooks; collected biographies; and indexes; including both single volumes (e.g., dictionary); multi-volume sets (encyclopedias), or an indices (periodical indices) that are used for research more than as casual reading, are considered notable if:
  1. They are cited by a significant number of other reliable sources and scholars for its informational content, and
  2. There is at least one review of the work or other non-trivial source independent of the book itself (so the article can have sufficient content).
--Fiftytwo thirty (talk) 17:00, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
I still haven't heard a sufficient reason why reference books should be treated differently than other books (I would remove the carve out from WP:NB). Even if we are going to treat them differently, I have heard no good justification for lowering the general notability guideline this much. It appears some editor(s) want to include some reference book(s) that they for watever reason think should be in regardless of standards and are attempting to frame the guideline to cover such books. ALXVA (talk) 15:34, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
I think that this proposal is fairly controversial, and that is why I put it on the WP:Centralized discussion list so that other editors can see if it is necessary, and a consensus can be gained. I have not even made up my mind and !voted. --Fiftytwo thirty (talk) 17:00, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
We're making progress. I have a few tweaks: 1) Might as well include atlases. 2) Change "its informational content" to "their informational content" to agree with "They are cited ..." 3) Maybe change "sources and scholars" to "sources or scholars". Maurreen (talk) 17:10, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
As for Number three -- I would say keep as is. Since there needs to be a significant number, there will hopefully be more than one of each. All others should definitely be changed. --Fiftytwo thirty (talk) 17:55, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
  • I don't see the rules, as we currently have them defined, as being lowered very much at all from the WP:GNG. The reason the rules have ot be different is that reference works, as has been previously stated, are not going to have defining sources, but are going to merely be used in other places as the reference works that they are. If we try to hold them to the current guideline, almost no reference works would be able to make it in, even extremely notable and well-known ones. We can always make these guidelines here more difficult later on if we feel that they are not stringent enough. But we have to set them to work first to see how they do before we can come to any conclusions about them. SilverserenC 18:46, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
I would say let some other people come in and comment. I don't think that consensus has yet been reached. --Fiftytwo thirty (talk) 17:55, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
Hopefully some other people come around. We haven't been getting very many outside comments, really. :/ SilverserenC 18:09, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, we need some people to come by. I just dropped a note at WT:Notability, so we will see... --Fiftytwo thirty (talk) 18:34, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
  • On a separate note, does everyone agree that it makes sense to put the link to it under WP:REFBOOKS. Obviously, there can be other sorts of links as well, but that be the main one? SilverserenC 17:27, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
I would say merge it with WP:NB, and have shortcuts from WP:REFBOOKS and WP:NREF. --Fiftytwo thirty (talk) 17:55, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
That's what I meant, sorry for not saying so clearly. :P Yeah, WP:NREF sounds good too. SilverserenC 18:09, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

Need for the work to have a review?

I'm not at all sure about the "need for a review" section above.

It seems to me that one of the most important uses for a WP article on a reference work is so that a reader who finds the work cited as a reference in another article can follow a link to find out what the reference work is, when it was written, how it was compiled, etc.

This is of value in itself, and reason for having material on WP describing the work.

In most cases, much of that material can validly be sourced from the reference work itself -- who its editors were, what their inclusion policy was, etc. So WP:V need not be a problem (just as a film is itself a reliable source for its own plot). And in my view WP:N should strongly consider what is encyclopedically useful for readers.

Simply put: If a lot of our articles cite the work, then we ought to have an article on it. Jheald (talk) 23:10, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

I'm adamant that there must be at least one independent source. While there can be a description of what is included, there is little else that would not be in a proper bibliography. There could not be any critical reception or like section. There is not really a need to have all of our non-web references to have an article; if someone wants to find the book they probably can at a library. Sources that are frequently cited here at WP probably are notable enough to have an independent source already too... --Fiftytwo thirty (talk) 23:27, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
The point is, it's useful for somebody finding a source referenced at the bottom of an article to be able to get some idea of how scholarly and reliable that source is without having to go to a library.
That's why it's useful to have a Wikipedia article on the source, written and policed by the community, rather than just having to trust to whatever potentially POV unverified material Google spits back. Jheald (talk) 23:35, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
However, Wikipedia can't just randomly add articles about these reference works, just because they're used in a number of other WP articles. That goes against almost every major policy we have. The works still have to meet at least some basis for notability and being referenced in other WP articles isn't going to cut it. SilverserenC 23:38, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
On the contrary, being referenced in a large number of WP articles is a very good indication of notability (and not just for books). That is one argument I would run at AfD, and I would win. Jheald (talk) 00:48, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
Um...good luck with that? I don't think you've win. SilverserenC 00:55, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
These articles really wouldn't be in-depth enough to serve as any type of verification; they would probobly have just as much information as a bibliography and Google would have, which would give the basic picture of whether the book is suitable to reference for the article. To truly verify a citation, one would have to get the book. --Fiftytwo thirty (talk) 00:14, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
Even if it is just a few lines, an indication of how the work has been selected, edited and compiled is well worth having -- and well worth having just a click away, rather than having to dig for it on Google or some external bibliography.
Are we so pushed for disk space now, that you begrudge even a short summary? Jheald (talk) 00:48, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
Only if that summary is referenced from a review. We do not allow original research here on Wikipedia. SilverserenC 00:55, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
Material which can be verified from the source itself is not original research. A work is a WP:RS for what it says about itself. Jheald (talk) 01:17, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
Nor do we have articles with indiscriminate information. Per WP:ONESOURCE (essay) articles with one source do not merit their own article, and often cause more people to add in OR or Copyvios. Wikipedia is also not a directory or repository of information or how to find it. --Fiftytwo thirty (talk) 01:07, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
Information which is directly relevant to our encylopedic purpose is not indiscriminate. And as you say, ONESOURCE is an essay. It is not policy, and it is not intended to consider all circumstances. For the reasons I have set out above, this is a very particular circumstance, because the works derive their notability not just from how one source describes them (which in itself, as the essay says, would not suffice), but more significantly because of how they are used.
The latter is really why they are significant, and why they are therefore appropriate to document. Jheald (talk) 01:15, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Can you find one work that is widely cited in Wikipedia and needs its own article (doesn't already have one) to show its usefulness as a resource? Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a book review. --Fiftytwo thirty (talk) 01:29, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

My comments were spurred by the list of five works nominated for AfD at the top.
Those are exactly examples of works which are widely cited in Wikipedia, for which it is valuable to have an article to present the nature of the resource. (Significantly, identifying its limitations, rather than just to "show its usefulness" as you write above; but most fundamentally, simply to present its nature). Jheald (talk) 08:15, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
This is a step backwards, not forwards for Wikipedia. There is absolutely no reason that we should be publishing synthesis of published material with no other content. Wikipedia is not a book review site, and there is no reason that we should become one just because a few of our articles cite a particular work. If Wikipedia is to have an Unbiased, Neutral point of view, we need multiple sources. It's as simple as that. You say that you want to have these "articles" if you can even call them articles because you don't want to trust "potentially POV unverified material Google spits back." Well, with only one source, all we have is the point of view of the author and whatever WP:OR synthesis one can add in. As for the articles in question -- Watkins Biographical dictionary -- Cited by four articles -- 100 Greatest African Americans -- Used only to back up the fact that Person X was featured in it. -- Dictionary of Virginia Biography -- Cited by 35 pages and a quick Google search turned up multiple independent sources -- The Encyclopedia of American biography seems to be a title used by at least four different works, and no citations were found with the title and the author's last name. Works extensively cited by Wikipedia, Like the the Encyclopædia Britannica are bound to be reviewed by a third party for their content, style, and history, giving the necessary coverage for an article. As someone who works in CSD and AfD, I know that notability is a critical guideline that determines the integrity of the entire encyclopedia, and if we do not abide by some standards, then the foundation will erode. There is simply no need to bypass our standards for reference books so that editors might be able to have a better idea of what the book contains. No independent sources = No encyclopedia-worthy content. It's as simple as that. --Fiftytwo thirty (talk) 15:22, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

Back to finishing the proposal

To get us a bit more on track again and more toward actual getting something done here, let's go over the current version we've got going. Here's what we've got so far:

A reference work, defined as including dictionaries; encyclopedias; directories; almanacs, atlases, handbooks, and yearbooks; collected biographies; and indexes; including both single volumes (e.g., dictionary); multi-volume sets (encyclopedias), or an indices (periodical indices) that are used for research more than as casual reading, are considered notable if:
  1. They are cited by a significant number of other reliable sources and scholars for its informational content, and
  2. There is at least one review of the work or other non-trivial source independent of the book itself (so the article can have sufficient content).

I believe Fiftytwo thirty has explained well enough above why we need to keep #2. There has to be at least some restrictiveness to this rule and we can't leave it vague or all hell will break loose in this department. I think the way we have it now is restrictive enough that we should be good. If we decide later on that it isn't, we can always tweak the wording or add something else in, but for a new guideline, this looks good, yes? Can people respond to see if they are in agreement with this proposal as it is now? SilverserenC 17:22, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

The only proposal I can agree with it just removing the restriction from WP:BK against reference works, which appears to have just been arbitrarily added anyway. Reference works are not special, and who cites them is irrelevant. It is the coverage that they themselves have received that is what makes them notable, as per WP:N and WP:BK (which requires multiple reviews, not just one). This proposal, in essence, gives any reference work a free ride to not having to meet any notability requirement, which I strongly disagree with. -- Collectonian (talk · contribs) 17:30, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
The reason for having the "one review" is that that would be significant enough coverage for it to pass the general notability guideline anyway. Reference books do need to have slightly different rules, as we have already extensively discussed, because they aren't going to have the same type of coverage as normal books would. Unless they are extremely well known reference works, like the Encyclopedia Brittanica, they are not going to be covered by reliable news sources to really any degree at all. That's why we need to have this different method of rating them. SilverserenC 17:42, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
No, ONE review is not "significant" coverage, and no they are not special. Yes, it has been extensively discussed, and not everyone agrees with you that somehow a single review or just being well used makes it notable. Either it has coverage or it doesn't, plain and simple. Being a "reference" (which from the lists above is set to a ridiculously loose idea of what a reference is that includes vanity publications and self-published stuff) does NOT make it special or different from any other book. -- Collectonian (talk · contribs) 17:54, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Is there a reason not to specifically include atlases? Maurreen (talk) 18:05, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

Added. --Fiftytwo thirty (talk) 18:09, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

Building Consensus

I think that we've narrowed things down to two proposals

1. The one we've been working on creating as seen below

A reference work, defined as including dictionaries; encyclopedias; directories; almanacs, atlases, handbooks, and yearbooks; collected biographies; and indexes; including both single volumes (e.g., dictionary); multi-volume sets (encyclopedias), or an indices (periodical indices) that are used for research more than as casual reading, are considered notable if:
  1. They are cited by a significant number of other reliable sources and scholars for its informational content, and
  2. There is at least one review of the work or other non-trivial source independent of the book itself (so the article can have sufficient content).

2. Removing the reference book exemption from NB/BK.

As I said earlier, I have still not made up my mind on which is better, and consensus seems to be right down the middle. We are still not getting much outside participation. I have created this to hopefully make contributing a little easier. --Fiftytwo thirty (talk) 17:59, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

There is a related proposal at WP:Notability (periodicals) that also may require changing WP:NB. I have drafted a copy with the new proposal as above in my sandbox. --Fiftytwo thirty (talk) 01:17, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

Support New Proposal as per Above

  • Also as I have stated above, reference books are not the same as regular fiction or non-fiction books. As can be clearly seen by going to a library, reference works, and all the subtypes that entails, are drastically different. Furthermore, they are different on the internet as well. You would be very hard-pressed to find any news coverage of a reference work that isn't a super-big name one, like the Encyclopedia Brittanica. Our guideline, as we have it now, exempts a lot of reference works from being included in the project, because they are not extensively referenced by other works and do not have a review from a reliable published source. Thus, this goes along well with Wikipedia policy. The "vanity works" of Who's Who origin are a bit of a problem, yes, though it is not that hard to figure out which of the series are an actual notable one from decades ago and which are from recent years, which are thus a vanity piece. If it is a vanity work, it is not going to be referenced extensively in other works. That's clear. So, most, if not all, of these vanity works would not meet the proposed standard, let alone have a review from a reliable source. So, for these reasons, I feel that the proposed standard adequately details enough restriction to keep the non-notable reference works out, while allowing the creation of others that are worthy of inclusion. If we feel in the future that it is a bit too loose, then it wouldn't be hard at all to restrict it a little more through consensus, but I entirely do not feel that it should be extremely restricted to the standard of normal fiction and non-fiction works. They are not in the same category. SilverserenC 18:25, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
The above proposal is reasonable. I believe it is time to implement it and move on. The definition is a standard definition of reference work and the proposal is reasonable. The best thing to do is to implement the proposal and then make any needed amendments after some experience applying the guidelines. I doubt seriously that there will be unanimity on this issue. In my view prolonged discussion ad nauseum serves no purpose in the long run. Drmissio (talk) 01:05, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

Support Removing Reference book exemption from WP:NB/WP:BK

  • Again....if we're going to keep restarting, so to speak, might I recommend closing the ones above to keep comments focused in the current section. I have yet to see a single valid reason to consider a "reference" work special beyond any other books, and I strongly disagree with the definition of a reference work as it allows for the inclusion of the vanity mess (like the majority of "Who's Who" listings) and self-published works that call themselves by any of those terms. References are not special for the purposes of notability. If a non-fiction work is notable, it is notable per WP:BK. If it isn't, it isn't. It's calling itself an encyclopedia or a dictionary or what not has no bearing on that basic fact. Nor does it matter if they are reliable sources. There is no guideline nor policy that demands that works that are reliable sources per our standards have to also be notable. I also strongly disagree the assertions above that we need to basically have little sales pages for each one just because they are used as references. -- Collectonian (talk · contribs) 18:11, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
  • I agree entirely with Collectonian. The only reason given for not including reference works in WP:NB is that it will be difficult for them to meet the criteria. I do not think that is reason enough. We could also create a lower standard for self-published books, or cookbooks, or coffee table books. or any other category of book, because those books are not as likely to meet WP:NB. Of course, that would not work. To paraphrase Collectonian, notable is notable, non notable is not notable. The various guidelines that have grown up to fill in WP:N are to make it faster and easier to recognize notability, not to bring in articles that cover non-notable subjects because it would be too hard for those subjects to meet notability without a boost. The only proposal out there that does this is to remove the exclusion of reference books from WP:NB. ALXVA (talk) 22:32, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
  • One additional thing I would note is in response to Silverseren's reference to reference books "worthy" of inclusion. The inherent worth of a book should not be tied to its notability or vice versa. In fact, some of the "worthless" Who's Who books might be notable if (and I have no idea whether this has ever happened), a company succeeded in ripping off people through such a book or saved the world through such a book or the book itself garnered coverage for some other reason. ALXVA (talk) 22:39, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Commenting -- Regarding Collectonian's rejection of the above definition of reference work: Let me hasten to say that the above definition is the classic definition in library science and is used by standard libraries. I am sorry to say this -- but in my opinion no consensus by volunteers on Wikipedia -- regardless of what it is -- carries the same weight as accepted academic definitions. If Wikipedia strays from accepted, classic definitions, and applies it's own concocted (meaning "consensus driven") views on things, then ultimately the reputation of Wikipedia will suffer and it will never gain credence in the academic community. Even our local high school rejects all Wikipedia articles as valid sources for any high school student paper -- yet will accept standard encyclopedias. That is a shame. But, the unwillingness of volunteer editors to follow accepted definitions and guidelines will continue to cripple Wikipedia's ability to become recognized as an encyclopedic standard. Maybe it is time for Wikipedia to grow up and to become sensitive to the standards to which it should adhere. If it fails to do so, Wikipedia will be the worse for it in the long run. So I would say that in every editorial decision one of the first questions that should be asked is: are there established definitions and standard ways of handling this -- if so, what are they, and how can we best adapt them for our use? Drmissio (talk) 00:57, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Let's not overreach ourselves. Wikipedia is not directly suitable as a valid source for a student paper not because it does or does not follow standards, but because of the "You can edit this page right now" bit of User:Jimbo Wales/Statement of principles, which means that at any given moment nearly any given page could have been blatantly or subtly vandalized. Pretending that following standards will solve that issue is just fooling ourselves. --GRuban (talk) 21:25, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
While it is true that any page can be vandalized at any time, one of the purposes of volunteer editors is to be a "self-correcting" community. On the face of it, if Wikipedia says "we don't trust anything we have because it could have been "blatantly or subtly vandalized" then, what is the point? Volunteers do serve as a "Self-correcting" community so that things do get "fixed." So generally speaking the vast majority of the articles can be assumed to be a fair reflection of factual data -- otherwise what's the point of the citations? While following definitions and academic standards won't alleviate the potential vandalism problem, it will alleviate substantive content issues. In other words it is better say: "the article could have been vandalized, but if it hasn't been, it's content meets acceptable standards" than to say: "the article could have been vandalized, but if it hasn't, it's content doesn't meet acceptable standards anyway." Drmissio (talk) 00:15, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I don't think you can assume the vast majority are OK. Articles on, or related to, religion & politics are subject to all sorts of bias. Peter jackson (talk) 15:30, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
The existence of a citation, even if it is a reliable source & supports the statement in the article, is no guarantee that there aren't plenty of others contradicting it, of which those working on the article are ignorant, or which they've deliberately suppressed to push their own view. Peter jackson (talk) 15:33, 23 April 2010 (UTC)


WikiPol, a.k.a. WikiPolice, Wikipedian Police Forces


Just wanted to get some attention to the proposal... ...the idea: If states need a law enforcement agency, Wikipedia needs a policy enforcement agency. A... ...Wiki-Police. The idea came to me when I read about the CVU. Comment here, or on the discussion page of the proposal, just don't edit the proposal itself yet. Unless it's a typo, or you want to add a category or something.

So, yes, what does everyone think? Criticism? Suggestions? Comments?--Newbiepedian Wikt rei-artur3.svg 18:52, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

I like the proposal, but let's call it Wikistapo. — Rankiri (talk) 18:53, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
I object. WikiMilitary is more urgent. Someone needs to take care of our nuclear weapons. Hans Adler 19:02, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwww... WP:CREEP much? The WordsmithCommunicate 19:03, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Transwiki to uncyclopedia. Didn't the CVU get disbanded for being a bad idea? Hipocrite (talk) 19:05, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Don't be absurd╟─TreasuryTagvoice vote─╢ 19:06, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict × 2) Oppose: We already have pretty much everything in the list. ArbCom is the higher authority, CVU is already there, one of the crat functions is to monitor bots, etc etc. Putting them in a hierarchy will encourage unnecessary bureaucracy and checks. At the moment, our wikipolicing is working fine. We do miss stuff sometimes, but I don't think that a structured hierarchy will do much good. Though its a good idea from the outside, I oppose it. ManishEarthTalkStalk 19:08, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Who is supposed to enforce using readable colours in signatures? Stephen B Streater (talk) 22:10, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict x 2) I think you will find significant opposition to this proposal based in the principle that Wikipedia is not a bureaucracy (see also Wikipedia:Instruction creep). Many of the tasks you lists are already handled by various WikiProjects and task forces, which usually consist of informal groups of editors with related interests; perhaps a less-formal WikiProject Cleanup would achieve the purpose you have? Kudos on the creative names and acronyms, though. -- Black Falcon (talk) 19:09, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Please, everyone: a little less bite and a little more bark. -- Black Falcon (talk) 19:13, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Gewikstatspolizei! No, no and a thousand times no!. Ve haff vays of making you obey! Fiddle Faddle (talk) 19:11, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
It would be nice if folk could articulate their thoughts in a more constructive way when dealing with editors who have only been here two days. Weakopedia (talk) 20:01, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia is the land Ayn Rand built. It was co-founded by a Randroid, and the ruling oligarchy operates on Randroid principles of propertarian elitism. A "police force" is anathema to the denizens of Wikipedia not because it's oppressive, but because it's a form of oppression which threatens the power of the mandarins who rule Wikipedia's star chamber. To quote Errico Malatesta, ""Individualism is, in theory, a kind of Anarchy without cooperation. It is therefore no better than a lie, because liberty is not possible without Solidarity, without cooperation. The criticism which Individualists pass on government is merely the wish to deprive it of certain functions, to hand them over virtually to the capitalists. But it cannot attack those repressive functions which form the essence of government, for without an armed force the proprietary system could not be upheld." In this sense Wikipedia reflects the kind of culture Amerikan-style "Libertarians" [sic] wish to inflict on the word, where they express an open horror of formal authority (such as a police force) while constructing a system in which the means of production -- and the keys to the Wikipedia server room -- are in the hands of the privileged few who rule through systemic oppression rather than overt violence. SmashTheState (talk) 21:01, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Smash? Are you having a bad day? Anything we can do to help? --GRuban (talk) 22:56, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
For the editors who keep citing WP:BITE, I'll refer you to WP:DUCK. Even the most casual examination of the self-styled Newbiepedian indicates a long and extensive history on the project; this is a new account, not a new editor. You're just being wound up by someone who isn't honest enough to troll using his own account. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 14:24, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
I like how you appointed yourself Chief of Police. Aggrandization, much? Woogee (talk) 20:20, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
Support. Hell yeah. Sapporod1965 (talk) 03:25, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
WP policy at present is quite clear. There's a system for enforcing behaviour policies. There's no system for enforcing content policies. If most people who want to work on an article have a particular bias then the article will do so too. There's no system for stopping them. I think something should be done about this but don't know what. Peter jackson (talk) 13:52, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

It's a good idea, but why a "police" force? It would be more fun to create a group of wiki-super heroes, with names such as "Blocking man", "The Warning", "Judge Newpages", "The Vandal Hunter", etc. However, it would be only a matter of time before vandals, trolls and POV pushers create their own group of wiki-super villains to fight against them. MBelgrano (talk) 14:10, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

Delay vandalism warnings until the second edit

Automated tools such as Huggle that are able to revert vandalism just seconds after border on biting the newcomers. Yes, I'm guilty of using that tool; an act of vandalism to my user page made me think twice about continuing to use it though. See User:Dlohcierekim/On RfA#Huggle for support that others agree with me.

  1. Should giving a vandalism warning for a user's first edit (or giving a warning for the second edit less than two minutes after) be prohibited?
  2. Should giving a final warning without first reading the talk page be prohibited?
  3. Although this is less related to policy, should the bright orange "new messages" banner be changed to one that is less startling, such as a blue banner? The style of wikiHow's new message banner, for example, matches with the rest of the site and is more friendly than confrontational in nature.

PleaseStand (talk) 23:47, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

  • I actually won't warn on the first edit, but for a different reason. I think vandals get encouraged by warnings and then continue - whereas if you simply revert it without saying anything they just get bored and find something else to do. I naturally have no evidence of this whatsoever, it's just a hunch. –xenotalk 23:50, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I have a similar hunch myself, so I generally don't warn on the first edit either, unless it would qualify for one of the -4im warnings and I want to be certain there's a "paper trail" for AIV. But this is a matter for editors' judgment, not for mechanical rules. If an edit was vandalism, and the editor who reverts it believes that a warning will benefit the encyclopedia, then that should be the end of it unless there's some much larger problem. Gavia immer (talk) 00:27, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
1. No, vandalism is vandalism. Giving a warning sends a message someone is watching and probably gives the editor pause.
2. Why? What do you hope to achieve with this prohibition?
3. No, it's that color so you can't help but notice it. --NeilN talk to me 00:43, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
  1. New contributors should not be startled by a mistakenly-given vandalism warning and never get to make any useful contributions. Our standard level 1 vandalism warning does not include the full welcome message.
  2. See, for example, a talk page post made by a Huggle user. The "vandalism"? Removing a PROD tag. The user then left a message accusing me of exercising poor judgment in prodding the article although he misread the diff; the nominator was an IP. This contributor clearly was bitten.
  3. We do not want to enrage vandals.
PleaseStand (talk) 01:02, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
The first two points deal with mistakenly given vandal warnings. It's not the process that's broken but rather editors who are not sometimes careful enough. Also, please note that uw-vand1 does not contain any reference to vandalism. As for your third point, seeing "orange" will enrage someone? --NeilN talk to me 01:14, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Disagree... First two are instruction creep. It sounds like you're trying to solve a behavioural problem by writing rules. If a person is already being careless with huggle; any rules we write here will do little to help. And the orange bar is fine. –xenotalk 01:16, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
(e/c) Why do you assume that a significant amount of vandalism warnings are given in error? Adding new rules to prohibit something that is already prohibited rarely works. At best, its throwing the baby out with the bathwater. At worst its just throwing the baby out. Mr.Z-man 01:20, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Perhaps these should only apply to vandalism reversions performed using automated tools (Huggle, Lupin's tool, etc.) to avoid inconveniencing those who do not use Huggle. We do regulate bots (that includes "human-assisted" bots) more strictly than human editors. In particular, AWB is considered a bot if it is used to edit faster than several edits/min, and users of both tools can have access easily taken away. PleaseStand (talk) 01:27, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
If the edit being reverted is indeed vandalism then why shouldn't the editor get a warning? You haven't answered that. --NeilN talk to me 01:34, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
There is always the possibility that it is an innocent test edit. As a note, if all of the above is not going anywhere, feel free to close this discussion. PleaseStand (talk) 01:59, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Test edits are not vandalism as you say. I would hope Hugglers, like Twinklers, have the ability to note this and issue a uw-test1 instead. --NeilN talk to me 02:02, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes, the Huggle software allows issuing the uw-test warnings, but how is it possible to distinguish the two? The only case which I can think of that would be clear is adding text like "testing 1234" or "does it work?". The level 1 vandalism template is written precisely with this concern in mind, not using the word "vandalism" but rather "unconstructive". And we don't want to say "your test worked" to encourage someone with bad intentions to continue vandalizing. PleaseStand (talk) 02:15, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
I don't quite understand your reasoning here. It often isn't possible to determine if an edit is vandalism, therefore we shouldn't warn on the 1st (possibly) vandalism edit? Whether or not someone continues to make "test" edits after a warning is how we determine whether or not they are a vandal. If we don't warn them after the first edit, then at the 2nd (possibly) vandalism edit we still can't tell whether they're a clueless newbie or a vandal. If we warn them, then we know (a newbie should stop, a vandal won't). WP:BITE does not mean "Don't say anything negative to the newbies." If a new user is doing something wrong, we do need to tell them. We just need to do so politely. Mr.Z-man 02:29, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
If you're not sure it's vandalism then go for uw-test1. Simple. In the end, if they continue the behavior, they'll proceed through the levels uw-test or uw-vandal (sometimes interchangeably) and eventually get blocked for disruption. --NeilN talk to me 05:35, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

Do you really think it's the vandalism warnings that turn newcomers off Wikipedia and not rather, say, the obsessive Family Guy fetishization combined with a Byzantine structure of willy-waggling aspie mandarins ruling by dictatorial fiat? SmashTheState (talk) 02:59, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

What's an aspie mandarin? — Satori Son 13:35, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
Aspie mandarin. HTH. SmashTheState (talk) 20:46, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

Three thoughts:

  • If you really can't tell the difference between serious vandalism and maybe somebody accidentally hitting a button that dumps scary stuff (like {| class="wikitable" |- ! header 1 ! header 2, etc.) into an article and saving the page because they don't know how else to get the scary stuff off their computer screen, then you probably shouldn't be issuing any warnings to anyone.
  • Every editor who issues a warning should know what that warning says (today, not a couple of years ago). We expect editors to use their best judgment, which means issuing warnings based on the text the new user will read, not merely according to the number at the end of the template's URL.
  • If someone's going to change the new messages banner, I'd like a link to my user talk page's history. The last diff is not always the only change that was made. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:41, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree with thought 1. Frequently, example text that is inserted using the edit toolbar buttons is a mistake within an otherwise constructive contribution because of some differences. Clicking the Bold/Italic button without any text selected works differently than a word processor does, and therefore insertion of "'''Bold text'''" should not be considered vandalism. I also agree with thought 2: it is what the other user sees that matters. PleaseStand (talk) 10:50, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Personally, I often do not bother with warnings unless the same editor returns to vandalize the page a second time. It is easier for me to just revert and hope the vandal gets the message from that. That means that my personal practice is usually to "start warning on second vandalism". However, I don't think this is a practice that should be mandated ... I think the decision of when to start adding vandalism warning tags is a matter of personal choice and how serious the vandalism is. Blueboar (talk) 11:52, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Extremely strong oppose I feel that this proposal would actually encourage additional vandalism, both by delaying the blocking of vandalism-only accounts and IP's (we would have to start out with a level 1 warning on the second act of vandalism, which would delay the level 1, 3, and 4 warnings, and ultimately would also delay a report to WP:AIAV, which would actually result in giving the user at least 1 more chance to vandalize an article), and by, in the case of good-faith test edits, not getting the test-editor to realize that the Sandbox is the place for such edits. Immunize (talk) 15:01, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Warning regarding vandalism requires a degree of judgement. Granted, some are better at showing this judgement than others. However prohibiting warnings on the first edit isn't the way to go. Sure if someone adds "hi" in an article maybe the warning could be skipped, or at max use a test1 warning. On the other hand when someone changes "John Doe is an actor" to "John Doe raped his father lol" not only am I going to leave a warning, I'm going to leave a warning that doesn't tell them to use the sandbox or to re-add the info with sources. Sometimes BITEing is appropriate.--Cube lurker (talk) 15:12, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Very well said. Editors should have the discretion on how to best deal with a myriad of vandalism/test/erroneous edits. — Satori Son 13:35, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
  • A good portion of first edits will unfortunately be vandalism. It's hard to turn these vandals into productive contributors. Maybe we can have a more nuanced warning. But we have to be up front and honest about what our expectations are. Hopefully we can do more for editors who have at least a few good edits under their belt. Arskwad (talk) 16:09, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm pretty wishy-washy on this subject, and I issue warnings subjectively. If I see some sort of silly vandalism that looks like a test edit, I just revert and move on, but if I see something that looks like intentional vandalism, then I issue a warning. I get pretty annoyed when vandals have been reverted three, four, even five times without any warnings, because nobody will do any blocking until the warning tree starts firing. But then again, "I know vandalism when I see it." I can't explain what makes me issue a warning and what doesn't. Woogee (talk) 21:52, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Words_to_watch is live

All ,Wikipedia:Words_to_watch is live and has merged serveral MoS into it. Comment here if you wish Gnevin (talk) 08:28, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

Billboard charts guide

It is proposed that Wikipedia:Record charts/Billboard charts guide be merged into WP:record charts. Please comment over at the RfC merge proposal. Thanks --Jubileeclipman 01:17, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Picture of the day photo credits requests for comment

Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Picture of the day photo credits --MZMcBride (talk) 02:33, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Repeating a reference but doing something different

My question is about this. I used the edit window since that makes it clearer. Someone used the same reference twice, but the second time added some information. I know it's a common practice to include information in a footnote, although I've never tried it, but what's the proper way to repeat the reference in a case like this? I was kind of bothered by the inconsistent punctuation and then noticed it was there twice. Mainly because the entire reference is there twice.

With copy and paste I suppose it's simple enough to repeat a reference this way, but it does make things a little neater if you use the usual method.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 18:03, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Not having gotten a response, I decided on a fix.
Compare [7] and [8]. Any objection?Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 19:51, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Can't really see what you are talking about... could you be more specific? Blueboar (talk) 20:08, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
At this point it's this diff. Actually, I nearly made another change when I looked at the source and the explanation in two separate places.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 20:12, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
He (1) corrected a typo in a citation and (2) named a ref so it could be re-used.
Vchimpanzee, you might want to read WP:BOLD. You do not need permission to make small improvements like this. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:24, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I wanted to make sure I did it properly so the meaning of what was done originally would be understood.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 21:29, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

I went through the history and found the person changed the note from something in the text to a footnote, and the edit summary said it reduced the text size. I'll ask on the person's talk page. Meanwhile, I'm just trying to establish that if a reference is used twice and someone wants to add a footnote along with it, this is a proper way to do it.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 21:50, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Yes, you have successfully named and re-used the footnote. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:26, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree... no problems with the edit that I can see. (talk) 11:33, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

You should not simply assume that people who don't use named refs are ignorant about them and that you are just being helpful by inserting them. Named references are not uncontroversial, and it is inappropriate to introduce them if the first major contributor did not use them. Named refs often introduce a lot of extra template junk in the main text while saving no more than a line or two in the footnote section. They make it more difficult to reference and discuss several sources in a single note (a normal way of doing things in academic writing), and they contribute to the common abomination of having a sentence or section followed by a dozen footnotes with nothing to explain how these references complement or relate to each other or why they are all even necessary (because that is difficult to explain when each source "needs" a note all of its own with its very own little set of templatecruft).

This has been discussed before and probably doesn't need to be discussed again at length. See this discussion from November last year (I started that debate, but read, in particular, the comments by User:Postdlf, who explained the issues better than I did) and this one from July 2009 (where the usability issues are explained by User:Golbez, among others). --Hegvald (talk) 12:07, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

Using named references reduces the amount of wikimarkup, and doesn't involve any "template junk". You may be thinking of something else. OrangeDog (τ • ε) 12:15, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
This edit, introduced refname templates in a number of footnotes, increasing the length of each of these notes and increasing the overall size of the article from 9,870 bytes to 10,069 bytes. It saved six lines in the footnote section. Was the decreasing visual length of the footnote section worth the increased use of templates in footnotes? I don't think so; in my view it made the wiki text more difficult to work with and the footnotes more difficult to modify for editors unfamiliar with Wikipedia's templates. You are welcome to disagree, but please try not to be patronizing and arrogant about it. --Hegvald (talk) 12:57, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
I appreciate Hegvald's input. I didn't find anything looking at the Village Pump archives, but this person pointed me to the appropriate discussions. I'm not sure any of what was in those applied here, but the references were very simple, at least the way the person did them, so there would be very little to change if they were changed. I was bothered by the lack of a period. Anyway, the person had no objection so I'm satisfied.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 15:39, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
That edit Could have changed the references more efficiently, plus it also added other content, so you cannot claim that all the size increase was due to the references. Here is a much better example of how tidy the references can be (I judge the specific page numbers to be unnecessary as the page ranges given in the full references are so narrow). For reference <ref> tags are not {{templates}}. OrangeDog (τ • ε) 22:25, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the demonstration, but I think you misunderstood my point...
...which wasn't the size increase itself, but how it showed the amount of "template matter" added to the article with no gain in the form of increased clarity and precision. On the contrary, the result is
  • a referencing system which is non-standard in the relevant field (repeated use of the same footnote is used some science journals, but never in the humanities, as far as I have seen), and,
  • a wiki text which is far more complex and difficult to edit for most people, because of the use of templates and the heavy interdependence of the footnotes. Shortening the abbreviations even further just makes the footnotes more cryptic.
The problem could be that you approach this issue as a programmer, where economic use of code to get a given and predictable result is a good thing. But in an article like this, the wanted result isn't predictable in the same way. (I don't know much about programming, so forgive me if I am wrong.) Someone may pass by and see a certain statement cited to "Smith (1970), p. 101" and may wish to modify that statement slightly and change the footnote to say "Smith (1970), p. 101, 175" (because Smith returns to the topic on p. 175 and adds some valuable points, something that the previous author of the Wikipedia article had missed). Or s/he may want to change the simple Smith reference to something even more complex, such as "Doe (1967), p. 15, followed by Smith (1970), p. 101, and other scholars. For a detailed historiography of the issue, see Miller (1995), p. 40-53". With simple ref tags, this change is trivial to make, but with named references it becomes more difficult and an attempt may break the referencing or give a misleading result.
As I said above, I don't think this discussion really needs to be rehashed. This is an "agree to disagree" situation. Both methods of referencing strive for a simplicity of sorts and both may have their advantages. I just hope people won't impose named refs on articles without at least considering the preferences of the principal contributors or how it may affect potential future contributors who are unfamiliar with Wikipedia's templates. --Hegvald (talk) 17:53, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
Hegvald, the article was already re-using refs; Vchimpanzee was only making this one particular ref match the style used in the very first ref in the list. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:00, 26 April 2010 (UTC)